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

Wishing Everyone a...

Ghosts in the Machine

Found this article on The New York Times website. It talks about a Swiss neuorscientist who claims to have the answer to explain away the supernatural. He pretty much states that it may be all in our minds. Here is an excerpt:

So when scientists wrote in a recent issue of the journal Nature that they could induce phantom effects — the sensation of being haunted by a shadowy figure — by stimulating the brain with electricity, it made perfect neurological sense. One could even argue that the existence of such sensations explains away the so-called supernatural. In fact, as The Times reported, the researchers promptly concluded that ghosts are mere “bodily delusions,” electrical misfirings and nothing more.

Click here to read the rest of the article. If you have time, stop by my new renter, YouTube Karaoke.

Volcano Folklore

Allow me to start with the answers to yesterday's questions:

1. Some say that if you take a lava rock as a souvenir, you will have streak of bad luck. Of course, there are different versions of this story.
2. The Hawaiian Goddess Pele is said to live in the volcano Mt. Kilauea.
3. Some believe that the lost city of Atlantis was destroyed and buried due to a volcano eruption.
4. The word 'volcano' comes from the little island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily.
5. Earthquakes and volcano eruptions were also considered as giants wandering the earth.

Vulcan, The Roman God of Fire

Vulcan, the Roman God of Fire, was considered the blacksmith of the gods. Volcan was Hephaistos - the Greek god of fire and craftsmanship, named Vulcan by the Romans. He was said to have made weapons and tools for the other gods in his workshop at Olympus. Volcanoes have frequently been identified with Vulcan and other mythological figures. Poets attributed the smoke from volcanoes as to be from Vulcan's forge (volcano).

He was the son of Zeus and Hera - although some versions of his story state that he had no father, with Hera bearing him alone in retaliation for Zeus having brought forth Athena - Hephaestus was born lame and ugly, and his mother Hera hated him on first sight and he was cast out (story versions vary as to how). The sea-goddess Thetis found the crippled infant and took him to her underwater grotto. She raised him with the help of the goddess of Graces, Eurynome.

To regain his rightful place among the gods, he built a golden throne and sent it to Hera as a gift. Upon sitting on it, Hera was imprisoned by its golden arms, which promptly clamped her. To reclaim her freedom Hera had to extract a promise from all the gods that Hephaestus would be accepted into the Pantheon.

Pelee - Hawaiian Goddess of Volcanoes

Hawaiian legends tell that eruptions were caused by Pele, the beautiful but tempestuous Goddess of Volcanoes, during her frequent moments of anger. Pele was both revered and feared; her immense power and many adventures figured prominently in ancient Hawaiian songs and chants. She could cause earthquakes by stamping her feet and volcanic eruptions and fiery devastations by digging with the Pa'oe, her magic stick. An oft-told legend describes the long and bitter quarrel between Pele and her older sister Namakaokahai that led to the creation of the chain of volcanoes that form the islands.

Llao and Skell - Native American Gods - Crater Lake

Native Americans interpreted Mazama's violent eruptions before its collapse as a war between two gods, Llao and Skell. Shamans in historic time forbade most Indians to view the lake, and the Indians offered no information about the lake to pioneers who crisscrossed the area for 50 years without discovering it.

According to Indian legend, La-o was the chief spirit who occupied the mystic land of Gaywas, or Crater Lake. Under his control were many lesser spirits, who appeared to be able to change their forms at will. Many of them were monsters of various kinds. Among them the giant crawfish (or dragon) who could, if he chose, reach up his mighty arms even to the tops of the cliffs and drag down to the cold depths of Crater Lake, any too venturesome tourists of the Primal days.

Skell was a mighty spirit whose realm was the Klamath Marsh region, his capital being near the Yamsay River on the eastern side of the marsh. He had many subjects who took the form of birds and beasts when abroad in the land, as the antelope, the bald eagle, the golden eagle and others, among which were the most sagacious and active creatures on earth.

Now a fierce war occurred between Skell and La-o and their followers, which raged for a long time. Finally, Skell was stricken down in his own land of Yamsay and his heart was torn from his body and carried in triumph to La-o Yaina or La-o's mountain, the eastern escapement of which is the great rock rising above Crater Lake.

The men of Skell knew that if the heart of Skell could be restored to his body he would live again, and with a secret understanding between them, they awaited their opportunity. It was passed from on Skell follower to the next. Skell's heart was returned to his body, he lived again and the ware was resumed. La-o was himself overpowered and slain. His body was borne in triumph to the great rock, the cliff overlooking the lake near his own capital. A false message was conveyed to La-o's monsters in the lake that Skell had been killed again. The body was torn to pieces and hurled into the water. As each part of the body was thrown to the lake, the monsters of La-o devoured it. But when the head was thrown in, they recognized it as that of their own god La-o, and refused to touch it. So it remains today as an island known to all as Wizard Island.

Mount St. Helens

Northwest Indians told early explorers about the firey Mount St. Helens. In fact, an Indian name for the mountain, Louwala-Clough, means "smoking mountain". According to one legend, the mountain was once a beautiful maiden, "Loowit". When two sons of the Great Spirit "Sahale" fell in love with her, she could not choose between them. The two braves, Wyeast and Klickitat fought over her, burning villages and forests in the process. Sahale was furious. He smote the three lovers and erected a mighty mountain peak where each fell. Because Loowit was beautiful, her mountain (Mount St. Helens) was a beautiful, symmetrical cone of dazzling white.

Source: Crystalinks

Pop Quiz!

I'm back! I hope I was missed. Scooter McGavin's time is up and I'm looking for a new renter.

I thought I would test your knowledge on volcano folklore. So, here is a quiz to find out what you know. Answers and more volcano folklore will be posted tomorrow.

1. What is the folklore on taking lava rocks as souvenirs?

2. What is the home of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele?

3. What famous ancient city was said to be completely destroyed by a volcano eruption?

4. Where does the word "Volcano" come from?

5. What mythical creature was associated with earthquakes and volcano eruptions?

Christmas Traditions Part 2

This going to be my last post until after Christmas. If I haven't told you by now, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Stay safe!

I promised you all some more Christmas tradition origins and today I'm going to deliver. How many of you know that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created as a promotional gimmick by Montgomery Wards? In 1939, the Chicago-based company asked one of their copywriters Robert L. May to come up with a Christmas story that they could give away to their shoppers. May used the tale of The Ugly Duckling as well as his own past as inspiration for the character and Rudolph was born.

Many people believe that Halloween is the day to fear the dead but winter solstice was considered a vulnerable time as well. The fabric drawn between our world and the world of malicious spirits becoming rent, allowing the harmful ones to slip through to perhaps claim a victim or two. It became custom to hold a loud, cheery celebration at that time, in hope that the din would convince the lurking evil that there were just too many humans gathered in this one place to take on. Charms and rituals became part of the tradition surrounding this party as a further way of protecting loved ones from evil.

Evergreens are symbolic of enduring and renewed life, which is why decorate our homes with them at Christmastime. The fetching in of green branches is a magical rite to ensure the return of vegetation at winter's end. Our modern day Christmas tree is the centerpiece of this belief. Homes were not decorated with only Christmas trees, holly and mistletoe. Ivy, rosemary, bay, laurel and anything else green was also used.

By tradition, Christmas decorations should not be erected prior to Christmas Eve, lest this visible proof of anticipation of a festival anger capricious forces. Evergreens especially (and that includes your tree) should not be brought into the house before this time. Comfort should therefore be drawn from the knowledge that greedy merchants who put up their Christmas finery in early November daily court the malicious attentions of evil spirits.

Ivy, oddly enough, is usually considered a bad luck magnet when brought into a home. (Growing on the sides of a house is just fine though; it's then considered protective.) According to superstition, ivy should never be brought as a gift to anyone ill, and of course all ivy must be removed from the home of anyone under the weather. During the holiday season, however, holly and ivy are "reunited" under one roof as male and female are symbolically brought together again. Perhaps holly's power counteracts ivy's influence.

Those born on this auspicious day will never encounter a ghost, nor will they have anything to fear from spirits. They're also protected against from death by drowning or hanging.

The custom of sending Christmas cards probably began with the English "schoolpieces" or "Christmas pieces", simple pen-and-ink designs on sheets of writing paper. The first formal card was designed by an Englishman, J.C. Horsley, in 1843. It was lithographed on stiff, dark cardboard and depicted in color a party of grownups and children with glasses of wine raised in a toast over the words "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you." It caught on because in England you could mail a greeting for a penny each. Now nearly 2 Billion are sent every year.

The abbreviation "Xmas" for "Christmas" usage is nearly as old as Christianity. Its origins lie in the fact that the first letter in the Greek word for 'Christ' is 'chi,' and the Greek letter 'chi' is represented by a symbol similar to the letter 'X' in the modern Roman alphabet. Hence 'Xmas' is indeed perfectly legitimate abbreviation for the word 'Christmas'.

To read more on Christmas Legends, visit: Snopes. You can also try your luck with their Christmas Legends Quiz. Since I won't be posting for a few days, let me remind you to head over to Scooter McGavin's 9th Green and wish him a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Scooter McGavin's 9th Green

The position of my new renter has been filled by Scooter McGavin from Scooter McGavin's 9th Green. If you want the latest news about TV, music, politics and sports, check out his site.

Yesterday's post dealt with the Winter TV Schedule. I hate that some of my favorite programs, among others, have decided to split the season up. I'd rather see it in it's entirety rather than watch half of it followed by on going re-runs then the rest of it months later. Some winter programs have their good points. The 3rd season of Beauty and the Geek. I love the concept of this show but I sort of wish they would a switch, you know guys as the "beauties" and the girls as geeks. I wonder how that would work out.

Next on the post train is Hip Hop music and why it may be dead. I've never been a huge fan of hip hop, some songs I like while others I don't. So, I'm not the authoritative figure on why it is dead or not. Scooter's post goes more into detail about the situation better than I could explain it.

Scooter also has a poll you can vote in. You email him your top ten favorite songs of the year. So many to choose from. I don't know if I could narrow it to just ten. We'll see.

Take some time to see what else Scooter has to say about the above and so on. Tell him I sent ya!

Looking for a New Renter

The Tom Jackson Online week is over and I'm looking for a new renter. It only costs 30 credits and you usually get at least 20 clicks. Will make my choice tomorrow morning.

Santa's Evil Sidekick

Did you know that Santa Claus has an evil sidekick? Children in Austria did. Every year Austrian children watch warily for "Krampus", Santa's horned and hair sidekick.

Krampus has been known as a devil-like figure that drives away evil spirits during the Christian holiday season. He appears alongside Santa around December 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, and the two are still part of festivities in many parts of central Europe.

Boisterous young men wearing deer horns, masks with battery-powered red eyes, huge fangs, bushy coats of sheep's fur, and brandishing birchwood rods storm down the streets, confronting spectators gathered to watch the medieval spectacle, which is also staged in parts of nearby Hungary, Croatia and Germany's Bavaria state. Anyone who doesn't dodge or run away fast enough might get swatted -- although not hard -- with the rod.

According to an article from Reuters, these traditions didn't come under the spotlight until Santa was banned from visiting kindergartens in Vienna because he scared some children. I'm sure a lot of children have a Santa phobia but is banning him too extreme? Official reports have been denied but now only adults that children know can play the famous role and visit schools.

Now, an Austrian child pyschiatrist is asking for a ban on Krampus stating, "The Krampus image is connected with aggression, and in a world that is anyway full of aggression, we shouldn't add figures standing for violence... and hell."

He claims there have been known cases of "Krampus trauma". He said Krampus remained a popular custom probably because "there's a phenomenon of finding fear attractive," pointing for example to the frequently frightening, sometimes gruesome, plot twists in the classic fairy-tales of the Grimm brothers.

I can see how someone can be a bit afraid of him, but people are afraid of clowns too. Don't see anyone trying to ban them yet.

Source: Reuters


Have you visited Tom Jackson Online yet?

GS Question of the Week

This week's question:

If a gruesome murder occurred close to where you live/work and you had the opportunity to sneak a souvenir, would you? Why?

My Answer: I never could understand why people have this compulsion to take "souvenirs" from a crime scene. It's like they don't have any compassion for the victims. You take something from the crime scene and possibly mess up the police's investigation. Why would someone do that? I'm sure this has happened quite often but I have heard about this twice: Villisca Axe Murder House and when Bonnie and Clyde's bodies and car was paraded through the middle of town.

I wouldn't do it. Matter of fact, I think it's a bit creepy to do something like that, especially if you intend on proudly displaying it in your home.

Tom Jackson Online

I want to thank everyone who voted in the poll and/or left comments concerning my decision to start a blog at NuTang. I've decided to go ahead and try it and see what happens. At the moment waiting for my invite, if I get one.

This plug post is going to be kind of short and sweet since I'm kind of crunched for time. My apologies to my renter. I would like to introduce to you my new renter for the week from Tom Jackson Online. At TJO, you will find the latest UK news from harvesting gas hydrates to the tragic loss of a ten-month old girl who died from being severely burned by hot water.

If you want to know more about what is going on in the UK, stop by Tom Jackson Online.

Blog Announcements

First, it has been a pleasure having Rav'N here, but the lease is almost up. I'm looking for another renter at the moment. The rent is cheap, 30 credits. You get a plug post, occasional plus throughout the week and the option of a guest post.

I also make sure that the rent blog link is changed to your regular blog link after the week is over. Some have asked me to do that. So, I've made it a regular practice of mine. Special consideration goes to regular readers and past bidders who haven't rented space on Ghost Stories yet.

Next, posts here may be a little scarce this week. I'm going to be backing up posts on disk as well as cleaning up my blog layout a bit. Been meaning to do it for a while. I guess this week is as good as any.

Also, I hit the 200 post mark yesterday. I'm pretty proud of that. I guess I get to reminisce as I'm copying all 20o+ posts to a cd-rom.

Last, I've been thinking about starting another blog, a place to share my writing. I don't want to start it on blogger though. I've thought about trying NuTang so I can earn a little money blogging. However, I wanted to get the opinions of those who have/are using it via a poll. Let me know what you think of the site.

Do you like NuTang?
I guess
What's NuTang? free polls

That's all for announcements. Have a wonderful day!

GS Question of the Week

If you are a horror movie fan like myself, do you prefer movies based on actual events or totally fiction? Why?

My Answer: Even though movies based on true stories are interesting, either one suits me fine as long as it is good overall.

I Can be Weird When I Wanna Be

Piglet tagged me for a "weird" meme. I think this blog is enough portray how weird some people may think I am, but allow me to offer up some personal information.

First, the rules: Each player of this game starts with the "6 Weird Things about You." People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says 'you are tagged' in their comments and tell them to read your blog!

6 Weird Things About Me:

1. My room stays pretty messy most of the time and it really doesn't bother me. However, if someone leaves a mess in any other, it drives me nuts to the point I have to clean it. I don't know why.

2. I have to know what time it is for no apparent reason. I'm constantly looking at my watch like every five minutes even if I don't have any plans for the day. I think that has to do with when I was in school. Most of my teachers didn't have clocks in their classrooms. I checked my watch constantly, counting down the minutes until the bell rang.

3. When I read or write, the room cannot be silent. The TV or radio has to be on or I can't concentrate.

4. I'm bit of a germaphobe. I don't have a severe case but I do wash my hands at least 12 times a day.

5. Sometimes I blame stuff on my brother even though he didn't do it. He's in trouble so much, no one can tell the difference. Plus, from what I hear, he blames stuff on me too. So, I guess it can be seen as a way to get even.

6. I'm borderline obsessed with candles. I love them, particularly aromatherapy candles. One day, I hope to learn how to make them.

I am tagging: Sue, Steve, Rav'N, Grimm, ANO and Stacey.

Reader Submission - Mahsuri

Rav was kind of enough to share a piece of Malaysian history. Stop by Rav'N's Realm to see what other treasures you may find.

First off, I would like to thank Andrea for putting up with me for a week and allowing me to make a guest post. I was originally going to tell you about one of the more common ghost stories or legends that gets told around campfires and dormitories in Malaysia. But then I remembered the legend of Mahsuri. This is a piece of real Malaysian history that has a somewhat paranormal bent to it. This is how the story goes.

Around 200 years ago, during the time of the powerful Sultanates of the Malay Archipelago there lived a young woman named Mahsuri. Legend says she was the most beautiful woman in all of Langkawi. Mahsuri was the daughter of a local businessman called Padak Maya and the wife of Mat Darus, a brave warrior and son of the chief of Langkawi, Dato Karma Jaya. As was required of him, her husband had to go to war, leaving Mahsuri behind to fend for herself. It was during this time that Mahsuri befriended a young man named Deraman.

Fueled by gossip from Wan Mahora, the jealous wife of the village headman, their close friendship lead others in her village to believe that there was more to the relationship. Many versions of the legend claim that there were those who were so envious of Mahsuri's beauty that they perpetuated the gossip. Eventually the rumors grew strong enough that the villagers openly accused her of allowing Deraman to stay in her house. Mahsuri pleaded her innocence, but no one believed her.

Her father-in-law, sentenced Mahsuri to death at Padang Hangus, following the old Islamic punishment for adultery; Mahsuri was to be tied to a tree (or pole), and stabbed to death. Legend has it that those conducting her execution had to use a special kris (short dagger) as no ordinary kris could kill her. When they stabbed her, with her father’s kris, white blood flowed from her wound, signifying her innocence. With her dying breath, Mahsuri placed a seven generation curse on Langkawi. Some say the curse was that the island would experience 7 generations of bad luck, while others say the curse was that the island would stay barren for 7 generations, and yet other say it was a curse for 7 generations of tragedy.

Not long after her death, Siam attacked Pulau Langkawi and many villagers were killed and some captured by the Siamese. Mahsuri's husband, Mat Daruss was too heart broken and left Pulau Langkawi with his son to reside in Phuket, Thailand. Research has to date uncovered no less than 30 descendents of Mahsuri who now reside in Phuket.

Many locals of Langkawi believe the legend to be true, citing the Siamese invasion of 1821 and decades of failed crops that followed Mahsuri's death. It is only at the end of the 20th century, after the seven generations have supposedly come to pass, that Langkawi began to prosper as a tourist destination.

Maybe the whole story is true or maybe it has been romanticized somewhat. I can tell you that I visited Langkawi around the time the curse was supposedly lifted and we saw many of the locals rejoicing because they were finally getting some proper rainfall on the island, which they haven't gotten for decades. This is a tropical island that we're talking about. Whether that really was a heavier rainfall than they've gotten in a few hundred years or not, nobody can really confirm.

If you ever visit Pulau Langkawi in Malaysia, Mahsuri’s restored tomb at Padang Padang Mat Sirat is a popular tourist destination.

Retrieved from:, Sejarah Malaysia,

In Rememberance

Today we remember the 2,403 (including 68 civilians) Americans who died and the 1,178 who were wounded on December 7, 1941 due to a Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. Much like 9/11, it is a day we will never forget.

Enter Another Realm

Rav'N's Realm is a wonderful place to visit who just happens to be my new renter for the week. Rav is a regular reader here. So, I'm pleased to welcome Rav to my site.

If you're into Comics, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Role-playing, computer games, etc., Rav'N's Realm is the place to go.

Drifting cars seems to be the current topic. Rav posted several pictures from the 2006 WA Drift Round 5 for Wordless Wednesday. I don't know anything about cars. I guess I'm one of those people who will sit and watch it as long as the drivers are cute.

Rav is also a poet. I liked last week's installment for Poetry Thursday. I've never really been much of a poet, but I do get inspired to write one every now and then.

Check out Rav'N's Realm to discover more. I promise, you won't be sorry.

Did He Go Too Far?

I subscribe to Weirdo News, an ezine containing unusual stories from around the world. There is one particular story I would like to share with you all that was in the latest issue. It raises a question about how traumatizing ghost stories can be.

A Taiwanese woman named Mrs. Chen has taken out an injunction against her husband to prevent him from telling her ghost stories, complaining he was giving her nightmares. She first applied for a personal protection order which was approved by a district court in Taichung.

They have been married for 20 years but separated a few years ago. The couple has two daughters, who both told a judge that he frequently traumatized her with macabre tales.

In his defense, Mr. Chen claims he is only relaying tales from his job working in an orchard. However, in Mrs. Chen's complaint, she states that he return home every few months in the dead of night in a drunken stupor to visit his daughters. He would then go on to tell her ghost stories about seeing figures clothed in white floating around, people hanging themselves and discovery of human bones near the orchard despite her pleas for him to stop.

I remember when I was a kid, I would scare my younger brother with made up ghost stories, but I never did it to the point he was traumatized by it. Do you think Mr. Chen went too far with his "work stories"?

GS Question of the Week

In a few hours, my renter from Dead Silence will be leaving and I'll be looking for someone new. If you haven't checked out her blog, you should.

This week's question:

Do you think Lizzie Borden killed her father and step-mother? If not, who do you think did it?

My Answer: I don't know if she did it or not. If she did, she certainly knew how to cover her tracks. Too bad we will never know.

CPRI 2nd Annual Paranormal Conference

The CPRI will host its 2nd annual Paranormal Conference in Richmond, Virginia on May 19th and 20th, 2007. There will be lectures and paranormal activities. Speakers include Troy Taylor, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Spirit Medium Barb Mallon, John Zaffis, L.B. Taylor and many other prominent researchers.

For more information on speakers, location, schedule of events and ticket prices, visit the CPRI Conference website.

Did Ya Know Friday

Since today is the first day of December, I thought why not kick it off with a special Did Ya Know Friday. Ever wonder where your favorite Christmas traditions come from? You'd be surprised at how many are tied to superstitions.

Let's start off with the Yule log. Buying one was considered unlucky. So, you either had to be lucky enough to find one on your own land or get one from a neighbor. First, you fetch the carefully-preserved scrap of the previous year's log from under the homeowner's bed. The new log had to catch fire during the first attempt at lighting it. If it didn't, it was considered a sign of misfortune coming to the family. It also had to be done with clean hands. Lighting a log with dirty hands was a sign of disrespect. Once lit, the log had to be kept burning for twelve hours and could not be tended as long as any scrap of the dinner remained on the table, or while anyone was still eating.

As the log burned, people told ghost stories and tales while drinking cider. Shadows cast upon the wall were carefully scrutinized, for it was well known that a "headless" shadow foretold the death of the person casting it within the year.

Concerning food, any Christmas cuisines could not be eaten before that day dawned for it would be unlucky. You were to visit and sample mince pies at different houses during the festive season so you will have happy months in the year to come. You also could not cut into mince pies or you may "cut your luck". If Christmas pudding is on the menu, everyone must take part in stirring it if the household is to prosper. Traditionally, one has to stir the mixture at least three times, seeing the bottom of the pot each time. If you were an unmarried woman and didn't stir the pudding, then you wouldn't be able to find a husband.

Those interested might try making a dumb cake at midnight on Christmas Eve. Prepared in complete silence by one or more, this concoction of flour, water, eggs, and salt is placed on the hearthstone with the upper surface of the cake pricked with the initials of one of those present. Provided the silence is unbroken, the future partner of the person indicated on the cake will appear and similarly prick his or her initials onto the cake. In some regions, a petitioner must walk backwards to her bed after eating the cooked cake, to dream of her future spouse.

It is unlucky to send carolers away empty-handed, no matter how badly they sing as one might be a king in disguise. Offer food, a drink, or a bit of money. Singing carols at any time other than during the festive season is unlucky.

Stockings are hung by the chimney in remembrance of the largesse of St. Nicholas. He was said to have tossed three coins down the chimney of the home of three poor sisters. Each coin fell neatly into stockings left drying by the hearth. We therefore leave our stocking out in hopes that a similar bit of good fortune will befall us.

And we certainly can not leave out mistletoe, had to save the best for last. Ever wonder why it is custom to kiss under the mistletoe? First, mistletoe, like holly, was considered a powerful charm against witches and lightning. At one point, it was said to be a cure for poison, epilepsy, barrenness and whooping cough. Traditionally, a man may take a kiss from a girl standing under the sprig, but only if he plucks a berry from the plant and presents it to her with each kiss. Once the berries are gone, so is the kissing.

Berry plucking possibly had something to do with the rumored powers of conception. Ladies looking to conceive are advised to carry a sprig of mistletoe with them. The gentleman who kisses and presents a berry from the plant to his lady is symbolically offering to get her with child.

A particular love charm tied to the mistletoe required a young lady to swallow the berry, prick the initials of her love in the sprig of leaf and sews the leaf to her corset so it would be near her heart and thus binding his love to her for as long as the leaf lasts. Though, I wouldn't advise anyone to do this since mistletoe berries are poisonous.

If you enjoy learning about these, I will have more Christmas tradition origins later on this month. Be looking out for those and pay a special visit to my renter at Dead Silence.

Source: Snopes


While writing and researching the entry for the Lilly E. Gray mystery, one word stood out to me: skinwalkers. It's a word/creature that I have never heard of. Skinwalkers are much like werewolves.

A skin-walker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into an animal, generally in a Native American context. It can be any animal that it chooses but is frequently seen as a coyote, wolf, bear, owl, fox or crow. The skinwalkers are described as being fast, agile, and impossible to catch. Navajo skinwalkers retain their full mental capacities. If the Navajo witch is a fairly or highly intelligent person, when he or she changes into a Skinwalker they carry that intelligence with them and you have a very dangerous opponent. They also like to pull out their bag of tricks using mind control, disease and immobilization powder.

Skinwalkers can be found in numerous cultures but is most documented in Navajo legends. A yee naaldlooshii is one of the several varieties of Navajo witch (specifically an 'ánt'įįhnii or practitioner of the Witchery Way, as opposed to a user of curse-objects ('adagąsh) or a practitioner of Frenzy Way ('azhįtee)). Technically, the term refers to an 'ánt'įįhnii who is using his (rarely her) powers to travel in animal form.

The 'ánt'įįhnii are human beings who have gained supernatural power by breaking a cultural taboo. Specifically, a person is said to gain the power to become a yee naaldlooshii upon initiation into the Witchery Way. Both men and women can become 'ánt'įįhnii, and therefore possibly skinwalkers. However, men far outnumber women since usually childless women become witches.

A skinwalker is usually described as naked, except for an animal skin. Some Navajos describe them as a mutated version of the animal in question. The skin may just be a mask, like those which are the only garment worn in the witches' sing. Because animal skins are used primarily by skin-walkers, the pelt of animals such as bears, coyotes, wolves, and cougars are strictly prohibited. Sheepskin and buckskin are probably two of the few hides used by Navajos, the others are used only for ceremonial purposes.

Sometimes the skin-walker will try to break into the house and attack the people inside, often banging on the walls of the house, knocking on the windows, and climbing onto the roofs. Sometimes, a strange, animal-like figure is seen standing outside the window, peering in. Other times, a skinwalker may attack a vehicle and cause a car accident. If you remember the Lilly E. Gray post, it was mentioned that she may have had an incident while driving along Route 666, a place where skinwalkers have been spotted.

In the Hopi culture there was a ritual called the Ya Ya Ceremony. Members would change into various animals using hide from the animal they chose, and the members use certain animal attributes like sight, strength, etc. The ceremony was banned after members developed a disease of the eyes.

In Norse folklore, a skin-walker is a person who can travel in the shape of an animal or take on certain characteristics of an animal, wearing that animal's hide. The most well-known example is the warrior who takes on the strength and stamina of a bear, called "bear shirt" or ber sarkur, the origins of the word berserker; similarly, there were wolf-based warriors, called ulfheðnar or "wolf-coats". They were said, aside from the battle-rage the animal spirit granted, to have the ability to send out their soul in the form of their animal, in a practice called hamfarir or "shape-journey". There were also female oracles that wore cat-skin gloves to call upon the goddess Freyja for visions of the future.

Know how to protect yourself from them? There are many ways go about this. One is a protection ceremony from a "medicine man" or singer, or you can simply rub cedar ash on your body if forced to walk outside at night. Corn pollen may also be used, as well as "ghost beads", or juniper berries.



Dead Silence

If you remember correctly, B from rented my blog a couple of weeks ago. Well she is back with another blog called Dead Silence. Practically everyone has some kind of general interest in serial killers. It's interesting how they think, why they choose to kill and even who they are.

Dead Silence provides information about the all-star killers from past and present as well as other high profile cases. Keep in mind, this blog seems fairly new but it holds much promise. This world is of no short killers. So, she has plenty of information to keep it going.

You may even discover a few you've never even heard of, not all serial killers make the front page, or maybe you know of one to share. There was one in my hometown of Texarkana in 1940s which the case is still unsolved 'til this day.

As an added bonus, she also touches base on various TV shows, books and movies that you may interest you too. The new show on Showtime called Dexter sounds like a definite must see. I mean a serial killer killing serial killers. Why wouldn't you want to see that? Of course, with any high profile case, books will follow. I'm sure you are aware of O.J. Simpson's book explaining how he would have committed the murders, if he did it. There is definitely money to be made concerning murders whether they did it or not.

If you have some free time, stop by Dead Silence. I would also like to thank my three other bidders: Pile of Dog Bones, The Lost Girls and lilfunky1: a unicycling materalistic minimalist.

Peace Sign a Symbol of Satan?

A woman in Denver is facing a $25 a day fine for putting up a Christmas wreath with a peace sign because some residents not only say it is an anti-Iraq war protest but also a symbol of Satan. I can understand it being seen as an anti-war thing but a symbol of Satan? When did the peace sign become a symbol of Satan? Am I the only one confused by this?

Lisa Jensen claims that she wasn't thinking about the war when she hung the wreath. She was a past president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs and doubts that she will have to pay $1,000 to keep the wreath up. However, she says she won't take it down until after Christmas. "Now that it has come to this I feel I can't get bullied," she said. "What if they don't like my Santa Claus?" If it were me, I would keep the wreath up and pay the fine.

Three or four residents, some of which have children serving in Iraq, feel they are offended by the wreath. The subdivision's rules say no signs, billboards or advertising are permitted without the consent of the architectural control committee. Bob Kearns, current association president, ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. So, what did Kearns do? He fired all five committee members. It seems Bob Kearns had a problem with it too.

It's stories like this that make me glad I don't live in a subdivision.

Source and Photo: Associated Press

Update: The Homeowners Association has withdrawn its threat of a daily fine and request for the wreath's removal. They apologized, calling it a misunderstanding.

GS Question of the Week

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving that is if you celebrate the holiday. Women Diary's week here is up and I am looking for a new renter. You'll have until this afternoon to bid.

This week's question:

Some scientists theorize that ball lightning may be the cause of Spontaneous Human Combustion. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

My Answer: I don't think it is. I think ball lightning is one of those far fetch theories because there isn't much evidence to prove otherwise.

Happy Thanksgiving

Victim of the Beast 666

I used this particular case as inspiration for a GS Question of the Week and thought I would share the enigma. Lilly E. Gray from Salt Lake City, Utah died on November 14, 1958 from supposedly natural causes at the age of 77. On her headstone, the words "Victim of the Beast 666" are inscribed. Most headstones are inscribed with "Devoted Mother" or "Beloved Husband". This one definitely raises questions.

Some people have taken the time to investigate this mystery further. As a result, many theories have developed. Some say the phrase is based on religion. "The Beast" and "666" both have become synonymous with Satan and Antichrist. So, it is possible. I have heard speculations that she was a victim of an exorcism gone bad or connected with Aleister Crowley who had been known to call himself "The Beast 666".

Another theory states that she may have died of a virus that mimicked one we known all too well today, AIDS. I believe it may have been referred to as "The Beast" or something like that back in the 1950s. Another possibility.

Richelle Hawks from Cemetery Legends has probably done more research on the subject than most and she uncovered a few interesting ideas. One discrepancy has to do with her first name and birth date. On her grave marker, it shows that her name has two L's instead of one and her birth year being 1881 instead of 1880. Could be just a mistake made by the engraver or it possibly has actual meaning.

Another interesting theory has to do with her husband. Lilly married Elmer Lewis Gray when she was 72 years old. Elmer was possibly incarcerated for stealing an umbrella and sentenced to five days on the rock pile. There is no real proof that this is the same Elmer Gray but age and date seem to fit. It could also be proof that Elmer may have not been a nice guy and might be the "beast" of which she fell victim to. His grave is located in the same cemetery but far from his wife's.

The last possibility may have to do with the famous "Devil's Highway". Route 666 runs through Utah in the four corners area. There's a chance that she may have had an accident or a strange incident that was worthy of a mention on her tombstone. Skinwalkers, demons and accidents are all part of the highway's legend. It's an intriguing coincidence. More on the "Devil's Highway" in another post.

If you would like to follow Richelle's investigation or have information concerning this mystery you can contact her through her blog The Devil and Lilly E. Gray. Don't forget to check out my renter's blog too: Women Diary.

Source: and Cemetery Legends
Photo: Deseret News

El Camino de la Muerte

This particular place caught my eye after learning about it on The History Channel. It's called El Camino de la Muerte a.k.a The Death Road. Why is it called The Death Road? Over 200,000 people, about 150 people each year, have died since this road was constructed.

They don't have an exact number of deaths as many buses with unregistered passengers have ended in accidents. It seems like buses are the ones most often having accidents on that road. Located in Bolivia, it is the only way to get from La Paz to the Amazon. They are in the process of building a safer route but after many years and millions of dollars, they are still not close to finishing it.

One particular man was traveling with his wife and child on the road in a bus. The bus tumbled over the edge, about a 2,000 ft drop. His wife and child both died, but the man survived. After the man recovered a bit, days after the accident, he traveled on the road once again in another bus in search of his child's body which was never found. This bus also tumbled over the edge and yet he survived the 2nd accident. Now, the locals consider him cursed and will not travel with him. That's got to be rough.

Some say the road is also haunted some who have tried to warn people of possible danger. It's of no surprise considering how many people have died there.

Narrow sections (San Juan Pass being the most dangerous), blind curves, and climate changes all keep this road as one of the top places to go for thrill seekers. If you're superstitious, be sure and stop by the Witches' Market in La Paz for a good luck charm before your journey.

If you're curious about what else is going on in the world, check out Women Diary.

GS Question of the Week

Do you think the image on the Shroud of Turin is that of Christ or nothing but a painting? Why?

My Answer: I don't think it is the image of Christ. Some say that it is a fake and that Leonardo Da Vinci painted it. I think I believe that explanation more than others.

A Woman's Diary

My renter of the week is Women Diary. The title says it all. Whatever you need to know about women, you'll find it here. From beauty tips to celeb gossip.

The latest in female celebrity news is Britney Spears divorce. I was so proud of that girl when she filed for divorce, but I knew he wasn't going down without a fight. According to Women Diary, K-Fed is threatening to release their alleged sex tape if Britney doesn't pay him like 16 million and hand over custody of their two kids. If it were me, I would let him sell the tape, if it does exist and apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that.

Us Weekly magazine’s contributing editor Katrina Szish said, "If a tape does exist, I don’t think it will be damaging for Britney. We’ve seen her at her lowest point. She’s on her way back up. This would be a tape she did with her husband when they were married. Whatever may be in that tape, it really doesn’t matter anymore."

It seems Britney isn't the only one worried about a sex tape. Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi was investigated and faces jail time after a sex tape of her and boyfriend leaked to the internet and was released on DVD. She is being investigated for a suspected breach of the country’s morality laws that prohibit sex outside marriage. Lashing is the penalty.

At least here in America a sex tape will only taint your reputation, well if you allow it to. Paris Hilton used hers to gain fame. I can't imagine having to go to jail because of something like that. One of these days celebs are going to realize the whole sex tape idea isn't a good one unless you're desperate.

Read more about these stories and more, including the documentary entitled Searching for Angela Shelton (if you haven't seen it, you should. It's very good.), how to make some new friends and a quiz on finding the right meal for the right girl, at Women Diary.

Kudos to my other two bidders Haunted House Dressing (who I'm also renting space on) and

Edit: It was brought to my attention thanks to a reader or someone just passing by that the actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi wasn't the one in the sex tape. The real girl and guy in the tape have been found and are in prison.

Contest Winners

The winners of my 2nd Blogiversary contest are KizzyKim, B (my renter this past week) and Lori. Congratulations to you all!!

As you know, BlogExplosion only allows you to send so many credits to a single person within a seven day time period. I don't understand why. Seems kind of inconvenient to me, but oh well. I'm sure they have a reason for it.

Lori, I've sent you your prize. Enjoy them. Kizzy and B, I'm going to have to send yours via installments, but you will get what you won. I promise. You each received the first installment today. The next one will be on the day after Thanksgiving.

I'm saying goodbye to my renter, as her week expired today. I'm going to wait to put up an offer for my next renter until tomorrow night. Saturdays are guest posts days and it wouldn't be fair to someone who chooses to take advantage of it since they wouldn't be given a lot of time to do it. So the offer will be up tomorrow night and the person will be chosen on Sunday. Just FYI.

EDIT: You have to read this: Beauty Salon for the Dead.

Guess What Today Is?!?!?

Okay, I'm just going to tell you. Today is...(drum roll please)........Ghost Stories 2nd Blogiversary!!!!! It was two years ago on this day that I began this blog and I'm very proud of it. I had planned on doing this big celebration, but unfortunately, do to circumstances beyond my control, that won't be happening.

So, this is what I'm going to do. First, I'm going to give away 1,000 BlogExplosion credits to the first person to leave a comment with their BE username, 500 credits to the second and 100 credits to the third. This offer is only available until noon tomorrow.

I'm also going to share with you my very first post here. Most people start their blogs off with a welcome post but mine was a ghost story. So enjoy!

Bunnyman Bridge
I'm sure some of you have even heard of Bunnyman Bridge from the show "Scariest Places on Earth." It is located in Fairfax, Virginia on Colchester Road. Now there are various stories about the Bunnyman but most conclude that he loved bunnies, of course, and also children. Some say he was a lunatic that escaped from a nearby asylum and nourished himself mainly on rabbits, leaving their dead carcasses to be found. Others say that he always dressed up as a rabbit when he killed his victims always with an axe and left them hanging near the bridge. The most common story that I have found is this:

In 1904, there was an insane asylum near a small town in Virginia. The townspeople didn't like it so close to them so they took a vote and decided to move the asylum somewhere else. While transporting the occupants, the bus broke down near the bridge and they all escape. They were all found and captured except for one. All the police found were dead rabbits which they concluded that was what he was eating to stay alive, but the guy was never found dead or alive.

Some have stated that if you go to the bridge and say 'Bunnyman' three times, he will make himself known to you in some way. But do know that even if he doesn't, you will still be watched upon entering the bridge. The local police installed surveillance cameras due to its fame. Here's the question: Do you dare to find out if the stories are true? Or maybe some of you already know.

Source: The Center for Paranormal Research and Investigation

Ghost Hunters and HorrorFest

Is it just me or does anyone else think that TAPS should have saved their first live show for when they went to Leap Castle in Ireland? Don't get me wrong. The second investigation at the Stanley Hotel was quite eventful but I think it would have been better at Leap. I'm sure there were probably circumstances beyond their control where they were unable to do that.

It's too bad Steve couldn't join them, but I understand why. Maybe one day he will be able to get past his fears.

HorrorFest is this weekend. There will be encore performances of audience favorites on November 20th and 21st. Please check the website to see if a theater near you is listed. If online ticketing is available for that theater, you can pre-order your tickets (they are priced at each theater's standard admission pricing). If you can't or choose not to pre-order, you can purchase tickets on the day of the event. From what I understand, you don't get to buy one ticket and get to see all eight films. You'll have to buy a ticket for each film.

Five theaters are listed for Oklahoma: three in Oklahoma City (Harkins Bricktown 16, Quail Springs 24, and Cinemark Tinseltown 20) and two in Tulsa (Cinemark 17 - Tulsa and Starworld 20). You can pre-order at all theaters except Starworld 20.

There will be two HorrorFest parties: one in LA and NY. They will be on Saturday November 18th from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The only thing you need for admission is a HorrorFest T-shirt which you get when you either buy 8 tickets at the ticket booth or buy them online, present the credit card used to purchase them and your ID. The parties are located at Cinespace in LA and Pressure in NY.

B's lease is almost up. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, what are you waiting for? Check out

Widows Sues The Department of Veteran Affairs

I was blog surfing yesterday and saw this posted on one. Forgive me because I can't remember exactly which blog I saw it on.

The story is that two women named Roberta Stewart, husband Nevada National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart who was killed last year in Afghanistan, and Karen DePolito, husband Jerome Birnbaum who was a Korean veteran that died last year, are suing the Department of Veteran Affairs. Why? The reason is simple.

It seems just about every religious symbol is allowed on a soldier's headstone except a pentacle. They don't allow a symbol of the Wicca religion on any veterans' headstone in national cemeteries because they do not recognize it as a religion which is interesting.

The military recognizes it as a religion, even though President Bush disagrees (not surprising, huh?). They allow soldiers who are Wiccans to list it on their dog tags, Wiccan organizations are allowed to hold services on military installations and the Army Chaplains Handbook includes an explanation of the religion. However, the VA has used one excuse after another to not approve the pentacle for more than nine years.

In memos and letters cited by the lawsuit, Lindee L. Lenox, director of memorial programs for the veterans agency, said the government was reviewing the process for evaluating and approving new emblems and would not accept new applications until the review was complete. The VA issued a statement Monday that outlined the procedure under way to create uniform standards under which new symbols can be accepted, but did not comment on the lawsuit itself.

DePolito is not commenting on the lawsuit but Stewart had this to say, "I'm hoping it's going to open the door to allow other pagan faiths to be approved."

Stewart also sought federal government approval to affix the pentacle to the Veterans' Memorial Wall in Nevada. Veterans officials denied the request but Nevada officials said they would erect a plaque with the symbol.

Do you think that Wicca, under the First Amendment, should be recognized as a religion in the United States?

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online

EDIT: I remember now which blog I saw the article on. It was With Sticks and Stones.

Ghostly Thirteen

I switched to the Beta version. If you're having any troubles with my blog, let me know via a comment or email. Also, be sure and check out B's blog:

Ghostly Thirteen

13 Haunted Lighthouses

1. Bird Island Lighthouse
2. Marshall Point Lighthouse
3. Ocracoke Light
4. St. Augustine Lighthouse
5. White River Light Station
6. Minots Ledge Lighthouse
7. Harbour Town Light
8. Point Lookout Lighthouse
9. Yaquina Head Light
10. New London Ledge Light
11. Fairport Harbor Light
12. Baker Island Light
13. St. Simons Island Light

Add the link of your post if you are participating.

GS Question of the Week

Do you think paranormal-reality based TV shows such as Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted and Celebrity Paranormal Project help or hurt how the field is viewed among the world population? Why?

My Answer: I think it depends. Ghost Hunters is more about being professional and scientific while Most Haunted is pure entertainment. I think shows that concentrate on pleasing rather than informing the audience pretty much fuel the fire. They give the population a reason to accuse any type of believer as being crazy. Many things in this world were once unexplained.

A Few Announcements

I have a few things I'd like to inform you. First, if you didn't already know, the next installment of Ghostly Thirteen will be tomorrow. If you haven't participated in the past and would like to, allow me to give you a little background information.

Ghostly Thirteen is based on the Thursday Thirteen meme. It's a monthly meme where you post a paranormal related list. For example, if your blog is similar to my own, you can list your top 13 posts or your 13 favorite haunted places. Something along those lines. I always end with the auto-links widget. I ask that you please don't list your link unless you're participating.

I've also decided to delete the Ghost Stories Forum. It's been up for over a month and no one is really using it. So, I'm going to pretty much do away with the whole idea.

One last thing. I'm not sure how many of you are aware of several weblog awards there are hosted annually. I noticed yesterday that one is accepting nominations starting today. If you would to nominate one of your favorite blogs for The 2006 Weblog Awards, all you have to do is go to the website and leave a comment in the associated nomination post with the blog name and URL. I don't think there is a prize attached to the award. However, maintaining a regular blog is hard work and being merely recognized for it can be a reward in itself.

The 2006 Weblog Awards

Check out my renter for the week:

Reader Submission - Spirits and Tarot

My renter B from has written a nice piece on spirits and tarot. Be sure and check out her site to learn more about her.

First I want to thank Andrea for renting to me. I'm a huge fan of this blog and try to check it out on a regular basis.

I'm going to take the time to explain some things that I think everyone who's interested in spirits and tarot related things should know. Any person who truly has "the gift" will not charge a fee. Instead they will accept a gift. This gift could be anything from a candle to crystals. I'm lucky enough though to have a personal friend who is Wiccan and has the gift that she chooses to share with others. In all her years she has never accepted money for a tarot reading or for a seance.

Speaking of séances, you should never just get a group of friends together and do one for giggles. It's a very serious event and should be treated with respect. I would never do one on my own or without someone with experience. I've attended 4 of seances and each one is different. You must go in with an open mind though and expect anything to happen. Even if that something is nothing.

One thing to always remember though and I mentioned this before is respect. In reality you have no control on who might be trying to contact you and because of this respect is very important. You do not want to upset any spirits. I think another important part is to be with people you trust and take it as seriously as you do. One person goofing off can ruin it for everyone else. The group I take part with I trust 100%. If someone accidentally kicks the table they fess up to it, or if they move their chair and it makes a noise someone will say "Oh that was me." It's not always easy to tell the difference between an everyday noise and something a little more special.

I hope this helped some of you out but remember I'm no expert!

Happy Veterans Day

Much appreciation to all our veterans. Thank you for everything you have done for us.

Did Ya Know Friday

Did ya know that Mary Surratt was the first female in the United States to be executed? In 1865, she was arrested and charged for conspiracy and with aiding the assassins and assisting their escape. Who was she accused of conspiring against? President Abraham Lincoln.

After her husband died, Mary moved with her two kids, Anna and John Jr., to Washington D.C. Her Surrattsville Tavern was being rented to a man named John Lloyd. To make extra money she began renting space in her Washington D. C. residence as well. During the Civil War, John Jr. became a confederate spy and messenger. He met John Wilkes Booth who became a regular at the Surratt boardinghouse.

Some believe Mary knew about the kidnapping but not the assassination plot about President Lincoln. As many reported conspirators came and go in her home, it's possible that through Booth's charm she turned a blind eye. Some women are willing to ignore a man's faults despite it all, but I have to say I have much sympathy for her. She was looking for some affection especially since her husband, some believe, may have turned her into a prostitute at one point. Booth provided that for her whether or not he cared for her or not.

She was arrested on April 17th. She was tried along with seven other men but claimed her innocence the whole time. The jury voted for the death penalty but also recommended mercy considering her age and sex. The recommendation was to give her life in prison, but in the end she was sentenced to death by hanging.

As the day approached, it is said that her daughter Anna went to the White House and spoke with the first daughter, pleading for her mom's life. However, she was told nothing could be done. On July 7, 1865, Mary Surratt along with the seven men was executed. She pleaded her innocence up to the very last second. She is buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington D.C. Her son John Jr. was also tried as a conspirator but resulted in a hung jury. He was eventually let go.

There are claims that she haunts the two locations: Mary Surratt's boarding house (which is now Wok 'n' Roll Restaurant) and the Surrattsville Tavern. To learn more about Mary Surratt visit the Abraham Lincoln Research Site.

All Night Long

I would like to welcome my new renter for the week, First of all, I have to give some major props for the template. It's quite beautiful. I do some blog surfing on a occasion and I often see blogs with custom templates. One day I hope to be able to afford one for here but until then I'm perfectly contempt with the one I have. Caz does some pretty cool templates which are all available to download for free.

As I was saying before I got off track, is basically a nice personal blog: pictures of the pets (her dog Wolfie is soo cute) to her daily encounters. She has a small contest going on at the moment. Fifty BlogExplosion credits for writing a short but informative intro for her "About" section on the sidebar. Yeah, it's not much, but it's a chance to win fifty credits more than you had before, right?

The one post that particularly caught my eye was in regards to her experience with a seance. I'm totally on the fence about séances. Yeah, they can easily be faked and have been which is one of the negative aspects of the paranormal. Some people, past and present, use the unknown for financial gain which I hate because it affects the legitimacy of the whole field. Plus, some paranormal investigators state that with séances you're inviting trouble while others say that if done right, you should be fine.

However, my renter seems to have had some pretty interesting experiences with the séances she was involved in especially since it didn't take place on Halloween. Obviously most people choose that day for such a ceremony and for all I know her and her group may have done another then too. Check her site out to read further about her eventful night. While you are at it, take a look at my three other bidders blogs: Women Diary, My Quest to Make Money on the Internet and Tom Jackson Online.

One last thing, the next installment of Ghostly 13 will be on Tuesday for those who would like to participate. "Did Ya Know Friday" will be posted later on today.

Ghost Hunters Live Results

Ghost Hunters first live show was pretty eventful. It seems people were hitting that panic button more than I realized not that I am surprised. I guess I expected them to have caught more evidence on their equipment, but the EVPs were pretty cool. They had quite a few personal experiences which adds to the pot.

They talked about "orbs" some viewers said they were seeing, but I do remember some seeing, including myself, something white, maybe a ghost or whatever. I don't recall them bringing that up. I guess they didn't catch it on a DVR.

Overall, I do hope they consider doing this again. Next week, they are going to Ireland. That should be interesting.

In a matter of minutes, I will be saying farewell to my current renter, The Paranormal Blog, and looking for a new one. If you would like to rent space here, go to BlogExplosion and bid. The cost is only 30 credits. I apologize in advance if you bid and it expires before I have a chance to accept or deny it. Unfortunately, I have to share the internet with two other people, one of which enjoys building computers from spare parts. At the moment, he is in download hell. So, my internet time is limited for maybe another day or two, depending.

Just a Suggestion

If you are not in the habit of checking to see who is linking to you, I suggest you start. I was checking like I do on occasion and discovered that I was contributing to a site called My Grassy Knoll without even knowing it.

I'm not like furious over the situation because even though they posted content from my blog on theirs, they credited me for it. It just would have been nice to have known about the whole thing in the first place.

Ninety percent of the content on my blog isn't my original material, but if you are a writer that posts your work on your blog, then you should do occasional searches to make sure someone isn't stealing your work.

If you are looking for some original paranormal viewpoints, check out my renter The Paranormal Blog. They only have a few days left in their week.

GS Question of the Week

How was your Halloween?

My Answer: My Halloween was ok. I enjoy giving out candy to all the trick-or-treaters, but since moving to Oklahoma, we haven't had any. Not one in the two or three years that I've been here. Don't know why. That's just the way it is. Pretty sad, huh?


Dowsing, sometimes called divining or water witching, is a generic term for practices which proponents claim empower them to find water, metals, gem stones, sex of unborn children, hidden objects over a piece of land or a map (unmarked graves)and even ghosts, usually through fluctuations of apparatus including a Y-shaped twig, rods or pendulum. Some have even claimed to be able to sense the reactions without an apparatus but tests have not supported these claims.

Dowsing has existed in various forms for thousands of years and is considered the oldest form of divination known to man. The original may have been for divination purposes in order to divine the will of the gods, to foretell the future and divine guilt in trials. During the Middle Ages dowsing was associated with the Devil. In 1659 dowsing was declared Satanic by the Jesuit Gaspar Schott. In 1701 the Inquisition stopped using the dowsing rod in trials. Dowsing as practiced today may have originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals. The technique spread to England with German miners who came to England to work in the coal mines.

Many use simple brass rods bent in an "L" shape also known as divining rods but many also use the wooden Y-rods and even bent wire coat hangers. According to some dowsers who use divining rods, brass allows the rod to attune to magnetic fields emanated by the target without the earth's EM field interfering, as would be the case with a metal such as steel. The end of the rod to be held by the dowser is often encased in a material that provides a constant electrical impedance, to prevent the dowser's own conductivity from interfering with the dowsing process. However, it is undetermined as to how it exactly works. Basically, a person concentrates on what they are looking for and when they find the right spot, the rods will either bend downwards or will cross over one another. They are supposed to point in the direction of any energy (ghosts, anomalous energy and even dimensional portals) they detect.

Pendulums (these may be a crystal suspended on a chain, or a metal weight) can be used in divination and dowsing. In one approach the user will first determine which direction (left-right, up-down) determines "yes" and which "no," before proceeding to ask the pendulum specific questions. In another form of divination, the pendulum is used with a pad or cloth that may have yes and no, but also other words written in a circle. The person holding the pendulum aims to hold it as steadily as possible over the center. An interviewer may pose questions to the person holding the pendulum, and it swings by minute unconscious bodily movement in the direction of the answer. In the practice of radiesthesia a pendulum is used for medical diagnosis.

A Few Dowsing Organizations:

International Society of Dowsing Research (ISD)
International Digital Dowsers Forum Board
American Society of Dowsers (ASD)
British Society of Dowsers (BSD)
Canadian Society of Dowsers (CSD)
Dowsers Association RSD
Global Spiritual Dowsers

Don't forget to check out my renter for the week: The Paranormal Blog.

Reader Submission - A Good Scare

As promised, below is the guest post from this week's renter Matt Didier from The Paranormal Blog. If you enjoy this piece, be sure and check out his blog.

Many people come to blogs and sites like this with one thing in mind... a good scare.

One of the most common things we hear about our blog and sites is "C'mon, scare me!" or "Show me more pictures! I want to be scared!"

Of course, we see ghosts and hauntings as a genuine study that we apply science and serious research to... so therefore, a "good scare" isn't something we really offer... well, not really... that's the realm of Hollywood and certain horror novels... and for the most part, the "real" world of ghosts and hauntings is not all that exciting to read or look at for the third-party witnesses.

In fact, for the most part, "real" (reported/witnessed) ghosts and hauntings are rather mundane. Things seen from the corner of the eye, odd but subtle noises, strange things... but rarely, blood dripping from walls or apparitions lunging at people.

I'd remind the gentle reader, however, that these things are quite unnerving for the witness. One or two weird things can be easily written off... but many over a long period of time?

...and it's worse when they're sane, rational folks who have eliminated all "natural" possibilities for these things... when they get to those three little words that are so difficult for some to utter... "We don't know."

What's causing these noises? "We don't know."
What have we been seeing? "We don't know."
What's causing these things to move? "We don't know."

Of course, there's many people that say they know... and they could all be right... or they could all be wrong... but that's another post.

My point here is how mundane ghosts and hauntings can be... rarely are they more than a "whisper" in the dark.

For those that read this and said, "C'mon! There's gotta be some nasty blood-and-guts ghosts to scare me!", well, there are some... but they are a VERY small minority in the grand spectrum of what's reported to paranormal investigators. You might also want to take into mind what Stephen King once pointed out about a good scare... "Real horror is not something leaping out of your closet and yelling boo, real horror is something slowly coming out from under your bed and kissing your feet."

On that note, allow me to introduce to you the one report that does chill me that we received...

A fellow in Montreal, Quebec, was relaxing in his living room... previous to the day I'm speaking of, he had no reason to suspect his relatively new home was haunted, but this day would change this.

The fellow was on his couch when he saw an elderly woman walking slowly down a hall heading for the living room. This was unusual as there was no one who fit this description living in the home, nor did he expect visitors...

Quickly, before he had true time to truly react, the woman entered the living room. She was "solid" (not see through), and seemed perfectly normal in modern clothes... but one fact. Her mouth hung open and the witness described it as containing no teeth... no tongue... nothing... he said, it was pitch black. Her gaping jaws revealed nothing... her face calm and placid... but the mouth a seeming void of anything.

She walked through the room slowly and when he took her eyes off her briefly and then went to look again, she was gone.

This story, on it's own, does not seem all that scary... but to see what we have called "a black mouthed old lady" wandering without issue through your home... I'd say this would be most disconcerting.

Now, before anyone goes, "Great fiction!", it's not... even scarier is, she was not the only sighting of such a ghost... another home in another part of Montreal also said they saw her... or one... again a man, painting a room... same description. The woman looked normal until they noticed the open jaws and the black mouth. She too disappear when the witnesses took his eyes off just for a moment.

Neither witness knew each other (this we confirmed with a visit and by checking I.P. addresses) and since we didn't put the first story online, and the second "sighting" happened a few weeks later, it's unlikely that the story "leaked"...

...sadly(?) enough, there has not been anymore sightings we know of... but most of our investigators agree, a "black mouthed old lady" is about the scariest apparition we've been told about.

So, was it scary to you? Possibly not... maybe so... those that do find it frightening usually can see a mental picture of those old ladies... those that can't usually are more interested in the latest zombie flick and need the ultra-gory visual stimulation.

One last thing before I go... most apparitions we have reports of are not "transparent" or "see-through"... they are solid... and our witnesses say they cast shadows and break light... which adds credence to the "black mouthed old ladies"... because before the witnesses see the open mouth, they both were concerned that an elderly person had "wandered in" where they possibly shouldn't be.

So there you go... the scariest "true" stuff we know of... and yes, this is also true with most of the thirty-plus people we work with in our hobby.

Did I scare you? If so, don't worry... like I said, only two confirmed cases... but if you ever see "someone" who shouldn't be somewhere, look into their face... and make sure that indeed, they do have something where their mouth is.

Thanks to Andrea for letting us "bunk in" here as a renter... we hope that, perhaps, we can haunt here again in the near future...

From the Desk of Matthew "Double-Decker Bus Guy" / "Paranormal Blog Guy" Didier...

Did Ya Know Friday

There are plenty of little facts about our World History that have now intergrated into pop culture in one form or another. Vampires are but one species of nightwalkers that we know all too well from TV, film and books. But how much do you really know about them?

Most people now see Vampires as nothing but fictional monsters, but in the 19th Century these beings were seen as a serious threat. In Slavic beliefs, causes of vampirism included being born with a caul (a membrane present on a child after birth), teeth, or tail, being conceived on certain days, suicide, drowning or violent deaths, excommunication, and improper burial rituals.

Preventive measures included placing a crucifix in the coffin, placing blocks under the chin to prevent the body from eating the shroud, nailing clothes to coffin walls for the same reason, putting sawdust in the coffin (vampire revives in the evening and counts sawdust until he dies again in the morning) or piercing the body with thorns or stakes. In the case of stakes, the general idea was to pierce through the vampire and into the ground below, pinning the body down. Certain people would bury those believed to be potential vampires with scythes above their necks, so the dead would decapitate themselves as they rose.

Some other European practices included placing a pillow with food, water, soap, mirror etc under the deceased head. Also, if a person got sick shortly after another died, the villagers would cut the dead person's heart out, burn it, mix it with water and have the ill person drink it.

If you were a fan of TV shows like Angel or Buffy the Vampire Slayer then you know that some common ways to kill a vampire is by stake, decapitation, holy water, and/or sunlight/burning. Did you know that exorcism and repeating the funeral service were also common methods?

When the coffin of an alleged vampire was opened, people sometimes found the cadaver in a state which they considered to be unnatural. Corpses decompose at different speeds depending on various factors, and some of the outer signs of decomposition are not popularly known. This led the vampire hunters to believe that the body wasn't decomposing at all, and, ironically, interpret what was actually the result of decomposition as signs of life and well-being. It should be noted that folkloric accounts almost universally represent the alleged vampire as having ruddy or dark skin, not the pale skin of vampires in literature and film. What we know today about how a body decomposes explains all the signs they used to identify a vampire: plump bodies, blood coming from nose and mouth, and groaning after being staked.

It's amazing how people used the supernatural as a way to explain natural anomalies.

Be sure and check out my renter of the week: The Paranormal Blog. Their post will be available tomorrow for your enjoyment.

Spooky Roomie

Say hello to my new renter for this week: Sue Darroch and Matthew Didier from The Paranormal Blog. I first discovered this blog surfing on BlogMad and it certainly is not a disappointing read.

The Paranormal Blog is very much similar to this one except Sue and Matthew are paranormal investigator/researchers and I am not. My interest in this subject has only run for the last couple of years. I have mad respect for this two who have dedicated twenty years of their lives to it. They have founded and/or involved in several groups including Paranormal Studies and Investigations Canada, Pararesearchers and The Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society.

As said before, our blogs are not much different. You'll expect to find the same content as you would here and more. They have extended much generosity to my blog and I am happy to return the favor. Be sure and check out The Paranormal Blog.

Sue, a part of the renting package is the option of a guest post. If y'all would like to, you can e-mail me your post at paranormal_stories2004 @ (without the spaces) and it'll be posted on Saturday.

I would also like to give a brief mention to the five other blogs who bid for the space. Sorry you weren't picked this time, but don't let that keep you from trying again. They are: I Will Not Eat The Darkness, Women Diary,, About Simple Ways and Dragons Omen.

Ghost Hunters Live

I don't do a lot of ranting here, but considering the subject, I think I'll make an exception. Last night was Ghost Hunters first live show, six hours long. I had every intentions of watching the entire thing. However, my satellite provider had something else in mind.

Four hours into the program, Direct TV barred me from seeing the Sci-Fi Channel. So, I was unable to see the last two hours, actually I caught the last five minutes. I don't know why it did that, but it did. I'm sure they will probably re-air it sooner or later, but a live show isn't the same unless you get to see it when it is live. It's frustrating, but oh well.

As for the show itself, it was pretty good from what I saw. I was half expecting it to be like Most Haunted not as in the constant "I see this" and "I heard that" from TAPS, but from the viewers. However, they didn't have webcams set up in several rooms which I feel is a good thing. I hope that if they decide to do this again, they won't resort to that.

Some of the things that viewers claimed they saw, I actually saw too. Someone said they saw some kind of white ghost thing behind Tango when they were in either the Ballroom or the Billard Room. I saw that too, actually twice. It was a quick flash and I thought it was maybe a reflection or had something to do with the camera. I think I saw something similar to that later on, I can't remember where, at the bottom of the screen. It was white and it moved pretty fast. The voices in tunnel were pretty cool too.

I can't wait until next week to see what they caught on their equipment.

One last thing, you can rent space on my blog via BlogExplosion. It's only 30 credits for the week. You get an introductory post and the option to be a guest poster. The only restrictions on the guest post is that you keep the adult content to a bare minimum and stay within the theme of the blog. Other than that, you can write what you want and it'll be posted on Saturday.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Candy Poisonings

I guess Joanna at Paranormal Experience has been quite busy lately. I haven't seen the guest post I sent her up on her blog. Since Halloween is tomorrow, I feel this should be posted.

If you are a parent, I'm sure you always check your kids Halloween candy after a night of trick-or-treating, right? A popular urban legend states that there are documented cases of children being poisoned after eating candy collected from a random house on Halloween. This one is actually false.

It's not certain of the origins of this legend, but according to (, there have been only two cases where a child was poisoned with Halloween candy. The most famous was that of an eight-year-old boy in Houston named Timothy Mark O'Bryan who died on October 31, 1974. His father Ronald Clark O'Bryan poisoned him with a cyanide-laced Pixie Stix, claiming his son acquired it while trick-or-treating. To make it seem more random, he gave poisoned Pixie Stix to his other four children, but thankfully, none of them ate it. So, why would a father do such a thing to his son? For money, of course. Timothy was insured for a large sum of money. Ronald Clark O'Bryan was convicted and executed on March 31, 1984.

The second case was that of Kevin Toston from Detroit. On November 2, 1970, he lapsed into a coma and died four days later from a heroin overdose. During the investigation, heroine was found on the child's Halloween candy. It was concluded that Kevin accidentally discovered his uncle's heroine stash and poisoned himself. The family sprinkled heroine on the Halloween candy afterwards to protect the uncle. Personally, if it were my son, I wouldn't have done that. I wouldn't like frame him for murder but I definitely wouldn't cover for him.

Even though there isn't any known proof that this legend is true, don't think you shouldn't continue checking your kids Halloween candy. Many have used this as inspiration for Halloween pranks and maybe one day, someone will turn this legend into reality.

Source: Snopes

GS Question of the Week

What do you think is the scariest place on Earth?

My Answer: There are too many places on Earth to narrow it down to one. However, if I had to choose one, I guess it would have to be Waverly Hills. It seems to be one of the most popular ones.

Stay Tuned..

I'm not a big fan of this particular program, but Most Haunted Live begins tomorrow from 4pm to 7pm ET/PT in Edinburgh, Scotland for three nights. I watched this last year and I have to admit I didn't see anything that people were claiming to have seen on the webcams. Maybe you will.

If you don't have any plans on Halloween, Ghost Hunters is having a 6 hour Live show on the Sci-Fi channel. They will be revisiting the infamous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Joining the TAPS team will be ECW's and ghost hunting novice, CM Punk. The live investigation will serve as the end of Sci-Fi's 13 Days of Halloween marathon.

In addition to the live broadcast, viewers can interact with the 'Ghost Hunters' via polling, SMS messaging and SCIFI.COM, logging suggestions for rooms to investigate and screening an online video feed. One unprecedented interactive addition to the live telecast is the SCI FI.COM "panic button" which will enable viewers to email the control room and alert the 'Ghost Hunters' to any paranormal occurrences observed on the online feed.

Top 13 Haunted Houses

I was browsing the AOL CityGuide and discovered their Top 13 Haunted Houses across the nation:

1. Nightmare in New York : This horror's creators polled thousands of local residents to list their top 13 fears, and then designed five haunted house based on those responses.

2. Netherworld in Atlanta : This place consistently changes themes every year. All the great acting and special effects set aside, Halloween veterans shower this house with praise.

3. Queen Mary's Shipwreck in Los Angeles : If boats make you queasy without ghouls, then this might not be the fright for you. Bravely enter the Haunted Hull of Horrors or the Decks of the Dead. If you survive, be sure and stop by the nightly dance party.

4. Fright Dome in Las Vegas : Michael Jackson has visited in previous years. Aside from that? You'll find 20 rides that'll make it worth every penny. Be sure to pay the all-new Zombie Mansion a friendly visit. Take it from Micheal this one's guaranteed to be a thriller.

5. Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia : Exploiting Eastern State Penitentiary's innate atmosphere foreboding (and its legacy of hauntings). Terror Behind the Walls invites the intrepid to experience "11 acres of terror." Pretty soon, you'll be contemplating a prison break.

6. The Darkness in St. Louis : You might get grabbed by one of the many mummies that will be crawling out of the crypts -- maybe even be sacrificed by a zombie priest. Just when you think the terror is over, you'll find the only way out is through the haunted house.

7. Thrillvania in Terrell, Texas : It's not just a haunted house -- but a macabre theme park. two attractions include Haunted Verdun Manor (occupied by a werewolf) and Cassandra's Labryinth of Terror (hosted by a lady, who's perpetually grouchy over her lost head).

8. Pirates of Emerson in Fremont, California : What began as a backyard operation has grown into a three-acre extravaganza that requires a crew of 75 to build. Hold on to your beloved lad or lass, or you may loss them to one of the many wicked buccaneers.

9. Markoff's Haunted Forest in Dickerson, Maryland : As if isolated woods weren't scary enough, the staff concocts creepy encounters along the way. Expect chainsaw-wielding wild men and witches in enough fake blood to flood a city.

10. The Beast in Kansas City, Missouri : Forget about lines here. The Beast is set up so you can wander from one horror to the next as you choose. Once you find your way out of Werewolf Forest, you can exit by riding a four-story slide.

11. Headless Horseman Haunted House in Ulster Park in New York : You'll find three haunted houses and a spooky hayride and 100 ghastly folks who are waiting to scare you out of your wits. One seems to be missing his noggin.

12. Brown Palace in Denver : This hotel was founded in 1892 and has never closed for a single day. Many guests have checked in over that long time span, but there are also a few ghostly guests who have yet to check out.

13. Scream at the Beach in Portland, Oregon : Prepare to be creeped out. Whether you see one of the freaky medical experiments gone wrong at the Hayden Institute for the Criminally Insane. Or you might accidentally stumble upon where the mirthful pirates are hiding.
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