Thursday, August 16, 2012


    Since Halloween is just a few months away, and ghoulies and ghosties are on everyone's mind. It might be a good time to explore how various cultures handle paranormal beliefs. I will write about the basic beliefs of the Japanese, Jewish and Native Americans.
    We Americans are quite open minded about the paranormal, especially lately with the many different shows about ghosts and other paranormal activity. More than 30 percent of all Americans believe in ghosts. I have never seen one personally, but the town I live in, in California has 2 expected places that are known for being haunted. One I have stayed the night in (one of them is a hotel and the other used to be a boys prison).
Let's put our beliefs aside for a moment and take a look into the basic beliefs of three other cultures regarding ghosts and spirits.


    The Japanese culture, which is rich in superstition and the paranormal, is also very open to the belief of a spirit world. In fact, many individual cultures of Japan believe that the living are always surrounded by spirits.
    Some among the ancient Japanese believed that spirits were the cause of disease and hunger. They thought that evil spirits who were seeking retribution even brought on natural disasters like tidal waves, hurricanes, and floods.
    Another popular belief had spirits caught between the land of the living and the world of shadows. These beliefs said that an unpurified human soul would return to the land of the living as a ghost. Oftentimes, these spirits were believed to have returned because of certain unpardonable sins like envy, jealousy, or anger. It was those unforgivable sins that spurred them on to seek revenge.
    Today, many Japanese still believe that spirits who are not delivered through prayer by those who love them, can be caught in limbo between the land of the living and the land of the dead. For this reason, many Japanese death rituals are very specific and highly honored.


    According to some Jewish folklore, a spirit could attach itself to a living person for the purposes of controlling their behavior. However, unlike possession as typically identified, this spirit, called a "dybuk", would stay only long enough to complete a particular task. It was not believed that the spirit's intent was to overtake a living creature for an extended period of time.
    Such spirits were not necessarily bad either. Some, in fact were believed to have been sent to assist the living. For example, a person who was struggling with the same kind of issue might respond by latching onto the individual just long enough to help him or her through the problem. Some referred to these ghosts as "spirit guides."
    Some Jewish people also believe that spirits were created in the twilight of creation, after man but before creation ceased. As such, they are caught in limbo that is not of this world nor of the heavens. Some call these entities angels while still others call them demons.


    The Native American culture has long embraced the idea of the spirit world. However, the great spirits of Native America bore no resemblance to the ghosts or demons that we typically think of today. Instead, these were considered to be the very spirits of nature herself-the sun and moon, the sky, the earth, the sea, trees, animals, and of course mankind.
    Native American spirits were to be sought and prized for the gifts that they bring and the lessons that they teach. Some tribes believed that the best of their people, maidens and warriors alike, went on to become spirit guides. These guides were supposedly capable of keeping their individual charges from going astray as well as for keeping their people, as a whole, on the right path.
Other tribes embraced animal spirits as an important source of knowledge, strength, and character. Still others put their beliefs in the Creator and the vast number of spirits that he would send to his people.
    As it turns out most cultures embrace the concept of phosts or spirits in some way. Even heavily Communistic countries like China, still have stories and myths about ghosts, spirits, and demons.
    One last few words in closing. This year as Halloween rolls around, don't worry about ghosts and ghouls and just have fun! TRICK-OR-TREEEAAT!!!!!


   This recipe was found at www.inkatrinaskitchen.com.  Go ahead and make it!   I dare you!!

My method was a little bit different from the original which calls for 16oz of candy corn and 16 oz of peanut butter. Since making these I found that Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen made them too. And yeah hers are adorbs so check them out.

Here's what I did:

  • 3 cups candy corn
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • Chocolate for dipping

1. Melt candy corn in the microwave for about 60 seconds. Check and stir returning to microwave for 15 second intervals until completely melted.
2. Add peanut butter and combine. Return to microwave if necessary to incorporate until creamy.
3. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan (or whatever pan you like to get the thickness you desire) and let cool about an hour.
4. Cut candy into desired shape and cover in melted chocolate.

**I used a circle cutter and black chocolate for some of the candies. To make traditional butterfingers cut into rectangles and cover in milk chocolate.

**I made the pops by cutting the circles then returning them to the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften the candy enough to insert the stick. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in chocolate first before inserting onto the candy and let it harden up for about 15 minutes before continuing to cover the whole pop in chocolate.

**If your candy gets too hard to cut just return to the microwave for a few seconds.

**I would describe the texture of these as firm and chewy. So while it doesn't have the crisp of a classic Butterfinger the taste is still spot on. It's scary how close the taste is!


    The commentator - the Voice of the Castle - brings the audience together, cheering individually for their countries but united in an international fraternity.The tunes are echoes of a glorious and often tragic past, of freedom and glory and of suffering and loss ... 'The Garb of Old Gaul' and The Skye Boat Song' and the rousing quick marches, 'Dumbarton's Drums' and 'All the Blue Bonnets are over the Border'.
   The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is the most spectacular show in the world, enjoyed by an international television audience of 100 million. There is, however, no substitute for being there in person as part of the 217,000-strong audience over its three-week season on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle who don't simply watch the show but become a part of it.

    In the glowering twilight, Edinburgh Castle slumbers, resting, waiting for nightfall and for the footlights that will transform it into a dazzling stage set for the world's most spectacular show. Down Castlehill, along the Lawnmarket, around the cathedral church of St Giles, through the closes of the Royal Mile and the narrow streets whose setts ring with history, people gather in the dusk of a late summer evening.
    Turning their faces to the great castle rock, where ancient clans first settled the area, which was to become the capital of Scotland and where now stands Edinburgh's mighty fortress, they join a crowd that will soon be an audience, rapt with enthusiasm for the unique spectacle that is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
    Climbing the final rise towards the Castle Esplanade, walking companionably together, eight and ten abreast, eager old hands who come every year but never lose the thrill of a Tattoo ahead, and new folk, many on holiday from other proud nations a world away, who are about to witness the show they will never forget...

    Settling into their seats, the fresh clear air exhilarating, the sky above the Castle deepening first to heather-colours of lilac and purple before darkness slips down and the floodlit castle draws all eyes.
    French shake hands with English, Japanese nod smilingly to Swedish neighbours, native Scots welcome Italians. The Tattoo is family now.
    A hush falls and darkness deepens, the great oak gates of the Castle sweep open and the swell of the pipes and drums cracks through the night sky. As the massed bands march out in their hundreds across the drawbridge, flanked by effigies of William Wallace and Robert The Bruce, emotions run high: this matchless spectacle unfailingly enthrals, symbolising the Scotland that everyone holds dear in their heart.
    Every Edinburgh Tattoo begins with this vivid and intensely emotional display, and may it always be so. For these are Scotland's finest fighting men (pipers and drummers are soldiers first, musicians second) playing the stirring tunes that over centuries have given courage and inspiration on battlefields in every corner of the globe. Lest we forget, we have our pipes and drums.

    Now a dazzling show is spread out on the Esplanade, a whirling and colourful kaleidoscope of music, dance and display. It may be exciting - daredevil motorcycles at speed and the breathtaking re-enactment of battles, or exotic - Turkish music and Chinese dancers, or simply the best of Scottish - Highland dancers wheeling and swirling to a fiddle orchestra.
    Such is the blend of home and international talent that the show is always fresh, exciting and alive, even for the many faithful fans who 'never miss' a yearly visit to the Tattoo. Over some 60 years of the Tattoo they would have seen performers from more than 40 countries - from Australia to Canada, Africa to Fiji, France to Nepal, The Netherlands to the United States.

    International guest performers bring another dimension to a familiar pageant but it is the pipes and drums, which serve as the emotional core, the heart of the Tattoo which Scots, love fiercely and visitors quickly take to their own hearts.
    And above all else the awesome presence of the Castle, great flaring torches lighting its venerable walls and creating mysterious shadow plays on the honey coloured stone.
Now, the audience gather themselves together for the finale. All 1000 or so performers are on the Esplanade, column after column of marchers, dancers, and bandsmen. The audience joins in the great chorus of singing and cheering, and applause and cries of 'Bravo!' before a hush falls for the singing of the Evening Hymn, the sounding of the Last Post and the lowering of the flags.
    And finally, all eyes are drawn to the Castle ramparts, where a single spotlight cues the Lone Piper to play his haunting lament, the high notes echoing across the still night sky and across the dark city, as the flames of the Castle torchlights and the piper's warming brazier flicker and slowly die.

    Fireworks burst out against the black sky, but the spell is not broken for when we sing 'Auld Lang Syne' and shake our neighbour's hand, the emotions linger and the heart is full.
    Tattoo-goers all, united by international friendship, the shared love of a nation, its music and its traditions.

'Will ye no come back again'? says the haunting old song and our answer must be 'oh, yes and very soon'.

Tattoo Fact File

  • The first Edinburgh Tattoo took place in 1950. There were eight items in the programme.
  • More than 12 million people have attended the Tattoo. The annual audience is around 217,000.

  • Each year 100,000 people visit the Tattoo's new attraction at the top of the Royal Mile. The Spirt of the Tattoo - the compelling story of Edinburgh's Military Tattoo, featuring an interactive exhibition, movie theatre and gift shop.
  • The first commercial twelve inch stereo LP record of the Tattoo was released in 1961.
  • 2009 marked the Tattoo’s eleventh successive sell-out season, generating some £6.2 million in box office receipts.
  • Around 35 miles of cabling (the distance from Edinburgh to Glasgow) is required.
  • The event was first seen in colour on TV in 1968.

  • From 1950 to 1991, there were four producers - Lt Col George Malcolm of Poltalloch, Brigadier MacLean, Brigadier Sanderson and Lt Col Dow.
  • Major Michael Parker then took over as producer for the 1992, 1993 and 1994 Tattoos. He was succeeded by Brigadier Melville Jameson in 1995, who in turn was followed by Major General Euan Loudon in March 2007.
  • The first overseas regiment to participate was the Band of the Royal Netherlands Grenadiers. The year was 1952, and there were also performers from Canada and France.
  • The first lone piper was Pipe Major George Stoddart. He played in every performance for the first eleven years. His son, Major Gavin Stoddart, followed his father as lone piper at the Tattoo and became Director of Army Bagpipe Music for 12 years.
  • Hollywood movie producer Mike Todd, the fourth husband of film star Elizabeth Taylor, made a documentary programme on the Tattoo in 1950.

  • Not a single performance of the Tattoo has ever been cancelled.
  • The Tattoo is set up and run for charitable purposes. Over the years, it has gifted some £5 million to service and civilian organisations.
  • At the last official independent count, visitors to the Tattoo contributed an estimated £88 million to the Scottish economy.
  • The Tattoo has always been staged at Edinburgh Castle. Rehearsals take place at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh.
  • Over 40 countries have been represented at the Tattoo.

  • The word ‘tattoo’ comes from the closing-time cry in the inns in the Low Countries during the 17th and 18th centuries - ‘Doe den tap toe’ (‘Turn off the taps’).
  • Around 100 million people see the Tattoo each year on international television.
  • Approximately 70 per cent of each audience is from outwith Scotland. Half of these are from overseas.