Friday, May 26, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Weird and Bizarre Things in Virginia

Church of Spock--Illogical?
I'm a big Star Trek fan, and into anything to do with Trek, but one thing taking me aback, is this church called “The Spock.” It is a few miles south of Lynchburg in Campbell County, in the state of Virginia.
Founded in 1977, it was in a large and attractive octagonal building. It is said to be the world's only church of Star Trek, a religion centered on the popular 1960's television series, featuring the adventures of a crew of interstellar explorers. It promotes beliefs associated with one of the popular characters in the TV series, Mr. Spock. The ideology of the church is centered on so-called Vulcan philosophy which includes the belief in pure "logic" and which emphasizes a lifestyle devoid of emotion.
A huge stained-glass likeness of Mr. Spock is featured in the sanctuary. Churchgoers recite sequences of dialogue from the series and participate in what they call a "Holy Mind Meld." It is said that many of the members wear stick-on pointed ears like Spock has during services and at other church functions. Supposedly, in one case of excessive dedication to the "faith," one member attempted to have his ears surgically altered. There were disastrous results, requiring extensive corrective surgery.
"The Spock" is not without controversy, as reportedly in the late 1980's, disagreement arose within the church. This due to the lengths in which members should go in emulating the purely logical and emotionless Vulcan approach to life. Some of them advocated a reasonable degree of emotion, due to Spock’s half-human part. Though a core group of hard-line members were adamant to stick to the Vulcan ideology. The stricter view won.  Several members left the church, condemning the practices. One former member went so far as to publish a science fiction story based on his rigid and stifling upbringing in the faith, a story which concludes with the destruction of the Campbell County sanctuary by a "phaser" blast from an orbiting "starship" at his command.   

Troll in Lynchburg?
A question residents of that neighborhood have been asking for over two decades in the Windsor Hills subdivision of Lynchburg, "Is there something out there...some kind of presence," in their area. One person interviewed said they witnessed an "amorphous black specter that stirred up small whirlwinds of a dark vortex." It has also been described as a scampering, mischievous small creature of some sort, sometimes venturing out of the woods to tap on windows, tip over trash cans, while others claimed it has threatened them. One encounter tells of hearing a rustle, then in front of them was something that looked like a troll. Now it was hard to see, but they said it wore dark leather clothes and maybe even a leather cap, had a bare human-like face, and muttered to itself, breaking out occasionally with sounded like a laugh. It turned on them and brandished  a small knife. The people bolted. More than one witness has reported sensing a presence before actually encountering the creature, and they began to wonder if it possessed some form of telepathic powers. Legend of the mysterious resident of the woods has grown over the years, and neighborhood kids called it, "Rufus." As one former Windsor Hills resident summed it up "I never believed in that kind of thing until I saw it with my own eyes."

A Sort of Area 51 in Virginia?
Supposedly in the Shenandoah Valley is "Valleyville," considered by those as Virginia's own twist on the legendary "Area 51." Like its famous counterpart, Valleyville is an off-limits region where only access roads are gated and guarded, the perimeter is electronically sealed and monitored, and its existence is denied by the government. Unlike Area 51, Valleyville serves an entirely different purpose. There are no runways at Valleyville and no top-secret aircraft being tested in the middle of the night. No pieces of UFO wreckage or frozen alien corpses hidden there. Valleyville is by all outward appearances a town tucked away in a nook-and-cranny of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. There is no vantage point in Valleyville from which another town or even a road can be seen.
What is the purpose of Valleyville? No one really can say. A Charlottesville newspaper in 1994 hired former Navy Seal Peter McGowan to infiltrate Valleyville and uncover its secrets, but after acknowledging initial entry, radio contact was broken and McGowan was never heard from again. Efforts are ongoing to bring down the shroud of secrecy surrounding the town.
My thoughts on this? Obviously, someone should be putting their talents to writing a novel about this—sounds like fiction to me.

Catch Me at the Science Fiction Yard Sale May 27, 2017 in Virginia Beach, Virginia

I'll be at the Starfleet Atlantic Science Fiction Yard Sale tomorrow, May 27, 2017, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, selling and signing my books and some of the Paranormal World Seekers DVDs. These will be at their regular prices.

I will also have some used books, a giant-sized adult coloring book never colored inside, plus some other things at yard sale prices. I will even have an Alien: Covenant poster for sale.

The address, plus phone number for directions and more is below. There will be other vendors there too, including other authors. All selling things to do with science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Rain date is June 3rd and it that happens, I won't be there due to other commitments, but the last news I had, the storm isn't hitting until after the yard sale.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Supernatural Friday: You Can Build A Place Anyway You Want, but Can It Be Haunted, Or Just Weird?

It can be fascinating, but it can be strange too. Most homes are built of lumber and brick. But others are made most differently. Some even are haunted.

Like a house of tombstones. Like the one in Petersburg,Virginia that is in Paranormal Petersburg, Virginia, and the Tri-Cities Area  from Schiffer Publishing. It was built in the 1930s, using tombstones from the Poplar Civil War Cemetery. This house’s exterior walls are fashioned from the 2000 marble tombstones of Union soldiers killed during the Siege of Petersburg. Sixty thousand people were killed during the siege, which lasted ten months during 1864-65.

To save money, the city sold these tombstones to the builder, O. E. Young, for forty-five dollars. The ones used to build the house were put in facing inwards, and then Young plastered over the inscriptions. He even made the walkway out of the tombstones too, facing down. Wooden markers were placed upon the graves at Poplar Grove at first. But wood is not a very durable material and the weather destroyed them over a couple of years. In 1873 the government replaced them with marble ones. The soldiers’ names, states, and ranks were inscribed upon these new markers. Poplar Grove is the only cemetery in a national park where the tombstones lie flat. Besides being creepy enough to live in a hose of gravestones, the place is also haunted. To find out more about that, you have to buy Haunted Richmond II, to find out by whom or what.

Though this is the only place made of markers from graves I found, other materials a builder wouldn’t think of using nor ally, are used to build buildings. 

The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple in Thailand is constructed from a million glass beer bottles. Decorative mosaics at the temple are constructed from beer bottle lids. The mixture of brown and green glass allowed the incorporation of intricate patterns within the temple’s walls. Since the walls are colored glass they allow for privacy but also a beautiful but diffuse light to spread throughout the buildings.
The monks who built the temple wished to highlight the wasteful nature of consumption and the possibility of reclaiming beauty from rubbish. Since glass is rather too brittle to make a complete structure, the temple does have a concrete core to support its weight.

Not beer bottles, but made of more than 50,000 beer cans adorn John Milkovisch’s Houston home in Texas.  It also includes bottle caps, bottles and other beer paraphernalia. The project began in 1968 when Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer was tired of mowing grass and covered his front and back yards with concrete, inlaying thousands of marbles, rocks and other glittery items to create a unique lawn.

He then turned to the house and began decorating it with flattened beer cans, covering the walls and roof, and even creating beer-can wind chimes. 
Garlands made of cut beer cans hanging from the roof edges not only made the house sing in the wind, but also lowered the family's energy bills.Today the Beer Can House is a museum. Find out more on how you can visit it at

It was in RockportMassachusetts, in 1922 that mechanical engineer Elias F. Stenman constructed his two-room home, planning to insulate it with newspaper. Before long, he made the entire house out of paper, and two years and 215 layers of newspaper later, he moved in. At that, he went on to make all of the home’s furnishings — including the desk and the piano — out of newspaper as well. He worked on the project until his death in 1942. Although the frame, floor and roof are made of wood, the rest of the home is composed entirely of newspaper, all donated by Stenman’s friends and family. Although the Paper House is completely sturdy, it does need to be revarnished every few years to keep it well-preserved. Of course, you can visit it. You can learn more at

In the southern part of Virginia, actually in Hillsville, there’s a house made up of all things, bottles. In 1941, pharmacist John “Doc” Hope commissioned a builder to build for his daughter a playhouse made out of bottles. Glass containers that had contained castor oil to soda pop were used in construction of this place. But unlike most children’s playhouses, this one stretched from fifteen to twenty-five feet.

Nicknamed the “House of a Thousand Headaches” due to the wine bottles also used in its construction, unlike many homes today, this one has stood the test of time. It is said that unlike other homes made of bottles in the world, this one had all its bottles arranged backwards, making the inner walls green. Green bottles form an "H" pattern (for Hope) on one of the side walls. There is also a blue bottle chandelier. 

Icehotel is the world’s first hotel made of ice and snow. It was founded in 1989, and is reborn in a new guise every winter, in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi – 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Yngve Bergqvist, that later founded Icehotel, got an idea. Inspired by the Japanese ice sculpting tradition and with the help of two professional ice sculptors from Japan as instructors; he invited artists to attend a workshop in Jukkasjärvi in 1989. This marked the start of a more than two decade long journey with the Torne River- the world’s first hotel made of ice and snow. Want to stay here for your next vacation? Check out their website for more information:

The Winchester House was built to placate the spirits, build in a most unusual way. 

On September 30, 1862, at the height of the Civil War, William Wirt Winchester and Sarah Pardee had gotten married in a wedding ceremony in New Haven, Connicut.
Four years later, Sarah’s daughter contracted an illness known as "marasmus", a children’s disease in which the body wastes away, and died on July 24. Shattered by this, she withdrew into herself and teetered on the edge of madness for some time. It would be nearly a decade before she returned to her normal self, but she and William never had a another child.

Not long after Sarah returned to her family and home, another tragedy struck. William, now heir to the Winchester empire, was struck down with pulmonary tuberculosis and died March 7, 1881.  Sarah inherited over $20 million dollars, an incredible sum, especially in those days. She also received 48.9 percent of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and an income of about $1000 per day, which wasn’t taxable until 1913.
Sarah grieved deeply, not only for her husband, but also for her lost child. A short time later, a friend suggested that Sarah might speak to a Spiritualist medium about her loss. "Your husband is here," the medium told her and then went on to provide a description of William Winchester. "He says for me to tell you that there is a curse on your family, which took the life of he and your child. It will soon take you too. It is a curse that has resulted from the terrible weapon created by the Winchester family. Thousands of persons have died because of it and their spirits are now seeking vengeance."

The medium told Sarah to sell her property in New Haven and head out west. She would be guided by her husband and when she found her new home in the west, she would recognize it.  "You must start a new life," said the medium. "Build a home for yourself and for the spirits who have fallen from this weapon. You can never stop building the house. If you continue building, you will live. Stop and you will die."
Shortly after the seance, Believing that she was guided by the hand of her dead husband, she didn’t stop traveling until she reached the Santa Clara Valley in 1884. Here, she found a six-room home under construction belonging to a Dr. Caldwell. She negotiated with him and got him to sell her the house and the 162 acres it stood on.  She tossed away any previous plans for the house and started building whatever she chose to. She had her pick of local workers and craftsmen and for the next 36 years, they built and rebuilt, altered and changed and constructed and demolished one section of the house after another. She kept 22 carpenters at work, year around, 24 hours each day. 
As the house grew to include 26 rooms, railroad cars were switched onto a nearby line to bring building materials and imported furnishings to the house. The house was rapidly growing and expanding and while Sarah claimed to have no master plan for the structure, she met each morning with her foreman and they would go over her hand-sketched plans for the day’s work. The plans were often chaotic but showed a real flair for building. Sometimes though, they would not work out the right way, but Sarah always had a quick solution. If this happened, they would just build another room around an existing one.
The house continued to grow and by 1906, it had reached a towering seven stories tall. Sarah continued and expansion of the house, while living in solitude with only her servants, the workmen and, of course, the ghosts. It was said that on sleepless nights, when she was not communing with the spirit world about the designs for the house, Sarah would play her grand piano into the early hours of the morning. According to legend, the piano would be admired by passers-by on the street outside, even though two of the keys were badly out of tune.

The most tragic event occurred within the house when the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 struck. When it was all over, portions of the Winchester Mansion were nearly in ruins. The top three floors of the house had collapsed into the gardens and would never be rebuilt. In addition, the fireplace that was in the Daisy Room (where Mrs. Winchester slept the night of the earthquake) collapsed, shifting the room and trapping Sarah inside. She became convinced that the earthquake had been a sign from the spirits who were furious that she had nearly completed the house. She boarded up the front thirty rooms of the mansion so that the construction wouldn’t be complete - and also so that the spirits who fell when portion of the house collapsed would be trapped inside forever.
The workmen toiled to repair the damage done by the earthquake, although the mammoth structure fared far better than most of the buildings in the area. A few of the rooms had been badly harmed, although it had lost the highest floors, and several cupolas and towers had toppled over. The expansion on the house began once more. The number of bedrooms increased from 15 to 20 and on to 25. Chimneys were installed all over the place, although strangely, they served no purpose. Some believe that perhaps they were added because the old stories say that ghosts like to appear and disappear through them. On a related note, it has also been documented that they only installed two mirrors in the house, because Sarah believed the phantoms to be afraid of their own reflections.
On September 4, 1922, after a conference session with the spirits in the seance room, Sarah went to her bedroom for the night. In the early morning hours, she died in her sleep at the age of 83. Her possessions left to her niece, Frances Marriot, who had been handling most of Sarah’s business affairs for some time.  Little did anyone know, but by this time, Sarah’s large bank account had dwindled considerably. Rumor had it that somewhere in the house was hidden a safe containing a fortune in jewelry and a solid-gold dinner service with which Sarah had entertained her ghostly guests. Her relatives forced open several safes but found only old fish lines, socks, newspaper clippings about her daughter’s and her husband’s deaths, a lock of baby hair, and a suit of woolen underwear. They never found the solid gold dinner service.
The furnishings, personal belongings and surplus construction and decorative materials removed from the house, the structure iwas sold to a group of investors who planned to use it as a tourist attraction. One of the first to see the place when it opened to the public was Robert L. Ripley, who featured the house in his popular column, "Believe it or Not." Initially advertised as being 148 rooms, but so confusing was the floor plan that every time a room count was taken, a different total came up. The story said that the workmen took more than six weeks just to get the furniture out of it and the moving men became lost because it was a "labyrinth." told to the American Weekly, in 1928. The rooms of the house were counted over and over again and five years later, the counters estimated that 160 rooms existed, although no one is sure if even that is correct. Today, the house has been declared a California Historical Landmark and is registered with the National Park Service as "a large, odd dwelling with an unknown number of rooms."

There is the Trapezium House is located at 15 West Bank Street in Petersburg. It is like the Winchester House in California, it too was built by Charles O'Hara in 1817 with ghosts in mind. but on a much smaller scale.
The legend concerning the house incorporated his West Indian servant’s beliefs that a trapezoid-shaped building would ward off ghosts and evil spirits. The workmen must have thought him loony when he had them build it. 
Charles O’Hara left Ireland at the age of nineteen and immigrated to the West Indies while amassing a large fortune. History does not record the reason why he came to Petersburg, or even how many West Indian servants came with him. It is known that he did bring a West Indian woman named Jinsie Snow with him. It is she who is believed to have told him to build the unusual house.
With no right angles and no parallel walls, the stair steps to the upper floors are set at odd angles with the wall. There is supposedly only one room on the first floor and two rooms each on the other two floors. The interior is elongated, which could be an accident of the house’s irregular shape or a deliberate plan. The windows, fireplace and staircase are all off center. There is only one door in the front. The oddest feature is that the cellar where the cooking had been done could only be reached by a trapdoor under the stairwell. The ceiling is only four feet high which must have made it difficult for anyone over that height to walk around.
O’Hara dressed up in a full British uniform and would sit on the front porch on important English and Irish holidays. This is most peculiar as it is said that the man never served in the military, so why the uniform? Because of this, he became known as “the General.”
He only lived on the first floor and never swept or cleaned the floor. The house earned the nickname, “Rat Castle.” Not just because of the obvious mess, but because he also kept rats along with parrots and monkeys
When he died, some people being nice, took up a collection to mark his grave as the state got his fortune and the house. A tombstone with a harp as a symbol of Ireland marks his grave at Blandford Cemetery on Cockade Avenue. I found his grave and the stone at Blandford on Monday, June 9, 2014. It lies at the corner of Cockade Avenue and Crater Road.

These are just  a few of places built from unusual materials and not the normal wood or brick. Though some weird places were built with wood or brick. Google to see if any are near where you live. They may even have ghosts, or a curse.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Author Appearance at Galacticon, May 20, 2017, in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Find me at Galacticon this upcoming Saturday, May 20th, fro 10:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.  The one-day mini convention will be held at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd,
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452. Library's phone: 757-385-0150.

As part of Paranormal World Seekers, we will be doing a panel: Paranormal Evidence: Is it Valid? A debate on the Paranormal

Friday, May 12, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Mother's Day

Mother’s Day—the day Mom is celebrated for taking care of us the rest of the year. Before you take her out for breakfast or Sunday brunch, before you rush to the stores to buy her that special gift, before you take her out to an event or the movies, the celebration of Mom began with ancient myths connected.
Ancient myths say that Greeks and Romans celebrated Mother's Day by honoring Goddess Cybele, personifying Great Mother Earth and Goddess of fertility, and Rhea, mother of the Gods. In 250 B.C., ancient Romans celebrated a spring festival called Hilaria. This was dedicated to a mother goddess named, Cybele, on the Ides of March. Her followers would make offerings at the temple, hold parades, play games and also have masquerades. It lasted three days.
Social activist Julia Ward Howe thought the idea of a day centering on mothers to the United States after the Civil War. But her idea was much different from the flowers-and-hugs we connect with Mom. Howe wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation and envisioned a Mother's Day for Peace, in which women would protested against war. Some groups still observe the holiday like this, one of the most famous being a huge crowd of women who gathered outside the Lawrence Livermore Library at the University of California in 1982 to protest nuclear weapons.
The Mother's Day we celebrate today was started by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s. She got Congress to recognize the day, founded the Mother's Day International Association and even trademarked the phrase "Mother's Day." She was inspired by her own mother, who called for Mother’s Work Days, for improvement on conditions of soldiers on both side of the Civil War. Interestingly, a decade after she got it recognized, Ann Jarvis came to despise it for commercialization, even was arrested in 1948 for protesting for its demise.
Today, Mother's Day is the third most popular holiday in the world, second to only Christmas and Easter. Pink and red carnations are given to mother’s that are still alive, while white ones are for those that have passed away. And the single carnation is the traditional gift most given. There had been a study to determine why mothers loved getting flowers. Conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, she concluded that flowers affect human behavior, making people feel more compassionate toward others and happier in general when fresh-cut blooms are around.
What are you doing for Mom this Mother’s Day?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Author Appearance at Galacticon and Science Fiction Yard Sale, Both on Virginia Beach, Virginia

Find me at both Galacticon May 20th, and at the Starfleet Atlantic Science Fiction Yard Sale May 27th (raindate June3rd-if happens, I won't be at this on this date). Both are free and open to the public. 

Galacticon (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.): Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452. Library's  Phone: 757-385-0150. Location map:

Science Fiction Yard Sale (9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.): 4844 Linshaw Lane (Haygood/Aragona Village Area), Virginia Beach, Virginia 23445. (Phone for information and directions, plus if want to sel there-it's $5.00 for a spot): 757-499-2359. Info on flyers below.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Original Poem: A Ghost By Any Other Name is a GHOST!

A Ghost By Any Other Name is a GHOST!
Pamela K. Kinney
(this poem is copyrighted, so just share the link please if you want people to read it).

Slithering through the ether
A breath of cool breeze,
Or something else.
It haunts corners of deserted buildings
A lost soul, or demonic thing.
Sometimes, they are like radio,
Repeating endlessly over and over.
Other times, they communicate.
Move objects and appear to us.
Ghosts, specters, phantoms,
Orbs, apparitions, reverent,
Haunt, shade, shadow person,
So many descriptions, so many names.
Doesn’t matter;
Haunting is what they do!