Monday, September 28, 2015

Superstitions About Death: Second Blog Siop of Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area

When I was writing Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area, I learned some interesting superstations about death, thanks to taking a ghost tour at Sutherland Tavern in Dinwiddie, Virginia, and Michelle Olger. In past centuries, before a burial of someone who passed away, wakes were held. A wake is when the body was laid out for two to five days. One day was needed to put out the call about the death, another couple of days for people to gather there, and a couple of more days were needed for viewing the body. Parlors in the past were where people placed their dead when “laid out.” They were called death rooms.  Not in morgues, as at that time, such places were not there yet. When morgues came into being and dead placed there, that is when parlors became living rooms.

Today, people bring flowers to give the families of the deceased. This, too, had to do with the body in the parlor. It began to smell, so placing many flowers in the parlor helped tone down the stench. Also, all clocks in the house were stopped, and any mirrors covered. Clocks were stopped at the hour of the death of the person laid out. Superstition had them believing that if they were not stopped, the living would have bad luck. There were also superstitions regarding mirrors: covering them wherever the dead were laid out was to prevent disembodied spirits from seeing their own reflections and never finding rest. Other reasons stated that mirrors should be covered so the soul of the departed wouldn’t get caught behind the glass and be unable to pass to the other side. There is one final belief that if the living saw their own reflection in a mirror while a body lay in the parlor, they would die soon after. The pallbearers carried the body out the front door feet first, so not to beckon any souls back into the house.

There are other interesting superstitions concerning death that I found and wrote about in the chapter for Sutherland Tavern:

It is bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on. If you see one approaching, turn around. If this is unavoidable, hold on to a button until the funeral cortege passes.
When a clap of thunder is heard following a burial, it is an indication that the soul of the departed has reached heaven.
Do not hold your breath while going by a graveyard, so you will not be buried.
If the deceased has lived a good life, flowers will bloom on his grave; but if he has been evil, only weeds will grow.
The odor of roses when no one is around indicates that someone will die.
Seeing yourself in a dream means that your death will follow.
If a sparrow lands on a piano, someone in the home will die.
A picture falling off a wall means that there will be a death of someone you know.
A single snowdrop growing in the garden foretells death.


What other traditions or superstitions do you know about death that I haven’t mentioned? Leave a comment about it, plus your name and email (so if you win, I can contact you after I draw the winner October 6th) to be entered to win a signed copy of my new book. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

First Stop of My Virtual Book Tour

I begin the virtual book tour of my new nonfiction ghost book release, Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area today by stopping at I Smell Sheep Reviews. Read about haunted or curse objects and leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of my book.

Tomorrow, the second stop will be here. And remember comment by October 6th, as the last stop on the tour will be Monday, October 5th.

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Online Blog Tour September 27-October 5, 2015

Sunday begins the blog tour for my new release, Paranormal Petersburg, and the Tri-Cities Area. The book is nonfiction, with haunted buildings, battlefields, and more in Petersburg and nearby Tri-Cities  and Chester in Virginia.  Leave a comment on any of them (includes mine on Tuesday), with your name and email and one winner will be drawn after August 6, 2015 for a signed copy of the book I will contact the winner then to get the snail mail so can mail it off to that person. 

List of the blogs for the tour: 

Supernatural Friday: Jack-O-Lantern-Truth and Folklore

Next Friday, there will be no Supernatural Friday, as I will be on a book tour for my new release, Paranormal Petersburg and the Tri-Cities Area, and stop on my log on Tuesday, September 28th, so come back then and leave a comment with your and email to be entered to win a signed copy of my book.  Next Friday, I will be stopping on Lela Markham's Blog

We carve jack-o-lanterns from pumpkins around Halloween. People carve monstrous faces the pumpkins wear friendly faces, or famous characters from movies, TV and books--like the stormtrooper one my husband carved in one of the craft pumpkin we bought a few years ago. And yes, you don't have to use the gourds you find at the supermarket or grown at pumpkin farms, you can use craft pumpkins found at craft stores, too. You can also paint pumpkins even. This is safer for children to do, rather than using carving implements. They can use their own paints to paint cool faces or by using stencils, faces or scenes on the flesh of the pumpkin.

This tradition of making a jack-o-lantern goes back long ago in Ireland. They used turnips then. The Irish carved these vegetables and left them on doorsteps to ward off evil spirits. But it did not become part of Halloween until 1866. That was in America, and not in Ireland or Britain. There is no documented proof to substantiate that the jack-o-lanterns were ever part of Halloween before this date.
There is folklore behind the jack-o-lantern. In one version of the story, Stingy Jack was a miserly old man who runs into the Devil. He asks if the Devil would turn into a coin he could use to pay some Christian villagers he owed. These that would be a great joke.

But Jack pocketed him. He had a cross in the pocket, too. The Devil was stuck, and the only way he would be freed was if he promise not to take Jack's soul when he dies. The Devil agreed to the deal and set free.

Jack finally passes away. His spirit tries to enter into Heaven, but the gates remain shut to him. There is too great of a stain on his soul for Heaven to allow him inside. And thanks to his agreement with the Devil, he discovers that he is barred from Hell, too. The Devil tosses him a turnip and an ember made from Hellfire.

“Take that turnip, dig all its insides out, and place the ember inside it. Use it as a lantern to find your way across the mortal world to find a resting place. That is all I will do for you. Good riddance.”

So with only the lantern to light his way, Jack wanders the earth and searches for a resting place. He never finds it. Jack became known as Jack-o'-Lantern.
There are other versions of this Irish tale, even an African-American one. One of those tales uses the Grim Reaper in place of the Devil, The Grim Reaper takes Jack's head to Hell with him. Jack uses a pumpkin to replace his head.

When you carve that pumpkin, and set a lighted candle or battery operated candle inside it, stand on your porch and watch the costumed children wandering the street. Think of Stingy Jack, doomed to roam the earth forever.

Will you take pity on him if he comes to your door?

You Can Preorder Nightmares and Echos II: The Return on Kindle That Contains My Story for 99 Cents Right Now!

Not in the print at this time, but you can preorder Nightmares and Echos II: The Return on Kindle-at 99 cents. It will be delivered to your Kindle October 16, 2015. This has my story, "Silence." Wanting some spooky tales for Halloween reading, this has eighteen. Mine is a ghost story set on Halloween. 

In Volume Two of Nightmares and Echoes we give you eighteen new short stories of horror ranging from the gory to the unsettling. Like last year’s offering, this collection spans the gamut of terror contributed from a variety of Indie Writers for the sole purpose of giving something back. Fifty percent of the proceeds from this collection will be donated to CAMP HOPE and ST JUDE’S.

                                        “Some Things Are Not So Easy to Forget."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Autumn is a Many-Colored Story

Autumn days come quickly, like the running of a hound on the moor. - Irish proverb

Autumn is  dressed up in her best gown of many colors, prepared to dance in celebration. ~ Pamela K. Kinney

Fall is almost here. On Wednesday, September 23, at 4:21 a.m. (EDT).   On the autumnal equinox, day and night are each about 12 hours long (in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days after the autumnal equinox).

The word equinox means "equal night." This occurs two times each year: Vernal in late March and Autumnal in late September. Another definition of fall is nights of below-freezing temperatures combined with days of temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So summer loving people, it does not mean pool weather. 

Some autumn folklore:
The sound of trees snapping and cracking in the autumn indicate dry weather.

If, in the fall of the leaves in October, many of them wither on the boughs and hang there, it betokens a frosty winter and much snow. Not so.  It more likely indicate that your area may not have enough rain and wind to shake those little buggers off.

It is said that spring rain damps and autumn rain soaks. No, as even n summer and winter, rain comes down hard or light. Same goes for fall and spring.

The autumn or fall season is the traditional harvest time for most Native American tribes, and autumn is associated with the corn goddess in many east coast tribes. Spiritually, autumn is considered a symbol of change in many North American tribes. The Pueblo Indians and some California tribes such as the Hupa hold special Autumn Dances as part of their tribal dance traditions, and the Hopi have traditionally considered autumn a favorable time of year for weddings.

Fox tale of why leaves turn in autumn:

At the beginning of the season of snow, just after the first fall of snow, three men hunted for game one early morning.  They trailed a bear in thick bush on a hillside. One of the men too of running into the brush.
"The bear is racing away towards the place of the noon day sun! Where the cold comes from." he shouted to his companions. 

Between all of them, they kept the bear fleeing. With them was the little dog owned bu one of the men, who went by the name, Hold-Tight of River-that-joins-Another. They say that after a while the first man who pursued the bear looked down at the ground. Green of the surface of the earth was below them. They all realized they had chased the bear up into the sky.
"O River-that-joins-Another, let us go back! We are being carried up into the sky!"

Keeping up the chase, they overtook the bear in the autumn and slew it. After they had slain it, they cut boughs of the oak and boughs of sumac, and laid the bear on top of the leaves. They flayed and cut up the bear; afterwards they slung and scattered the meat in every direction. Towards the coming of the morning they flung the head. It is said in the winter- when the morning is about to appear, some stars usually rise and that they came from the head of the bear. And the men flung his backbone towards the place of the morning. Stars huddled close together is said that they came from the backbone. 

These four stars in the lead were the bear, and the three stars at the rear were the men who hunted the bear, and between two of them is a tiny little star, the little dog, Hold-Tight of River-that-joins-Another. 

After that, every autumn the leaves of oaks and sumac redden because it the hunters had placed the bear on top of the leaves and cut it up, turning the leaves red from the blood.

What do you love about the season of autumn? Leave a comment.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Don't Buy a Cursed Box from an Antique Store

 With Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area having buildings full of antiques in Old Towne Petersburg, I thought cursed boxes might fit Supernatural Friday's bill today. Curse boxes are locked, wooden containers with sigils on the exterior. They are designed to contain the 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 releases all this evil upon the world, leaving only Hope behind.

In the fictional world of television, in 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 were 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 this year and a movie, The Possession, that came out in September, dybbuk box, or dibbuk box. Itis 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. "We don't want it." She said. She told him the box had been kept in her grandmother's sewing room and was never opened because a dybbuk was said to live inside it. On 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 that smells of cat urine or jasmine flowers and 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. 
When I went to eBay and put in the word, dybbuk box, four came up, including this one.

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

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, September 04, 2015

Supernatural Friday: Ghosts of Written Words

With my new nonfiction ghost book, Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area releasing September 28th, Supernatural Friday will be all about ghosts. Today is the first day and I am posting an original poem of mine, It is copyrighted to me, so please share the link to it to friends and relatives, and not the poem. Thank you. Have a spooktacular Supernatural Friday.

Ghosts of Written Words


Pamela K. Kinney

Ghosts made by written words,
Haunting, mist upon the pages
Forgotten dreams, or nightmares
Of authors' own imagination darkly,
Ghostly tales for autumn nights
Such stories full of chill,
Readers' own thrills...

ISBN: 9780764349423

Blurb for Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area:
Travel to Petersburg, Virginia, and the surrounding areas of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Prince George, Dinwiddie, and nearby Ettrick-Matoaca, Enon, and Chester to discover what spirits, monsters, UFOs, and legends await the unwary. Why are the Union and Confederate spirits still fighting the Civil War in the battlefields? Who is the lady in blue who haunts Weston Plantation House? Learn what the phantoms at Peter Jones Trading Post will do to keep from being photographed. Drink tea with runaway slaves still hiding on the top floor above the Blue Willow Tea Room. Are Edgar Allan Poe and his bride still on their honeymoon at Hiram Haines Coffee and Ale House? Why does the Goatman stalk young lovers? Meet the ghosts of Violet Bank Museum that greet guests at the house. Hauntingly active as they share space with the living, the dead refuse to give up their undead residency.

Preorder it at Schiffer Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million, plus yoir own independent bookstore.