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
http://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Chattanooga-TN-America/dp/1609492552/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351046565&sr=1-1&keywords=Haunted+Chattanooga

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.