Thursday, May 31, 2012

Please Ignore My Evil Doppleganger

I am being haunted by the living again and I find this type of haunting far more irksome.  Give me a nice ghost anytime.  This particular crazy, haunting human has been haunting a few well known bloggers.  She's been haunting autumn forest of Ghost Hunting Theories and Dr. Heckle.  She is a doppleganger sort of haunter and has been travelling the Internet pretending to be us.  She claims to be Jessica Pinot and she is clearly quite mentally ill and not getting the medical care she needs.  She is posting bizarre things around the Internet and claiming to be me.  She's even got a blog that looks just like mine but makes no sense at all.  It is like bizarro Ghost Stories and Haunted Places.

So, if someone named Jessica Pinot and claiming to be me pops up saying bizarre things on your blog or website. Or if some crazy lady says she is from Ghost Stories and Haunted Places saying obscene and mad nonsense, it is not me.  I am not Jessica Pinot.  I am not the crazy, naked person wandering the Internet spreading mayhem.  She is just my evil Internet doppleganger.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Annabelle, The Cursed Doll

Dolls scare the hell out of me so this story gave me nightmares. I'm not entirely sure why, but cursed dolls are particularly scary to me.  This is the story of an over sized Raggedy Ann doll named Annabelle. Annabelle was a gift given to a young nurse named Donna by her mother. It wasn't long after Annabelle was given to Donna that Donna began to notice Annabelle moved about the apartment on her own. Donna and her roommate, Angie, began to notice that they would leave for work and when they came home the doll would be laying on the bed in a different position. The women started arranging the doll purposely in one position and they would find it with its arms crossed or legs moved. This went on for some time and after a while the doll became more active. It would change rooms. Once, they even found the doll kneeling. This is a position that is impossible for a raggedy anne doll on its own.

Over time the doll began to leave messages. The messages were left in pencil on parchment paper. The women had never owned parchment paper so its origin was as mysterious as the messages themselves. The notes usually said "help us" or "help lou". The women began rigging the apartment to check for intruders. They thought that maybe someone was tricking them, but there was no evidence of break ins. One night they came home to find blood on the doll's hand.

Finally, the women contacted a medium to talk to the doll. The doll said that she was a little girl who had died on the property who was lonely. After this, the women contacted paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens believed the story about the little girl was trickery to gain sympathy and that Annabelle was really possessed by a demon. This belief was confirmed when Angie's boyfriend was attacked physically by some unseen spirit in the apartment. The attack left a series of deep marks on Lou's chest.

After this, a priest was called in to do an exorcism. The exorcism seemed to work and the Warren's offered to take Annabelle home with them. On the way home, Annabelle caused the car to veer off the road almost killing the Warrens. The Warrens dosed the doll in Holly Water and the activity stopped for a time. Soon after, Annabelle began to be active in the Warrens' home and they had to move her to their Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut. They keep a website that documents their experiences with Annabelle at http://www.edandlorrainwarren.com/. The doll has remained active since its placement in the museum and is even thought to be responsible for some deaths since that time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Ouija Board

Hollywood loves to make adaptations.  It loves adaptations of television shows, books, video games, author's lives, etc.  The recent rage in adaptations appears to be board games.   This summer the first of many board game based movies was released in the form of Battleship.  The duo that directed Alvin and the Chipmunks will be directing an adaptation of Candyland.   A movie adaption of Monopoly is supposed to be about the sub prime mortgage crisis and finally a low budget adaption of Ouija will round out the board game movies. I could care less about the other movies, but the Ouija Board is always interesting in movies and it has been in many horror movies.  It has already been the primary focus of a Filipino horror film called Ouija.  From the Exorcist to Paranormal Activity the Ouija Board has brought doom on the masses, but is it really as evil as it is in the movies?

The Ouija Board was first created during the spiritualist movement of the late nineteenth century. It was designed as a tool to help communication with spirits. Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard were the first to patent the device. In 1966, the device's patent was sold to Parker Brother's who still own it. Ever since its creation the Ouija Board has been controversial. The most famous case of demonic activity with Ouija Board was the case that was later the inspiration for a book The Exorcist. I've blogged about this case before. A little boy named Robbie and his aunt attempted to contact a deceased relative and the resulting demon possession was legendary.

I remember my first experience with the Ouija Board was fairly typical. I was at a slumber party and one of the girl's brought out the board. We all took turns asking questions. I can't remember them all. They were mundane girly questions like "will Billy Bob ask me to the dance," or "Will I be a doctor when I grow up." At the end, the girl who brought the board out told the spirit thank you and said that she would give it all her Halloween candy as a way of saying thank you for all its help. She put her bucket of Halloween candy by the board and we went upstairs to play light as a feather stiff as a board. When we returned, all the candy was gone. The wrappers were still there. They were still sealed, but the candy was gone. I'll admit, this could be some kind of slumber party prank, but I don't know how this girl, who was pretty clueless pulled it off.

Almost everyone you talk to has a Ouija board story and almost all of them are bad. Mine was quiet and stupid, but almost everyone I talk to about the board agrees that it opens doors that shouldn't be opened. My grandmother passed away a few years ago, which had lead to much contemplation on her life. She was a woman who always dabbled in the supernatural and believed firmly in ghosts. In fact, she had a relationship with a ghost named Alonk that lasted years via the Ouija Board. She forced my mother and her sister to help her continue this relationship. Alonk told her he loved and sent her love stories. It really creeped my mother out, although my aunt grew fond of Alonk.

There are a million Ouija Board stories. One local story, involves a teen that used the board regularly. One night the sofa he stored the board under burst into flames, burning down the entire apartment complex he lived in. Another story I found in a book, describes a young man's interaction with a spirit via the board. During this interaction, the spirit said the board was specifically designed to communicate with those in hell. Only spirits that had been damned could be contacted using the board.

I have heard a few good stories about the board. One woman at a paranormal meeting I went to said she talked with a playful girl spirit that had lived in her house before her. She said the interaction was positive and helped bring peace to herself and her daughter who had been afraid of the ghost before the conversation via the board. I know that some people must be having positive experiences with the board, because it still sells very well. There is even an online version of the game now that allows you to play alone using your mouse. However, the overwhelming bulk of the stories are terrifying. Which brings me to the question. Is the Ouija Board a gateway only to evil or can it be used for good? Are people being swayed by the abundance of negative stories or are there any possible good uses for this tool?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Haunted ebay Painting

Haunted objects have always held particular fascination for me and I found this story particularly creepy.   I have always wondered about the haunted items on eBay, but this haunted item, known as the eBay painting seems to have turned into a legend.   The ebay painting's official name is  "The Hands That Resist Him.."  The painting  was done by Oakland, California artist Bill Stoneham in 1972.    The painting was made notorious by a ghost story on eBay.  The painting was first shown in the Feingarten Gallery in the 1970s and it received a bad review.  It was later purchased by actor John Marley of The Godfather.  Mr. Marley passed away and the painting was bought by a California couple.   In February of 2000, it was listed on eBay with the following information.  This is the original text from the eBay auction: 


WHEN WE RECEIVED THIS PAINTING, WE THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY GOOD ART. A " PICKER " HAD FOUND IT ABANDONED BEHIND AN OLD BREWERY. AT THE TIME WE WONDERED A LITTLE WHY A SEEMINGLY PERFECTLY FINE PAINTING WOULD BE DISCARDED LIKE THAT. ( TODAY WE DON'T !!! ) ONE MORNING OUR 4 AND 1/2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER CLAIMED, THAT THE CHILDREN IN THE PICTURE WERE FIGHTING, AND COMING INTO THE ROOM DURING THE NIGHT. NOW, I DON'T BELIEVE IN UFOS OR ELVIS BEING ALIVE, BUT MY HUSBAND WAS ALARMED. TO MY AMUSEMENT HE SET UP A MOTION TRIGGERED CAMERA FOR THE NIGHTS. AFTER THREE NIGHTS THERE WERE PICTURES.THE LAST TWO PICTURES SHOWN ARE FROM THAT 'STAKEOUT'. AFTER SEEING THE BOY SEEMINGLY EXITING THE PAINTING UNDER THREAT, WE DECIDED, THE PAINTING HAS TO GO.PLEASE JUDGE FOR YOURSELF. --- BEFORE YOU DO, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING WARNING AND DISCLAIMER. ----WARNING: DO NOT BID ON THIS PAINTING IF YOU ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO STRESS RELATED DISEASE, FAINT OF HEART OR ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH SUPERNATURAL EVENTS. BY BIDDING ON THIS PAINTING, YOU AGREE TO RELEASE THE OWNERS OF ALL LIABILITY IN RELATION TO THE SALE OR ANY EVENTS HAPPENING AFTER THE SALE, THAT MIGHT BE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS PAINTING. THIS PAINTING MAY OR MAY NOT POSESS SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THAT COULD IMPACT OR CHANGE YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER, BY BIDDING YOU AGREE TO EXCLUSIVELY BID ON THE VALUE OF THE ARTWORK, WITH DISREGARD TO THE LAST TWO PHOTOS FEATURED IN THIS AUCTION, AND HOLD THE OWNERS HARMLESS IN REGARD TO THEM AND THEIR IMPACT, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.------------ NOW THAT WE GOT THIS OUT OF THE WAY, ONE QUESTION TO YOU EBAYERS. WE WANT OUR HOUSE TO BE BLESSED AFTER THE PAINTING IS GONE, DOES ANYBODY KNOW, WHO IS QUALIFIED TO DO THAT? THE SIZE OF THE PAINTING IS 24 BY 36 INCHES, SO IT IS RATHER LARGE. AS I HAVE HAD SEVERAL QUESTIONS, HERE THE FOLLOWING ANSWERS. THERE WAS NO ODOR LEFT BEHIND IN THE ROOM. THERE WERE NO VOICES, OR THE SMELL OF GUNPOWDER, NO FOODPRINTS OR STRANGE FLUIDS ON THE WALL. TO DETER QUESTIONS IN THIS DIRECTION, THERE ARE NO GHOSTS IN THIS WORLD , NO SUPERNATURAL POWERS, THIS IS JUST A PAINTING, AND MOST THESE THINGS HAVE AN EXPLANATION, IN THIS CASE PROBABLY A FLUKE LIGHT EFFECT. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO BID ON THE ARTWORK, AND CONSIDER THE LAST TWO PHOTOGRAPHS AS PURE ENTERTAINMENT, AND PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THEM INTO CONSIDERATION, WHEN BIDDING. AS WE THINK IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO BLESS ANY HOUSE, WE STILL WELCOME INPUT INTO THAT PROCEDURE.
 
The first bid on the painting was $199 and it eventually sold for $1025.  The buyer was Perception Gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The legends that spread around the painting were viral.  People who viewed the painting on eBay claimed that just looking at the painting on the eBay listing made them sick and others claimed that terrible things happened to them from viewing the painting on eBay.  One Native American medicine man claimed he could feel evil seeping out from the painting and that he needed to cleanse his house with rosemary after his viewing of the painting.  It is interesting to note that the first owner  of the painting died within a year of purchasing the painting and the reviewer who gave the painting a bad review also met a bad end within a year.   The owner of the Feingarten Gallery also died shortly after showing the painting.

Since the eBay auction that made Stoneham's work famous, he has painted two other paintings in this series which can be viewed on his website at http://www.stonehamstudios.com/ .

Many believe "The Hands That Resist Him" is actually cursed and haunted, but others think that this painting is a classic example of the viral nature of Internet urban legends and the power of mass hysteria. Either way, the painting does have a creepy quality about it that makes you wonder what those scary little children are up to.  I certainly wouldn't want this painting in my house.   I'm way to superstitious to put this painting on my blog.   Not to mention the fact that I'm already blaming  all the bad things that have happened  in my house this morning on those stupid creepy children.  Glass broke?  Obviously stupid creepy children's fault.  Son fell and hurt his arm?  Obviously stupid creepy children's fault.   I lost my car keys? Stupid creepy children did that.  Clearly, the painting is cursed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free Kindle Copy of Death's Dream Kingdom


I'm working on Haunted South Alabama and the sequel to Circe this week so I will be blogging slowly.  I hate to leave my blog completely naked while I work so until I get my lazy rear end blogging again, I'm going to give away free copies of my urban fantasy novel, Death's Dream Kingdom on Kindle.   If you would like a copy, just email me your email address at jessica.penot@gmail.com.  


Cera is an ordinary wife and mother who enjoys the simple things in life, until the night she is murdered. In death, Cera finds herself trapped in a shadow land somewhere between the land of the living and the land of the dead, where demons, ghosts, and old gods roam the streets preying on the living. It is up to Cera to find out why the line between the living and the dead is fading and how the rift between worlds can be mended. Pulled into a quest that takes her to hell and back and into the arms of an ancient, demon lover, she finds that she is a child of the Fates and that she alone can challenge death himself for dominion over his kingdom.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Haunted South Alabama

I've been a little slow in blog posting this week because I have been working on my next History Press Book, Haunted South Alabama.  The journey I take in writing a collection of ghost stories is always interesting.  I begin with an outline I submit with my book proposal package, but as I bury myself in research, I often discover ghost stories are not what I expect them to be.  For example,  all the internet sites and stories I'd heard about the haunting of Space Camp said there was some kind of explosion there that lead to a haunting.  After I went to Space Camp and did my research for Haunted North Alabama, I learned this couldn't have been further from the truth.

With Haunted South Alabama,  I thought I would be focusing on the ghost stories in old forts along the beaches and in Montgomery.    What I've discovered is that there are enough ghost stories in Selma alone to fill a book.  I didn't know much about the history of Selma, Alabama.  It was one of those rural Southern towns I could have passed by entirely without noticing, but now that I've heard its history and learned more about it, it is filled with enough ghost lore to keep me there for weeks.   I've found the ghosts of Bloody Sunday and a wonderful headless lady ghost.  I've found an old mill with dark spirits and the lady who told me these stories is willing to tell me more.  I'm thrilled.   Hopefully, I will be traveling to Selma to collect more stories and I'll be even more busy over the next month or so.   I really can't wait to keep writing, but sadly my book adventures do keep me from the blog.   Hopefully,  I'll have something else to post here soon too. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fact or Faked: The History of Ectoplasm Done Wrong


I don't watch much paranormal television, but I've been housebound lately and my television consumption has increased.  I was watching Fact or Faked:  Paranormal Files today and something they said made me angry.  I wanted to say, "Read a book!" to the hosts of this show, but reading seems to be a lost art.  The hosts of this show wanted to investigate the ectoplasm claims from the early 20th century.  They said that although tons of research was done on this, no one had shown ectoplasm was a hoax.   Ectoplasm was conclusively proven to be a hoax in the 1920s and it was a disgusting and vile hoax at that.  Here is a post I did on the revolting history of ectoplasm two years ago.

During the time contemporary to and following World War I there was and explosion in what was then called spiritualism or mentalism. Spiritualism is a religious movement revolving around communicating with the dead via a medium. This explosion was brought on by the massive number of people that died in the war and of sickness during this time period. One of the more bizarre activities that became prevalent in this movement was the explosion of ectoplasm. Ectoplasm is a term used to define a physical manifestation of the supernatural and it usually came out of the medium's nose, mouth, or ears. The term, defined by Charles Richet, meant spiritual energy externalized by psychics. It was for many years used as absolute confirmation that the supernatural was tangible and provable. It was supposed to be the physical remains of a ghostly presence. Ghosts were there and they were real and the medium could prove it by showing ectoplasm.

Ectoplasm was so believed in that it was featured in respectable scientific journals and it's existence was confirmed by the great minds of the time including William Butler Yeats and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was so believed in that Scientific America sought to do a study on it and offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who could demonstrate the release of ectoplasm in front of a scientific panel. This reward lead to the beginning of the end of the scientific validity of ectoplasm.

What was discovered was both revolting and eye opening. Although many techniques and materials have been used by mediums to produce ectoplasm, the medium examined by this panel was found to be storing a sheep gut and fat mixture in a sack in her vagina which she expolsed at the appropriate time to make it appear as if she was expelling ectoplasm. Further research into other psychics revealed many other grotesque techniques for producing this fraudulent material. Some women learned how to regurgitate on demand and swallowed yards of muslin and cheese cloth which they would vomit on command. Others stored materials in their rectum.  After careful study, not a single medium that could produce ectoplasm was shown to be doing it by supernatural methods.

Although this story is disgusting. It is more about the disgustingness that is possible within humanity when exploiting the needs of those suffering from the lost of a loved one than the vileness of the actual act. Although I love a good ghost story, it is always amazing to me how much more horrifying live people can be than ghosts. Ghosts have never been shown to leave real ectoplasm, but it is amazing how many mediums were shown to be literally pulling it from there asses.

So, to all those Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files fans out there, the Fact of Faked team did not prove anything that wasn't already shown to be fake in the 1920s by Scientific America.  I don't mean to say I don't enjoy Fact or Faked.  I obviously do or I wouldn't have watched it enough to do this post. In fact, I really like Fact or Faked quite a bit.  I love the skeptical approach to the paranormal.  I was just surprised at the lack of research that went into this one particular case. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Maiden's Ghostly Bell

Frommer's describes the great bell in Da Zhongsi as a bell so vast and beautiful it could "bring out the hunchback" in anyone.  The temple that was once called the Awakened Life Temple is located just outside of Beijing.  Since 1743, the temple has taken a new name.  It has become know as Da Zhongsi or The Great Bell Temple.  The Great Bell that resides in this temple is carved with over 200,000 characters in Chinese and Sanskrit and weighs more than 47 tons.  The bell is a huge attraction and is the 2nd largest bell in the world.  It is rung only once a year at New Years and is also said to be haunted.

According to Lafcadio Hearn, there is an old story attached to this bell that goes back over 500 years.    During this time the Great Emperor Yongluo who was said to be the son of heaven, from the Ming Dynasty, commissioned the construction of a great bell.  He ordered the bell be made of brass, gold, and silver so that when it rang it could be heard for over a hundred miles.  He commissioned the work from a master bell maker and  the work began.  Sadly, the construction of this bell seemed to be an impossible labor.  The bell maker worked night and day  and hired all the master molders of the empire to create this goliath creation.  Yet despite the most brilliant artisans and the best materials, the metals rebelled against each other and would not mingle.  Twice the master bell smith tried to make the great bell and twice he failed.

Yongluo heard of the bell smith's failure and grew angry.  He send him a letter that said:

      "From the Mighty Yongluo, the Sublime Taizong, the Celestial and August -whose reign is called "Ming"- to Guanyu the Fuyin:  twice thous hast betrayed the trust we have deigned graciously to place in thee.  If thous fail a third time in fulfilling our command, thy head shall be severed from thy neck.  Tremble, and obey."

The bell maker had a beautiful daughter, Ge-ai,  who he loved above all other things in the world and she heard of the words the emperor had sent to her father.  She loved her father greatly and set out to save his life.   She went to a fortune teller to see if there was anything she could do to save her father's life.   The fortune teller told her that the gold and brass in the bell would never meet in wedlock unless it was bound by the blood of a virgin.  Ge-ai didn't think long on this, but she went straight to her father's foundry.  There she found him preparing to cast the third bell.  As the metal poured, she leaped into the liquefied metal and vanished.  As she fell she cried out to her father that she died for love of him.   Ge-ai's father tried to leap in after his beloved daughter, but he was held back and all stood speechless.   Nothing of Ge-ai remained but a single red slipper.

The bell was cast and never had there been a bell of such beauty and size.   When it rang, it could be heard for more than a hundred miles and people said that in its ring they could hear the sound of  Ge-ai crying out.  She cried out for her lost life and  for her single, lost slipper.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Zombie Repellent for May Monster Madness

As the May Monster Madness Blog Hop continues, I wanted to remind everyone that protecting yourself from one of my favorite monsters, the zombie,  is easy.   I have written about this before, but this is an important safety tip you can't remind people of too often. All you have to do is drink trappist ales.

I have always been deeply concerned about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse.  I have also wanted to prepare for this apocalypse.  However,  I am lazy and cheap and most options for preparation seem difficult and expensive.  Buying guns and ammo is expensive.  Fortifying your home is expensive and it just sounds like a lots of work.  Cardio is exhausting.

This is my answer to all zombie problems.   Buy or brew trappist ales.  Trappist beer is a wonderful thing. There are seven breweries in the world that carry the official Trappist seal, and every single beer they brew is a masterpiece. All of these beers are brewed by actual Trappist Monks in monasteries. They are my favorite beers and if I have to sacrifice something for zombie safety,  thank God it is drinking one of these every day.  My personal favorite is Chimay Blue Ale.  Be careful,  this is a high gravity beer with an alcohol content of 11.5% and it may get you tipsy a little quicker than your average beer, but it is a worthwhile sacrifice if that is what is required to save yourself from zombies.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Monster Madness



Daph from Daph's Dark Little Corner has won my May Monster Madness Giveaway!  You can find her at http://earthdancedaph.blogspot.com/ .  Thank you so much for participating and I hope everyone who stopped by enjoyed the hop!


Welcome to the May Monster Madness Blog Hop.  May is in bloom and it is six months until Halloween.  The wonderful Andrea Walls and Emma from Little Gothic Horrors have  put together a fabulous blog hop to celebrate the season.   For all those of you hopping to my blog for the first time, welcome to Ghost Stories and Haunted Places, a blog for all things haunted and haunting.  For this blog hop I have put together a goodie bag of assorted haunted and monster items.   First, I will be giving away copies of my books, Haunted North Alabama and Haunted Chattanooga. To add a little bit of monster to this Monster Madness giveaway,  I will also be including a copy of my chilling new horror novel, Circe. Circe features a monster so devious it slowly drive my protagonist insane and will make this Monster Madness that much more mad.  Finally, I will be including a lovely handmade pendant made by the brilliant labyrinth creations (http://labyrinthcreations.blogspot.com/).   This handmade piece of Halloween monster fun is utterly unique.   If you would like to win this goody bag of  treats, just comment below and leave your name and email address and follow my blog.  For extra chances to win you can go to the two links below and "like" my books.  You get one extra entry for each "like".

http://www.amazon.com/Circe-ebook/dp/B0068QDD9U/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1335719865&sr=8-4
http://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Dream-Kingdom-ebook/dp/B004YXMFYS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1335719865&sr=8-2

Here is a little bit of information about my novel, Circe, so you know what you might be winning.  

Dr. Black is a good man with a few vices. When he goes to an old institution in rural Alabama to complete his internship, he will face his darkest demons and his his worst temptations as the mysteries at the heart of the institution pull him into world of black magic and monster from his darkest nightmares.


There are lots of other blogs participating in May Monster Madness!   Travel to them to enter to win a variety of fun goodies and read a lot interesting monster blogs!