Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye 2012

As the sun sets tonight, 2012 will come to an end and a new year will begin.  2012 was a wonderful year.  The world ended a couple of times, although it looks the same to me.   The world began again and now we are ready to look back at this strange year.   Every new year, I like to look back on which posts were my most popular of the year.  The most popular posts I wrote and posted in 2012 were:

1.  Can Ghosts Be Captured?
http://ghoststoriesandhauntedplaces.blogspot.com/2012/04/can-ghosts-be-captures.html

2.  American Horror Story and The Ghosts of the Waverly Hills Sanitarium
http://ghoststoriesandhauntedplaces.blogspot.com/2012/10/american-horror-story-and-waverly-hills.html

3.  The Old Bryce Hospital for the Insane
http://ghoststoriesandhauntedplaces.blogspot.com/2012/03/old-bryce-hospital-for-insane.html


Interestingly, two of my top posts this year were about hospitals.   It seems that haunted hospitals always capture the imagination.  I'm hoping that in 2013, I can spend more time exploring haunted hospitals and asylums.  I would also like to dedicate some time to haunted hotels.  As the sun sets on 2012, my favorite ghostly moments come from the stories others have told me.   I haven't as traveled as far and gone to as many ghostly places as I usually do.  I had a baby and moved to a new house.  I lost myself in life, but there are still a few haunted places that I discovered in 2012.  I loved exploring haunted Washington DC this year.  I also enjoyed finding haunted locations in the shadowy landscape of Michigan.  Still, I did have to push my deadline for Haunted South Alabama back this year and I became a little overwhelmed by my ghosts.  I'm hoping next year will be better for my ghost stories!  

Happy New Year to you all and may 2013 bring you many wonderful stories and happy times!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Most Haunted Asylums


 Mental Hospitals and Asylums seem to draw ghost stories the way a light on a dark night draws bugs.  Ghost stories cling to them like moss and collect over time until the dead patients wandering the halls  outnumber the living.   There is an irony to this.  These hospitals were built to be places of healing where the broken and lost could find sanctuary and solace, but these plans often go awry and accidents and apathy turn healing to hurt.  Tragedies linger in the shadows of these hospitals and collect like dust over time.  
I have worked at several asylums during my career as a psychologist and many times these places are not creepy.  They are places of healing and the staff fights the darkness with art therapy and recreational therapy and all the things mental health professionals do to make hospitals a place of healing.    However, sometimes the sad condition of the chronically mentally ill can’t be combated by these tools and bad things happen.  Things happen that are so bad, that evil seems to remain in the old hospitals.  It seeps into the foundations of the buildings and creeps up through the walls tainting everything inside.  Bad doctors and staff turn bad things into travesties and these hospitals become places of fear.  According to many, the ghosts cling to the emotions that are kept in the hospitals.   Across the nation, there are many hospitals that are considered to be haunted.   These hospitals have tragic histories and their stories can send chills down the spines of even the bravest souls.  Here are a few of my favorite haunted asylums:

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
This is considered by many to be the most haunted hospital in the United States.  This hospital was founded in Weston West Virginia in 1864 and was then called The Weston State Hospital.   The hospital had 250 beds and houses some of the sickest patients in the region.   Although the hospital was built to house only 250 patients, by 1950 overcrowding turned the hospital into something out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the building housed as many as 2500 sick souls.  Even Charles Manson spent some time at this notorious hospital.   The hospital witnessed all the worst of the early treatments for mental illness and frontal lobotomies and water shock treatment were the mainstays of early treatment here.  However, the worst tragedies occurred when the patients hurt each other.  There were several patient to patient killings here and one nurse vanished only to have her body discovered under the stairs two years later.  Death became common place at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.  In 1994, the hospital was considered unusable and it was close.   Those that have visited this hospital say that they hear phantom noises throughout the hospital.  They hear ghostly screams and wails.  Full body apparitions have been seen wandering the hallways and strange noises come from the darkness.

Bryce Hospital for the Insane
Alabama Hospital for the Insane was designed to be a refuge for the mentally ill. Its architecture was designed based on the ideas of Dorothea Dix and Thomas Story Kirkbride. It was meant to be moral architecture that would contribute to the healing process within the hospital The hospital opened in 1861 and for a while it held to the ideals of Dix and Kirkbride. The first superintendent, Peter Bryce, was an idealist and he had studied mental health in Europe. He believed that patients should be treated with respect kindness. He even abandoned the use of restraints. The hospital was later named for Bryce and it went on to be the model for progressive mental health care.

 Time quickly eroded Bryce' legacy, however. By 1967, there were more than 5200 patients residing in a facility that was never meant to hold that many. Observers described Bryce as a concentration camp and a model for human cruelty. In 1970, one patient named Wyatt started a class action law suit against the Alabama's other mental hospital, Searcy State Hospital. This lead to major change in the way the mentally ill were treated in Alabama. The number of beds was cut drastically and humane treatment of the mentally ill became an absolute necessity. The landmark Wyatt v. Strickney Case would change Bryce drastically. Old Bryce was the African American portion of Bryce Hospital and was notorious for being even crueler than its white counterpart. After Wyatt v. Strickey and desegregation, Old Bryce was shut down entirely and other buildings were used. The African American patients were integrated into the white population.

 Old Bryce still sits quietly deserted, however, as a reminder to the old days when patients were held like prisoners with no rights. It is covered in graffiti and has been vandalized many times. It’s even been set on fire. Trespassing is forbidden here, but the curious have reported seeing all manner of horrors coming out of the dark around Old Bryce. Lights flicker on an off in the building that has no electricity. Phones ring in rooms with no phones. Phantom lights drift from room to room. Furniture moves on its own and footsteps echo through the abandoned hallways. The living patients may be gone, but many believe Old Bryce is still filled with the ghosts of those who once suffered in its walls.

 Norwich State Hospital For The Mentally Insane

Norwich Hospital for The Mentally Insane was built in 1904 in Preston, Connecticut and is known for the dark ghosts that live inside of it.  The Norwich Hospital was designed to house the worst of the criminally insane patients in the state and, until 1971, it did just that.  It was home to murders, rapists, and other violent offenders.  The hospital is situated on 900 acres of woodland and is utterly isolated and crumbling.  This fa├žade has added to the horror stories that have built up around the violent people that lived within the hospital and has created a collection of ghost stories so large they could fill a book.  Suicides and murders fill the history of Norwich Hospital and those who have died there never seem to leave.  Witnesses describe hearing screams in the darkness Faces appear out of nowhere and strange mists and lights are seen in the halls.

 Searcy State Hospital

 Searcy State Hospital is located in  the most Southern part of rural Alabama.  Prior to being a state hospital the old hospital has a long and dark history that is very difficult to find, but easy to see upon casual observation. The hospital is encased in long, chipped, white walls that seem as old as anything in the United States. From outside these walls, you can see a battered watchtower that gives testament to the fact that the hospital is in the same location as a 300 year old fort. The fort bears witness to American history and was originally a Spanish fort. It switched hands during the Louisiana Purchase and became a US fort. After the US took possession of the fort it was converted to a military arsenal and became known as the Mount Vernon Arsenal. The Arsenal switched hands again several times and was taken by the Confederates during the civil war only to be passed back over the United States again in 1862. From 1887 to 1894, The Arsenal became a Barracks and was used as a prison for the captured Apache people. The most famous of the Apache people to be held in these barracks was Geronimo. The infamous Aaron Burr was also held at this secluded prison at some point.
 
In 1900 the Barracks were transformed once again and the prison became a mental hospital. Searcy hospital was built as the African American mental hospital in Alabama. Conditions in the hospital were beyond questionable and at one time there were over 2000 patients in the crowded hospital and all were seen by one psychiatrist. All patients were expected to work in the fields.

The hospital was desegregated in 1969, but its history is all around it. The hospital is still used today, and although the residents live in new buildings, many tell stories of ghosts and devils that linger in the white walls and abandoned buildings that surround the new facilities. These stories are usually ignored, because the patients are crazy, but I’m not the only sane person who saw a few ghosts while they were working there.

Searcy served as the inspiration for my new novel, Circe. Its tragic history and haunted atmosphere serve as a backdrop to the chilling tale of a young intern slow decent into madness. If you would like to read more about Searcy, you can find my book at:

  www.amazon.com,    http://www.lachesispublishing.com/products.asp?cat=2

 

 



 

 

 

 

               

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dark and Wonderful Christmas Cards!

Edward Gorey is the master of all things dark and wonderful.   Gorey wrote and illustrated over 100 books and he became king of macabre.  His books were beautiful and sometimes oddly touching.  He is most known for  The Adams Family which has been remade again and again as a TV series and as several movies.   My favorite of his books was The Gashleycrumb Tinies.   For years,  I sent out Edward Gorey Christmas cards and as I mailed my cards yesterday I had to admit I miss my dark Christmas theme.  I did not use my Gorey cards this year because I ran out of time and didn't plan far enough in advance.  I know, big surprise.  But I thought in lieu of my cards,  I would do a post on some of the most marvelous and ghostly Christmas cards ever made.  Gorey did numerous Christmas cards and Christmas illustrations in his career.  These are only a few, but they are all marvelous.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Apocalypse From Lil Cthulhu




Since it will all be ending in a few hours, I thought I would post a video about the great lord Cthulhu. I believe if the end comes tonight, it will be at his hands. He will rise up from his watery slumber and devour all our souls. Mostly I believe this because H.P. Lovecraft is the master of horror and I hope I can someday be the horror writer he is. So happy apocalypse from Lil' Cthulhu.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Phantom of the Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater in Memphis Tennessee's is a gilded theater of unforgettable beauty.  The Orpheum is considered by many to be the most beautiful theater in the South and although I haven't seen every theater in the South,  I know the Orpheum rivals theaters I have seen in bigger cities, like New York.  The Orpheum is unforgettable for me for many reasons.   It is a constant link in the timeline of my husband's and my love story.   We went to see our first concert here,  and although we were not even together,  we met each other in the aisles and said mean things to each other.  This was because we were sixteen and not very good friends at the time, but we would later learn that was the beginning of a long love.  Later, after the turbulence of adolescents had past, he would take me on an amazing date at the  Orpheum to see The Phantom of  the Opera.

The Orpheum is very well known for its ghosts, so even as I watched The Phantom of the Opera,  I knew it was ironic that we were seeing it in a theater known for its phantoms.  The Orpheum theater has had a turbulent past.  It was built in 1890 on the corner of Main and Beale Streets and was called the most beautiful theater outside of New York.  At the time, it housed mainly Vaudeville performances. Vaudeville at the Orpheum was successful for many years.  In 1923, however, the Orpheum burst into flames during a strip-tease by a woman named Blossom Seeley.  The Theater burned to the ground.

In 1928,  the theater was rebuilt.  The days of Vaudeville had past, but a new art came, defining a new era.   The Orpheum became a movie theater.  Time faded the Orpheum's beauty and by 1977 the city of Memphis began to make plans to demolish the once legendary theater.   However,  the city managed to raise $5 million to save the theater and it became one of the premier venues for off-Broadway theater and concerts in the Southeast. 

The Orpheum doesn't hide from her ghosts like many historical locations do.  It places its ghosts stories proudly on its playbills and on its webpage.  All you have to do is google the Orpheum to be flooded with a plethora of stories about the phantom tenants of this old theater.  The most famous ghost of the Orphem is Mary.  I always looked for her when I went there, but I was never successful in finding her.  Mary is  a little girl in a white dress and pigtails sitting in seat C-5, Box 5.  No one knows for sure how Mary came to haunt the Orpheum.  She has been seen by numerous employees and visitors to the Orpheum, but history doesn't give us a clear answer on who she is.  Many believe she was a little girl who was hit by a trolley car outside the theater, but there is no documentation to substantiate this claim.   Mary isn't alone.   Psychics visiting the Orpheum claim there are as many as eight other ghosts wandering this theater, but like Mary, the origins are unknown. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Houses, Book Tours, and Signings

I have been a little slow in keeping up with my ghosts lately.  I'm hoping to catch up soon with a new batch of  dark tales.   I have been slowed down by moving into a new house.  Our new home is beautiful and sits on a wildlife preserve.  We are enjoying it immensely.   To help me celebrate my move, I have started a book tour for my latest book, The Midnight Queen.  Please give it a look if you have the chance.  I'll also be signing copies of Haunted North Alabama at Costco in Huntsville, Alabama.   Come chat with me and watch my book tour while I get ready to start a new year of ghost stories and haunted places!

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR December 12th - January 4th

December 12 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
December 13 - Waiting on Sunday to Drown - Review/Guest Post
December 14 - My Cozie Corner - Review
December 15 - Bunny's Reviews - Guest Post/PROMO
December 16 - A Dream Within a Dream - PROMO
December 18 - Pure Textuality - Guest Post/PROMO
December 19 - Mom With a Kindle - Interview/PROMO
December 20 - Jen McConnel - Guest Post/PROMO
December 21 - Marked By Books - Review/Interview
December 22 - Lovely Reads - Guest Post/PROMO
December 26 - The Avid Reader - PROMO
December 27 - Words I Write Crazy - Review/Guest Post
December 29 - Black Lillies are Dead - Guest Post/PROMO
December 30 - Book Lovin Mama's - PROMO
December 31 - Delerious About Books - Interview/PROMO
January 1 - The Cosy Dragon - Review
January 2 - Krystal's Enchanting Reads - PROMO
January 3 - Brooke Blogs - PROMO
January 4 - My Reading Addiction - Review
 
Reading Addiction Blog Tours
 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Krampus Day!


Last year, I was thrilled to discover Krampus Day.   I wasn't thrilled enough to celebrate this holiday, but I loved learning about it   Now, Krampus Dy seems to be a day I'll remember for a long time to come. In fact, I am reposting this blog from last year just to celebrate Krampus Day.  So if you think you've seen this blog post before, you have! In America, we embrace all cultures and pull their traditions into our own culture and make it our own. I believe we should do the same for Krampus Day. It is time to begin our Krampus Day Celebrations! According to Wikipedia, "Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas the tradition also includes birching – by Krampus, especially of young girls"   This year, this time frame is oddly meaningful to me as I'm due December 1st and if I don't have a baby boy by the 5th, we'll be taking him by force.   As a mother of two other boys who like to chase each other with bells and other nonsense, this holiday also seems oddly appropriate this year.  All I have to do is add horns and my boys will be set for Krampus day.  This is very convenient because they already have horns from their various Halloween costumes from years passed.  So this year, I'm celebrating Krampus day.  Here's some more background information for all those that missed Krampus Day last year.


Krampus is part of Austrian and Hungarian folklore and is associated with Christmas. His name, taken from the Germanic Krampen means claw. Krampus looks like and acts like the devil. He is a demon that travels with Saint Nickolas on Christmas Eve and while Santa delivers candies and treats to the good little children, Krampus delivers corporal punishment and horror to the bad little children. He provides a little extra incentive for the children to be good. Apparently in Austria, not getting presents wasn't enough to motivate children. Satan himself had to beat the children with willow branches and carry them off to hell. I think it would take about this much incentive to get my boys to stop fighting on a nightly basis, so they might be on to something.

Krampus became so popular that his story and legends spread throughout Europe and became especially popular in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and northern Italy. He became so popular that he earned his own holiday. Dec 5 is Krampus day. It is almost like a prolonged Devil's Night in Detroit, without the fire. On Krampus day and the days around it, young men take to the streets dressed in their most fearful Krampus costumes. They roam the streets scaring children with loud rusty bells and chains. They chase down young girls and hit them with birch branches. I feel like this would add some spice to our Christmas preparations. Who wouldn't want to be terrified by a large devil in these days leading up to Christmas? I have to say that it would make shopping a little bit less painful and it certainly sounds like more fun than black Friday! So get out your rusty chains and bells an find your ugliest mask and take to the streets. It is almost Krampus Day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kindle Book Give Away!

My next book is out!  Yay.  The Midnight Queen is the second book in the Prophets of Shadow series that started with The Twilight Saint.  If you want a free kindle copy of either book, let me know and I'll send you one!

Aiela has spent her entire life sheltered from the world. Her only dream has been to escape the quiet island life she's know and find adventure in the world outside. After the death of her mother, Aeila escapes to the University, a world filled with technological wonders and exotic people. But her own history is dark and the secrets behind her birth may destroy everything that hold Aiella together.
 
 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Black Friday Wish List: Johnny the Skull


I saw a commercial for this and I've decided that this is what I want for Christmas.  What more could a girl ask for?  Johnny Skull lets you pretend to be a real ghost hunter.  You get to shoot ghosts and hunt the dead.  Perfect.  Johnny the Skull is an electronic game that projects ghosts on the walls and ceiling as it swivels its head in all directions. You shoot at the ghosts with an electronic gun and the person that shoots the most ghosts wins.  This looks like wonderful ghostly fun.  The box even reads "I see dead people."   I think this is all that's going on my Black Friday Wish list.  The rest can wait.  It isn't worth facing the terror that is Black Friday for anything else.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ghostly Comments and Fabulous Stories

I love comments on my blog.  They make my day and teach me more about the paranormal than I could learn writing any of my books.  I'm so grateful for my followers and their knowledge of ghosts, hauntings, and haunted locations.  I even like the negative comments.  I love to hear from folks who set me straight on my facts and make sure that every one of my stories is historically accurate and correct.  I love history and I'm glad I have people who make sure I never go astray.  I want to celebrate some of the amazing and wonderful stories I've gotten in comment form on this blog. Thank you all for posting these stories and know they have often made my day.  Here are some of the wonderful stories I've collected from comments!  They are all anonymous.


About St. Bernard's Preparatory School:

I go to SBP and I dorm in the girls dormitory. I've heard so many ghost stories, and I kind of believe all of them. One is about how during camp one summer, a counselor in the girls' dorm woke up to a voice in the hallway on the top floor. She thought it was a camper, so she went out into the hallway and faced towards the bathroom, because the bathroom lights on both floors are always on, and she saw a little 'girl' standing there, and she told her to go to bed, but she saw it was a boy and she got freaked out and went back to her room. I have no idea if this story is true, but weird things have been happening in the dorms, apparently, but I believe it is my eyes playing tricks on me. Another one happened just last year in the guys' dorms, and this is something I heard from one of the guy's friends, but the boys say the boys' dorm is in sections and not just a long hallway like the girls' dorm, so in one section there were three boys in three different rooms, but all in the same on.

About Ghosts and Pregnancy:

Hi there :-) I was googling this topic because I am 8 weeks pregnant with second child. We live in a very old house (built in late 1800's). Last night I was in the bathroom and turned as I sensed someone standing next to me. No one was.. But it happened again a minute later and I had this incredibly strong sense of someone gentle placing their hand on my lower back then leaving. It was unnerving but not scary which was just bizarre. I am a scientist and have never really believed any paranormal activity is possible. I wonder if possible? Or crazy hormonal hyper vigilance? Lol :-) 

From Waverly Hills Peneteniary Post:

I never had a paranormal experience per say, but I worked on construction remodeling the Farview state penitentiary, inWaymart,PA. for the criminally insane.It was a creepy place, They had these weird paintings of clowns, flowers,etc... I guess to help keep the patients calm. I worked there for months and never had anything happen until this one day, I was working in the basement, there was a long hallway that had rooms to the one side.I was working in one of the rooms by myself, jack hammering a part of the floor to install new pipes, out of nowhere, The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and a chill ran up my spine, I threw the jack hammer down and spun around like a cat, but nothing was there. It felt like someone was right behind me, it freaked me out. Later in the week I was talking to a guard and he told that was the morgue I was working in. I bet if they had someone do an investigation there, they would have an eventful experience.


From Searcy State Hospital Post:

The things you hear at this place is enough to drive a sane man into being placed into the confines of the place. I worked for the PD of Mt. Vernon and have gone there several times for various reasons. I have seen some things that if told would not be believed. Every time I've been on or near Sercy, I've felt the presence of the paranormal..most in my family including me are sensitive to the paranormal.

From Kildare Castle/McCormick Post:

My family purchased this home in early 1966 from Jackie Smith Blackwell (a friend of "Eunice" on Andrew Jackson and a whole different story). We lived in this home during 1966-1967 years. I was in the 6th grade at Chapman Jr. High. It truly was a wonderful place to live. We have many memories that we frequently share. I love that it had a furnace in the basement for heating with forced air using the old style radiators in the rooms. It actually has a small room with a window in the attic, on the front of the house, where you can see the grounds. It was spooky climbing into the attic and not knowing what might be discovered; you had to go through a crawl space to get into the room which was about 6' x 8' in size. From the first floor main kitchen you get to the basement by going down a spiral shaped wooden staircase. One night I had to go turn off the basement light and I was barefoot; never grab and pull a metal chain when barefoot on a concerts floor! On my way down those stairs a bat flew at me. There is a large closet with beautiful stained glass on the double doors in the main living room; this must have been used for storing fine china and linens that were likely used for entertaining on a grand scale. The main floor had 10 or 12 foot ceilings, fireplaces everywhere and 3 kitchen areas. It had beautiful bear claw bathtubs throughout! There was a full bath in the basement as well. If my memory serves correctly, a total of 52 rooms including those in the basement. We loved sliding down the wood banister of the stairs from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor; these stairs are located just inside the main front door. Directly under the stairs on the first floor (at the highest end) was a door that opened to one set of stairs that went from first floor to basement. We actually had a water battle on the second floor one Saturday morning after breakfast but before we began our weekly cleaning. Now you know how my Saturday's were spent during that time. To turn the light on or off you pushed a button. And the elevator, yes it had one, however, it's known as a "dumb waiter" (not sure of spelling) and to go up or down you pulled a rope that was at least 1 inch in diameter and it was the original rope! There was a push button light switch in the dumb waiter. Today it still has the original fire escapes. In the basement is a wine cellar with the original wine racks, at least during the time we resided in the house. My favorite room in the entire place at the time, of course, was the round tower bedroom located on the 3rd floor. This will be on the left side if you are looking at the front of the house from the street. It has a huge veranda out back on the main floor. The small windows above the doors could be opened but it was difficult. At one time there was a small house to the right off the main house; we always believed a groundskeeper had lived in it at some point in time. The last I saw, this small house was rubble. It was rumored that the McCormick's had planned to cover the roof with silver dollars. At the top of the tall windows to the left side of the main entrance (in the upside down V) is the date and initials, McC, 1886. I always hoped to buy this place again someday and restore it to as much of its original glory as possible and make it into a bed a breakfast. I may attempt to post again and include some pics. Hope you enjoyed reading of my living experience.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Only 33 More Shopping Days Until The Apocalypse

According to some, the world is about to end.  Since I like to be prepared, I'm getting ready for this apocalypse.  I've even put up my end of the world clock because I don't want to miss the apocalypse when it happens.  That's right, according to my end of the world clock, there are only 33 more shopping days until the world ends.  Better take advantage of those black Friday sales to load up on gas masks and bulk food, because you won't survive if you don't.  If you think it is going to be a zombie apocalypse, you should probably load up on ammo too.  In order to get ready for the end, I've  exhumed an old blog post I did about Mayan prophecies and ghosts.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Many books, blogs, and papers have been written about the Mayan prophecies regarding 2012 and the end of the world. Many believe that, according to the Mayan prophecies, the world will end on December 21, 2012. This is special fun for me since this is the day before my birthday. It is also the solstice. I love Mayan history and have been lucky enough to travel to some old Mayan ruins and talk to some Mayan people about their history and mythology. Since today marks the beginning of the end, I thought it would be an excellent time to revisit my trip to Chichen Itza. During this trip, our amazing guide spoke to us about the 2012 prophecies and about the ghosts that haunt these awe inspiring ruins.

Chichen Itza is one of the most monumental of a series of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan area. My fascination with the Mayan culture began with my trip to Chichen Itza. We were lead through the sprawling ruins of the fallen city by an amazingly knowledgeable Mayan guide that explained to us that Mayan history came in phases and that the ruins were in layers depending on their period of origin. There were the Olmec, Toltec, and Classical Mayan phases, none of which were surviving when the first Europeans set foot on the shores of the New World.


One of the most fascinating things our guide explained to us about the Mayans had to do with the 2012 prophecy. At the time we travelled, the 2012 prophecy was far less well known. Our guide told us that the Mayan calender was cyclical and that the Mayan's believed that the world was born and died many times. He talked about the last apocalypse. He said that it was an apocalypse of water and that the earth was covered in a great flood. He said that when that age, the age of water, was brought to an end by the flood a new age was born, an age of fire. We are now in the age of fire. In 2012 our age of fire will end in fire and an age of ether will be born. The end of the world will also be the beginning of a new world. This is interesting to me because so much is said of the end of the world in 2012 and so few people discuss the possibility of a rebirth. The Mayans viewed death as a rebirth and ends as a new beginning. So, if their calender ends and something does happen in December it seems probable it may be something wonderful. The end to the bad things and the world of fire that has come before and the birth of a new age could be something very positive.

The history of Chichen Itza itself is bathed in blood. The Mayan's were deeply religious and believed that it was a great honor to die for the gods. In the Popul Vuh, the Mayan Bible, the Mayan's lay out their faith in sometimes tedious details. Their faith was deep and long and they were willing to die for it. In fact, some of the best athletes that competed in the famous ball courts were sacrificed. The Mayan's didn't fear death and see sacrifice with dread and horror. They saw death as a passage to the next world. Chichen Itza was the site of mass sacra fices. Chichen Itza may have also died in violence. Some archaeological evidence shows that in 1221 a great civil war may have contributed to the disappearance of Mayan Culture in the great cities at the time. By the time the Europeans saw Chichen Itza, it was already a ghost city.

What is most interesting about the ghosts that are said to wander these old ruins is that it is not the great pyramids that are haunted. The places where the sacrifices went on and where the stone was stained with blood remain quiet. It is the old observatory that is said to be haunted by the specters of old priests and Mayan men. Many tourists and guides have described seeing specters wandering this site. The Mayans were brilliant astronomers and were able to compute the circumference of the earth long before Europeans. They mapped the stars and predicted astrological events so perfectly that we can still count on their astrological predictions to come true. The observatory was in many ways the most important place to them as their religion was deeply connected to the movement of the stars. It therefore seems appropriate that it is this place that the ghosts cling too. The ghosts of the sacrificed have gone to the embrace of the gods, but those that searched for knowledge in the light of the stars are still lingering, searching for answers in the night sky.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How Moving and Remodeling Affects Hauntings

It is commonly believed that haunting activity can be stirred up by remodeling.  I have heard countless ghost stories with this theme.  Some of my favorite stories about remodeling are from private interviews with people.  For example, one Alabama woman told me the haunting in her house was so negligible that she thought it was all folklore and her imagination until she remodeled the house and then the ghosts started appearing in broad daylight on her front porch.  Neighbors called to see who was milling about their house.  Another story that comes to mind as an example of this had to do with an old hotel that sat vacant for many years.  Finally, it was remodeled and renovated and the quiet hotel exploded with paranormal activity.  Similar stories are all too common. 

Ray Farrel from P9 Paranormal gave an explanation for this phenomena that made a lot of intuitive sense to me.  He said, "Similar to a ghost or spirit held in a location because of an unfulfilled need, are those that are very aware of where they are but have 'gone into hiding' or are terrified of 'moving on'. Many hauntings stem from souls that have a stained life history and refuse to budge from our dimension through fear of what their fate is in the next. It is sometimes the case that their need to continue their misdeeds will overcome their need to stay hidden and if other opportunities present themselves, such as a potential 'victim' coming along, then they will betray their presence. Others though will not dare give themselves away - until something happens to make them feel unsafe."

It seems that any change in the landscape of a location bound haunting can lead to an increase in activity.  We are moving in the next 2 weeks and for many years, my sons and I have come to believe that my mother-in-law wanders about our house from time to time.  She's a pleasant spirit that just makes some noise and turns faucets on and off.  However, as we pack to leave, the activity has become just down right creepy.  At this point, we hope it is her because if it isn't I'm glad we're getting out of house.  There has been some interesting activity surrounding our animatronic Halloween witch.  She's been broken for many years and my husband propped her up at the front door.  She used to have a motion sensor that would cause her to cackle and threaten to eat people.  That motion sensor is so broken you have to punch her in the nose to get her to work.  While my parents were visiting, she went off almost constantly for over an hour, even after she was unplugged.   That could be explained away by itself, but now the baby toys that you touch and sing cute little songs have begun singing on their own and shadowy figures have been seen by both my sons.  Is this another case of alteration in the environment of a haunting causing increase paranormal activity?  Or is it a case of us going crazy with moving stress?  At this point,  anything is possible.  It is probably more likey that we all going crazy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monsters, Queens, and Books!

Over the last few weeks, I have been working very hard to finish editing The Monster Hunter's Manual, my first middle grade book.  I am excited to be working with a new editor at Our Street Books.  She has been wonderful to work with and I feel like The Monster Hunter's Manual will be one of my best books.   It is the story of two brothers who are force to move to France and live in a haunted castle with their eccentric aunt after their parents die.  It is the first in a series of books about Gabriel and Alex's adventures in France fighting zombies, ghouls, werewolves, and many other things that go bump in the night. 

I am also preparing for the release of my new post apocalyptic fantasy novel, The Midnight Queen. It is the sequel to The Twilight Saint.  Here is the cover art for this tragic tale of violence and deception.   In a deperate future, a dark queen rises from the ashes of oblivion to unify a broken world.
 
The first book in this series is The Twilight Saint.  It is available at amazon.com


I'm hoping to get back to searching for more ghostly tales for this blog next week.   Krampus day is coming up and the winter solstice always brings dark tales of ghosts and witches!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Haunting on Larrabee Street

This haunting story has always been one of my favorites because it does not have a history. The haunting on Larrabbee Street has often been compared to the Amityville case, however, the house on Larrabee Street didn't have the history the Amityville house had. It is a haunting that is unexplainable. The spirit that haunted Allen and Deborah Tallman came from nowhere.


The Tallman's moved into the house on Larrabee Street in Horicon, Wisconsin in 1986. At that time, they had a little girl and a boy who was about 6 years old. Deborah Tallman was pregnant. The Tallman's loved their new home and began a fairly typical America life in their new home. Although they loved their new home, The Tallmans immediately began having difficulties in the house. They were plagued by a rash of sicknesses and their cat went crazy, climbing the walls and screaming all night. Deborah was close to her family and her family usually spent a considerable amount of time visiting Deborah. These visits began to decrease in frequency following the Tallman's move into their new home. Both Deborah's mother and sister indicated they felt sick in the Tallman home. They felt sick and suffocated.

It took more than a year for the haunting to escalate and culminate in the events that lead to the Tallman's fleeing their comfortable home. Deborah had her baby girl and the children began to complain more and more about things in their room. The little boy said that a hideous, diminutive, old woman would come into his room at night. The little girl was plagued by visions of monsters. The Tallman's grew more and more tired as their children kept them up night after night. Even their attempts at time away from home were thwarted when the babysitter saw furniture moving on it's own.

The children's nightmares could be brushed off as childhood fancy, but when Allen began to hear things and see things the Tallmans called their preacher. The preacher came into the home and told the Tallmans that their home was in the grips of something from the devil. He told them that the only way to dispel the evil that had been growing in their home was to go to church more. The Tallman's listened to the preacher to no avail. Things got worse. Windows in the basement relocated on their own, the refrigerator door remained open on it's own, the children continued to be visited by nocturnal terrors. Allen saw the garage catch on fire and when he rushed to extinguish the flame he saw a green eyed demon above the door. Allen even saw a full bodied ghost that rose from the floor in a a kind of fog and took form just long enough to tell him that he was "going to die."

Desperate, the family called the preacher again. The preacher came and told them to play church music all the time. The family listened. They listened and their was a brief reprieve before the entity came again. This time the entire family and the babysitter saw the specter just long enough to turn them all white with fear and send them fleeing into the night.

After the Tallman's left their home, the house became a local sensation and lines wrapped around the neighborhood with curious spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of some random terror. Many spectators claimed to have been successful in their desires. Many claimed to see snow blowers running up and down the driveway by themselves and furniture being flung around inside the house. Of course, none of these stories have ever been confirmed, but the stories themselves turned the Tallman house into a local legend that grew with time. Stories of the house being a gateway to hell and blood dripping from the ceilings proliferated and a media frenzy swept incidents out of control.
Despite this, and despite accusations that it was a hoax on the Tallman's part, the Tallman's have shown nothing but the desire to stay out of the spot light. They've turned down interviews and even rejected Oprah when she invited them to be her guest. They seem happiest forgetting the horror on Larrabee street.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Breathtaking, Haunted Beauty of The Linn-Henley Library

Halloween is over.  It was an amazing Halloween this year.   For one, I got to speak at The Birmingham Public Library Archives or the Linn-Henley Research Library.   I have been fascinated by this old building and its hauntings and history for years so telling ghost stories in this library was like achieving a big goal for me.   The Birmingham Archives is a building of uncommon beauty.   When you step in, you are greeted by some of the most striking murals ever to grace the walls of an old building.   These murals were done by Ezra Winter and each scene represents the amazing literature of the world.  One mural shows a scene from A Thousand and One Arabian Nights.  Another mural shows a picture of Krishna for the Bhagavata Purana.   Walking through the library is like walking through a living, breathing work of art.

The beauty of the library is amplified by the uncanny quiet that fills the building like a tangible presence.  The silence makes the building feel haunted and this feeling is not false.  The staff at the library are happy to tell tales of Fant Thornly, a former librarian who wanders the halls of the old building at quiet moments.  Many have seen Fant wandering the archives.  The have smelled his cigar smoke lingering in quiet corners and heard him riding up and down on the elevators.  One electrician described seeing him standing in the very doorway of the room that I told my ghost stories in.   One librarian picked a picture of Fant out of a stack of old photos she was given and named him as the ghost she saw in the room I spoke in.

The Linn-Henley Research Library was built in 1927 and was the Birmingham Public Library until 1984. At this time the primary library was moved across the street into a modern building of glass and harsh angles. The two buildings are attached by a catwalk and the architectural differences between these two buildings that are connected like Siamese twins are so vast that they should be in different countries. But the two buildings are bound together by their common purpose.

In 1984 when the old building was partially abandoned it took on a new purpose and became the archives where the old books were stored and the history was kept. There are no stories of bizarre deaths here. There are no horror tales of Indian burial grounds or murdered children, but the ghosts that have been described in this building are so terrifying that some of the librarians have refused to go back into the stacks alone and without every light on. Many staff members know about the haunting in a general sort of way. They know that doors open and close on their own and phantom noises fill the building when it is empty, but a few report an even more active haunting. They describe seeing Fant in the shadows.

As I told my ghost stories on Halloween day, it was wicked fun to be able to share the tales of the ghost that haunted the very room we were standing in.   Some of the staff believe many of the tales told of Fant are fancy, but even the skeptics believe that there has been to much activity in the library to be able to explain it all away.   Fant still wanders the Linn-Henley building and I hope he was listening when I told my ghost stories.  That would be a real honor!



   

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

$50 Halloween Giveaway!

Halloween is my favorite time of year.  The smell of pumpkin spice and autumn leaves permeates the air and ghost stories hang on the lips of children and adults everywhere.  Dark shadows creep out from  cold places and haunted places whisper a little more loudly.   This year I want to celebrate Halloween by giving away a $50 amazon.com gift card.  You can enter to win below!   Happy Halloween!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/93700f0/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway



Check out my haunting, spooky books this Halloween! 


Buy Circe Now At
http://www.amazon.com/Circe-Jessica-Penot/dp/1897562888/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351046637&sr=1-1&keywords=Circe
 

Buy Haunted Chattanooga Now At
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Buy Haunted North Alabama  Now at
http://www.amazon.com/Haunted-North-Alabama-America/dp/1596299908/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351046437&sr=8-1&keywords=Haunted+North+Alabama



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Halloween Party!

Every Halloween we have a Halloween party. It is my favorite part of Halloween. This year I dressed as Mary Kelly, Jack the Ripper's final victim. Mary Kelly's ghost is still said to haunt the streets of London in White Chapel to this day and I thought that being a famous ghost would be perfect for my Halloween Soiree. My husband was Jack the Ripper. Other ghosts and ghouls came and made the party. I was shocked to learn that 50% of the people at my party didn't know who Jack the Ripper was and whenever I said I was Mary Kelly they thought I was the lady who wrote Frankenstein. It was still a good time and I got to tell Mary Kelly's story many times so that made it even more fun! It became more fun the drunker I got.






Friday, October 19, 2012

American Horror Story and Waverly Hills Sanitorium

American Horror Story is one of my favorite television shows.  This is probably no surprise.  I have been waiting all year for the new season and it hasn't disappointed.  This year;s American Horror Story moves out of the haunted house and into the haunted asylum.  Haunted Asylums are my absolute favorite.  My own horror novel, Circe, is set in the haunted Searcy State Hospital in Southern Alabama.  As a psychologist, the hauntings that happen in such places of healing are particularly tragic and terrifying to me.

Interestingly, the asylum in American Horror Story reminds me of one of the best known haunted locations in this nation.  It bares a striking resemblance to Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Of course, Waverly Hills was never an asylum.  However, the hospital in American Horror story was once a tuberculosis hospital.   According to the first episode,  the asylum used to be a tuberculosis hospital where over  40,000 people died.  When it was a tuberculosis hospital, there was a tunnel beneath the hospital where the bodied were pulled out of the hospital for disposal.  They call it the death shoot. Waverly Hills also had a long tunnel beneath it.   In this tunnel, motorized carts were used to pull the bodies from the hospital to be disposed of outside of the hospital.  According to some rumors, as many as 100,000 people died in Waverly Hills.    Waverly Hills was opened in 1910 and is located outside of Louisville, Kentucky.  It has become a popular paranormal location and is considered by some to be the most haunted place in The United States.  I have to wonder if  the inspiration for this season's American Horror Story wasn't drawn from this amazing real life haunted location. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Five Historic Halloween Traditions to Bring Back


Those of you who have been following my blog for a while might remember this post. As I hang spiders and mummies for this year's Halloween party, I thought it might be nice to reuse my favorite Halloween post from last year. Halloween is my favorite Holiday. It has a very long history that is often forgotten. Although Halloween's roots can be traced back to pagan practices, it's name came from Christians. Halloween was the time of year when the ancient Celts believed that the veil between this world and the "otherworld" became thin allowing for spirits to have more access to our world. This was, naturally, quite terrifying to the Celts. In order to protect themselves from the spirits, people built enormous bonfires and cast bones into them to scare the spirits away. They also dressed up as terrifying spirits to confuse wicked spirits into believing they were spirits themselves. The Celts called Halloween Samhain. It was the Catholics that came up with the name Halloween. The early Christians were masters at taking local pagan holidays and integrating into their own Christian days. Even Christmas was stolen from Saturnalia. Catholics took Samhain and made it All Saints day, a day to celebrate the spirits of all the deceased saint. All Hallow's Eve was the night before All Saints day. The term All Hallow's Eve was eventually shortened to Halloween.

Through Halloween's long history there have been many traditions that have been simply left behind. This saddens me. So here are some I think we should bring back.

1.Colcannon: This is an Irish dish made with cabbage, kale, and potatoes. Small coins and prizes are usually hidden in this dish making it a little treasure hunt. I admit, this dish sounds repugnant, however, if altered slightly to regular potatoes the treasure hunt in dinner form is great fun for kids and adults. Just don't swallow the pennies.

2. Barmbrack: This is another food tradition. It is a tradition Irish fruitcake baked into a ring. Items are placed within the cake that for tell the future. For example, if you find the wedding ring, you'll be married soon. Finding coins predicts great wealth.

3. Tricking: Back in the old days the trick in trick or treating had meaning. People would hit the streets causing mayhem and playing tricks on people in their costumes and the only way to avoid the "tricking" was to give out treats. What happened to the tricks? Not saying you should set your neighbor's lawn on fire or anything, but if stingy old Ms. Brown isn't giving out candy this year, some fake poo on her porch might be perfect.

4. Bonfires: Why not scare bad spirits away with fires? Fires are fun. I'm building a fire in my fire pit this Halloween.

5. Fortune Telling: There are many types of fortune telling done on Halloween night, but one's fortune was always believe to be most easily predicted on Halloween. Whether you were reading tea leaves, apple peals, or gazing into mirrors to see your future, a prediction made on Halloween was always accurate.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stumbling Upon a Haunted Pizza



I have been meaning to go to Sam and Greg's Pizza in downtown Huntsville, Alabama for sometime.  It is notoriously haunted.  It has been investigated by paranormal investigators and proven to be haunted using all the ghost hunting gadgets such folk use.  It has been featured on the local news.  Psychics have declared it haunted. Yet, for some reason I haven't stopped by.  I even love pizza and their pizza is wonderful. 

Last week a lovely young writer named Stephanie contacted me to do an interview for a local magazine. I was delighted when she invited me to meet with her at Sam and Greg's.  I assumed she knew it was haunted and invited me there because of its haunting, but it was just a wonderful coincidence.  I had heard that all of the paranormal activity associated with this cute little restaurant takes place in the upstairs room, so we sat upstairs.  I believe the activity actually happens in the forbidden region of the restaurant just beyond the lock door, but it was still nice to sit and talk about ghosts next to such a haunted place.
 
On my way out of the restaurant, I asked one of the employees about the stories associated with the restaurant.  She says that the rumors that circulate amongst the staff state that the ghost that haunts Sam and Greg's was once a maintenance man in the old building.  His boss used to like to play practical jokes on him and he was always being laughed at.  Nobody can say for sure if it was all the jokes, or if the maintenance man was just lost in all his melancholy, but, according to the oral tradition, he killed himself in the building on the second floor.  His ghost still wanders Sam and Greg's making mischief to this day.  The staff who talked to me about this says she's not sure she believes all this, but she still finds the story fun and so did I.  

The Haunted Upstairs Area Can Be Seen From the Upstairs Dinning Area

The Upstairs Dinning Area

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Story of Jack O' Lantern



One of the most common Halloween traditions is the placing of a Jack O'Lantern on the front porch. On Halloween night, these grinning pumpkins illuminate the street with their devious grins. But where does this tradition come from?

The Irish brought the story of Jack O' Lantern with them from the old country. According to legend, Jack was a mischievous man who spent his time playing terrible tricks on all those around him. He knew his soul was in danger due to his terrible behavior, so he tricked the devil into climbing a tree and then surrounded the tree with crosses. The devil was trapped and Jack was able to give him an ultimatum, spend eternity in that tree or promise you will never take my soul. The devil promised he would ever take Jack's soul.

Time past and Jack spent his terrible life doing one bad thing after another. When he died, he went to heaven but St. Peter would not let him in. Jack was desolate, so he went to the devil, but the devil honored his promise and turned him away. Jack was left to wander the earth in darkness with only an ember he stole from hell to light his way. He hollowed out a turnip and placed the ember in the turnip. He became Jack O' Lantern who wasn't wanted by heaven or hell.

The Irish carved out turnips and beats every Halloween to scare away bad spirits like Jack O'Lantern and even gave the turnips his name. When they cam to America, they found pumpkins were much easier to carve than turnips and thus the modern Jack O' Lantern was born.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Decorating for Halloween

My Internet has been down for four days now and blogging has been impossible. However, I discovered this wonderful app on my phone that let me at least do this tiny post. We are beginning our Halloween decorating and here is a brief look at our work in progress.








- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Holly Park Blvd SW,Huntsville,United States

Monday, September 24, 2012

Getting in Trouble Looking for Ghosts


I spent this weekend at my sister's wedding.  She was married at The Cranbrook House and Gardens.   The house was beautiful, dark, and filled with wood paneling and old Gothic touches that made it feel more haunted than Hillhouse.  I could almost imagine it whispering to me.   I hadn't done any research into Cranbrook House and I had no idea if it was haunted, but I wanted to find out.

So I did what I always do.  I snuck around and asked random people uncomfortable questions.   This works very well in the South where people are friendly and love to talk.  It did not work out well for me in Michigan.  I snuck upstairs, where a lady found me and yelled at me very angrily. I asked her about ghosts and she said no ghosts and gave me the look I give my children when they ask me if they can have chocolate ice cream for breakfast.  I skulked downstairs, determined to unravel the secrets histories of the old house.   My sister told me there were rumors of a painter who died in the house.  I knew his ghost must be hiding somewhere.

I started taking pictures.  The same lady found me. She told me I couldn't take pictures that weren't of the wedding.  She yelled at me again and sent me on my way.  Now, she had her eye on me.  She knew I was trouble.  I snuck off again, but this time I did a better job and was able to snap a couple of pictures, but she found me again and yelled at me again.  At this point, I gave up.  It was my sister's wedding and I didn't want to ruin it with my strange ghost hunting behavior. So I never found any ghosts at Cranbrook House, but I was part of a beautiful wedding on a chilly autumn day and that is better than ghosts.


Monday, September 17, 2012

All things dark and wondeful: Movies that I love this fall!

Over the years, some of my favorite movies have been dark movies for children.  Long before I had children, movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride made me giddy with dark delight.  They featured ghosts, ghouls, and all things dark and wonderful.  That is why this year's movie selection has made me particularly ecstatic.  Here are the three films that have made going to the movies one of my favorite activities this Halloween season.

Paranorman...... I loved this movie.  It is the simple tale of a boy who sees dead people.  Although that plot may not be original, its presentation is utterly original.  The boy uses this gift to save some zombies and defeat a witch.  This movie is fabulous and funny.  I would watch it again and again.


Hotel Transylvania.... I haven't seen this one yet, but I can't wait until it is released.  This is the tender story of a vampire daughter and her overprotective father.  It looks silly, funny, and filled with all the haunting things that make fall fabulous.


Frankenweenie..... This one I think will be my favorite.  Of course, I can't be sure.  But this cute story of a little boy who brings his dog back from the dead sounds like just the right mix of touching and twisted to make my holiday season a more than joyful occasion.

Of course,  all this makes me particularly happy since my middle grade book, The Monster Hunter's Manual, is coming out soon and it seems to capture this growing market of my favorite things.  I hope this trend lasts, for more reasons than I can count.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Reader Story: Get Out of my Room


When I was twenty one years old, my new husband's family offered to sell us a house that had been in his family for generations at an incredibly cheap price. They had a difficult time keeping it rented and did not want to hassle with it anymore. We jumped at the opportunity and moved in almost immediately. It was only a matter of hours before strange things began to happen. It did not take me long to decide there was something or someone else other than us in that house.

Almost every night we would hear something coming up the staircase. The steps were old so you could hear every creak. Nick, my husband would jump up out of bed whenever he heard it to go make sure that someone hadn't broken in. It would always end the same, no one was there. The ghost appeared to get braver as time went on. We could hear the steps eventually come down the hall; they were getting a little closer to our bedroom door with each visit. Finally, the night came that we had both been dreading. Nick was sound asleep, exhausted from working hours of overtime. I heard the steps dare to pass the doorway of our bedroom and enter our room.

I felt slightly aware of something or someone approach the side of the bed I had my back turned to, but I was afraid to look. I just kept my face in Nick's chest and closed my eyes tightly. I felt as though there was someone right behind me, right behind my head just staring at me. I knew one thing for sure; I was not going to turn around to check. I just wanted to fall back to sleep as soon as possible.
 My hand searched under the covers for Nick's hand. I very softly and quietly moved my hand beneath his big palm. I did not want to disturb him; I just knew it would make me feel better if his hand was lying on top of mine.

My back felt ice cold; I tried to bring the covers up tighter around my neck and back. That\'s when I felt it. Something moved briefly on the bed behind me. I did not acknowledge it. I forced myself to stay still as if I were still asleep. I felt that if I suddenly reacted, I would see something horrible, so I did not turn around, I did not move.

 That seemed to upset whatever was behind me. I felt the bed move again, but just ever so slightly. I felt that whatever was behind me was so close to me it was almost touching my hair. I had the feeling on my scalp similar to when you have static electricity in your hair. I was sure it must almost be standing on end.
I rubbed Nick's palm with the back of my hand. I think I was actually trying to wake him, but trying to do it quietly, so whatever was behind me would not notice. It didn’t work. Nick just grunted a moment and then took another deep breath, he was still sound asleep.

I felt another movement on the bed directly behind me again. I actually could feel the blanket I had wrapped so tightly around me tug on me a bit as if someone had laid some weight on it behind me, I was sure that something was trying to get even closer to me. Suddenly I felt air blow on my cheek. It was just the same as if someone had breathed on me, except it was a lot colder, ice cold.
I tried rubbing Nick's hand again only I did it more aggressively this time. He moaned a little and turned to face me laying his arm across my side. That made me feel a little better, if there was someone or something directly behind me he would have struck them with his hand when he put his arm around me. I no sooner had the thought when Nick's arm went flying off of me and back towards him. It was as if someone had picked up his arm and flung it off of me. At that same exact moment, I felt a very strong tug on my hair, and heard a whisper in my ear.

"Get out of my room," the words struck me like a knife in my stomach.

It was a very raspy mean voice. I woke Nick instantly, but once again there was no one there. Many things happened in that house. We only lived there for thirty six days, thirty six days of pure mental hell.

That was when I started to believe in ghosts and spirit hauntings. It forever changed how I view things. I wrote a book about the whole experience, The Lennox Haunting... It is on Amazon, if you are interested in reading the first chapter. It is a true story, Jules

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Tortured Spirit of Mary Kelly

Jack the Ripper is probably the best known serial killer in history.  He is sometimes called the first serial killer.  Although this is not true, he certainly takes credit for being the first and the atrocities he committed shock us to this day.   One of his most gruesome murders, was the murder of Mary Kelly.  Mary Kelly was 25 years old when the ripper killed her and was well liked by all that knew her.  What he did to Ms. Kelly is so shocking it even bothers modern minds that have been desensitized by movies like Saw and Hostile and grown accustomed to the violence of serial killers. Photographs of Mary Kelly's body can be found easily via google, but I'm not one for shockingly violent photographs so I will use words. Warning:  The following description is disturbing. Here is the medical examiner's description of Mary Kelly's remains:

"The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle and lying across the abdomen.

The right arm was slightly abducted from the body and rested on the mattress. The elbow was bent, the forearm supine with the fingers clenched. The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk and the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes.

The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone.

The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus and kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot, the liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side and the spleen by the left side of the body. The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table.

The bed clothing at the right corner was saturated with blood, and on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about two feet square. The wall by the right side of the bed and in a line with the neck was marked by blood which had struck it in a number of separate splashes.

The face was gashed in all directions, the nose, cheeks, eyebrows, and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched and cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features.

The neck was cut through the skin and other tissues right down to the vertebrae, the fifth and sixth being deeply notched. The skin cuts in the front of the neck showed distinct ecchymosis. The air passage was cut at the lower part of the larynx through the cricoid cartilage.

Both breasts were more or less removed by circular incisions, the muscle down to the ribs being attached to the breasts. The intercostals between the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs were cut through and the contents of the thorax visible through the openings.

The skin and tissues of the abdomen from the costal arch to the pubes were removed in three large flaps. The right thigh was denuded in front to the bone, the flap of skin, including the external organs of generation, and part of the right buttock. The left thigh was stripped of skin fascia, and muscles as far as the knee.

The left calf showed a long gash through skin and tissues to the deep muscles and reaching from the knee to five inches above the ankle. Both arms and forearms had extensive jagged wounds.

The right thumb showed a small superficial incision about one inch long, with extravasation of blood in the skin, and there were several abrasions on the back of the hand moreover showing the same condition.

On opening the thorax it was found that the right lung was minimally adherent by old firm adhesions. The lower part of the lung was broken and torn away. The left lung was intact. It was adherent at the apex and there were a few adhesions over the side. In the substances of the lung there were several nodules of consolidation.

The pericardium was open below and the heart absent. In the abdominal cavity there was some partly digested food of fish and potatoes, and similar food was found in the remains of the stomach attached to the intestines."

Dr. George Bagster Phillips was also present at the scene, and gave the following testimony at the inquest:

"The mutilated remains of a female were lying two-thirds over towards the edge of the bedstead nearest the door. She had only her chemise on, or some underlinen garment. I am sure that the body had been removed subsequent to the injury which caused her death from that side of the bedstead that was nearest the wooden partition, because of the large quantity of blood under the bedstead and the saturated condition of the sheet and the palliasse at the corner nearest the partition.

The blood was produced by the severance of the carotid artery, which was the cause of death. The injury was inflicted while the deceased was lying at the right side of the bedstead." .. Taken from Casebook.org

It isn't surprising that Mary Kelly's spirit is restless.  Her ghost is still said to haunt White Chapel to this day. Residents in the flat that occupied the space where Mary Kelly's small room used to stand say that the room is haunted.  They say their pets won't go near the space where her body was found.  Kelly's ghost has been seen throughout White Chapel and there are those that have even claimed to have captured her spirit in photographs and video, although these claims do seem somewhat dubious.  Whatever the case, Mary Kelly was one of the most tragic of the ripper's victims.

In honor of this tragic ghost, my husband and I have decided to base our Halloween costumes this year on the ripper and Mary Kelly.  He'll be Mary Kelly and I'll be the ripper, wait, switch that, I'll be the Mary Kelly and he'll be the ripper.