Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Owl Spirit

Owls have been a reaccuring symbol in my life. In folklore and mythology, owls are seen as creatures that can travel between worlds.  In Egyptian, Celtic and Hindu cultures owls are the guardians of the spirits of the dead and they guide spirits from one world to the next.  They are symbols of wisdom, intuition, and the ability to see the beyond.

A few weeks ago, I had another amazing encounter with an owl.  An owl fell onto my car from a tree branch.  I didn't know what had hit my car at first, but I turned around to find out.  I found the owl looking almost dead in the tall grass beside the road.  I wrapped the owl in my sweater and drove it to my vet.  On the way there, the owl awoke and sat up.  It didn't open its eyes.  It just sat quietly, wrapped in my sweater.   I carried the bird in and it fell down and seemed dead again.  Finally, it got up and opened its eyes.   Fortunately, Wheeler Wildlife refuge has a raptor recovery program and my vet was able to contact them.  The bird was taken to the Wildlife refuge for rehabilitation, but I was left slightly stunned by the beauty and the power of the bird I had actually held in my arms.  It was a barred owl and it was beautiful.  I have to wonder why owls keep coming into my life sometimes, but I am always grateful.

Here is another post I wrote about owls: 

Owls are important symbolically in many cultures. In ancient Greece and Rome, they were linked to Athena and considered symbols of knowledge and wisdom.  In Arthurian legend,  Merlin is often depicted with an owl on his shoulder and again, the owl is linked to wisdom.  In Japan,  owl statues are said to ward off plague and illness.  In some Native American cultures owls are linked to knowledge and magic.  I knew all these things when I chose owls as the decorative theme for my new baby's nursery.   I didn't know the darker side of owls.  In many cultures, especially the Apache culture, owls portend death and are associated with the dead.  The Apaches are not alone.  Many other cultures see owls as linked death.    Of course, I choose to ignore all the cultures that see owls as ill omens in the same way I have ignored the ill omens associated with black dogs and cats.  Some of my favorite pets have been black dogs and cats and they've only brought good luck to me.

Therefore, as I sat in my owl themed nursery late at night just before my son was born,   I saw owls only as good omens.  They have become a symbol of my baby boy.   They are wise and beautiful creatures of the night.

My neighborhood and my house have no trees.   So birds of any sort are a rare commodity in my neighborhood.  The lake brings geese and goose poop, but owls are never seen in my neck of the woods.   However,  the night before my baby was born,   as I sat in the nursery, unable to sleep and very pregnant, the call of three owls filled the night air.  I sat up and listened to them hoot back and forth to each other with their distinct calls for over an hour before I drifted off to sleep.  The next day I held my baby in my arms, making owls forever a good omen for me.  I'm not sure if there was any real significance to the presence of the owls, but to me there was something mystical to their presence that night.  They were omens of life to come.



Friday, February 21, 2014

Chateau Larcher

This week I found out my new book, The Monster Hunter's Manual, is going to be released in June.  The book is a middle grade novel set in a haunted castle in the Loire Valley in France.   In order to celebrate my new release date, I'm reposting the blog I wrote about Chateau Larcher.  This castle will always be one of my favorite places and a source of inspiration for me.  

I love to travel and I love to rent houses when I travel.  I avoid hotels when possible and look for rare and interesting places to stay.  When I went to France, I found an old medieval castle that had been broken up into 4 town houses. I was able to rent one portion of this castle.   The castle, Chateau Larcher, was a bit of a mystery and still is.   I travelled during the off season and the small village's tourist information center had been closed, so I was never able to learn much about the history of the castle.  I read the plaque by the Cathedral which dated the Cathedral built into the church at around 980 and the castle itself wasn't finished until 1070.   Outside of this,  I found nothing to denote the castle's origins.  It was located in the Poiters region of France just South of the Loire valley and would have been in Aquitane during it's highest uses.  The location of the castle must have been a sacred place at one time because the area is also known for it's dolmen.  Dolmen are large, neolithic stones arrangements that are usually placed over tombs.  The dolmen in Chateau Larcher are placed over a vast necropolis of more than 100 graves.  They are usually places in a sacred or important location.

Staying in the castle was wonderful.  I loved it and I snuck away every evening to walk in the dark.   One time I enlisted help to break into a roped off section of the castle and sneak around.   The castle was mostly ruins and in the night as I wandered alone,  I found myself chilled.  There is nothing tangible I can use to prove that this castle was haunted.  There was only a profound feeling that I was not alone.  As I have little else to offer,  I have posted pictures of the castle.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ghost Girl Apparition- Interesting Ghost Caught on Video





Faith Serafin, the director of  Alabama Paranormal Research Team, posted this awesome video on her facebook page.  Thanks to Faith for sharing this interesting ghost footage!