Friday, September 30, 2005

Eventide At The Soul Food Cafe

An oldie but a goodie...I wrote this last year for the advent calander...it was my idea of a Christmas Story.

Eventide at the Soul Food Cafe
A Ghost Story
by Anita Marie Moscoso

[Middle English, from Old English fentd : fen, evening + td, time; see d- in Indo-European Roots.]

Hello? Well, as a matter of fact we are open. No, really we are open, it's alright come on in. Yes it is a little darker here then in the rest of the Cafe, isn't it? But as you can see, we have plenty of candles. And those chills come and go, you won't even notice them after a while.

Who's that? Wow, are you jumpy. It's no one. Yes it does look like a woman doesn't it? Yes it looks like a shadow, only it's not a shadow exactly.

The man who designed this part of the cafe believed that if you captured a soul and pinned it to the wall it would keep your home safe from earthquakes.

So what he did was wait for a shadow to be cast against the wall and then he took that silver spike and placed it right there, between the eyes and hammered the spike in. I've been told it's just a painting of sorts. Or maybe he scorched it onto the wall...somehow.

It's okay, come a little closer and take a look.

But if you believe the legend, that person's soul was taken from them and is trapped in these walls now.

Of course, the Builder also told me that he heard stories that in the old times they didn't capture shadows. He says they use to sacrifice people, not their shadows. What happened if you removed the spike? Do you want to give it a try?

Me neither.

Go ahead and have a seat, I have a story just for you. It'll help pass the time...

What? I know it sounds like someone is in the hall. But trust me, there's no one there. Go ahead and take a look. Boy, did you just jump a mile there, but it's okay, it was the breeze slamming the door shut. So relax, it's only you and me after all.

********************************************************

When my grandmother was a young girl, she was about 16 at the time this took place, she took her youngest sister Cassie to the beach. It had been extremely hot all that summer. She told me that the heat came early that Spring and just got worse as the months wore on.

They left early that morning while it was still cool and they walked the quarter mile to the shoreline where people were already gathering in their swim outfits and complaining about the heat.

My Grandmother found her friends and they set up for a long hot day of doing nothing. Cassie was about 12 at the time amused herself by running from the water to the beach umbrella and by making a nuisance of herself. Grandmother said she had finally tuned Cassie out when one of her friend's said " hey June, what's Cassie doing? " My grandmother looked towards the shoreline and saw Cassie looking out towards the water. She was shaking so hard that my Grandmother swore she could hear Cassie's teeth clicking together and she was over 16 feet away.

And then Cassie began to scream, a horrible cry that seemed to start off as a whimper. It grew and grew until all you could hear up and down the beach. It was a horrible wail that shouldn't have come from a little girl. She didn't even sound human.

Then Cassie turned and ran, she ran up towards them, stopped a few feet away from my Grandmother and then she turned and looked back towards the water. Before my Grandmother could reach out and grab her Cassie was running, running and screaming that horrible scream all the way to the road.

My Grandmother, her young man and some of their friends ran after Cassie but they just couldn't catch her. Cassie had never run so fast in her life, my Grandmother remembered to me years later.

When they got home Cassie was running from room to room, her cut and bloody feet leaving smears all over the hardwood floor and the rugs. She was trying to shut windows, lock doors and begging everyone to help her, to not let him get her.

She was crying to them that she could still see his horrible teeth, his eyes blood red eyes and his red blistered skin. She could still see him when she closed her eyes. She begged and begged for us to help her. To make him go away.

" Who? " they asked and begged because Cassie was looking right through them. They doubted she could even see them.

The Devil she said, the devil came up out of the Ocean and chased her home. Didn't anyone of them see? He was right behind her the whole way home. They must have seen him they were right behind him, right behind her. Didn't they see?

Cassie insisted some more and probably would've stayed that hysterical for the rest of the night but a few hours later she suffered a terrible seizure, the first of several she would suffer for the next 4 months.

At the end of those four months Cassie died.

It was a lifetime later, for my Wedding in fact that my Grandmother came home. She didn't like visiting Seattle, she hadn't for years. It reminded her of Cassie. But that's where my Mother and Stepfather lived now and where my wedding was going to be so Grandmother steeled herself and made the trip.

So it was at my Mother's house, a day after my Wedding that a former neighbor stopped by to visit my Grandmother, her name was Nadine.

Nadine and my Grandmother were sitting on the porch visiting on a very nice Spring afternoon when Nadine asked about Cassie.

" Do you remember that day at the beach, the day your sister got sick? "

My Grandmother said she did, though she always thought of that day as the day Cassie actually died. She just never said that out loud.

" I feel just awful for asking this, and look it's taken me over 50 years to bring it up. It didn't seem right, being how Cassie got so sick and..."

My grandmother was curious and encouraged Nadine to go on.

" Well, I was wondering if you ever saw that young man again... the one who tried to help your sister? "

" What? "

" He was right behind her, a handsome man in a red swim outfit. He had the most wonderful smile and green, green eyes. All these years later and I can still see his face. I've always wondered...if you knew his name, or if Cassie knew it. If he told her when he caught her...

" My Grandmother flinched, and said just above a whisper " you say he caught her..."

" Yes, I saw him on your porch with her, before she opened the door. He had his hand on her shoulder."

" I think he did tell her" my Grandmother said more to herself then Nadine " who he was but she was so sick that night, and of course she just kept getting worse. I'm afraid, well, it wasn't important at the time. I'm sorry, I just don't remember it. "

" Then you're sure..." Nadine asked.

My grandmother didn't like the look on Nadine's face. That hungry, covetous look. That was it. There was no mistaking it. Nadine was still jealous after all these years that it was who Cassie who had spoken with, and been close to the golden haired man in the red swim suit.

My Grandmother made some excuse about helping my Mother in the kitchen and both women rose from their chairs. "

I am sorry about Cassie, June. " My grandmother could see that Nadine at that moment meant it. She was sorry for that little girl who never grew up.

Then as my Grandmother watched, Nadine's eyes started to shine and she new that Nadine wasn't seeing her, or anything else around them. Nadine was gone. She had the same look Cassie had when she begged to be helped all those summers ago.

Nadine turned and walked down the porch steps and when she got to the walkway she called some pleasantries back to my Grandmother and reminded her that if she remembered anything to please get in touch with her.

My grandmother watched Nadine walk off down the street and a few moments later a man passed the porch. He was a young man with shoulder length golden hair and he was wearing a bright red t-shirt. He didn't see my grandmother, but she saw him and she could her him whistling.

When Nadine turned around the young man suddenly turned the corner and was gone.

And as she walked on, the young man suddenly reappeared behind Nadine, right out of thin air, right before my Grandmother's eyes. And after a few more minutes, when they were both out of sight, my grandmother could hear that aimless little tune drifting through the air as it suddenly became warm.

Very, very warm.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Victorian Cemetery Symbolism

Anita would probably know this already, but I happened across an interesting link that explains all the symbolism of the carving and decoration of the headstones and other items in graveyards.
Explanations are divided into animals, body parts, geometric, objects and plants.
Interesting stuff. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Sky's the Limit

Anita Marie said when posting, the sky's the limit. So here's my attempt at reaching my sky: A Dreamer Tells.... I revamped my journal for Halloween. I had an idea for the look, but...couldn't find an image meeting the layout's perameters. So I adapted an image I already had and built upon it. Hope it...enchants you.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Halloween Hahahahahaha!



Upon occasion I get these jokes and people start them off with,
'hey Anita I saw this joke about death and thought of you"

I've brought it on myself I know.

At any rate this is a great one to tell around the Halloween Punch Bowl...enjoy
AMM


An old man lived alone in the country.
He wanted to dig his tomato garden,
but it was very hard work as the ground was hard.
His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison.
The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his
predicament.

"Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able
to plant my tomato garden this year.
I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot.
If you were here my troubles would be over.
I know you would dig the plot for me.
Love, Dad"

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

"Dear Dad,
Not for nothing, but don't dig up that garden.
That's where I buried the BODIES.
Love, Vinnie"

At 4 a.m. the next morning,
FBI agents and local police arrived and dug
up the entire area without finding any bodies.
They apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

"Dear Dad,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now.
That's the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love, Vinnie"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Creepy Film from Way Back

http://www.sciflicks.com/the_omega_man/

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Hadley Happenings Pt. I

Kids, I think you’re old enough now to learn about the history of our town. About 150 years ago, Old Benton Hadley came here to build a dream; his dream was of a gracious, idyllic town near the university, jobs and hospitals. Back then the University was a Teacher’s College, with the farms nearby, a lake full of fish and waterfowl, miles and miles of wood to be logged, and the state’s first real hospital.
The hospital was the finest one for five states around! It had a modern, sterile surgery, a safe place for mothers to have their babies, everything was as new, and high-falutin’ as Old Man Hadley could make it. Back then, there wasn’t a name for men like Hadley, nobody called a man who could turn everything he touched an entrepreneur. He started with one wagon, and the cider mill. He began to buy up land along the river, one small parcel at a time; until he had enough for a small city.
He started the Teacher’s College, and built the Grange Hall down on Main and Washington; just like it stands today… except back then there were buggies and saddled horses, not all them noisy automobiles. He brought in a real Minister, and built that Evangelical Christian Church, the one that’s a monument to Old Benton Hadley nowadays. Then he built one of the finest schools and libraries in the state. People were beginning to move here, and telling their kin and friends about the town of Hadley.
Old Man Hadley had wanted to call this place New Eden, but when the time to name his dream came, the grateful residents voted him down… everyone but Hadley himself voted to name the town after the man that had built so much, and given so much back to the people that helped his dream grow. The town survived the War Between the States, famines, droughts, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II without losing any of its old-fashioned charm. The farmhouses of the first families were put on The Historic Register over ten or so years, so Main Street always looked like one of those Currier and Ives woodcuts.
The first hospital was torn down and a new, modern one replaced it, attached to the University, which now had darn good medical, nursing, and law schools. The doctors that came out of that hospital were known to be some of the best doctors around. About 15 miles down the road from Hadley, they built another hospital, encased in chain-link and barbwire, with Guards and dogs, and you had to show a permit to get through those towering ironwork gates. That is the State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Things started to change here in Hadley, the ‘Founding Families’ moved on, and their big, fancy houses were turned into Nursing Homes, them fancy-schmansy Bed-and-Breakfast places for snooty tourists, Museums, Antique Shops, and even a place that told the cards and the crystal ball upstairs with all manner of things downstairs and in the basement.
Now the witch that owned it didn’t look like any movie witch, she leaned over the fence and gossiped with her neighbours. Everybody loved her specialty teas, and she made desserts that had even the most persnickety of them skinny models comin’ back for more. There was even movie stars come all the way from Hollywood to have her back up things for their fancy parties. She even had the Governor ask for her tea-cakes come Christmas!!
Anyhow, she tried to warn us about bad things comin’ our way, and we didn’t listen. Nossir, we patted her hand and called her a worrywart. Told her not to take on so, they might take her to that Big Crazy House. I dunno what made her stay; I’m glad she did though. Even after what happened to her when that fella escaped from the Big Crazy House.
First any of the people in Hadley knew of it was when there were so many State Troopers roamin’ around the county they were like leaves on a maple tree!! They asked us to voluntarily agree to a sundown curfew. Of course we disagreed, the new movies were opening at the drive-in, and one of three movies was an Elvis musical!!!
They told us there was a chance that a patient had gotten out of the State Hospital and they wanted to be sure we were safe. We pooh-poohed them and laughed as we asked, “How much damage can one crazy man do?”
If’n we had known who was on the loose, we would’ve all been locked up snug in our houses, Elvis musical be damned!! They didn’t tell us, for fear of a panic; if we had known it was ‘Hungry Harry’… well!! “Hungry Harry had led the police, State Troopers and The Feds on a merry chase through a half-dozen states before they finally tracked him down, already sucking all the blood out of another victim.
Hungry Harry thought he was a vampire, like in the old Bela Lugosi movies, and he would go to some kind soul’s door asking for some food in exchange for doin’ chores. He would work for them for a few days, always polite and respectful. He never cussed in front of womenfolk, told bad jokes where young’uns might hear, went to Church every Sunday, and paid a handsome tithe when he had money.
You’d have thought Harry was a good, God-fearin’ man down on his luck… If’n you didn’t know his story.
Anyways, they did catch him, prove that he had killed nigh onto forty people, and drank all their blood before they caught him and slapped him into that hospital sayin’ he was too crazy to know what he’d done. Hell!!! Beg pardon folks. He knew all right, he just spun a good yarn for the head doctors is all. Sorry if I sound bitter, I can explain that later.
Now I was tellin’ you kids about the witch that lived here, and how she was good people and nobody was afraid of her. She had this big old dog, one of them Great Danes; he was all black and worshipped his owner. When she would work in her flower and herb gardens he would sit by her and watch every move she made, tail wagging ever so slightly. If she was on the porch, with her lemonade and a paper, he’d lie next to her; every so often she would drop her hand to his head and scratch his ears gentle-like. His tail would start thumpin’ on that porch like a big old kettle drum and he’d lick her hand before he would go back to sleep.
The dog slept by her bed at night, and went with her almost everywhere she went. We all worried about what she might do when she lost that dog, and we knew she would. Them big dogs don’t live as long as they ought, and the witch weren’t hardly 40.
Well… that Hungry Harry escaped slick as you please from the State Hospital and started lookin’ for blood again.
The witch was sleeping so peacefully in her big old bed with handmade quilts on it and them pretty curtains she had woven herself on the windows over the shutters she had painted a nice robin’s egg blue. The dog was sleeping on the floor next to her, snoring just the littlest bit.
The witch got woke up sometime in the night, by a dripping noise and a funny creak. She slipped her hand out from under the quilts and the dog licked it like he always did. Nice and reassured she went back to sleep, and dreamed whatever witches dream.
Come morning she got bright and early to cut flowers for the shut-ins and herbs for her medicines. “Eleazar?” She called her dog, who wasn’t laying on the floor on his big rag rug.
She whistled him up, and still he didn’t come. Now she was getting worried, that dog never left her side. She looked through that whole big house, calling and whistling, her face getting sadder with ever whistle.
Finally, she thought she’d take his leash and go look for him, wondering if he had nuzzled the door open and gone out to ‘do his business’. The leash wasn’t on the hook by the kitchen door like it was supposed to be. Now she was getting really frightened and ran out the back door.
There was her big dog, dead, hanging from a porch rafter by his leash that creaked ever so slightly in the breeze. That tongue hung limp from his mouth, and the blood dripped, slowly from the end of his tongue.
She commenced to screaming, she sounded just like a bean sidhe right out of Ireland. When the nieghbours started arriving the poor lady was crying and trying to get that dog down all by her self.
Everyone wondered who would do that to her dog, he was the kind that might lick you to death, but never deliberately hurt you. Some of the men got her dog untied, while her lady friends tried to comfort and calm her down. These fellers that had fought the Krauts and Nips in WWII were teary eyed as they brought that dog down and laid him carefully on the ground. They took turns diggin’ a grave for him, as they did that, the witch was taken inside and given some of her own tea to calm her down. I remember, Herm Nestor’s wife… what was her name??? Anyway, she commenced to scrubbing the porch where blood was splattered Hell, West and Crooked. I do apologise ladies.
She musta been there for nigh onto three hours scrubbing and scrubbing, with a stiff brush and lye soap before them stains were almost gone. That poor girl’s hands were raw for almost a week from doin’ that, but she said that she couldn’t let the witch have to clean that up, finding the dog was bad enough.
A few days passed by and the killing of the witch’s dog was settling down. The witch kept telling us that Eleazar (Who names a dog that anyway?) was just the beginning, that it would get worse. Everyone thought it was the shock of finding her dog like that that had her so upset.
Until them kids down on Apple Tree Lane that is…

A Ballad - ghost story

I actually sing this at fire-circles --
two voices for theme and counter,
and in the Trevere' style,
a different melody and timing
for each refain.

Written for a 'aunt' who loved ghost stories
and whose grandfather's name was 'Jouvenal'
--sadly, she never lived to hear it.

faucon
.......................................................

Spirit Song

The fearful wind whispers through the broken reeds, Hugo - Hugo
Hear the tiny claws scramble on cold hard stones, beware, beware.
Listen to the story of the Jouvenal sword, attend, attend

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom,
while eagles hide with mist shorn wings,
and a floating sword carves truth from sin
to pay debt to the ghost of Jouvenal.

The castle had stood a thousand years
to turn Persians and Mongols aside.
The towers were tall ‘round a hidden well
and mossy stones within thorns did hide.
Myth said twas mortared with virgin blood
with a ring moat of serpents and tears.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
while brave knights swear fealty anew.
Purpose and honor should inspire them
to match the life of Jouvenal.

Sir Hugo remained while four rode out
to claim full pride of a battle guard.
By lot his fate was to guard the gate
with less valor sure for bloodless sword.
“Safe return my friends,” he cried anon
“The gate awaits those without fear.

Their race came stride their foaming steeds,
three dead in saddle and comrade dear.
“Betrayed,” he cried with parting breath.
“Preserve our pledge, quick - prepare.”
Hugo strode out 'fore postern gate,
spear and shield stood forever near.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
for a blood quest is honor bound,
and such treachery must quick renounce
or face the wrath of young Jouvenal.

Baron turned coward crested the hill
leading ranks of minions most foul.
Nothing stood ‘tween his covet tower
but slender knight called Jouvenal.
His charged intent hardly slacked
as archers called he from the rear.

The crossbow has but two hundred range,
while the Sythian bow crosses three.
In motion swift as a falcon wing
six arrows set these archers free.
Then followed the Baron’s favored horse
and two squire sons he held so dear.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
where evil is met with more sure portent.
So bold are they two hundred to one,
but quick to their heels from Jouvenal.

The milling throng did distant withdraw
to curse this blight to well laid plan.
But none would stride upon the road
where Jouvenal did protect his clan.
Yet chivalry did provide relief
for single challenge did honor share.

A knight strode down the rutted road
with shield and banner lofted high.
Sir Hugo met with buckler and sword,
with courage found one cannot deny.
The sparks did match the flow of blood
from fallen knight 'neath Hugo’s glare.

Another fine knight approached the field
to clank in the dust before the keep.
Five more in turn did quick battle meet,
and each in turn made a widow weep.
But each defeat took a bitter toll
of strength and blood beyond repair.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
where valor designs its own defeat.
A warrior slow wounded in victory
will match the sad fate of Jouvenal.

As he fell to knees, no foe ahead
Sir Hugo cried out to comrades down.
“Support me now in oath and quest
to carry this day - defend the crown.”
Dead comrades all did answer the call
bound by fine will each could share.

The sword swept up from the stricken hand
to dance in the air with spinning light,
to vanquish each challenge evil bent,
and none could pass dead Hugo’s might.
New souls departed were two score more
before all ran from the Baron’s care.

The sword still stands before open gate
imbedded in stone than none can take.
Good will can pass with contented heart,
giving a prayer for courage sake,
but evil does shrivel and run away
from symbol of shame they must beware.

Dread silence crashes in the flashing gloom
where sword of Hugo defends the gate.
Where honor is sacred to comrades
you will find the spirit of Jouvenal.
Jouvenal - Jouvenal




Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Trick Or Treat? Urban Legends

Urban Legends...ya gotta love them.
These are a few 'new ones' I've had some fun with.
Enjoy!
Anita Marie




Mr Tsunami....

A few days before the Tsunami hit, the concierge of an expensive hotel in Thailand found an anonymous note left on the counter that said simply, Tsunami will reach you shortly.

The man sent a car to the airport to wait for what he assumed was an important man named Tsunami who would be visiting his hotel soon.

Home Alone?

One cold winter night a young girl was all alone watching TV. She looked out the sliding glass door to her side and saw a strange man staring in at her. Gripped with fear, she pulled her blanket up over her face and quickly dialed 911, and waited there trembling until the police arrived.

The police looked all around the house and found no footprints in the snow outside the glass doors, but after comforting her one of them noticed the wet prints on the carpet. She hadn't seen him outside the door, she'd seen his reflection behind her.

Technology Rules!

While drilling the world's deepest hole in Siberia, the geologists noticed the drill bit began to rotate abnormally, among other strange happenings, when they reached a depth of ten miles. They measured temperatures up to 2000 degrees at the deepest part, and then lowered a microphone into the pit.

After hearing the sounds of all the suffering souls in hell, they stopped the project in the hope that what is down there will stay down there.

An Ill-Disguised Admission to Murder

Anita Marie's last post sparked my memory. I too have an entry in my journal regarding headstone humor, so click the below link and journey to England with me to enjoy some headstone humor. Then come back to the school for this widow's...gratitude.

This was email from one of Dad's co-workers:
People never remember to write in about the good things a product does, always the bad!

So this is very refreshing!!

With important facts to remember!!!

Dear Tide,
I am writing to say what an excellent product you have! In fact, about a month ago while at home I spilled some red wine on my new white blouse. My husband started to berate me about my drinking problem and how expensive the blouse was.

Well, one thing led to another and I ended up with a lot of his blood on my white blouse as well. I tried to get the stain out using the bargain detergent my cheap husband bought, but it just wouldn't come out.

I went to the local convenience store and got a bottle of liquid Tide with bleach alternative, and all of the stains came out! They came out so well, in fact, that the police's DNA tests were negative! I thank you, once again, for a great product!

Well, gotta go, I have to write a letter to the Hefty bag people.

Sincerely,
Recently Widowed

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Halloween Writing Fun!



This looked like fun it could be a bit of Halloween Fun so I pulled it off the net...my comments are in italics.
amm

Instructions: If you want to play around with developing character without taking the plunge of building fictional people from scratch--if, for example, you want to learn about character-building but aren't ready to start writing a story--a good source of names can help. The phone book is one, but it has no other details. In this exercise, we'll use a cemetery as a place to find the beginnings of interesting characters.

1. Find a cemetery near your home and go there with a notebook and pen. Really old cemeteries are often the most interesting, especially if you're into historical fiction.
( Google is great for this too )

2. Wander around and look at the names and dates on the headstones. Read any inscriptions you find. If you find any really intriguing names, jot them down in your notebook.
( I found my name once...Anita Marie Godfrey...no kidding, freaked me OUT! )

3. Find a good place to sit and write. If you've written down some names and dates and inscriptions, you may want to go home or to the library to write. If it's a nice day and there are places to sit, you may want to write in the cemetery itself.

( Nah, no one will think you're being a ghoul, but if its not a place you want to be don't go! )

4. Choose a name and think about what that person might have been like. When did they live and how old were they when they died? If there was an inscription on the headstone, how might it relate to the person's character? Perhaps a tombstone might say "In memory of a loving mother." Was the character you're creating in your mind really a good mother, or might her children have chosen those words in order to keep up appearances? Were any other family members buried nearby? How might their lives have touched your chosen person's life?


5. When you're beginning to get a good idea of what your character might have been like, write about them. You might choose to write a short biography, or maybe you'd rather put your character in a scene and see how they might act. Remember, you're not trying to figure out who this person really was; instead, you're creating a character based on a name and some dates, and maybe an inscription. The character will be made up based on what ideas that name and dates and inscription create in your mind.

Notes: This exercise is similar to the idea of making up lives for the people you see in public places. Instead of seeing a person for whom you can make up a name and other details, though, you have no idea what the person looked or acted like; you have only a name to go on. This is meant to be a fun way to exercise your imagination and learn a little bit about how characters can be made to seem real. And who knows, you might learn some local history in the process.

EPITAPHS

Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please.
Joseph Conrad
(St. Thomas Church; Canterbury, England)


Good Night Sweet Prince
and a flight of angels sing to thy rest.
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.


As the flowers are all made sweeter
by the sunshine and the dew,
so this old world is made brighter
by the lives
of folks like you.
Bonnie Parker
(Crown Hill Cemetery; Dallas, Texas)
This is THE Bonnie of The Infamous Bonnie and Clyde Gang

Here lies
Ezekial Aikle
Age 102
The Good
Die Young.

Hillaire Belloc (1870-1953)
Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician's corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged,
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if
the car was on the way down. It was.

Shiver Stories - Halloween


Amusing Tales: (Shiloh's Spider stuff made me think of this.)

I remember at school there was a story going round about a lady who got bitten by a spider in her sleep or something, and then woke up the next morning to find a spot there. The spot grew and grew and supposedly all these baby spiders came out one day. It was said she went mad after that....not surprising. I think the older girls told us to frighten us, and it worked for a while, until we learned this story and others were known the world over, as shiver stories. These were designed to be told at sleepover parties and keep everyone wide awake.

There was another one about a couple's car breakdown in the middle of the woods somewhere, something about the husband going for help to the only house in the district, and a headless man....details anyone?

And the classic about the supermarket carpark where an old lady is found in the back seat of someone's car and asks to be taken to the police station. Of course the person agrees, seeing she is old and infirm and can't speak english properly. Then along the road the hand stretches out to the driver and it's hairy! The old woman is actually a man with a dastardly plan.......are we shivering? We thought they were scary at slumber parties with a bunch of vibey girls...for sure.....

Monday, September 12, 2005

Halloween Memorial


Vincent, Vincent it hasn't been the same since you've been gone.
Anita Marie

Holy Spiders, Batman!

You want horror, ladies and gentlemen? I'll give you horror, but you gotta be brave enough to click the horrifying link.

(originally written in my personal blog 12-20-2004)
**Warning!!** Any big time arachnophobics may need or want to skip this particular entry. Those who are brave, be prepared for a hair-raising time--literally. *devilish gleam in her eyes*

Well, Jen got word from Misha (Michael) last night. He's coming home for Christmas. He'll be here Thursday, but has to go back to his base Christmas Day. At least, he'll come home before he's deployed.

Jen's been telling me a lil about the kind of bug life Mike will meet up with over in the desert of Iraq. Well, at least, one kind of bug. The camel spider. She was telling me it is huge and can run 10 miles per hour! I kid you not. I hate spiders, but my natural, inherent blasted curiosity had me looking for a picture because I wanted to know the size of the thing and what it looks like. *shivers in revulsion*

Jen came by last night and I told her I'd found a picture of the sucker. Of course, she wanted to see. So I showed her this one. The site doesn't give how big they get or much more information, other than they really aren't spiders and are really one of fastest critters in the bug world. Also, thank the Lord, they aren't a threat to humans--although they can make your leg or arm go numb if bitten. (They're not venomous, but their bite does inject a local anestetic(sp?).)

Jen wanted to know more about the spider and its scale in size, so we puttered 'round the net and I found this. That is how big they are. There're two dangling end to jaw. A soldier found them like that in his sleeping bag. I don't think, Teacosy, your Spider Removal Guide will work with this type of bug life.

We both jumped a foot backwards when that picture popped up on the screen. No pun intended, but my eyes bugged out. We also learned they can jump several feet into the air and they prey upon scorpions (YAY!), birds and small lizards. So, despite their ugliness and gigantic size, I feel better about them than I do the smaller Hobos and Black Widows.

Raven Harp


This is our most cuddly and soft
cat Raven -- playing the harp!

Watch your neck

faucon

Mythical Beasts

I wrote this (and sang it) for a silly
Filk competition based on the theme
"Mythical Beasts" -- it goes with the
tune for 'Pawn Shop on the Corner'.

There's a dragon, in a cavern
In far off Silesia,
That steals local virgins
And burns knights with his breath.
I will find him, cut his heart out
And stamp out this wastefulness,
For I fear not tragic death.

There's a witch-crone, in a forest
In most dark Moravia
That cast me a spell
That does protect me from harm.
Bring on lympago, or fierce wyvern;
I will slay them not with kindness
A magic shield upon my arm.

There's a Cyclops, on an island
In Grecian Pelopennesia
That gobbles up sailors
And complete sheep without fee.
I will sail there, wait for darkness
And chop away his manhood,
And see if he winks at me.
There's a hydra, with a headache
In deepest Transylvania
Protecting a treasure
With double heads-up display.
I'll entrance her, decapitize her,
Burn off the stumps forever
And head off further dismay.

There are monsters, here about you
In Woodland, California.
On the Erik so green,
Now look to banner and shield.
I can warn you, not protect you
For you will be hung-over
And I to a maid must yield.

Third Cat


Our third cat, Magic,
has been staring at me all day --
guess she didn't like being left out

faucon

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Horror memory

9/11 falls within the zone of horror for many,
and certainly terror became a battle cry ...
I for one was fearful of what our leaders might
do in a 'lash of vengeance'. Now we have learned
more of what our leaders knew in advance,
and perhaps even participated in ..

that is the real horror.

I wrote this just after 9/11

The seed line is from a parent of one of the victims
on the plane that crashed itself.

faucon

................................................................................


"drawn by the vibrations of our hatred"


The pulsing, throbbing drumbeat in my beleaguered soul
Is not in tune with the nat'ral rhythm of earth and moon,
But drawn from insistent pounding of senseless hatred
Into ev'ry heart and mind by those who worship power.

Am I to be a martyr on a funeral pyre
As the fragile structure of our freedom is kindled
By savage vengeance and unreasoned bigotry,
Until naught is left but the embers of forgotten justice?

A last moment’s eternity before a rushing death
Is aspired to be of prayers and impassioned pleas,
For sure release from naïve doubt and peaceful swell of faith,
To guide us forth on rightful wings unto ennobled skies.

But a soul’s divine search does sway before an ego’s claim
Upon a guest for purpose and proud relevance of self.
Is this world enriched somewhat or put to helpless shame
By my tiny thoughts of wisdom never suited for dusty shelf?

Who will stand up to plead for peace, a place I scarcely fill?
Pray do not count my carcass charred among the moving voice
That screams for reasoned vengeance; rhetoric stench of practiced drill
For steeds ready saddled in the field, and knights who do rejoice.

I had thought that to leave no mark was sign of living hell.
Please scratch my name from life's list and dare not cry for me,
Rather than I provide spur or lash to support vengeance's knell
And be held up by false principle as banner for the free.

Grind my life to forgotten dust 'tween stones of greed and power
As freedom is reduced to a whimper, mercy but a thought,
But do not use my humanity as a prop for ego's horror,
Protect me Lord from savagery, this terror we have bought.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mystery the Halloween Cat

Two Cats in a Box


What do they know that we don't??

Raven and Odo


faucon

Horror Seed

This is a true memory from when I was about four years old.
It is not about fear or horror itself,
but I wonder if such memories for each of us
do not open our hearts and minds
for poetic views of death and
inhumanity.

faucon
......................................................

Gantma


She might have been dead for years before they carted her away. Never moved. Never talked. Everything in her room was grey. Not pearlescent like the beads on her shawl on the hook outside the door. Not faint dove forms that reflected etched shadows on the mirror; forbidden light somehow scraping around the edges of the shade. Black fringe. No color at all. Dirty grey braids on the faded pillow case. Ink specks of nail heads where bright paintings once hung. Tiny grey stitches pulling through joints in her old handmade quilt. Any color there had long ago been washed away. Each square frame from a full length feature movie now reduced to out of focus snatches of a burned up silent film strip.


There might have been color in her life once. Can't tell. All of the faded photos are black and white. Black paper triangles on the corners. Black scrawled messages on the back - none that make any sense. A creamy flower pressed between two charcoal cardboard sheets. It was all right to look at the album. It was improper to be in her room. Dark rules in low tones.

I used to love it there. So quite. So old. Great Grandma was born 'bout 1857. They planted her in 1951. She died somewhere in between. Far as I can tell no one liked her - never had - 'specially Grandma. I could have liked her, I guess. Never had the chance. I would just stand there in the haunting room with my nose pressed into the lacy coarseness on the antimacassar of the wooden wheel chair. The breeze drifted curtains became sails of the ship she had crossed in. The posters on the bed framed a covered wagon; the kerosene lamp a camp fire. The pitcher and basin hid in a miner's tent.

I think she knew I was there.

Oh, Grantma - whisper me a story!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Headless Horseman


The Headless Horseman
Michael Garland

It was a dark and stormy night...

Sometimes the cliche is true.
image by Susan Wolfe

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I Put a Spell On You

I Put a Spell On You
I put a spell on you,
And now you're mine.
You can't stop the things I do.
I ain't lyyyyyin'.

It's been 300 years
Right down to the day.
Now the witch is back
And there's hell to pay.

I put a spell on you
And now you're miiiiiine!

Hello, Salem! My name's Winifred, what's yours?

I put a spell on you
And now you're gone. (Gone, gone, gone, so long!)
My whammy fell on you
And it was strong. (So strong, so strong, so strong!)

Your wretched little lives
Have all been cursed,
'Cause of all the witches working
I'm the worst!

I put a spell on you
And now you're mine!

(Watch out! Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!)

If you don't believe,
You'd better get superstitious.

Ask my sisters!
"Ooh, she's vicious!"
I put a spell on you...
I put a spell on you.
Sisters!

Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi
Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi
In comma coriyama
In comma coriyama
Ay, ay, aye, aye, say bye-byyyyyyyyyyye! Bye bye!

Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi
Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi
In comma coriyama
In comma coriyama
Ay, ay, aye, aye, say bye-byyyyyyyyyyye! Bye bye!

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New Family Member



It is with great excitement that I announce the beginning of the next generation of Were-Folk. Please loose a good, passionate howl in celebration of the birth of Wolfgang Phillipe Chasseur, the IV.

Look!!! He has his mother's fur!!!

The Three Faces

I have three faces,
but only show you one.
You guess at my intention
and things I might have done.
You think that you have known me
but it's just another mask,
Which one is the real me?
I never thought you'd ask.

Ain't Skert

If I have to believe in ghosts …
realizing that such believing might just
nudge some energy slightly to the left –
I’d prefer the slow, chain-clank kind
to patrol my front porch at night
and keep the neighbor kids away.

If I have to believe in goblins …
proof perhaps of other dimensions,
or a rift in a veil ‘tween here ‘n been –
I’d allow the rolly-polly ones
to jump up sudden like, you know,
and keep the cats of the furniture.

If I have to believe in were-things …
transmogrifying hairy visitors
who are beautiful, maidens some times –
I’d ask for a sultry singer,
who knows love songs in six languages,
then becomes a goat to help mow the grass.

If I have to believe in monsters …
like those hidden beneath my child’s bed,
‘cept when they’re chewing computer wires –
I’ll opt for one with a dozen eyes
to keep track of missing sox and keys,
and scare me up a midnight snack.

But as I must do these things for myself …
knowing that believing comes up short
and that true wisdom comes from living –
I’ve no time for frightful constructs,
or mysterious noise or dancing lights,

‘cept your whispers and laughing eyes.

faucon

A Glimpse of Baba's Boudoir

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Monday, September 05, 2005

A little character...

October 31, 2005

This is dedicated to my Grandmother the late Virginia Godfrey
It Might Seem An Odd Choice To Some
But She'd Have Loved It.
That's Why It’s Her Story Now.

AMM



October 31, 2005

" They were so wrong about the Cemetery, they were so wrong about the 13 Steps, " my Grandmother told me on her Deathbed. She said this very forcefully, which shocked me because she was hopped up on Morphine and about 2 hours away from dieing.

She was laughing her usual laugh, which always reminded me of a cat's growl, and I took that as a sign of health.

I'm not sure why.

I had been begging since I was a little girl for my Grandmother to tell me about the Cemetery of 13 Steps and she just out right refused. " It's all Hogwash "she'd snap, " its a little private cemetery that a very nice family buried their own in and there's nothing evil about it. So for Pete's Sake drop it will you? "

" I think there's a interesting story there. " I insisted.

" I think the young people around here need to find a new place to get drunk and look for ghosts. "That's what I think" she'd sneer and then she'd pop open a beer and drink herself blind.

When my Grandmother was about 13 she use to go up to the Manzoor Family Cemetery and tend the garden that use to be there. In those days there were only about 6 graves and they were back up on a little plateau lined with Hazel Nut Trees.

My Grandmother used to like to work under the trees because Owls perched in them at night and she said she use to find little bones from mice and other prey littering the ground under the branches.

She'd call them treasures and she kept them in a canning jar tinted light green. She'd given me the Jar when I sold my first Novel and I thought it was right she had it back now.

As far as I knew it was the only childhood memento she truly cherished.

When I put the Jar at her bedside her eyes, which had somehow changed color before they became glassy and unfocused during her last week of life blazed on when she saw that Jar, that's when she told me about the Steps, that's when she told me the truth about the 13 Steps.

" It all changed up there the day Mrs. Manzoor and her children died in that accident. The youngest his name was Broody, he ran out in front of that Ice Wagon, it was pulled by a horse you know. Well, Mrs. Manzoor ran after him to snatch him out of the way and she didn't realize it but her daughter was right behind her...probably trying to help. Maybe reflex, maybe its because that little girl knew death was all around them and was going to the safest place she could see...her Mother's side."

" They were crushed together under the wagons wheels and then if over turned and God what a sight that was. Mr. Cooley the Ice Man, the horse Pedro, the children, Mrs. Manzoor. All ended up at the bottom of the Gully. They were just a tangle of wood and bodies. It wasn't easy to untangle them all. I think they used Axes, I think it was that bad. Then of course they had to pull that entire lot up the hill by rope and pulleys. Awful sight, something you can't forget no matter how hard you try. "

I didn't like the look in Grandmother's eyes, her voice was saying one thing and her eyes, well, and they weren't saying the same thing. I was looking into two faces, that’s
what it felt like. Her voice sounded sorry, her eyes, well they just looked alive.

The desire to clamp my hand over her eyes was strong and they itched to go to her face. So like a little kid I sat on them instead.

" What happened after that? "

" Bad things, people died out there, later it was car accidents, suicides, some people well you'd see them walking along side the road past the Cemetery and then they'd just be gone right before your eyes. "

" Mrs. Swenson said she saw Irma Liston, this was in what, 1946 I think walk past the cemetery and then she said she just wasn't there anymore. Thing is, no one ever saw Irma Liston again and Mrs. Swenson lost her mind and cut her wrists up at the Manzoor Cemetery. "

" So the Cemetery killed people. "

" Don't be stupid, of course it didn't. "

My Grandmother was looking over my shoulder and she laughed a little again and went on," Then the stories started about the 13 Steps to Hell being in the Cemetery. You could walk down these little gray steps that went down into the ground, and led into a tomb and an evil witch with white hair and no eyes was suppose to be down there. You'd bring her a little offering and she'd let you pass and then you'd see the devil and he'd give you powers. It was all a trick of course; it made things easier...for me. People are curious animals you know. "

Grandmother yowled her laugh and her eyes; they were shining " of course the Devil's a Liar you know. "

I watched her face, which was already changed by Death and from no where the thought came to me," why I'll bet she's looked like this all along."

" No I don't know that I don't know the Devil I'm glad to say. "

Grandmother chuckled long and deep and I almost screamed. Something inside of me was desperate to cry out and I wasn't sure why.

" It wasn't the Cemetery where the steps where. That was the lie. One of them anyway. The 13 Steps were on the other side of the fence by the Hazel Nut Trees. I found it when I was looking for my treasures. They were like a little trail of breadcrumbs you know. I followed them. Down the little gray steps that went below the work shed.

There was a garden down there, full of treasure..."

" Bones. "

" That's what I said, are you stupid? I wanted them...all of them and I made a deal with the Gardener I met down there. I would bring the seeds and he would give me the treasure. He told me he loved my treasures, he'd hold my hand and tell me how beautiful they were and how proud he was of all my work. "

" So I waited out on the road rain or shine day or night, and I found them one by one...and he gave me the treasure but you know...the Devil's a Liar. I tended his Garden for him and in the end why, I found out he didn't care about my treasures or love them the way I did. No, the treasure he wanted was Souls you know. Greedy, corrupt ones..."

" Those poor people..."

" Oh no, he didn't take those Souls he took mine...and its been his for a very long time in the Garden...."

The words snaked around in side my head and nested in my heart...she'd been in the garden " for a very long time..."

I backed up against the wall and my Grandmother turned her head towards me and smiled and smiled and the light in her eyes went out and her mouth went slack and on that Halloween Night someone died right before my eyes.

I'm just not sure who it was.

Music To Thrill, Chill and Soothe the Spook

I have an exercise for everyone. So get out your spooky music, put on your thinking skull caps and start doing the Monster Mash. These are my answers to the prompt, but please, respond with or post your own ghoulish answers. HAPPY EARLY HALLOWEEN!!

This week's mambo is all about Halloween. After all, next Sunday is the day when all the ghosties and goblins come out to play.

1) What are your favorite Halloween songs?
Thriller, Grim Grinning Ghosts and The Monster Mash.

2) Do you know the words to any of the songs from The Rocky Horror Picture Show? (Which ones?)
No. Never heard of it before reading The Princess Diaries books.

3) The spooky monsters are coming after you. You know that music will soothe each one long enough for you to escape...but each monster requires different music. What do you play for:

a) Dracula
Love Song For a Vampire by The Eurythmics
b) Frankenstein
Weird Science by Oingo Boingo
c) The Wolfman
Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran
d) The Mummy
Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles

4) You've been cursed and turned into a spooky Halloween creature. What creature are you, and what's your theme song?
A vampire. Night of the Vampire by Fuzztones.

5) Halloween is a time for creepy movies. What creepy movie has the best music, in your opinion?
I'd have to go with Psycho.

Ok, all you ghosts and ghouls out there, this week...bypass the mambo and do the monster mash.

Nauchfriund

Ancient Frisian custom takes a special view of 'ghosts'.
The spirits of ancestors 'hang around' a while to help
the living, especially young married couples. (Nauchfriund)
Weddings are still held on burial mounds were
a 'following spirit' (fulgia) may hopefully adopt
the couple and guide them. People claim to see these
spirits described as 'horses of the wind'. These similarities
help support those who would link Frisian history
with Troy and earlier cultures. Certainly, these
beliefs are similar to Mongolian Shamanism.

faucon

Don't ask me how...but...



These pics come from an old 1800's goldmining town called Walhalla in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. Visited there as a child and never got over how these people must have toiled over their funerals and burials. It's in a valley closed off and locked in by forest, and the town had the most unusual layout, like you were going into a world that was slightly off key. Spooky stuff for a small girl. The steepness of the cemetery hill tells it's own tale of hardship and how the people must have suffered. It was freezing down in the valley, at the foot of these tombs. No chance of forgetting death here, when the cemetery is the main feature that looks down on the town. Usually it's meant to be a church that people look up to, not a cemetery. Upside down, did I say? Off key? Don't ask me..

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Watch out for the Mulo on All Hallows Eve


The gypsies have many rituals and beliefs about death. The strongest one is that a gypsy must die in a good way, or he or she will come back for revenge as one of the Mulo, or living dead.
It is traditional for the dead Gypsy to be cremated with all his or her possessions, including the caravan (varda). There is no unseemly squabbling by relatives their inheritance, because there is none – relatives only get what the person chooses to give while he or she is still alive. Anything taken from a dead person is considered bad luck, bad luck. To buy or sell things belonging to a dead person is extremely bad luck, and will surely result in that person coming back as a ravenous wolf or evil spirit.
On June 30, 2003, the UK `Gypsy King” Joseph Smith, was given a traditional Romany Funeral at Brecon, in Wales. Joseph’s modern caravan was burnt with all his possessions, also he was buried in a coffin. (Modern sensibilities to gypsy rights doesn’t quite extend as far as burning the body). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/3031922.stm

The Gypsy Chief has told me he is particularly fearful that a Mulo, a gypsy vampire, has been seen in the hills above the camp. The Mulo is a terrifying creature, with no bones, and only three fingers on each hand. The Gypsies will all wear red on All Hallow’s Eve, to ward off evil spirits – the campfire with not be permitted to go out – and it is advisable to tie a small piece of iron to a string and wear it round your neck. Hawthorn branches should also be carried – Hawthorn is the only wood that will kill a Mulo .
There will be much singing and dancing and feasting to frighten the Mulo away – she is a life hater, a life taker, and most fears laughter and good spirits. No one will be permitted to wander from the camp fire in case the Mulo is lurking in the trees – and if you do insist on straying off, it will be at your own risk.
The Mulo is a pale thin woman – she may be wearing a red dress to fool you, or be accompanied by two children, begging for a piece of bread to feed them. The children are as ravenous as she, so beware!
If you meet the Mulo on All Hallow’s Eve you will need to be very cunning and quick to escape her.

There is an article on Romany death rituals at the Romany site, Patrin. It mainly concerns modern funeral rites.

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/5121/death.htm

A Gargoyle for Anita

Where Else

Since the breakup of the USSR a decade ago,
many archeological finds have been revealed;
some old and simply not announced -- other new,
as a result of plowing up ancient 'kurgans'.
These burial mounds above the Black Sea
have provided interesting artifacts from many
ancient cultures including:

the oldest complete 'home' of mastodon bones

additional proof that Arthurian legend is
Alani based

support for the idea that Frisians (Holland)
originated in Troy

proof that female archers could draw
100 lb bows

…..

and a mystery or two

in a site dated about 6000 BCE
is the skeleton and artifacts of an
archer with royal connections.
There are carvings and jewelry
of obvious religious import, but
of no previously known deities.

There are a number of arrow heads
obviously designed for specific target types;
birds, large prey, rodents and fish.

There is also a complete arrow and head,
made of bone and bronze, and carved
with intricate symbols. The point is silver!

The kurgan is at the foot of the
Carpathian mountains near Romania.

Perhaps the arrow was used for some
magickal purpose to guide the hunt,
or ..
he was prepared to hunt something
that required this special arrow.

????

oh yes, there is no scull in the mound.

ENTOMBED-by Anita Moscoso



Up on Mount Rainier here in Washington State is a glacier that is a cemetery.

There are 65 bodies in that Cemetery that are accounted for; we know they're up there we just can't bring them down because they've fallen into crevasses and have become entombed in the ice.


(Mount Rainier Glacier)

Rainier since they began recording the deaths in 1909 claims lives every single year.
Some of the dead can be recovered.

The Mountain keeps the rest.

I've grown up in the Shadow of Rainier and it has grown larger in my mind every single year.

It haunts me now.

When I look at it I think, if it was a human you'd see it on the evening news; it'd be like that guy next door, that ordinary man who wears glasses and drives a fuel efficient car and mows his lawn and rakes the leaves and does all those other things that says, " Hey, don't worry about me, I'm just Mr. Normal...see? So don't worry about me...look the other way "

And you do and it turns out he's a serial killer and has bodies buried in his yard,
his basement and has left a trail of them up and down the highway he drives every day to work.

That's what Mount Rainier is like, it takes a great picture you trust it enough to let your loved ones to go up there for fun and short visits.

Why it's just a beautiful place.

Then one day you run across its history...its OTHER history like I did and you find bodies.

Lots of them.

There are over 300 recorded deaths since the Mountain became a park a century ago.

That's the key, recorded.

The thing is killers keep killing until you catch them and once you do it turns out the damage was worse than anyone could have imagined.

Mount Rainier hasn't been caught.

And I’m sure we haven’t seen the worst of what it can do.

It’s a volcano and no, it’s not dead.

It’s very much alive.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Tarot Death Card Challenge

Death is numbered thirteen and is the most feared card in the deck. We see the Grim Reaper depicted as a dark and powerful figure, sometimes on horseback and at other times on foot. He usually carries a scythe and leaves bodies, limbs and so on in his wake. Whoever we are, Death will claim us eventually.

The Death card signifies endings, but not necessarily shocking and disruptive ones. In any case, endings always lead to new beginnings and Death itself symbolises a sweeping away of the past. If we rid ourselves of past garbage then we are free to set out on an entirely new path

When Death appears it almost always signifies a major change in one's life. Sometimes the change will appear disruptive and unexpected, sometimes it will be a breath of fresh air - clearing away obstacles and allowing you to surge forward. So do not assume that Death is a negative card - it is often just what we need in order to progress when fear is holding us up.

Change your life today by challenging taboo fears. Turn a skeleton into a stand on your dresser and 'hang' your beads and jewellry all over it. Death will see the funny side of this action and reward your humour.

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Are You Having Fun?



Just a reminder...keep having fun you all, the work here has been great and the Party will indeed become the Event of the Year.

Anita

The Histories of Samhain and the Jack-o-Lantern

Another fun and interesting entry I did last year for the 13 Days. There's a couple more I think you may like that'll be posted in the next lil while. This one was fun for me because of my Celtic heritage. I too learned more about the ancient ways and my ancient ancestors' ways.

The other night Kami and Jon went out and bought pumpkins for us. Once again, like last year I will be painting mine instead of carving and hollowing it out. (I wonder if I have a picture of my Frankie from last year? If I do I'll have to dig it out and see if Dad'll scan it for me, and I'll post it here.) I've gotten to where I hate that slimy, cold muck pumpkins call innards; I hate delving into it, either pulling it or scraping it out. The artwork on painted pumpkins is just as fun, cute or spooky as the carved ones, so I'd much rather enjoy my pumpkin that way. Besides, painted ones last a much longer time anyway.

Since we will be doing pumpkins soon I decided a mixture of histories on both the jack-o-lantern and Samhain would be interesting. Both are Celtic--one a tradition and the other a sabbat--and both go back centuries.

Samhain, pronounced sow·en, goes back to before Christ, to the days of druids. In Gaelic it means "summer's end." Like other cultures of ancient times, the Celts saw the shortening days as the beginning of the seasonal cycle. Their days started with night fall and ended at dawn. Samhain was/is their Dec. 31, their New Year's Eve. Thus, their calendar year began with O' Hallow's Day, or their New Year. The Celts were--and are to some degree still--pastoral people. The end of summer meant a change in routine. The cattle were brought down from the hills and summer pastures and families were gathered together inside on long winter nights for storytelling and handemade crafts.

The Celts believed that on Samhain the boundaries confining the dead from the mortal world were so thin, the dead were able to walk among the living. The night before, the human souls who had been trapped in animal bodies were released by the Lord of the Dead to take up their new incarnations. The Celts had a healthy respect for the dead. While fearing tricks and crop damage from the spirits, they also felt the spirits aided the Druids in making predictions for the future. These were a people heavily dependent on the mecurial natural world, and predictions were important in way of comfort and direction in the long winter months.

To celebrate Samhain, the ancient Celts built huge bonfires, where they gathered to sacrifice crops and animals to their deities. The bonfires were sacred and played a big part in cleansing the old year and making way for the new. They wore animal heads and skins as costumes and tried telling each others' fortunes. When it was over, the Celts would go home and light their own hearth fires with torches lit by the sacred bonfire they attended. These home fires were lit in hopes of protection through the coming year.

The colors of Samhain (or Halloween) are orange and black. Orange, to represent the coming or awaiting of the Yule when the Sun god is reborn. Black, to represent the time of darkness after his death.

Today, those who follow the old Celtic tradition (inasmuch as they can, for much time has passed and no one can really say the Old Ways are still practiced purely), and those who don't, can still celebrate Samhain if they so choose. *Here is a list of ideas for a fun Samhain:

  • Bobbing for apples. There were many divination practices associated with Samhain, many of which dealt with marriage, health and the weather. Bobbing for apples was a marriage divination based on the belief that the first to bite into an apple would be the first to marry in the coming year. This is similar to the throwing of the bride's bouquet and the tossing of her garter.

  • Apple peeling. This was another type of divination, determining how long one's life would be. The longer the unbroken peel, the longer the life of the one peeling it would live.

  • Carve jack-o-lanterns. Lighting these helped the spirits who walked during this night.

  • Finish any incomplete projects and pay off lingering bills (if possible) to close out the old year and begin the new year afresh.

  • Leave food out for the birds and other wild animals.

  • Visit the graves of your ancestors or, if this isn't possible, the nearest cemetery. Be still there and listen for the voices of those who have passed.

  • Put pictures of ancestors who have passed on anywhere you can see easily. Light a special candle for them to show them the way to return and celebrate with you.

  • Tell ancestral stories and tales around the fire, or at the dinner table.

  • Have a mask-making ceremony in which you create masks to represent your ancestry.
*smiles* Samhain really is fun, and the more I think about it, the more I like the traditions of it, the...spirit of it. (Pardon the pun.) It celebrates new hope for the future, while honoring the dead. It brings us closer to our ancestors. What a wonderful holiday. In that light, compared to it, Halloween (the modern, Christian version) is shallow and commercial. I prefer Samhain.

I should rephrase that. Insomuch that Halloween remains about spooks, fun and having the scare of your life--or unlife--then Halloween is good. But I can do without the commercialism, thanks.

My favorite tradition (other than watching Halloween movies) is jack-o-lanterns. ‡ It was the Irish who brought the tradition of these unique lanterns over when they immigrated to America. However, they carved turnips instead of pumpkins. Pumpkins weren't used until the Irish discovered they were easier to carve. Legend has it the original "Jack-of-the-Lantern" was named Stingy Jack. He was a miserable, old drunk who liked to play tricks on everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. Once the Devil climbed up the apple tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. The Devil was then unable to get down the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses and let the Devil down.

Many years later, when Jack finally died, he went to the Pearly Gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was too mean and too cruel and had led a miserable and worthless life on Earth. He was not allowed to enter Heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared and had nowhere to go, but to wander about forever in the darkness between Heaven and Hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell to help him light his way. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed out turnip, one of his favorite foods which he always carried around with him whenever he could steal one. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the Earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern."

On All Hallow's Eve, the Irish hollowed out turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and to keep Stingy Jack away.

* Source found at The Pagan's Path
‡ Source found at Pumpkin Nook.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Monster Search

A couple of years ago some friends were
hosting a kids-oriented Samhain (Halloween)
camp out. I wrote this for them to sing:

I hope you'all know the songs (melodies)

faucon
....................................................................

Young Quest

Quickly end your meal and chores, (bye-bye blackbird)
Fetch your knife and fine strung bow,
Call your dog and jump the gate.
We're off to find a monster.

Forget cloak and copper coins.
Just be brave with iron will,
Touch your charm or cast a spell.
As one we'll find a monster.

The Hunter is watching, broken clouds do see. (MacNamera's Band)
Silver Goddess does sing a tune for me.
Each glade and stream does beck and call,
To young boys and girls one and all.

Find a cavern filled with fear.
Does it hold snake or clawed bat?
Awesome stench of ancient dead.
Perhaps it is a monster.

The Hunter is watching, broken clouds do see.
Silver Goddess does sing a tune for me.
Each glade and stream does beck and call,
To young boys and girls one and all.

Safe at home and never tell,
Bound and tied and hid away,
Beneath your shed it's waiting.
Today we caught a monster.

Brave Hunter is laughing in sunset smile.
The Mistress praises our stealth and guile.
Father chuckles while Mother scowls,
Secret is safe save a wise old owl.


Grave Yard Use

We must all be vigilant in the protection of
graveyards, regardless of ones 'belief' structure.

However, I have found that large cemeteries are an
excellent place to teach driving skills to your
teenager. No traffic -- opportunities for close corners,
parallel parking, unexpected curves, etc.

In addition, one is constantly reminded of the
penalty for other than "defensive driving"
and full attention -- check your cell phone at the gate.

faucon

Death Angels

For those that are into cemetaries and tombstones, check this site of Cemetary Angels, Watchers and Guardians.

http://www.slivoski.com/angels/

Baba's Boudoir

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

You can use all of these keys but you should be very cautious about using the one in the bottom right hand corner which opens the door to Baba Yaga's Boudoir. Your tongue and eyeballs could be taken by 'the hands' who work for Baba and end up in her locksmith's workshop, ready to be crafted into a new key.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Decorate The Chamber of Horrors Way!






How To Do Gravestone Rubbings

Best " How To " I've seen yet...

For those of us who have a soft spot for cemetaries, and if it’s not too cold or snowy out, this is a very easy hobby requiring only a little more than patience, elbow grease and healthy knees.

Materials
a roll of white newsprint paper
fat kindergarten crayons
a roll of paper masking tape
scissors or a pen knife
A small, stiff brush for removing dirt or moss clinging to the stones is helpful as well as a small bag to store tape and crayon wrappers so you’re not littering.

To rub a stone, first brush off any dirt and old moss. Then cut a piece of paper approximately six inches higher and wider than the face of the marker. This large margin serves several purposes. First it leaves you an uncolored area of the finished work, should you decide to mat it later. Also it provides you with an area on which to tape the paper to the stone that will not intersect with your work and damage it when you are finished. Finally and most important, it will keep your waxes from rubbing off onto the stone itself.

By taking this kind of care, you won’t mark the stone in any way. Unfortunately, careless hobbyists have already vandalized so many stones, and littered so many yards with their uncollected paper scraps that several prominent sites have been ruled off limits to rubbers by rightfully unhappy custodians.

Once the paper is in place, rub the flat side of the crayon gently over the paper in large strokes. Quickly you will see the printing beginning to emerge on your paper. Then fill in areas with closer strokes and deepen the color. As long as your paper remains firmly fixed, you can rub the same area over and over until it becomes legible.
Some stones are so weatherbeaten that they will never give a clear image, but a few tests will soon give you the experience to judge those which may prove hopeless. Heavily incised designs do not produce a very clear image. Glossy granite and slate usually produce the clearest images; old marble the least.

Very old stones tend to sink into the earth. If you suddenly discover that you can’t rub the bottom of the legend, brush away the grass and earth at the very base of the stone and keep rubbing. Usually you can pick up the balance of the words or frame of the design. This does mean that you will have to stretch out flat on the ground to complete the rubbing, but the results are worth it.

Before leaving a yard, check around for wrappers or waxes left lying on the ground, and for spare pieces of tape. It’s always good to not be a slob and try to leave the cemetary in a little better shape than when you arrived.

Of course the obivious alternitive is to photograph the stone. This way you can share with your on-line friends ( hint hint ).

Ghostly Halloween Movies, Oooooo

This is an entry from my journal online almost a year ago. I love Halloween, it's my 3rd favorite holiday. I love the spooks, the legends, the chills and the thrills. I'm also a movie buff, and I'm lucky I've been able to combine my two interests into a tradition and collection. Every Halloween I have myself a lil movie-a-thon. It's great.

*smiles* Only six days more till Halloween! Or Samhain. Yay!! Mom bought The Haunted Mansion the other day with the idea of starting her own Halloween movie collection. She knows when I move in the spring I'll be taking mine with me. *laughs fondly* She play-pouts and whimpers when she thinks of me taking my collection away with me. Then she realized (after opening the plastic), when we were settling in to watch the movie, she'd bought the VHS instead of the DVD. And she wants the DVD, so guess who got another movie to add to her collection? *grins widely*

'Course, I myself was gonna buy the DVD, but hey, at least I got the movie now, bringing my collection's number up to nine. I'm quite happy. And next month it'll go up to 10--if I can afford the small price after everything else I need to pay for. For, I found another Halloween movie I really like on Amazon.com, The Little Vampire. Such a cute movie. Right now, in my collection I have:

  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Tower of Terror
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  • High Spirits
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Sleepy Hollow (the Johnny Depp version, mmmmm!)
  • The Canterville Ghost
  • Practical Magic (I know this one isn't "Halloween" per say, but it is about witches.)
  • Casper
I really like my Halloween movies; it's become somewhat of a tradition with me to have a Halloween movie-a-thon every year. And where Heather's busy this year, I'll just have to stock up on Halloween goods and hot chocolate and enjoy hour after hour of Halloween movie magic. (I'm also building a Christmas collection.)

To end this entry I found the lyrics they use in the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland. I thought it would be fun to add them today.

Grim Grinning Ghosts
When the crypt goes creak,
And the tombstones quake,
Spooks come out for a swinging wake.
Happy haunts materialize,
And begin to vocalize.
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize.

Now don't close your eyes,
And don't try to hide.
Or a silly spook may sit by your side.
Shrouded in a daft disguise,
They pretend to terrorize.
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize.

As the moon climbs high o'er the dead oak tree,
Spooks arrive for the midnight spree.
Creepy creeps with eerie eyes,
Start to shriek and harmonize.
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize.

When you hear the knell of a requiem bell,
Weird glows gleam where spirits dwell.
Restless bones etherialize,
Rise as spooks of every size.

If you would like to join our jamboree,
There's a simple rule that's compulsory.
Mortals pay a token fee.
Rest in peace, the haunting's free.
So hurry back, we would like your company.

F. Xavier Atencio

See you soon, O Foolish Mortals!

Shouldn't have got me started ...

finally a 'skert' story Em approves of ...

you want bones -- OK

faucon
..............................................................

Stakes 'n Bones

Harland had walked the path before, but never before sunrise. The mist had never lifted so early from the heather before, at least not in memory. The trees had never lost their leaves so early before, or so the squirrels said. He had never been at the pinnacle alone before, either. Be as it may, the fore was now. Harlan stepped over the hand-stacked wall, passed the warning sign, and stood on the jutting rock. The 600 foot drop did not scare him, for the wind always blew up the face of the bluff. He leaned far out in balance with breath of god and looked into the valley below. “A good place,” he thought. “A place of peace and gentle purpose.” He felt as if he were flying.


I won’t tell you where the village is as your coming might change things a bit too much – and I don’t know, really. Yet you must know that it is hilly here – the Lake District not too far away. You would know that an ancient Roman road runs buried along the ridge – its iron paving causing strange electrical apparitions during storms. You would find but one church here – that of the England proud and austere. You would know that that was yesterday – before history was shattered. Before the graves.

As Harland gazed down at the quiet streets from a vantage point both fearsome and proscribed, he chanced to catch a shadow out of place. Each structure in the pint sized world below cast a squared dawn shadow, as was proper and simple plain. The barren trees cast dagger lines that accentuated the regularity; else the uniqueness of the geometry might have been missed. His mind completed the shadow hint. One singular building below was shaped in the form of a cross – un-noticed from the ground and a more pedestrian view. Harland knew what this meant – he alone in all the village was prepared by education and hobby to understand. There was an old Norman Church hidden there – something not possible by recorded history. He marked its location well, defined by reference to more comfortable landmarks etched on the colorless scene below. The betraying shadow vanished with the rising sun, but the mystery had begun.

I won’t bore you with the verification of the find – the carbon dating of the graying stone, the removal of disguising interior walls, the measurements and count of close placed tiles. What is of note was the clamor of the citizens, equally divided over wanting the church or no. It had nothing to do with religion, or even historical importance of the find; but of the fact that revered city archives said it wasn’t so. If the documented flow of words and deeds, property and will, were not to be relied upon, then what other truths were but illusions? For the first time in most people’s lives, they felt a sense of terror. Their very spiritual foundation were shaken in the earthquake of shattered faith. Experts were called in.

First to arrive were those eager to disprove the church’s existence; for while people may fear the unknown, they abhor a truth they do not own. If the Normans had indeed controlled this gentle vale, then where are the tales of heroic resistance, the battle over the role of clerics in local affairs, and the settlers with Norman names? The locals did not mind being portrayed as peasant bumpkins, but any taint of cowardice or collaboration was intolerable. After all, history was supposed to put the victors in a good light – what else was it for? The village claim of never having been defeated by the Normans was more than civic pride. It gave the village a reason for being – an identity. To lose this now …


Next came those driven by different fears – those of ownership and sanctity. The ground on which the church stood, including the surrounding graveyard, would be hallowed ground – and may still belong to the church. The insipid fear of losing property was minor to that of fearing that the ‘wrong’ church might have control. Of greater terror was that homes might be constructed on tombs, not that they believed in ghosts – it just wasn’t right! Every record of town and vicinity was scoured for evidence – and it was found. Evidence of what? That was till unknown. Three documents were discovered to be altered – sections scraped and written over. Faint traces yielded to modern technology. Some puzzle pieces came together. No one was happy. An emissary of the Vatican arrived. Their records had not been altered.

There had been a church, duly consecrated and active for three years. It was not Norman, but constructed by Gnostics from Ireland. In truth, these clerics were all converted Abades of Ashera who still desired to practice some of their old ways despite their cloak of Christianity. The building had been constructed to mask the secret activities. Twelve people had been buried in the plot to the north of the church where a street intersection now held sway. Nine of the graves had been moved and the new sites blessed. The church had been declared anathema and deconsecrated. All records were directed to be changed or destroyed. The story had to die before it was born. The remaining three bodies had been forbidden a consecrated burial. The abbot had defied the Pope and buried them anyway. Their graves might still be there. The records ended.

Not so! With the revelation of the altered records, old family stories and myths took on new relevance. Those whose Norman fears were vindicated wanted to part of further ‘truth’. Those who no longer feared for their property no longer cared – certainly not about three people so obviously depraved even the church did not want them. Modernists who feared the ‘old ways’ wished the matter had never come up. Those still practicing ancient rites likewise wished the excitement would die, fearing discovery. But there is always someone who won’t leave well enough alone. Naturally, it was Harland; whose brief moment in history’s spotlight was soon to be lost in apathy. He listened to the stories. He believed.

Three strangers had come to the village, tall by local draw, and wide of shoulder and with uncommon strength. They sought work and were accepted – doing work other’s despised or thought beneath them. They worked hard – harder than most. They were clever – more clever than most. But, they did not go to church nor play at politics, or flirt with the miller’s daughter. The always paid their bills on time, but did not get drunk on Saturday night. They were different. Soon they were feared. Then they were hated. Their homes were burned and their animals ‘saved’. The three were chased through the streets and stoned, accused of many crimes and atrocities. They sought sanctuary in the church. They were dragged out, hung and burned. The abbot who could not protect them in life tried to give them peace in burial. For this he too was persecuted. The church was burned, but the powerful, forgiving stones remained.
Harland knew that he could not share what he now believed. The records had been changed to cover up guilt and shame and greed and filth – all driven by senseless fear of nothing – nothing at all. Just because some strangers were a little different an entire village fell to the depths of disgrace. The crown and church looked the other way. And now no one cared. Surely this is the real terror! He began to fear for his life. For good reason. He began to dig.

Each night he would enter the sewers beneath the streets and probe for the hidden graves. He thought that the least he could do was continue the abbot’s work. No man deserves to die as they did – to suffer such injustice, pain and abuse. He became obsessed; and with each shovel of dirt and filth he came to revile his former friends more and more. This once gentle poet, singer of songs, lover of nature – came to see only evil in the hearts of his fellow men. He grew beyond fear – beyond terror to embrace absolute denial of his humanity. All because of a chance walk on a Sunday morning – and a vision.

He failed to find the separate graves because all three where entombed in a single stone vault. Each domed section contained an embedded cross. At the junction of each was a hole over where the departed heart would be – a hole through which a stake could be driven to insure that the person inside were truly dead. Originally this practice was to protect against the suffering of a person being accidentally buried alive, and regaining consciousness too late. Many exhumed coffins with internal scratch marks had attested to this need – of this he was aware. But why three preparations for persons hung and mutilated – surly dead. More importantly, why would anyone care if they suffered further. Yet the holes were there and he knew that the stakes had been driven in. Yet they were on then hallowed ground – it made no sense. He had to open the tomb!

The preceding narrative is from notes left by Harland Sotherby, deceased. I changed them into a 'readable' story, because I can. But …

I don’t know what he did with the bones – the remains. I would have doubted that much of anything survived the centuries -- yet. I am only relating the story as passed on by a traveling monk – one who had watched over Harland in his waning years – after he had sought asylum – the one who gave me the notes. He could have destroyed them -- probably should have, but like the Abbot …

He was about to leave when he turned and said,

"I would be remiss if I did not tell you my impressions of Harland -- of his dilutions -- his passion, so real for him.

Harland was mad, of course – for no record of such a village exists anywhere. His rantings created such dread and fear that he was kept in a solitary cubicle for twenty years. His personal terror was beyond understanding; as were his sketches. It seems that the only thing that gave him any peace at all were drawings of skeletons -- always with long, fragile bones and sculls with wide-set eyes. And broad chests and backs to support strange bones that he claimed were wings. Foolish! Wings? I am sure I misunderstood. After all, he was hard to understand between the screams and sobs. Not understandable at all."


© Sakin'el 2005