Two years ago, I wrote about Corpsewood Manor and the murders which took place at this now-rumored-to-be-haunted site. I honestly never intended my brief synopsis to become a spark of heated debate. But it remains the one post here on Spooked! which receives the most comments. And most of them are not very positive. Nevermind the fact that two people lost their lives in a double homicide at the northern Georgia site. Everyone wants to talk about whether or not they were "homosexual demon worshipers" and second-hand information reinforcing that claim.
There has never been any evidence that Scudder and Odom were ever in direct cohorts with Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan, but people still carry on about it. They also carry on about the "artifacts" housed in the home as direct evidence of these men being "evil and wicked" creatures. I hear so many rumors. I'm surprised I never heard someone claim that they roasted babies over a fire, but someone will probably suggest it at some point. As someone who knows a bit about a variety of religions (and possesses various objects which could probably be misconstrued to mean that I was a "devil worshiper") I'm not very impressed by the stream of ignorance I read. But when a paranormal organization takes this to an ignorant extreme, it makes my blood boil.
This is the case with Paranormal Task Force, a Missouri-based investigation team with (as they claim) a "well formulated, balanced tactical approach to paranormal investigations and research." There is an article on the website written by the president, Greg Myers, entitled 'Corpsewood Manor: A Pandora's Box Waiting to be Opened' that honestly left me dumbstruck and beyond mildly annoyed. It revolves around an individual who contacted PTF about a box he would soon be in possession of containing personal belongings from Scudder and Odom once housed at Corpsewood Manor. An exciting find for anyone fascinated by the case, haunted locations, or historical memorabilia... but the overall tone of the article bothered me:
The person contacting us had actually met Dr. Scudder many years ago while in the Chicago area through an association with the doctor’s son. Dr. Scudder’s mansion was clad with decor from a darker side of faith which included elegant stained glass windows with demonic representation, a library containing ancient books (some possibly bound with human skin), rooms with red velvet lined walls, a bed encrusted with carved satanic faces and emblems made during the renaissance era in Italy, a very valuable golden harp, and a variety of other ritualistic items representing a faith and belief in the darker realms.
Let's start with "a darker side of faith." That statement alone bothers me along with its implications. "Demonic representations" is a vague term concerning the stained glass. If it meant horned beings, a plethora of religions and cultures have contained such creatures, and not always in an evil sense. "Ancient books... possibly bound in human skin"? Give me a break! I know the movie Hocus Pocus involved a book of spells "bound in human skin" but this is the stuff of legend. Real witches or Satanists don't possess such things. And since when did red velvet on walls become a crime (unless it's a fashion faux pas)? Then we come to the Italian Renaissance bed. Someone seriously needs to brush up on his Renaissance art and understand it was common to depict scenes of heaven and hell (although surviving photographs taken of the bedroom show it was not, in fact, a peculiar bed). As for the harp, Scudder was a harpist and did possess a valuable gold harp, but last I checked harps weren't viewed as evil. The fact is that Scudder was a collector of artifacts of all religions and early civilizations. The skull found on his desk was said to belong to a Catholic saint.
But we haven't even gotten to the best part yet. After a few more paragraphs of misinformation and propaganda painting these two people as wicked, wicked meanies and a warped synopsis of the "cold-blooded doubled [sic] murders", we get to the important part:
I talked to the individual who was expecting the box of relics and learned that the items were still sealed in the box they had originally been stored in... I learned, too, that “power” could be felt radiating from the sealed box. All this information led me to realize that given these items known history with Dr. Scudder they did not need to be studied or handled by anyone. I was convinced that they potentially were some sort of key connecting one’s soul to a darker element...
As such, in closing, I recommended to this person that the items should be left in the box they came in, bound with a cross, and then dropped in the middle of a very deep river or body of flowing water. This was the same advice that a prominent demonoligist and paranormal researcher initially gave when I contacted him on this odd situation. Being the oversized Pandora's Box that I believe this situation is, I would further recommend that an actual rite of exorcism and/or other blessings and rituals of a positive or good nature be performed upon the entire property and ruins where Corpsewood Manor stood.
What? Dump it in a river? Are you kidding me? Someone's been watching too much Jumanji. These are items from a famous murder scene, some of which are likely antiques or other ancient artifacts of great historical value. And because someone "senses power" from them and people believe Scudder was a Satanist they should just be thrown into a lake??? This is what bothers me about so many paranormal groups: an utter lack of common sense and respect for historical objects. When dealing with the paranormal, the idea is to keep an open mind. That isn't limited to supernatural phenomena. If you have a client who is Wiccan you don't throw holy water on them and try to cast out the demon. Right? I sure hope so.
I am also insulted by his use of a Twain quote at the end. Mark Twain was one of the great satirists of all time and to take his words out of context is ultimate blasphemy. So to balance this I feel the urge to quote from Mark Twain's Autobiography: "I have always felt friendly toward Satan. Of course that is ancestral; it must be in the blood, for I could not have originated it." But even in closing, Myers continues the misinformation. he directs people to two websites for further explanation of "Spiritual Satanism", one hosted by angelfire.com and the other on freewebs.com. For those of you interested in a RESPECTABLE source, I recommend religioustolerance.org. In reality, what is often called Satanism doesn't involve demons or a devil or anything of the sort. From these definitions, I concluded there there is a chance Scudder practiced "Satanic Dabbling" but also a possibility he may have practiced some form of Neo-Pagan religion such as Wicca.
Let's not forget that the Corpsewood murders were part botched robbery, part hate crime. Two men died unjustly that fateful day and as a society we should not attempt to condone murder by implying that anyone deserves to die. I am truly disappointed when a paranormal group apparently appears in any manner to force their belief system upon other people. I sincerely hope whoever was in possession of these items ignored the advice given and at the very least passed the things on to another individual who would respect them and not toss them into the trash or the nearest river. Objects shouldn't be destroyed, but ignorant and reckless words should.
(**While the above quotations were taken from "copyrighted material" the use on this blog falls under the Fair Use doctrine of copyright law.**)