DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: October 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010


   Almost every culture in the world has its own vampire legend, and some date back thousands of years.  Today, we are most familiar with Count Dracula and other folklore from Eastern Europe.  Do you want to learn more?  Here is a list of 13 juicy trivia facts to get your blood pumping with Halloween just about a day away.

  1.  Was the first vampire a woman?  The oldest known vampire legends come from Babylonian and Sumerian mythology.  Female demons called the Lilu were said to hunt women and children at night, and drink their blood.
  2. Vlad III Tepes, also known as Vlad Dracul, was known for his incredible cruelty, he was alleged to have killed up to 30,000 people at one time!  His blood thirsty reputation inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.
  3. The National Retail Federation listed "Vampire" as the second most popular adult Halloween costume in 2005.  Vampires were the sixteenth most popular children's costume for the same year.
  4. While modern pop culture usually portrays vampires as sensual and romantic, other countries don't see them that way, the Ghanan Asasabonsam vampire has iron teeth and hooks for feet-which they use to  drop from treetops onto unsuspecting victims.
  5. Some believe that Cain was the first vampire, cursed by God for slaying his brother, Abel.  This theory is frequently found in popular films and games.
  6. In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula" movie won seven awards, including three Oscars.
  7. Stakes, fire and sunlight aren't the only ways to kill a vampire.  Other cultures recommend beheading a vampire, boiling it in vinegar, pounding a nail through its navel, or scattering birdseed on its tomb.
  8. In Latin American folklore, El Chupacabras is a supernatural creature that drinks the blood of animals-usually chickens and goats.
  9. According to popular tradition, vampires can shape-shift into wolves, bats, or clouds of mist. (sometimes they can even change into a blood orange also!)
  10. In March 2007, self-proclaimed vampire hunters entered the tomb of Siobodan Milosevic and staked his body through the heart.
  11. The medical conditions porphyria,  has been blamed for may reports of vampirism, its victims develop pale skin, sensitivity to sunlight, receding gums which make their teeth appear larger, and sever anemia-the cure for which, in ages past, might have included drinking animals' blood.
  12. In the 17th Century, Countess Bathory of Hungary was said to bathe in human blood in order to preserve her beauty.  Some even accused her of vampirism.
  13. Vampire bats were named after vampires, not vice-versa.


   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!). 

Friday, October 29, 2010


Poveglia Island

   Poveglia Island is a very small island that is located in Italy's Venetian Lagoon.  The island itself is rather "run of the mill".  It is covered with a smattering of foliage, as well as some run down buildings, a water tower and a bell tower that appears to be receding back into the foliage that surrounds it.  Poveglia Island is split in two by a small canal that runs straight through it.  The canal has walkways over it.  On one side, there are the deteriorating parts of the different buildings, on the other, nothing but greenery and grass.  However, there is a more interesting aspect of the island that one wouldn't suspect by looking at it, though some say, you can tell when you are there, and that is the island's supposedly sinister history.

   Poveglia Island was once inhabited by a small community.  However the island was abandoned around 1380, during the War of Chioggia.  Later, as the Bubonic Plague spread through Europe and inevitably into Venice, Poveglia Island was reportedly used as a dump for bodies and as a lazaretto.  Even worse, there are rumors that live victims of the Bubonic Plague were also brought to the island and left there.  Some of the rumors say that the live victims were burned with the dead or left in mass graves full of dead bodies.  There seems to be no official  records of this, though.  If it were true, the best fate for the live victims may very well have been fire.  Bubonic Plague is a horrible bacterial infection that affects the lymph nodes.  Without modern treatment, a painful death is nearly inevitable.  If the victims didn't die, they would surely have starved to death on the island.

Inside the buildings on Poveglia Island

   The next phase of Poveglia Island's history supposedly began in the early 1920's.  At this time, either a menacing insane asylum or a harmless retirement community was built there.  The story behind this supposed asylum makes the retirement community seem to be the more likely of the two.  Lovers of the paranormal claim that evil experiments were conducted on patients of the asylum by a crazed doctor.  The patients were also supposedly haunted by the plague victims who were buried on Poveglia Island.  The doctor himself reportedly fell victim to these haunting's and threw himself out of the island's bell tower.  The legend goes on to say that his suicide was witnessed  by an asylum worker, who said that the doctor survived the fall and was then suffocated by a mysterious mist.  The asylum or retirement community on Poveglia Island was closed sometime in the 1960's.

Poveglia Island buildings

   Whether you believe any of the stories surrounding Poveglia Island or not, there is certainly something mysterious about the place.  Many people have claimed to sense a presence or worse, while they were visiting the island.  Today, it is owned by the government and closed to the public.  It is currently being used for vineyards.  Whether or not the grapes that are grown there are fertilized by the bodies of the more than 150,000 people who have reportedly died there is a matter of speculation.  Nonetheless, you may want to check the label of your next bottle of wine that comes from this Italian region.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


   Scary games to play at home are perfect for Halloween.  Some games are scarier than others, but for an adult Halloween party, the scarier the better. Try one of these games to play at home at your adult Halloween Party.

Ouija Board

   Of the scary games to play at home, the Ouija Board is by far one of the scariest, if no the scariest.  A Ouija Board is used to talk to spirits. Ouija Boards make alot of people squeemish.  There are experts who believe that the Ouija Board is dangerous.  Some psychiatric experts believe Ouija Boards are portals that free demons from other dimensions to prey on humans.  For brave souls that want some truly scary fun, the Ouija Board is it.

Fury of Dracula

   Fury of Dracula is one of the scary games to play at home, designed by Stephen Hand.  In this board game, one player is Dracula and the rest are vampire hunters.  The goal is to destroy Dracula before he can succeed.


   This a board game that also incorporates a DVD.  The aim of Atmosfear is to collect a key from each of the six regions of the board before heading to the "Well of Fears", in the center and attempting to draw you fear from among those of your opponents in order to win the game.  "The scary game to play at home is not recommended for people under the age of 18".  The DVD acts as a timer and there is a Gatekeeper who appears on screen, causing problems for the players.  These appearances are random, so you never know when the Gatekeeper will show up.

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game

   Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game, is a scary game to play at home that is a survival horror board game.  As a player, you can choose to either play on the Hero team or be one of the zombies.  The game comes with a CD of scary music and the art for the game includes photographs of scary zombie images.

Betrayal at House on the Hill

   This scary game has players exploring a house of terror.  All the players begin as allies, but when an Omen is revealed, a player will change into a traitor and could turn into a zombie, a cannibal, a vampire and more.  Scenarios change and those who can deal with the change will be victorious.  Traitor's goal is to kill the hero's.  Hero's goal is to survive.


   Like many other places in the world, Canada has its fair share of ghost tales and haunted buildings. 

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
   Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Islands was first constructed in 1803 and was totally finished and operational by 1809.  Local legend states it is haunted by the first lighthouse keeper, JP Radan Muller.  Muller had been murdered one misty night by drunken soldiers from Fort York, looking for bootleg beer.  The soldiers had cut Muller up and buried his body somewhere on the beach.  The soldiers were charged, but later acquitted.  In 1893, a cofin was found buried on the beach with a jaw bone still inside it, but it has never been known if it ever belonged to Muller.  The lighthouse, since time is no longer on the shore line and  the sand has built up,  it now lies 100 meters inland.  It's not being used and is boarded up, but people say on misty nights you can hear a mans voice moaning and even some people have reported ghostly figures roaming the grounds.

The Screaming Tunnel
   The "Screaming Tunnel" was built by Grand Trunk Railroad in the early 1900's and is located near Niagara Falls.  The tunnel was meant for railroad cars but shortly after finishing the structure, World War I had begun and Grand Trunk Railroad went bankrupt, never finishing laying the track in the tunnel.  Now there's 2 different legends, but both basically have the same story line.  First, is said that a little girls parents were separating and her father took her down by the tunnel and buried her alive. The second, involves the little girls parents were fighting over her and somehow the house that they lived in caught fire.  The little girl ends up getting set on fire and ends up running down into the tunnel.  She runs through the tunnel screaming,  and eventually ends up dying in the tunnel from the excessive burns.  The legend has it if you enter the tunnel and stand in the middle and light a match, something will blow it out and you will hear the little girls screams in the distance.

Bytown Museum

   The Bytown Museum was built in 1827 in Ottawa, Ontario.  The building was used as a storage and treasury facility during construction of the Rideau Canal.  The building is located at the entrance locks of the Rideau Canal and is the oldest surviving stone building in Ottawa with the walls being 2 feet thick of stone.  It officially became the Bytown Museum in 1951.  There is said to be a few different ghost hauntings in this museum.  One of the people that are supposed to be haunting the museum is the builder of the Canal, Colonel John By, and the other is his assistant, General Dunan McNab.  Staff at the museum, over the years, have reported strange events like TVs turning on and off, lights staying on after being turned off, strange messages appear on computer screens when no one's in the room, voices of men yelling and even some angry voices saying, "Get Out".  Some visitors, mostly women, to the museum have reported being pushed hard but no one's around, while others have heard children crying in the doll exhibit and have seen the dolls wink and move.  Even to this date, this is supposed to be one of the most active haunts in Canada.

Peterborough Lift Lock
   Known at one time as one of the largest lift locks in the world, Peterborough Lift Lock has its ghost tails.  The lift locks construction began in 1896 and finished in 1904 and officially opened to boating on July 9, 1904.  Many died while building the pylons that supported the locks, many are said to have died from suicides by jumping off  the locks.  It is said that many ghosts roam the labyrinth of underground tunnels within the lock.  Even Creepy Canada has done a TV show on it.  There are visitors tours of the inside of the lock.  Legend has it, that one of  the deaths surrounding the lock was due to an innocent woman who was burnt as a witch in the early 1840's in Peterborough.  The lift lock is still fully functional today and is still known to be extremely haunted.

McBurney Park aka Skeleton Park

   In 1813 to 1865, this park was known as Kingston's Upper Cemetery.  It was a mass cemetery/grave site containing more than 100,000 bodies which had died from some kind of a contagious epidemic.  In 1894 Municipal government tried to remove the remains but many locals objected, due to the  fear that contagious diseases might start again if everything were to be dug up.  The cemetery was transformed into Frontenac Park in 1895 and then became what is known as McBurney Park today, in 1965.  Over the years many different remains have surfaced throughout the park thus giving it the nickname of "Skeleton Park".

Monday, October 25, 2010


  • In his recent autobiography, Ernest Borgnine reveals that his friend George Lindsay, Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show", turned down the part of "Mr. Spock" on TV's "Star Trek".  Lindsay, by the way, started out as a science teacher.
  • James Whale said his Frankenstein (1931 star, Boris Karloff.  "His face fascinated me.  I made drawings of his head, adding sharp bony ridges where I imagined the skull might have joined".
  • The U.S. Air Force refused to help in the filming of Howard Hawks' The Thing (1951), because the theme of the movie was counter to the Air Force's claim that flying saucers don't exist.  In fact, one crew member (Dewey Martin) reads a quote from Air Force regulations denying flying saucers to the others as they are flying near the UFO crash site.
  • In George Pal's War of the Worlds (1953), the unique Flying Wing aircraft that drops the atom bomb on the advancing Martians was a prototype and remains, to this day, the only aircraft of its model in existence.
  • The title character in King Kong (1933), was actually an aluminum skeleton, covered by molded sponge rubber covered with rabbit fur.  In New York scenes, the Long model was 24 inches tall.  He was smaller at a one inch- to one foot ratio in the earlier jungle sequences.  Certain body parts were constructed on a massive scale when actors were featured in the scene, as when Fay Wray is nestled in the 8 foot cranelike structure that was Kong's paw.  Three men were inside Kong's head to operate it.
  • John Candy was originally supposed to be the young lawyer in Ghostbusters (1984), but Rick Moranis was ultimately hired to play the character, which he helped develop.
  • Bela Lugosi only made $700 dollars for his seven week role in Dracula (1930).  Of course, star making roles such as Lugosi's turn as the blood thirsty count routinely make little for the then unknown actors who make them.  They make their bundle on subsequent movies.
  • The director of Vincent Price's excellent House of Wax (1953), had one eye.  What's ironic is that Andre de Toth produced one of the best known 3D movies of the period, which he was unable to enjoy.
  • The Bates mansion in Psycho (1960), was built to 2/3's scale to heighten the dramatic impact.  It appeared in sequels as well as TV episodes, as on CBS's Murder She Wrote.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


   With Halloween just around the corner, the cameras are certainly going to be flashing away with all the amazing pictures that will be taken of all of the little ghouls and ghosts  in their costumes, to the amazing houses decorated to scare those little ghoulies and ghosties.  Years before your photos just ended up looking a little less than amazing.  This year you are bound and determined to capture those precious memories with some "professional" style.  So hers some tips on how to achieve great Halloween photos this year.
  •  Finding A Point of Interest- make sure you know what the focal point is of your picture.  The focal point will need to be the attention holder of the photo.  The item or person you will see first when looking at the picture.  Once you have determined the focal point make sure it is absolutely perfect.  It may be hard to achieve that with children, but pick the older child, place him in the middle of the other children, standing tall and then tell him to "BE STILL" and keep smiling.  His steadiness will make him the focal point.
  • Filling In Your Frame-To add that added punch to your photos make sure you fill in as much as possible into the picture.  To achieve a nice tight shot with people is to make sure you add as many as your frame will allow.  To fill in your frame an object the best way is to zoom into the object closer so you can remove any excess blank background.

  • Create New Angles-Did that pumpkin you shot last year look like the same one you took a picture of three years ago?  It's hard to make a picture of an object, that plain, stand out.  Try to create different angles to take the pictures from.  You should not have a problem getting that pumpkin, or any other object, to stand out in a way it never has before.
  • Candid Shots-The best way to get a photo shot of a person or multiple people is to catch them off guard.  Do some of your photos when people are not looking directly into the camera.  Have them talk to one another, playing with a pumpkin or putting on their costume.  When you have them look directly into the camera you more than likely will get the "deer in the headlights" look.  However, with a motion shot they will not have to worry about looking "just right".
  • No Flash-Sometimes the flash will cause red eyes or one point of interest to be more brighter than the other parts of the photo.  Either set your flash to outdoor setting, or kill the flash completely.  If you still need the flash, say you are in a dark setting and have to have a flash to pick up on the objects try to diffuse the flash with some cellophane.

  • Black and White- When going to print out your pictures, in stead of doing them all in color, get a few done in black and white coloring.  It gives your pictures a classic look and they become timeless.
  • Light From Below-When we just snap a photo, we usually capture the light from over head either with the sun or with a lamp light.  This way is always predictable.  To create a spooky, Halloween feel to your picture, place light on your objects from below.  When you are working with people have a flashlight put off light from below their faces.  When you are shooting a picture on an object like a pumpkin you can use a glow-stick to cast off the glow from the bottom of the pumpkin.
  • Creating The Red Eye-Contrary to what I have said about losing red eye look in Tip 5, sometimes a red eye photo for Halloween is much needed to create the devilish Halloween look.  If you want the person in your picture to have the "devil eyes" to enhance their costume then make sure the room is completely dark and have their eyes as wide open as they possibly can.  With this process you will most definitely use your flash!

  • Shutter Speed-Try to delay your shutter speed.  Either by setting it for 2 seconds or creating multiple shutter pictures like one right after another.
  • Bend Your Knees-Not every picture you take will be at your eye level.  Your children may not be the same height as you are and that pumpkin sitting on the ground is not at your eye level.  To get a great picture create the point of interest at your eye level by either bending down or even laying down on the ground.
  • Have Fun-Halloween is the time for fun and pretending, so make sure you have fun while you're capturing these lifelong memories.  Relax and don't expect every shot to be perfect.  Sometimes the best photos come fro the "oops" moments that you wish didn't happen.  Also try to do these tips the night before Halloween or a couple days before.  If you practice at taking your Halloween pictures, then when Halloween day rolls around, you'll be ready to snap away like a pro.



   Taking a photograph of a ghost or spirit does not require fancy equipment or extensive training.  Any camera is capable of capturing images of ghost and spirits.  Digital cameras are preferred because they produce immediate results, can e stored on a memory card or transferred to a computer without losing quality and there is no film to fiddle with in the dark.
  • Select a location that has reports of paranormal activity.  Although you can certainly capture a ghost image in the most unlikely of places, exploring paranormal hot spots increases your likelihood of capturing apparitions or ghostly figures.
  • Take pictures of a defined object to provide perspective and to judge distance.  Focus on a tree, gravestone or fence post if you are shooting a photo outside in a haunted location.  Include people in your photos when ever possible.  It is believed that some spirits are attracted to people and you just may catch that perfect shot while photographing your team members.

  • Avoid shooting into the sun as it causes lens flares that can easily be mistaken for paranormal images.  Any source of light, even the moon, can cause lens flare.  Be conscious of all sources of light, including flashlights.
  • Watch for reflective surfaces like windows, mirrors or shiny objects in the camera's field of view.  If yo are using a flash, objects out of the view of the camera can also reflect light that may appear on film in unusual patterns.
  • Tie hair back or wear a hat to prevent a strand of hair from accidentally falling in front of the lens.  Check lens straps and caps and keep away fro the front of the camera.
  • Avoid taking photographs in humid conditions or if it's raining or snowing.  This creates orb-like images on the picture.  Mist or fog may distort images or create a myriad of orbs.

  • Take a deep breath and hold it while you take a photograph to prevent your breath from appearing in front of the camera in cool weather.  Even when you can't see your breath, it may show up on film.
  • Take two shots of the same location without changing position.  Do this before exhaling as movement as simple as breathing out can shift the focus of the camera and result in a different angle.  If you are lucky enough to catch evidence of paranormal activity, you will have another photo to compare images.
  • Examine photos closely for unexplained images. Beware of a process called matrixing where the brain translates sensory stimulus to create a familiar image from the unknown.  If that ghostly face you see in the trees is composed of leaves and branches, then it is not a real ghost image.  An authentic ghost or spirit image is not created from parts of the environment.  It has a distinct shape and form that differs from the surroundings.

  • Study orbs carefully, as they are most often created by moisture, dust pollen or flying insects.  True spirit orbs emit their own light and may cast a shadow.  Study images of common dust and pollen orbs to learn to distinguish them from genuine spirit orbs.
   The tools you use to take spirit or ghost photographs is up to you, but keep in mind that the better the quality of the camera, the higher quality image it will produce.  Get in the habit of snapping photos whenever you visit a site or when you get a gut feeling a spirit may be present, but do observe standard precautions.  Not only does this prevent you from mistaking camera straps, reflection and orbs from insects or dust for ghostly images, it prevents real images from being compromised as well.


   One of the most intriguing phenomenons is the apparition of ghosts or spirits.  For centuries sightings of disembodied spirits have been reported around the world.  Are these ghosts just figments of our imagination, or is there really more to these spirits than just a children's fair tale?
   Sensationalism has defined the word "ghost" as a dangerous hideous spirit which rules and dominates the confines of where it is located.  But in reality these spirits, in most cases, seem to be unaware of their mistaken presence, much less ours.

Tower of London

Tower of London

   For over 900 years, the Tower of London has developed a very mysterious history and reputation.  This tower is home of headings, torture, and also numerous hangings.  This famous tower was also a prison to some of the Nobles throughout history.
   The "bloody tower" was the scene of the infamous murders of two princes, Edward V and Duke of York, in 1483.  According to sources, guards in the 15th century passing the tower spotted two small figures gliding down the stairs.  The spirits stood silently for a short time then faded into the stones of the tower.
   These figures again were spotted in 1674 and identified as the "two young princes".  Workmen at the tower complex discovered a chest which is believed to contain the skeletons of the young princes.  A royal burial and ceremony was provided for the two young men.
   Queen Ann is reported to appear near the Queen's House, as well as her headless body walking around the corridor of the tower.  The queen of England who was the second wife of Henry VII was beheaded in 1536.  Most of the ghostly figures spotted at the tower have been those who have met their death on this historic spot.


   The land down under is also known for its paranormal activity.  Ghosts are said to be disturbances in such cities as Perth, Brisbane, and also Sydney.  In a beautiful Mall in the middle of Brisbane, the second floor of this mall seems to be quite haunted.
   Consistent rumors have surfaced about the spirit of a former shopkeeper who roams throughout the second floor of the mall.  This female ghost has repeatedly been chased by security guards but always seems to escape around the next corner without a trace.

The Plow Inn

   The Plow Inn  in Brisbane, which was built around 1800, is also a frequently haunted establishment.  Local residents report that the female spirit which haunts the inn was reportedly strangled to death in the 1920's.  Now this spirit seems content to haunt the inn and patrons forever.

Eastern Airlines flight 401

Eastern Airlines Ghosts

  The crash of flight 401 was a tragic event which took place in 1972.  Pilots Bob Loft, and Don Repo were two of the 101 deaths which occurred during the crash of flight 401.
   Since the crash the spirits of Loft and Repo have been identified by numerous people.  Planes which were outfitted with parts from flight 401, and also aircraft which were flown by these individuals seem to be hot spots for the spirits of these aviators.
   Over twenty occasions witnesses have identified these spirits as the ghosts of Bob Loft and Don Repo.  Are their spirits trying to rectify their accident aboard flight 401, or do they just not realize that their bodies have passed from this dimension.

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

   Mount Everest is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Andrew Irvine who died while climbing the peak in 1924.  This ghost was first reported in 1975 by Dougal Haston, and Doug Scott.  The ghost of Irvine has also been reported by numerous climbers since the initial sighting. 

Winchester House

Winchester House

  The famous Winchester house has reported 143 ghost sightings in the house.  Reports of a piano playing and also voices throughout the corridors continue to haunt the house.
   Old women and time period butlers have been spotted along with the ghost of Sarah Winchester roaming throughout the house.  Others have witnessed ghostly faces peering out of numerous windows in the house.
   Some of the hot spots in the house include the "Hall of Fame", the Winchester bedroom, and of course the se'ance room.



   Singapore is also considered by many to be an area of paranormal activity.  People who have visited the beach houses in Changi have reported being slapped by an unseen presence.

St. Johns Virgin Islands

  On St. John Island a spirit repeatedly calls for help then disappears into thin air perplexing those who hear its desperate calls for help.  This island is also the site where the spirit  of a ghost reportedly killed a local resident.

   If a spirit or ghost was seen in one spot by several people, maybe it could be written off as vivid imaginations or conjecture.  But, as you can see these disembodied spirits are witnessed around the globe by all different walks of life.
   Have these spirits lost their way, or do they not realize that their physical body has passed on?  Maybe some day when our consciousness awakens a "ghost whisperer can help these poor souls find their way to the next life, and beyond.





   The French have a phrase--ide'e fixe-- meaning to be obsessed with an idea to the exclusion of everything else.  There is probably no better explanation for the growing of giant---approximately one thousand pound--pumpkins.  In fact, in some sense, growing giant pumpkins has become a "big business".  Although growing giant vegetables isn't restricted to pumpkins, the pumpkin is iconic for what would be called "Paul Bunyan" gardening.  At the peak time of growth, a giant pumpkin can grow thirty to forty pounds a day, which is more than a pound per  hour! 

   The Ultimate Experience-the Giant Pumpkin

   One quote says, "To err is human, a pumpkin is Da' Vine".  The most carefully chosen pumpkin seeds, though, won't grow a world-class pumpkin without considerable planing and investment.  Seeds may now be bought online.  An internet search reveals many willing providers and forums dedicated to doing just that.  The correct choice must match the temperature requirements the temperature requirements of the variety one chooses to those of the climate.  Other factors include soil properties, pruning technique's,  fertilization, fungal supplementation, water chemistry and application method, and protection from the elements.

   What is Required to Squeak Out Maximum Growth?

   Giant pumpkins should be started indoors well in advance of the outdoor season, with care in choosing pots, soil mix, and lighting.  Pots must be large to avoid crowding of roots and only the strongest plants should be kept.  Transplanting outdoors, moisture must be carefully controlled.  A dry spell can dictate application of as much as a hundred gallons of water per plant.  Pruning of tertiary vine branches prevent the plant's vitality from being sapped by multiple fruit.  Sun canopies over the developing pumpkin prevent early fruit maturation and helps avoid cracking.  Mycorrhizae fungus improves nutrient and moisture absorption considerably.  Pests must be eliminated.  Some suggest playing music to the potential winner-preferably classical.

I'm not Interested in Giant Pumpkins

   Although most of us will never till our land with the intent of growing a giant pumpkin, is there nothing i the idea that appeals to your lighter side?

Friday, October 22, 2010


   The next couple of weeks before Halloween, don't cuddle up with a book and read some kind of romance novel!   Go down to your video store, redbox rental unit or dig out one of these from your collection of movies (you do have your own stash of scary Halloween movies, don't you?).  Grab one of these and pop it in the dvd player, make some popcorn, grab some snacks (some Reese's chocolate), and a soda or two and sit back in your favorite chair or on the sofa and get ready to be entertained (or if you haven't seen them before, I hope they scare you so much that you sleep with the lights on!). Here's my top thirteen favorite scary and not so scary movies, not in any order, for this Halloween season!

30 Days of Night - This 2007 vampire tale has a strong story and excellent acting.  The set design is beautifully done and very realistic.  It takes place in Alaska during the time when the sun doesn't shine.  Based on the 30 Days of Night  comic books, there are some scary scenes in the film as the vampires descend on the little town.

The Ring- A remake of the Japanese movie Ringu, The Ring is one of the top Halloween movies that may not scare you if you see it a second time,  but it will most certainly scare you the first time around. 

The Grudge-A remake of the Japanese movie Ju-on, which is also extremely good, The Grudge is often criticized for not being as good as the Japanese version.  It does a great job of staying true to the Japanese style of horror. 

Dawn of the Dead-(The 2004 remake)-This one is scarier than the original 1978 zombie movie, but not as scary as the first zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead, also directed by George Romero.  Dawn of the Dead, the remake, is in color and it starts out with a bang right away.  The zombies move fast and the scenes are terrifying.  The music used in the movie, such as Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around in the opening scene, is perfect.

The Descent-The Decent was a different movie because there were only women in the movie.  This group of women decide to go exploring in a cavern.  The trip goes horribly wrong from the beginning when there is a rock slide and their entrance is blocked.  So the only was out, they think, is to go deeper into the cave.  Wouldn't be scary without some humans that evolved into blood thirsty creatures.  These creatures stalk the women in the pitch black cavern and pick them off one by one.  These aren't the wimpy screaming women you are used to; they give these monsters a run for their money

The Strangers-This movie was scary.  What makes it particularly scary is knowing it was based on a true story.  This young couple returns to their remote summer house in the woods in the early hours of the morning.  Strange noises begin and knocks on the door.  Then people with cartoon masks begin appearing in the yard and in the windows.  Then the couple is terrorized throughout the night by the two women and one man in the masks.  Then they get into the house and that's when the violence starts.  When the young couple asks why the three bad people are doing this to them, and one of them says, "because you were home".

Quarantine-A newscaster and her cameraman are shadowing a fire department for a weekend.  The fireman are called to an apartment complex for an emergency and the newscaster follows.  Quickly thereafter, the police show up and then chaos begins.  Nobody is allowed out of the building.  Police and sharp shooters won't allow anyone to enter or exit the building, not even the police.  Then things go down hill.  Screams come from the upstairs and a bloody deranged woman attacks a firefighter, ripping out his jugular vein.  people become infected and chase, bit and kill the people i the building.  This movie will have you on the edge of your seat from all of the attacks.  You will wonder if you would rather take your chance with the sharp shooters outside or being eaten by what's in the building!

Jeepers Creepers 2-A winged creature goes on his 23 day feeding frenzy.  He comes to life every 21 years to feed.  He picks his victims by their scent.  If its something on you that he likes he'll take it out of your body.

The Thing-No other horror movie scared me more as a kid than John Carpenter's 1982 thriller/horror movie, The Thing.  This time it is a shape shifting alien that is doling out the carnage, and it is doing so in particularly gruesome ways.

The Nightmare Before Christmas-One of my favorite movies by Tim Burton.  Not everything has to scary to watch during Halloween. This is a good movie for the whole family, and if you ever get a chance to go to Disneyland during the Halloween season, go take the Haunted Mansion ride.  It's decorated as The Nightmare Before Christmas and is pretty cool, even while you're waiting in line to get into it, there's alot of great looking decorations.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)-Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to  investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.  This is another Tim Burton film, and is very enjoyable to watch.  I wouldn't recommend it for younger kids, there are some scary parts plus the decapitations of heads flying around.

Beetle Juice-This film was one of the better films of the 80's.  Tim Burton directed this one also.  This is a great family film that is good any time of the year.

Trick 'r Treat- Trick 'r Treat is a collection of creepy stories that mixes fun with fear, candy with poison, and laughter with screams.  In the tradition of Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt comes four interwoven tales set on Halloween night; A high school principal who moonlights as a vicious serial killer; A young virgin whose quest for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; A group of teens who carry out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; And a cantankerous old man who battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon.