Tuesday, July 22, 2014


   Everyone gets the chills when they walk through a cemetery, especially at night but mostly it is all in our heads.  How could walking through hundreds of deceased people that are buried six feet under, get you thinking that there's ghost in that thar graveyard?  Come and take a walk through some of America's most haunted cemeteries and read about the ghosts that choose to hand around them.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

One of the Bachelor's Grove ghosts

   This secluded cemetery located in Chicago is said to be the most haunted graveyard in America.  Bachelor's Grove has had numerous paranormal investigators that have investigated this cemetery and it has been reported that it has had over 160 cases of documented paranormal occurrences, which include everything from floating "orbs" to light and full body apparitions.

Lafayette Cemetery

Collage of graves at Lafayette Cemetery
   Located in New Orleans, La.  Is said to be one of the most haunted.  Hundreds of sightings are reported in this historic cemetery.  Witnesses have experienced a woman dressed in white who flags down taxi cabs and always disappears before the ride is over.  Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau is said to haunt the cemetery and the surrounding area.  Her powers are known to be so strong when she was alive, and now that death has taken her, she holds even greater sway over her devoted, who decorate her grave with symbols, candles and flowers, in the hope she'll bless them.

Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery

Grave markers at Camp Chase

   Camp Chase is a Confederate cemetery located in Ohio nestled in a Columbus Hilltop neighborhood.  This cemetery marks the place where a POW camp stood over 140 years ago.  It is said here a woman roams the cemetery in search of her soldier, lost in a POW camp during the American Civil War.  On a grave of a confederate soldier, flowers will appear on it for no explainable reason.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Hollywood Forever grave sites
   Hollywood Forever Cemetery located in Hollywood, Ca.  was founded in 1899 and was originally named Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery.  The original site occupied 100 area but 40 acres were sold off to Paramount and RKO Studios in 1920.  The Hollywood Memorial Park cemetery is the final resting place for such starts as, Fatty Arbuckle, Valentino, Victor Fleming and Clifton Webb,  whose ghost is said to haunt the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum where it is reported that guests hear voices, whispering, see strange lights, feel cold drafts and smell cologne.

El Campo Santo Cemetery

El Campo early grave sites

El Campo grave

    This cemetery located in San Diego, Ca.  This cemetery is believed to be actively haunted with such sightings as what looks like a Hispanic or a Native American walking through  out the grounds and a woman  in a white Victorian dress will appear and disappear into the south wall of the cemetery.


   Superstitions abound around the Halloween holiday.  And why wouldn't they?  It's that time of the year again, where the dead rise and the spirits abound.  Or at least that's what alot of people believe.  Many people have very strong beliefs involving this holiday and the days around it.

 Every one knows that black cats are supposed to be bad luck, especially if they cross your path.  Years ago it was thought that black cats are supposed to be bad luck, especially if they cross your path.  Years ago it was thought that black cats were actually the devil, or at least filled with evil spirits.
   For unmarried girls, there were many ways to find out about your future husband.  On Halloween night, if you keep a rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under your pillow, supposedly you will dream about your future husband.  For a better glimpse of your future, a girl must carry a broken egg in a glass, take it to a spring of water, and mix some of that water into the egg.  She will then see her future husband and her future children.  Or she can just bring a lamp on Halloween night to a spring of water and see a reflection in it of her future husband.

 Want to frighten the ghosts and spirits away?  All you need to do is ring a bell.  Or you can bury animal bones all over your front yard.  Easier yet, just set a picture of an animal as close as possible to your doorway to keep the evil spirits away.  To get rid of all evil, it was said all you needed to do was to walk around your house three times backward, before the sun sets on Halloween night.
   A "dumb supper" is an old term meaning that nobody talks while having supper.  For those that WANT the spirits around, try this old folklore, as it is said it encourages the undead to come to the table.  Bats are very much associated with Halloween now for these reasons.  If a bat flies into your house on Halloween, there's a good chance a ghost or spirit let it in, and that they are near.  Some people believed that if bats come out early on Halloween night, then the weather is going to be good.  But if a bat flies about your home on Halloween three times, then death is coming.

 Owls are another flying creature sometimes thought to be spooky.  Supposedly they swoop down on Halloween to eat at the souls of the dying.  To prevent this from happening, all you need to do is turn your pocket inside out and leave it hanging.
   Don't turn around if you hear footsteps behind you on Halloween night, as it may be the dead following you.  If you do happen to look back, you may join them very quickly.
   Want to see a witch in the sky on Halloween night?  Just throw your clothes on inside out and backwards, and you might.  Common misconceptions of witches is that they are evil and associated with the devil.
   If you catch yourself watching a spider on Halloween, you may just be peering at the spirit of a deceased loved one who is watching over YOU!!


   Japan like any other country is steeped in ghostly lore.  Here are a few of the more common Japanese spirits for you to read about and be amazed by.


 Translated as "haunted lantern", in Japanese folklore a Bakechochin is a lantern inhabited by ghosts.  According to folklore the lantern has a long tongue and wild eyes and is home for the ghosts of people who died with hate in their hearts; for this reason, they are doomed to hauntthe earth for all time.  If someone should light one of the haunted lanterns it is thought that a hateful ghost may leap out of it and attack.


   Buruburu, meaning the sound of shivering, is a terrible ghost from Japanese folklore that for reasons unknown is said to lurk in forests and graveyards in the form of an old person, who is sometimes one eyed.  According to legend it attaches itself to its victim's spine and causes a chill to run down them, or in the worse case causes them to die of fright.


 A Gashadokuro according to Japanese folklore is a giant skeleton many  times taller than a human.  It is thought to be made of the bones of people who have starved to death.  After midnight the ghost roams the streets making a ringing noise that sounds in the ears.  If people do not run away when the Gashadokuro approaches it will bite off their heads with its giant teeth.


 The Ikiryoh is the name used to describe an entity that is thought to be created by the evil thoughts and feelings of a person.  When it is energized by hatred the Ikiryoh becomes so powerful it can leave the person harboring hateful thoughts and enter and possess the person who is the object of the hatred.  Once it is inside the person at can kill the victim slowly by draining away the person's energy.  The Ikiryoh is thought to be extremely difficult to exorcise and there are numerous rites to drive it away, including some Buddhist scriptures.


 A Konakijii is the spirit of a baby who has been left to die in the woods.  The Konakijii lures people out to the woods with the sound of its crying, but when people get close they see that the baby has the face of an old man.  If  they pick the baby up it is impossible to put down and suddenly becomes so heavy that it crushes unsuspecting victims to death.


   The Kubikajiiri is a head-eating ghost, who has a distinctive smell that of fresh blood, and is said to lurk around graveyards at night searching for its head.  If it can't find its own head it will try to eat the heads of anything, living or dead that crosses its path.


   The Mononoke is a ghost that resides in inanimate objects.  It is found in temples, shrines and graveyards and likes to scare or even kill people.  Priests are thought to be able to drive it away be reciting Buddhist sutras.  According to Shinto belief, all things, including inanimate objects, have their own unique spirits (kami), which gives them life.


   According to Japanese folklore on the Island of Kyushu, the Nurikabe is said to be a wall ghost.  It appears as a large, white wall, with pairs of arms and legs, to people out walking late of night.  Now, if a person attempts to pas the ghostly wall, it may fall and crush them or if the person attempt to run around or run away the wall reappears in front of them.  According to the legend the only way to escape is to hit the bottom of the wall with a stick and it will vanish.  The origin of the

Sunday, July 20, 2014


   Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right! Here I  am stuck in the middle of them! (a little verse from a Gerry Rafferty song).  Clowns could be a nightmare to someone suffering from Coulrophobia.  It is estimated that as many as 1 out of 7 people suffers from a fear of clowns.
   For those suffering from Courophobia, Bozo and his red-nosed brethren are anything but funny or amusing.  Surprisingly, the fear of clowns is one of the top ten most common phobias.  While it may seem funny that grown men and women alike may shirk in fear from seemingly harmless, albeit doofy characters with over-sized shoes and rainbow suspenders, for them it is no laughing matter. While the cause of Courophobia isn't necessarily known and is different for everyone, one common theory holds that the root cause most likely stems fro a traumatic childhood experience.  Maybe you were squirted by one too many trick flowers while a white faced clown laughed in your face; or perhaps you had a coat rack in your room growing up that resembled an evil menacing bozo-like character when the lights were off.

 The image of the evil clown has become a cliche' in today's society.  From Bart Simpson's "Can't sleep clowns will eat me" to The Joker of Batman fame, clowns are not always the picture of fun.  Whatever the case, I'm sure the release of "It", The Steven King novel and movie that had a clown named Pennywise in it.  He had razor sharp teeth and drug children into the sewer.

  John Wayne Gacy, an American serial killer, convicted and executed for the rape and murder of 33 boys and men, between 1972 and the time of his arrest in 1978, was known as the "Killer Clown" because he attended many block parties dressed in a clown suit and makeup under the name of Pogo the Clown.  Koko the Killer Clown appears in a sideshow at Coney Island.  Homey D. Clown from the comedy show "In Living Color", was an ex-con drug addict with a penchant for violence.  Not to mention the 1988 movie "Killer Clowns from Outer Space", and the nasty clown doll in the movie "Poltergeist".


 As phobias are no laughing matter, the same with all mental health problems, it is worth noting that there are steps for overcoming such aversions if you are one of the poor people facing such a crippling and debilitating fear that it impedes your life.  There are sufferers who are so petrified of clowns that they are sent into panic attacks at the mere sight of an outfitted clown.  There are treatment methods that include hypnotherapy, medications, and immersion therapy; where the patient is forced to face the very crux of their phobia.  Luckily, as it isn't everyday that the circus comes to town and you're forced to be faced with those bizarre polka-dot painted clowns everyday, most people re likely to simply avoid them when they can and get on with their perfectly productive lives!

 Still, it leads one to question what a particularly evil posse of clowns could be capable of and what sort of havoc they could incur.  Hollywood has given us a few possible ideas, and if you aren't a Courophobic yet, you may be after viewing one of these clown horror movies!

  • Fear of Clowns
  • IT
  • The Clown Murders
  • Secrets of the Clown
  • Dead Clowns
  • We All Scream for Ice Cream
  • Final Draft
  • Killer Clowns From Outer Space

   You don't have to be a kid to be sent crawling under your bedsheets for safety.  If the creepy little clown mobile hanging in your room sends you crying to mama, you may want to switch that nightlight on for safety!!!


     I know that Halloween is closer than Christmas is but I think it's time for a little change up (It's my favorite, right next to Halloween).  Let us not forget about Thanksgiving, the holiday that gets hardly any praise at all by most people.  Here's a list of some Christmas trivia and folklore for all of us to enjoy!
   Let's take a look back at the origins of Christmas and some of the lesser known facts involving one of my favorite holiday's.

  • While the Pilgrims may have been responsible for beginning the tradition of Thanksgiving, they did not celebrate Christmas--it was against their Puritan belief and in fact, it was illegal.

  • It was once believed that whoever (husband or wife) first brings holly into the house will rule the home all year. (wishful thinking on the mans part these days.)

  • Young men of the 1700's believe that if they saw a redheaded girl at Christmastime, he would be pursued by flame-haired vixens throughout the coming year. (MORE wishful thinking on the mans part again!!)

  • A meowing cat on Christmas Day used to portend bad luck.  Consequently, their owners would leave a full saucer of milk out that night to pacify the feline. (or throw a size ten shoe at it!)

  • Women stayed indoors on Christmas Day because they believed their neighbors would experience bad luck if the first person they saw was a woman. Or else their first visitor afterward would be a harlot.

  • Abraham Lincoln one received the city of Savannah, Georgia as a Christmas gift from General Sherman.

  • Dolly Madison introduced eggnog at a Christmas party at the White House in 1811.(at least it wasn't fruit cake!!)

  • It was not until 1836 that Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas.  Oklahoma was the last, in 1890.

  • Neiman Marcus started their "Gift of the Year" promotion in 1960 featuring his and hers airplanes.  In 1967 the most coveted gift was his and hears camels flown from California to anywhere in the U.S.

  • On Christmas morning, 1876, millionaire publisher James Gordon Bennett gave his waiter at Delmonico's a tip of $6,000.(and a W-2 form to claim it on his taxes.)

  • The first Christmas stocking referenced in print was by Washington Irving in 1809.  When A New Year's Verse was published in 1821, it referenced the hanging of stocking the tradition began for children everywhere in earnest.

  • St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of pawnbrokers.

  • Our current vision of Santa Claus came from an illustration by Thomas Nast in 1863 made for Dr. Clement Moore's tale A Visit from St. Nicholas.

  • In medieval times, evergreen trees were hung with red apples on December 24th, celebrated as Adam and Eve Day, and may be the first instance of tree decorating for the holidays.

  • Icicles for the Christmas tree were first made and sold in Nuremberg, Germany in 1878; actually thin strips of silver foil that tarnished quickly were used.

  • New York was the first city to claim an electrically lighted Christmas tree, at the home of Edward Johnson, colleague to Thomas Edison at the Edison Electric Company.  The year was 1882.(until he got the first electrical bill and then he never lit them again!)

  • In medieval times it was customary to light a candle on Christmas Day that would be carefully tended and last until the Twelfth Night.

  • Mistletoe as a symbol of peace between enemies and love between friends, dates back to a Norse legend involving Freyja, goddess of love.

  • The poem Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer was put in song form by Johnny Marks in 1946 and first recorded by Gene Autry.  It became the greatest hit Gene Autry ever made and Columbia Records' biggest seller ever, although Marks had to form his own recording company to get it on the air.


    In recent years, modern witches have become more and more accepted. Some of them play on many of the old concepts of a traditional 'witch', but by and large the stereotypical image of a broom riding crone with a point hat does not match at all with the reality. So where is it that this image came from? Many of the common 'wicked witch' images are derived from periods of time when a witch was considered to be a catch-all term for a person who had a pact with demons or the devil himself. These are just a few of the origins for the iconic 'witch'.

   Conical Hats - Medieval woodcuttings showed any number of variations on what witches wore, so where did the conical black hat with the wide rim originate? The witches hat became known as it is now somewhere between Victorian times and the turn of the century. They became common in the illustration of evil witches in children's stories. Why did it become thus? That is less clear. There are a number of theories about the origin. One theory says it was a modified dunce's cap. Yet another equates it to the headgear worn by the goddess Diana who is associated with witches. Some say it is tied to the common medieval viewpoint that had Jews wearing conical hats due to rumors that they held blasphemous Sabbaths that were parallel to the Witches' Sabbaths. The Church frowned on pointed hats, because they associated them with devil's horns, so there again is another potential origin. We may never be fully certain of how the image itself was come to, possibly a combination of several of these theories is the truth.

    Black Cats -Two things have caused this associate most likely. First is that a witch was supposedly granted an impish familiar by their pact with the devil. This imp would often take a more common form such as that of a cat.  Since cats were so common on farms for controlling rodent populations, it wasn't hard to find one or more when you went after someone who was supposedly a witch. Showing too much affection towards the mouser in the barn might be an indication that it was more than a working animal. Another idea of cats was that a witch could convert herself into a black cat and go skulking about. In fact, the fear of a black cat crossing your path comes from the fear that it is a witch in disguisewho is bringing evil into your life. Bad luck indeed.

   Warts - In keeping with the idea that one had a familiar that was a gift of some da
rk entity, the common belief was that the owner of a familiar had a small growth known as a 'witches' teat' or 'witches' mark'. Any wart, mole or fleshy growth could be used as 'proof' that you were indeed practicing dark arts. This is highlighted in stories of the witch trials. In medieval times, the mark was supposed to be found on hidden areas of the body, but over time when one wanted to draw a clear picture that someone was indeed a witch, putting a visible wart on their face was meant as a symbol of their connection to the dark arts being openly displayed. Even older versions of this mark were supposed the branding of the witch by having the devil rake his claws or an iron on their skin to leave a blue or red mark. Of course, there are a number of theories about the witches' mark that range from tattoos to Lyme disease, but the wart is what has become synonymous with our perceptions of the classic witch.

   Flying Brooms - Here is where it gets odd. The flying broom concept is very sketchy and the leading theory right now is that it tied to hallucinogens that made someone feel like they were flying. Early accounts stated that a stick or similar object would be greased with a special 'flying ointment'. Witches would 'fly' in order to divine the future. This flight was actually one of the spirit, brought on through the use of specialized folk medicines that were put into the body. It was known that the body would absorb these drugs more potently if applied inside the anus or vagina, so of course the smooth rounded top of a broomstick or similar tool was the logical item in ancient times for applying the ointments. Once applied, hallucinations began and the witch would 'fly' away from his or her body. There are also notations that a 'wand' could be at times disguised as the stick of a broom, adding to the association of witches to the broom.

   These things we associate with the iconic image of the witch all have their origins in commonly held beliefs or logical extensions of the way things were in times past. Other aspects that had very real ties to the world that came before us include the use of a cauldron, the large buckled boots, black clothing and long crooked noses. I encourage you to seek out more if you find yourself interested in how these seemingly random jumbles of traits all had a starting point that makes good sense when you understand the history behind them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


   The term ghost is widely used to refer to any paranormal activity that occurs in the home, but it is really a misnomer.  Ghosts or the spirits of those who have passed on may cause a paranormal disturbance in your home, but they are not the only cause of a haunting.  To determine the type of haunting, an understanding of different types of entities is necessary.

  • Residual Ghosts-Residual ghosts are probably the most common type of haunting.  It is believed that when a traumatic or emotionally charged event occurs in the lives of the living that it can be imprinted on the environment.  Certain geological features like the presence of water, limestone and other stone features seem to hold images of past events.  The residual ghost is seen performing the same tasks, walking the same path or singing the same song at regular intervals.  The characteristic person searching for a lost love or walking passively through the area they inhabited when alive is almost certainly a residual ghost.  They repeat the same pattern whether you are present or not.  You can't interact with a residual ghost because it is not aware of your presence.  In fact the residual ghost is not really present at all and is simply an image of a past event.

  • Intelligent Spirits-Intelligent spirits, sometimes referred to as earthbound spirits, can interact with you.  No one knows for sure why the spirit of some people remain on earth, but paranormal investigators and researchers believed that the person has unfinished business to complete or is unaware that he has died.  In some cases it appears the spirit lingers simply because it chooses not to pass on to the next realm.  Intelligent ghost may attempt to communicate with you by making sounds or moving objects.  It may appear as an apparition that resembles the human form or appear as a mist.  This ghost may react to your activities or respond to requests.  Direct questioning during an EVP session may elicit direct responses.

  • Inhuman Spirits-Inhuman spirits are not the spirit of someone who has passed away.  These spirits were never human and may be referred to by some as evil spirits or demons.  The goal of negative inhuman spirits appears to be to break the will of the individual in order to possess them.  These spirits may manifest in a semi-human form, often half man and half beast.  A horrific stench may accompany a haunting by an inhuman spirit.  Angry growls emanating from the walls or appearing to come from all directions may be audible at all hours of the day or night.  These spirits reportedly have great power and can hurl people and heavy objects across the room and have even been reported to cause occupants of the home to levitate.

  • Poltergeists-Poltergeists earn their name from the German for noisy ghost, but most paranormal investigators agree that a poltergeist really is not a ghost at all.  The theory is that a person, usually an adolescent female, subconsciously causes objects to move, creates loud bangs and crashes with no known cause and other physical disturbances due to repressed rage or emotional upheaval.  The telltale sign of poltergeist activity is that it begins with a sudden onset and generally disappears just as suddenly.  It should be noted that not all poltergeist activity centers around an adolescent girl and that this theory has never been proven by scientific evidence.

  • Shadow People-Shadow people are shadowy figures that resemble a human.  These beings often appear in corners or in dark hallways, but may be seen peering in doors or standing by the bed.  The characteristic sign of a shadow person is fedora or top hat and what appears to be a dark cape.  Shadow people have been reported across cultures by those who have no knowledge of prior descriptions, yet the descriptions remain largely the same.  No one knows for sure what shadow people are but some believe they may be either alien or creatures from another dimension.  Although shadow people appear to be harmless, extreme fear and a feeling of overwhelming dread often accompany a sighting.

   If you experience paranormal activity in your home and don't know what to do, the first step is to determine the type of haunting you are experiencing.  Once you know whether you are dealing with the spirit of someone who has died or some other entity, you will be better able to make decisions about what action to take ( if you haven't had the life scared out of you!).