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

Police Break Up Exorcism; Man Dies After Struggle

Generally, an exorcism consists of a priest, with the permission of the church, expelling demons out of a child, using the word of God, holy water, etc. A 49-year-old man name Ronald Marquez from Phoenix, Arizona decided to take matters into his own hands. The only problem is his 3-year-old granddaughter wasn't possessed.

After receiving a phone call from a relative, Officers responded to a report of an exorcism and found Marquez choking the young bloodied girl. A bed was pushed up against the door and they were only able to get it opened a few inches. However, it was enough to subdue the man with stun guns and get the girl and her bloody, naked 19-year-old mother, who was chanting something religious, out. According to the same relative who called the police, this wasn't the first time Marquez performed an exorcism on his granddaughter.

Marquez was placed in handcuffs after a struggle with officers and initially appeared normal, but then stopped breathing. They attempted to revive him, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. It's uncertain as to what the exact cause of death was, but the results of an autopsy will be available in a few weeks.

The mother was not arrested, but police will consider criminal charges.


Source: AZCentral.com

GS Question of the Week

Do you think fluctuating magnetic fields mess with our minds causing us to think we've seen a ghost when we really haven't?

12 Cancer Myths Debunked

These days it seems like everything you do there's a risk of causing cancer. The American Cancer Society surveyed nearly 1,000 U.S. adults who have never been diagnosed with cancer. They compiled a list of 12 common cancer myths that have yet to be scientifically proven:
  1. The risk of dying from cancer in the United States is increasing. - 67.7 percent true, 22.5 percent false and 9.8% don't know
  2. Living in a polluted city is a greater risk for lung cancer than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. - 38.7% true, 42.5% false and 18.8% don't know
  3. Some injuries can cause cancer later in life. - 37.2% true, 41.9% false, 20.9 don't know
  4. Electronic devices, like cell phones, can cause cancer in the people who use them. - 29.7% true, 45.6% false, 24.7% don't know
  5. What someone does as a young adult has little effect on their chance of getting cancer later in life. - 24.8% true, 68.1% false, 7.1% don't know
  6. Long-time smokers cannot reduce their cancer risk by quitting smoking. - 16.2% true, 78.1% false, 5.7% don't know
  7. People who smoke low-tar cigarettes have less chance of developing lung cancer than people who smoke regular cigarettes. - 14.7% true, 74.5% false, 10.8% don't know
  8. Personal hygiene products, like shampoo, deodorant and antiperspirants, can cause cancer. - 13.7% true, 71% false, 15.3% don't know
  9. Getting a mammogram, or using a special X-ray machine to detect breast cancer, can cause cancer of the breast. - 10.2% true, 73.7% false, 16.1% don't know
  10. Getting a base tan or base coat at a tanning salon will provide protection from skin cancer when you go outside in the sun. - 8.4% true, 78.4% false, 13.2% don't know
  11. Underwire bras can cause breast cancer. - 6.2% true, 62.9% false, 30.9% don't know
  12. You cannot get skin cancer from using a tanning booth.6.2% true, 75.5% false, 18.3% don't know
How many did you believe to be true?


Source: Live Science

Today is the Day!

The Blog-a-thon will begin at 6:00 a.m. Pacific. Four bloggers from Write Stuff will be blogging for 24 hours straight.

My shift is between 9:00 - 11:00 p.m. Central. I'll be giving away R. L. Stine's The Girlfriend and The Pocket Size Writer's Companion.

Stop by and keep us company and support a worthy cause. I hope to see you there.

Ghost Adventures

Filmmakers Zak Bagans and Nick Groff along with Aaron Goodwin investigated, I use that word loosely, various locations in Virginia City, Nevada and the Goldfield Hotel.

FoxNews states it's "...The Best Proof Caught on Tape!" I'm not sure it's the best proof of all times, but it's some compelling footage. Think a real life version of the Blair Witch Project except they were hunting ghosts and not a witch. Most of the evidence caught was EVPs and orbs minus personal experiences. However, there are three video clips that might send chills up your spine.

They captured on camera a full bodied apparition in the Washoe Club. Nick walked out of the room and it appeared the ghost followed right behind him. The second piece of footage was that of a shadowy figure filmed in the Goldfield Hotel. It's believed to be a gunslinger who has often been seen in that particular area. The last evidence caught on tape scared the filmmakers so much they jumped out a second story window, using the fire escape to get out of the building (they were locked inside the hotel) and I can't say I blame them.

They were exploring a maze called the basement. The place where a poltergeist is said to haunt. While they were there, Nick and Zak decided to take an aggressive approach to force the spirit to manifest. Well, they got their wish. A brick lifted up and flew across the room and it looked like some boards may have moved as well. After witnessing this, the two ran upstairs and were separated for a few minutes. Once reunited, they decided to leave the hotel.

The purpose of this documentary was to prove that ghosts exist. I believe Zak accomplished what he set out to. If you didn't see it, don't worry. The Sci-Fi channel will air Ghost Adventures six more times. Overall, Zak Bagan's first film was a success.

To learn more about this raw documentary, check out their MySpace page.

Aurora Borealis

The first depictions of The Northern Lights were cave drawings made by Cro-Magnons in 20,000 B.C. Can you imagine what they thought the lights were? Many civilizations had their explanations.

The east Greenland Eskimos thought that the northern lights were the spirits of children who died at birth. The Makah Indians from Washington believed the lights were fires in the Far North where a tribe of dwarfs boiled blubber. In ancient Finnish folklore, an Arctic fox that started fires by running on the snow, spraying up the crystals so that sparks flew off into the sky with its brush-like tail, was to blame. Northern lights were the spirits of the dead playing football with human skulls over the sky according to Inuit stories.

Today, we know that when a solar flare erupts on the sun charged gas molecules crash into the magnetized poles of the earth producing ten million megawatts of electrical power. The result is dancing vertical lights that circle the north and south polar regions. Colors range from red to a misty white. Who knew deadly gases could appear so beautiful? Ok, so they aren't deadly if you are watching them from say your backyard. However, they are if you're in a plane.

Predicting the Aurora Borealis is like a tornado, the conditions have to be just right for it to appear. Even then you have to be in the right place at the right time. Try checking the Geophysical Institute Auroral Forecast site for the best night to do some aurora watching. When you do get to see The Northern Lights, be sure and not whistle at it. The say if you do it will come down and take your soul. Better keep a mirror at your side for such occasions.


Sources: Alaska Living, Athena, Earth and Space Science for K-12, Athropolis, Wikipedia

GS Question of the Week

Is it possible that a teenage girl's psychic abilities or need for attention are responsible for poltergeist cases?

Brownies

When you hear the word "Brownie", you may picture a chocolate bake good, a little girl scout or a camera commonly used in the early to mid 1900s. However, the one in which I'm referring to is a nature spirit from Scottish and English folklore. They were given the name "Brownie" because they were little, always wore brown clothing with brown hair and were said to have derived from acorns, pine cones, river stones, mosses, clover, or mushrooms.

Brownies were considered good in nature, helping families with domestic chores only at night as well as playing a few innocent pranks. Only those gifted with second sight, mostly old women, could catch a glimpse of them from time to time. Brownies made their homes in an unused part of the house. If the owners misuse their gifts, they turned into Boggarts, poltergeist-like, mischievous spirits.

They were considered guardians of dragons and keepers the Feather of Hope, which is the means by which all hope on Earth is replenished and distributed. In some villages, they had a large stone called "Brownie’s stone," which the inhabitants offered cow’s milk every Sunday to secure the good-will of the "Brownies."

Brownies were popularized in the humoristic poems of Canadian-American artist and author Palmer Cox. You can read an article he wrote published in 1892 in the Ladies' Home Journal here. Kings even took time from their royal duties to give them recognition. King James mentioned "Brownies" in his book Daemonologie.

Like hard working postal workers, "Brownies" were at their post through rain or shine doing what they do best. A lot of people in today's world could use one of those right about now.


Sources:

Wikipedia,

The Fairy Chronicles

Ladies' Home Journal article

Tokoloshe

In South Africa, inhabitants have a real fear of a dwarf-like creature called the Tokoloshe or Hili. Some people won't even speak of it to keep this evil spirit from their homes. So, what exactly is the Tokoloshe?

Many describe it as a water sprite with one arm, one leg, the face of an old man on a boy's body, and a penis so large it has to be slung over his shoulder. It becomes invisible by swallowing a pebble and allows children to see him. However, according to Zulu shaman Credo Mutwa, the above description is not quite accurate. He says the Tokoloshe is a nasty teddy bear-like humanoid with a thick, sharp bony ridge on top of its head. While his appearance is unclear, his motives are not.

According to Zulu mythology, Tokoloshes are called upon by malevolent people to cause trouble for others. It is believed he was created from dead bodies of shamans to rape women and sometimes attacks, abducts, or in other ways does harm to children. It terrorizes children by scratching them as they sleep, leaving long, parallel scratches on a child’s back and upon a child’s thigh, scratches that become infected and itch terribly. At it's worst, it can cause illness and even death. But some Tokoloshe related deaths weren't committed by an evil spirit.

In 2005, two year old Masixole Sotenjwa was stabbed 38 times by a man named Monwabisi Nkathu who claimed he believed the toddler was a Tokoloshe. In the United States, if a crime such as this was committed, the man or woman would receive a severe punishment like the death penalty. Nkathu was sentenced seven years in prison for culpable homicide and his case was not the first. The 1933 Mbombela case and the 1992 Ngema case, in which the defendants were convicted of culpable homicide for “tokoloshe” killings, rather than murder.

In most cases communities preferred to deal with the matter themselves in informal “kangaroo courts”, the perfect setting for criminals to use their beliefs as scapegoats to avoid punishment. In "kangaroo court" people testify on what they might have seen and the court will understand. Physical evidence isn't required nor sought.

While it's debatable on whether or not the Tokoloshe truly exists, it is hoped that South Africa develops an effective solution to deal with these crimes. In the meantime, enjoy a story from Tales of the Tokoloshe By: Pieter Scholtz and Cherie Treweek.


Sources:

Wikipedia

The Herald Online

Kids Attending Graveyard School Have Nightmares

There's a common theory which states that children are more open to ghostly activity than adults. Kids at a school in the eastern state of Bihar, India may be proof of that. What is known is that scores of students are having recurring nightmares of ghosts which may not be unusual considering their school is located in a Muslim graveyard.

Hundreds of students were forced to study in the makeshift school after authorities refused to donate land for a school in Kohari village. Now, parents are demanding it be moved to a new location stating their children's sleep and health is being affected by these dreams.

Ram Yash Singh, a village council official, says they are looking into the matter of supplying new land for the school. Unfortunately, they may have to make due with the current accommodations seeing that the nearest other school is about four hours away.

Would you jeopardize your child's well being to give him/her an education in such conditions?


Source: Reuters via Yahoo News

GS Question of the Week

Do you think ghosts are afraid of us?

Happy Friday the 13th!

Myrtles Plantation EVP

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle is located in Aberdeen, Scotland and has had quite a bit of bad luck in years past. Not only is it the home of a few restless spirits but it also houses weeping stones. That's right. An actual piece of rock that leaks water, but first things first.

Fyvie Castle was built in 1390, following the Battle of Otterburn by 5 families (Gordon, Leith, Meldrum, Preston and Seton, each constructing one of the five towers) originally as a Royal hunting seat. It has been visited by Robert the Bruce, Edward the 1st of England, The Marquis of Montrose and William the Lyon. The castle has passed from one family to the next, but is currently owned by The National Trust for Scotland, who took ownership in 1984. While it is the perfect romantic setting for weddings, you may experience some unforeseen problems.

A prophet named Thomas the Rhymer a.k.a. True Thomas announced that he would be visiting Fyvie Castle and told the residents to keep the door open for him. They kindly obliged and left it open every day for seven and a half years. When Thomas arrived fashionably late, a gust of wind blew the doors shut. Pretty much anyone else would see this as no big deal, but not Thomas. He took it personally by putting a curse on the castle. He foretold doom until the three stones which were used for the Preston Tower were returned to their original placement between the Church lands and the Castle. Since then, the castle has never passed from father to his eldest son.

Only one stone has been found. They are all said to weep. Although, one stone in the Tower remains dry when all the surrounding stones are wet, and when they are dry this one stone is wet. Makes you wonder if anyone has attempted to find the other stones and try to break the curse.

Dame Lilias Drummond and her husband Alexander Seton had five daughters. Like many men, Alexander desired a male heir. When Dame Lilias didn't provide him with a son, his eyes started to wander. Some believe in order for Alexander to rid himself of his wife he locked her in a tower at the castle and left her to starve to death on 8th May 1601 though it is not certain how she died exactly. Shortly after she died, Alexander married a young woman named Grizel Leslie. On their wedding night, they were disturbed by strange sounds and heavy sighs coming from outside their window. In the morning, they discovered the name "D. Lilias Drummond" carved into the window sill upside down. A carving that can still been seen today. Ever since then, the Green Lady, as she is sometimes known as, haunts the castle and whenever she appears something terrible happens to the family.

Last but not least. Andrew Lammie. In the 18th Century, a trumpeter named Andrew Lammie fell in love with the local miller's daughter Agnes Smith. Unfortunately, Agnes' parents didn't approve of Andrew. Upon learning that Andrew and Agnes were meeting in secret, the Laird, who wanted the girl as his mistress, seized Andrew and sent him to the West Indies as a slave. He managed to escape and return several years later, but it was too late. Agnes died a short while after his departure. He swore that the sound of a trumpet would foretell the death of every laird of Fyvie as a reminder of the terrible injustice he had suffered before dying as well.

Since his death, a trumpet would be heard in the dead of night before the death of the laird. On several occasions a shadowy figure of a tall man, dressed in rich tartan, has been seen by the castle wall, but disappears when approached.

Goes to show you, even a fairytale castle has it's "flaws".



Sources: About Aberdeen, Jaclyn Reding, and Tour Scotland

TAPS Committed Fraud?

I was going through the different paranormal related pages on Myspace and came across Jason Hawes' from Ghost Hunters. I saw a blog entry that was kind of interesting. It was published in February 2007. So, this news is a bit old, but still needs to be addressed.

Alison Smith of the Skeptics Analysis of the Paranormal Society launched an investigation against TAPS for fraud after receiving complaints from several “interested parties” who claimed that TAPS was intentionally misleading the public into believing that it was a non-profit organization. Two others, MondoSkeptics and TAPS Tattler also launched their own investigations, but Alison really dug deep to find proof of these allegations.

They were being accused of promoting themselves as a non-profit organization for years when they did not register as a non-profit agency with the state of Rhode Island. If they had registered their company, the records of all donations would have been available to the public and held accountable. Could be an honest mistake, right? It seems that Alison Smith and her cohorts didn't care.

Because of this discrepancy, she contacted the IRS, the Better Business Bureau, the Rhode Island State Police, and the Rhode Island Gaming Commission (in hopes of busting them for throwing a raffle without obtaining a permit) as well as posting Jason's home address and phone number on her website which after numerous emails he convinced her to remove.

I understand contacting the IRS, BBB and such, but I don't get what would be gained by publishing his personal information online except to put him and his family in danger. There are a lot of people who think that anyone who believes in the paranormal are nuts and some of these people aren't too sane themselves. Jason explains on his Myspace page that his family has dealt with a stalker in the past (for more information on this, click here). Now, the one she posted wasn't his current address, but someone could easily track the new one from the old one.

He posted an apology on the TAPS website as well as corrected any mistakes. The IRS and the police have cleared him and his co-founder of any wrongdoing. Of course, it didn't matter to Alison Smith and her SAPS supporters because the attacks continued.

I went to her website and read the evidence she found and she indeed had proof of the claims. I know I'm a fan and I would hate to see the show canceled, but I'm about presenting the truth and that's what she did. However, I think she could of handled the situation better, but I leave it up to you to decide.

Were her actions appropriate?

GS Question of the Week

In a past week, I asked if water ghosts were possible. Some think that the spirits of 300 slaves are responsible for some ship disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle. Agree or Disagree?

Blog-a-thon 2007

I know this is a bit off topic, but it's for a good cause. It's blogathon time again where participants update their websites every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight, collecting sponsorships. While Ghost Stories won't be participating, I am helping out Write Stuff, group blog for writers and will be sponsoring the charity First Book. It'll begin at 6:00 a.m. Pacific time July 28th and will run until 6:00 a.m. July 29th.

If you would like to donate/pledge some money this is what you do:

1. Visit the Blog-a-thon site.

2. Go to the list of bloggers, and when you find someone you'd like to support, click the sponsor this blogger link.

3. Choose how much you'd like to sponsor for, and whether it's a lump sum, or an hourly amount.

4. Decide how you'd like to appear on the site, and to your blogger. You can be completely open, or completely anonymous. Either way, your email address is never published on the site. See our privacy policy for details.

5. After the event, you'll receive two reminders directing you to your blogger's charity to fulfill your pledge. If you have already donated, just disregard the email."

The minimum amount you can donate for our charity is $5. There may even be a few contests during the event where you can win a journal or gift certificate to Amazon.com among other things.

If you are a writer and would like to donate your time (even if it's just for an hour) and blog during the event at Write Stuff, email Karen at writestuff@take2max.com. You must let her know as soon as possible.

Thanks!

Emily's Bridge

The Gold Brook Bridge was built in 1844 by John W. Smith to allow safe passage over the brook when traveling around the three villages of Stowe, Vermont. However, it wasn't until about 150 years ago did it acquire it's infamous nickname, Emily's Bridge.

Supposedly, a young girl name Emily was denied permission to marry the man of her dreams. So, what do forbidden lovers do? They elope. The plan was for her lover to meet her on the Gold Brook Bridge and they would run away together. There was a problem though. Her soul mate never showed. Out of anger and depression, she hung herself from a beam within the bridge. Since that night, it is believed that she haunts the bridge. Like any ghost story, there are different versions of this legend.

You would think with such a sad story that Emily's spirit would be harmless, more sad than vengeful. According to many witness reports, that's not the case. Some experiences associated with the bridge include the scratching of passing horse drawn carriages and cars, strange lights and ghostly figures.

Despite the fear of crossing Emily's Bridge, residents of Stowe vowed to keep it forever beautifully restored.


Source: Haunted Hamilton

4th of July Myths

What better way to celebrate the fourth than revealing the truth of some common American independence myths.

1.) Independence Was Declared on the Fourth of July.

Wrong! Independence was declared by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. This is the day according to a letter written by John Adams to his wife Abigail that "will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival." So, why do we celebrate the fourth?
First of all, the Declaration of Independence was adopted on the fourth which is indicated on the document itself. It is believed that is where some of the confusion lies. Basically, the day the document was announced has overshadowed the event itself. Americans first celebrated independence on July 8th with a big party including a parade and firing of guns in Philadelphia.

Secondly, to add to the confusion, a scholar in the nineteenth century came across the letter mentioned above and quietly "corrected" it. So, Adams festival prediction would take place on the fourth instead of the second.

2.) The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4.

A canvas painting by John Trumbull hangs in the grand Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States. It depicts the signing of the Declaration ceremony which supposedly took place on July 4th. Too bad it never happened.

The actual event wasn't all that spectacular. Most delegates signed the document on August 2nd, the same day a clean copy was finally produced by the assistant to the secretary of Congress Timothy Matlack. Several signed later. Their names weren't released to the public until around January 1777. The truth about the signing was discovered in 1884 by historian Mellon Chamberlain.

3.) The Liberty Bell Rang in American Independence.

The story goes that a young boy with blond hair and blue eyes was supposedly posted in the street next to Independence Hall to give a signal to an old man in the bell tower when independence was declared. This scene never happened either. The story was made up by nineteenth century writer George Lippard for a book intended for children called Legends of the American Revolution.

The bell wasn't even named in honor of American independence. It received the moniker in the early nineteenth century when abolitionists used it as a symbol of the antislavery movement. As for the famous crack … it was a badly designed bell and it cracked. End of story.

4.) Betsy Ross Sewed the First Flag.

The house where Betsy Ross supposedly lived may not have been hers. In 1949, the Joint State Government Commission of Pennsylvania concluded in a study that there is no proof she even lived there. If that's not true then what else have we been lied to about?

The story of Betsy Ross sewing our first famous symbol of freedom isn't authentic either. It was made up by her descendants in the nineteenth century. She was just a simple unheralded seamstress.

So, who actually sewed the flag? No one knows. However, we do know who designed it. Records show that in May 1780 Frances Hopkinson sent a bill to the Board of Admiralty for designing the "flag of the United States." While with the hype of the Betsy Ross story he may not get much credit, a small group of his descendants work hard to keep his name alive.

5.) John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Died on the Fourth of July.

This one is actually true. Adams and Jefferson within hours of each other both died on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the adoption of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. While this is accurate, there is no proof that Adams dying words were "Jefferson survives."

Now that you know the truth behind some of the lies we've been told over the years, have a safe and joyous 4th of July, even if independence wasn't declared on this day.


Source: History News Network

Bridging Heaven & Earth Show



An interview with DaEl Walker, Director of the Crystal Awareness Institute, Spiritual teacher, healer and author of "The Crystal Book Series".

GS Question of the Week

You've probably heard the stories about the lost city of Atlantis. Do you think an entire continent, also known as Lemuria, of highly advanced beings could have been lost too?
 
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