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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 07/23/12

Monday, July 23, 2012

THE MOST HAUNTED PRISONS IN AMERICA!

   There are several prisons located throughout the United States that are said to be the most haunted prisons in America today. Individuals who are considered to be hobbyists and those that are considered to be professionals in the area of ghost hunting often find prisons to be enticing when it comes to the opportunity to validate life after death. It is not uncommon for these investigators to capture unexplained voice phenomenon on digital audio recorders, indications of strong magnetic fields with the KII Meter, and even frightening images in pictures and video recordings. Here, I will profile 2 of the most haunted prisons in America today.



Moundsfield West Virginia Penitentiary



  
The Moundsfield West Virginia Penitentiary is considered to be one of the scariest prisons on Earth according to individuals who have spent any length of time in the immense structure that once served as a prison. Construction on this building started in 1866. In 1876, the prison was completed. Individuals who were ordered to stay at this particular prison had to endure many harsh conditions, including cells that were only seven feet long by five feet wide.




Inside Moundsfield Penitentiary




   Naturally, several of the inmates died while serving time at this penitentiary. Many were put to death due to the nature of their crimes. It has been estimated that nearly 85 of the men were put to death by way of hanging. This was from the opening of the establishment until the year 1949. Starting in 1951 all the way until 1959, electrocution executions were performed. Nine men were killed in this fashion. Then, luckily for many inmates, West Virginia did away with the punishment of the death penalty.








   The prison quickly became overcrowded. Emotions ran high, and rumors of haunting's began. In 1995, the prison closed its doors officially. Since then, several stories of haunting's have been told. For example, there was indoor area that was used for recreational purposes when it was impossible for inmates to go outside due to environmental conditions. This was called the "Sugar Shack". Today, several people have stated that they have seen apparitions and other unusual events occur in this particular area of this haunted prison.










   In addition to the haunting's in the "Sugar Shack", there are other events that have occurred in and around the prison that seem to be directly related to the paranormal. Strange sounds, including those that sound like distant talking and even mournful cries have been heard echoing through the building. Many people have even stated that they feel as if they are being watched or followed by something in the shadows that linger in the corners of the Moundsfield West Virginia Penitentiary.



Alcatraz




   Alcatraz in California is considered to be not only one of the most haunted prisons in America, but also one of the scariest places on Earth in its entirety! There are even traces of actual proof that spirits reside in this prison. Many have what they claim to be ghost videos, while others have strange sounds retrieved from digital audio recorders that sound like voice. Then, of course there are what many claim are ghost pictures. This haunted prison has often been call "Hellcatraz" by various inmates, and it seems to hold a piece of hell for these inmates-even in the afterlife!





Some of Alcatraz's guests




   This prison opened its doors for the first time in 1934. It was considered to be a "Federal Prison" on what is commonly called "Alcatraz Island". The Federal Government felt as if this was an ideal location for military operations initially, and then considered it to be ideal for inmates that were serving sentences for serious crimes. Various people ranging from the Indians, to captured soldiers from other countries, and even leading Mobsters served time and even died while under the lock and key of Alcatraz.




Alcatraz Cell




   Throughout the history of this prison, several have claimed that it is haunted. There are great deals of individuals who believe that the area is actually a portal to the world of spirits. While many died here, and often felt as if this was the only escape, the spiritual activity seems to indicate that their spirits are bound to Alcatraz forever. Individuals who have researched the structure have documented some very strange and spooky sensations and experiences, ranging from full body shadows to floating lights that seem to be quite intrusive.



Alcatraz ghost



   One of the most interesting accounts of haunting's in the depths of Alcatraz, is what is believed to be a poltergeist, or a demonic haunting in which several have referred to as "The Thing". It is said that no one person is immune from this haunting. It is described as a spirit that is not only honing extreme anger, but as a spirit that is completely evil. Witnesses claim that this evil presence has immensely terrifying glowing eyes that appear to see right though the souls of a person!






Ghost picture




   In addition to this, there is a strong, negative energy that flows throughout the building and even onto the island grounds. Several have heard noises that sound like that of many men pleading and crying for help, as if they are being completely tortured and are desperate for relief. In addition to this, chains can be heard dragging along the floor and even falling abruptly out of nowhere-despite the fact that there is no reasonable explanation for this sound. In addition to this, the ghostly lighthouse often appears, shining its light-which is odd, considering the lighthouse no longer stands. This is why this haunted prison in America is considered to be one of the scariest places on the Earth today!
    Whether you are looking for haunted places to go, or simply enjoy studying history, the haunted prisons in America are quite attractive when it comes to pursuing your interests of scaring yourself!

SOFT ALMOND SUGUR COOKIES!

   
   This excellent cookie recipe comes from www.codykitchenconfections.blogspot.com.
These look like little fluffy, sugary cookies......I'll have a dozen to go please!  Good luck!


  Some people have different aversions when it comes to things like oatmeal raisin (raisins? ew!) or chocolate chip (some like thick and fluffy, others like thin and "greasy"), but no one can really complain when it comes to good 'ole plain sugar cookies.

I like my sugar cookies thick, fluffy, chewy and soft. Cornstarch is an ingredient that keeps baked goods from spreading, so I knew I wanted to add some into this recipe to keep the cookies from getting too flat. I played around with the proportions and ingredients (using both cake flour and all purpose) and settled on the recipe below.

I love me some almond flavoring, but you could definitely flavor these to your liking. I love the twist that almond extract gives these cookies, but using another extract won't affect the texture of the cookie.





I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but these are the best sugar cookies I've ever had. No lie. I made them pretty small, but I'm sure you could make them larger if you were willing to adjust the baking time.

Enjoy!


Soft and Chewy Almond Sugar Cookies

(Printable Recipe)



1 1/2 C white sugar
2/3 C butter (cold)
2/3 C shortening (room temp)
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 C cake flour
1 C all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
sugar in the raw (I like raw sugar for this, but any coarse sugar would work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheet.

Cream sugar, butter and shortening. Stir in eggs and almond extract. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and add to butter/egg mixture.

Stir to combine until dough forms.







Form dough into walnut sized balls (I used a small cookie scoop) and roll in raw sugar. Place on prepared pan.














Bake for 4 minutes. Open oven and quickly press each cookie to desired thickness with back of spoon. Bake for additional 4 minutes (8 minutes total).

Remove to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.






A few tips:



~You'll need to flatten the cookies mid-bake, because the cornstarch will keep them from doing so otherwise. If you don't they will literally bake in the walnut sized ball shape.
~DO NOT bake longer than 8 minutes!! They may seem under-baked, but when they cool they will firm up.

FEILE BRIAN BORU FESTIVAL FROM IRELAND!

19th Annual Féile Brian Ború Festival - Killaloe and Ballina




    The Féile has grown year on year since its founding in 1993 and this year we have expanded the Féile Programme so for the first time it will run over two weekends, from Thursday 21st June to Sunday 1st July 2012.
   This is all part of a major increase in size and scope of the festival, building towards the 2014 millennial celebrations of Brian Ború.
   Some of the enterrainment this year includes, Tommy Tiernan to the twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina. Tommy will be performing on the festival’s opening night at the Lakeside hotel.
   Other highlights include a medieval village, re-enactments, a large scale pageant, the children’s parade, fireworks, an interactive art exhibition and a huge range of gigs, concerts and seisúns in a wide range of venues.







History

   Killaloe/Ballina is a twin township spanning two counties, East Clare and North Tipperary.
   Two saints are honoured locally, Lua/Molua and Flannan.
   The town of Killaloe is named after Lua. The Gaelic name for Killaloe is Cill da Lua which means Church of St. Lua.
   Flannan, who was the son of a local chieftain, is said to have died in Killaloe in 778.
Killaloe/Ballina is unique in having two oratories built about 3 centuries apart. These are the churches of St. Flannan and St. Lua.
   However, Killaloe is probably best remembered as the place where Brian Ború held his kingship one millennium ago.
   Outside the town of Killaloe, on the Scarriff road, lies Béal Ború or Brian Ború’s Fort. To look at it today it is a large circular structure consisting of two built up rings. However archaeological excavations have shown that it was a simple homestead (a ring fort) which was occupied in the 10th & 11th centuries. This is where Brian Ború, his family and his large army of Dalcassian soldiers lived.
   When Brian was crowned High King of Ireland in 1002, he broke with tradition and choose not to take his seat at Tara in Co. Meath but returned to his fort in Killaloe. During his reign, Brian extended and strengthened this simple homestead and turned it into the well known Royal Palace of Kincora, which occupied the area where the Catholic church in Killaloe stands today. No trace of this palace remains but from early writings a description of it can be made. Kincora or in Gaelic, Ceann Coradh meaning Head of the Weir, was a high stone enclosure inside of which were a number of circular houses made of timber & wicker. Outside of this enclosure were a large number of houses which were scattered out as far as Béal Ború. These houses the 3,000 or so Dalcassian soldiers which Brian kept camped around his palace at all times.








   The Great Hall where Brian entertained his guests was in the centre of the palace, Brian’s’ throne was on a raised platform and the seats of the Kings of Leinster & Connaught were on either side of him. Other chieftains and family members sat in various seat around the floor according to their rank. The cooking was done in the middle of the floor and the smoke escaped through a hole in the roof.
   While Brian was High King he ruled his county well. He worked hard to try to unite the four provinces of Ireland (Munster, Leinster, Connaught & Ulster). He repaired much of the damage that was done by the Vikings, such as replanting forests which had been cut down to build Viking ships.
   However, the threat of Viking attack was always present and this was what led to Brian’s’ death at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Although Brian, his oldest son Murrough and many of his army of soldiers lost their lives at this battle, it is said to have ended Viking rule in Ireland.







   Killaloe/Ballina is full of other historical monuments and sites, including various churches and forts, all dating from different ages.

The Graves of the Leinstermen –
   A pre-historic chamber tomb, which consists of a line of small slate slabs, dating from the Bronze Age and cannot be dated later than 1,000 B.C. This site, like so many other in the area, is linked to Brian Ború, because it is here that the King of Leinster and his men lost their lives at the hands of Brian Ború’s soldiers. There are a number of stories as to how this came about. Some say it was because of a chess game, others say that the King of Leinster was on his way to Kincora to claim the hand of Brian’s daughter in marriage. When the King fell mortally wounded, he ordered his soldiers to bring him to appoint where he could see his beloved Leinster and hold him upright there until he died.
St. Flannan’s Cathedral –
   A church existed in Killaloe since the coming of Christianity to Ireland. During his reign, Brian Ború is said to have built a church on or near the site of the present Cathedral.
   Dónal Mór O’Brien (King of Munster) erected a Cathedral in Killaloe, which was based on the Romanesque style of architecture. However, it is recorded that this was burnt to the ground in 1185 by Cathal Carrach of Connaught.
   It was replaced by the present structure early in the 13th century. It is built of yellow and purple sandstone and dates from the transition between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The Cathedral has been restored and renovated a number of times since its original construction but it still contains windows and carved stones from earlier churches.







The Pier Head and the Canal –
   The Inland Steam Navigation Company had its Headquarters in Killaloe in the 18th & 19th centuries. It ran regular services from Killaloe to the upper Shannon.
During the Great famine (1845 – 1848) and in the immediate post-Famine years, thousands of people embarked here on the first leg of their journey to a new land.
   The canal was used to transport passengers and goods between Limerick & Dublin and this was the main method of transport prior to the introduction of the Railways.