Monday, October 31, 2005

My Hallow's Eve Conversation With A Raven

My Conversation With A Raven

For Halloween, I thought I would share this tale with you. It actually happened, just as I tell it…

I took my early morning cup of tea out onto the balcony, and sat down to admire my favourite tree. A raven flew down and perched on a branch. He turned a beady eye on me, and I, as is my wont, bid him good morning. I don’t actually talk aloud to birds, you understand – I direct my thoughts at them.

Having bid him good morning, my mind wandered to the line from Poe - ``Quoth the Raven, nevermore…”

The raven at once turned his back on me.

``Ok,” I thought, ``Poe didn’t go down too well.” I hummed a few bars of the Scottish ballad, Twa Corbies.

The raven still resolutely refused to look at me.

I now leaned forward and directed my thoughts in a more concentrated manner – but this time I thought before I thought, if you see what I mean.

``OK,” I said, ``ravens have had bad press from Poe and folklore – you’re sick of hearing that stuff. Tell you what I’ll do – I’ll write a song, a poem, in praise of ravens – of all black birds. I’ll sing of their beautiful shining black feathers, the perfect way their wings fold back against their bodies, their courage, their protectiveness – I’ll sing of the way ravens have helped people, and how they take it upon themselves to be a warning, to be associated with bad luck, because they are noble birds that do not think of themselves first…”

By now the raven had turned round. He was looking at me, disconcertingly, from either side of a slender twig, two bright yellow eyes looking at me…

``I’m not as famous as Poe,” I thought at him, ``and not a great poet, but my words are sometimes heard and sometimes travel over vast distances, and I know a woman who loves ravens and will be glad to let others know of my song.”

He hopped around the branch, closer to me, his bright eyes still fixed intently on me.
``I will sing of the beauty of the raven,” I promised. ``You are surely the handsomest bird of all.”

We continued to observe each other in comfortable silence for a couple of heartbeats, and now, here is the spooky bit.

``You have my word on it,” I said. ``From now on, I will sing in praise of ravens. No more quoting Poe, I promise. You can go about your business now.”

And he flew away.

Playing tonight at Duwamish Cemetary


New lead Singer


You're in for a screaming good time!
Starts at Midnight

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween Greetings!

These links were sent to me and thought I would pass them on:
Some very interesting food ideas -- I've already had a Goblin Goo
Some printable Halloween Star Wars Masks...I think I've
felt like all of these at some stage...hard to choose.
You can also click a link to hear a "spooky" Star Wars Audio
Make your own Star Wars themed Halloween Goodie Bags. Quite impressive
when you see the pics!
-- courtesy Bullguard Security newsletter from UK --
P.S. Even is dressed up today!

Here is my costume

This is me, the fall fairy.
I bring to the party all manner of dried seeds, pods,
flowers, and grasses, to decorate
Baba's house and festoon the
Bone Chair.
The Harvest Moon rises behind me
and I am caught in her glow.
I hope to dance with all of you
at the party.
(ps: I did the drawing...that felt good!)

Hallow Who??

Halloween Wishes....

Have A Happy Halloween and a Thundering and Lightning Good Time!

Anita Marie

Happy Halloween!

"The night is full of promise
for those who know that endings
are just beginnings
waiting to happen..."

Happy Halloween Anita Marie

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mountain Ghosts

Parson done

Don't rightly know folk first off, (my papa said)
see'in howse they are proper s'picous
o' people askin' questions nun there bus'ness.

Well, I remembered that strong
and kept my council close,
and my comments small like whittle shavings
until my stick was sharp --
no purpose though 'cept
showin' I respected a keen edge
and slow patient stone
spit on after a swoller of cider. (learnt from Granny)

I was sittin' idle with friends
and dogs feet up in the sun lazy
when the Parson amble by to invite
hisself to dinner and pluckin'
by the night fire afore
the story tellin'.

"You might be needing that stick there,"
he offered, then said nuthin'.

Now I scratched my mem'ry
of preacher stories and local talk,
but didn't free no tick
'cept maybe that rumor 'bout
a skeleton up to Clevis Ridge
with Hawthorn stakes
through its eyes.

Parson was like that --
a simple little statement meanin' nuthin'
and every Jack and Jane were afixin'
to tell a ghost yarn that night.
Me? I set to figurin' how he was gwanna
turn this scarry fedaddle
into some spiritual lesson.

Well, nigh on whisper ember time
with no one willin' to put another log --
and the stories new all gone
and the old'ones half told again,
it came to me that bein' skeert
was all from not knowin'
but wantin' to set an answer
where none fit --
and of wantin' to warn youngins
of hid dangers and trouble lurkin'
which stuck in mem'ry fast
when yer eyeballs is big.

So I tweren't surpised
when Parson took his turn.

"I stopped by the Larkin cabin today."

"Here it comes," I thought.
Nobody been near that place since the fire,
what with Jeb toasted inside and all.

Single guys stopped chattin', and
couples nestled close quit spoonin' quick.
Yes sir -- they was ready to be scared.

"I heard all sorts of strange noises
and saw colored light between the logs,
and though of spooks or witches right off."

I grabbed by stick awaitin' there,
just ready fer the call. (not scared though!)

"Yup! If I had hung back and skulked away,
like some folks I be knowing …," (he offered slow)
"I'd be tellin' you now to stay far away,
and fetch yer kids up from the pond." (his hands aflyin')

"but I went right up and offered my hand,
just like the Book been tellin' you,
and even helped a bit with cleaning,
and painting and putting windows in."

I kinda chortled low.

"Fella name of Fred Fowler bought the place,
and is fixing it up something grand,
seeing he has only one arm from the war.
And his Annie gal sure turned a chicken right,
and said she was baking berry pies
in case other nice folk herebouts
happened by."

He turned to me and grinned.

"That stick will help a lot
with the chinking in narrow cracks.

I told them I'd be seein' some neighbors
and pass the word …"

Then Parson done what he always do,
just strolled off alone,
never skeert a'nothin'.

Story in Stone

I posted this picture on another blog,
wondering if anyone would notice
the man buried in stone --
the evil presence capuring him --
and the angel ghost rushing to the rescue.

I never noticed these until after I took the photo.

Take a Ride With Baba to the Isle of the Dead

Baba Yaga lives deep in the forest, in a hut that stands on chicken legs and is surrounded by a fence of bones. It is said that she guards the gate to the Other World. Are you willing to go for a ferry ride in her black swan boat to the Isle of the Dead to learn about healing?

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Black Monk of Fallen

Here's a little Halloween treat from me to you...its about this little town up the road from where I live and here in Duwamish Bay some of us like to visit it at about this time of year and this is why....

Fallen was this little town on the verge of dieing when the State put the Prison there.

It took its first breath, I think, the day they opened it.

You see, right after the first Prisoner walked through the gates the town started to come to life, new houses went up almost everyday and a school and a main street with all sorts of stores and it even had a cemetery.

After the first execution you'd have thought they struck gold up in those hills and in a way I guess they did. Fallen went from being a corpse drying out in the hot desert sun to not being a corpse drying out in the desert sun in a matter of weeks.

It turned into this living thing where the greens were too green and the trees were to tall and no matter how cold it got the leaves and plants and flowers never died...not even during the winter.

They didn't even die in that fire that broke out about two months after Fallen Penitentiary opened.

How did it happen? Was it magic? When you look back on it, it was simple.

All it took really was for someone to fall through that trapdoor in Section " D " of Fallen Penitentiary.

After the people in the nearby town Duwamish Bay saw what was happening in Fallen they stayed away and refused to do business or talk to anyone who was from that cadaver of a town suddenly returned from the Dead.

Fallen in time became one of those little towns you only saw when you were lost off the Main Highway and you were so busy screaming at the person with the map in their hand that you don't really notice anything outside of your car.

So while it was, alive...if you can call it that no one from Duwamish Bay would set foot in it.

After it died again they would outright deny that monstrosity of stone and brick and metal was back in those hills.

The residents of Duwamish would look at the curious traveler like they were a simpletons...much loved simpletons and say very sweetly and kindly, " Fallen Penitentiary? You drove all the way out here to see that place? It doesn't exist you know, it never has. Here, why don't you go on down to the Marina, there's a Sideshow there that's world famous you know..."

What the Residents in Duwamish said to the outside world was one thing, what they knew for a fact was another and besides they weren't really lying when they said Fallen never existed...but that's just mincing words.

The truth is they were afraid of Fallen and they wanted whatever that place was to stay up there in the High Desert and rot.

Then on Halloween in 1920 the people in Duwamish Bay got their wish granted.

That was the year Fallen died.


That's what people think because Laramie Underwood had been up there on October 30th to drop off a prisoner and he went back on November 1st to bring down the body of an executed woman named Elizabeth Everett.

Elizabeth Everett wasn't in the pine box in the one room little brick house where they stored the executed. In fact not only was Elizabeth Everett not there neither were the 200 living inmates or the Prison Staff.

Gone, they were all gone.

Laramie Underwood said the building was empty and dusty and the bars were rusted and the mortar between the bricks was crumbling and there was puddles of stagnant water all over the place.

" Its like no one had set foot in that place for 100 years. But let me tell you, that wasn't the part that scared me. What scared me was when I heard this door to one of the offices open and close and I heard these footsteps and I could hear keys being jangled around and I heard whistling and what scared me was that voice and those footsteps were moving along like it was just your normal everyday thing to do. How could a normal person act like that? I mean, that place was dead...dead you know? "

Laramie he lived in this little town called Resolution and he shot himself about two weeks after discovering that Fallen was dead.

Some of the people from Duwamish went up to Fallen after Laramie's funeral because they wanted to make sure whatever had come after Laramie wasn't going to go after anyone else.

So they brought a grave marker of sorts up to the front gates of Fallen and hoped that it would be enough to keep whatever was walking those halls inside of that evil place.

The Marker was carved from white marble and it was an effigy of a hooded man and his arms are at his sides and his head is tilted slightly to the right, like he's listening for something.

They faced him away from the Prison and the the six or so people that made the trip that day said some prayers for the dead and as they walked away they could hear sounds back there.

Not one of them turned around.

Not one of them looked back.

They knew...the " Monk" brought from the Plague Chapel had turned black and it was now facing the Prison, not away from it.

And then as time went by people did forget about the Prison and became less afraid of it and in the end it became another neglected cemetery...the hills around Duwamish are littered with those.

So that brings us to twenty years ago and a game that local teenagers had been playing for was called " Clinking " and it involved bottles and the Black Monk.

It was a simple game; you'd dare someone to go up to Fallen and drink to the Monk and you'd toss your empty bottle towards where he stands and you'd hear this ' clink ' because the bottles have carpeted the ground there.

Clinking... get it?

Of course what some people tried to do was actually hit the statue but that wasn't easy to do because it was black and there were no lights up there.

So one year this girl takes the dare and goes up to Fallen and she can see things in the windows...misshapen hands grasping at the bars and she thought she even saw people walking through the gates.

Then she takes her drink and tosses her bottle and ... there is no clink.

Then suddenly the bottle comes flying back at her and catches her right between the eyes and she's knocked off her feet and her face splits open and there's blood everywhere and this isn't Hollywood you know. The bottle doesn't shatter; it smacks the ground with a ' clink '.

" Doesn't feel so good, does it? " says a man's voice.

So...that's my Halloween story, straight from Duwamish Bay and if you think the Black Monk of Fallen or Clinking sounds like some made up story or an urban legend I'd say to you, lean a little closer and take a good look at me.

This isn't a beauty mark running down the center of my face.

I wish it were.

I really do.

© anita marie moscoso 2005
text only

In A Word

In A Word

Main Entry: 1scar·i·fy Pronunciation: 'skar-&-"fI, 'sker-Function: transitive verbInflected Form(s): -fied; -fy·ingEtymology: Middle English scarifien, from Middle French scarifier, from Late Latin scarificare, alteration of Latin scarifare, from Greek skariphasthai to scratch an outline, sketch -- more at SCRIBE1 : to make scratches or small cuts in (as the skin) 2 : to lacerate the feelings of3 : to break up and loosen the surface of (as a field or road)4 : to cut or soften the wall of (a hard seed) to hasten germination- scar·i·fi·er /-"fI(-&)r/

Main Entry: 2scarify Function: transitive verbInflected Form(s): -fied; -fy·ing: SCARE, FRIGHTEN- scar·i·fy·ing·ly /-"fI-i[ng]-lE/ adverb

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Just A Treat....

Travellers Beware.....

I have not been feeling myself of late, and if you notice
in this self-portrait, there has even been some
serious image corruption.
Obviously there is a ghost in the machine.
Could it be me?
I fear this reflects the corruption of my very soul,
and warn all travellers to beware.
I shall wander the earth on
All Hallow's Eve,
seeking freedom from
the spell that
has surely
been cast
just a spot

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Medusa and Spirit Servant

Baba Yaga has bought in her Spirit Servant and the Medusa to avenge herself. Le Enchanteur can run but she will have trouble hiding from these two. Let's see how she gets herself out of this pickle. The Spirit Servant's plan is to capture her in a bottle and let her be a servant, at everyone's beck and call for awhile.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brief Glory

Baba said it 'would all end in tears' and right now she is far from happy. Le Enchanteur will need to watch her back because Baba is not someone to toy with. Turning Baba into a purple dragon is not one of le Enchanteur's better ideas, especially when Augustus and Moonbeam are playing out their hero archetypes. Could be interesting come Halloween!

How Will Anyone Recognise Me?

Look, I know looking like this will make people jealous, but seeing
how amazing I look, well, I guess I'd better share my
wardrobe secrets.
Check out this link and choose your mysterious guise...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Borgia Sainbury Waits

Borgia Sainbury’s family cut the trail that leads up to Mourning Ridge and they built the little house that’s up there and now Borgia Sainbury tends to the cemetery, the special cemetery that overlooks the town of Duwamish Bay.

This special cemetery belongs to the Sainbury Family and in this special cemetery they bury secrets and confessions, cries for mercy and dark deeds.

Even the truth is entombed here.

Where Borgia Sainbury Waits.

The Cemetery holds eight graves and a wall that circles the little reflection pool is crumbling now but here and there you can see into the niches and in those little vaults you can see small brass urns and little wooden chests.

Borgia Sainbury waits in the little cemetery and she sits on a little marble bench dressed in gray.

She's unmoved by wind or rain or snow and she casts no shadow and when the leaves turn gold and blood red around her and then fall to the dusty ground she does not blink.

When the ground beneath her feet begins to tremor, when the trees fill with crows and they begin to scream and the tide below the bluff begins to bubble she opens and closes her eyes very slowly.

Her pale lips part and dust that is as fine and thin as baby powder is exhaled from her stilled lungs and drifts down to her chin and chest.

Borgia Sainbury smiles and the muscles in her face and neck creak and groan with the effort.

Then she stands.

" Time to go to work, " she whispers, " time to wake and work. "

She walks from headstone to headstone and rakes her thin cold hand over each one and then she stops and her smile becomes too wide, too joyful, and too hungry.

" You. "

Then Borgia Sainbury steps back.

The ground comes apart, and from the ruined grave a figure crawls out.

Sometimes its a man sometimes its a woman but its always pale, shrouded in gray and its eyes are always as dark as midnight.

Borgia watches as the figure makes its way out of the cemetery and she can still see it when she closes her eyes

Borgia watches her kin as they walk through prison gates and to the ends of hallways with heavy barred doors. She's there when they take their place on scaffolds, or behind screens and when they go alone into secret rooms to prepare the tools of their trade.

The Sainburys are Executioners and this little cemetery is not where they go after they die

This is where they are from...

Where Borgia Sainbury Waits.

© anita marie moscoso 2005
text only

Spells for Halloween

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Le Enchanteur and The Amazon Queen are down at the Archipelago practicing some spells for Halloween. Baba has flown away saying that 'it is all going to end in tears'. You would think she'd be happy to be turned into a purple dragon and not a common and garden green frog. Some people just cannot be pleased.

Sunday, October 23, 2005



Beware the ankle biting Dracula. He may be small, but he's thirsting!

The Golden Bone Chair

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Baba Yaga brings out this designer, hand crafted, chair especially for Halloween and All Soul's Night. The idea is that travellers can take turns to sit on the chair and have five minutes in the spotlight as they perform for the crowd. Come October 30th - through to November 2 Baba is hoping that one by one travellers will take the golden seat and make a special presentation. Costumes and wigs are available in Pandora's Costume Box. Excuse drunken Silenus who can never miss a party. Hopefully the donkey is taking him away.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Look At Friday the 13th

Did you realize we missed having a Friday the 13th last week by one day? Thursday was the the 13th. I have to admit--if I already haven't, which I'm sure I have--to being slightly superstitious when it comes to luck. I like to knock on wood and have had one or two other personal superstitions that I more or less followed when I've wanted good luck. (I'm not going reveal them, of course, *laughs* that's why they're p-e-r-s-o-n-a-l, personal.) Even though I've followed these superstitions off and on--the knock on wood more frequently--I have to laugh, even at myself, for these practices. They're silly, they're old, they're amusing. At least, in my opinion. But, if you look at their origins and history, they're also interesting. At least, to me they are.

With Friday the 13th, I have to laugh because--*looks up to where the superstition gods might be listening in and sidles away from current spot in case a lightning bolt is thrown*--I've always found the day, in fact, the number 13 to be lucky for me. There have been the occasional to rare times when it's been a bad to extremely unlucky day. I rarely saw why people dreaded the day; I've normally relished it.

Since Halloween is coming up I thought a look at this particular superstition might be an interesting, if somewhat off-the-mark, addition to my haphazard "Halloween countdown." If you want a tie-in, however, here ' cats, bad luck, hexes, witches, superstitions, Halloween. You'll be able to see the tie-in as I briefly share the wherefores or whys and hows of Friday the 13th.

Why is Friday and the number 13 considered so unlucky?

  • There is a Norse myth where 12 gods have a banquet at Valhalla. In walked the mischievous Loki, crashing the party and bringing the number of guests to 13. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of Darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of Joy and Gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Baldur died and the Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. (Hence, why we have winter...intterrreessstttiiinnng.)
  • There is a Biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest at the Last Supper.
  • A particularly unlucky Friday the 13th occurred during the Middle Ages. On October 13, 1307, King Philip of France arrested the Grand Master and 60 members of the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.
  • In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.
  • Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.
  • It is traditionally believed (by Catholics?) that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday. Same tradition also has it that the Great Flood, the confusion at the Tower of Babel and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on a Friday.
  • Numerologists consider 12 as a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 Labors of Hercules, 12 Tribes of Israel and 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.
  • How is fear of the number 13 manifested?

  • More than 80% of high-rises lack a 13th floor.
  • Many airports skip the 13th gate.
  • Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
  • Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number of 13.
  • Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
  • On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12½.
  • Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue.
  • In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
  • If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.
  • Did you know...?
    The fear of Friday the 13th is called triskaidekaphobia...


    Go to annd view the movie

    Absolutely incredible


    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    Dress Ups for Halloween

    IPOD covers in Halloween Costume --
    What will they think of next? I thought I'd seen it all. This is pretty silly,
    but a little bit of fun sent to me by email.

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    My Superhero Name

    Not everyone wants to be a monster for Samahain, some people would rather be something cheerful, comic, or legendary. Hence the Superhero Name Generator!!

    I am "The Icky Ghost Girl", who are you? Just a little chuckle, and hopefully some inspiration as well.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    My date


    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Gifts from Baba's Warehouse on the Archipelago

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    Travellers who made their way to the House of the Serpents in August might well be interested in acquiring a serpent lamp stand, with three designer shades from Baba's Warehouse. Perfect gifts for Halloween and All Soul's Day. The foot, retrieved by one of Baba's knights, belongs to a traveller who didn't make it to the House of Serpents.

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    By night this designer, Soul Hand Candle Holder, in Red Boots, will illuminate your manuscripts and art work. By day they will do the bidding of their owner and guide them safely to the Gypsy Camp. They will be a match for any of the indentured hands in Baba's house and will make sure their owner is protected from any unreasonable demands.

    These hands will go to the highest bidder. Make the best, non monetary offer, to the Amazon Queen and she will command these hands become your servant.

    Werewolves: By the Light Of the Full Moon

    The vampire is mysterious, compelling, frightening, a sometimes romantic figure with an otherworldly beauty. The mummy is ancient, historical, sometimes delivering a curse upon those who would dare break into and rob his or her pyramidal tomb. The ghost, a phantom of many types, can be mischievious and playful; tragic, solemn and lost; a mere image imprint on the fabric of Time that sometimes replays itself before mortal eyes; or it can be an evil, malevolent poltergeist with the intent to harm. The witch is a maiden, a mother or crone. She has ancient knowledge and knows the arcane arts and will use them, depending upon her nature, in the White Way or the Dark Way. Frankenstein's monster, a tragic human aberration with a gentle, child-like soul, he never asked for the dark, lonely life that was jumpstarted into his stolen dead heart. Only one other monster is there left to be named, who could be considered as tragic as he, and that is...

    The werewolf.

    Even he who is pure of heart And says his prayers at night
    May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
    And the moon is full and bright.

    The Hunter's, or Blood Moon, is coming. Soon. October's full moon is set to rise between the nights of the 15th and 17th, respectively. As the basic legend goes, the werewolf, being linked to the lunar cycle, is painfully and fearfully aware of the full moon phase. He or she can sense it with every fiber of his or her being. And as the fateful phase draws irrevocably closer, he or she fights an increasingly hard battle against the primitive animal instincts of the Wolf within him or her.

    Until on the night of the full moon, totally exhausted and beaten, the werewolf can no longer resist or deny the Wolf. The inevitable has come. The Wolf will out; the metamorphosis a painful delirium. As the Wolf and its voracious appetites surface and take over, the moral consciousness of the human is lost. The werewolf has a dim, or no memory at all, of the terrible, gruesome deeds done in his or her animal form. But he or she eventually hears of them, however, as panic, fear and speculation run rampant in his or her community as the deeds are discovered.

    As the curse of the werewolf repeats each full moon, with no release in sight, the tortured soul becomes more introspective. Falling deeper into hopeless, helpless despair, guilt, fear and self-loathing eat at him or her from the inside-out until there is almost nothing left of the once kind, friendly, moral soul. The only salvation and end to the cursed, lonely half-life led by this tragic individual is a silver bullet or instrument.

    This is the Classic Hollywood version. A sorrowful depiction of someone whose life is good until one dark and misty night when he or she has a most unfortunate, fateful encounter with a wolf. Soon after he or she begins to notice subtle changes in himself or herself. The senses are keener, he or she becomes moody, aggressive and territorial. Then the Change itself comes upon him or her with the next full moon. The person never asked for or deserved this curse. That is the tragedy of the werewolf.

    The werewolf isn't as old as the vampire is in human history. But, like the vampire's bloodlust, the changing from human to wolf is a curse, a punishment from the gods. Lycaeon, a king in Ancient Greece, earned the wrath of several visiting deities when, unbelieving they were true gods, he decided to test them. At a banquet held in their honor, King Lycaeon served the Olympians human flesh in one of the dishes prepared. Cannibalism even then was a barbaric and vile act and definitely a major insult to the gods. Upon discovery of the tainted dish, they, in a fury, changed the disrespectful ruler into a wolf. Since he obviously liked the taste of human flesh, this new form was more acceptable when taking part in such a despicable act. Thus Lycaeon became the first werewolf.

    It is from his name and Greek origins, naturally, that we get the words lycanthrope and lycanthropy--from lykoi comes the meaning "wolf" and from anthropos comes the meaning "man." Literal translation: the Wolf Man.

    Since then, legends and actual accounts of werewolves have been told throughout history around the world. The most well-known "werewolf," besides King Lycaeon himself, is the (German) wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. He meets the young girl in the woods and, upon smelling and espying her basket of food, hatches a plan to have the meal all to himself. He converses with her, finding out about her and her destination. He beats Little Red Riding Hood to Grandma's, does away with Grandma--either by eating her or stuffing her into a closet, though I would think after eating her he wouldn't be so hungry for more anyway, but then he is a wolf, so what do I know?--dons the old woman's nightgown and cap and hops into her bed. A short time later here comes Little Red Riding Hood, innocently and foolishly falling into the wolf's trap.

    In Areminia legend has it, if a woman commits a deadly sin, she is condemned to pass seven years as a wolf. A spirit will visit her, bringing her a wolf's skin to put on. As soon as she has done so she becomes a shewolf, with all the wolf's appetites, temperment and instincts. Her human consciousness repressed, she attacks and kills her children one by one, then those of her relatives, according to the degree of relationship. Once this is done other children in her village become her prey. She wanders forth only at night, doors and locks springing open at her approach. As morning dawns she returns to human form and removes the wolfskin. (Talk about harsh punishment!)

    Romanian gypsy legend of the werewolf, however, deviates from the cursed, frightening and sometimes tragic beasts depicted in the examples above. The belief is that white wolves inhabit the village cemeteries, looking for their natural enemy, the vampire. It's their sole purpose to find and destroy any and all vampires before the Undead rise fully from their graves to feed and add to their numbers.

    The actual accounts are as interesting as the legends, perhaps slightly more so because they are based on fact and confessions. England's despot, King John, who ruled from 1199 to 1216 was accused after death of being a werewolf. A Norman chronicle recounts how monks, sure they heard noises coming from his grave, exhumed his body, taking him out of consecrated ground. (He musta been rreeaaalllyyy unpopular or the monks really superstitious to do that to a monarch, where before him and the Magna Carta, rulers reigned by Divine Right(?).)

    Just like the witch hunts and trials, accusing one of being a werewolf in the Middle Ages was an easy way to get rid of the undesirable and strange. In 1570 a wolf killed several children near Lyon, France. An unfortunate hermit living in a cave, Gilles Granier, was caught scavenging a dead body. This was excuse enough for the locals to get rid of him. They accused him of being a werewolf, and through coercion had him confessing to the false charge. They burned him at the stake in 1573.

    A young man in 1603 actually confessed of his own free will to being a werewolf. That is definitely interesting and surprising. Jean Grenier was 14-years-old. He claimed to be a werewolf because his father and a friend of his were such creatures as well. Grenier provided full and gory details of the carnage they wrought on hapless victims and was condemned to death. Because of his young age, he was transfered on a plea of clemency to a Franciscan friary in Bordeaux where Grenier spent the remainder of his days pathologically attached to werewolf lore. He demanded to eat nothing but raw meat, howling like a wolf by night and running on all fours on horribly deformed hands.

    When beginning this essay, looking for facts and legends to write about, I had the basic Classic Hollywood version of the werewolf in mind, and of course, L.J. Smith's depiction from her Night World book series. What I found, as you've just read, is a different sort of werewolf. Still cursed, tragic and ferocious, with an appetite for human flesh in some cases, this creature is also good in others, with, I think, a consciousness of right and wrong in the human moral sense. (According to L.J. Smith they do.) I also discovered an interesting difference from Hollywood's idea of the werewolf. The creatures actually look like genuine wolves; they aren't hairy looking, wolf-like humanoids who stretch and burst and rip their clothes in transformation, wearing the remanants over their mutated bodies. Another difference or Hollywood addition to the lore is the full moon's role. In most legends and accounts the werewolf changes his or her form at will and has no tie to the moon's cycle, transformation-wise.

    Becoming a werewolf, however, is another story. Being bitten by one isn't the only way to join the ranks. The medieval monk, Gervase of Tilbury, said stripping naked and rolling in the sand under a full moon was an effective method. And according to Italian folklore, being conceived during the time of the new moon, or simply sleeping outdoors on a full moon on a Friday was enough to become a werewolf. Ticking off St. Patrick was a sure way of becoming one too. He cursed an entire clan for their lack of faith in Christ. Every seven years they turned into wolves. In other Old World legends, eating Wolfbane or drinking from the same stream as a wolf has was another effective way.

    And luckily, being shot by a silver bullet or getting clubbed by some type of silver implement isn't the only way to release someone from the curse. Canadian lore suggested an exorcism by speaking the name of Christ or calling the werewolf three times by his or her true name. The French believed the curse could be lifted by taking three drops of blood from the creature during its wolf period. (Hallelujah! With these methods one doesn't/didn't have to die to be freed from Lycaeon's punishment! Now, the trick is/was to stay alive while performing these services...or else you'd wind up a werewolf yourself...

    But would you be a white wolf; a wolf who keeps its human consciousness; a cunning hunter; or a tragic, cursed wolf who is slave to its primeval animal instincts and appetites?

    Sources found at the Soul Food Café and at Lady Gryphon's Mythical Realm.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Terror Test

    While terror and terrorism are not he same,
    each person should evaluate their preparedness --

    This is a test of your "cuin" ability or adeptness.
    I would use the word "wizardry", except that has
    been rendered meaningless by Hollywood.
    Substitute any word you like for "cuin"

    A 'CUIN WISH (read wizard or other)

    It could have been at Solstice -- or Beltane -- or. The season has no reason when it comes to terror, so I will not relate the time or place.

    " Who you are transcends
    that and all --
    and it must be so --
    as one be a cuin!"

    So listen close, my children -- this is a test -- a knowing beyond believing:

    The crowd was small, but large enough for his purpose. The old stone walls protected from the ranging storm, but also trapped those within. The thin, iron bound windows let in little light -- but enough for them all to see. His drooping raincoat fell open and away. No! Strapped to the scrawny man's chests were rows on rows of dun colored sticks -- wires trailing to a box above his heart -- a single coax cable extending to a button in his hand -- duct-tape. No one there had ever seen such a rigging before -- but all knew, and understood. The Angel of Death breathed on each neck -- silence. Then a baby cried.
    "No children! There were to be no children here!" The voice was reedy -- shrill -- but carried no hint of panic. Despair? Resignation?

    "All right then -- you have a chance. Spare this child -- though none of you deserve it!" The dread hand lowered a bit as the looming figure spun about -- eyes probing each victim's soul. "I will let fate decide -- or whatever God you now pray to. One of you will come forth and stand for all. This person will flip a coin. If it comes up 'heads' I will leave and meet whatever destiny awaits outside -- the child will be free -- and all of you as well. If you do not win this challenge I will count to five -- an eternity perhaps -- for you all to gather and nurture you spirits"

    Silence -- each person looking furtively about -- hoping -- seeking.

    "Choose! Have you no champion? Choose, or I shall start counting anyway!" One person walked forward -- alone.

    Now, my students, consider your choices.

    A) You have the courage and presence to step forth, or to stand silently by and pray that another will shoulder this burden. Perhaps it is a ruse, or the bomb will fail, or…

    B) You do step forth, let us say. Is it because:

    1) You believe your powers are such that you can control the coin?
    2) You know that your faith is such that the coin will be biased in some way?
    3) You just want this ordeal over?
    4) You don't know why -- are just called to do it?

    C) For whatever reason, you are there-- coin in hand. What are the options?

    1) You win, and the maniac leaves as he says. How will this affect your life?
    Are you strong enough to bear this burden for the rest of your life?

    2) You lose, but are saved anyway -- intervention or failure of his resolve -- whatever.
    Are you strong enough to bear this burden for the rest of your life?

    3) You lose. You all die! In whatever manifestation you imagine …
    Are you strong enough to bear this burden for the rest of your life?

    4) You win! But you all die anyway -- there never was a chance -- or you didn't create one by your will.
    Are you strong enough to bear this burden for the rest of your life?

    Success or failure here can be measured in many ways -- and perhaps some untold here. The real question is -- are you a 'cuin?

    For a cuin would not hesitate -- would act …

    For the measure of 'who you are' will already have been asked and considered.
    "To be willing" is a matter of accountability -- balance -- a sense of being.

    Who are you -- right now??

    Baba's Archipelago Warehouse for Halloween Supplies

    Image Hosted by

    Visit Baba's Archipelago Island to buy your Halloween and All Soul's Day supplies.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Chamber of Horrors

    Welcome to the Chamber of Horrors!
    As you know, we at the Soul Food Cafe have been using this building as a place to teach Horror Writers how to be...horrid? At any rate, this was a Victorian Era Medical School at one time and if you'd care...if you'd dare, stay right here in the shadows and listen to Dr Delphine Heller and a few other voices tell their stories...
    And in case you're curious, the door to this room doesn't lock....

    What remains today of the Asylum
    ( Back Right- The Infamous "Plague Church "


    Isn't it just amazing that we have come here to learn to make up stories when all around us are the remains of one of the most notorious Medical Schools of it's time?
    This particular book has already been written and is just sitting here, waiting to be read.

    You know, I think it's time time for a story.



    So please step this way and follow me.

    Here we are in the vestibule; do you like the marble effigies? Stolen of course from religious places and cemeteries. When you're as rich as the owners of this school were, they didn't call it stealing, they didn't call it grave-robbing.

    They called it the procurement of antiquities

    The School itself was once run and owned by a husband and wife team; Dr Johnathan and Delphine Heller. I'm not kidding about the last name. Can you imagine trusting your body and life to a Dr Jack Heller?

    And his wife!

    Delphine Heller, she was a pioneer in the study of Psychiatry and she believed there wasn't a malady of the human brain that COULDN'T be cured by surgery. Delphine's belief in scalpels and other sharp medical instruments bordered on religious mania.

    Her patients in the insane asylum behind the school use to say she was crazier then all 200 of them put together. They also use to call her " De fiend ".

    They were right on both counts.

    They may have been insane, but they weren't stupid.

    If you follow me, I'll take you to the surgery theatre. Awful place, the floors in here are wood and if you drop anything on the floor...write it off. Even after all this time you couldn't credit what sort of nastiness has made it's way into the woodwork.

    That's in general I suppose.

    This school is not a good place.

    Upstairs are the labs. To your right are Dr Johnathan's offices. His books, instruments, specimen jars, charts and journals are exactly as he left them.

    Here, let me get the lights. Yes, those are real body parts. Pretty standard fare. Only...well, there seems to be an awful lot of them. More then you'd need for study. Don't you think?

    I call this Dr Heller's trophy room.

    It seems like that man couldn't perform the most simple of surgery without taking something more then was required. Eyes, hands, feet...and other things as you can see.

    Follow me here to his wife's offices...which should be full of books, notes, maybe even pictures of the unfortunates she treated. But her rooms. Well, look for yourself.

    These offices are twice the size of Johnathan's and they are full of these...curiosities. These things would be more at home in a circus sideshow or a medical museum then in offices for a psychiatrist.

    On this wall, let me get those doors..they slide, there. Physical deformities of embryos..human, animal...some, well, we're not to this day what they are. You will also find if you care to look...are more, medical oddities.

    Some of those heads and hands have been altered. Parts sewn on, sewn together, body parts created, in other words, by a surgeon.

    She has shelves and shelves of medical instruments that appear to be one of a kind. Tools designed to reshape bones of all sizes, scalpels with specially designed blades and oddly shaped needles.

    What the Morgue?

    Oh my friend, I was hoping someone would ask me about that.

    This elevator is old, but don't worry it works just fine.

    The Morgue, was someone's pride and joy and I'm pretty sure it was Delphine's pride and joy. It screams her you'll see.

    The morgue is twice the size then the entire school above it. As you can see this is the place where those things in the jars were created. This is the heart of this place.

    Now, my astute authors look at the autopsy tables...notice anything strange? Look closer...go ahead you won't see it from way back there.

    What, you don't see anything?

    You wouldn't see what I'm looking at right now anywhere in any morgue in the world.

    They're not necessary for the work down here.

    You didn't notice the straps on the autopsy tables?

    Hey, don't you all run up the stairs like that, someone is going to get hurt!


    What, now you all want a tour of the Sixth Floor? After that baloney down in the Morgue when you all tried to trample each other to death? I had visions of it on the evening news: Students perish in freak accident in a Morgue.

    Well, forget it.

    Oh, stop begging. But I mean it, the first one of you to turn tail and run winds up in a jar. Got it? Okay, then lets go.

    As you can see the Sixth Floor was where the chapel was...well, actually where it is because as you see, everything is still here.

    The altar and all of this artwork and effigies are from a church in the Carpathian Mountains once known as the Plague Church. Yes, that’s what it was called and if you think that’s strange takes a closer look at the effigies and the carvings on the altar.

    Very good, I'm glad you noticed...none of the human figures have eyes.

    Do you wonder what Delphine said, when she took her place at the altar and preached the Sunday sermon? I mean, what on earth there was to say to over 100 deeply psychotic and criminally insane individuals?

    Perhaps Delphine answered that question all those years ago in her own special way.

    In her logbooks she blocked this time off not as " Sunday Services " or " Church ". Nope, she wrote in " Alternative Therapy Session "

    To answer your question, I'm not sure it one is because this wasn't the sort of place you were released from...ever. Delphine’ s Asylum wasn't a place you came to in order to be cured. No, you came here because you couldn't be cured.

    Anyway, this is the legend of the 6th Floor.

    Years after the Asylum was closed people insisted that the "Alternative Therapy Sessions" were still happening every Sunday evening, and if you were unlucky enough to be here when they started you would go mad.

    You would become just as crazy as the ghosts that still haunt the Chapel.

    They're supposed to be here still, sitting in the pews, waiting for their treatment.

    Some are in straight jackets, or other types of restraints that were popular in those days. A few of the patients wear cages that fit over their heads and rest on their shoulders, some are brought in coffin like contraptions called ' Lunatic Boxes ' and others, the truly insane walked in and eagerly waited for " Church " to begin.

    It's widely believed that Delphine’ s Congregation has actually grown over the years because sure as the Sun comes up each day one fool after another feels the need to bust into the school and come to the Plague Church and attend services with Delphine’ s Congregation of the Mad.

    Once a group of girls dared their friend to come up here at sunset and sit in that front pew and wait for the Session to begin.

    She was sitting right there when she heard the opening and closing of doors and feet shuffling along the corridor. At first she was positive it was her friends playing a joke on her. So she sat facing the altar and refused to turn around, she didn't want her friends to see how much they had frightened her.

    Suddenly those heavy doors swung open with a hiss and a horrible stifling hot breeze rushed up the aisle. With it, as if it were woven into the heat, she could hear whispering and every once and awhile she caught a phrase or two and heard laughter and giggling.

    Within minutes the entire Chapel was full.

    So she wasn't surprised when someone sat next to her...because she was sure that the empty space to her right was the last empty space left in the entire chapel. To her credit she wasn't terribly startled when felt something encased in canvas and metal scrape then rest against her upper arm and shoulder.

    She did however bite her lips so hard to keep from screaming they bled.

    Suddenly the Chapel was quiet and the girl caught the heavy scent of lavender and heard the rustle of a skirt and heard the sound of light footsteps come up the aisle from behind her. From the corner of her eye she saw light gray fabric and a woman's hand adorned with small thin gold bands on all the fingers of her right hand.

    The girl snapped her eyes shut... or really maybe that's when her mind snapped.

    Alternative Therapy began.

    So what happens when the doors suddenly swing open and the new convert emerges?

    Go on, have a seat...I'd be glad to share what I learned that evening all those years ago with each and every one of you.

    Okay, I meant what I in the sweater, come back here. I told you what I'd do to the first person that made a run for it.

    I warned you all, didn’t?


    What on Earth are you people doing in here?

    What tour?

    We most certainly do not give tours of the Asylum...let alone the Chapel. Now all of you come out of there at once! Here now, what's this? Let go of me and quit that babbling and for heaven's sake quit that crying. You are all far to old for that.

    You, young man, what's going on here?

    A woman? With a scalpel?

    Ah, I see you've had the misfortune of running into our Mrs Everett. Well, don't expect me to feel sorry for any of you. We were very clear when we opened this school which part of the properties were for your use and which areas were off limits.

    If you got chased around by a psychotic ghost that's your problem.

    Now follow me, we have to get out of here before the Midnight Shift comes on.

    Okay, here we are, safe and sound and back in the school and safely tucked away in the library. I'm going to have Miss Bayloche the Librarian explain somethings to you.

    May I suggest that this time you listen.

    Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I'm Miss Bayloche and I'm the school's librarian. Which is probably why I've never laid eyes on any of you. Hmmm, not in the mood for chit chat are we?

    That's just as well. Let me get straight to the point.

    This school is not a safe place, but you'll do just fine if you understand a few things.

    One is the original staff is still here.

    Mrs Everett, the Hellers, the teachers and lab workers. They are all still here and they are all still very busy doing the same things they did over 100 years ago, I'm very sorry to say.

    One of the worst members of this staff is a very unstable woman who is the head nurse...her name is Elizabeth Telrico and she is perhaps the most worrying to the present day staff because she's in charge of the Midnight Shift.

    Simply put, the Midnight Shift is the heart of this school.

    At exactly the stroke of Midnight all of the lights in the Asylum blazed on and you could see the Midnight Shift come up the path from the north side of the Asylum.

    They walked across a footbridge and came in through the back entrance.

    Then the doors and windows would slam shut just as the last member of the night staff entered the building. You could hear the echoes for miles around, I've been told.

    Now most of the day staff were locals, they never really met the night staff and tried very hard to keep it that way.

    No it's not a mystery why.

    Go ahead and take a look out the window, it faces north.

    You can see the trail the Midnight Shift used, the bridge they crossed. That piece of property doesn't connect to the road. It's fenced off.

    It's the cemetery.



    I will not allow ghost hunters into this building. That's out of the question. Have you people finally lost your hold on sanity?

    Do you think for a minute that the ghosts would be the hunted in this situation? I don't know who these people are you've invited but get rid of them...all of them!

    What do you mean, it's too late. Go down there and tell them...oh this is just wonderful.

    Is running around kicking your mortality in the backside what you do to amuse yourselves? What do you do when you really want to have a good time... play a little Russian Roulette?

    Fine, bring them up to the Library and do it quickly, things have been a little to noisy in the Isolation Ward lately.'ll find out the hard way if you don't do what I say at once!

    So you are the ... how quaint the Gaslight Society Ghost Hunters. Yes, charmed I'm sure. My name is Miss Bayloche.

    To make a very long story short these eight students are all that remains of 25. The others left a week ago after running into the Night Staffers.These remaining eight are suppose to be here to study writing, music and art. They've done none of that. But they've paid room and board till the end of next month so they're here for at least that long.

    Their instructors leave them to their own now because all they want to do is talk ghosts and demons and about the living dead.

    That's it in a nutshell.

    Oh the mean of the School itself.

    Well, it was founded by two serial killers one of which was a demon and the other a creation of the demon itself, the Asylum was run by a psychotic and it's Night Staff were residents of a little place called Leaning Birch...which I'm sure you've been informed is the town's cemetery.

    Every evening at Midnight a Shift occurs between the world of the living and the world of the dead and the School, or parts of it return to it's former self. Our problem is that now after each shift has occurred parts of the old school are finding their way into the new school and staying.

    Furnishings, cups of tea on desks, a room here and there...and things in the Morgue.

    Yesterday the kitchen was in full use, food was being prepared, the tables were set...the days paper was even propped up against a bowl of steaming oatmeal.

    Well, we don't use that as a kitchen, it was closed off over 100 years ago and the paper for your information was dated 1905.

    Things you see from the past are shifting into the present and I don't know why, it's never happened before. It's your standard Chamber of Horrors fare. Boring to individuals of your expertise. So, I guess you'll be...


    Why of course you are.

    This place is one of a kind? You don't say. The racket? It's the door leading to the Isolation Ward. From the sounds of it, it's just been torn off of it's hinges.

    Welcome members of the Gaslight Society to the Chamber of Horrors.


    How many times do I have to tell you I came back as the School’s Librarian because I wanted a nice safe place to settle back in? I've been out of practice for a very long time and I had to brush up on my studies.

    It was peaceful, quiet and with each day I felt...hmmm, more involved you might say.

    The next thing you know I'm hunting around a morgue for lost students, I'm settling in staff and
    trying to set up housekeeping under ridiculous circumstances then I find myself pulling out some old medical equipment (oh don't look like that, I'm referring to the straight jackets) for some Ghost Hunters who decided to try to dive out a window in my library and haven't been quite the same since.

    From the looks of them right now, the kindest thing to do was let them fly.

    I had to put them in the Isolation Ward; it's the safest place really. Nothing in there can hurt them. I just wish you wouldn't have done that damaged to the door because I've had to restrain all eight of them in there.

    It was no easy task...look, one even bit me.

    So it's you and me now, until the next shift anyway.

    The rest? They're all tucked away safely, the students, the Ghost Hunters (sorry, no I'm okay I was trying not to laugh and I choked a bit there) the curious and the very, very stupid. Tucked away and waiting for... well, you know, help.

    Ignore the yelling, I do. It's good practice; it's only going to get worse later.

    Yes, it's a good thing the Midnight Shift kept the place up all these years.

    They better have, the lazy brutes.

    So now let me see here, the beds are ready, the treatment rooms and the equipment are in perfect working order.

    Why even the Plague Church is ready.

    Now there's a happy surprise.

    Everything is ready and I think it's time to begin our rounds. Shall we start with the Isolation Ward? No, you first Jonathan. And do quit calling me by that silly name. How long exactly have you been in that room? It's me; it's your wife...

    It's Delphine.

    Come Darling, you first...

    I insist.
    © anita moscoso text 2005

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    Haikus For the Jack-o-Lantern

    Tonight's entry in my journal.

    I can't refrain. Thanks to the Halloween blog I am thoroughly in the holiday mood. I can't wait until Halloween is 13 days away before starting the themed holiday entry countdown I want to do like last year. So, throughout this month you'll most likely see Halloween entries instead of just 13 days before Halloween and counting. As Anita Marie over at the Soul Food Café's Chamber of Horrors said, "And the countdown begins."

    Candlelight within
    A beacon to roaming spirits
    The jack-o-lantern knows the way
    -- Shiloh, Oct. 2, 2005

    Scary, happy, sad--
    The jack-o-lantern
    Has many faces
    -- Shiloh, Oct. 2, 2005

    Dark night, new moon
    Stingy Jack walks with nowhere to be
    Devil's ember carried in hollowed gourd
    -- Shiloh, Oct. 2, 2005

    Irish beginning, Irish tradition
    Carried across the sea
    Carved gourds, turnips and pumpkins
    The jack-o-lantern am I
    -- Shiloh, Oct. 2, 2005

    A warning

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Guess who's coming to dinner?

    Skeleton of an early Christian hermit, Stephen, nearly 15 centuries old, stands sentinel at the entrance to the burial crypt of the Mount Sinai monastery. The present-day monks there claim the skeleton's robes are as old as the grim, holy bones themselves.

    Gaping skulls, stored in the crypt, are those of countless monks long dead. Monks are buried in the churchyard for seven years, then disinterred.

    Pious reminders of death surround devoted recluses who serve God in Sinai's remote monastery.

    Among the barren desert ravines at the foot of Christendom's most sacred mountain - Mount Sinai, in Egypt - lies an ancient and most famous monastery. Here, in splendid isolation, a small community of monks guard precious manuscripts recording the earliest annals of Christianity.

    Mount Sinai was the place where, we are taught, the tablets setting out the Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses. In the mount Sinai Library, incongruously modern in the 6th century stone setting of the monastery, the 20th centuryhas at last intruded fully. An American expedition is there now, photographing all the Library's rare documents.

    (From Australian Pix Magazine, June 12, 1954)

    The monastery in the photographs is St Catherine's Monastery, also called the Monastery of the Transfiguration. The monastery has survived the religious upheavals in the Middle East because of a document in its possession, written by Mohammed, the founder of Islam, guaranteeing protection for the monastery.

    The library collection of ancient manuscripts and codexes is second only to the Vatican.

    Visit the monastery at

    Horror 'n Magick

    For some this may be a horror story --
    for others an adventure or opportunity.

    Life is about choices, after all ...


    The Lens


    Now again and repeat once been
    Noble life withered and forsaken

    Shield as thyself from eye and sun
    With staff and cloak become as one

    No sight by right and silk and stone
    Protect and carry pouch alone

    In mem'ry's hand bind shape and wonder
    That no man crave almost yonder

    A shifting in balance 'tween expectation and be-ever' told Aldeshen that the time was near. He settled in the natural haven formed of giant roots and broken granite dragon teeth. There was always such a place near by when a transition was called. Now again and repeat once been. Twice before he had been needed. Twice before the soft leather pouch had frayed and broken -- its life withered and forsaken, yet noble for all of that. A new one was prepared by right -- it had taken the boy five years and more to finish. The waiting had been harder -- and the fear. For Aldeshen was the third of the line of Lensmen, and two more shifts would press him to find another Bearer. For now he could but prepare, shielding the Lens from eye and sun and greed. The ritual must begin.
    His cloak and staff completed the enclosure -- less than perfect, more than was needed -- yet legend told of a single ray of light -- a careless glance. Well, you know the story. If not, ask your ancient grandmother of the Lens of Fittone, but only after The Bearer is far gone and was. The silk scarf was far older that the hunkered man but served to bind the pebbles into the sockets of his eyes, 'no sight by right'. By feel alone Aldeshen picked away the final scraps of 'protection and carry'. Polish -- caress -- imagine! Then he knew its measure and the crystal treasure was nestled in this new home. Now he could recreate the shape and wonder between his facing palms. It would be enough to sustain him for the next decade of wandering -- or two. Faith had been restored.
    Myth held it was not spectacular in color, but no one who had ever gazed upon it ever wrote a song -- just gone. Legend bespoke of light from within yet it was always called the Lens -- which could only bend and distort. How then do we know? You should have guessed. I have been through the lens and will make it so.
    The lens is a portal, you see -- but of course you cannot or you would not be here. To gaze within Fittone is a fixation -- not of idea or thought, but of the creation. The Lens just stops, and reality sweeps by in every imagined compass point and azimuth and rate of fury. Thus it can take you anywhere and in. Jump galaxies if you wish, or to the graveside of a friend. Distance is not the question -- nor the answer, I'm afraid. It just is! What a wondrous gift. What an immeasurable wealth. What a curse!
    Like many bits of magick found or held, there is a flaw within this heart of glass. Your journey can only be 'almost' there, my son; and when you almost claim success your vision and dreams shift just enough that now is still away. No man can get what he wants and live, you silly ass, as I. It took me eighty years to return here -- hardly called a life; and you would wish to hold this Lens? Quickly, let's help the poor Aldeshen on his hapless task -- and seek a slower way.

    Halloween - The Countdown Begins with....Mexico !

    Here's another little offering I found on the net about celebrating the Days of The Dead in Mexico. I enjoyed this article because it focused on the celebration of life. Read on and see for yourself amm

    Celebrating the Mexican Holiday
    The Days of the Dead
    Every autumn Monarch Butterflies, which have summered up north in the United States and Canada, return to Mexico for the winter protection of the oyamel fir trees. The locale inhabitants welcome back the returning butterflies, which they believe bear the spirits of their departed. The spirits to be honored during Los Dias de los Muertos.
    Los Dias de los Muertos, the Days of the Dead, is a traditional Mexico holiday honoring the dead. It is celebrated every year at the same time as Halloween and the Christian holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1st and 2nd). Los Dias de los Muertos is not a sad time, but instead a time of remembering and rejoicing.

    The townspeople dress up as ghouls, ghosts, mummies and skeletons and parade through the town carrying an open coffin. The "corpse" within smiles as it is carried through the narrow streets of town. The local vendors toss oranges inside as the procession makes its way past their markets. Lucky "corpses" can also catch flowers, fruits, and candies.

    ofrenda or altar In the homes families arrange ofrenda's or "altars" with flowers, bread, fruit and candy. Pictures of the deceased family members are added. In the late afternoon special all night burning candles are lit - it is time to remember the departed - the old ones, their parents and grandparents.

    The next day the families travel to the cemetery. They arrive with hoes, picks and shovels. They also carry flowers, candles, blankets, and picnic baskets. They have come to clean the graves of their loved ones. The grave sites are weeded and the dirt raked smooth. The Crypts are scrubbed and swept. Colorful flowers, bread, fruit and candles are placed on the graves. Some bring guitars and radios to listen to. The families will spend the entire night in the cemeteries.

    Skeletons and skulls are found everywhere. Chocolate skulls, marzipan coffins, and white chocolate skeletons. Special loaves of bread are baked, called pan de muertos, and decorated with "bones Handmade skeleton figurines, called calacas, are especially popular. Calacas usually show an active and joyful afterlife. Figures of musicians, generals on horseback, even skeletal brides, in their white bridal gowns marching down the aisles with their boney grooms.
    The celebration of Los Dias de los Muertos, like the customs of Halloween, evolved with the influences of the Celtics, the Romans, and the Christian holy days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. But with added influences from the Aztec people of Mexico.

    The Aztecs believed in an afterlife where the spirits of their dead would return as hummingbirds and butterflies. Even images carved in the ancient Aztec monuments show this belief - the linking the spirits of the dead and the Monarch butterfly.