Friday, July 03, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Fourth of July Myths

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July for the United States. It is a celebration of the winning of our independence back in the 18th century.

There are myths connected with the Fourth. It's something different to learn about this holiday, showing that we Americans have much to learn about our history.

The 4th of July is a celebration of the U.S. Constitution.  
The U.S. Constitution’s purpose was to remake the American governments of the Revolution by making the system less democratic. The delegates from 12 states who met in Philadelphia in summer 1787 had been sent by the states to recommend amendments to the Articles of Confederation. Instead, they instantly decided to meet in secret, and then the nationalists among them tried to win adoption of a national – rather than a federal – constitution.

The 4th of July was the day that the 13 states established their independence.
No, it was not. Virginia established its independence on May 15, 1776, when its revolutionary Convention adopted resolutions for a declaration of rights, a permanent republican constitution, and federal and treaty relationships with other states and foreign countries. It was because the Old Dominion had already established its independence – had, in fact, already sworn in the first governor under its permanent republican constitution of 1776, Patrick Henry, on June 29 – that Virginia’s congressmen, uniquely, had been given categorical instructions from their state legislature to declare independence. Virginia was not the only state whose independence was not established by the Declaration on the 4th, as New York’s congressional delegation did not then join in the Declaration. In short, the states became independent in their own good time – some on July 4, some before it, some after the date.

The chief legacy of the 4th of July is the political philosophy set out in the Declaration of Independence.
Since the 18th century, political radicals have argued for understanding the Declaration as a general warrant for government to do anything it likes to forward the idea that "all men are created equal." Yet, that was not what the Declaration of Independence meant. The Declaration of Independence was the work of a congress of representatives of state governments. Congressmen were not elected by voters at large, but by state legislatures, and their role (as John Adams, one of them, put it) was more akin to that of ambassadors than to legislators. They had not been empowered to dedicate society to any particular political philosophy, but to declare – as the Virginia legislature had told its congressmen to declare – that the colonies were, "and of right ought to be, free and independent states." In other words, the Declaration was about states’ rights, not individual rights, and the Congress that adopted it had no power to make it anything else. All the rest of the Declaration was mere rhetorical predicate.

The 4th of July is a non-partisan holiday dedicated to recalling the legacy of the American Revolution.
In the Founders’ day, the 4th of July was a partisan holiday. Celebrated in the 1790s and 1800s by Jeffersonian Republicans to show their devotion to Jeffersonian, rather than Hamiltonian, political philosophy. If a Federalist in the 1790s, you would celebrate Washington’s Birthday instead of the 4th of July. If you believed in the inherent power of the Executive in formulating foreign policy, in the power of Congress to charter a bank despite the absence of express constitutional authorization to do so, and in the power of the federal government to punish people who criticized the president or Congress, you would not celebrate the 4th. The 4th was the holiday of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, those great states’-rights blasts at federal lawlessness. It was the anti-Hamilton, anti-Washington, anti-nationalist holiday.

The fulfillment of the 4th of July lay in the establishment of a powerful national government.
Celebrants of the 4th of July in the Founders’ time rejected the idea that the Constitution had created a national government. They insisted that it was federal instead and that Congress had only the powers it had been expressly delegated. This was chiefly through Article I, Section 8, that the federal courts had no more jurisdiction than they had been assigned through Article III, and that the vast majority of government functions had been kept by the states. When federal courts grabbed for more power in 1793, these people added the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution. In response to the nationalists’ war on France and Alien and Sedition Acts, they first adopted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, then elected Republicans – Jeffersonian states’-rights/laissez-faire advocates – to run their government.

The Declaration of Independence stood for the rights of white, male property owners alone.
The philosophical material in the first section of the Declaration, although commonplace at the time, had no legal or moral weight. Congress didn't have power to commit the states to it. Now, revolutionaries who accepted the Lockean version of social compact theory did not necessarily believe that only white, male property holders had rights. Thomas Jefferson, for example, who was the author of the draft Lockean section of the Declaration, followed his belief in the idea that all men equally had a right to self-government, coupled with his belief that white and black people could never live together peacefully as equal citizens in America, to the conclusion that blacks must be colonized abroad to someplace where they might exercise their right to self-government.

The fulfillment of the 4th of July will come when the United States has sponsored democratic revolutions throughout the world.
No. George Washington--in an address he co-wrote with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay-- along with Thomas Jefferson counseled that the U.S. avoid foreign entanglements, and of course, foreign wars.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Can Weather and Other Things Affect the Paranormal?

With some much I had to do today and the person for my interview couldn’t do it, I am posting this post from August 2011. Appropriate after all the bad thunderstorms we went through here in Virginia past couple of days.
My adult son told me he heard a loud bang last night from the office as we slept and he ran into there, only to find nothing undisturbed. When I said it might be from an aftershock from the earthquake that hit Virginia, he said only heard the bang from one wall and nothing shook. I thought that maybe it was a ghostly presence? And wondered if spirits are affected by disturbances like quakes, hurricanes, and more, like it is said thunderstorms can cause things to do with the paranormal.

As the living here scramble to prepare for Hurricane Irene, do ghosts react negatively or positively to this threat too? Did the quake and its aftershocks make more paranormal activity along the East Coast than normal?

At they talk about how this might suggest the end of the world as prophesized. But my concern is more in how the atmosphere from first the quake and now the hurricane might make phantoms appeared more often than the norm.

I do know that there are spirits who forewarn those of approaching storms, like the Gray Man of Pawley Island, South Carolina. He always appears just before a storm hits the island, warning the inhabitants. When the "Storm of 1822" slammed the area, most perished, except one young girl and her family. According to legends, she was warned by the phantom of her departed lover. A man in 1954 was also warned by a stranger to take his family and flee. The man returned after the storm left the area only to find most of the island in shambles, except for his house. Even the wash was still left on the line! That is another facet of the legend, that those who see the Grey Man means that no harm will come to them.

Another is the "Gray Man" of Hatteras, North Corolina. Legends says that the ghost is of a sailor named Gray, who perished on his ship when it was caught in a hurricane. He hangs close to the lighthouse, warning those of the approaching storms. Those who do not heed his warning are doomed to die when the hurricane hits Hatteras.

So when Irene leaves the East Coast, take notice of anything strange. Do you hear voices when no one is there or suddenly, do things on your shelves fly off ? It would be interesting to check out. And if you see the Gray man, listen to him.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Haunting Summer Solstice Battle

With summer solstice in a couple if days, do ghosts wait for the dark of night, no matter how late? Or do they appear as usual? This original poem I wrote (please share the blog link and not the poem-copyrighted) is about one Civil War battlefield's nightly haunt on the upcoming solstice.

Haunting Summer Solstice Battle
Pamela K. Kinney

Only 19% visible;
the solstice moon
looks down
on the battlefield.
except for crickets
in the humid night.
From both sides
comes pale, wisps of
shades on horseback
and many on foot.
Noise of battle erupting.
Out of sync,
no reality
Blue against gray,
Union against Confederate,
cannon fire and guns blasting.
Their ectoplasmic war began late,
All due to the
longest day
of the year
the cock crows
and phantoms
vanish with the sun.
Until the next night…


Friday, June 12, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Truth on the Living Dead


I want to set some records straight, as I noticed more and more people consider zombies to be flesh eaters, thanks to "Night of the Living Dead," and zombie horror flicks after that. In reality all undead is living dead. 

This goes back to Gilgamesh and maybe even back to caveman times. Vampires in Eastern Europe did not begin just drinking blood, but flesh too. They were also mindless like zombies, coming from their graves to attack their relatives, not everybody. Later this changed to any person could be a victim of the vampire.  Watching an episode of  "Game of Thrones," they had white walkers, but they di not bit or eat the living to change them. Those people died. It took the head walker with a crown on its head and do something--obviously magic--for the new dead to arise. So not all dead eat flesh, but all dead that rise from death are the living dead, or undead.
Zombie was a term a reporter called the ghouls of Night of the Living Dead. Romero thought of them as ghouls, not zombies. A zombie is supposed to be the living dead: people who die and are resurrected, but without their souls. According to legend, a zombi is someone who has annoyed his or her family and community to the degree that they can no longer stand to live with this person. They respond by hiring a Bokor who turns that person into a zombie. They can take orders, and they're supposed to never be tired, and to do what the master says.
Zombies are the product of spells by a voodoo sorcerer called a bokor. The word is believed to be of West African origin and was brought to Haiti by slaves from that region. Slavery was hard and cruel and it coud even be thought that maybe zombies was developed to keep a slave from killing themselves to escape slavery.  To become a zombie was the slave's worst nightmare: to be dead and still a slave, an eternal field hand. There are several ways to destroy zombies in fiction or movies and TV shows (decapitations or gunshots to the head are popular), though according to Haitian folklore the goal is to release the person from his or her zombie state, not to outright kill the person. There are several ways to free a zombie; feed the zombie salt; others say that if a zombie sees the ocean its mind will return and it will become self-aware and angry, trying to return to its grave.
The word "zombi" —spelled for years without the "e"— first appeared in print in an American newspaper in a reprinted short story called "The Unknown Painter" in 1838.  Then William Seabrook wrote about seeing "voodoo" cults in Haiti and the concept of the zombi to many readers. Several film scholars believe the book was the basis of the classic 1932 horror film White Zombie. The most famous studies of Haitian zombies was ethnobotanist Wade Davis' 1985 book The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombies, and Magic. Wade studied the case of Clairvius Narcisse, a man believed to have been turned into an actual zombie through a combination of drugs (including puffer fish venom and toad venom) in order to mimic death. Then they gave him the hallucinogenic drug tetrodotoxin to keep him in a zombie-like state.

So zombie does not mean the undead person is a flesh eater. Let's call the undead what it is-undead, living dead, walking dead. Because that is what they all are.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Deleted Fort Wead Civil War Park Chapter from Upcoming Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area

Sometimes sentences or paragraphs do not make it into a book of fiction or nonfiction. Sometimes it is a whole chapter. This is a chapter I researched investigated in person and wrote, but it ended up being taken out of my upcoming release, Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area from the manuscript by me when I edited it, along of another chapter during editorial edits. The other chapter was due to other reasons, but this one I felt just had me puzzling how I got phantoms of Union soldiers to talk to me when no died in battle at this fort, even though I thought of logical reasons. So with the book coming out August 28th, I am releasing this chapter for you to read for Supernatural Friday, along with the photos I was going to add to it.  And please, since these are my photos and my words, they sort of copyrighted to me, so just share the link to friends and family if you want them to read it. They can visit my blog anytime to enjoy it. Thank you.


                                                            Fort Wead Civil War Park

                                             The lawn

                                             Is pressed by unseen feet, and ghosts return

                                             Gently at twilight, gently go at dawn,

                                             The sad intangible who grieve and yearn.

                                                                                             ~T. S. Eliot

Bill drove me to Chesterfield County’s Fort Wead Civil War Park on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. It was in a nice suburban neighborhood. Most of the residents were at work or out somewhere, maybe even some just staying inside, but the area was quiet.
This park was one of few Civil War sites that the County has saved and made into a park for the public. Sadly, one site that can never be a park due to it being a shopping center is the Chester YMCA and even a cemetery, is where the Battle of Chester Station happened. This is not far from the intersection of Jefferson Davis and Route 10. I imagine the ghosts of those who died in this battle wandering through the YMCA, Chick-Fil-A across the street and nearby stores, confused by everything.

Fort Wead was named after Col. Frederick Wead, of the 98th New York, (comma) killed in action at Cold Harbor. The Fort was constructed in June of 1864 at the rear of Union Lines to prevent Confederate forces from advancing in the event the main lines were captured. It was never used.  The fort had emplacements for six 32-pounder cannons within a small earthwork. A bombproof magazine was dug into the ground inside the earthworks and protected by a log and earth cover. All of the guns faced west, two in the corners and four along the parapet. Access to the fort came from an east side sally port, and it had a draw bridge over the surrounding moat.
I took my EMF meter, recorder, ghost box, and slung my camera around my neck as I walked up the wooden trail into the park.

I took pictures first, then I proceeded with an EVP session. I began by asking questions like “What year is this?” and “Are there spirits with me?” I got nothing, but when I listened later at home, I heard some other voices. I said, “I want you to understand that you cannot follow me home. Is that clear?” A man’s voice replied, “Sure.”

I turned on my ghost box, set it to AM, and from there to scanning.

I asked, “Are there any Civil War spirits with me?”

A man said, “Yes.”

What is your name?”

No one answered me. Then a male voice uttered, ‘Dead.”

“Did you just say dead?”


I thought, Creepy.

“Are you Union Soldiers?”


At that point, my box dropped out of scanning and went to a radio station. I switched the scanning back on.

I said, “Don’t use my ghost box for energy. Use me instead.

A man said, “Lady…”

I asked “What year did you die?”


I said, “This is 2014.”

A male voice said, “Sure.” Like he knew that.

“What rank were you?”


“Did you have a girlfriend or a wife when you were alive?”


“What was her name?”

I heard, “Cher—” Static made it hard to hear the rest.

 “North or South.”

Several male voices replied, “North.” I am not sure if they meant their loved ones or themselves.

I asked if they were standing near me. No one said one word. “Are you standing in front of me by the first sign?” Nothing. I pointed to my side and said, “Are you standing next to me or around me?”

A male voice said, “Ghost.”

That was interesting. I said, “How did you die? By cannon fire?”


“Gun fire?”


 “I hope you died quickly and not of gangrene.”


“No, he did not die quickly, or no, he did not die of gangrene?

 “Did you leave family behind? What state are you from?”

One man said, “Massachusetts.” I assume it was still the same spirit as he said, ‘Philip.”

 “Do you miss your home?”


 “What is your last name?”


 “My last name is Kinney, what’s yours?”

I heard a couple of names. “Franks, Porter…”

 “I heard Porter. What was your first name?”


I stuck out my hand and shook it in the air. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Bill Porter. Are you a Union soldier?”


 “No Confederates here? No Rebels?”


I held out my hand. “Touch my hand.”

A male voice: “Hold.”

I said, “I am going to shut off the ghost box and leave. Goodbye and thank you.”

 I left the recorder on, hoping to catch an EVP or two. Later at home, I heard something that sounded like gunfire. I also heard movement in the gravel, which wasn’t me as I had remained still.

Now since this fort had never been used, who were the Federal soldiers that communicated to me? Of course, I knew that the Civil War hospital at the Civil War Point of Rocks Park was not far, and there were nearby battles in nearby Chester. City Point where Grant and the Northern Army took over was also nearby. I imagine hapless phantoms wandering the area, maybe trying to get home, but maybe ending up to haunt Fort Wead and the nearby suburban neighborhood.

I left the park, an itch at the back of my neck as if many eyes honed in on me as I joined Bill in the car. The feeling left as we drove off, so I assumed they stayed there.

Fort Wead is located at 1107 Greyledge Blvd, Chester, Virginia 23831. It is a nice park. Not big, just right, for one to daydream a battle going on there. Just don’t be surprised if the daydream becomes reality, and you hear actual gunfire. It’s just the phantom soldiers still fighting.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Beware of Big Hairy Toes! (Retold Folktale)

As I am working on a horror wip at this time, I found this old folktale and rewrote for your Supernatural Friday of Memorial Day Weekend enjoyment.  As you go camping this summer, maybe even this weekend, it is spooky tales like this that are told around the campfire. Let's restart a tradition and get that fire going in the woods or at the beach, and tell spooky stories. 

Once upon a time an old woman went out in the woods. She planned to dig up roots to cook for dinner. Suddenly, she spotted something funny sticking out of the leaves. Digging around it, she discovered it was a great big hairy toe. Now it came to her that there was good meat on it and it might make a tasty dinner, so she stuck it in her basket and took it home.
Back at her cottage, the old woman boiled hairy toe soup in a kettle. That night she had the soup for dinner. The old woman went to bed that night with a full stomach and a big smile.
Around midnight, a cold wind arose and blew in the tops of the trees around the old woman's house. A large black cloud crept over the moon and from deep in the woods a hollow voice called out, "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
Inside the house, the old woman stirred uneasily in her bed and nervously pulled the covers up over her ears. She forced herself back to sleep.
Something stomped from the woods as the wind whistled and jerked at the treetops. In the clearing at the edge of the forest, the same hollow voice said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
Inside the house, the old woman shuddered and turned over in her sleep.
A, stomping sound stopped outside the cottage. The night creatures shivered in their burrows as a hollow voice howled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
The old woman snapped awake and with her heart pounding and her stomach clenching, she leaped out of bed, she ran to the door and barred it. Knowing her cottage was secure, she lay back down to sleep.
The front door burst open with a bang, snapping the bar in two and sending it flying into the corners of the room. The sound of giant feet stomping up the stair came to the old woman’s ears. Shaking, she peeped out from under the covers. A massive figure filed her doorway. "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
The old woman bolted upright and screamed: "I ATE your hairy toe!"
"Yes, you did," the giant figure said as it advanced into the room. It grabbed her.
No one living in the region ever saw the old woman again. The only clue to her disappearance came from a giant footprint pressed deep into the loose soil of the meadow beside the house. The footprint was missing the left big toe.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Catch Me at the Science Fiction Yard Sale This Saturday, May 23rd (Rain Date: May 30th)

I will be selling and signing copies of my nonfiction ghost books and some of my fiction (like Spectre Nightmares and Visitations) and Paranormal World Seekers DVDs at Starfleet Atlantic's Science Fiction Yard Sale this upcoming Saturday, May 23rd, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Rain-date is May 30th (but so far it has been on the date it is set first for years, so pray no rain during the daytime). The address of the free and open the public event is 4844 Linshaw Lane, Virginia Beach, Va. 23445. For directions or other information: 757-499-2359. There will be plenty of other vendors too.  And I will also have some used books, clothing, and collectibles, (plus a used Epson printer) for yard sale prices.