Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Sanctuary

On my recent trip to New York, I stayed in a small boutique hotel off of Time Square called The Sanctuary Hotel.  It is small and lovely.  The d├ęcor draws from Eastern Inspirations and features Indian inspired and Buddhist themed art.  The rooms were small but comfortable.  The staff was very friendly and the lobby was quiet.  The food was good.

The hotel wasn’t haunted.  There is nothing online that says it is haunted.   I couldn’t find anything about its history online that would indicate the building has ever had anything remarkable happen in it.  It does have a wicked, wonderful Halloween party every year, but that is as spooky as it gets.  Despite this, for my three night stay, I was awakened every night at 3am by what sounded like someone trying to get into my room, entering in my room, and stomping across my room to fidget about with something in the corner.  I sat up. Nothing was moving.  I saw no signs of a haunting, but the noise was still there and it was eerily close.  The first night, I assumed it must have been the people in the room next to me.  That was the only explanation.  It was late.  I must have misjudged the proximity of the noise.  In the morning, I looked next to my room.  There was no room next to mine.  There were pipes.  The next night I got up and walked out of my room to see if someone just loved messing with the pipes at 3am.  You never know.  People are weird.   There was nothing there.  The last night, I ignored the noise.  It wasn’t going to hurt me and I have seen and heard creepier things in my life.  I still don’t know what the noise was or why it always happened at 3am.   Staff didn’t comment.  The only history I could find of the building was that it was built in 1935 and was once an apartment complex.  I would love to hear more if anyone knows more.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How Valentine's Day Started with Naked Ladies and Dead Animals!

It is time for my annual Valentine's Day Post.  This is my favorite post of the year because Valentine's Day's origins are so beautifully twisted. I guess I am just a romantic that way.  I hope you all have a happy Valentine's Day!

My favorite thing about holidays are their bizarre origins.  Most of our modern celebrations have roots in old pagan traditions.  Valantine's Day is no different.  Its pagan roots are just more bizarre than most. They are so strange I like to write about them every year.  I know it is slightly off topic, but naked people being flogged with animal hides is worth discussing in any forum. Apparently the ancient roots of Valentine's Day begins with the Romans. The Romans celebrated Lupercalia from Feb. 13 to 15. In Roman mythology Lupercus was the equivalent of the Greek god Pan who was known to be a sexy sort of fellow who promoted fertility. His holiday was a somewhat romantic kind of celebration. During Lupercalia the men would sacrifice a goat and a dog and then whip women with the hides of the dead animals. The women would line up naked in order to be whipped. They did this because they believed this ritual would make them more fertile. Afterwards, there would be lottery in which men and women would be paired up for a night of naked fun.

I know, you are now wishing we still celebrated Valentine's day this way. Enough with the cheesy cards. Where are the dead animals, whippings, and naked people? It was the Catholic Church that ruined the fun. Emperor Claudius II killed two Valentine's in different years of February 14th. Both men were martyred and the day derives its name from these two martyred saints. In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I got confused and merged the two martyrs into one person and named February 14th after them. He also absorbed the romantic traditions of Lupercalia into the day in order to soften the pagan debauchery and retake the day for Christianity. Christianity has a long history of doing this type of thing. Christmas was taken from Roman Saturnalia traditions and Norse Yule traditions. By absorbing pagan holidays rather than forbidding them, ancient Christians were able to gain new followers rather than lose them.

Chaucer and Shakespeare can be credited with further romanticizing St. Valentine's day and turning it into the romantic, kissy holiday it is today, but I will always think back to better days when women ran naked through the streets being beaten with dead animals.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Walking Through Dead Children's Playground

There is something uncanny about Dead Children's Playground in Huntsville, Alabama.  Children rarely play there and when they do their voices echo in the old quarry and resonate with a creepiness that just can't be captured without actually being there.  With this in mind, I decided to video tape Dead Children's Playground.  The footage is below.  It is one of the most beautiful and chilling places I have ever been.