Friday, September 16, 2016

Supernatural Friday: The Iroquois Legend of The Great Bear Changing Leaves Color at Autumn



In this version of a popular Iroquois legend, we learn how the autumn leaves get their color.

A hunter found the tracks of a great bear. Not long afterwards, more tracks of this bear were discovered, surrounding the village.  Other animals, many hunted by the tribe for food, began to disappear. The hunters determined that the great bear was responsible for their loss.

Hungry due to their main source of food depleted, a party of warriors set out to kill the bear. After following the tracks for many days, they came upon the bear. They shot arrows at the animal, but to no avail. The bear’s skin was too thick for the arrows to pierce it. And instead, the assault angered the bear, and he turned on the warriors, killing most of them.

The surviving warriors returned to the village to tell their tale. Party after party of warriors went out to try to slay the great bear, and failed. The people were starving and afraid to leave their village, which the great bear would circle each night.

One night three brothers had the same dream that recurred for three nights. In the dream, they saw a vision of themselves tracking and killing the monster. Thinking it held the truth, they went to track and kill the bear.

They followed the bear’s tracks for many days until they came to the end of the earth. The monstrous bear bounded from the earth into the heavens. The brothers pursued it into the sky. To this day, the three hunters are still visible, chasing the bear in the winter nights’ sky.

In the fall, as the bear readies for its winter’s sleep, the three hunters are able to draw near enough to shoot their arrows into the bear’s body. His blood drips from the skies onto the autumn leaves, painting them red and yellow.

The arrows never kill the great bear; and he always escapes. His wounds cause him to become invisible for a time, but eventually, he reappears in the skies as the Big Dipper, the three brothers still chasing him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Strangely Funny II Anthology Kindle on Sale for 99 Cents

A humorous paranormal anthology I have a story, "Weregoat" included,has its Kindle edition marked down to 99 cents. Strangely Funny II.  Not sure how long this will be on sale.  http://amzn.to/2ctd0ZJ 


Strangely Funny II by [Shipley, Jonathan, Ahern, Edward, Kinney, Pamela K., Dixon, Paul, Taborska, Anna, Sorondo, Marc, Bondoni, Gustavo]

Friday, September 02, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Don't Open That Cursed Box!



Today’s Supernatural Friday is about cursed boxes. It is said that curse boxes are locked, wooden containers with sigils on the exterior. They are designed to contain magic, evil spirits, or cursed objects to prevent them from causing harm. Cursed objects are created by magic, and can kill their owners. The idea for the curse box may have come from the legend of Pandora's Box, a box that holds all the evil and all the diseases in the world, until - once opened - it released all this evil upon the world, leaving only Hope behind.

 

In the fictional world of television, one show, Supernatural, Dean and Sam Winchesters' father, John Winchester, had curse boxes made for him by Bobby Singer. He kept these at his secret storage space in New York. One of his curse boxes was stolen by thieves working for Bela, who worked for those who paid to get their hands on supernatural objects, and when they opened it, they found a cursed rabbit's foot inside.

One now well-known cursed box, thanks to an episode of Paranormal Witness about four years ago, and a movie, The Possession, that came out in September, dybbuk box, or dibbuk box. It is a wine cabinet which is said to be haunted by a dybbuk. In Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a restless, usually malicious, spirit believed to be able to haunt and even possess the living. The cabinet has the Shema carved into the side of it. Its dimensions are 12.5" × 7.5" × 16.25”. Shema are the first two words of a section of the Torah, and are the title of a prayer that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services.

The term "Dibbuk Box" was first used by Kevin Mannis to describe the box in the item information for an eBay auction to describe it as the subject of an original story (not the story for the film) describing supposedly true events which he considered to be related to the box. Mannis, a writer and creative professional by trade, owned a small antiques and furniture refinishing business in Portland, Oregon at the time. According to Mannis' story, he purportedly bought the box at an estate sale in 2003. It had belonged to a German Holocaust survivor named Havela, who had escaped to Spain and purchased it there before her immigration to the United States. Havela's granddaughter told Mannis that the box had been bought in Spain after the Holocaust. Upon hearing that the box was a family heirloom, Mannis offered to give the box back to the family, but the granddaughter insisted that he take it.

She said, "We don't want it."

The box had been kept in her grandmother's sewing room and never opened because a dybbuk live inside it. Upon opening the box, Mannis found that it contained two 1920s pennies, a lock of blonde hair bound with cord, a lock of black/brown hair bound with cord, a small statue engraved with the Hebrew word "Shalom", a small, golden wine goblet, one dried rose bud, and a single candle holder with four octopus-shaped legs; all items supposedly used in Jewish folklore to exorcise demons.

Numerous owners of the box have reported that strange phenomena accompany it. In his story, Mannis claimed he experienced a series of horrific nightmares shared with other people while they were in possession of the box or when they stayed at his home while he had it. His mother suffered a stroke on the same day he gave her the box as a birthday present — October 28. Every owner of the box has reported smells of cat urine or jasmine flowers, plus nightmares involving an old hag accompany the box.

Iosif Neitzke, a Missouri student at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri and the last person to auction the box on eBay, claimed that the box caused lights to burn out in his house and his hair to fall out. Jason Haxton, Director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri, had been following Neitzke's blogs regarding the box, and when he was ready to be rid of the box, Neitzke sold it to Haxton.

Haxton wrote The Dibbuk Box, and claimed that he subsequently developed strange health problems, including hives, coughing up blood, and "head-to-toe welts" Haxton consulted with Rabbis (Jewish religious leaders) to try to figure out a way to seal the dybbuk in the box again. Apparently successful, he took the freshly resealed box and hid it at a secret location, which he will not reveal.

Skeptic Chris French, head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths' College, told an interviewer he believed that the box's owners were "already primed to be looking out for bad stuff.  In other words, if one is primed to believe they’ve cursed. Bad stuff that happens is what you perceive to be the cause. 



Another cursed box is used in the film, Silent Hill. I can’t tell you for sure if it was used in the video game, as only a gamer that has played it, can testify to that.






Of course, the most famous cursed “box” is Pandora’s. The original Greek word was 'pithos', which is a large jar, sometimes as large as a small person (Diogenes of Sinope was said to have once slept in one), mostly used for storage of wine, oil, grain or other provisions, or, ritually, as a container for a human body for burying. In the case of Pandora, this jar may have been made of clay for use as storage as in the usual sense, or of bronze metal as an unbreakable prison. The mistranslation of pithos is usually attributed to the 16th century humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam who translated Hesiod's tale of Pandora into Latin. Erasmus renderedpithos as the Greek pyxis, meaning "box". The phrase "Pandora's box" has endured ever since.

I will end this article with the Greek myth, “Pandora’s Box.”

Once up a time, a long time ago, Zeus ordered Hephaestus (Aphrodite's husband) to make him a daughter. It was the first woman made out of clay. Hephaestus made a beautiful woman and named her Pandora. 
Zeus sent his new daughter, Pandora, down to earth so that she could marry Epimetheus, who was a gentle but lonely man. 
Zeus was not being kind. He was getting even. Epimetheus and Prometheus were brothers. Zeus was mad at one of the brothers, Prometheus, for giving people fire without asking Zeus first.  
Zeus gave Pandora a little box with a big heavy lock on it. He made her promise never to open the box. He gave the key to Pandora’s husband and told him to never open the box. Zeus was sure that Epimetheus' curiosity would get the better of him, and that either Epimetheus or his brother would open the box. 
Pandora was very curious. She wanted to see what was inside the box, but Epimetheus said no. Better not. "You know your father," Epimetheus sighed, referring to Zeus. "He’s a tricky one."
One day, when Epimetheus lay sleeping, Pandora stole the key and opened the box.
Out flew every kind of disease and sickness, hate and envy, and all the bad things that people had never experienced before. Pandora slammed the lid closed, but it was too late. All the bad things were already out of the box. They flew away, out into the world.
Epimetheus woke up at the sound of her sobbing. “I opened the box and all these ugly things flew out,” she cried. “I tried to catch them, but they all got out.” Pandora opened the box to show him how empty it was. But the box was not quite empty. One tiny bug flew quickly out before Pandora could slam the lid shut again.

“Hello, Pandora,” said the bug, hovering just out of reach. “My name is Hope.” With a nod of thanks for being set free, Hope flew out into the world, a world that now held Envy, Crime, Hate, and Disease – and Hope.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Will You Marry Me, Even If You're Dead?



It seems that it’s never too late to be baptized. Even the dead can get this.
Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism refers to the religious practice of baptizing a person on behalf of one who is dead. A living person then receives the rite on behalf of a deceased person. Baptism for the dead is best known as a doctrine of the Latter Day Saint movement, practicing it since 1840.
Those who practice this rite view baptism as an essential requirement to enter the Kingdom of God, and therefore practice baptism for the dead to offer it by proxy to those who died without the opportunity to receive it. The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) teaches that those who have died may choose to accept or reject the baptisms done on their behalf.
Another event never too late to preform, is marriage for the dead. Yes, you are reading that. In Chinese tradition, a ghost marriage (pinyin: mínghūn; literally: "spirit marriage") is a marriage in which one or both parties are deceased. Other forms of ghost marriage are practiced worldwide, from Sudan, to France since 1959. The origins of Chinese ghost marriage are largely unknown, and reports of it being practiced today can be found. Chinese ghost marriage was usually set up by the family of the deceased and performed for a number of reasons, including the marriage of an engaged couple before one member's death to integrate an unmarried daughter into a patrilineage to ensure the family line is continued, or to maintain that no younger brother is married before an elder brother. A previously engaged woman upon the death of her fiancée, can choose to go through with the wedding, in which the groom was represented by a white cockerel at the ceremony. However, some women were hesitant since this form of ghost marriage required her to participate in the funeral ritual, mourning customs (including strict dress and conduct standards), take a vow of celibacy, and immediately take up residence with his family. A groom had the option of marrying his late fiancée, with no disadvantages, but there have been no records of such weddings.

Then there is the posthumous marriage (or necrogamy). This is a marriage in which one of the participating members is deceased. It is legal in France and similar forms are practiced in Sudan and China. Since World War I, France has had hundreds of requests each year, of which many have been accepted.
And so it appears you can still be baptized or even marry that special person, even though you are moldering in your grave. Death isn’t the end, but the beginning. 



Saturday, August 06, 2016

Supernatural Friday: What Happens in Chester, Vanishes-from Spectre Nightmares and Vistiations





I will be at Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in Sufolk, Virginia, next Saturday, August 13th.  And my collection of horror and dark fantasy stories, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations is one of the books I will have for sale and will sign at the New Author’s Expo at the festival, from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The all day festival is free and open to the public.




I'm sharing one of the stories from the book, teasing you with "What Happens in Chester, Vanishes." You'll need to purchase the book from me at the festival (click the link above to be taken to their website to get the address and more information), or if you can't be there, then from online at GenreConnections.com or AMAZON to read the rest of the stories included in it.

Book Blurb:
Many things scare us. But the most fearful things are those that infect our nightmares and visitations. Monsters from the closet or from another planet. Ghosts that haunt more than a house. Werewolves are not the only shapeshifters to beware of. Children can be taken from more than the human kind of monsters. Even normal things can be the start of a heart-pounding terror. Prepare to step beyond the door into Spectre Nightmares and Visitations.

Just tell yourself that they're only stories.






Enjoy the story:        

"What Happens in Chester, Vanishes"


Okay, that’s weird.

The people that had just been walking and driving their cars in Chester Village Green a few minutes ago had vanished. The beautiful Chester Library and the other buildings stood there silent and empty of life.

Of all the strange things that happened in my life, this one beat them all.

My cell phone! Of course.

I took it out and tried to make a call to my mother in Powathan. It didn't work. And I charged it up fully last night. Now it lay in my hand like a broken toy. Whatever infected Chester had done something to it, too. Upset, I stuck it back in her purse. 

The silence felt so . . . unnerving. Nothing moved. Nothing made a sound. Not even a breeze. Nothing, except the noise my car made, loud in the unnatural stillness.

I felt pain from my arms and my hands. With a quick glance, I saw I was gripping the steering wheel so tight that the veins on the top of them popped up. Shoot, my skin gleamed ghost white. Another quick glance in the rear view mirror and I saw how pale my face was, too.

I decided to park the car. So many spaces to choose from, which one should I choose? A giggle rose up hysterically as I drew my car into one and turned the engine off. I couldn’t stop it.

“Oh, God, oh God, oh God,” I began to giggle, tears in my eyes.

The giggling passed, I let go of the steering wheel and just sat there staring out through the car window and unsure what to do next. 

Do I get out? Was it safe to do so? Maybe I was asleep and this was all a nightmare.

No, I remembered waking up this morning and having a cup of coffee and some yogurt. I pinched myself just to be sure.

“Ouch!”

Guess this is not a dream, Marisa.

"What happened here?" I said, letting the sound of my own voice give me comfort. "Is everyone else gone in the rest of Chester? Does that include the rest of Richmond, or even Virginia itself? Is everyone on vacation, or something?"

Like someone would answer me.

It looked like I wouldn’t have to worry about being late for work at the library today. Most likely my supervisor didn’t make it to work today either. Apparently, no patrons neither. 

Taking a deep breath, I got out of the car, leaving it unlock if I needed to get back in, and walked slowly up to the front glass doors. I found the doors opened easily and entered.

Okay, does that appear good or not? Why are you even entering the building, you idiot?

I swept my gaze around and found an empty circulation desk, a couple of books on it, one flipped open, along with another one lying under the scanner the library used to check books out. Another glance to my left caught other books lying on the floors or on tables, as if whoever had them had just dropped them, leaving them there like unwanted children. The silence bothered me. I began to imagine that the books were watching at me from their bookcases. Like they were saying, 'How dare you being the only human here?" 

Nothing more for me here, I bolted out of the place and ignoring my car, ran down Center Street to Route 10. Same thing there, too. Chester had become a large-economy size version of one of those collectible heirloom villages sold in gift shops, only minus the people, animals and vehicles. 

As I looked straight across the street at the Chester Fire Department, I saw that the bay doors stood wide open, bereft of the fire engines. All the buildings suddenly became ominous, like they waited to pounce on any unwary fools. 

Fools like me.

I made for the nearby shopping center. It was foolish of me to even have checked it out. Nothing there like everywhere else, not even breeze-tossed scraps of papers flittering across the empty parking lot. 

Deciding to be prudent, I headed back to where my car was parked. But like everything else in the madness it had vanished.

Maybe aliens came and took everyone away, like that episode in Twilight Zone.

Yeah, if it were that simple an explanation. 

I trudged like a drunken sailor back up Center Street to Route 10. 

I prayed. Whatever happened to Chester, please take me too. Being alone the rest of my life like this is something I don’t want to do

I looked up at the cloud-filled sky above. "Look, I admit that I prayed last night before turning in that I'd like to be alone, with no one to bother me and all, but I was in a blue funk after a day of full of crazy patrons and a smart-mouthed supervisor." I began to cry. "I would love to hear Mrs. Tilt right now yelling at me in her usual nasty way. At least it would be another human being."

Wait. Was that a sound? 

It came again. It came from Route 10. Like someone talking.

I ran on shaky legs and hoped that meant there another human besides me was in this god forsaken place. I dropped to my knees on the street when I found nothing but an empty street. I didn’t even notice the pain from my scraped knees. My mind had snapped at that moment.

I yelled, "Stop it, please stop it! If you're going to torture me, then just go ahead and kill me right now.”

I saw it then. Large and bright yellow, its siren screamed in protest as it barreled toward me. Instead of excitement, I found I didn’t care that this might mean I wasn’t alone anymore. 

I jumped up and opened my arms, welcoming my death. Within a second it slammed into me. Pain lanced through me, as the bones in my body smashed, flesh tore and my brain splattered within my skull.

****

"I didn't see her until too late," cried the young firefighter. "Suddenly there she was, like a ghost appearing out of thin air. The woman stood there like a deer caught in our headlights. The worse part is I swear she held her arms open like a woman welcoming her lover back." Tears welled up in his blue eyes and streamed down his cheeks. He looked up from his kneeling position by the body at the chief who had been with him in the engine. They had been returning to the station. "I'll remember hitting her for the rest of my life."

Chief Thomas frowned as he realized the silence all around them. "Hey, where's everyone else?"

The other frowned, confused. "What?" He got to his feet and looked around. There was only him and Chief Thomas and the fire engine. No vehicles, no people gawking at the accident. Even the station was quiet like a tomb. The broken body of the woman had vanished, her smeared blood that had painted the cement gone. "Oh God, what's going on?"

Childish laughter filled the silence. Looking up, both men saw a gigantic child's face peering down at them. Another larger face of a woman appeared next to the child's.

"Dinner time, dear," said the woman’s face. "Then you can come back and play with your town. And please flush that nasty bloody body down the toilet, then wash your hands. Didn't Daddy tell you not to kill your playthings, or he won't get you any more toys from another dimension?"

Friday, July 29, 2016

Supernatural Friday: How to Get Down and Scared






Here we are and it’s the last Friday of July and been a heat wave where I live in the triple digits for this past week, and I just finished a scary read and thinking of another to read.

Why do we read stories and novels to scare us silly; to give us nightmares at night? It’s not October or close to Halloween.  No excuse to read anything spooky. And yet, many of us will choose a book that we know on the pages are monsters or serial killers. Any excuse to be scared to death.

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat. It's a basic reaction to a stimulus, such as pain or dangerous threat. Fear is separate from anxiety, which occurs without external threat. It means to terrify, or to frighten.

Physical reactions from fear are:
Rapid heart rate

Increased blood pressure

Tightening of muscles

Sharpened or redirected senses

Dilation of the pupils

Increased sweating

So why would a person get a scary book when these symptoms of fear take over them? For the imagination is the greatest bringer of fear--you read a few pages and suddenly, you thought you saw a shadow in the corner move or heard a sound.

But being frightened is good for you. Just as laughter is. Fear is that rush that brings out the prey in all of us, from our caveman days.

So go ahead. Pick up that book and buy it, or check it out. Read it. You know that shadow in the corner of the room didn't more and the sound was the house settling. Nothing more.


Or is it?



Friday, July 22, 2016

Supernatural Friday: Monsters Don't Exist (Original Poem)






Monsters Don’t Exist
By

Pamela K. Kinney

Mother said that monsters didn’t exist
That they came from fast food or scary movies.
She lied!
And kept lying when the monster came that night
He instructed Daddy to change and attack,
To rip her throat out and tear out her heart.
Her eyes pleading as she screamed,
“Run! Don’t let the monsters catch you!”
But I didn’t run,
Why would I?
Then the monster held out its clawed paw to me,
And I took it, asking, “Can we play?”
He called me his dear child, the promised one,
“I’ll teach you all I know, how to do what I do,”
He said, “Just as the one before me taught me.”
And so among the fires and slaughter we went,
I skipped beside him, only stopping
To play catch with bodiless heads.
When we left that place near to morning
What remained of the township right behind us
Inhuman sheep leaving for desolate pastures.