Friday, May 30, 2014

Supernatural Friday: Alien Abduction

The term, alien abduction or abduction phenomenon describe "subjectively real memories of being taken secretly against one's will by apparently nonhuman entities and subjected to complex physical and psychological procedures, making them abductees.".  

Due to a paucity of objective physical evidence, most scientists and mental health professionals dismiss the phenomenon as "deception, suggestibility (fantasy-proneness, false memory syndrome), personality, sleep paralysis, psychopathology, psychodynamics [and] environmental factors. Prof. John E. Mack (October 4, 1929 – September 27, 2004), a respected Harvard University psychiatrist, devoted a substantial amount of time to investigating such cases and eventually concluded that the only phenomenon in psychiatry that adequately explained the patients' symptoms in several of the most compelling cases was posttraumatic stress disorder. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, and was a leading authority on the spiritual or transformational effects of alleged alien abduction. Mack had a world view inspired by elements of spiritual and philosophical traditions which hold that people are all connected to one another; this theme of "connection" was taken to a controversial extreme in the early 1990s when Mack commenced his decade-plus study of 200 men and women who reported recurrent alien encounter experiences. Such encounters had seen some limited attention from academic figures (R. Leo Sprinkle perhaps being the earliest, in the 1960s). Mack, however, remains probably the most esteemed academic to have studied the subject.

Post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as effects of war, sexual assault, serious injury, or the threat of death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal continue for more than a month after the traumatic event. With abductees going through probing and more by their alien captors, this would be in line with them developing PTSD.

The first alien abduction to be widely publicized was the Betty and Barney Hill abduction in 1961. Reports of the abduction phenomenon have been made around the world since then. An entire subculture has developed around the subject, with support groups and a detailed mythos explaining the reasons for abductions: The various aliens (Greys, Reptilians, "Nordics" and so on) are said to have specific roles, origins, and motivations. Abduction claimants do not always attempt to explain the phenomenon, but some take independent research interest in it themselves and explain the lack of greater awareness of alien abduction as the result of either extraterrestrial or governmental interest in cover-up. 

Greys: Typically depicted as dark grey-skinned diminutive humanoid beings that possess reduced forms of, or completely lack, external human organs such as noses, ears or sex organs.  Their bodies are usually depicted as being elongated, having a small chest, and lacking in muscular definition and visible skeletal structure. Their legs are shorter and jointed differently from what one would expect in a human. Their limbs are often depicted as proportionally different from a human's; their humerus and thighs are the same lengths as their forearms and shins. Around half of all reported alien encounters in the United States describe Grey aliens. Such claims vary in every respect including their nature (ETs, extradimensionals, demons, or machines), origins, moral dispositions, intentions, and physical appearances (even varying in their eponymous skin color). A composite description derived from overlap in claims would have Greys as small-bodied sexless beings with smooth grey-colored skin, enlarged head and large black eyes. The origin of the idea of the Grey is commonly associated with the Betty and Barney Hill abduction claim which took place 1961, although skeptics see precursors in science fiction and earlier paranormal claims. The Grey aliens are also famous from the Roswell UFO incident from 1947. Greys are seen in movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and depicted in television in Stargate SG-1.

Reptilians: Also called reptoids, reptiloids, or draconians are reptilian humanoids that play a prominent role in science fiction, as well as modern ufology and conspiracy theories. The idea of reptilians on Earth was popularized by David Icke, a conspiracy theorist who says shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies. Icke has claimed on multiple occasions that many of the world leaders are, or are possessed by, reptilians ruling the world. One of the earliest reports of an abductee encountering one of these type of aliens was that of Ashland, Nebraska police officer Herbert Schirmer, who claims to have been taken aboard a UFO in 1967 by humanoid beings with a slightly reptilian appearance, who wore a "winged serpent" emblem on the left side of their chests. Maybe Star Trek had it right with the Gorn?

Nordics: Nordics are typically described as six to seven feet tall (about two meters) with long blond hair and blue eyes, and are commonly reported as being male. Their skin is said to range from fair colored to tanned, they are reported to be in excellent physical shape, and they are sometimes described as wearing skintight clothing. During the 1950s, many contactees, especially those in Europe, reported beings fitting this description. Such claims became relatively less common in subsequent decades, as the grey alien supplanted the Nordic in most accounts of extraterrestrial encounters, but Nordic aliens are still occasionally reported. Some sources, such as UFO Contact Center International, refer to Nordic-type aliens as Pleiadians, referring to the Pleiades star cluster. They have been described as benevolent or even "magical" beings who want to observe and communicate with humans. Contactees have said that the Nordics are concerned about the Earth's environment or prospects for world peace, and may transmit messages telepathically.

Though the Hills were the most televised abduction case, if one looks back in history, one could find a possibility in mythology, with people and children taken by fairy and coming back years later hardly aged. Fairies steal babies, leaving a changeling in the child’s place. Fairies stole young women as brides, or perhaps for other, less honorable purposes. In the aptly named tale “Stolen Bride,” a gang of fairies carries off a young woman, and something similar happens in "Jamie Freel and the Young Lady.” In both cases, the women are put under an enchantment that leaves them mute and confused. Sounds somewhat like alien abduction, doesn’t it?  And sometimes the women are left pregnant—like in fairy stories—only to lose the child one night after abduction.

Next time you out alone in the country, looking up at the stars scattered across the night sky and one of them moves too oddly to be a plane, make sure it’s not heading your way. You never know, you might get abducted.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness Blog Tour This Week, Starting Today

Starting today is the Southern Haunts: Devils in the Darkness blog tour. Mine will be May 28th at Armand Rosamilia's BLOG.
Tour Schedule and Activities
May 26 I Smell Sheep                                         Guest Post
May 26 Novel-ties                                                 Review
May 27 Deal Sharing Aunt                                   Guest Post
May 28 Armand Rosamilia                                  Guest Post
May 28 Book in the Bag                                       Interview
May 29 Spellbindings                                          Guest Post
May 29 Bees Knees Reviews                            Guest Post
May 30 Beauty in Ruins                                      Guest Post
May 31 Vampires, Witches and Me Oh My!       Guest Post
May 31 Sheila Deeth Blog                                   Guest Post

Friday, May 23, 2014

Supernatural Friday: Myth of How Taps Came To Be and The True Story-Happy Memorial Day

Since Memorial Day will be here in 3 days, I found this myth for Supernatural Friday concerning the origin of Taps. It has been circulating the Internet.

It began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army waited on the other side of the narrow strip of land. 

Captain Ellicombe heard the moan of a soldier who lay mortally wounded on the field sometime in the night. Not knowing if it a Union or Confederate soldier, the captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. As he crawled on his stomach through the gunfire, he reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him over the ground toward his encampment. When the captain made it to his own lines, he discovered he had saved a Confederate soldier. Even more, the soldier lay dead. 

The captain lit a lantern, then caught his breath and went numb with shock. The dim glow revealed who the soldier really was. His own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out and not telling his father, he enlisted in the Confederate Army.
The following morning, the heartbroken father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was partially granted. The captain had wanted a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge at the funeral. That portion of the request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate, but with respect for the father, they allowed him one musician. 

The captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of his dead son's uniform. 

This music became the haunting melody we now know as "Taps" that is used at all military funerals.

It’s a lovely tale, but not true. The true origin of Taps came out after the Seven Days battles near Richmond, Virginia, in July 1862. The wounded Commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, General Daniel Butterfield reworked with his bugler Oliver Wilcox Norton, another bugle call, "Scott Tattoo," to create Taps. 

Later, Colonel James A. Moss substituted playing "Taps" for the firing of three volleys over the grave of one of his soldiers. This was due to his Artillery unit being in the proximity to the enemy.

You can heard Taps being played on Youtube at

And John Wayne teling the true Taps story again:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Great News!

I got super news! A humorous fantasy story of mine, "Weregoat" has been accepted for Strangely Funny II anthology, to be published by Mystery and Horror, LLC. 
And Gypsy Shadow Publishing to published A GHOST ON EVERY CORNER by Dawn Colclasure this summer--I was interviewed for it and my story as paranormal investigator to be included.


Science Fiction Yard Sale Saturday, May 24th in Virginia Beach, Virginia

I'll be selling and signing my books (besides selling yard sale stuff too-including used books and collectibles) at the Science Fiction Yard Sale in Virginia Beach this Saturday, May 24th. My own books will be regular priced, but yard sale stuff at yard sale prices. There will be plenty of other vendors too. The address is 4844 Linshaw Lane. The event is free and open to the public and is from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. If you are not sure about finding it, call 757-499-2359 for directions (owner of the yard sale will be at).

Friday, May 16, 2014

Supernatural Friday: Ghostly Pirate Legends of Virginia

Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” Mark Twain

No matter what the movie Pirates of the Caribbean says, pirates have also been seen along the Eastern seaboard from Florida to New England. There have been myths and legends told about them in the Old Dominion.

Because valuable cargoes traveled through the Chesapeake Bay, trade in Virginia often came to a standstill when pirates patrolled sea lanes and threatened vessels could not leave the safety of ports. During one six-week period, not a single ship dared to leave the safety of Virginia shores. Edward Teach, Blackbeard, as he was more known as, was the main cause of this maritime panic. Using a summit, now referred to as Blackbeard's Hill, the pirate and his watchmen had an open view of the Chesapeake Bay, which the British navy ineffectively protected.

Blackbeard has inspired a Pirate Festival here in Hampton that usually happens the first weekend in June. You can find out more about this festival

Blackbeard’s Skull
Author Deborah Painter told me a legend about Blackbeard the pirate. He was killed off the shores of North Carolina and his head was brought back to Hampton to be suspended from a pole on a pier at Sunset Creek, just a mile from where Ms. Painter works. The story goes on that, to this day, the decapitated pirate searches for his head in the Chesapeake Bay.

One evening Blackbeard moored his ship at the mouth of the Potomac River and went ashore. There were two parties. One was to procure provisions, the other to assist in secreting their treasures. An English sloop-of-war followed him and dropped anchor in just the right spot to prevent him from escaping. A manned barge was sent to capture his ship.

Blackbeard and his men went back to their ship. The commander of the men who boarded the ship was a Scotsman who desired the honor of subduing Teach himself. The men battled by sword. The Scot felled a strong blow upon the pirate’s shoulders, causing blood to flow.

“Ha!” said Blackbeard, “well struck, brother seaman.”

The Scot gave a reply, then with his next stroke separated Teach’s head from his shoulders.

The Scot ordered that the head be boiled in boiling water and thoroughly cleansed. As a sign to other pirates, Blackbeard's head was cut off and hung from the bow of a ship. Meanwhile, his corpse was simply thrown overboard. Then, the head was hung on a pole and placed at a point on the James River, also known as Blackbeard's Point. When the Scot went ashore he made a present of Blackbeard’s skull to the governor of the Virginia colony. Then the legend says that the skull was tipped with silver to become a drinking vessel.

Today, Ocracoke, with its history of piracy and maritime warfare is now a quiet island famous for vacationing tourists. The citizens of Ocracoke still continue to speak in the old English dialect, known as brogue. According to legend, Blackbeard's skull cup still exists around the island, even spurring accounts of locals and visitors sipping from the skull of the South's deadliest pirate.

Buccaneers at Carter’s Grove

There is a myth that three pirates were buried in the cellar at Carter’s Grove. It is also said that their ghosts still hold a card game there, every now and then.

Old House Woods in Mathews County
There is a story about Blackbeard involved with the hauntings of Old House Woods that says he killed other pirates burying a treasure there in the seventeenth century. You can read more about this in the Freaky Legends of Old House Woods chapter.

Buried Treasure of Blackbeard and Other Pirates on Assateague
Blackbeard and other pirates reportedly sailed the waters around Assateague Island and used the island as a hideout and as a place to bury their treasure. Whether it is true or not, standing on the island and looking out to sea makes the tales almost believable. One can breathe in the salt from the sea and hear the seagulls as they scream while soaring overhead. As I swept my gaze to the sea and watch a couple of ponies standing in the beach, I almost swore I could see a ghostly pirate ship forging through the white-capped waves. Then the vision vanished as I snapped some photos with my camera.

If Blackbeard or any of his cohorts had buried their ill gotten gains somewhere on the island, then only they, the ponies, and the seagulls know where for sure. For none has ever been found.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Supernatural Friday: Beware of the Black-Eyed Children

Have you ever been alone, ready to start your vehicle and pull out of a parking lot one night and a pair of children approach you? They stop at the driver’s door and tell you that they forgot their tickets for some concert or their friends took off and left them at the mall? That they wanted a ride to get home? They seemed to be talking in a manner well beyond their years. Don’t look at you directly, but cast their eyes down. And when you offer to call on your cell phone their phone number to contact their parents, they start demanding for the ride. You get ready to roll down the driver’s side window when they look up at you and you noticed that their eyes are black. A feeling of uneasiness overcomes you. Suddenly you want to roll down that window or open your door. You fight it and suddenly start the engine and take off. But as a feeling of “what the hell did I leave two kids like that?” comes to mind, you head back, but find no kids at all. Deep down you are relieved you hadn’t found them.

Those may have been ordinary children, or a legend that has been happening a lot. Black-eyed children are young people, often children, with eyes that are solid black with no differentiation between sclera, pupil, or iris, and are occasionally reported to have blue or bluish tinted skin like that of a corpse. Those who report encounters with them often feel that the children were somehow supernatural and extremely dangerous though they could not explain why.
Often they can be seen playing games and singing the nursery songs "old man long legs" or "he jumped into a bramble bush" in abandoned, or near deserted areas, sometimes the reports talk of them appearing at one’s doorstep, usually alone or in a pair. They appear to be unusually confident and yet, shy. They avoid your gaze and look down hiding their eyes, but speaking with an eloquence far beyond their apparent age. Often using the mannerisms and speech patterns of an adult, they occasionally possess the voice of an adult. They will usually attempt to talk the victim into allowing them entry into their home to use a telephone or to be safe from some unspecified danger. Occasionally when seen outside the home, they will immediately stop their play and stare at you, or if possible approach you asking for a place to stay or trying to talk you into giving them a ride home. Often, people begin to agree to their requests against their better judgment, even though the request will seem vaguely unsettling, without realizing why it is. Should you discover that their eyes are completely black, the children become very angry and insist you complying with their demands. Some people who have encountered these children feel that they may have been using some form of low-level mind control to get them to comply.
Experiences involving the black-eyed kids generally do not explain the cause of their eye color or the origins of the children themselves. Legend says that they might be the spirits of lost or murdered children. That they could be harbingers of ill will and personal doom. Or that they are aliens. The encounters emphasize that the children must be voluntarily admitted or invited into the house or car in question, and in this way are reminiscent of some vampire legends. However it is unspecified what happens should you comply with their demands as no reports of the black-eyed children have included that happening. At least, none we know of. Maybe it means the death of those that comply.

Next time you’re alone at home and a knock comes at the door, if you peek out your window and see kids standing on your porch and it is not Halloween, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t open that door. For they may be black-eyed children. What do you think?

Friday, May 02, 2014

Supernatural Friday: May Day

Beltane kicks off the merry month of May.  This fire festival is celebrated on May 1 (in the northern hemisphere) with bonfires, maypoles, dancing, and sexual energy. The Celts honored the fertility of the gods with gifts and offerings, sometimes including animal or human sacrifice.
Beltane festivities usually kicked off the night before with a big bonfire. The Maypole celebration usually took place shortly after sunrise the next morning. This was when couples (and probably more than a few surprised triads) came staggering in from the fields, clothes in disarray and straw in their hair after a night of bonfire-inspired lustiness. The pole was erected on the village green or common, or even a handy field. It would be thrust into the ground either permanently or on a temporary basis, with brightly colored ribbons attached. Young people danced around the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. Weaving in and out, men going one way and women the other, it created a sleeve of sorts -- the enveloping womb of the earth -- around the pole. By the time they were done, the Maypole was nearly invisible beneath a sheath of ribbons. I remember doing this in Sixth Grade at my school (though doubt it was for fertility reasons).

Beltane is traditionally a time when the veil between our world and of the Fae is thin. In most European folktales, the Fae kept to themselves unless they wanted something from their human neighbors.  In many stories, there are different types of faeries--like a class distinction, as most faerie stories divide them into peasants and aristocracy. 

Early Myths and Legends
In Ireland, one of the early races of conquerors was known as the Tuatha de Danaan, and they were considered mighty and powerful. It was believed that once the next wave of invaders arrived, the Tuatha went underground. In hiding from the Milesians, the Tuatha evolved into Ireland's faerie race. Typically, in Celtic legend and lore, the Fae are associated with magical underground caverns and springs -- it was believed that a traveler who went too far into one of these places would find himself in the Faerie realm.

Another way to access the world of the Fae was to find a secret entrance. These were typically guarded, but every once in a while an enterprising adventurer would find his way in. Often, he found upon leaving that more time had passed than he expected. In several tales, mortals who spend a day in the fairy realm find that seven years have passed in their own world.

Mischievous Faeries
In parts of England and Britain,  if a baby was ill, people believed that chances were good that it was not a human infant at all, but a changeling left by the Fae. This belief had them exposing the child on a hillside, so the Fae could come reclaim it. William Butler Yeats relates a Welsh version of this story in his poem, The Stolen Child. Parents of a new baby could keep their child safe from abduction by the Fae by using one of several simple charms: a wreath of oak and ivy kept faeries out of the house, as did iron or salt placed across the door step. Also, the father's shirt draped over the cradle supposedly kept the Fae from stealing the child.

In some stories, examples are given of how one can see a faerie. It is believed that a wash of marigold water rubbed around the eyes can give mortals the ability to spot the Fae. It is also believed that if you sit under a full moon in a grove that has trees of Ash, Oak and Thorn, the Fae would appear.

Are the Fae Just a Fairy Tale?
There are a few books that cite early cave paintings and even Etruscan carvings as evidence that people have believed in the Fae for thousands of years. However, faeries as we know them today didn’t really appear in literature until about the late 1300s. In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote that people used to believe in faeries a long time ago, but did not by the time the “Wife of Bath” tells her tale. Earlier cultures had encounters with a variety of spiritual beings, who fit into what 14th century writers considered the archetype of the Fae, but were they fairies?

So go out and celebrate spring, Beltane or whatever, it’s all about enjoying the flowers blooming and greenery returning to the earth, with summer close behind spring’s heels. 

Happy May!