Friday, June 16, 2017

Supernatural Friday: ReadaScare This Summer

The first day of summer will be here June 21st.  People are thinking of swimming at the pools while others will spend their vacation time at the beach or camping in the mountains. Others will get their thrills and scares on riding roller coasters at amusement parks. Lounging at the pool or at the beach, even camping, will be time for those to catch up on their reading. Many will read scary reads even though Halloween and autumn is over four months away. Horror books are as good a read for the beach or to read indoors in the AC as that latest bestseller by James Patterson. 

What is horror? Horror fiction, horror literature and horror fantasy is a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, scare or startle viewers/readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society. The genre has ancient origins which were reformulated in the 18th century as Gothic horror, with publication of the Castle of Otranto(1764) by Horace Walpole.

The reader can even revisit old classics. Like Dracula by Bram Stoker, H P. Lovecraft’s tales, those scary tales by Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson's ghost story, The Haunting of Hill House, and many others. Today, horror has changed into many different ways. From urban fantasy. psychological, to gory fiction to weird, science fiction horror, paranormal romance, and Johnny-come-lately term, cozy horror (can being scared ever be called cozy?). 
So many ways to give yourself shuddering palpitations of the heart.

So, what are you planning to read this summer? Leave a comment, so others can find these great reads in their local library, or at their bookstore or online estore.

Happy Haunting. . .I mean Reading! 


Monday, June 12, 2017

My Day at the Paracon at the Exchange 2017

Paracon at the Exchange happened this past Saturday, June 10th, at the Exchange Hotel Museum in Gordonsville, Virginia. One of the special guests were the Tennessee Wraith Chasers seen on Destination Truth channel. Luckily, the day was nice and not hot, not until closer to two o'clock. Bill and I got there about five after seven in the morning to set up the canopy and tables, Carol Smith and her husband about an hour and half later.  I sold books and paranormal World Seekers DVDs, plus Carol and I got a ghostly visitor by my EMF meter and ghost book, a soldier who died in the hotel used as a Civil War hospital during the War Between the States and was buried on the land). If you read my June 9th “Supernatural Friday” blog post about the Exchange Hotel Museum, 700 had died at that time in the hospital and were buried there. If you haven’t, plus like to know some of the ghost encounters there, use this link to go to this post.
Anyway, he gave us his name by the initials over the ghost box, D. and we thought E for the second one. He admitted to yes, coming from North Carolina, as we did learn earlier he was a Confederate. The EMF meter blinked hard all the lights for the name Dennis. Exchange people told us there were rosters of the names in a book up in a room on the second floor, so Carol and I went inside, did a slight investigation and took pictures on each floor. Carol found a man with D. L. for initials of the first and middle names, plus he came from North Carolina. Our man?
Voices came over my box I had on in that room. The names of Dave (this one was very loud and clear), White, and Julep was mentioned twice (though I wonder if it might not be Jubal, when I saw the name Jubal Early in a plaque (No, I did not think this was the Jubal Early, just another Jubal). Jubal was a name used back then.
In a room on the third floor—where the house faced the train tracks on the west side of the house—the Freedom Bureau Room, I got the name, Lou, from a deep male voice over the box, and my right elbow grew freezing cold three separate times, and yet the rest of me felt normal. I also felt something touch beneath my hair at the right side of my back, before a feeling of a big, fat worm moving along where my neck met my shoulders from right to the middle. I now suspected it was a finger, as I had Carol and a nice, young man lift my hair to check, and they did not find or see a worm or caterpillar. I was told later from the worker in the gift shop, it might have been “Cornbread,” a name given to one of the male slave spirits haunting that room. It was something he would do.
We packed up about 4:30 p.m. and Carol and her husband and Bill and me met at the BBQ Exchange nearby, enjoying great barbecue for dinner, before we parted and drove home.

If you missed this paracon, the next Paracon we know about, that will happen in Virginia will be at Ferry Plantation last Saturday in September.

Carol Smith and me with Destination Truth's Tennessee Wraith Chasers.

Carol sent me this-she found an orb by her sleeve. She circled it.  Plus I found rectangle (card shapes?) distortions on the pianoforte by the candlestick, where there were nothing like those in real time.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Supernatural Friday:: Ghosts of the Exchange Hotel Museum

The wealthy took to rising and enjoying the train. The idea of segregating cabins by class had been introduced in the 1840s. Unlike the rich, everyone else still had a miserable time using trains for traveling. Hospitality establishments known as exchange hotels began to spring up, catering to weary passengers, who needed somewhere to stay while they waited for trains to be refueled.
One of these exchange hotels was located in Gordonsville, Virginia, and nowadays is The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum. From 1860 to 1862, it served travelers in desperate need of a warm meal and a good night’s sleep. But from 1862 until the end of the Civil War, Union and Confederate soldiers were treated for battle wounds, or perished because of them, here, as it was used as a hospital, as many homes, hotels and other places had been used. It was during the Reconstruction Period, it became a healthcare and educational compound for freed slaves. Over time, it resumed its original function, until it became a complex for private homes in the 1940s. Historic Gordonsville, Inc. acquired it in 1971 and transformed it into a place where tourists check out the Civil War artifacts, learn some American history, and most of all, have ghostly encounters. 
A tavern operated where the Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum stands today. This lively pub was opened in the 1840s, about the time the Gordonsville Depot was built, serving as a great watering hole for thirsty travelers, until it burned down in 1859. Perhaps the hotel’s current roster of spirits includes those who perished in that unfortunate fire.
The depot serviced two major railways, The Alexandria & Orange Railroad and The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Thus, like the hotel, it also fell in the path of many Civil War battles. No wonder it too is believed to be haunted.  Many EVPs were recorded and several eerie shadows photographed in the building. I myself, in 2012, during Paracon at the exchange then, heard things when our guide took us inside there.
After the tavern’s demise, Richard F. Omohundro, the owner of the property at the time, decided that the next best thing to open on it was a hotel. The hotel included a three story main building and an older, two story dependent structure. The establishment is believed to be the work of master architect Benjamin F. Faulconer.
The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum drew in many travelers for two years.  But hotel operations were brought to an abrupt halt in March 1862 , and it received a new function: as the Gordonsville Receiving Hospital. Within just one year, over 23,000 sick and wounded were brought to it, and by the end of the Civil War, its total number of patients reached more than 70,000. 700 men would not be saved and had to “be buried on its surrounding grounds And we all know how many former Civil War hospitals are now haunted spots.
In January 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United States. Congress’s next step was to figure out what to do, and where these four million emancipated African-Americans should go. The Freedmen’s Bureau became established, where freed slaves, were provided food, housing and medical aid, established schools and offered legal assistance. The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum temporarily became a Freedmen’s Bureau hospital. In 2002, it was recognized as an African-American memorial site. This maybe why many spirits seen at the museum are African-American.
Strange occurrences, such as doors closing on their own and eerie orbs appearing suddenly in rooms, have led many employees to avoid night shifts at the museum. In its hotel days, guests also experienced spooky phenomena. They’ve awoken to screams and moans (perhaps of soldiers, enduring painful amputations in operation rooms), for instance. Others would encounter nurses, garbed in black, wandering the halls.
Today, one of the hotel’s most famous spirits is known as Anna, a slave and close friend of Margaret Crank, the second wife of one of the hotel’s early owners. Frequent sightings of Anna in the museum’s dependency, known as the Summer Kitchen, have made it a favorite for ghost hunters.
Anna the cook has been seen and recorded. When asked "What are you cooking Anna?" her response: "I cook fried chicken."
The museum has been featured in My Ghost Story on Biography ChannelAnna’s story was told on this television show. But other scary encounters experienced at the property included being pushed by invisible forces, hearing footsteps and loud banging, seeing shadows and strange lights, and so on. One woman had an especially frightful run-in with one of the museum’s most hostile spirits, Major Quartermaster Richards. According to local lore, Richards’ wife had been cheating on him with a surgeon. Upon discovering this betrayal, the Major took the poor woman into the woods, murdered her, then hung himself. Before taking his own life, he vowed to hold her spirit for eternity.
I will be there tomorrow at Paracon at the Exchange, selling my books and Paranormal World Seekers DVDs. Will I do a short investigation—with my ghost box? Stay tune…

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Supernatural Friday: The Devil Monkey Made Me Write This!

I’m going to blog about a Southern legendary monster, the devil monkey. No, it's not some little monkey you might see at the zoo, or with the organ grinder, tipping its hat for you to deposit coins in. Devil monkeys are described as baboon-like creatures able to leap like kangaroos. They have dark, “mean” eyes, pointed ears, short to shaggy fur that varies from red to gray to black, and large flat feet. Ranging in height from three to eight feet, it is said that they won’t back down, even from dogs, and although thought to be vegetarians, there are stories told of them killing livestock and small game. They exhibit a range of primate hoots, calls, screeches, whistles, and unearthly screams, and have an odor so bad, they have been also called Skunk Apes. It has been seen in the area of the Appalachian Mountains to even in British Columbia.

A cryptozoologist, Chad Arment, investigated the sightings of these creatures that one Virginia family and their friends had experiences with. This occurred from 1959 through the 1990s, in the mountains that surround Saltville.

Paranormal investigators Pauline and James Boyd’s parents were attacked in 1959 by a creature that left three scratch marks on their car. Not long after, a couple of nurses were driving home when an unknown animal attacked their vehicle, ripping the convertible’s top off. Badly shaken, they escaped otherwise unharmed. 

Friends of Pauline saw one of these creatures trotting across the road in front of their car. It leaped over a ditch, glided over a fence, and bounded through weeds along the road. 

Other sightings have occurred as recently as 2001, when a giant black monkey was seen nine different times over the course of two weeks in rural New Hampshire. It has even been told that a search party was formed to track one of these they thought was a devil monkey, but that the dogs refused to follow the trail.

Another beast, the "Belt Road Booger” was encountered by several people in Georgia in the 1970s. It was thought this might have been a devil monkey. The Nalusa Flaya of Choctaw legend bears a strong physical resemblance to the devil monkey, though the devil monkey does not appear to have any of the supernatural abilities attributed to this legendary monster.

What are these devil monkeys? Some people think devil monkeys are feral monkeys released into the wild or escaped from research facilities, such as the ones that broke free in Florida due to Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Cryptozoologists believe they are a surviving species once thought to be extinct, like a fruit-eating spider monkey originating from Brazil, or a large baboon that lived 650,000 years ago in East Africa. Maybe they could even be a sort of Sasquatch? Or could these beasties be nothing more than an illusion? Whatever the devil monkeys are, they are a fascinating tale to tell on Halloween around the hearth fire or around a campfire when you go camping in the mountains.

In 1996, a woman named Barbara Mullins was driving down a stretch of road in Louisiana known as Highway 12 when she noticed something odd on the side of the road. At first Mullins through the carcass she had found was that of a dog, that was until she saw its baboon like features. Mullins snapped several pictures of the carcass with her camera; the resulting images have been the topic of much debate in the cryptozoology world. The creature was described as about the size of a large adult Saint Bernard and covered with a thick coat of dark woolly hair. The most notable attribute was its decidedly simian found a website with the pictures and concluded myself it was nothing more than some dog, maybe gone feral. To me, there was nothing ape-like or monkey-like in the dead animal's appearance.

Was that a screech you heard in the night? Beware, it just might be the. . .devil monkey!