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    "Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Happy New Years!

New Year Celebrations
T'was the day before New Years with only minutes to go.
Everyone was waiting for the new year to show.
There were party hats, noise makers, and lots of champaign.
Good food and good music no one could complain.
When suddenly the ball began to drop.
Everyone in the room came to a stop.
When the ball reached the bottom the crowd began to roar.
And confetti dropped from ceiling to floor.
Happy New Year! Happy New Year was all you could hear.
2006 was finally here.
Here's hoping your new year will be festive and live.
And may the fun continue until 2006.
Poem and Graphics Provided By: funmunch.com

Happy Holidays

This is going to be the last post until after Christmas or New Years. I haven't decided yet. Anyways, just wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays.

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Ghost Show Cleared of Deception

Viewers complained that the Living TV show, featuring "psychic" Derek Acorah, deceived the public by claiming to find evidence of paranormal activity.

But Ofcom ruled that Most Haunted was an entertainment show, not a legitimate investigation into the paranormal, and should not be taken seriously. - Courtesy of BBC News.

I'm sorry, but I feel bad for anyone who actually took this show seriously. I admit I'm not an avid Most Haunted watcher but I have seen several episodes and I watched all four parts of Most Haunted Live (as well as watched a few webcams). It was pretty obvious that this show was more about entertainment value than actually conducting a scientific investigation.

It takes a show like this to develop a lot of gullible people. I think some people can be easily deceived. Concerning the paranormal especially ghosts, you shouldn't accept any little evidence as truth. If you take a picture and something a little odd appears on it, don't just accept it to be something paranormal like an orb or a vortex. That could easily be explained. It could be a dust particle or a strand of hair that fell on to the camera lens as the picture was being taken.

As much as I didn't care for Most Haunted, I was never a fan of Derek Acorah. I think it's just too hard to prove a medium legit. I'm not saying that there aren't any but they can easily fool someone that is if that person is desperate enough to believe. I guess it's pretty obvious what I'm trying to say. Most Haunted is nothing but an entertainment show and I'm glad someone finally called it on its bullshit.

Ghost Cam

I'm not sure how many of you watched the webcams during the Most Haunted Live shows before and on Halloween. I tried to watch them and I felt it was a waste of time. I stumbled onto another live "Ghost Cam" website. The Oklahoma City Ghost Club is performing investigations in an Oklahoma abandoned hospital. They have six cams, an infrared cam and an investigation cam displayed on the OKCGC website for viewing. The cams refresh every 15 seconds and if that's too fast for ya, you can slow down the refresh rate.

The exact location of this hospital, from what I can see, wasn't listed on the website. Even though I'm pretty sure I know where it is I won't disclose that information here for obvious reasons. They have EVPs, photos and video clips of evidence listed on their website of what they have caught so far.

So sit back and enjoy the "show".


*Update*: Check sidebar for link.

My Appologies

I've spent the last few weeks trying to find a blog template that I like and fits the content of this blog. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one. I guess this one will have to suffice for now. I appologize for any inconvenience. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy the new layout.

Hoosac Tunnel

Work began in 1848 on the Hoosac Tunnel, a.k.a. "Bloody Pit" in Massachusetts and wasn't completed until 1877. The tunnel was located at Hoosac Mountain which interestingly in the Mohawk language means "forbidden". More than 200 men died from explosions, fires, tunnel collapses and once by the hand of another worker. But the murder which occurred in 1865, is what gave the tunnel it's reputation.

That year, the construction crew at Hoosac Tunnel was the first to use the new explosive nitroglycerin. Three explosive experts by the names of Ned Brinkman, Billy Nash and Ringo Kelley used the nitro to continue their work on March 20, 1865. After placing a charge, they ran back to the bunker that would shield them from the blast effects but unfortunately, Brinkman and Nash never made it. Kelley set off the charge early, burying the two men alive under tons of rock.

The authorities began to believe that the "accident" wasn't an accident at all when Kelley vanished soon after the incident. He wasn't seen again until almost a year later when his body was found two miles inside of the tunnel, almost the exact spot where Brickman and Nash had been killed. The authorities came to the conclusion that he had been strangled between around midnight and 3:30 am that morning. There was a thorough investigation but no suspects were found and the case went unsolved.

Many of the construction workers believed that Ringo Kelley was killed by the vengeful spirits of Brickman and Nash. They felt it was cursed and some refused to enter it again. There were even workers that left the job site and never returned. They felt it was best to avoid it which slowed down the construction of the tunnel.

In 1868, a mechanical engineer named Paul Travers was asked to examine the tunnel after receiving a letter from Mr. Dunn of the construction company. The workers were complaining of "hearing a man's voice cry out in agony" which prompted them to not enter the tunnel after sundown. Dunn asked Travers to come investigate after trying endlessly to reassure the workers that it was nothing but the wind.

Dunn and Travers went in the tunnel on September 8th at around 9:00 pm. Travers would never forget his experience there. As they listened in to the dead silence, they both indeed heard something that did sound like a man crying out in pain, but no one was in the tunnel with them. Travers being a former military officer had heard that sounds quite often during the Civil War. The worse was yet to come.

On October 17th, an explosion blew apart the water pumping station. Thirteen miners died when the debris filled the tunnel. A miner named Mallery was put into a bucket and lowered into the shaft to search for any survivors. He was brought back up a few minutes later nearly unconscious from the fumes. It was said he managed to tell the rescue team "no hope..."

The 538-ft shaft began filling with water without the pumping station. Some of the bodies of the construction crew surfaced. The rest were found more than a year later. Villagers began telling strange tells of vague shapes appearing near the water-filled pit. Workers claimed to see the missing workmen with shovels and picks appear briefly through mist and snow and disappear leaving no trace behind.

After the bodies of the missing workmen were found and given a proper burial, the bizarre appearances stop. However, the eerie moans did not. Dr. Clifford J. Owen accompanied by James R. McKinstrey came to the tunnel on the night of June 25. No one knows for sure as to the reason but some believe it was because of the spirits.

They traveled about two miles with dim lamps. While resting, the two men talked for a few minutes when they heard a strange mournful sound like someone was in pain. Then, they began to see a dim light traveling westerly. They thought it may just be a worker with a lantern walking in the tunnel but as the light grew closer it began to take shape into a headless man. The apparition moved close to them and then remain motionlessly. It hovered off to the east end and vanished. Owens, being a realist, couldn't deny what he and McKinstrey had witnessed.

Many more incidents similar to Owens and McKinstrey occurred associated with the tunnel before and after it was open for trains. To learn more of the ghostly tale of this tunnel go to: http://www.prairieghosts.com/hoosac.html.



*Taylor, Troy (2001). Ghosts of the Bloody Pit: Hauntings at Massachusetts's Hoosac Tunnel. Retrieved on November 27, 2005 from the Prairie Ghost website: http://www.prairieghosts.com.

Mythical Creatures (H-Z)

Harpy- winged female monster with sharp talens.
Hydra- many-headed water serpent.
Kraken- giant squid.
Minotaur- half man, half bull.
Mummy- dead, embalmed body.
Ogre- man-eating giant.
Pegasus- winged horse.
Phoenix- brilliant-plumed, large bird that sprang from ashes of fire set by previous phoenix.
Sea Serpent- umbrella term for many large sea monsters.
Sphinx- human head, lion's body.
Unicorn- animal generally depicted as having head and body of a horse, the hind legs of a stag, the tail of a lion, and having a long tapering horn growing from the middle of its forehead.
Vampire- undead, blood-sucking creature.
Werewolf- human that transform into a wolf at night.
Wraith- specter seen before death.
Yedi- creature usually described as a shaggy man-beast that is only ever briefly seen moving across snow swept landscapes.
Zombie- living dead.


*McLaughlin, Barb (2005). Mythical Creatures. Retrieved on November 15-16, 2005 from the Soul Quest Learning Center MSN group website: http://groups.msn.com/SoulQuestLearningCenter/welcome.msnw

Mythical Creatures (A-G)

Angel- A spiritual being who serves God.
Banshee- Female Irish fairy who wails to warn impending death.
Basilisk- King of the serpents.
Centaur- Half man, half horse.
Cyclops- Giant with a single eye in the middle of the forehead.
Demon- supernatural evil spirit.
Djinni (genie)- evil or good spirit that grants wishes.
Doppleganger- human double.
Dragon- large flying reptile, sometimes fire-breathing.
Elemental- a being composed of one of the fundamental elements.
Fae- umbrella term for other-worldly little people.
Gargoyle- hideous creatures carved on Gothic buildings as water spouts and to ward off evil spirits.
Ghost- disembodied spirit.
Ghoul- evil spirit that feeds on corpses.
Giant- humaniod creature of prodigious size and strength.
Gremlin- mechanically oriented mischievous creature.
Griffin- Lion's body, eagle's head, long ears and an eagle's claws.

More to come. Some of these creatures (those that I haven't already) will be described more in later posts.

Stories of Strength


I don't usually post anything about my writing career on this blog. I have a separate blog for that but this is important and for a good cause.

Stories of Strength is an anthology to help raise money for hurricane victims. Writers at Absolutewrite.com joined together for this special project. Disaster relief charities such as The Red Cross, Americares and Salvation Army will receive 100 percent of the proceeds. SoS was published at Lulu.com a POD (Publish on Demand) company. They also generously agreed to donate their profits from the project.

Sos was officially released on November 1st. After only 6 days, we have sold 241 books, raising $1,226.69 for charity! Our goal is to raise at least $100,000.

Headed by Jenna Glatzer, author of Celine Dion biography For Keeps, this project attracted contributions from many well-known writers, including award-winning science fiction novelist Orson Scott Card, famed actor Wil Wheaton (Star Trek, Stand By Me), and Christian romance author Robin Lee Hatcher. More than 100 pieces from writers all over the world were contributed as well as editors and graphic designers donated their time to this project. Much thanks to them all.

For buying information as well as info on how you can help go to: http://www.storiesofstrength.com/.

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History of Halloween

Halloween or All-Hallows Eve, as some may call it, started out as an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st which marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of winter. It was a time that was often associated with death. The Celts believed that on the night before New Year the boundary of the worlds between the living and the dead became blurred.

Therefore, on the night of October 31st, they celebrated Samhain, the day ghosts were believed to return to Earth to cause trouble and damage crops. The Celts also thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids and the Celtic priests to make predictions about the future. For those dependent on the violatile natural worlds, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To celebrate this event, the Druids built huge sacred bonfires to sacrifice crops and animals to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes made from animal skins and head and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

The Romans had conquered most of the Celtic territory by A.D. 43. Within 400 years, two Roman festivals were combined with the Celtic tradition of Samhain. One was called Feralia, a day that the Romans commemorated the passing of the dead. The other was a day to honor Pomona, Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Since the symbol for Pomona was apple, this explains why we practice the game of "bobbing" for apples on Halloween.

In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV declared November 1st All Saint's Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs. Many believed that the pope was trying to replace the Celtic festival with a related but church-sanctioned holiday known as All-Hallows or All-Hallowmas. The night before was celebrated as All-Hallows Eve and eventually, Halloween.

In A.D. 1000, the church made November 2nd All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

On that note, have a safe and happy Halloween!

*Ancient Origins. Retrived on October 31, 2005 from The History Channel website: http://www.historychannel.com.

Cheesman Park

Did you know that the movie Poltergeist was based on the history of a real cemetery? Located in Denver, Colorado, Cheesman Park was apart of a city government scandal. Buildings weren't built on the cemetery by mistake. How about I start from the beginning.

In 1858, William Lamier set aside 320 acres of land for a new cemetery named Mount Prospect. Sites on the crest of the hill were set aside for the wealthy, paupers and criminals were buried on the far sides and the average people were buried somewhere in the middle.

John Stoefel murdered his brother-in-law and was sentenced to hang from a cottonwood tree. Stoefel and his brother-in-law were buried in the same grave. More and more murder victims and those killed from accidents were buried in the lower parts of Mount Prospect. Nicknames like "Old Boneyard" or "Boot Hill" were soon given to the cemetery.

In 1873, the graveyard was re-named the City Cemetery. The lack of interest and care made the cemetery become an eyesore. Cattle were allowed to graze among the graves, tombstones had fallen over, and prairie dogs had burrowed into the hills. Affluent families started burying their families at the new Riverside and Fairlawn Cemeteries. The City Cemetery was left for the criminals, paupers, transients and other unclaimed bodies.

Meanwhile, ownership of the cemetery passed on to John J. Walley and he did little to improve it. With new homes and buildings being built nearby, the city government had to do something about it. The U.S. Government discovered an Indian treaty which made the United States Government the legitimate owners of the cemetery. They sold it to the City of Denver for $200 in 1890.

While Walley owned the cemetery, it was divided into three sections. The Catholic and Jewish sections were well-maintained while the city's had deteriorated. The Jewish churches removed their dead and leased it to the City Water Department while the Catholics purchased their land and kept it well maintained.

That following summer, the City Government announced that all interested parties had 90 days to move the dead elsewhere. Most were reburied but 5,000 were left unclaimed. In 1893, preparations were made to remove them. An undertaker named E. F. McGovern was awarded the contract. Each body would be dug up and placed in a 3 1/2 feet long and 1 foot wide box. McGovern would be paid $1.90 for each box that was delivered to Riverside.

In March, McGovern's men went to work. At first, the work was orderly and soon but it didn't take long for it to get careless. The bodies that wouldn't fit in the boxes were broken up and shoveled out of the coffins. Reporters and curiosity seekers stopped and watched them work. One elderly woman told them to say a little prayer for every body they dug up or they would return. Of course, they just laughed at her.

People who lived nearby reported seeing spectral manifestations in their homes and confused spirits knocking on their doors and windows at night. Low moaning sounds could be heard over the field of open graves... a sound that can still sometimes be heard today.

Local newspapers ran front page stories about the atrocities being committed at the cemetery and the overall corruptions at City Hall. There were discrepancies between the number of reburials being charged to the city and the number of boxes being delivered to Riverside. Because it had become a full-blown scandal, the project was brought to a halt. There was an investigation and some graves were left unfilled. The rest of the bodies were forgotten and still remain under the park grounds and gardens.

In 1907, the City Cemetery was turned into what is now known Cheesman Park (named after prominent Denver citizen Walter S. Cheesman). Two years later, a marble pavilion was constructed in his honor. The Catholic Churches portion was turned into Denver's Botanical Gardens and the Jewish section is now Congress Park.

Confused ghosts still wander the grounds. Misty figures and strange shadows are still occasionally seen there. Possibly they will always remain there, searching for peace.

More Info: http://www.prairieghosts.com/cheesman.html

*Taylor, Troy (2002). Rest in Peace? Colorado's haunted Cheesman Park. Retrieved on October 28, 2005 from the Prairie Ghosts website: http://www.prairieghosts.com.

Sloss Furnace

From 1882 to 1972, Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama transformed coal and ore into hard steel. From skyscrapers in New York to automobiles made in Detroit, Sloss Furnaces were relied on for providing materials to produce thousands of products.

In the early 1900s, James "Slag" Wormwood was the foreman of the graveyard shift where 150 workers toiled to keep the furnace fed. Only the poorest and most desperate men would take on the harsh conditions of working the graveyard shift during the summers. Wormwood would make the workers take dangerous risks in order to impress his supervisors. Forty-seven men lost their lives during his reign not counting the numerous accidents that left men unable to work. They weren't allowed breaks or holidays.

In 1906, James "Slag" Wormwood lost his footing at the top of Big Alice (the highest blast furnace) and fell into a pool of melted iron ore. He was killed instantly. It was reported that he became dizzy from the methane gas produced by the furnace and lost his balance. During his reign, he never once set foot on top of the furnace until that day. Many believed the workers pushed him into the furnace after growing tired of his slave driving, but no worker was convicted of it. Soon after, the graveyard shift was discontinued.

The legend of "Slag" grew each year with workers complaining that they frequently saw an "unnatural presence" in the work site. In 1926, a watchman was injured after being "pushed from behind" and told to "get back to work" by an unknown being. In 1947, three supervisors were found knocked out in a small boiler room unsure of what happened to them. They ALL claimed to have been approached by a man who was badly burned and told them to "get back to work." In 1971, Samual Blumenthal, a night watchman, said he came face-to-face with a half man/half demon who tried to push him up the stairs. Upon refusing, the monster began beating on him with their fists. After being examined, it was reported that Blumenthal had several intense burns. He died before returning to Sloss.

Hundreds of reports of paranormal activity have been recorded by the Birmingham Police. Some minor while others more of the physical nature. Majority of the reports took place at night during the months of September and October. Some think the paranormal occurrences are nothing but Halloween hoaxes. What do you think? Could James "Slag" Wormwood still be working the graveyard shift after all this time?



Source: Fright Furnace

History of Jack-o-Lanterns

How many of you knew that carving a Jack-o-Lantern at Halloween is an old Irish tradition? Those who didn't know that don't feel bad. Neither did I. If you didn't know that, then you probably didn't know that the original Jack-o-Lantern wasn't even a pumpkin. Ok so here is how the legend goes.

Hundreds of years ago in Ireland, there was a man named Stingy Jack who was a miserable, old drunk. He loved to play tricks on everyone including family, friends and even the Devil himself. One time, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree and once he was up there, Stingy Jack placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Since The Devil was unable to come down the tree, Jack made him promise not to take his soul when he died. Once the promise was made, Stingy Jack removed the crosses and let the Devil down.

Years later, Stingy Jack died and his soul went to the pearly gates. Unfortunately, Saint Peter denied him access to Heaven. Saint Peter told him that he was too mean and cruel and led a miserable worthless life on Earth. since he wasn't allowed in Heaven, he went down to Hell. Slthough, The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Stingy Jack asked The Devil how he could leave since there was no light. The Devil gave him a few embers from the flames of Hell which he placed in a hollow out Turnip to light his way. Since then, Stingy Jack roamed the Earth without a resting place and lighting "Jack-o-Lanterns" along the way.

Ever since then on all Hallow's Eve, the Irish hallowed out Turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, gourds and beets. They place a light in them to ward off Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. In the 1800s, a group of Irish immigrants came to America. They discovered that Pumpkins were much larger and easier to carve out. Thus, the reason why we carve Jack-o-Lanterns every year on all Hallow's Eve.

So, go pick out your pumpkins and get your carving knives ready. Get creative but don't forget to put them outside on Halloween. Wouldn't want Stingy Jack paying you a visit. ;)

For more information and maybe a few ideas for Halloween: http://www.pumpkinnook.com/facts/jack.htm

*Matthews, Bob (1998-2005). History of the Jack-o-Lantern. Retrieved on October 18th, 2005 from the Pumpkin Nook web site: http://www,pumpkinnook.com.

Automatic Writing

One link between the supernatural and writing is automatic writing. According to mediums throughout time, spirits are constantly trying to communicate with us. Automatic writing is writing allegedly directed by a spirit through a person's subconscious. Where did the concept "automatic writing" come from?

Automatic writing derived from the Spiritualist movement and made known by the Surrealists. Andre Breton, leader of the Surrealists, created the concept from Freud's theory of 'free association'. Freud developed this theory to uncover inaccessible memories. Breton believed automatic writing was the absence of critical intervention in writing. He also believed in a practice called Dedoublement where the mind and body separate. This concept would guarantee automatic writing is possible but it is only a theory. He went on to write a genuine automatic text called The Soluble Fish.

Mediums including Kate and Margarete Fox also helped develop automatic writing as a mainstream practice. After a séance involving a New York Supreme Court Judge named John Worth Edmonds, they gained public support from him. Helene Smith was said to have invented a Martian alphabet which she would translate to French. A famous American medium, Leonora Piper, felt her uncanny abilities came from a personality. Her medium abilities were considered the most authentic.

Spirits, of course, don't have a preference as to who they communicated with. Pearl Curran was an uneducated housewife from St. Louis who collaborated with a spirit named Patience Worth. Together they produced poems, books and plays. In England, Rosemary Brown, a widow with two children, composed musical compositions with a spirit named Franz Liszt. He introduced her to many famous composers including Bach, Chopin, and Mozart which led to more than 400 public performances.

Although automatic writing is more associated with the supernatural, it is also a technique used for writers block. For those who have ever suffered writers block, know how frustrating it can be. William Butler Yeats wife Georgie Hyde-Lee displayed her automatic writing techniques on their honeymoon. They combined their talents and wrote a book in 1925 entitled A Vision. A book about marriage therapy spiced with Occultism. Paul Bowles used automatic writing to find his way back to the written word after leaving it to pursue his taste in music. Want to try it for yourself?

This is the best method for a supernatural response: Find a nice quiet spot at a desk or table. Clear your mind completely. Touch your pen or pencil to paper and try not to write anything. Distract yourself by watching television or reading a book. Avoid looking at the paper as much as possible. Wait at least fifteen minutes to an hour before looking at the paper. Then, try to decipher what you have written. It may look like only scribble, but try finding words and letters or maybe pictures. You may even see messages from an unknown origin. I also caution you that some messages may be a bit disturbing. Don't attempt this if you're not prepared of the possible psychological dangers.

If you want an inspiration fix, this is the technique you should use: Sit at a table with a pen and some paper. Then, put yourself in a 'receptive' state of mind and start writing. Continue writing without concentrating on what your pen is producing and write as fast as you can. If you stop, leave a space and begin again by writing down the first letter of the next sentence. Choose a random letter and always use it for new sentences. Use this technique for as long as you feel is needed.

There are no guarantees that automatic writing will work for you. If you try it, your first couple of attempts may not be successful. Keep trying until something happens, or you get tired of it.

Skeptics believe automatic writing is nothing more than a parlor game to play at parties. They claim that those performing the writing influences their actions. The messages are coming only from the minds of the person holding the pencil. This is referred to as the ideomotor effect. Just the idea that it's possible to communicate with the dead is enough to make some people want to pursue it.

Supernatural

Supernatural is one of the WBs new shows premiering this Fall. The first episode aired on September 13th after the Gilmore Girls season premiere. After two episodes, Supernatural has proven to be an interesting show.

Supernatural is a show about two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who lost their mother to some unknown entity when they were young. Since then, the brothers and their father searched for the thing that killed her until Sam decided to leave his ghost hunting life to go to college. As he was preparing to enter law school, Dean shows up unexpectedly with bad news that their father had disappear.

Despite a big interview concerning his future in law, Sam travels with his brother to a small town in California where their father supposedly disappeared at. During their investigation, they discover the town's paranormal secret. The ghost of a young woman who is said to be a woman in white is seen walking next to a road waiting for some unexpected guy to offer her a ride which turns out to be a deadly decision.

After "helping" the woman move on, Dean drove Sam back to his and his girlfriend Jessica's apartment and then, with his father's journal and a set of coordinates began going to the next stop. Meanwhile, Sam enters the apartment and lays on the bed thinking Jessica was in the shower. He soon found out that her life was to end much like his mother. This prompted Sam to continue searching for his father with Dean.

The special effects on this show are quite good a long with the storyline. I hope the rest of the first season is just as good.

The Exorcist-Part II

The exorcism began in the home of Robbie's relatives in St. Louis. After he went to bed, the priests began the ritual. He went into a trance. The bed shook. Welts and scratches appeared on his body. Over the next two hours, Robbie was branded and scratched over 30 times on various places of his body. Words such as "Spite" and "Hell" appeared often on the boy during the ritual. Robbie cursed and screamed in different tones from bass to falsetto. The ritual ended at dawn but they were far from being finished.

The ordeal continued for weeks. As time went on, the boy's responses became more violent. He spoke in Latin and different voices. He spit and vomited on the priest sometimes from great distances and with great accuracy. He slapped and punched the priests and witnesses. It is said that he belched and urinated constantly. It's also said that he taunted the priests with information about themselves that he couldn't possibly know. Though each morning, Robbie seemed quite normal with no memory of the nights events.

They continued reciting prayers each day though it seemed pretty useless. The next step was to ask for permission to instruct Robbie in the Catholic faith. They felt the conversion would help strengthen their fight. His parents consented to the conversion. He was transported to the rectory during the time of instruction. He was quiet and excited about learning the Catholic faith, but at his communion, he had to dragged into the church. The priests had never seen him that they remembered, in such a rage before.

On the night of April 18th, Father Bowdern put a chain of religious medals on him and a crucifix in his hand. After coming to an impasse, they had to go in a new direction. At first, Robbie was calm and asked questions about the Catholic faith but when Father Bowdern wouldn't comply, he went into a rage. Witnesses held him down as he continued to scream out "fallen angel." Bowdern continued with the ritual until Robbie identified in a deep male voice that he was "St. Michael the Archangel" ordering the demon to depart. Robbie went into contortions and spasms. Then fell quiet. He sat up and said "he's gone" in a normal voice. Then proceeded to tell Father Bowdern about a vision of "St. Michael." The exorcism was over.

Twelve days later, Robbie left St. Louis with his parents and returned to Maryland. In May of 1949, he wrote Bowdern telling him how happy he was and about his new dog. He only has dim recollections of what happened. Last reports suggest that he may still live in Maryland, a devoted Catholic and family man.

Since then, most of the buildings directly involved in the exorcism are now gone. The hospital room that Robbie occupied during the ordeal was sealed off. Later on the whole section in the hospital was closed. Many hospital workers believed something lingered behind after the exorcism. Some say the lights never would stay on and the heat didn't work properly. Sometimes foul odors would drift from beneath the room. In 1978, the wing was razed with difficulty. When the floor was taken off, members of the demolition crew claim they had difficulty controlling the wrecking ball. They also broke into the "exorcism room" when they were removing furniture that could be resold. They found it to be untouched since being sealed in 1949. A copy of the exorcism diary was found in the desk. But the strangest thing was that some crew members claim to have seen something emerge from the room moments before the wrecking ball destroyed it. They dismissed it as only being a cat or a big rat.

The case remains unsolved.

More info: http://www.prairieghosts.com/exorcist.html or see the TLC special Exorcists: The True Story


*Taylor, Troy (2002). The St. Louis Exorcism Case: The Story that became The Exorcist! Retrieved on September 4, 2005 from the Prairie Ghost website: http://www.prairieghosts.com.

The Exorcist- Part I

I know many of you may have seen the 1970s movie The Exorcist but how many of you know the true story behind the movie? The subject of the real story is not a girl but actually a 13 yr old boy who I'll call "Robbie Doe." He grew up in Cottage City having a troubled childhood and dysfunctional family.

In 1949, Robbie Doe's parents began noticing strange occurrences. They would constantly hear scratching in the walls and on the ceiling. Dismissing it as being just mice, they contacted an exterminator but he found none. Instead, he made things worse. Things started to move around on their own and sounds of people walking down the hallway could be heard.

The most frightening occurrences happened to Robbie Doe. His bed would shake violently. His sheets were torn and sometimes pulled off his bed. He was even pulled from the bed to the floor with them gripped in his hands. The strange events progressed to witnessed attacks on Robbie Doe.

The Jesuit priests who later went on to perform the exorcism documented many of the early events in a diary. The diary was created to help with future exorcisms. It contain details of the exorcism involving Robbie Doe.

Out of desperation, the boy's parents agreed to allow him to spend a night with Rev. Luther Schulze, a Lutheran minister. After spending time and praying with Robbie, he wasn't sure if the boy was haunted or the house. Mrs. Schulze slept in the guest room while Robbie and Rev. Schulze slept in the twin beds in the master bedroom. After ten minutes, Schulze started to hear Robbie's bed shaking as well as the same scratching noises. He quickly turned on the lights and saw his bed vibrating violently. His prayers caused it shake even more. Robbie was wide awake and completely still.

Schulze then asked the boy to sleep in the armchair. After sitting across the room, the chair began to move. It moved backwards and then jolted back and forth. Moments later, it slammed against the wall tipping over and depositing the unhurt boy to the floor. In a last attempt, Schulze made a small pallet on the floor and asked Robbie to sleep on it. As soon as the boy fell asleep, the blanket began to move. It slid across the room to right under the bed. After being startled awake, Schulze made the pallet again. The blanket slid under the other bed, Robbie's arms and legs were visible at all times and were taut with tension. The blanket never wrinkled at anytime!

Robbie Doe was hospitalized for medical and psychological evaluations. This during the time we allegedly exorcised. His mother decided to take him away from Maryland to St. Louis on vacation. She felt it would do him some good and the entity thought so too because the word "Louis" would unexplainably appear on the boys rib cage. Of course, after going to St. Louis, the weird occurrences didn't stop.

To Be continued...


*Taylor, Troy (2002). The St. Louis Exorcism Case: The story that became The Exorcist! Retrieved on August 29, 2005 from the Prairie Ghost website: http://www.prairieghosts.com.

Fort Mifflin

In 1777, George Washington's Colonial army was defeated at Brandywine by British forces. Led by General William Howe, 20,000 British troops moved into Philadelphia. He needed supplies that were on 200 British ships at the mouth of the Delaware River. Howe had to get his ships up the river before it froze in order to pursue Washington. What he didn't know was that there was a small contingent of troops in an unfinished British fort called Ft. Mifflin. Their objective was to delay the British ships.

The siege of Ft. Mifflin began in November of 1777. The British took over the fort after about a week. Before and during the battle, Washington arrived at Valley Forge and out of reach from British troops. The river began to freeze and Howe didn't get his supplies.

Fort Mifflin was used during the Civil War and the Korean War as a prison. It was closed in the 1960s and is now open for tours. Most of its' haunted past deals with the Civil War but there are other spirits that have been residents of the fort for much longer. A few hot spots include: The Officer's Quarters (the place where the Screaming Woman can be heard), Casemate 5 (location of the faceless man who is thought to be Billy Howe, the only man ever hung at the prison), and The blacksmith shop (Jacob the blacksmith always wanted the back door to be open and even after death, continues to open it).

More info: http://theshadowlands.net/famous/mifflin.htm

*Juliano, Dave (August 01, 2005). Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, PA. Retrieved on August 13, 2005 on the Shadowlands website: http://theshadowlands.net.

Echo

Here is a story straight out of Roman mythology.

Echo was a beautiful nymph and Diana's favorite but like some women she talked way too much. One day Juno was looking for her husband and Echo distracted her while the nymphs got away. When Juno discovered what Echo was doing, she said, "You shall forfeit the use of that tongue with which you have cheated me, except for that one purpose you are so fond of -- talking back. You shall still have the last word but no power to speak first."

Echo spotted a beautiful youth, Narcissus, one day running through the mountains and decided to follow him. She desperately wanted to talk to him but waited for him to speak first. After being separated from his companions, Narcissus one day asked, "Who's here?"

Echo replied, "Here."

After looking around and seeing no one, he called out, "Come."

"Come," she replied.

He then replied, "Let us join one another." Echo said the same words and ran to him. She threw her arms around him but he backed away saying, "I would rather die than you should have me!" In vain, she said, "Have me." He left her and she ran into the woods to hide her embarrassment.

Since then she lived in caves and among mountain cliffs. She faded away from grief until she completely disappeared. The only thing that was left of her was her voice. Ever since then she still replies to anyone who calls to her. Echo still has the last word.

To read more about Echo and Narcissus: http://www.mythology.com/echonarcissus.html


*Norder, Dan (2005). Echo and Narcissus. Retrieved on August 5, 2005 from the MythologyWeb website: http://www.mythology.com.

Update

I'm not sure if any of you have noticed but I recently transferred all the posts from my old AOL blog over to this one. For those who didn't read my old one, I welcome you to read some of the old posts. Some older entry topics are The Jersey Devil, The Bunnyman Bridge, Myrtles Plantation, The Bell Witch, Waverly Hills Sanitarium, etc. Just click on any month under the archives section and enjoy!

Chupacabra

This animal, also known as "the goat sucker", is well known in Mexico and Puerto Rico. It got its name when some goats turned up dead with puncture wounds in their necks and totally drained of their blood. But what is it exactly?

There's no one answer to that question. From the thousands of eyewitnesses, several so called "descriptions" of the creature have been noted. Some say its half alien, half dinosaur. Others describe it has a panther with a snake-like tongue. It's even been linked to aliens. Of course, when aliens involved, theories of a mass government conspiracy aren't far behind.

The attacks began around 1995 and have claimed around 2,000 animal deaths. Authorities in Puerto Rico claim that it doesn't even exist. They explain the attackers to just be stray dogs or other animals. They go on to say that the "Chupacabra cases" show nothing unusual to suggest such an animal exists.

Is it possible that this creature does exist? Sure, anything is possible. The chupacabra could just be another link in the chain we call the Circle of Life. Until more compelling evidence comes forth, el chupacabra will remain another mystery of life.

More info: http://skepdic.com/chupa.html


*Carroll, Robert Todd (2005). Chupacabra. Retrieved on July 26, 2005 from the Skeptic's Dictionary website: http://skepdic.com.

Ball Lightning

Ever heard of the phenomena called Ball lightning? Most people haven't. Matter of fact, the first time I heard about ball lightning was on a National Geographic special about Spontaneous Human Combustion. But what is it exactly? There is a Japanese legend that calls it hiro dama or just odama which refers to the soul of a great samurai who took the form of a ball of fire. Its physical form is a sphere around a centimeter to a meter in a diameter. It doesn't appear in any one color. What makes it so confusing is that it defies the law of nature. Ball lightning usually appears during a thunderstorm but it's no stranger to broad daylight.

Some facts about ball lightning are that it has been know to pass through and/or melt walls, cool to the touch, lasts about five seconds up to a minute, can be made in the microwave (but is VERY dangerous. So please do NOT attempt to try it at home), explodes violently, etc.

There are many theories as to explain what ball lightning is. Some believe its linked to UFOs. Another one is that it's just a puff of flammable gas that ignites (this one has been disproven). The most recent theory is that ball lightning is a plasmoid. Another known plasmoid is the tornado. It is said that the two are forms of the same phenomenon. Of course, this theory raises more questions than answers.

The numerous eyewitness accounts (including respectable scientists and researchers) of this phenomenon proves its existence. Though there may never be an explanation of what ball lightning really is. For now, it remains an unexplained mystery.

More info: http://www.crystalinks.com/lightballs.html


*Crystal, Ellie (1995-2005) Ball Lightning. Retrieved on July 14, 2005 from the Crystalinks Metaphysical and Science website: www.crystalinks.com.

EVPs

EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena. It is also called Raudive Voices after Konstantine Raudive who recorded over 100,000 voices. The most common profession that EVP is associated with is ghost hunting. Some paranormal researchers believe that voices of spirits can be recorded and played back on magnetic audio tape. There are skeptics that believe the sound really isn't the dead talking but actually, CB or radio transmissions. The words or sentence that you think you hear on the tape is only in your mind or what someone has you convinced is what is being said. But what is the history behind EVPs?

One afternoon in 1959, artist Fredrich Jurgenson was recording bird sounds in the Sweedish countryside. When he played it back, he could distinctly hear a man talking about birds in Norweigan. He heard nothing while recording the birds but heard many voices when playing it back. He spread the word about the phenomenon in his book. But it was first discovered by researcher writer Raymond Bayless and photographer-sensitive Attila Von Szalay in 1956.

Since then, many organizations have been created dedicated to Electronic Voice Phenomenon including The Association for Voice Taping Research established in the 1970s in Germany and American Association Electronic Voice Phenomenon established in 1982.

The Shadowlands website (http://theshadowlands.net/ghostwav.htm) has a list of EVPs. See if you hear the word(s) indicated on the right.

More info: http://www.ufopsi.com/psidc/evp.html


* Pamina@theshadowlands.net, (2005) History of Electronic Voice Phenomenon. Retrieved July 7, 2005 from The Shadowlands website: www.theshadowlands.net.
* Blake, Elizabeth (May 4, 2005). Electronic Voice Phenomenon, Retrieved July 7, 2005 from the Ufopsi website: www.ufopsi.com.

Superstitions

Superstitions have been a big part of our lives for generations. Whether or not you believe in them, they have affected our lives. A groom carrying his bride over the threshold. Covering your mouth when you yawn. Saying "God Bless You" when someone sneezes. There are numerous amount of superstitions, some more unusual than others. Here are just a few:


1) Nails should be bitten, not cut, for the same time, for that would make them thieves.
2) If you go to the bathroom in the night with no clothes on, insects will fall on you
3) An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.
4) If you want to see a friend again, then don't ever say goodbye to them on a bridge.
5) If soot bums in a ring at the back of the grate, pleasure and happiness are on their way to you.
6) Malice and envy are to be feared when sparks jump out of the fire.
7) To put on your stockings or socks inside out is an omen that you will shortly receive a present. If your stocking comes down, your lover is thinking of you.
8) If thirteen people sit down to dine, the last to rise will meet with ill fortune.
9) To wash in water, which has been previously used by someone else means that you will quarrel with him, unless you clasp your hands together over the water when you have finished.
10) Never pour water into a tumbler which already holds some, for it is an invitation to evil spirits to visit you.
11) Watching someone else yawn makes you to yawn.
12) An itchy nose means your going to have a quarrel with someone.
13) Spit on your hands for strength. This originated from seeing animals lick their wounds, making people think saliva had some magical healing power.
14) To get rid of a cough, take a hair from the coughing persons head, put it in between two slices of buttered bread, feed it to the dog, and say - eat well you hound. May you be sick and I be sound.
15) To prevent an unwelcome guest from returning, sweep out the room they stayed in immediately
16) If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.
17) Evil spirits can't harm you when you stand inside a circle.
18) If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family.
19) Clover protects human beings and animals from the spell of magicians and the wiles of fairies, and brings good luck to those who keep it in the house.
20) If you bite your tongue while eating, it is because you have recently told a lie.
21) All wishes on shooting stars come true.
22) A spider is a repellent against plague when worn around the neck in a walnut shell.
23) You sleep best with your head to the north and your feet to the south.
24) If you sing before seven, you will cry before eleven.
25) Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house.
26) A wish will come true if you make it while burning onions.
27) An onion cut in half and placed under the bed of a sick person will draw off fever and poisons.
28) If your nose itches, someone is coming to see you. If it's the right nostril, the visitor will be a female, left nostril, male.
29) A white moth inside the house or trying to enter the house means death.
30) Mistletoe in the house protects it from thunder and lightning.
31) People would say that spirits could not walk upon a path, so after dark don't leave the path/road.
32) Don't step on sidewalk cracks. "Step on a crack break your mothers back" people say.
33) It is considered bad luck to pass a black cat after 9pm
34) f your feet itch it means that you will be walking on new grounds.
35) If you wash your face in the dew on the morning of the first of May, and you will either see faeries or see your future spouse.

There are many, many more. Some have a history behind them. If anyone wants me to maybe do a little research on one particular, post a comment and let me know. I'll do my best to find whatever information I can.

To view more superstitions go to: http://www.oldsuperstitions.com


*Eric (2005) General Superstitions. Retrieved on June 30, 2005 from the Old Superstition website: www.oldsuperstitons.com

Truth about "Bloody Mary"

Ever heard of a game played at parties where you stand in front of a candlelit mirror while saying a name thirteen times in hopes of summoning a vengeful spirit? This game is played mostly at sleepovers with squealing girls but boys have been known to call upon her also. There are many variations of this game including total darkness instead of lit candles or instead of saying "Bloody Mary" you say "Hell Mary." But what is the history behind the game? How did it start? Above all, who is "Bloody Mary"?

Some say Mary was a witch that was executed about a hundred years ago for practicing black magic. She has also been confused with Mary I of England who was nicknamed "Bloody Mary" because of the number of Protestants she had put to death during her reign. Mary, Queen of Scots was also said to have been "Bloody Mary" but this Mary wasn't known for murdering her subjects although it said she had a hand in her husbands death. Of course, the question of 'who is "Bloody Mary"' is still left unanswered.

There are reports of this ritual being done all the way back to the 1970s. It has even been seen in movies such as The Candyman and The X-Files. It's possibly that these games were actual old time rituals concerning unmarried women and future husbands. It usually consists of standing in a darkened room chanting a rhyme on a special night and an image appears in the mirror. Some believe that mirrors are portals between this world and the spirit realm. It was common practice to cover mirrors when someone passed away. If a ghost of a dearly departed caught a glimpse of its reflection, their spirit would be trapped in the mirror.

So many questions with various or no answers at all. We may never know if "Bloody Mary" ever existed. It's possible that this is just a game invented by children to play at parties or possibly just a prank to scare someone. Do you dare to test your luck in front of the mirror?

More info: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/bloody.htm


*Mikkelson, Barbara and David P. (April 27, 2001). Bloody Mary. Retrieved: June 25, 2005 from the Snopes websited located at: www.snopes.com.

New Add Ons

If you noticed, there are some new features to my blog. On a few of them, it gives you the opportunity to vote for my blog. Please do so if you enjoy what you see. Thanks!

The Handprint

Alexander Campbell was a hotel owner and a liquor distributor. He was said to be an Irishman who made good on his word. Prosecutors suspected that Campbell was the backbone of the murder plot. He proclaimed his innocence throughout his entire trial.

Alexander Campbell was falsely accused of killing a local mine boss during a bid by the Irish miners to organize labor unions. In 1877, Campbell was convicted first degree murder in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. He was sentenced to death. When it came time to take him to the gallows where he would be hanged, he struggled to get free long enough to place his hand on the wall and declare it would remain there forever as a reminder of the injustice that took his life.

For years, sheriffs in Carbon County have painted the wall numerous times but the hand print ALWAYS reappears. On one occasion the entire wall was replaced but yet again the hand print reappeared in cell #17. Sheriff Charles Neast tried to cover over it thirty years later with green latex paint but it became clearly visible.

"There is proof of my words. That mark of mine will NEVER be wiped out. It will remain forever to shame the county for hanging an innocent man." - Alexander Campbell, June 21, 1877

Picture of Hand print: http://www.thecobrasnose.com/xxghost/handprint.html

More Info: http://www.visitjimthorpe.com/new/history.htm#handprint

Pandora's Box

According to Greek mythology, Epimetheus, the first man on earth, was given dominion over the earth and its creatures. In return, He praised Zeus but after a while it became boring to Zeus. He decided to create a mate for Epimetheus. Zeus gathered all the gods together and told them of his idea. From water and earth, Pandora was created. The gods gave her many talents including beauty and music.

When Epimetheus found the gift, he was delighted. He made sure to take special care of Pandora. Soon after, Zeus became bored once again. So he called Hades, god of the underworld, to him and asked him to go to dark places and gather sprites such as hunger, disease, sorrow, etc. Then, Zeus requested that he put them all in a box.

One morning, Epimetheus and Pandora were sitting under an olive tree eating when they noticed a stranger carrying a heavy box. As generous as they were, they offered to help carry the box for the traveler. He agreed. They carried the box as they led the stranger over to the olive tree. After placing the box down gently, Pandora went to fetch the stranger some water. The man accepted the water and asked if he could leave his chest with them while he finished his journey.

Epimetheus told the stranger that he could and that it would be safe with them. The stranger warned them that if they opened the box there could be severe consequences. They both nodded but Pandora couldn't take her eyes off the decorative box. When the traveler left on his journey, he suddenly vanished and Epimetheus knew it was one of the gods.

Soon, Athena's seeds of curiosity were starting to get the best of Pandora. She would spend hours admiring the carvings on the box. She could not read but knew there were words written in gold on top of it. One day when Epimetheus was away, Pandora put her ear to the box to see if she could hear anything. In a faint voice, she heard someone asking for help and wanting her to let them out of the box. After great hesitation, Pandora decided to open the box just a little so she could peek at who was inside. She began to lift the lid realizing how light it was. The creatures inside flew out and surrounded her. She tried to close the box but they tortured her by biting and stinging her. After a while, they went in search of Epimetheus. Pandora couldn't believe what she had done.

She cried as she heard Epimetheus scream from the pain. Suddenly, she heard another voice from the box asking her to release them. After what had just happened, Pandora was very reluctant to do so. But the voice assured her that it wasn't like the others. So, Pandora opened the box once more. A beautiful sprite emerged and began to fly in circles around her healing her wounds. Then it flew to Epimetheus to do the same. Pandora realized that the creature must have been called Hope. After a while, the sprite flew back and rested on Pandora's shoulder. It painlessly drifted into her flesh and found residence in her heart. She then realized that she had been given a gift not to cure pain but to make it easier.

I'm sure there are variations to this story. This is just one of them.


More Info: http://www.pantheon.org/areas/folklore/folktales/articles/pandora.html


*Hoffman, Robert (2005) Pandora's Box. Retrieved May 26, 2005 from the Encyclopedia Mythica web site: http://www.pantheon.org

Salem Witch Trials of 1692

We have all heard of the Salem Witch Trials from history class and/or other sources. What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word "witch?" You automatically assume that it's a female. But how many of you knew that men were also prosecuted as witches during those long four months in 1692? Nineteen men and women were convicted of witchcraft and sentence to hang at Gallows Hill. One man was pressed together under stones for refusing to go to trial. Hundreds of other men and women were accused of witchcraft while dozens were kept in jail without a trial. So here's the question. How did it all start?

In 1688, John Putnam, an elder of Salem Village, invited Samuel Parris, a planter and merchant in Barbados, to preach in the Village church and later on accepting the offer to be Village minister. He moved his wife Elizabeth, their daughter Betty, his niece Abagail Williams and their Indian slave Tituba to Salem Village. During February of 1692, young Betty Parris suddenly became ill. She complained of fever, contorted in pain, dove under furniture and dashed about. Her symptoms could have been a combination of things such as stress, asthma, epilepsy, etc. Cotton Mather had recently published a book called Memorable Provendences that described the witchcraft of an Irish washerwoman and Betty's symptoms was very similar to hers.

Talks of witchcraft increased when some of Betty's playmates started having the same symptoms. When William Griggs, a doctor, was called to examine the girls, he suggested that their problems were more supernatural than physical which the widespread belief made it seem like his diagnoses was very likely true.

Mary Sibley, a neighbor, told Tituba to make a rye cake with the urine of an afflicted child and feed it to a dog (It was said that dogs performed devilish tasks for witches). This was to be like a counter spell. By that time, Tituba had already been suspected of witchcraft and the urine cakes fueled the suspicions. She was later arrested a long with two other women, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn.

Meanwhile, the number of afflicted girls rose to seven. They went from a group of friends to juvenile delinquents. They began to complain about being pinched and bitten, they would fall over into frozen positions, contort in grotesque poses. With this affliction and beliefs of the devil being close at hand, the situation soon became an obsession among Salem Village.

After Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn were arrested, they were examined. At first, Tituba denied being a witch, but later on she admitted being approached by a tall guy in Boston (who appeared as a dog or a hog at times) and was forced to sign his book and do his work. She also said that her and four other women flew through the air on poles as well as other things. With Tituba's confession, the witch hunts and trials began.

More Info: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/SAL_ACCT.HTM

Disney's Haunted Mansion

The name of the ride really fits for this attraction. Disney's Haunted Mansion started out as an original idea by Walt Disney himself. Sadly it wasn't finished before he died in 1966 and construction was put on hold. However, by 1969 the construction was finally finished and was opened to the public. Originally, Walt Disney planned for this ride to set in a New England style house and you were to follow through story until the climatic graveyard scene. But when it opened, it was changed to a New Orlean's style house and visitors rode in a "Doombuggy," and it retained the graveyard scene.

Disney's Haunted Mansion shelters many ghosts. One is said to be a 1940s pilot that crashed in a lake near where the park was to be built. He is known by employees as "the man with a cane." Another ghost that has been often seen, no one really knows who he is. A park employee spotted the shadowy gentleman one day will operating the ride. He was wearing a tuxedo. After seeing him in the mirror only and "supposedly" felt his cold touch on her shoulder, the employee ran out of the Haunted Mansion and quit her job.

There are also stories of a woman who scattered her son's ashes, after being told not to by park officials, in the Haunted Mansion. It is said that it was her dying son's wishes but some people think otherwise. The little boy has been spotted in the Haunted Mansion crying. Despite many stories, only one person has actually died in the Haunted Mansion. A teenage boy died after falling fifteen feet and breaking his neck. He decided that he wanted a closer look at the séance room and got out of the "Doombuggy" but what he didn't realize was the gap between the track and the display.

Next time you take a trip to Disneyland make a quick stop by Disney's Haunted Mansion. You may actually get to see more than you bargained for.


More info: http://theshadowlands.net/famous/disneylandHM.htm


* catmz@theshadowlands.net (2005) The REAL Ghosts in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Retrived April 22, 2005 from The Shadowlands: Ghosts and Hauntings website: http://theshadowlands.net

Doppelgangers

To some this name may sound a little familiar. It's the title of a Drew Barrymore film made in 1993. But actually they are creatures of myth or should I say something out of a Doublemint commercial. Doppelgangers have been known to be a person's exact double much like a twin. What makes these creatures rare is that they are more apparitions that actual humans. So here's the question. Do you think that a person really can be in two places at once?

According to some, if you have a doppelganger than the answer to that question would be yes. Let's dig a little deeper into what Doppelgangers really are. The word "Doppelganger" is actually German for "double walker." They are shadowy figures of yourself that is said to accompany you. Some people say that they are a sign of death. Usually, only the person who possesses a doppelganger can see it but on occasion, it can appear before your friends and/or family, talking and acting as if they were really you. Thus, causing major confusion.

There have been many stories through out history where doppelgangers have appeared before famous people including John Donne, Queen Elizabeth I, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Guy de Maupassant, etc. One of the most interesting accounts of doppelganger is told by American writer Robert Dale Owen. It was about a 32-yr-old French woman named Emilie Sagée. Sagée was a French teacher at an all girls school near Wolmar in what is now called Latvia. There were many accounts of when her doppelganger appeared in front of the students. Once was when she was writing something on the blackboard. Her doppelganger appeared right next to her copying her every move. Another time was when she was out in the garden. All the students were gathered in the student hall for sewing lessons when her doppelganger appeared sitting in the teacher's chair motionless. Emilie Sagée claimed to have never seen her doppelganger but did say she felt weak everytime it was said to appear somewhere.

Maybe we really do have a twin somewhere out there. And if we really want to be in two places at once, we can make it happen. Despite all the eyewitness accounts of doppelgangers, do you really think they are real?


More information on Doppelgangers: http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa111102a.htm


*Wagner, Stephen (2005). DoppelGanger! Retrived April 15, 2005, from the About website: http://www.about.com

The Amityville Murders: Fact or Fiction

With the upcoming release of The Amityville Horrors, the story is fresh on everyone's minds. But is the story really true? Some experts don't believe the infamous house is haunted. The overall appearance of the house is creepy enough. How about you judge for yourself.

On November 13, 1974, Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family, his mother and father and four brothers and sisters. All were shot execution style. After he murdered them, Butch ran to a nearby tavern and claimed someone had shot his mother and father. Six men, including Butch's best friend Bobby, came to his aid and rushed over to the house. They searched the house and found the six dead bodies and called 9-1-1. Later on December 4, 1974 Butch DeFeo was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murders. Even though he was the only one convicted of the murders, many believed he wasn't the sole gunman. New evidence determined that theory was true. At one point in the trial, DeFeo actually claimed to hear voices in the Amityville house to win over an insanity defense, but that soon backfired on him.

After 13 months, the Lutz family moved into the DeFeo house. A priest blessed the house the same day they were moving in. As he was doing his ritual on the second floor, he claims he heard a distinct male voice telling him to "Get out!" The priest later told the family not to use that room, John and Marc DeFeo's, as a bedroom. They took his advice and turned it into a sewing room. Since the day they moved into the house, Kathy and George Lutz claimed a lot of strange incidents occurred during their 28 day stay. Things such as mysterious odors, attitude changes, black stains in toilets, being touched, constant chills, and many others. The situation got so worse that one night the Lutz family packed a few of their belongings and left.

Of course this story is from a book by Jay Anson. It is said that George Lutz and William Weber, DeFeo's defense attorney, concocted this hoax, which Weber confirmed later on in an article published in People's magazine. Lutz, on the other hand, still claims it is all true.

More Info on the Amityville Murders and Ric Osuna's book The Night the DeFeo's Died: http://www.amityvillemurders.com/


*Berry-Dee, Christopher & Morris, Steve (2005). A Reader's Submission - The DeFeo Murders, debated Retrieved April 7, 2005, from New Criminologist online edition: http://www.newcriminologist.co.uk/home.asp
*Taylor, Troy (2001). Amityville:Horror or Hoax? Retrived April 7, 2005, from Ghosts from the Prairie: http://www.prairieghosts.com/

Welcome

Welcome to my new blog!

The Brady Theater

The Brady Theater is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is named after "Tate Brady" who at the time was the affluent oil baron. Even though it is named after "Tate Brady" the real owner is Mr. Peter Mayo. Mayo renamed the theater to reflect the district which was also named after "Tate Brady." The Brady Theater was the largest theater west of the Mississippi River. It hosted some of the most famous actors of its time including the one that is said to haunt it til this day, the famous Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso.

According to the legend, Enrico Caruso went to see an oil well in Sapulpa accompanied by two other cars. The day had been wet and rainy and all three cars ended up breaking down. Caruso had to walk 1/2 mile to the Brady Theater for his sold-out concert. Enrico Caruso died about 9 months later from abscesses on his lungs do to pleurisy in 1921. It is said that Caruso haunts the Brady in retribution of his illness from walking in the wet Tulsa weather. His manager also blamed the weather for Caruso's demise.

The Brady Theater also played an important part in the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. The area of the town called the "Black Wall" was known for its affluent black people and its poor white people which is said to be what caused the riots in the first place. The Brady was said to be a safe haven for blacks from the wrath of the riots but instead, it was the place where many black people were tortured and killed. Black people claimed that men were tortured, burned and buried alive in the basement of the Brady and of course, the white men denied everything. Later, pictures surfaced of black people being forced into the theater by gun point with their arms raised high into the air. During the riots, much of downtown Tulsa was burned to the ground. Only The Brady Theater and the Cain's Ballroom were spared, supposedly because they were owned by white men.

More info: http://www.bradytheater.com/

Leap Castle

The O'Carrolls of Ely once was the principal seat of the Original Tower House of Leap Castle. It once stood near the Slieve Bloom Mountains. In 1553, family rivalry broke out when The Chief of the Clan passed away. The Bloody Chapel is where "One-eyed Tadhg O'Carroll" killed his brother who was a priest. He was holding mass at the altar at the time of his death. A hidden room with a drop door was found near this chamber. Prisoners were hurled into this spiked oubliette and forgotten. The last use of the murder hole was in the seventeenth century. In 1599, Charles O' Carroll hired a force of MacMahons of Monaghan as mercenaries against the Earl of Tyrone. When their work was finished he got them drunk and had them all massacred in their sleep.

In 1695, Jonathan Darby married Charles O'Carroll's daughter therefore acquiring Leap Castle. It is said that he hid vast amounts of treasure on the grounds but after serving many years in prison for treason, he forgot where he hid them. They have yet to be recovered to this day. Leap Castle was said to be haunted even when the Darby family lived in it. A woman in a red gown clutching a radiant dagger was said to be seen by overnight guests. A foul smelling, elemental half human half beast that haunts the stairway overlooking the Hangman's Field encountered Mildred Darby. Until 1922 when it was burned, looted and plundered during the War of Independence, the Darby's remained in Leap Castle.

More Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_Castle

The Jersey Devil

There are various versions of the story about the Jersey Devil. One was that Mrs. Shrouds of Leeds Point, New Jersey made a wish that if she ever had another child, she want it to be a devil and he was born misshapen and deformed. She sheltered him until one day his arms turned into wings and he flew away. Another was that a young woman fell in love with a British soldier during the Revolutionary war. She was eventually cursed by the people of Leeds Point and she gave birth to a devil. Some people believe the birth of the devil was punishment for the mistreatment of a minister by the Leeds folk.

Despite how the devil supposedly came into this world, there have been several eyewitnesses how swear they have personally seen the Jersey Devil. In the 19th century, a naval hero Commodore Stephen Decatur accidentally hit a flying creature while testing a canon. Former king of Spain Joseph Bonaparte spotted the creature while hunting. George Saarosy, a prominent business man, saw the devil at the New Jersey/New York border. Just to name a few.

Practically the only evidence there is that the devil exists is similarity in the story of how he was born, eyewitness testimonies, and footprints that are said to be his. The Jersey Devil has said to avoid man but not animals. Many people believe that the Jersey Devil could be the very essence of evil, embodied. It is said that the devil is an "uncanny harbinger of war" He tends to make himself known before conflicts and wars started, including the Civil War, WWI & II, Spanish American War and before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Many believe he is of a supernatural origin. When he was hit by the cannon ball, it seemed to actually just go through him and didn't really affect him any. He would also have to be about 260 years old now. Since he was seen in like 3 different states with in a week, he would have to be a pretty fast traveler.

Whether the Jersey Devil is real or not, the legend will continue to live on in whatever version. And there will be more sightings for as long as the legend is kept alive or possibly even longer. Who knows? There may really be something lurking in the woods in New Jersey.

More info: http://theshadowlands.net/jd.htm

Timothy Clark Smith

First of all, I want to apologize for how short this entry is but I only found limited information about this guy. I felt his unusual grave site was worth mentioning here. Something out of a Stephen King novel unusual.

Timothy Clark Smith was a world traveler. It was because of his world travels that he requested an unusual grave site. He had a fear of being buried alive. He ended up dieing on Halloween in Middlebury, VT in 1893.

He had pre-arranged how he would be buried in a special made grave. His head was positioned under a 6ft cement tube. The tube ends at a 14x14in piece of thick glass. A bell was also placed in his hand.

The reason for this is: Smith's face is gazing up through the glass. So that if he was buried alive, he could ring the bell (not that anyone would be able to hear it) and they would be able to see him through the glass. Even if he was buried alive, Smith would probably die from of lack of oxygen before anyone would have able to dig him out. But oh well. I thought this worthy sharing with everyone.

To see pics of the grave site go here: http://www.vermonter.com/evergreen.asp

Vampires

Ok so yeah we all know what vampires are or at least several different versions of how we see vampires. There are the Hollywood version. The ones that occur in nature, bats. And last but not least, the real life ones. Yes that's what I said the real life ones.

For years, vampires have lived in the world, survived mostly in books and movies. Bram Stoker was the first person to really bring them into our lives through entertainment with Dracula. Others followed his lead adding their own touch of the vampiric lifestyle and appearance. Anne Rice wrote the Lestat Chronicles and there are tons of movies like The Lost Boys, Interview of the Vampire (which was based on Anne Rice's book), Dracula, etc. Of course, I can't forget about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie and the series. Hollywood gave the world a set vision of vampires while othe forms and views are hidden in the shadows.

We can't forget our vampires in nature. The infamous bats. There are of course tons of species of bats. Even those who suck the blood from animals. They are also creatures of the night much like vampires themselves.

Then there are the real vampires. People of today that live the lifestyle of a vampire. Some people may look at that as a phase teenagers go through or just something weird, but I personally feel that everyone has a right to live the way they want to as long as its legal. I'm currently working on a book about mainstream vampires. I was able to get an inside look at what its all about and yes it does seem a little weird but also kind of cool. With every culture there are the good and the bad and its unfair to judge them based on those who like to cause trouble. I think that everyone deserves a fair chance, even vampires.

Lovers Lane

A girl and her boyfriend, looking for a little privacy, decide to park their car in the woods so they could make out. When they were done, the boy got out to go to the bathroom and the girl waited for him in the safety of the car.

After waiting five minutes she became nervous and got out of the car to look for him. Suddenly, she sees a man in the shadows. Scared, she gets back in the car to drive away, when she hears a very faint squeak... squeak... squeak...

This continued a few seconds until the girl decided she had no choice but to drive off. She hit the gas as hard as possible but couldn't go anywhere, because someone had tied a rope from the bumper of the car to a nearby tree.

Well, the girl slams on the gas again and then hears a loud scream. She gets out of the car and realizes that her boyfriend is hanging from the tree. The squeaky noises were his shoes slightly scraping across the top of the car!!!


This is a very popular urban legend that some believe is based on a true story, but then again, that's how all urban legends begin. When it comes to urban legends, there is always someone who says "It really happened to a girl/guy at my school/hometown." In actuality, I doubt any of these legends are even true. But the one above is said to be based on murders that happened in my hometown of Texarkana.

In the 1940s, a killer dubbed The Phantom attacked and killed teenagers parked in a well known "Lovers Lane" spot in a wooded area off of Richmond Road. Mary Jeanne and her boyfriend were the first couple to be attacked. Her boyfriend was immediately knocked out by the phantom and Mary Jeanne was sexually abused with a pistol barrel and beaten as well. They were the lucky ones. The only two that would survive the Moonlight Murders. A month later another couple, Richard L. Griffin and Polly Ann Moore were shot to death by a .32 caliber revolver, possibly a Colt. Ms. Moore had also been sexually assaulted.

Betty Jo Booker played saxophone in a band and was playing at a gig the night of her murder. After the gig was over Paul Martin, a friend of hers, was going to escort her to a slumber party, but they never made it there. Martin's automobile was discovered abandoned at the entrance of Spring Lake Park, nowhere near the slumber party to which Betty Jo was headed. Paul's body was located first, north of Interstate 30 a mile and a half from his car. He had been shot several times. Betty Jo was found nearly two miles distant outside a patch of woods near Fernwood, also north of I-30. Like Paul, Betty Jo's body was bullet-ridden. She had also been sexually molested. This time, official records didn't deny it. They were killed by the same .32 caliber revolver.

There was one other incident concerning a couple, but no one knows if this had anything to do with the phantom. Katy and Virgil Starks were at home. Virgil was resting in an easy chair and Katy had just finished doing the supper dishes and was in their bedroom reading a magazine. Neither of them noticed a silhouette of a man climbing the front steps. The first shot hit Virgil in the cranium and the second struck about the same place. He was killed instantly. Katy heard the shots and immediately raced down the hallway. After seeing the carnage in the living room, the first thought that entered her mind was "The Phantom." She ran to the telephone and managed to get the operator but never was able to speak a word. She, herself, was shot twice. The first went into her right cheek and exited her left ear. The second one smashed her jaw and got lodged under her tongue. After all that, she remained conscious and ran out the front door while the intruder struggled to enter the back. She ran to her sisters but no one was home. So she continued down the road to A.V. Prater where she was able to get help. Katy survived the attack after having surgery. But authorities weren't sure if this incident had anything to do with the phantom.

They had several suspects but in the end, was never able to make an arrest. Though there was one suspect that stood out among the rest. Youell Swinney and his wife were arrested for stealing a car. Even though Swinney clamed up, his wife made a full confession, more than just the stolen car. She went into full description of the phantom murders giving major details that weren't released to the press. The only problem was that her story changed from interview to interview except that her husband was left at the scene of each crime everytime. In the end, she was an unreliable witness and refused to take the stand and testify against her husband, there is a law in Texas that says a man or woman can't be forced to testify against their spouse. Swinney was convicted of car theft only and was sent to the penitentiary in Huntsville. No one knows if he really was the Phantom but after his arrest, the moonlight murders stopped for good.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_Killer
 
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