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

An American Haunting

An American Haunting is a movie based on Tennessee's the Bell Witch (Some say The Blair Witch Project was based on the Bell Witch also). The movie stars Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. Here is a plot summary via the Internet Movie Database:

Based on true events validated by the State of Tennessee of the only case in US History where a spirit or entity caused the death of a man. With over 20 books written on the subject, and a town that still lives in fear of the return of the unseen spirit, the story of "An American Haunting" is terrifying. Between the years 1818-1820, the Bell Family of Red River, Tennessee was visited by an unknown presence that haunted the family and eventually ended up causing the death of one its members. Starting with small sounds around the farm, and the sitting of a strange BLACK WOLF with piercing yellow eyes, the sounds escalated into full brutal contact with the certain family members, causing psychological and physical torment. The attacks grew in strength, with the spirit slapping, pulling, dragging, and beating the Bell's youngest daughter. The Bells searched for rational explanations and ways to rid their house of this entity, but to no avail as the spirit began to communicate with them through sounds, and eventually multiple voices that sounded like the wind. The cause of its actions could always be felt, but no being could be seen, and no explanation found- only the promise that one day it would kill one of the family members. Fearing that the haunting was caused by a local woman -branded a witch- who had put a curse upon the family as a result of a land dispute, the Bells tried desperately to find ways of getting rid of the woman's curse, yet the attacks and disturbances only escalated. It was not until a manuscript of the local schoolteacher -who lived on the property during the disturbance- was found in 1998 that the horrifying and shocking answer to what caused this haunting would finally be unveiled.

I also did a post in November of 2004 if you would like to know more about the Bell Witch. The movie hits theaters nationwide on May 5th.

Reader Submission - Racine, WI Residence

Ghost Stories first personal paranormal report comes from Khrysten. She has kindly sent a few pictures for your viewing. Feel free to make an observations concerning her story and/or photographs. The first picture is of her home. There's nothing strange about that one. It's quite beautiful if you ask me. However, she including her thoughts about the other two. I'll add that part later on this week. It'll give you a chance to form your own opinions about what you see. Here is Khrysten's story:

My house originally belonged to Alexander Horlick, VP of Horlick's Malted Milk and mayor of the city I live in (Racine WI) for at least two terms (the history kept in this city is a little sketchy). According to the records we were able to find he lived here with his wife, young daughter, baby nurse and maid. We didn't know any of this when we bought the house though.

Literally the house was a steal - 6,000 square feet in mostly good shape with the original 1864 horse barn still standing on the property and now used as a garage by my husband and plenty of history to fill every room. For the forty years before we bought it, the woman that owned it, now deceased, lived here as and used the home as a care facility for the sick and crazed...We also didn't know that until after we had already signed the papers. Everything seemed perfectly normal, and for the most part it still does, except for the occasional bout with strange noises and doors strangely seeming locked (Every door in this house has a lock and a master skeleton key which has never been used and resides as to not get damaged, in the silverware drawer in the first floor kitchen) and unopenable when they are perfectly able to be opened and are unlocked.

Also, I had a rocking chair sitting in my dining room off to the side. My dogs were constantly barking at it and no reason could be seen or found. And then there was the start of all the restoration work we're doing. Obviously we take a lot of pictures with all the work we're doing. The pictures are usually fine and clear with the exception of the fact that we cannot take a clearpicture anywhere in the dining room or the corner of the living room. They come out full of orb appearances.

Also, when we change something major, for instance, last fall was the beginning of the work and we got a new roof and a new driveway. Strange faces started to appear, it's always the same three faces in various places in the house and most can assumedly be written off as reflection, shadow, etc. There is an older face. This one seems to be male and quite angry and only ever shows up when something major has been done, like he's checking in to scrutinize. Secondly there is a young boy, assumedly boy (Sometimes he is a little girly looking). To me, it looks like a boy. And the third, female and only appears in tilted off to the side face position (she seems to like the upstairs windows, the first floor bathroom and the back hallway).

ADDED: There is one picture in particular that there seems to be no explanation for. We've tried to come up with reasoning. We haven't found any yet. I say it's ghosts, my hubby on the other hand is resistant, telling me it's nothing and that we shouldn't encourage it if it is. As you can see in the picture, taken in my dining room, and of the fireplace, there is a boys face on the right side of the mirror and on the lower central portion of the picture there is and orb with an eye in it. Strange enough. There is other strangeness to the face though. Said boy closely resembles someone I grew up with, when he was a child. However said person has never been to my house and is still very much alive.

I have also included a picture of the house itself and a picture that may explain why my dogs used to bark at the rocking chair (the chair itself has been moved to an empty room upstairs where the dogs cannot get near it-gotta love paranoia). In the picture there seems to be a man getting up from the rocking chair.

If you have had a ghostly experience and would like to share your story and/or evidence, email me at paranormal_stories2004@yahoo.com.

Willard Library

Last Wednesday's episode of TAPS, they did an investigation of Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana. Unfortunately, they were unable to find any evidence proving this building really is haunted. Many viewers of the ghost cams may disagree. Who knows if it really is or not.

The first reported sighting happened in 1937. A janitor grabbed a flashlight and headed to the basement. As he neared the furnace, he dropped his flashlight as he spotted a ghostly veiled lady dressed in glowing grey. Before he could regain his composure, she was gone. Ever since, the ghost has been known as the "lady in grey".

Who is the "lady in grey"? The most common story is that the ghost is actually that of Louise Carpenter, the daughter of the library's founder. She sued the board of trustees saying that her father was not well and unduly influenced in establishing the library. Unfortunately, she lost the suit and any claim to the library's property.

Now she supposedly haunts Willard Library and it'll continue to be that way until it is returned to the living heirs of the Willard Carpenter family.

Other stories say that the "lady of grey" is a ghost emigrated from a nearby cemetery or that of a woman who died in the library in its early days and since she liked the place so much, she remained there, jealous of any mortals who read her treasured books.

If you would like a chance to try and prove that Willard Library really is haunted, there are four cams set up there. I added the link to the list of other ghost cams. Do you think it is haunted? If so, who do you believe inhabits it?

Renter for the Week

Have you encounted a stupid person? Wanna share your story? This is the perfect blog for you. My renter for this week comes from Stupid People Shouldn't Breed. This blog highlights the intelligent deprived people of this world.

Now, I have to admit I've met quite a few stupid people in my life (I grew up in the south). Actually, one lives with me. The latest story posted there has happened to me before. I don't know why some people choose to have a lengthy conversion in the middle of an aisle in a store. If you want to talk to someone, I don't care but you could at least move to where your not causing a traffic jam. It's just annoying.

Anyways, check out "Stupid People Shouldn't Breed", if you dare. Don't forget to tell them I sent ya.

Seance Reached John Lennon?

According to an article by Reuters, a controversial television séance will air on Monday, claiming they reached the spirit of John Lennon. However, if you want to know what he has to say, you'll have to come up with $9.95. The show is being filmed at his famous restaurant in New York, La Fortuna.

The special was first organized in 2003 in hopes of contacting Princess Diana. Despite the bad reviews and the failure to find Diana, the show still grossed $8 million. With The Spirit of John Lennon, producers are hoping to lure in the fans of such programs as "Ghost Whisperer" and "Medium".

One of the program features is an EVP that is said to be the voice of the Lennon. On the show, filming stops and a narrator says something odd has happened. They then claim that a mysterious voice can be heard on the voice feed of one of the psychics. Sandra Belanger, an EVP specialist, then comes in and claims it is the real deal, saying it is a Class A EVP and the voice sounds like how Lennon would have talked.

The program, The Spirit of John Lennon, is being done without the consent of his estate or Yoko Ono, who refuses to comment. Many of his friends and family claim it is way to profit from his assassination 25 years ago. Long time friend and spokesman, Elliot Mintz said, "A pay-per-view was never his style."

Do you think they are trying to profit from John Lennon's death? Do you plan to watch the program?

And the Winner is....





First of all I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Ghost Stories Blogiversary Contest. You all came up with some really good ideas. It's now time to get to business. The winner of the jackpot of 512 credits is......Katherine!!! Congratulations. Her Idea:

The first Annual Online "Spooky-Con!" Live IRC chats for chilling story swaps, competition for the official Spooky-Con Logo, and maybe a fun event of "fill in the next line" fantasy ghost adventure written by Con attendees!

I also gave out two mystery prizes. Maritza and Samantha both won 200 credits for their suggestions. You both did good. All winners have been notified. If you have yet to respond, you need to do so soon in order to claim your prize.

Come back on November 16th for all the Blogiversary fun. There will be a new contest next month. Look for the announcement on May 1st. I have plenty more credits to give away.

4 days left...

I want to remind everyone that you only have four days to enter the Blogiversary contest. As of right now, the jackpot sits at 512 credits (BlogMad or BlogExplosion. Your choice) and there are two mystery credit prizes to be won. So get your creative juices flowing and those entries posted. Deadline is at midnight (Central time) on April 13th.

Buried Alive

Urban Legend: People have been buried alive by mistake.

Status: True

Origins: Live burials aren't unheard of. There are many known cases of possible live burials. In the first century, magician Simon Magus buried himself alive, expecting a miracle which never happened. A 13th-century author named Thomas a Kempis, wrote The Imitation of Christ, didn't become a saint because when they dug up his body for the ossuary they found scratch marks on the lid of his coffin and concluded that he was not reconciled to his fate. In the late 16th century, one of the pallbearers at the funeral of Matthew Wall tripped causing the others to drop the coffin which revived Wall. he went on to live several more years, dying in 1595.

A more recent case occurred in 1993. Sipho William Mdletshe, 24, was declared deceased after a traffic accident in Johannesburg, South Africa. He spent two days in a metal box before workers heard his cries and rescued him. However, his fiancée, who was also hurt in the crash, wasn't so convinced of his recovery. She believes he is a zombie who came back from the dead to haunt her.

Ok, so you get the idea, but is it common? These days, with embalming procedures, not really. Of course, embalming corpses isn't mandatory in the United States. Although, there have been deaths by embalming. In 1837, Cardinal Somaglia fell ill and passed out. He was thought to have died. They immediately began preparations for embalming. However, when the embalmer cut into the chest he could see the cardinal's heart still beating. The cardinal awoke and wisely pushed the knife away. Unfortunately, the chest incision killed him.

The most famous case is that of Anne Greene. On December 14, 1650, she was hanged for a felony and then, sent to the anatomy hall to be dissected. She woke up and lived for many years.

Since it is still possible to be buried alive, people have gone to great lengths to instill precautions. One method was the practice of 'waking' the dead. A person would sit with the deceased from the time of death until burial in case he 'wakes up'. This was mostly commonly done during times where numerous illnesses could cause a patient to slip into a comma.

Some people went as far as to put a clause in their wills specifying they wanted special tests (which included surgical incisions, the application of boiling hot liquids, touching red-hot irons to their flesh, and stabbing them through the heart) to verify their deaths.

The screams of a young Belgian girl who came out of a trance-like state as the earth fell on her coffin prompted Count Karnice-Karnicki, Chamberlain to the Czar and Doctor of the Law Faculty of the University of Louvain, to invent a coffin that allowed a person accidentally buried alive to summon help through a system of flags and bells. The hermetically-sealed coffin had a tube, about 3.5 inches in diameter, extending to a box on the surface. The tube was attached to a spring-loaded ball sitting on the corpse's chest. Any movement would release the spring, opening the box lid and admitting light and air into the coffin. To signal for help, a flag would spring up, a bell would ring for half an hour, and a lamp would burn after sunset. Similar "life-signaling" coffins were patented in the United States. In January of last year, I did a post about a man named Timothy Clark Smith who has a gravesite similar to that described above. To view pictures of this site go to the Vemonter website.

In December 1910, Evangelist Mary Baker Eddy died at her home in Boston. Her body was kept at the general receiving vault at Mount Auburn Cemetery in nearby Cambridge for several months (a monument was being constructed). Since she was a world renowned figure, a guard was hired to stay with the body until it was interred and the tomb sealed. A telephone was installed at the receiving vault for his use during that period. Rumors circulated that a functioning telephone was interred with her body. There was never a phone at the monument. A similar rumor was associated with another famous evangelist named Aimee Semple McPherson. Most likely, people confused her with Eddy.

What is worse than being buried alive accidentally? Being buried alive on purpose. In Roman times, vestal virgins were executed by live burial for breaking their vows of chastity. Monks and nuns who broke the same vow were also entombed. They were often walled into small niches and given a pittance of food and water. Then, the grim benediction Vade in Pacem (Depart in Peace).

Others were buried alive to serve the dead in the next life. In Africa, two slaves (a man and a woman) with interred with each dead Wadoe headman. The man was given a bill-hook to use to cut wood for fuel in the next life, and the woman cradled the dead chief's head in her lap.

In 1849, an observer of King Thien Tri of Cochin, China's funeral reported that he, along with rich and plentiful grave goods, was entombed with all of his childless wives, guaranteeing he'd be henpecked throughout eternity but would at least get his meals on time.

If you are worried about premature burial, you should consider reading an Australian pamphlet called "Short Reason of Cremation" (circulated at the turn of the century). The pamphlet contains 12 points for considering cremation. Pay close attention to number 10: Cremation eliminates all danger of being buried alive.

Banshees

Banshees are creatures from Irish mythology. It is said that when a citizen from an Irish village died, a woman, also referred to as "keeners", would sing a traditional lament or modern Irish caoineadh (pronounced kweenyah) at their funeral. However, they can only cry for five great Gaelic families: the O'Gradys, the O'Neills, the O'Briens, the O'Connors, and the Kavanaghs (this list has extended with intermarriages). Tales recount a fairy woman was associated with them and would make an appearance after a death in the family, making an appearance or sound to intimation of the death.

When these narratives were first translated into English, a distinction between the "banshee" and other fairy folk was introduced. However, this distinction did not exist in the original stories in their Gaelic forms. The funeral lament became a mournful cry or wail. A death in the family or one's own death was predicted upon hearing this wail or seeing the banshee. In 1437, King James I of Scotland was approached by an Irish seeress who fortold his murder by the instigation of the Earl of Atoll. That isn't the only record of banshees or prophetess in human form. There are several attending the great houses of Ireland and the courts of local Irish Kings.

A banshee's appearance differs among stories. They basically dress in white with long, fair hair which they brush with a silver comb (possibly a detail confused with mermaid myths). They have also been known to dress in green or black with a grey cloak. Although, she appears in many forms: a young woman, a stately matron, or a raddled old hag. These three forms are said to represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death known as Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain. She may also appear as a washer-woman, washing the blood stain clothes of those who are about to die. In that form, she is known as bean-nighe. Banshees have also been known to take animal form that of a hooded crow, stoat, hare and weasel. These animals were associated with witchcraft in Ireland.
 
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