Wednesday, May 2, 2012


    You would be forgiven for being curious about the title of this article because even though Spain boasts some of the most unusual and bizarre festivals compared to the rest of the world, throwing tomatoes over each other as they do in Valencia or being chased down the street by a herd of bulls in Pamplona does not come close to the excitement aroused by the Baby Jumping Festival held each year in Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos.

    Baby jumping (El Colacho) is a traditional Spanish practice dating back to 1620 that takes place annually to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi in the village of Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos. During the act - known as El Salto del Colacho (the devil's jump) or simply El Colacho – men dressed as the Devil (known as the Colacho) jump over babies born during the previous twelve months of the year who lie on mattresses in the street.

    Anyone who has a newborn addition to their family can bring their baby along to this festival. The festival itself is part of the celebrations held all over Spain for the Catholic festival of Corpus Christi and whilst at this particular time many other cities and towns have spectacular processions and a variety of other popular means of revelling and enjoying themselves, there is only one Baby Jumping Festival.

   The festival is organized by the brotherhood of Santísimo Sacramento de Minerva, whose members assume the two main roles associated with the festival: those of el Colacho and el Atabalero. El Colacho, who represents the devil, is dressed in a bright yellow and red outfit and mask, and el Atabalero wears a black suit and a sombrero and goes through the town with his large drum.

    Beginning on the Wednesday before the festival, the two characters cavort around the town chasing people, terrorizing them with their whips and truncheons and generally causing trouble.
    The most important day of the festival comes on Sunday, when a parade winds though the city, beginning and ending at the town church. The town's residents adorn their houses with flowers and set out small "altars" with wine and water for the parade-goers. Members of the clergy and children from the town who have received the rite of First Communion march in the parade.

    Overall, the festival entails an annual purging of evil from the town. The parade symbolically corrals the evil back toward the church, where it can be dissipated
The babies are laid on the ground in swaddling clothes and grown men, yes adult males, dressed as devils jump over the infants and this is supposed to cleanse them of all evil doings. The question of who is protecting the babies from the example being set by the adults begs to be asked but who are we to doubt this traditional combination of religion and Spanish folklore which proves to be great fun, if not a little scary, to watch.

    Anyone who is not blessed with receiving this protection during their early childhood and has lived life looking over their shoulder waiting for bad things to happen or illness to strike can, in their adulthood, choose to take part in an exercise of jumping through fire on 21st December in Granada, known as the Hogueras. This is intended to protect them from illness
    Pope Benedict has asked priests in Spain to distance themselves from the El Colacho, or La Octava Festival.


    There is a point in some people's lives that it becomes obvious that there's something in the world besides the physical, everyday world that we all experience. This is almost always in the form of first-hand experience, and the experiences range from touching, good experiences, to terrifying, almost dangerous ones.
    For those that are plagued, not blessed, by paranormal entities, it's stressful and frightening, and people almost always look for ways to make it stop. Unfortunately, when people look for ways to make the bad things go away, they only hurt themselves most of the time. This is because of scam artists who promise that all problems will cease if a large sum of money is handed over to them, but all that happens is that those people are left with less in their pockets and left to live off of and things that still go booo! and aaarrrr! in the night.
    If people don't go the route of lining the pockets of snake oil salesmen, they often opt for the "feel good and feel out of it" pills and drugs that deaden the world around them, there's still the problem of: "Why are these things still happening"?
    What most people don't realize when dealing with a paranormal entity is that they don't have to pay someone else to take the problem away. There are plenty of things everyone can do in these types of situations without having any metaphysical skill, without being able "to see dead people", and without shelling out alot of your hard earned money to the nearest person who makes promises. They can also help themselves without popping the "feel good" pills and receiving psychiatric counseling from a doctor.
    In fact, there are everyday objects that will often repel or otherwise hamper the effect that negative entities have on the world. Of course, these might not work against entities that are helpful, nor do you want to hamper them, but these are tried and true methods that people have personally found, and used, that have worked.

The Methods

    Vinegar is known to be acidic and smell kind of bad to some people. However, many people don't realize that, like many other things, vinegar is not just good for cooking and preparing food. Because vinegar is acidic,it releases acidic molecules into the air. This affects etheric and astral materials, which is what paranormal entities typically manifest themselves as. The acidic nature of vinegar has a tendency to prevent etheric manifestations, due to the inability for etheric matter to condense when vinegar or other acids are in the air.
A bowl of vinegar in a problem room is a good thing. Even if there are negative entities in the area, their abilities to wreak havoc are seriously hampered.

    Sage has been used in magical and shamanic practice, as well as cooking, for a very long time. When burned, it releases smoke into the air that is believed to clear the vibrations of the area it's burned in. Sage can be bought at some grocery stores, as well as pre-dried in herb shops and occult bookstores. If bought or raised fresh, it needs to be dried before it can be burned.

    There are some people who use incense as a magical tool, and there are others who believe that incense just makes a room smell nice (I am not one of them). However, even those who use it as a magical tool sometimes don't realize that it can work for more than just summoning helpful entities.
Incense, like sage, clears the air. Each type of incense has different properties, and there are incenses that are used for banishing purposes, as well as summoning purposes. Frankincense is one of those that are often used for universal reasons, though banishing is often one of its most used purposes.
Incense can come in cone form, stick form, or even as just a few herbs that you can put together and burn on charcoal. Incense can be found in many stores, and is used worldwide.

    Garlic has a lovely habit of doing more than just tasting good and smelling bad. When garlic is placed strategically around the room, typically at entrance points (windows, doors, etc.), it repels negativity. Yes, garlic does repel vampires (though vampires are rarer than Hollywood would have people believe, as well as much more dangerous and they don't have fangs and wear capes), but it repels other nasty entities as well.
When the garlic becomes "full", it's best to throw the garlic head away and replace it with a new one. Depending on how active it is, it will become full sooner or later, and it's a good idea to have a backup supply, especially if you're dealing with a lot of negativity. Garlic can be found in any grocery store.

    Onions taste good to some, (not me, I hate them!) but horrid to others. However, even if you're one of those people who hate the taste of onions, they can still be quite useful.
It is said that if you place an onion on your kitchen mantle, it absorbs all ill-will and negativity intended for the people who live there. Depending on how much ill-will is directed toward the home's inhabitants, it can last from a very short time to a very long time. However, never eat an onion that has absorbed "bad ju-ju" and negativity. As soon as it begins to rot, throw it away and replace it . Onions can be bought from any grocery store.

    Salt is a material that has been used and coveted by magicians, occultists, and even people who have no inclination to acknowledge the existence of otherworldly forces, for many years. While before it used to be extremely rare and expensive, today it is massively packaged and shipped. This is both good and bad, but we'll only go into the good aspect of it.
    Salt is acknowledged as having crystals and crystal-like qualities. According to some sources, the crystaline qualities of salt make it difficult for negative, non-physical entities to cross a line of it. A line of salt goes a long way in warding a place against any negative or ill-intentioned entities that mean to enter an area, as well as salt water is good for asperging said area to absorb and negate negative energy. However, the only problem with a line of salt is that it's dependent on negative entities being unable to cross it. However, that goes for leaving as well as entering. If there are already paranormal, negative entities wreaking havoc, a line of salt will prevent them from leaving. It's best to resort to the line of salt after they have left, but if they don't leave, use the line of salt and the vinegar. The line of salt will keep any extras out, while the vinegar will hamper their efforts at wreaking that havoc they so love.

Natural Magic-
    All of these are in the category of "natural magic". Natural magic is magic that can be done by anyone, skill or no skill, without having any extra knowledge of the way magic works. Natural magic relies on the magical properties of natural materials, rather than the abilities and skill of the magician. Of course, there is plenty of natural magic that ordinary people use without realizing it. This fall under "folk magic".
Whatever the case, magic or otherwise, these are supposedly tried and true methods for dealing with negative entities and paranormal siege.


    The annual airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas has become as much a part of Christmas as Santa and Rudolph.
    Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, Snoopy's decorated doghouse and Linus' classic recitation on the true meaning the season have become true baby-boomer Christmas icons. Throw in Vince Guaraldi's classic soundtrack, and you have an animated special that has defined a generation.

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas was not the first time the Peanuts characters were animated. In the early 1960's they appeared in a series of commercials for the Ford Motor Company.
  • A Charlie Brown Chirstmas was conceived, written, animated and produced in only six months, and was finished only a week before the air date. The first airing, on December 9, 1965, was sponsored by Coke.

  • A CBS executive who watched a preview was disappointed and declared the program, "A little flat....a little slow", and said he thought Peanuts was better suited for the comics page. Ed Levitt, an animator who worked on the show was more percipient, however, declaring "A Charlie Brown Christmas will run for a hundred years"!
  • The children who sing the opening and closing songs, "Christmas Time is Here", and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", were chosen from a children's choir at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California. The songs were recorded at Fantasy Records Studio in San Francisco.
  • The voice of Charlie Brown was provided by 8 year old actor Peter Robbins, who had previously appeared in over 35 television commercials, and had small roles in TV shows such as "F Troop" and "Get Smart". Robbins continued to be the voice of Charlie Brown in 5 more Peanuts specials,as well as in the first Peanuts movie. A Boy Named Charlie Brown.
  • The youngest voice in the cast was that of Sally, played by 6 year old Cathy Steinberg. Because she couldn't yet read, when had to be fed her lines a few words at a time.

  • Vince Guaraldi was a San Francisco jazz musician. Producer Lee Mendelson was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge when he heard one of Guaraldi's songs on the radio, and recruited him to write the music for the special.
  • The "voice" of Snoopy was provided by co-producer Bill Melendez.
  • The very first airing placed second in the ratings for it's week, behind Bonanza and ahead of such favorites as Red Skelton, Walt Disney and The Andy Griffith Show.
  • A writer for TIME magazine loved the show, calling it "refreshing and "special". He also wrote, " A Charlie Brown Christmas, is one children's special this season that bears repeating".
  • The 1965 airing won an Emmy Award for "Best Network Animated Special" and a Peabody Award for "Outstanding Children's and Youth's Program".


    Lets face it, everyone likes to be appreciated. Whether it is friends, couples, parents and children, an encouragement of gratitude, even a "Thank You", certainly brightens up the day. Some of us may not be used to it or even if we are, it certainly doesn't get heard or said enough. Perhaps we don't quite know how. Here are 10 great ideas that will get you started in the right direction.

  1. Say it with a Smile- Smile more! We are endowed with a powerful and contagious gift. Everyone can do it, and yet we tend not to do it enough. Remind yourself. The more often you smile, the brighter your thank-you becomes.
  2. Write a Note- For a moment, remember your middle school years. What did half the classes do behind the teacher's back? Write and pass notes, of course! It was fun. Write thank you notes even for the small things that people do. Be specific and authentic. A thank you note is a very special way to show your gratitude.
  3. Give a Gift- To say thank you is a gift in itself. Whatever your purpose, make the gift an interesting one. Is a major holiday coming up? Maybe you can wrap the gift in a holiday related fashion, or put it in a cute gift bag. You can make the gift a funny one. Go for it! The gift doesn't necessarily have to be flamboyant, just make it something meaningful, something from your heart. Even a thank you card can last a lifetime.
  4. Recognize Publicly- Whether you smile, write a note, or give a gift, you can do it in two major ways. The first is to recognize someone in front of others. Special celebrations such as a graduation or birthday party, are great times for public recognition. You can thank someone for playing a part in your own achievements. If you ever happen to write a book, the acknowledgements page is a great way to say thank you. Even to say thank you in the presence of good friends is memorable.
  5. Appreciate Privately- Words of gratitude said in private can be very special. A thank you in a small circle of close friends is a great way to show gratitude. It is also a perfect way to express appreciation for one's spouse. When you say thank you to those that are close to you, even when they are only acquaintances or co-workers, you begin to develop an attractive personality. People appreciate it when someone can notice the small things they do. It brings them a world of pleasure.
  6. With a Handshake- This is the general form of greeting in America. You can also express gratitude with the same gesture. You may accompany the handshake with a few words of encouragement or even a simple thank you. Remember to smile, keep your posture, and shake hands like you mean it.
  7. With a Kiss- If you ever decide to visit France, you will find that the French are genial with their greetings. A kiss in the moment of gratitude may be acceptable depending on the cultural context and circumstance of the event. When it is between spouses in private, it can be a passionate kiss. When done in a public setting, it may be quick and cheerful. Depending on the setting and purpose, a kiss is a great way to say thank you, a moment one may be reluctant to ever forget.
  8. Give a Pat on the Back- A friendly gesture, it is great as a sign of support and is a perfect way to show gratitude. When a job is well done, a pat on the back by someone in a "higher position" may very effectively portray one's gratitude. Specifically coaches make it popular. Whether it's a great play or a thank you for effort in class, a pat on the back is a great tool for showing thankfulness.
  9. With a Hug- Everyone at times need a hug. The reasons for doing so can be endless, but a very meaningful reason would be to say thank you. Depending on the situation, a hug can be a great way to say thank you. The perfect moment offers perfect opportunities.
  10. Do Something Special- Get creative! Think about what is meaningful to the person you want to thank. What will make them smile as if they won the lottery? Do they have specific hobbies or interests? How can you make them feel special or appreciated? For what do you want to thank them? What will be your great idea? As long as you express the message and the person understands it, you accomplished your goal. Do the best you can and don't be afraid to experiment with multiple ways. When you appreciate others, appreciation is bound to return to you.


    Trumpets blare, women weep and a giddy crowd roars as burly men carrying towering wooden pillars charge through narrow streets in a medieval tradition of pride and devotion to their patron saint.
    For more than 800 years, the ancient central Italian town of Gubbio has erupted in a riot of yellow, blue and black each May for the "Festa dei Ceri" (Festival of the Candles) to honor patron saint Ubaldo Baldassini, a 12th century bishop.

one of the teams grimacing with the heavy candle

    In a day filled with feverish festivities that include hurling jugs of water onto a crowd, the highlight is a strenuous race where three teams tear through the town and up a mountain with 400-kg wooden pillars balanced on their shoulders.
    The festival taps into a deep-rooted sense of local pride and tradition -- the sort of fierce identity tied to their town or region that Italians are famous for. Gubbio's residents -- known as "Eugubini" -- scoff that even residents of nearby Perugia would not understand what makes their event so special.

    "There's a lot of kinship between us Eugubini and this is something that really unites us all," said 36-year-old Massimo Fiorini. "Perhaps I haven't seen this guy here for a whole year, but for one day, he and I are brothers."
    The emotion is even stronger for the hundreds of former or current bearers of the wooden pillars known as "ceri" (candles), who struggle for words to describe their exhilaration.

    "The only emotion stronger than this that I have ever felt was when my daughter was born," says Matteo Baldinelli, 40, a so-called "ceraiolo" or candle-bearer dressed in a yellow shirt with a red bandana in honor of his team, St. Ubaldo.
"It's difficult to explain, this is something that we have been brought up with since we were little, we've lived it all our lives."
    As usual, the festivities began early Friday as drummers wandered through the town at 5 a.m. to wake everyone up, before residents trooped en masse to the local cemetery to pay homage to deceased candle-bearers.

The Three Saints

    Mass follows, and then the three wooden pillars, each topped with a figure of their respective saint -- St. Ubaldo, St. George or St. Anthony -- are raised upright to a loud roar from a sea of Eugubini packed into a central square.
    "When you see the candle arrive, it's incredible, an emotion like no other," said 43-year old Lorenzo Rughi.
    As per tradition, three men standing halfway up the pillars threw a jug of water onto the crowd, sparking a feverish scramble for broken pieces that are said to bring good fortune.

    The pillars are then whisked away by a team of ceraioli -- eight men to carry it on their shoulders, another eight who provide support, and four for navigation -- through the streets.
    Trouble quickly befell the St. Anthony team, whose cero toppled over into the crowd as the ceraioli turned down a slope, wounding three bystanders. Tragedy was narrowly averted when a baby was pulled from her stroller seconds before it fell.
   Medical staff rushed in, but order was soon restored and the ceri galloped along again, stopping by house windows to pay homage to the old, infirm or deceased, bringing some to tears.

One of the teams relaxing before the competition

"   This is so emotional for me," Daniela Angeloni, 41, wept as she held on to a passing cero in memory of her father, a ceraiolo who died this year. "I'm doing this in his honor."
    Almost every family in Gubbio has a longtime allegiance to one of the three teams -- proudly declared on flags hung out of their windows -- and plastic tables on their doorsteps offered passers-by homemade wine, local ham, salami and cheese.
    Communal lunches follow, from an invitation-only affair at a 14th century building where residents dance and wave kerchiefs to more humble cafeteria-style lunches for ceraioli where seafood risotto and bottles of wine are passed around.

    By afternoon, residents are stumbling through the street in a wine-fueled stupor as they await the evening race, which is preceded by the sound of a trumpet and sword-bearing horsemen.
    The climax finally arrives as the ceri thunder through the streets, with St. Ubaldo's yellow-shirted team first, followed by St. George in blue and then St. Anthony in black.
There is no winner -- the race ends in the same order it starts -- though that's hard to tell from the taunts of "You'll arrive at Christmas at this rate" and emotional embraces and tears at the end, which is followed by more consumption of wine.
    "What I felt inside me when I carried the cero is something that no one else can understand -- we're born with it," said Peppe Minelli, a longtime ceraiolo.
"The others could tumble and fall, I couldn't have cared less. I only cared about me and my cero."


    There are many locations throughout the world that are considered to be one of the scariest places on Earth. However, there is one road that is approximately 200 miles in length that has many individuals frightened to travel on. This is Highway 666. While the U.S. officially renamed this haunted highway "U.S. Route 491" in 2003, those that have traveled upon it, live near it, and have heard or directly experienced its horrors, continue to refer to it as the ominous 666. There are many different types of unexplained phenomenon that have occurred and continues to occur on this desolate road. Throughout this guide on the scariest places in the U.S., you will learn why it instills fear in so many individuals.

Historical Notes
    Throughout the entire nation of the United States, Highway 666 is considered to be one of the top haunted highways. This particular highway is so large that it is found in 4 individual states-Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Those that know of the terrors of this haunted place also identify it appropriately as the one and only "Devil's Highway". While it is true that there are many urban legends, rumors, and tall tales that are associated with this particular stretch of road, there are also many facts that relate to this road-such as statistics on accidents and even deaths. Those that have experienced complications while traveling on this road claim that the spirits that lurk along it are directly responsible for the issues.

The Evil Spirits
    While there are many stories of ghosts, hauntings, and spirits in general associated with this haunted highway, the stretch of road is best known for the evil spirits that are rumored to lurk on it. The first of the evil spirits that are said to be present on the evil road are what many refer to as the "Hounds of Hell". These are dog like creatures that have a supernatural basis. Many claim that they are able to run as quickly as vehicles are able to drive; they purposely cause traffic accidents, and attack people traveling along the road. In addition to this, there is a story that is often referred to as "Satan's Sedan". It is believed that an evil entity that is spiritual in nature drives a dark, ominous sedan that actually charges vehicles and individuals traveling this haunted highway.
There are many different stories associated with Highway 666. Most individuals associate the evil spirits with this road, but there are other stories surrounding this spectacular and vast haunted highway. Many claim the spirit of a girl wanders the highway while others claim that there is a phantom semi-truck that attacks travelers aggressively. Then, there are stories of skinwalkers as told by Native Americans. Regardless, Highway 666 is considered to be one of the scariest places in the U.S. Do you dare drive this long, ominous road alone? How about at night when you get into some, car trouble? heh! heh! heh! heh! heh!