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

Giant Palouse Earthworm Found

Last year, I proposed the question as to whether or not another Giant Palouse Earthworm would ever be found in Idaho. This has officially been confirmed as a yes. Last month, Shan Xu, an Idaho student, and Karl Umiker, a research support scientist discovered an adult and juvenile earthworms along with three earthworm cocoons by using a new high-tech worm shocking probe that was stuck in the ground and used electricity to push worms toward the surface (you probably saw a similar technique used int he remake of Godzilla).

The worms were translucent, allowing internal organs to appear and possessed pink heads and bulbous tails. The adult had a yellowish band behind the head. Some believed the giant Palouse grew to a length of 3 feet. However, the adult measure 10 to 12 inches; the juvenile was 6 to 7 inches. The adult was killed and dissected by expert Sam James from the University of Kansas to accurately identify the species; the identity was confirmed on April 16th. The juvenile remains alive at the University of Idaho, where its DNA will be used to identify new specimens.

The Palouse earthworm's first appearance in the scientific world was in an 1897 article via the American Naturalist by Frank Smith. Smith's work was based on four samples sent to him by R.W. Doane of Washington State University in Pullman. Massive agricultural development to the unique Palouse Prairie dealt these worms a near fatal blow. The last living specimens prior to the recent discovery were found in a second-growth forest near Moscow in the 1980s by a University of Idaho scientist James Johnson. Since decades went by without confirmed sightings of the earthworm, many believed the giant Palouse Earthworm was extinct. Of course, this discovery gives some hope for other extinct animals believed to still be roaming the Earth.

For pic and more information: http://tinyurl.com/252mw3u

Norwich State Hospital



Opening in 1904, Norwich State Hospital expanded over 100 acres, catering to ninety-five patients. As the years progressed, the number of patients in this asylum grew calling for building expansions; an administration building, three patient buildings, three cottages for physicians, a carpenter and maintenance shop, a main kitchen, garage, laboratory, staff house, an employees’ club house and the inebriate farm and the Colony had been established by 1913. The need for space continued to grow with the additions of fifteen new buildings. By 1930, patient numbers reached to over 2,000. Tubercular patients were housed between 1931 and 1939 in one patient building called Seymour which led to the closure of the “Pines” buildings. More additions were built. However, during World War II, the nursing staff dwindled. While new buildings were being constructed, old ones met their demise. It's population peaked in 1950 at 3,000 and was considered a working town.

The hospital was used for housing and treating not only the mentally insane, but also geriatric patients and those chemically dependent. Treatments ranged from heavy medication and lobotomies to mechanical restraints and "hydrotherapy". The hospital officially closed in 1996. Today, a large number of gothic-style architectural brick buildings snakes around nine hundred acres of Connecticut woods, most connected by underground tunnels that also house rooms along their paths. Norwich State Hospital's fate is unsure as there have been talks of amusement parks or museums. However, none disrupt the stories of its haunted status.

Security guards patrolling the property have reported beeping sounds in the rooms where lobotomies were performed. The sounds of voices, talking, mumbling and screaming have been heard, when no one could be found. In one particular room, the sounds of a woman sobbing have been heard. Even on the warmest summer evenings, some rooms are plagued with a deep cold. The persistence of these stories led to a local fraternity holding their pledge initiations on the hospital grounds. Norwich State Hospital is believed to be one of the United States most paranormal active sights.

GS Question of the Week

If a Wendigo and werewolf were in a cage match, who do you think would win?

Reads Like Murder in Honolulu

Dream Books LLC, June 18, 2009
eBook, 491 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-61584-150-9
Adult
Ordering Information:
Amazon.com | Dream Books LLC Store

The more one reads about the magic of Hawaii, the more you could fall in love with the Pacific Islands state. Reads Like Murder in Honolulu by Georgina Donovan transports the reader to where a myth meets mystery.

The story begins with a lovely bookstore owner named Hayley Wyndham. She finds herself hypnotized in a routine bike ride when a sudden hit-and-run jars her in to a mystery right off the pages of her beloved books. The day is made worse by a break in of her business. However, all is left in the capable hands of the San Diego police as she answers the call of a fellow book lover. Although this visit would be anything but normal. With a hunky Hawaiian cop, Keoni Chase, along for the ride, the two sail down a rabbit hole full of kidnappings, murders, myths and even a little romance. Will they solve the mystery of Mokuaina Pu'uhonua?

Upon reading this book, I often had the "Why did you do that?" feeling. For example, Hayley finds a book, ship logs, in her friend Kana's apartment. She believes this book is a part of the case but yet didn't take it to some secret location. Just left if for some intruder to return and find it, particularly the one who already tried to break in. Would someone who reads mystery novels on a regular basis do that? Leave a key piece of evidence for the bad guys to find? Although there wasn't many clues to allow a reader to lean in one or more characters direction. A lot of sneaking and following but not much to direct the reader until closer to the end. In certain scenes it comes off as if the civilian was doing more of the heavy lifting than the handsome lieutenant. The same lieutenant in which she gets "close" to but yet never fully explores the relationship. That is until the very end. I think if you're going to tease the reader with some romance, there should be actual romance.

However, the plot holes and on occasion, redundant descriptions don't compare to all of the typographical and grammatical mistakes: missing commas and words, misspellings, quotation marks and the abundance of dashes throughout. Supposedly, this novel was re-released to fix these errors. Either I wasn't given one of the revised copies or this hasn't taken place yet. The pacing tends to slow to a crawl in certain scenes. Complex words tend to appear out of no where like the author wore out her thesaurus. The chapter lengths are a bit wonky (some are a few pages while others are over a hundred). The list goes on. I did enjoy the story line. Although, I think if Ms. Donovan gave this novel an overhaul, if it hasn't been done yet, Reads Like Murder in Honolulu has the potential to be an excellent read.

Ghostly Rating:


Giveaway : I have three digital copies of this book to giveaway. This will be a first-come-first-serve type of thing. A copy of Reads Like Murder in Honolulu will be given to the first three people who send me an email request to paranormal_stories2004(at)yahoo.com.

Read the Fine Print

Upon signing up on a new website, how many times do you read the terms & conditions from beginning to end? Members of a UK game website called GameStation skimmed over the "immortal soul clause". This clause grant the company the right to claim their soul:

"By placing an order via this web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should we wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamestation.co.uk or one of its duly authorized minions." It goes on to say "we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you (a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, (b) have already given it to another party, or (c) do not wish to grant us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."

The terms were revised as an April Fools gag, but also proved a point: no one reads the terms & conditions and companies can insert any time of language in to the documents. All shoppers were given the option to opt-out, but very few did. However, if you are one of those who skipped the legalese, don't worry. The company has no plans to enforce the clause and are planning to send emails to every shopper who signed the contract nullifying any claim on their immortal souls. I guess it teaches one to make sure you know what you're getting in to even online.

GS Question of the Week

How useful do you think full spectrum cameras are in paranormal investigations?

The Orleans Inn

Adjacent to the shore of Town Cove in Orleans, Massachusetts sits an aging Victorian beauty. In 1875, Aaron Snow began constructing a beautiful mansion for his wife and seven children. The time and effort it took for him to build such a magnificent structure earned its past nickname, "Aaron's Folly". He ran a store on the first floor of this six-story building which included bootlegging and burying a stash in the waters of the cove. Snow's son, William H. moved the family business in to the center of Orleans where it continues to operate under by the Snow family. Aaron died on May 10, 1892, as well as his wife. For ten long years, this Victorian structure saw no life within its walls.

Then in 1900, two sisters bought it and turned the beloved home in to a boarding house. A seedier side of life was introduced during the Roaring Twenties. Some of the female boarders decided to "entertain" male clients in their rooms, leading to a scandalous reputation for the home. Two of these prostitutes met with death a few years later, one shot to death right in front of the parking lot. The home passed through many hands, including the Irish Mafia (allegedly), until the 1940s. The days of scandal were left behind. The northeast and southwest wings were added to the structure shortly after World War II and the building became first a summer, then a year-round hotel. The business prospered but tragedy would not be a thing of the past.

In the 1970s, a bartender named Fred was found hanging in the cupola. Most immediately wrote it off as a suicide but some think it may have been murder. Some time later, a dishwasher named Paul hung himself in the basement. Ed and Lauri Maas purchased the dilapidated inn during 1996 with plans to level the property. Once they learned of its history and alleged hauntings, they invested a couple million dollars in to restoring the structure to its beautiful splendor.

Three spirits are believed to haunt the Orleans Inn: Fred, Paul and the prostitute who was killed in front of parking lot and later named after a snow family member (Hannah) after her true identity could not be obtained. Doors have been known to open and close on their own. Shadows were seen by construction workers. Cats have often been heard particularly in the closet of Room 4 although there are no cats on the property. It's believed the two sisters who owned and ran the boarding house were fond of cats. Heavy footsteps have been heard going down the stairs in to the basement, a place where Paul is believed to occupy, along with disembodied voices. Fred has been seen and heard in the bar area. Glasses have a tendency to slide off tables. Candles which are blown out suddenly become relit. "Hannah" has been known to stroll around the property naked.

Beautiful Blog Award

Thanks to the lovely Julie from Above the Norm for supporting and honoring my little blog with a Beautiful Blog Award. According to the rules, I have to name 15 of my top favorite new blogs that I enjoy reading. I don't like singling one blog out over others. If you're on my blogroll. you deserve a Beautiful Blog Award. You are all fantastic in my opinion.

Here are the BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER AWARD RULES:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!

4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

Now 7 things about myself:

1. I'm probably one of the few serious paranormal bloggers who has NEVER had a personal paranormal experience. I don't go looking for one. I figure if its going to happen it will. Although, if my mother keeps frequenting yard sales and craigslist, it may happen sooner rather than later. You never know.

2. I was born with a heart murmur, one of fifty case in the entire country at the time. I had surgery in Little Rock when I was like 2 or 3. Found out a few years ago, the doctor who performed my surgery committed suicide. Truly tragic.

3. My tiny little Texas school managed to get on the news twice during my grade school career. The first time was because of a chlorine leak. Happened in junior high and we got out of school for a week. The second time was thanks to some redneck kid and his dad. During homecoming spirit week, the kid wore a hat with the confederate flag on it. When the principal told him to take it off, he wouldn't. His father was called to the school and told his kid he could wear it. It escalated a bit from there.

4. I moved to Oklahoma about six or seven years ago. First time I've lived in a house without wheels in like ten years. One of my friends was a little overly impressed how nice our trailer house looked from the inside. I guess a lot of people don't realize that all trailers don't look like they belong in a landfill.

5. I've never flown on an airplane in my life. However, I have had the pleasure of riding on a Greyhound. Nine hours of hell. Won't ever do it again unless I absolutely have no other choice.

6. I was in the school band from 5th grade to 10th. Played the flute. Quit because I didn't like how the band directors were running the show. Plus I still feel like I was robbed out of a letterman jacket.

7. Has been to Disney World in Florida. Only spent a day there because my father seems to think you can experience all it has to offer in a single day. Left Florida with a second degree sunburn. Such a nice parting gift....

Petra

When it was decided to vote in a new set of the Seven Wonders of the World, the lost city known as Petra in Jordan was one of the lucky seven to be admired and loved by visitors across the globe. Little is known about its exact origins as well as its history. However, more and more details are unraveled by the day historians. Remains from the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods have been discovered at Petra, and the biblical Edomites are believed to have occupied the area about 1200 BC. Although it hasn’t been proven, Petra may also be the city of Sela mentioned in the Old Testament.

Little is known of the Nabateans before 312 BC but historical texts dictate Petra achieved its greatest importance under them. The Nabateans were an ancient people whose original homeland was located in Northeastern Arabia. They migrated westward in the 6th Century BC eventually settling in Petra. As the Seleucid kingdom weakened in the 2nd century BC, the Nabataean kingdom increased in strength as they monopolized the caravan trade moving incense, myrrh, spices, gold, copper and possibly slaves which involved such places as China, Egypt, Greece, and India and passed from the Arabia to the coast. By the 1st century BC the Nabataean kingdom extended from Damascus to the Red Sea. Petra inhabited as many as 30,000 people. During this period, impressive structures of Petra were built, including the Treasury, the Great Temple and the Qasr el-Bint el-Faroun. Conduits and the remains of terracotta piping can be seen along the walls of the Outer Siq, which was part of an elaborate system for channeling water around the city.

Roman general Pompey's appeared in Petra’s history in 64 - 63 BCE conquering the Nabataeans. Fortunate for them, he believed in retaining Nabatean as a buffer for desert tribes. In 105-106 AD the Roman emperor Trajan annexed the Nabatean kingdom as part of a major military campaign on Rome's eastern frontiers. The former Nabataean kingdom became the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. However, the final period of Nabataean history was one of peace as allies of Rome. Although, after Roman annexation, the Nabateans ceased to be an identifiable political group. In the 1st century AD, the Siq was paved and the impressive classical theater was added. A Nabataean-style tomb was built in Petra for the Roman governor of Arabia Sextius Florentius (127 AD), and a high-ranking Roman soldier was buried in another tomb. The Urn Tomb also dates around the 2nd-3rd century.

A Byzantine church was built around 450-500 AD. Various tombs and temples at Petra were also used as churches, including the Monastery and the Urn Tomb. Changing trade routes in the 2nd and 3rd centuries caused Petra's gradual commercial decline, and in 511, an especially bad earthquake sealed the city's fate. Islam arrived in the Arab invasion of the 7th century.  After the Crusades in the 12th Century, Petra became a "lost city," known only to local Arabs. It remained hidden for 500 years. 

The Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered Petra in 1812. Several years before, he was contracted by a London-based association to explore the "interior parts of Africa." Three years later, after intense study of Islam and Arabic, Burckhardt disguised himself as a Muslim scholar, took the name Ibrahim ibn Abdullah, and set out for Egypt. During his journey, he was lured by local tales of a lost city in the mountains. Under the pretence of a sacrifice to the Prophet Aaron, he convinced a guide to take him there. In 1812 he became the first modern Westerner to see Petra. He died in 1817 but his book - Travels in Syria (Jordaan) and the Holy Land (1822) - compiled from his papers revealed the existence of Petra to the western world. Several people visited the “lost city”, but Petra remained an inaccessible and inhospitable city where strangers were not particularly welcome until the 1920s.

In World War I, the British hero T.E. Lawrence, also known for penning Lawrence of Arabia, famously assisted Arab tribes revolting against Turkish rule, leading many Arab guerilla operations in the desert. In one such operation, he trapped Turkish soldiers in the Siq in Petra. Since then, excavations at Petra have uncovered many of its secrets as well as revealing several temples and monuments, providing insight in to the the ancient city’s political, social and religious traditions. Will all of Petra’s 9000+ years worth of history be recovered? Perhaps stories of Djinns will keep seekers at arms length.

Legend states Petra has long been haunted by a ghoulish spirit; one Bedouins have long feared in the night. Even American visitors have witnessed a ghostly spectre on top of the Red City. Many believe hidden in the dark recesses of ancient burial chambers lies ghosts with the taste of possessing humans, also known as Djinns. These beings have often been associated with powerful beings caged in lamps who are forced to grant wishes to their masters. Their folklore counterpart is anything but that. The Treasury Tomb has become the symbol of the mysterious ancient city as well as a hot spot for paranormal activity. Are the Djinn protecting all those buried within Petra’s stone walls or looking for a way out?

Ghostly Thirteen

Halloween Graphics - http://www.halloweentext.com

Ghostly Thirteen was inspired by the Thursday Thirteen meme. You list thirteen paranormal-related things, for example your top 13 posts (if you have a paranormal blog), mythical creatures, gods, haunted houses, etc... All is welcomed to participate.

My Theme – 13 Favorite Posts

1. Masada - I find this fascinating whether its because they were so rebellious and killed themselves to avoid capture or the possibility it never happened.

2. Hindenburg Crash Site - Such a tragedy

3. The Wallet Man - this whole thing just creeps me out.

4. The Haunted Mortuary - a haunted location turned in to a haunted attractions.

5. Robert the Doll - I'm sorry but I don't think I want to be anywhere near this doll. Start having Chucky nightmares.

6. Island of the Dead Dolls - I think this falls in a similar category. An island covered in old dolls that some claim to have seen them move on their own is like the setting of a horror movie.

7. Hoia Baciu Forest - I remember seeing this on Destination Truth. It's an interesting location.

8. The Legend of Lucy Keyes - So sad they never found her.

9. Murder Castle - story of America's most deadliest serial killer.

10. The Monster of Dead Man's Hole - real or prank?

11. The Flintstones Long Lost Home - a local haunted place

12. St. Francisville Experiment - movie review

13. Lawson Family Massacre - a good documentary about a harsh aspect of life

GS Question of the Week

What was your first experience with the paranormal?

My Apologies

Due to illness and computer problems, this week is going to be Ghost Stories light. This includes no Ghost Stories Carnival for the month for lack of submissions. Everything should be back to normal next week. Feel free to browse the archives during this short hiatus. Again, my apologies...

GS Question of the Week

If you could create your own cryptid, what would it look like? What name would you give it and why?

Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington

Founded in 1893, Wellington, Washington was a small town unknown by most. One single devastating event launched it in to the spotlight. Located at the west portal of the original Cascade Tunnel under Stevens Pass, the community experienced a horrible blizzard lasting nine days the last week of February 1910. About a foot of snow fell per hour. Two trains, one passenger and one mail, bound for Seattle found themselves trapped in Wellington after snow accumulations and repeated avalanches covered the tracks. The worst of it was yet to come.

Late on February 28, the snow stopped and was replaced by rain and a warm wind. Just after 1 a.m. the next day, a slab of snow broke loose from the side of Windy Mountain during a violent thunderstorm. A ten-foot wall of snow, half a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide slid down the mountain towards the town. A massive forest fire had recently ravaged the slopes above the town, leaving very little to block its arrival. Cascading wall of snow hurled towards the two trains full of slumbering passengers and crew members. The impact threw the trains 150 feet downhill and into the Tye River valley killing ninety-six people, 35 passengers, 58 Great Northern employees, and three railroad employees in the depot. Only twenty-three passengers survived the avalanche after railroad employees rushed to their aid. The Wellington avalanche was the worst avalanche in United States history.

Wellington was quietly renamed Tye in October1910 due to this tragedy. The Wellington depot was closed when the second Cascade Tunnel came into use in 1929. The town was abandoned and eventually burned. However, those who lost their lives at Wellington will not be forgotten. Some have not even found peace in the afterlife. Karen Frazier, who is an editor and journalist for Paranormal Underground magazine, spent much of her time last summer at the site of the 1910 Wellington, Washington, avalanche. Originally intending to film a documentary, Frazier interviewed and investigated with a number of paranormal investigators who are intimately familiar with the site and firmly believe that Wellington is haunted.

“I was immediately captivated by the story of Wellington,” Frazier says. “I had no idea of the history of the place until I visited it. It’s a very unique place,” she continued. “You walk in and can’t help but feel the weight of what took place there.”

March 1, 2010, was the 100-year anniversary of the avalanche that took more than 96 lives and eventually led to the town of Wellington disappearing off of the map.

“I wasn’t entirely convinced that ghosts were real,” Frazier says, “and then I visited Wellington. After the things that I have experienced there, I am a believer.”

Perhaps more significantly, according to Frazier, her husband Jim also became a believer after visiting Wellington.

“That’s pretty stunning,” Frazier says. “Jim has a strong scientific background in nuclear engineering, and I never thought I’d see the day where he would believe in something as impossible to prove as ghosts.”

Frazier’s book titled Avalanche of Spirits: The Ghosts of Wellington covers the history of the avalanche and town, experiences of paranormal investigators and visitors to Wellington, as well as a chronicle of Frazier’s own experiences while investigating Wellington this past summer.

“When I was there, I promised the ghosts that I would tell their story,” Frazier says. “This book is how I decided to tell it.”

For more information, visit www.avalancheofspirits.com.
 
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