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

Reminder Sunday

Tomorrow is the last day to submit to the Ghost Stories Carnival March edition. Your submission must be in by 11 pm Central. Pick your best post between February 3rd and March 1st and submit it. No registration required. Must be paranormal related.

The Devil's Tree

There is an Oak tree not like any other in Bernards Township, New Jersey. In the Summer time, it's a sight of beauty. Winter, however, brings out its more sinister side. The Devil's Tree has many legends attached to its branches.

Travel back throughout the years to a time when the KKK's power dominated many parts of the United States. The Devil's Tree sat in an isolated part of the woods. As per the KKK's ritual, many men and women were lynched on a single branch almost parallel to the ground. Years before they met their fates, rebellious slaves hung by their necks in colonial times from that tree. Another legend states a man killed his entire family. Then, he walked to that tree and hung himself. These alleged deaths are believed to not be the only murders/suicides that have occurred at the branches of this tree.

Some believe the Devil's Tree is cursed, responsible for all the souls who died by its wooden tendrils. Others consider it the property of the Devil and acts as a gateway to Hell. No matter how cold the outside temperature is the tree always remains warm and free from snow.

The Devil's Tree may or may not have seen its share of death, but local legends state you must show it the utmost respect. If you damage it in any way or make disparaging remarks with in earshot, you open yourself up to harm, often in the form of a car accident. Some have reported being chased away at nighttime by a black phantom vehicle thought to be driven by the Devil himself. As you approach a major road, it mysteriously disappears in to the night.

We may never know if the stories surrounding The Devil's Tree are merely myths or just a representation of the evils of men. If you want to see this legend up close, you must ask for permission. Otherwise, you risk being arrested for trespassing.

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Leprechauns

Leprechaun may have been a horror flick starring a young Jennifer Aniston, but these fairies' presence are deep in Irish mythology. There are many theories as to its name origins. A couple examples include leath bhrogan or shoemaker or luacharma'n, Irish for pygmy. These creatures have also been linked to the Tuatha Dé Danann or pre-Christian deities of Ireland.

Typically we know these sprites as small old men dressed in a green suit. Originally, his appearance differed depending on what part of Ireland he was located in. He wore red not green. In 1831, Samuel Lover wrote: "...quite a beau in his dress, notwithstanding, for he wears a red square-cut coat, richly laced with gold, and inexpressible of the same, cocked hat, shoes and buckles." Yeats described him as "The leprechaun's jacket has seven rows of buttons with seven buttons to each row. On the western coast the red jacket is covered by a frieze one, and in Ulster the creature wears a cocked hat, and when he is up to anything unusually mischievous, he leaps on to a wall and spins, balancing himself on the point of the hat with his heels in the air." Although, today's reports describe leprechauns as being a small human-like creature with red hair and beard and pointy ears.

Leprechauns are self-appointed guardians of ancient treasure left by the Danes when they marauded through Ireland, burying it in crocks or pots often at the end of rainbows. A possible reason why they tend to avoid human contact and are only seen at night. However if a mortal manages to catch one, he promises them great wealth in return for freedom. Some may consider this a greedy deal. However, you must not take your eyes off them for a second. They will vanish in an instant.

This year St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated with a Destination Truth's investigation of the leprechaun. Will Josh and his team be able to set eyes on the elusive creature and silence speculations of its existence? Whether or not he finds proof, people can learn more about one of Ireland's most famous creatures in the first ever National Leprechaun Museum opening its doors next month in Dublin. If you can't wait that long to see one for yourself, try a little Leprechaun watching via webcam at Irelandseye.com.

GS Question of the Week

Will we eventually know all the secrets of the Egyptians? How they lived and died?

Reminder Sunday

All comments have been saved and I'm gradually adding them to the appropriate entries. I have noticed several people requested link exchange and I fell behind on that aspect. As I'm adding comments, I will make a list of all links and get back to you on that. I'm sure there are a few waiting in my inbox as well. At times, I tend to slack off a bit. I apologize for that. I will check each one out.

You have 9 days to submit to the Ghost Stories Carnival March edition. Your submission must be in by 11 pm Central on March 1st. Pick your best post between February 3rd and March 1st and submit it. No registration required. Must be paranormal related.

King Tut Mysteries Solved

Josh Gates and the Destination Truth team investigated the curse linked to King Tut's tomb. Now, just in time for the latest TV special about the boy king, results from DNA tests and CT scans have been announced. After two years, it has been determined that King Tutankhamun suffered greatly during his short life.

The frail boy possessed a cleft palate, a club foot and a weakened immune system due to congenital diseases. His death was a result of complications from a broken leg exacerbated by a case of malaria. Many scientists long believed this to be the cause of death. Although, some speculated he was murdered when a hole in his skull was discovered, but a 2005 CT scan ruled that out as a possibility.

The revelations doesn't stop there. The boy's parents were most likely brother and sister. Marriages between brothers and sisters were common among Egypt's pharaohs. His father has been determined to be Akhenaten. His mother has been pinpointed to be one of Akhenaten's sisters but yet not identified as to which one. Inbreeding played a major role in his genetics as children with parents closely related are prone to genetic problems. It is believed the destruction of his bone in his left foot led to him using walking sticks. A total of 130 were found in his tomb, some show signs of use.

The study will be published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. However, you catch the two part Discovery Channel series King Tut Unwrapped on Sunday February 21st and Monday, February 22nd at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central.

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White Horse of Edgehill

On October 23rd, 1642, the first battle in a war that would last four years commenced. It began as a beautiful Sunday afternoon in England. Between Edgehill and Kineton, the armies of Parliamentarians led by the Earl of Essex and Royalists led by King Charlies I and Prince Rupert of the Rhine met for the first battle in the English Civil War. Foot soldiers on each side shared glances yet not one fired a single bullet. Their hearts raced in anticipation. Who would make the first move? Essex had no intentions of attacking. However, the presence of the king riding from regiment to regiment with his entourage in tow helped provoke the duel. The battle was in full swing well in to the night. The frigged weather provided some wounded soldiers with hope they would survive. By morning, both parties reformed their armies but neither were willing to continue. Essex moved his men on to Warwick Castle and the King's army headed on to London. About 1,000 men lost their lives. There were no winners in this conflict. The Battle of Edgehill proved neither side would gain a swift victory.

After the blood was shed and each army had moved on, it was apparent some had been left behind. Witnesses reported seeing and hearing the battle continue. Those who had taken their final breath kept on fighting beyond the grave. King Charles I became intrigued by the reports and sent a Royal Commission to investigate. Printer Thomas Jackson even published a few of the tales in 1693. They too witnessed the phantom battle and even recognized a soldier or two. People traveled from all over to witness such a sight until it ceased all together. However, today people still hear the sounds of screams, shots, thunder of hooves and chinks of armour of battle are sometimes heard at night especially around the conflict's anniversary. The British phantom soldiers are the only ghosts recognized by the Public Records Office as a result of the Royal Commission's investigation.

As we know, human spirits are not the only ones roaming the earth. There are reports of animal ghosts as well. On the Edgehill battlefield, a particular white horse is often seen. This phantom horse gained such popularity that a road was named after it. The spectral has often been witnessed galloping across the fields. No one knows exactly who the horse belonged to. However, there are theories that either Prince Rupert (who survived the battle) or Captain Kingsmill (who died on the fields) may have owned it. We may never know who once possessed the majestic phantom white horse.
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GS Question of the Week

Quija boards sold as toys. Good or bad idea? Why?

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Couples all over are celebrating the love they share on this day. However, the day of love shares a gruesome past with one of the bloodiest murders in history. On Valentine's Day in 1929, five members of the North Side Irish gang as well as two nonmembers were murdered in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago's North Side.

Gangs will always rival one another. However, Prohibition steered this one to a climax. Leaders Al Capone and Bugs Moran battled to lead the primary bootlegging operations in Chicago for about five years. Everyone involved felt the tension as it increased. Before it was over, one if not both would be dead. A plan was formed allegedly by Al Capone. Bugs Moran along with members of his gang would be dubbed in to believing a hijacked shipment of whiskey was going to be delivered at a garage on Clark Street or for whatever reason. There, the men would take their last breath. Unfortunately, things didn't go exactly as planned.

Al Capone hired lookouts spread around the property. They would give the signal upon Moran's arrival. The only problem is Bugs Moran never stepped foot inside the warehouse that day. Sometimes being fashionably late can save your life. Seven men were present for the elusive meeting: Johnny May (ex-safecracker turned mechanic and nonmember), Frank and Pete Gusenberg, James Clark (Moran's brother-in-law), Adam Heyer, Al Weinshank, and Reinhardt Schwimmer (Optometrist and nonmember). All excluding May were dressed in their finest clothes. This fact disputed the theory the men were waiting for a hijacked whiskey shipment. Who unloads a truck in their Sunday's best?

Why would the alleged hit take place without Bugs Moran inside? Some could argue Moran was not the intended target but an alternative theory may provide such a plausible explanation. Albert Weinshank is approximately the same height, built and even resembled Moran. From a distance, one could confuse the two. Thus, the green light was given. A police car pulled up to the warehouse. The men inside clueless to their arrival. Two men in police uniform along with three civilians, burst through the door. At gunpoint, the men were lined up against the north inside wall. What happen during those final few moments of life? Did they beg for the lives? Taunt their would be murderers in to speeding up the process? Or perhaps they remained silent, welcoming their fate. A fact only the killers would know. The sound of machine guns filled the room, each shot multiple times. After the deed was done, all five men fled the warehouse. Frank Gusenberg was the only person to survive the massacre, but his continued life measured in hours. The only soul left for life was a German Shepard named Highball, barking frantically from his tether. He provide the signal flare that led a fellow boarder to the scene.

Despite speculations, the actual shooters may never be known. Al Capone was believed to be the man behind the hit. However, he was in Florida at the time of murders. Whether he was ever actually involved or not is also a fact we may never know. However, the speculation alone led to his downfall. Many believed he had gone too far. He was arrested in Philadelphia for possessing concealed weapons. He was sentenced a year at Eastern State Penitentiary. It was in his private cell that this story takes an interesting turn. Capone believed the ghost of Moran's brother-in-law James Clark haunted him. Reports from his fellow inmates stated Capone could be heard screaming from his cell, begging for "Jimmy" to go away. Capone believed Clark's ghost haunted him to the grave.

The story doesn't end there. The north warehouse wall gained fame as well. In 1949, a couple, unaware of its bloody past, turned the front end of the S-M-G Garage in to a antique furniture storage business. Unfortunately, they saw more tourists and gawkers than customers and closed up shop soon after. In 1967, the warehouse was demolished. Today, the spot where the warehouse once stood is now a fenced-off lawn, occupying a few trees. It's owned by a nearby nursing home and does not allow trespassers. However, those who happened to be walking by have reported hearing screams and gunshots from the location. Some have been overcome with a sense of indescribable fear. Animals either bark and howl or submit to fear and whine. Many believe that piece of property didn't escape a curse of its own.

The 417 bricks used to build the north inside wall were sold to Canadian businessman George Patey outbidding several others. Each brick was taken down and numbered. Then shipped to Canada. It is uncertain as to what Patey actually did with the bricks. Supposedly, the original plans were to use them in a restuarant he was representing. However, the owner was not thrilled about the idea. Some say he resembled the wall in a wax museum until it went bankrupt. Others say he toured shopping malls and exhibitions with the wall in the United States. In 1971, Patey opened a 20s styled nightclub.

The infamous bricks were reassembled in the men's bathroom with only a piece of Plexiglas to come between them and onlookers. The club closed a few years later and the bricks went in to storage. Patey attempted to sell the bricks, one-by-one. He soon realized the ones he sold were being sent back. It seems anyone who owned one of the bricks stolen from the lot after it was demolished were faced with financial ruin, illness and even death. George Patey died on December 30, 2004. It is unknown as to what happened to the bricks although several allegedly belonging to the infamous wall have turned up over the years.

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A Monk Who Walks on Water

Millions have seen Illusionist Criss Angel walk on water. However, in Boston, Lincolnshire UK, the spirit of a monk has been seen walking across a swimming pool. Of course, this monks' talents are probably more residual than entertainment for visitors.

In the late 13th Century, friars migrated to the booming town of Boston. There were four orders: the Dominicans or black friars (named for the color of their robes), Franciscan or grey friars, Carmelites and Austins or Augustines. St. John's Hospital was run by an order of monks called the Knights Hospitaller and cared for the poor and sick. In the mid-16th Century, Henry VIII closed all the friaries.

The Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex's swimming pool is adjacent to Boston Grammar School field. In this field, archaeologists have uncovered a burial site believed to be linked to one of the ancient friaries that once stood in the town of Boston. If indeed it was part of a friary, this may explain why the monk seen not only walking across the swimming pool but also through walls. A little girl is also witnessed haunting the halls of the building. Rooms that are usually humid suddenly turn icy col and mugs in the admin office have reportedly smashed themselves.

A local paranormal group, Lincolnshire Paranormal Investigators, performed a recent investigation at the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex. They feel confident their efforts have produced evidence to prove the two spirits existence. This evidence includes a photograph of what appears to be a friar standing near the swimming pool. I'm not sure if the photo is authentic especially since they sent their evidence to a UK paranormal show. Sounds a little fishy to me.

To view the photo check out the Our Strange World article: http://www.ourstrangeworld.net/index.php/main/article/a_ghost_does_the_back_stroke/

San Lucas Island Prison

“If you don't have anything to do, don't come here to do it."

It seems the Ghost Hunters International team has become fascinated in investigating the penal system around the world. Their next stop is San Lucas Island in Costa Rica. This island's history horror began in the 16th Century. The Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Fernandez Oviedo used San Lucas as a concentration camp for local Chara people. These people were slaughtered on the site of their sacred burial grounds.

A few hundred years later, San Lucas was turned in to a penal island. The prison was constructed in 1873 by dictator Tomás Miguel Guardia Gutiérre. It was dubbed the Caribbean Alcatraz. However, San Lucas also didn't achieve the inescapable label so many prisons sought. There were many daring escapes to shark infested waters and tragic failures. But then again who wouldn't want to attempt freedom from one of the most heinous prisons known to man.

Only the worst criminals in Costa Rica were sent to San Lucas. The prison was considered the largest in the country's history. The former buildings include a historic dock that is still in use after the first dock was destroyed, a Catholic church, a medical building, temporary holding cells, a three story main office, a large concrete disc used to hold a water tank, and water pumps. There are also several water pumps and a cemetery under excavation on the island. There are prison cells of varying security levels, containing the typical graffiti such as religious phrases, pornographic images, signatures, and drawings. The above statement is written in one of these cells.

The death penalty was abolished by Gutiérre a year after the prison opened its doors. However, with such prison conditions, a stint in San Lucas was a death sentence in itself. Sixty to a hundred inmates occupied one cell at time. Cells contained low ceilings, few windows, and iron beds with thin mattresses. Those without a bed slept on the floor. Each prisoner was issued a ball and chain. The weight of the ball was determined by how dangerous the inmate was deemed to be.

Inmates labored in the tropical sun, breaking rocks and harvesting salt from the sea. "The Disk" sits in the center of the prison courtyard. In the middle is a hole half filled with water. This was considered solitary confinement. Some inmates spent months in there with only 15 minutes above ground each day. A former inmate, José León Sánchez, wrote a fictional account of his incarceration at San Lucas titled La Isla de Hombres Solos or The Lonely Men's Island. The prison remaind operational until 1991. The island has since been turned in to a wildlife preserve and San Lucas is now opened as a tourist attraction.

Many believe the former inhabitants of this maximum security facility are still roaming the property.
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