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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 10/12/10

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HALLOWEEN SUPERSTITIONS AND FOLKLORE REVEALED


   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!!

GHOST TOWNS THAT STILL EXIST, BUT ONLY FOR ITS RESIDENTS, THE GHOSTS THEMSELVES!!!

   A Ghost Town is a place that no longer exists.  For some reason, and many times unexplained reasons, the people of the town leave and never return.  The town is left to rot and be forgotten.  But, a lot of these places allow you t come and visit, to step on the land that is no longer wanted, and to learn the mysteries behind their disappearances.  Here is a list of some of the best Ghost Towns in the United States.


Roanoke Island, North Carolina
   The Lost Colony.  Everyone knows that the first settlers in the new world created colonies in Jamestown and Plymouth, but there was also a colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina.  History tells of a woman, named Virginia Dare, who settled there with her family.  Sir Walter Raleigh had led ships there.  It would be the first settlement on American soil, but it was short lived. 
  
   That's because everyone disappeared!

   To this day, scientists and historians have given answers to what happened to the people of Roanoke, but none can say for certain that their answer is the correct one.  It is as if the people just vanished.
   Visitors to Fort Raleigh (the only thing the settlers left behind) ca walk the area and learn about Virginia Dare and her family.  Sir Walter Raleigh and his plans for the new world, Native American tribes in the area, and you can speculate on the disappearance of an entire town.



Centralia, Pennsylvania
   Centralia, Pennsylvania.  I can give you one very good reason to visit the abandoned ghost town; Silent Hill.  Centralia, Pennsylvania was a prosperous mining town until 1962 when a mine fire got out of control.  It created sink holes that apparently still burn today.  The damage and the danger forced people to leave the town and it became a ghost town.
   Silent Hill, the movie, was based on Centralia, Pennsylvania.  The town of Silent Hill was destroyed because of a mine fire.  The town is covered in fog and falling ash.  The video games and the movie are wonderful works of horror and seeing the town that inspired the film of Halloween, would be perfect.
   You can take a drive through Centralia, and stop and walk around.  There are no tourist sights, but in some ways, that makes it better.



Bodie, California
   Bodie, California.  In the 1800's Bodie, California was a town of ill repute.  The founder, having struck gold, built the town and it grew.  It is said that the run of gold and alcohol was deadly for the townspeople and they were always getting killed.  It is now a rubble of buildings barely standing.
   But, don't forget to look out for ghosts.  There are stories of a maid in the Cain house who committed suicide and still haunts the place.  And, of course, plenty of strange sounds and noises.
   You can visit Bodie and explore the mess that it is now.  It is a park now, and preserved for tourists.


Bannack, Montana
   Bannack, Montana.  Bannack was another mining town that turned to dust by the 1940's.  Like Bodie, the old town has been turned into a State Park for visitors.  An added bonus is that area is supposedly haunted.  A vigilante named Henry Plummer, who killed hundreds of people, reportedly haunts the town.  And a young girl who drowned is often seen.
   You can visit Bannack and explore the building that have been preserved.  Just watch out for Henry Plummer!



St. Elmo, Colorado
   St. Elmo, Colorado.  Yet another mining town turned ghost town.  Silver and gold abounded and St. Elmo came to life.  Trains came in, bringing goods, but by 1922 the last train left.  There was no one left in St. Elmo.
   That is except the ghosts.  All the typical scary sounds and happenings have been reported here.  From crying children, to items being placed where they shouldn't be.  Doesn't make it any less interesting though.  If anything, those things are more likely to happen to you when you visit, than seeing an actual ghost.  Makes the trip more exciting that way.
   You can visit St. Elmo anytime you want.  Pass through by car or stop and walk.  There are many sights besides hoping for ghosts, trails to hike and mountains to climb.



Tombstone, Arizona
   Tombstone, Arizona.  Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral are famous parts of Tombstone's history.  Considered one of the deadliest places to live, Tombstone was known for its ruthlessness.  Gangs roamed the streets and killed at will.  Everybody was probably drunk.
   Tombstone isn't a ghost town per se, because the people turned it into a tourism spot.  However, it does look like one.  The buildings have been preserved as they once were, so it's like walking into the old west.  Visitors can walk around and explore.   The town's saloon plays music for dancing, and you can even stay in town. If you dare.  Because Tombstone is also haunted.  The OK Corral is haunted by ghosts, and it is said the streets are the most haunted.  You can see a woman wandering the streets, and hear gunshots in the night.



Deadwood, South Dakota
   Deadwood, South Dakota.  The home of Wild Bil Hickok and Calamity Jane.  Can't seem to escape the old west towns.  They've seemed the most likely to disappear once the gold run out.  At least the ghosts stick around for your enjoyment.
   Like the others, Deadwood flowed with silver and gold and prospered for years.  Then it died.  It is now a National Historical sight for you to visit.  However, unlike the other mining towns, Deadwood has preserved its history but also added to the commercialism by putting in a casino.
   For the ghosts, go to the Bullock Hotel.  It is considered one of the most haunted buildings in the world.  The owner still haunts the place, and has been seen or heard numerous times over the years.  From voices, to the shower turning on, to dishes smashing, to electronics turning on by themselves.  There is a tour of the hotel, or you could just spend a night there and see what happens.  Do some gambling first, just in case.