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

Reader Submission - A Visit From Mom Pt. 3

There he was, still sitting on the floor with his back towards me. It was very dark in the room but he had a small pocket flashlight which he had switched on and had laid on the floor between his legs. It formed a small circle of light around him. I could tell he was not aware of my presence; he was too lost in what he was doing.

Plunk. Plunk. I could see his shoulders moving as though he were tapping on something. It took a bit of focusing, but eventually I could make out the object from the dim light cast by the tiny flashlight, exactly what it was he had in his hand.

He was holding his hunting knife. It had an eight inch blade with a very heavy brass handle. He was grasping it by the tip of the blade with his fingertips and was tapping with the handle on something on the floor in front of him. I slowly raised myself up from my crouching position just far enough so I could see what it was that had him so involved. I clamped my hand over my mouth as I watched so my gasps could not be heard. I could not believe what I was witnessing.

Tap, tap, tap; again and again, as the handle of the hunting knife lightly struck the wooden floor.

He had obviously retrieved one of the mouse traps from the garage where we kept them set and ready. We had randomly placed them about in an effort to control the mice; they would often try to come in as the weather turned cold. The trap was not empty. It contained a rather large mouse that was pinned under the wire latch of the trap by its tail and one of its back legs. It was quite alive. The mouse was frantically trying to escape despite the trap attached to him. The poor thing was flailing about, its’ struggle with the trap was causing the rattling sound I had heard. Every time the mouse would try to flee by dragging the trap with his three good legs, he would tap lightly on its head with the butt of the handle of his knife.

I am quite an animal lover and even though mice are not at the top of my list, I was quite shocked at his behavior; it was as though he were disciplining the poor creature for trying to escape. When the mouse would become so frightened it would no longer attempt to move, he would start tapping on the floor directly beside it again just long enough to scare the little creature into daring to make yet one more hopeless attempt to escape. Suddenly, he dropped his knife raised his fist high into the air and lunged it down hard on top of the poor mouse.

I dropped back down to a squatting position once again so I would be out of my husband’s sight. I began shuffling backwards towards the hallway as quickly as I could. I lost my balance and landed on my bottom but I never paused for even a moment. I just kept moving, doing what I can now only describe as a backwards butt walk. I watched the end of the hall. I knew if I saw his shadow appear, I would pay dearly.

I made it safely back into my bed and pulled the comforter tightly around me. Tears burned in my eyes as I faced what was happening to my life. I even tried to wish back my mom standing at the end of my bed again. It didn’t work. I finally gratefully fell back to sleep.

I had an incredible dream.

I found myself standing alone on a long narrow gravel road. It was very dark. There was a damp gray mist rolling along the ditches, almost appearing as though it were a gray ghost lurking against the total blackness that had enveloped me. I could see, despite the darkness, that tremendous trees lined both sides of the road beside me. They had no leaves; their branches were very long and black, blacker than the darkness itself was. They stretched out over the road from both sides, as though they were trying to touch each other above me, but then had somehow become snarled and twisted at their spiny tips; and now were interlocked and tangled, they formed a tunnel effect above me and around me.

Despite the heavy mist and the darkness, I could still see clearly down the road before me and far off into the distance. There, in a pinpoint of light, I observed a shadow-like figure that appeared to be moving towards me. Even though I was deep in sleep, I could actually smell the dampness of the air and the aroma of the wet rotting bark of the huge black trees. I felt fear beginning to flow through me, clenching my body, paralyzing my legs and feet, and causing me to be unable to move them. I felt as though I was standing in hardened cement.

The figure continued to move slowly and deliberately towards me, making short jerky movements with every step it took. It seemed to take endless hours for it to reach me. I watched as it moved closer and closer. With no way for me to flee, I could only observe and wait.

Now, finally, but a few yards from me, the figure abruptly stopped and stood completely motionless directly in front of me. The fog was now so dense I felt as though I were looking through very thick dirty glass that distorted the face and made it near impossible for me to make out any distinct features. I could feel the cold heavy air weighing on my skin. I glanced down to my forearm and observed that the dampness of the mist had formed a few tiny little beads of liquid on it. I watched as they suddenly gathered together to form one big water droplet that tickled me as it trickled off of my skin and toppled to the ground in slow motion. I had a sudden flashback of memory before my eyes. I saw my tears landing on top of the grease in my bowl of soup the night I learned of my mother’s impending death. I lifted my eyes back up to the figure, startled that it was now but a few inches from me. The mist had thinned enough to clearly see the features of the face.

I found myself looking into my mother’s eyes. Her face was very close to mine. I felt it strange that I felt no breath from her lips or warmth from her body. She had no color, no motion to her. It was as if I was looking at a transparent black and white photograph. Her face was so peaceful and her eyes felt as though they were looking right through me. We stood in silence for some time, face to face, just looking at each other, but not touching. I started to feel warm and at peace as some of the fear began to drain away. She began to speak to me, but strangely, her mouth was not moving. I realized I was hearing her in my mind. Her voice came as a whisper inside of my head. It was gentle and mesmerizing; I can only compare it to the sound of a soft breeze blowing though the leaves of a tree.

She told me it was time for me to close this chapter of my life. She explained that the beginning of my thirtieth year had been a milestone in my fate, and that it was time for happiness to fill my life. I smiled at my mom as her thoughts flowed through my mind. I could smell the oatmeal cookies she used to bring to our rooms late at night. She told me to prepare myself for the change that was about to take place in my life. She left me with one warning, to be careful, that my husband was going to try to kill me. That is when I woke suddenly; I was covered with cold sweat. I was afraid, afraid of what would come to be.

This truly happened to me. I was in a horrible place in my life and I believe my mother decided to intervene. She changed my whole life, it affected me so much that I was driven to write a book about it; Intertwined, Based on a True Story, if you are interested in reading a couple chapters you can find it at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. Our loved ones never truly leave our side.

Reader Submission - A Visit From Mom Pt. 2

My eyes consumed only empty darkness. I exhaled a long deep sigh of relief; he was not in the room with me. I was alone, at least for the moment. I turned and dangled my feet over the edge of my bed while drawing in long deep breaths and making a weak attempt to get a grasp on myself and calm my heart back down to a somewhat normal pace. I was not absolutely convinced as of yet whether or not I had just seen a ghost. I was still quite shaken, but shit, even if it was my mother, it was still a ghost.

My mind was trying to make some sense of the ordeal. Logic took over consoling me that perhaps I had simply been dreaming. It was quite possible that in those first waking moments when your brain is not quite yet functioning to its full capacity, I had simply imagined the whole episode.

I was suddenly pulled back to reality as I heard something from somewhere in the house. There was a strange tapping sound. It would tap continuously, and then suddenly stop again. I waited a few moments and it started again. I knew, despite my better judgment, I had better go check.

He could be doing something disturbing or horrible. I quietly crossed the room and ran square into the bedroom door. He had obviously shut it when he had left the room. He knew I hated it when he closed the door on me. I turned the knob slowly until I heard the latch click and then carefully pulled it open. I was trying to be very cautious not to make any sound at all. I knew that getting down the hallway without being heard would be the real challenge. The floor in the hall consisted of long wooden planks that had warped from wear and caused them to loosen at their edges just enough so when you stepped on the surface of them in specific spots they would creak loudly.

I kept my body tight against the wall doing my best to avoid them and moved smoothly and silently as possible down the hall. I finally reached the end of it and stood motionless holding my breath so I could hear everything around me.

I heard a sort of rustling sound that appeared to be coming from the dining area that was located just beyond the kitchen. I very slowly and cautiously moved my face past the corner of the hall just enough so I could peek past its edge and was able to peer into the big open room.

I could not locate him anywhere around the area where I had heard the sounds coming from. I crouched down very low to the floor, and using my hands and feet, I shuffled towards the breakfast bar that ran between the kitchen and the dining area. I was feeling just a little impressed with myself; being a normally slightly clumsy person, I had remained in perfect stealth mode. I felt like a panther in the night, at least for the moment anyway. I stalked closer, attempting to be absolutely silent so he would not be aware of my presence.

Now, on the opposite side of the bar that he was on, I slowly put my head just far enough past the corner so I could peek to the other side. I realized then why I was not able to see him from the opening of the hallway. He was sitting on the floor hidden from my view by the bar itself. I jerked my head quickly back out of sight and sat with my back pushed tightly against my side of the bar. I remained motionless for the moment, trying to breathe as quietly as possible. Even though I was a little excited over my professionalism, I still felt a bit sneaky and a little weird over my own behavior as I crouched there in the dark spying on my husband.

It hadn’t always been this way. He may have been a little strange at times in the past, he had always had little bouts of dark moods, but then his demeanor would always change quickly, and he would appear to be quite normal again. However, in the past month or so, this had been changing immensely.

For some inexplicable reason, lately he could turn ice cold mean in the drop of a hat. Suddenly, at that precise moment, his eyes would appear to turn from their normal shade of brown to coal black, as though a terrible storm had just rolled into his head and exploded. I had chosen to ignore the behavior at first, but his creepiness had become so intense it could no longer be denied. Something was going wrong in him. He was no longer the man I once knew.

Now as a result, I have learned to watch his eyes closely when he speaks to me and be constantly watchful for the darkness to flood into them. I was beginning to wonder if Satan may have fathered a son that he had adopted out.

Suddenly, I heard the clicking and rattling again now followed by a tap, tap every few seconds or so; I cautiously crept a little closer. I was trembling just a bit from either the night chill or nervousness, but I just had to know what he was doing. I felt that since he appeared not to be so well anymore, I had a responsibility to watch him closely, or perhaps it was more than that. I no longer trusted what he might do. I had to know just how far he had slipped. I slowly poked my head around the corner of the bar once again.

To be continued...

Reader Submission - A Visit From Mom Pt. 1

The following story is from Julie:

I was living with a man that was suddenly acting strangely, just barely hanging on to the edge of sanity. It was to the point I could no longer trust him…I was not sure what he may do next. I was desperate for answers, afraid, and alone. Then something strange happened, so strange that even now I cannot even believe it myself, but it was real. I have an extreme need to share this incredible story to all of you out there that feels no hope, miracles happen trust me! So many people do not understand how you can find yourself in a position where you know there is no escape. Unless people have experienced it, they will never understand. So many of us that have been through such suppression know the real truth on how it happens. If you stay you could die, if you go you know in your heart you WILL die. My heart goes out to you all, my dear sisters and brothers; know that I have a hug for each of you, because I truly know where you’re at!

I woke with such a start that my body had automatically bolted itself into an upright position. For some reason, unknown to me, I had an overwhelming feeling that I was being observed. Even though my eyes were still blurry from sleep and not quite cooperating, I frantically searched the immediate area surrounding my bed. I felt a sudden stab in my gut as I realized someone truly was there, standing at the very foot of my bed. I flung my hand out sideways in the darkness towards my bedside table. I was desperately searching for my eyeglasses that I had left lying there just a few hours earlier. Without them or my contact lenses, what I thought I was visualizing as a person could easily have been my bathrobe dangling innocently from the six foot tall post at the end of my bed.

As I searched blindly in the dark, I felt them for just an instant, barely brushing them with my fingertips. The force was just enough to send them whirling off of the night stand and spinning across the wooden floor. So much for that, my only choice now was to squint like a mole and try to make out whom, if anyone was truly there.

Concentrating to focus, I was able to make out the figure; it appeared to be a woman. She was wearing a brightly flowered dress with a brown tattered work coat over it. It reminded me of the ones we used to wear on our family farm during my childhood years. The woman was staring at me in an odd sort of a way. Her head was slightly quirked to one side. My heart was pounding so hard in my chest that I could hear the echo of each beat inside of my head. But then, even in my half blind state, I began to notice the warm soft smile on the woman’s face. I squinted a little harder. She seemed vaguely familiar to me. My brain shifted into overdrive racing through all my past and present trying to sort out a name that I could place with this face. Suddenly, I realized who was standing there! Oh my God, it was my mother!

I had not recognized her in those first waking moments, only because she no longer looked pale and ravished as she had the last time I saw her. She appeared quite youthful, vibrant and full of love; exactly as she had been before the cancer had attacked her young body at twenty eight years of age. Mom died twenty two years ago slowly and painfully, one pound at a time. She was thirty years young, the exact age that I am now.

I very quietly lowered my weight onto my feet. I squatted down and once again and ran my hands across the surface of the floor trying to locate what was left of my eyeglasses.

Even with this sudden revelation, panic still swept through me. This could only mean one thing, and I wasn’t very keen on what that was. With adrenaline racing through my veins, I leaned over towards the floor, frantically running my hands adjacent to the edge of my bed as I desperately tried to locate my eyeglasses one more time. I really needed them right now, what I perceived I was seeing was not at all acceptable to me.

Stretching just a bit too far, I managed to roll off the edge of my bed and hit the floor with a loud thud. My butt landed square on my glasses. I hastily jerked them out from beneath my bottom expecting the worse. Without taking the time to check their present condition I quickly threw them onto my face, realizing as I did that they were now bent and distorted and had but one remaining lens. Closing my eye on the side of the missing lens, I found that I could actually see through the one that was still intact. I slowly raised my head up past the edge of my bed until I could just barely see over the top of the crumpled comforter. I moved my head upward slowly until I was able to view the foot of my bed once again.

I carefully focused with my one eye to the exact spot where I thought she had stood but a few moments ago, only to find that there was now no one there. In one clumsy motion I stood up and leapt back onto my bed, the sudden movement caused my now useless eyeglasses to once again tumble off of my face and fall somewhere out of sight. I heard a small click, click sound as they landed on the wooden floor and once again slid out of my reach.

I threw my left arm outward this time, towards his side of the bed to check for his presence, but felt only the coolness of the sheet. Thankfully, he was not there, and obviously had not been for some time. Once again I jerked my body upright; my eyes darting around the darkened room. I carefully searched every corner, every shadow for his outline, fearing that he may be lurking somewhere in the dark, hiding as some predator animal might, just waiting patiently for the moment he could pounce on me and do something loveless or unreasonable.

To be continued...

Hammond Castle



Guest Hunter Josh Gates joins the TAPS team as they investigate an Hammond Castle in Gloucester, Massachusetts, minutes away from Josh's childhood home.

Hammondcastle.org
The castle was constructed between 1926 and 1929 for inventor John Hays Hammond Jr as a wedding present for his new bride Irene. The two secretly married in 1926. Hammond is known as the "Father of Remote Control". He held over 400 patents, more than anyone other than Thomas Edison. His home and laboratory contains his 15th, 16th and 18th Century collection of Roman, Medieval and Renaissance artifacts including the skull of one of Christopher Columbus' crewman, an eighty-five foot tall pipe organ, and the tomb of a child from Ancient Rome. Irene died in 1959 and Hammond's death came years later in 1965. Irene was buried in her family's plot in the Gloucester's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Hammond was buried in the sepulcher until his body was moved in to the bronze vault inside the Cat Garden a few years ago.

Today, the building operates as the Hammond Castle Museum and is transformed in to a haunted attraction known as Castle of the Damned in October. Hammond and his wife were known Spiritualists and performed many seances with psychics. During their experiments, did they invite spirits in their home who have never left? Hammond collected many historical artifacts. Were spirits attached to them? Either way, the castle is host to numerous paranormal reports. 

It is believed Hammond and his wife haunt the building. Their spirits have often been seen throughout Hammond Castle. Items disappear, reappear and move on their own. Voices are heard in the circular library as well as other rooms. A ghostly red-haired woman and other spirits appears among guests during weddings and disappears whenever anyone gets too close to them. A shadow figure is seen on the balcony above the organ.

Sources:



James McCabe Theater

Photo by: Kevin Brady
Built in 1915, The James McCabe Theater is located in the booming town of Valrico, Florida. The Valrico Improvement Association raised $3,500 to build a structure for the group and as a focal point for the community and named it the Valrico Civic Center. By like the 1950s, it was home to a Woman's Club and in the late 1970s, Hillsborough County repossessed the building.

The Village Players obtained permission to use the structure for theatrical productions until 1994 when the property was deeded to them. It achieved historical landmark status and received a name change. James McCabe was one of The Village Players founds as well as their former president. After he suddenly passed away, the building became known as The James McCabe Theater. For the past few years, the theater has been experiencing continuous renovations. They rely on donations from generous people to keep this project going.

This theater may be the only commercial property from Valrico's golden days but it's also believed to be haunted. Witnesses have heard the sound of keys or coins jingling, having their named called by an unknown source, a little girl singing, footsteps, humming and laughter. There are reports of a male entity roaming the building but also evidence of residual activity.

Sources:

James McCabe Theater website

Brandon Patch - 'Ghosts' at James McCabe a Test for Paranormal Enthusiasts

The Lyric Theatre

Lyric Theatre (Tupelo, Ms.)
Photo By: Lamar Jones
Prior to the American Civil War, Tupelo, Mississippi was known as Gum Pond due to the numerous black gum trees in the area. It was later renamed in honor of the Battle of Tupelo. You may recognize the name thanks to a little singer named Elvis Presley who was born in East Tupelo in 1935. While several notable names can be linked to the city, there are just as many legends. Paranormal investigators believe much of the city is haunted. One particular location may have a 1930s tornado to thank for their alleged haunted status.

Mr. R. F. Goodlett secured enough funds and The Comos was built in 1912. The Comos, as the Lyric Theatre was originally named, was designed as a vaudeville theater and included space for several commercial offices. The Lyric remained a home for live productions until the 1930's, when it became a part of the M.A. Lightman Company (Malco) chain of movie houses, acquiring its now-familiar marquee and Art Deco appearance. A persistent rumor dictates Elvis’ first kiss was stolen in the balcony of the Lyric. However, the theater's sturdy brick walls were truly tested on April 5, 1936. A massive tornado swept through, leveling much of the city.

Being one of two buildings to survive this meteorological event, the Lyric was turned in to a makeshift hospital and mortuary. The dead and the dying were moved in to the building. Surgeries were performed, using the popcorn poppers to sterilize medical instruments and crawl spaces temporarily stored the dead. An estimated 216 people were killed and another 700 injured. The official numbers may have been higher due to racial discrimination involving newspapers. It's believed one of those victims may have stuck around. Theater staff named their ghost "Antoine" and accuse him of such minor offenses as stealing keys and humming to himself. He clomps around the theater in the wee hours, moving things around.

By 1984, the Lyric had outlived its usefulness as a movie theater and was facing likely abandonment and demolition. The Tupelo Community Theatre snatched the Lyric away from the wrecker’s ball in the fall of 1984, and began work on renovations. With gifts and pledges that eventually totaled over $230,000, the Theatre’s friends rebuilt the stage, installed new theatrical lighting and sound systems, totally rewired the building, installed a new heating and air conditioning system, and, most visibly, spectacularly restored the lobby. The Lyric Theatre is still in use to this day.

Source:

Tupelo Community Theatre

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Governor's Mansion



The team travels to Hampton Falls, New Hampshire to investigate the Governor's Mansion where a young boy once lived and died in the late 1800s. Tune in Wednesday at 9/8c to see what they find.
 
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