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

My Apologies

I'm sorry for the lack of posts for the last few weeks. I've been finalizing details on the next contest here. You all will get a chance to win some Ghost Hunter merchandise. I'll have all the information posted on Sunday. Check back then.

Romania gives Dracula's Castle back to Owners

BUCHAREST, Romania - The Romanian government will return the country's most popular tourist sites, the fabled Dracula Castleto its former owner after seizing more than 60 years ago.

The castle is worth an estimated $25 million and was owned by the late Queen Marie who bequeathed it to her daughter Princess Ileana in 1938. It was confiscated by communists in 1948 and fell into disrepair. It will be transferred on Friday to Dominic van Hapsburg, a New York architect who inherited the castle from Princess Ileana decades after the communists seized it.

Van Hapsburg is a descendant of the Hapsburg dynasty which ruled Romania for a period starting in the late 17th century.

The hand-over ceremony will take place Friday at noon in the 14th century castle's museum deep within the fortress in Transylvania, minister Adrian Iorgulescu said.

Restoration work began in the late 1980s and was partially completed in 1993. It is now one of Romania's top tourist destinations. Under the agreement, the owner will not be allowed to make any changes to the castle for the next three years, Iorgulescu said.

While known and marketed as "Dracula's Castle," it never belonged to Prince Vlad the Impaler, who inspired Bram Stoker's Count Dracula character. But the prince is thought to have visited the medieval fortress. The Gothic fortress, perched on a rock, has appeared in numerous Dracula movies.

The castle is the most famous of 15 citadels and fortresses in the area, which were built by peasants to keep out marauding armies of Turks and Tartars and cruel local medieval lords.

Another former royal property, the Peles Castle, built in the late 19th century in the mountain town of Sinaia, will be returned to former King Michael. He owned it before it was confiscated by the communist regime in 1948.

Romania passed legislation earlier this year to return property to its former owners and establish a "property fund" to pay damages for assets that cannot be returned. The fund includes stock in state-owned companies that are being privatized.

Dover Demon

The last thing a 17 year old Bill Bartlett expected to see when driving with two friends through Dover, Massachusetts, at around 10:30 PM on April 21, 1977 was a creature from another dimension. Yet that is what he may have done, at least in the opinion of some investigators-and judging from Bill's description of what he saw, they could have a point!

Driving along, his car's headlights suddenly illuminated a peculiar entity picking its way along a stone wall at the side of the road. As can be seen from the picture that Bill later prepared, which is reproduced here, the creature had a disproportionately large head, shaped like a water melon, with two big, protruding eyes that glowed orange, but it did not seem to have a mouth, nose or ears. Its body was small, its neck and limbs were long and thin, and its fingers and toes were slender and supple. The creature appeared to be hairless, but it's peach-colored skin was rough in texture. It stood about 1 meter (3-4 feet) high, and was observed only by Bill (his two friends were not looking in the right direction to see it). Unknown to Bill, however, his strange sighting would soon be substantiated by an entirely independent eyewitness.

Less than two hours later, 15 year old John Baxter was walking home little more than a mile from the locality of Bill's encounter when he saw a strange figure coming towards him. After receiving no reply when he called out to it, John paused, and as he did so the figure ran away down a gully. John chased after it and when he was about 9 meters (30 feet) away, he could see it clearly, standing upright on its hind legs and gripping the trunk of a tree. When he spied its brightly glowing eyes staring at him from an otherwise featureless face, however, John decided to let caution supersede curiosity and he walked briskly back to the road. Once he reached home, he too made a visual record of what he had witnessed, and as can be seen here, his wholly independent illustration corresponds very closely indeed with Bill's.

At around midnight on April 22, what writer Loren Coleman has subsequently called "The Dover Demon" was seen again, this time by 15 year old Abby Brabham while being driven home by Will Taintor, 18, who only spied it very briefly. Abby's description matched those of Bill and John in every respect except one: when she observed it, its eyes were glowing green, not orange. And thus ended the curious case of the Dover Demon, for it has never been reported again and has never been satisfactorily identified.

If the descriptions of it are accurate-and they are certainly very consistent-the Dover Demon does not resemble any species known to science, either from North America or elsewhere. It may not, however, be entirely unknown. The Cree nation of eastern Canada speak of a mysterious race of pygmy entities called the Mannegishi, who delight in playing tricks upon travelers. According to the Cree, the Mannegishi have round heads, long thin legs, arms with six fingers on each hand, and they live between rocks in the rapids. Excluding the finger count discrepancy, this description is reminiscent to the Dover Demon.

Lookout Hannibal Lector. There's a new cannibal in town.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A German cannibal whose killing and eating of a willing victim shocked the nation received a life sentence for murder on Tuesday after a court overturned a previous manslaughter conviction. He's not in this town but I feel for those who live in Frankfurt.

Judge Klaus Drescher threw out the defense team's argument that Armin Meiwes had acted on his victim's request to eat him. What kind of person asks someone to eat them literally? This act is similar to a crime called euthanasia which comes with a maximum of a five year prison sentence. "This is not killing on request," he said. "He killed him because he wanted to slaughter and eat his flesh. He had achieved the biggest kick of his life."

Meiwes was in court for the second time after Germany's top criminal court ruled his 2004 conviction of manslaughter and eight year jail sentence was too lenient. Another words, eight years wasn't enough. How about fifteen instead? And we will add a possible early release to it.

WARNING: If you have a weak stomach, do not read on!

Meiwes, described in court as affable and self-confident, corresponded with some 400 people over the Internet in search of a willing victim, including one man who had advertised for "a likeable, older gentleman to read me my death sentence."

But the search was fruitless until he met Bernd-Juergen Brandes, a top IT manager with German firm Siemens who posted an advert for someone to "obliterate his life and leave no trace."

In a tale that has horrified the country and inspired a feature film, Brandes traveled by train to meet Meiwes in the western town of Rotenburg. There the cannibal videotaped himself severing Brandes' penis with a knife before both men tried to eat it.

Bleeding profusely, Brandes fell unconscious. With the video recorder still rolling, Meiwes laid him out on a bench, kissing him on the lips before plunging a knife into his throat.

"The next one must be young but not so fat," Drescher quoted Meiwes as saying after the slaughter was complete and his victim was suspended from a meat hook.

Meiwes, whom the judge described as psychologically sick but fully aware of his actions, froze 30 kg (66 lb) of flesh in parcels labeled schnitzel among other things, the court said. He later ate the flesh with red cabbage and potatoes.

Meiwes' fantasy had its roots in his father's departure from the family home and a domineering and embittered mother, according to one psychology expert heard during the trial.

The expert said Meiwes' desire to eat someone stemmed from a desire to find a partner who would not abandon him.

In conclusion, this guy is no Hannibal Lector. I doubt Lector would be stupid enough to film himself eating his victim and plus he had better taste in side dishes. Before you know it there will be some kind of secret society for cannibalists.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

I think from now on I'm going to post stories on Wednesday that coincide with investigations done on TAPS (if I can). This week they got overwhelming evidence. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find much information beyond what was said on tonight's episode.

St. Augustine Lighthouse was originally built in 1824 and owned by Dr. Alan Ballard. He was forced to sell it to the government in 1865 because it was thought the ocean would eventually swallow it. After the Civil War, Florida's funds were depleted and offered to buy it for substantially less than it was worth. Ballard refused to sale it. The government threatened to take it via eminent domain and give him nothing. Ballard became outraged and vowed to never leave the lighthouse. Some say he kept his vow and can be seen in and around the property.

The keeper, Peter Rasmussen, was always seen enjoying a cigar, and had a reputation for being a very strict manager and quite meticulous when it came to maintaining the lighthouse. Today, the scent of Rasmussen's cigar can still be detected several times a week, say the people who staff the lighthouse today.

Rasmussen may not be the only cigar smoking spirit at the lighthouse. Some say that the cigar smoke, footsteps on the tower stairs, and the figure spotted at the top of the lighthouse could be that of Joseph Andreu, a keeper that died in the 1850's when he fell from painting the previous 1824 tower.

The most well-known of the St. Augustine Lighthouse ghosts would be that of the 13 and 15 yr. old daughters of Hezekiah Pity. Pity was hired to renovate the lighthouse in the late 1800s. One day, in 1873, Eliza, 13, and Mary, 15, were playing around the grounds and despite the warning of their father, climbed in the cart used for carrying building materials from the bay to the lighthouse. Both girls drowned when it broke loose and slid down a hill and into the bay. Today, the two girls can be heard laughing in the tower late at night. The eldest Pity girl is also spotted from time to time, wearing the same blue velvet dress and blue hair bow she died in.

I also found a story about thirteen pirates who died and was buried behind the lighthouse. The city of St. Augustine housed many pirates at one point in time. So, this story could be true as well.

Despite those mentioned above, it is possible that St. Augustine Lighthouse is the home of many more spirits. You never know what spirit you may run into upon visiting the lighthouse.

EDIT: I would like to add that is my 100th post here at Ghost Stories. I'm looking forward to a hundred more.

Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis (Walpurgisnacht) Night is celebrated on April 30th, awaiting the arrival of Spring. Now, I know what you are saying. Spring began in March and technically, you're right. However, Walpurgis Night has been around for centuries.

It all started with a woman named Saint Walburga (which whom the festival is named after). She was born in Wessex in 710 the niece of Saint Boniface and a daughter to Saxon prince St. Richard. Saint Walburga traveled to Frankonia, Germany with her brothers, where she became a nun and lived in a convent of Heidenheim. She died on 25 February 779 and officially made a saint on 1 May of the same year.

Historically the Walpurgisnacht is derived from Pagan spring customs, where the arrival of spring was celebrated with bonfires at night. Viking fertility celebrations took place around April 30 and due to Walburga being declared a saint at that time of year, her name became associated with the celebrations. Walburga was honored in the same way that Vikings had celebrated spring and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Walpurgis Night celebration.

I hope, for those who celebrated, had a wonderful and safe Walpurgis Night.
 
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