Monday, March 31, 2008

Supernatural Spotlight: Antonio R. Garcez

I don't have a single drop of Native American blood coursing through my veins. That does not mean I'm not extremely curious about the myths, lore, and history surrounding the early civilizations of the Americas. And oddly enough, I've had a few unexplainable experiences involving Native spirits during my life... experiences which still sometimes haunt me to this day.

In our modern times, the Eastern Woodland tribes of the Midwest are a distant memory. We are left with a few artifacts (arrowheads, mounds, and sparse monuments) acknowledging their existence in the region over thousands of years. The few whom were left were forced West in the early 1800s and late 1700s. Some descendants still can be found in the Southwest, though much of the original cultures are forgotten.

A few years ago, I stumbled across Antonio Garcez's website while browsing paranormal topics. It was sheer coincidence that someone mentioned his name and recommended his work. I bookmarked his site and ventured on with my research, soon forgetting the page in my hundreds of saved links.

Many months later, an email from the author reawakened my intrigue. He combines two of my favorite topics: Native American history and the paranormal. His books reveal hints of "entities" throughout Colorado, New Mexico, and other scenic, arid areas of the United States. On a backdrop of adobe homes and graceful canyons, the spirit world comes alive once more.

Not only is his website beautifully designed, but his work is truly outstanding. Before he came along, most books dealing with "ghost towns" failed to mention the supernatural aspects of these places. Starting in New Mexico, he began scouring the Southwest in search of ghosts. He spoke with regular people and discovered a fount of tales and plans to embark on further explorations around the country. There is even talk of television and film work based on his writing.

I have to admire the mavericks of the world who blaze new trails in the paranormal community. People like Garcez keep the field interesting...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Wanderer Returns...

It was a good weekend, but a long one. I'm still feeling worn out, but I'll be back to normal tomorrow. So much to catch up on... and I'm too tired and sore to do it now!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ghouls and Goals...

When most people think of England, two things come to mind: ghosts and football.

(No, not that "American football"... normal football (i.e. soccer). You know, what the rest of the globe calls football? The sport that actually involves your feet?)

Among England's many football leagues and teams is Arsenal, part of the Premier League. Their goalkeeper, Spaniard Manuel Almunia, recently received special permission to return to his Hertfordshire home for lunch with his wife in Abbots Langley. Ana doesn't like being home alone.

Apparently, their house is haunted.

She has heard chains rattling and witnessed the stereo volume changing on its own. The most terrifying experience occurred one night when the figure of a monk carrying a candle appeared at the foot of their bed.

The couple believes the home was built on the original location of Leavesden Hospital. This mental institution was constructed in 1867 and was mostly demolished in 1995. Only the administrative block, recreation hall, and chapel remain.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Bigfoot of the Bush?

The creature often known as "Bigfoot" goes by many names. In the United States, it is often referred to as Sasquatch in the North and Skunk Ape in the South. In the Himalayas, the Yeti.

But what about Yowie?

Yes: on the remote island of Australia, there have been reports of the same enigmatic beast. There, he is commonly referred to as the Yowie. And like anywhere else in the world, the tales are often met with skepticism and plenty of humour. Yet much of the Australian Outback is still uncharted. Many beasts once believed to be extinct (or yet to be discovered) could roam the countryside.

According to researchers, Oz is home to two distinct species of Yowie: a smaller, more docile 'jingera' of Aboriginal legend, and a gigantic, aggressive counterpart. The basic description remains the same: large, hairy, ape-like humanoid creatures with immense strength and horrid body odor. A few reports from the 1800s exist, and people have reported seeing an ape-like creature as recently as last year. The boys at Australian Yowie Research do their best to keep track of sightings and evidence in an effort to prove its existence.

In 1997, Cadbury began marketing Yowies... or at least a line of collectible, cute tins of chocolate resembling the legendary animal (personally, I'm partial to Crunchies... though I'm normally not crazy about Cadbury chocolate). They are, in fact, still collected today though they were discontinued in 2005. While the Yowie remains a cultural icon, it is still an almost comical idea in the minds of most Aussies.

But who knows. Concrete evidence could be near a billabong somewhere, just waiting to be discovered...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Paranormal Investigators: We Know Drama

Many people watch shows like Ghost Hunters and think, "Gosh, that looks like fun! getting together with people, investigating ghosts, having fun... I want to do that too!"

I really wish that were the case.

Yes, investigating hauntings can be fun, rewarding, and sometimes even a bit lucrative. But just as with any hobby or career, it has plenty of pitfalls.

Media, be it print or television, isn't always a blessing. Some reporters misconstrue words and twist storylines to follow their own private agenda. Occasionally, journalists will appear to have the best intentions, but once the story is published it has a negative stance. Reporters will make mistakes. They will use hype to over-dramatize statements, evidence, or tales. It comes with the territory... after all, ratings and good reviews can mean the difference between a feature story and being sent into a hurricane miles away, never to be seen again. There are plenty of decent, well-respected reporters in the world, but that doesn't mean they're all of good character.

Then you have the curious: the visitors and trespassers eager to catch a glimpse of something. In an effort to experience something, some bystanders can get in the way, ruining audio and video with too much "noise" or interfering with serious work. Then you have to contend with the authorities, who won't necessarily believe that you haven't voluntarily brought your own entourage. Some less-than-polite people will take souvenirs or leave marks to show their presence at a location. Ultimately, these actions can terminate any possible work... sometimes permanently. If law enforcement officials or owners feel the property or location is becoming threatened, no one may be allowed to return... even the serious investigators.

Some of the worst damage comes from within. Fellow investigators and group members. Many people may not fully understand the politics involved in most organizations of this nature. People become power-hungry. Disagreements lead to fights and coups. Fairness is forsaken for greed. People want to be equal while dictating demands to everyone else. Feelings get hurt. Feuds break out. Internal struggles tear apart groups and cause people to forget why they do what they are doing. People fail to work as a team... to work together toward a common goal.

Over the last 13 years, I've experiences each of these. Some of them I still experience. This doesn't mean that everyone involved in the world of the supernatural will have issues and problems. If you genuinely are interested in ghosts and aren't out for personal gain or glory, you will do fine. caution is a wise stance to have, both in dealing with the living and the dead. And, of course, a sense of humor can save you from most negative situations.

If you're not in it for the fun, excitement, and satisfaction that comes with hard work, then you just might be in the wrong line of work...

Dead and Breakfast

When a building is haunted, most people try their best to ignore or deny the presences.

Not Goodwin House Bed & Breakfast in Burton, Ohio. They welcome the spirits. And don't mind talking about them.

This 1828 house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built by Dr. Erastus Goodwin and most of the structure remains original, right down to the woodwork and foundation. The innkeepers quarters may date back as far as 1814. A few guests and paranormal investigators have reported unusual experiences, especially in the dining room. Robyn Morris, the innkeeper, heard her name called by an unknown person.

Of course, there are a few other hauntings in town. At least one spirit ("Peter") is said to haunt Full Spectrum Art Studio. Burton Fox Inn, a former restaurant and boarding house in the southwest corner of Burton Square, is haunted by a little boy named "Charlie". Belle's Colonial Restaurant has been plagued by mysterious footsteps.

The Goodwin House, along with several other local haunts, will once again be a stop for the "Ghosts of Burton Historical Tour" on October 18th and 25th, so mark your calendars! Last year, the tour sold out so if you're interested be sure to reserve tickets as soon as they're available! The cost of the tour is $18 for adults. Call (440) 834-5050, email, or visit

Pretty Fly for a Dead Guy...

Zack Dunlap of Fredrick, Kansas has a bit of trouble with his memory. Most people might consider that odd for a 21-year-old.

But most young adults haven't been dead before.

On November 19th, Zack was involved in a serious accident involving an all-terrain vehicle. He was taken to the hospital, but after his heart and brain ceased functioning, he was declared dead. Family members went to pay their last respects before his organs were donated.

But he moved.

48 days later, he was released from the hospital. He doesn't remember the accident or much else, but he can recall hearing the doctors announce his expiration.

Doctors say it may take at least a year for his brain to repair itself after the trauma, but the Dunlap family doesn't mind the necessary patience.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Look into My Eyes...

Not just your average hypnotic suggestion...

Jeepers Creepers, Where'd You Get Those Peepers?

Over the past decade or more, stories of particularly strange encounters with not-quite-human people have been whispered around the globe.

The storytellers are very diverse: a bank executive in Sydney, Australia elevator; a couple at a rest area in Michigan; a Portland, Oregon apartment manager; an anonymous Starbucks customer in an undisclosed location; and most-surprisingly a newspaper reporter in Abilene, Texas.

To the casual observer, the individuals they met or saw wouldn't seem very unusual. Though upon closer inspection, they all had one very odd thing in common: their eyes. They were pure blackness, lacking a pupil or iris.

Websites often refer to these people as BEKs (short for "black eyed kids"). Generally, they are children, between 10 and 18, and are entreating entrance. Be it a ride in a car or coming inside a home or apartment to borrow the phone, they generally grow impatient if denied. Witnesses have noticed a strange, uncomfortable feeling around them... even compulsion, as if under hypnosis.

But who are they? Several theories exist, from the mundane "people wearing black contact lenses" to the obscure, more paranormal "alien hybrids", "demons", and "vampires". The fact that they cannot enter a vehicle or dwelling without the owner's permission lends credence to the similarities with vampire legends. Whatever they are, the people who have reported the encounters have been terrified and shaken by their experiences.

Are they real? Many people say that it's simply an urban legend. Indeed, there is no evidence backing up these stories, which makes them difficult to prove. They were all chance encounters, usually without other people present. No photographs were taken. No traces were left behind.

The most credible encounter was that of Brian Bethel, a newspaper reporter who encountered two strange children outside a movie theater in Texas. his 1998 tale has been the cause of much speculation... and even controversy. Some allege that the tale is fiction, while Bethel still stands by his story. And yes, he's even on Blogger.

The only real way to know for sure is to experience one first-hand. After all, seeing is believing...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Return of the Roaming Gnome...

Did anyone really think the Argentinian gnome story would go away?

Countless people from far and wide have commented about the strange sighting and the mobile phone video. Some say it's a hoax. Others, a clever Travelocity ploy. Our iconic image of the typical gnome dates back only to the 1970s. Before the book, Gnomes, was published, no two people could agree on their appearance.

And the debate still rages on. 90 percent of the residents of General Guemes believe in the small creatures.

Now, more people are coming forward. Apparently, only weeks before the infamous footage was captured near the town cemetery, rail workers reported a strange gnome-like creature on the tracks they were working on during the night. Other Argentinians claim to have witnessed gnomes over the course of their lives.

Could this be real? Or has someone been reading too many of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books? In fact, is was done by R.L. Stine... There is an episode (ironically) titled "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes"!

And actually, it all depends on who you ask. Take, for example, Christian von Lähr and Christopher Valentine of Myst of the Oracle: a pair of mediums who communicate with gnomes, elves, leprechauns, and faeries (of course, I didn't realize there was much demand for it in North Carolina). They've written a few books on the subject too... or should I say channeled the wee folk and wrote their words for them? That interesting information is discussed more on their other site, The Gnome's Station.

I pass no judgments...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Supernatural Spotlight: Rebecca Muller

Every so often, my website Haunted Cuyahoga gets a little attention or the random hit from an interesting person. I have made some wonderful business contacts, as well as a few friendships, simply from random people finding my site through search engines. Writers, photographers, attorneys, psychics, journalists,... the variety of visitors never fails to amaze me. Though some may be strange or disturbed, most are truly great people.

One of the most intriguing contacts I've made this year comes from my own state: Ohio.

Rebecca (Shott) Muller is a clairvoyant and paranormal investigator originally from the Cleveland, Ohio. Two years ago, she moved to Columbus with her husband. She stumbled across my site and sent me a message. The more we've talked the more fascinating it has become. We've worked with some of the same people, dealt with plenty of colourful characters, and share the same views on many matters.

Of course, she is definitely more famous than I am.

She is one of the more professional, rational investigators I have encountered. She may be psychic, but she doesn't simply believe everything, nor does she behave in any arrogant or self-righteous manner. She's just a regular gal who happens to love spooks. She and her husband even went to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast last year to celebrate their honeymoon! If you're in the Columbus area and need some help with the paranormal, I highly recommend her. If only more investigators were as nice (and as well-behaved)...

Last October 31st, she was featured on the Today Show. You can see the short (and albeit stifled... not by her choice) video here:

Go Find Some Easter Eggs...

No, I don't mean the coloured eggs you might see today. I'm talking about virtual media Easter eggs.

Starting in 1979, programmers and creators have found neat little ways of sneaking extras into everything from video games to software to movies. Most of us never even realize they are there, but to those creative enough to seek them out, there can be many rewards.

If you're a movie buff like I am, you may want to check out DVD Easter Eggs and glance through to see if there are any interesting things you've been missing out on your movies and television series'. Ironically enough, in Season 3 of Doctor Who, an episode titled "Blink" deals with these virtual Easter eggs hidden in DVDs as part of the plot.

Then there are more interesting ones. Especially in video games. Say, for example, the new Rockstar Games 'Bully'. A few choice moves and you can do something other than beat up on people. You can get a few of the boys to make out!

Don't believe me? Well, someone did a nice job of recording a screen capture from their makeout moment...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bunnies, Bibles, and Gay Scientists

Aah, Easter. Tomorrow is the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days following his crucifixion. What that has to do with coloured eggs, marshmallow Peeps, and a giant white rabbit, I'll never know...

Actually, Easter coincidentally originally fell on the Spring Equinox, when pagans celebrated the return of spring and the fertility of the coming year's crops. The name itself, "Easter", is believed to have originated from Eostre, the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. I guess we tend to mix things up over the centuries...

I'll spare you all the usual ranting about misconstrued history and instead give you a bit of humour from Australia. The following clips are from CNNNN (2002-2003), a comedy show which preceded The Chaser's War on Everything. After five long years, they're still quite amusing...

What better way to honour Easter than to discuss Christianity and homosexuality?

Got Milk?

British comedian Richard Herring samples...

...Sasquatch Milk.

Friday, March 21, 2008

They See Dead People?

England is well known for its ghosts. Of the many haunted places throughout the UK, the Gaiety Theatre, on the Isle of Man, is reported to be one of the most haunted on the British Isles. The theatre was originally constructed in 1899 and opened its doors in 1900. After falling into a state of severe disrepair by 1968, it was saved from demolition. Restoration began in 1990 and was completed in 2000.

Three spirits are said to haunt the building. One, known as the"Lady in Black", sits in the auditorium and, according to some witnesses, has a penchant for musicals. The second is a shadowy male figure who walks through a wall on the right side of the auditorium. Lastly, an invisible pair of hands is said to help guide people during a crisis.

Perhaps there could be one more?

Actors Zac Efron and Claire Danes have been at the theatre filming a movie titled "Me and Orson Welles". Just last week, the pair were terrified by an apparition outside of a window. Efron was reportedly quite shaken by the experience.

Crew members have since been teasing him about their experience.

On the Road Again...

If you're looking for a paranormal experience, tonight just might be your lucky night... if you happen to be near Toledo, Ohio.

Once again, it's the anniversary of the "Headless Motorcyclist" of Elmore, Ohio.

According to the tale, the unknown man was returning home from World War I, to surprise is fiance with an early release from duty. He rode his motorcycle to her house to find that while he was gone at war, she left with another man. Jilted and angry, he sped away down the drive and out to the road. His rage lead to a few wrong moves, and before he knew it his motorcycle went out of control at the bridge. The authorities found the wreck site later, the twisted motorcycle lying in the creek. The decapitated head of its rider resting only a few feet away.

Ever since, rumors have spread that on the anniversary, the light of his motorcycle makes its fateful route again. Flash your headlights three times and honk your horn three times. And then the light travels from the driveway down to the bridge and vanishes. People have experienced it, but it remains a mystery.

Tonight, March 21, marks the 89th anniversary of his death (in 1919 for those of you with poor math skills). Will he come back? Why not see for yourself?

The bridge (which crosses Muddy Creek, the middle branch of the Portage River) can be found along Fought Road in Ottawa County, 1/2 mile south of the Ohio Turnpike (I-80)/King Road and 6 miles southeast of Elmore.

But don't be surprised if you're not alone...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Grounded for Life...

New York has more than its share of strange people. But not all of them are intentionally weird.

A 12-year-old boy from Pulaski has been causing problems at Lura Sharp Elementary School. Whenever he would work at a computer, it would freeze and crash. An awards show was nearly canceled when the slide projector near him malfunctioned. Once he was moved away from the hard drive, things went smoothly.

Is he a troublemaker with a eye for technology? not at all. Somehow, he effects electronic devices in his general vicinity. The trouble isn't limited to school, either. At home, his Xbox 360 would freeze up every time he tried to play it.

School officials gave Joseph Falciatano, a.k.a. "Magneto Boy", a special wristband to wear, grounding him and any possible electrical field, and have had no further problems. An expert in static electricity was called in and has yet to discover the cause of these unusual problems.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We've Got Stars Directing Our Fate...

Robbie Williams is back in the news again. He is not backing down on his goal of becoming a ufologist. In fact, his latest actions show the dream is finally coming to fruition.

He has begun a shopping excursion, looking into buying an observatory. And reportedly, he may spend around £2.5 million (US$5 million) for it! What was once viewed as a farce and a silly attention plea is now looking more like an ambitious venture. He has even been visiting a telescope in the Arizona desert to quench his desire to explore outer space from the comfort of earth.

Call him insane but we should all give him credit for his pursuit. After all, we once believed the sun revolved around the earth. Science fiction always retains the possibility of becoming science fact.

With billions of solar systems dotting the galaxies and trillions of planets floating around in the universe, it would be absurd to believe that earth is the only populated one. As for space travel, that is still debatable.

It could be possible and we can't rule out the slight probability. There is a chance that other life forms somewhere are far more advanced than we are.

Condescension Among the Ranks...

It's Wednesday. I'm still tired and felt the need to vent a bit... since I really didn't have much time to last night.

I was actually in a decent mood up until a conversation last night. Wait, conversation implies two parties talking to each other, not one person talking and replying condescendingly to opposing viewpoints.

The topic started out harmless enough, but soon spiraled to a whirlwind of prophecies and economics. Not thought-provoking economics, either. More of the "I want to tell you how the economy works since you probably never attended a class in your life on the subject" variety of economics. With a hint of "the world is heading toward major change and enlightenment" tossed in for good measure.

Edgar Cayce meets Alan Greenspan.

I take no issue with anyone having future predictions. Even if the new "global single country" is labeled the "New World Order" (so, we'll be an 80s band... who would've guessed?). Eventually, we'll find out if he or she is right. I do, however, take offense when someone proceeds to tell me how the world works and how current events are effecting things and I'm not permitted to disagree. My main qualms last night were 1) the world economy does not hinge on the whim of the United States, 2) our government is not "probably using a lot of the war money to save our economy and prepare us for the major changes heading our way", and 3) if the United States economy collapses, the world won't suddenly crumble and head toward disaster.

Maybe this is partly why I am so un-American. When someone tries to shove the American ego down my throat, I want to gag and vomit. Just look around. China, for all intents and purposes, already owns us. a vast majority of our jobs are already overseas. The dollar is dropping in value so fast that Amsterdam currency exchange outlets are sometimes refusing to accept American currency.

I read the global news. I have actually studied economics and listened to the projections being made. So that makes me a bumbling fool because I don't think we're still a superpower? And to add insult to injury, being bashed in the head with all this until after 4:00 AM?

Afterward, while lying in bed, contemplating my irritation, my thoughts drifted to a certain Russian "news" website and its belittling comments about the US. I was thinking about the personal attacks they write while missing a neutral stance and logical explanation. I thought about why I don't attack in that manner, by name-calling and whatnot.

I audibly uttered, "I'm not that sort of bloke."

Bloke. Yes, I actually said bloke.

I think I'm turning British. Very quickly.

...And the Price Isn't Out of This World

The housing market is down in the United States. There just aren't enough buyers for homes, so houses tend not to sell for high prices. Even if that house happens to look like a UFO.

That was the case for the 38-year-old "Space House" perched on the side of Signal Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee when it went up for auction on March 15th. The winning bid was $135,000 which surprised the auctioneer, Terry Posey. The new owner is a woman from Cincinnatti, Ohio.

The house sits atop six supports intended to look like landing gear. The staircase leading to the three-bedroom dwelling is fully retractable and there is enough space for at least two vehicles underneath.

These features apparently came in handy for a previous owner. During an argument with her husband, she left the home, raised the stairs, and parked his truck directly underneath, trapping him inside.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Just How Evil is Your Headmaster?

Back in January, I posted a story about a haunted school in Malaysia. Now, the struggle between the forces of the supernatural and the department of education have returned... on the other end of the globe.

This time, evil has struck South Africa.

Last week, classes were interrupted at Siyabonga Secondary School in Illovo. Students complained of an inexplicable sickness. Some fainted, screamed, vomited, or worse. The police were contacted when students attacked some of the teachers, demanding to see the principal.

According to the 11th grade students, he was a witch and invoked demons to effect the students.

Sounds strikingly similar to the Salem Witchcraft Trials which took place approximately 400 years ago in Massachusetts. those were caused by hysteria... this is probably no exception. It's interesting to see how little people actually change over the course of history...

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Wearing of the Green...

Well, it's Saint Patrick's Day around the globe. Many people will be drinking their green beer, wearing goofy-looking hats, and at least pretending to be Irish. Ironically, this day of general debauchery is in celebration of an Irish Catholic saint who lived from 390 to 461 AD (though the exact year is questionable, since our modern dating system was not developed until 525).

Green is a colour long associated with Ireland and the shamrock. However, it is not the traditional color for St. Patrick. It began being associated with this day some time in the mid-1700s, most likely to show Irish pride. In the 1800s, wearing green was a symbol of rebellion and could be punished by hanging. While other countries associate green with this holiday, Ireland does not.

If you want to show your true St. Patrick's Day spirit, you should wear blue.

Blue and gold represent the "Ancient Colours of Ireland". They are believed to be the colours worn by Saint Patrick and are still found on the Dublin coat of arms.

So if you see someone being attacked or ridiculed for wearing blue instead of green today, take a moment to correct the bully. In fact, the people wearing green are the ones who aren't being loyal to the holiday.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Woe is Emo...

Like many people, I am guilty of feeling depressed occasionally. Sometimes, little things bother or upset me more than I should allow them. I spent a lot of my youth feeling "out of place" and not quite "fitting in" with the crowd. Not to any extreme, of course.

Back then, we had a niche of people nicknamed "the Goths". You know who I'm talking about: the kids who wore all black, eyeliner, and black nail polish... sometimes black hair with coloured streaks. They always spoke of gloom and doom... or death, suicide, and Edgar Allen Poe... and wrote their own morbid poetry by candlelight.

They have been replaced in the past decade (I still can't quite figure out exactly when) by the new wave of tragic teens: the emo kids. I know, I know... "emo isn't a style or culture, it's a type of music", blah, blah, blah...

Then why do they all look alike??

The same long hair brushed to the side over the face (presumably to hide tears). The same tight shirts advertising bands and other things. The same tight womens jeans giving the illusion that they have no calf muscles. The same bag over the shoulder to carry poetry and such. The same lip, nose and/or eyebrow piercing.

And the same messages: Nobody understands me. The world is a cruel, unfair place.

And they're generally in their early-to-mid teens... interesting time to be so wise as to the ways of the world.

Almost everyone spends their teenage years confused, worrying, and feeling outside of society somehow. You can't vote, drink, smoke, have sex, etc. legally. You're trying to find your own identity.

Honestly, it's not worth getting upset over.

Most people who were goths or emo kids outgrow it eventually and realize that there life hadn't even begun at that age. There is no reason to hate the world until you at least become an actual, productive member of society at large. When you're 15 and flipping burgers on the weekend to buy the latest video game or CD, you really don't have the full grasp of the world and the struggles inside it quite yet. But teenagers always have a habit of believing they are wiser than the previous generation. More enlightened. More advanced. It's not just the teenagers, either. Every society thinks they're better, smarter, and more savvy than the one before them.

Now I have nothing against all people "emo" or any other click they want to form themselves into. Whatever you call it, it's unoriginal. It has been done before... and probably better. I don't mind people with long hair, tattoos, piercings, etc. Do whatever you care to do with your own body. But do it because you want to do it, not to act like cattle following others around you and claiming to be "unique". And don't complain about the world until you've tried to actively change it for the better. The world is whatever you make of it. If you only see the gloom and doom, you'll miss all the wonderful parts.

Just don't expect the older generation to give you sympathy. If you whine about your cruel life to a single mother with two jobs barely keeping clothes on her back, you're bound to get something other than a pat on the back...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Take That" to Your Leader?

Robbie Williams has had a rough life: insecurity and self-esteem issues, weight problems, alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression. He has been to rehab and been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has suffered a few album flops. And now, he's feeling like a change of life might do him well.

Something different. Something... paranormal?

Yes, Robbie is seriously contemplating putting down his microphone to pursue a subject that has always interested him: UFOs. He's planning on becoming a ufologist when he soon quits the music business.

During his early childhood, he recalls seeing strange lights in the sky over the UK. Later, while living in Los Angeles, he witnessed another unidentified object. The last sighting came shortly after composing a song about alien visitation.

Fans shouldn't be terribly shocked by the news. After all, he did have a "Close Encounters Tour" in 2006.

Robbie Williams as Fox Mulder? Stranger things have happened. We shall see what happens.

After all, "the truth is out there".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Please Record Your Message After the Beep...

The weekend is finally here!

I'll be taking a much-needed break from cyberspace to deal with real life and the company of good friends. Since I won't be here Saturday, I'm pre-posting tomorrow's entry for simplicity's sake. It'll feel good to be among the living again, and see those people whom I haven't seen in quite some time!

Meanwhile, provided the technical glitches don't cause too much trouble, the next Yabbering Yank column will be posted in the next few days. This one could get interesting! Be sure to check my GenerationQ column this weekend and see what I have to say about un-America!

My regular blogging should return on Sunday. Spooked! will tackle the world of emo kids! Stay tuned for those interesting babblings!

Meanwhile, enjoy the weekend wherever you are... and take a little break to enjoy life... or death, if you prefer!

You Have the Right to Remain Deceased...

Police in Lilieci, Romania are no longer investigating the vandalism of several local houses. They have reached a decision that the suspects are in fact poltergeists.

Originally, when townspeople came forward with complaints of malicious attacks by evil spirits, the officers merely laughed it off. The victims aren't finding it so funny.

68-year-old Mircea Hadimbu reported broken windows and flying bicycles. Her sister and close neighbor Melentina Bocancea, 78, experienced candles blowing out and flying cups and saucers. When police arrived on the scene, they were met with flying objects. Villagers hope that a series of exorcisms performed on the houses will finally quiet down the activity.

No arrests have been made.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stop Dying Already!

A new ordinance in Sarpourenx, France is no laughing matter for Mayor Gerard Lalanne. The town's cemetery has run out of room for graves and there are no plans for expansion.

So, 70-year-old Lalanne has made a bold statement: if you haven't bought a plot by now, it's too late. "All [other] persons... are forbidden from dying in the parish."

Find somewhere else to die, people. We won't tolerate you dying in this town!

Think it's a joke? He added, "Offenders will be severely punished."

I wonder, is there really a fate worse than death?

Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab, And I Said "Your Mother Sucks C**ks in Hell!"

Poor Amy Winehouse. She has so many problems. If only someone could come along and save her.

Never fear! Reverend Robert Larson is ready!

Ready for what? Well, he believes Winehouse is in serious need of an exorcism.

Larson, leader of the Spiritual Freedom Church in Denver, is the world's foremost exorcist. With over 10,000 in his portfolio, he seems qualified for the job. Coincidentally, he is also starting a new series, "The Real Exorcist" for television.

To say this is a publicity stunt is a bit obvious.

I know Winehouse seems to have a soulless gaze about her, but possessed?

According to Larson, there are other troubles souls in our midst. Even in Hollywood. Who else needs to have Satan ripped from their body? Britney Spears.

That could explain so much.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

With Special Guest, Sasquatch...

Bigfoot has been sited again. This time, it wasn't a team of investigators who shot footage of a mysterious creature. It was a group of hunters filming for a television program.

Easton Bowhunting set up a series of cameras triggered by motion ("stealthcams") in Colorado looking for black bear. When they later reviewed the footage, there was something else in the left side of the frames.

Take a peek for yourself:

Both the cast and crew are skeptics. Many are doubtful that had this been a mere stunt by a crew member it would have been allowed to go public like this. All anyone can agree on is that there's something that doesn't belong there... and it's not a bear.

Not Just the Garden Variety...

Residents of the Argentinean town of General Guemes are gripped by fear. Something has been seen, lurking in the darkness and terrorizing the locals. What sort of hideous creature could plague a neighborhood and keep people indoors after night falls?

A gnome.

Yes, a small figure wearing a pointy hat and "walking sideways like a crab". Making strange noises. Throwing stones.

Juan Alvarez and his other teenage friends were hanging out near a cemetery when they spotted the dwarf or "midget-like creature". They were scared—so scared that one of them had to be taken to the hospital. Other townspeople have since come forward with similar reports.

And so the panic spreads.

Luckily, he had his mobile phone handy and was filming his friends at the time of the incident. Watch the heart-pounding footage for yourself:

I would think that watching the movie 'Trolls' would have been a far more frightening experience, but I'm sure "you just had to be there".

Gnomes are actually taciturn mythical creatures from German folklore believed to live underground and guard buried treasure. They are commonly categorized as earth elementals, or creatures attuned with the ground.

Have gardeners finally gone too far? Is it a Travelocity gimmick? Have we pushed little people over the edge?

You decide.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gaze into My Crystal Balls...

The people of Bossley Park in Sydney can finally put to rest the brutal murder of Malissa Mayfield in June of 2006. Though her murderer, David Shepherd, is currently serving a 19-year sentence for the crime, his accomplice and de facto wife, Angela Wells, is also finally behind bars. Wells was also the best friend of the strangled victim.

Shepherd had a power over Wells, which he claimed was of a mystical sort.

He was psychic.

The three formed a bond from their interest in the occult. And Shepherd told Mayfield he could use his gift to rid her house of "evil spirits". How could he manage that? Simple: he simply needed to have sex with her and POOF, the bad entities would go away!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that...

Wells was sentenced to three years, though she will be eligible for parole in only 18 months. Quite a light sentence for someone who lured the victim into a sense of calm over the phone and drove her husband to and from the home on the night of the attack. The tables were turned when Shepherd attacked Wells on June 28, only thirteen days after the crime.

Had any of them really put their psychic powers to good use, they probably would have seen it all coming.

Blogging Beats the Blues...

Feeling down? Stressed from work? Just can't seem to feel well-balanced anymore?

Don't take a pill. Just turn on your computer.

Researchers at Swinburne University in Australia have finally realized what many of us already realized: blogging helps combat depression and stress. Though some have argued that blogs and online journals are wastes of time, studies have shown that writing about life, emotions, and other matters online may have positive impacts.

A survey followed 130 bloggers over an extended period of time. Many of them suffered from self-esteem issues and emotional distress in their beginning days. Within two months, there were noticeable differences. The writers reported feeling happier, more socially integrated, and slightly less stressed. Though it may be similar to a diary, the public aspect is most important in its effect.

People see who else reads their work. They can feel a part of something. They get comments, words of encouragement, and other feedback. They don't have to feel alone and isolated.

It's almost a form of free therapy.

We many not be able to find the full effects of blogging on the human psyche for years to come. But it can't hurt... as long as you keep a few things in mind:

-Be careful what you say about other people. They may stumble across your writing. Only say what you wouldn't mind them knowing.

-Do not discuss work- or school-related things, or at least do so with caution. People have been fired for things mentioned on blogs... and students have had issues with teachers who have stumbled across their writing.

-Illegal activity is still illegal. Just because you mention it in cyberspace doesn't mean someone can't track you down. You can get caught that way.

-Blog for the sake of blogging. Don't write to become famous or please other people. You will find people who share common interests by just being yourself.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Come Out with Your Hands Up!

Apparently, Benedictine Monks find better ways of passing their time than singing chants and restoring old manuscripts. We only bother to notice something strange when the police get involved.

And so it happened in Wuerzburg, Germany. A monk was arrested for stealing adult movies.

Gay adult movies.

A clerk noticed the 49-year-old man trying to smuggle movies out of the store. He fled, throwing the films in the trash on his escape. After catching him and examining his room at the monastery, authorities found a treasure trove of about 230 gay porn films.

I doubt his buddies at Maria Laach Abbey were very pleased. It's the most scandalous news to come from the monastery's 900-year history since its controversial Nazi relations in World War II.

Maybe he should have just gone with winemaking instead. Who knows... after a few bottles of a nice potent potable among his colleagues, he may not have needed any fantasy films...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bridges to Nowhere...

I am horribly afraid of heights. To say that I suffer from acrophobia is a gross understatement.

At times, it can be comical. I remember walking a trail in Mohican State Park years ago with a fellow ghost hunter. We found ourselves on an abandoned stretch of trail and there was a small bridge ahead. Over half the planks were missing. It spanned probably all of seven feet, with a two-foot drop to the water below, which may have been two feet deep at most. I was shaking, terrified, as I made three separate attempts to cross. It didn't help that she was laughing the whole time.

Still, I love the beauty of bridges. Not modern concrete slabs with no character, but old bridges. They have a certain charm... a thoughtfulness of design that is absent in our modern world. We spend far too much time concentrating on our destinations instead of the journey now. That could explain our carelessness about history. Why we destroy old bridges, buildings, and landmarks without batting an eyelash.

In fact, many of our historical structures are facing eradication because of this apathy. In my small town alone, I have watched old bridges wiped away, century homes leveled for developments, and buildings which have stood over 60 years razed for parking lots and ill-constructed retail chains.

It isn't getting better, either.

Take for example the Bellaire Toll Railroad Bridge spanning the Ohio River between Belmont County, Ohio and Marshall County, West Virginia. it is slated for demolition this spring. The current cantilever through truss bridge has stood at the site since 1923, though a bridge has existed at this point since the Civil War era. It has fallen into a state of disrepair and has severe structural problems, though these could be repaired if anyone cared enough to preserve it.

But no one will. Even though it's one of the largest examples of its kind left in the country.

Just up the river in Bridgeport, Ohio is another bridge expected to meet its demise in the coming years: the old Wheeling US-40 Truss Bridge, built in 1893. It is quite a beautiful-looking bridge though it is in need of restoration. After 115 years, anything needs a little face lift! Still, it has a certain ornate beauty not often found in steel bridges and I have yet to find anything similar anywhere else.

To be honest, I don't hold much hope for these and many other structures across the United States. We are a throw-away society. If something can be built faster and cheaper, we will replace it (and it doesn't hurt if the government gives you more money for building new than restoring the old). I'm surprised at times that we still have the White House.

100 years ago, no one bothered to care about preservation in America. Buildings came and went, though sound structures were often left for us to still be delighted with today. Some old houses fell into disrepair and were demolished. One of them was the home of John Hancock. It wasn't until someone tried to find his house and found an empty lot instead that anyone really noticed that perhaps (and only perhaps) some things were worth saving.

We haven't come very far... and we still have a long road ahead. Perhaps in another century or two, we'll wonder what happened to the World Trade Center site... and why a shopping mall sits atop its remains.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Another Kent Ghost...

Apparently, Marvin Kent has more than one connection to haunted places.

After the construction of the Kent Depot, he created his glorious mansion in 1884 on the hillside overlooking the town. Marvin's son, William, moved into the large brick house along with his wife, Kitty. Within two years, tragedy would strike and effect their lives forever.

It was the year 1886. The Kent family was planning another elaborate Memorial Day celebration, as had become their custom. As the evening drew nearer and guests filled the house, Kitty climbed the stairs to the third floor ballroom. There was a slight chill to the air and to please her guests, she lit the kerosene stove to warm the space for an evening of dancing.

Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong. The stove burst into flames, throwing fire onto Mrs. Kent. Family members ran to her rescue after hearing her agonizing screams. The flames were doused and she her horrible wounds were treated as best as was possible. She lingered on for a few days before passing away. Since the Kent family owned the local newspaper, they kept the affair private and away from the press. William later remarried and continued living at the home until his own death.

For almost a hundred years, residents and college students have reported an apparition gliding past the upstairs windows. it is believed to be Kitty, dressed in white, wandering the rooms by candlelight. The third floor has been closed off for many years, so the presence of anyone is next to impossible. Unfortunately, no one has been permitted to fully investigate the ghost. It is now a Masonic Temple and cameras and camcorders have not been permitted in the upstairs rooms.

Dining at a Haunted Depot

Ever since college, I've found Kent, Ohio to be quite lovely. It isn't a huge city, but maintains a lot of its history and has so much to see, do, and enjoy. Too many towns and cities tear down their historic buildings. Kent has lost some gems, but still keeps as much as it possibly can.

During a meeting of the paranormal group last week, we dined at a wonderful restaurant I've been to several times over the last decade: The Pufferbelly Ltd. It's an old railroad depot converted into a restaurant which has been in business for 26 years. I was quite surprised to learn that it also has a resident ghost, known as "Charlie".

Kent Railway Station was originally constructed in 1875 to service the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad, which began running through the town (then known as Franklin Mills) in 1863. It was designed and built by Marvin Kent, a local businessman whom the town was renamed after the following year. It was later used by the Erie Railroad and finally fell into disrepair in the mid 1900s. In 1971, the Kent Historical Society was formed to save the depot from demolition. It was fully restored in the late 1970s.

"Charlie" is an unidentified spirit who haunts the entire building. Manager Kevin Long gave him the nickname at random and his real identity remains unknown. There is nothing dangerous or threatening about the presence, and workers actually enjoy the ethereal company. There are many interesting historical aspects of the building which still need further investigation and hopefully I'll have a chance to shed a little more light on some possibly "colorful" history.

Not far from the depot is the Cuyahoga River. Just below the depot in the water, you can still see the remains of a canal lock. This was the Lower Lock of the Pennsylvania & Erie Canal which ran from Akron into Pennsylvania near Warren, Ohio. The canal was in operation from 1840 until the 1870s when the railroad made it obsolete. Across the river once sat a tannery as well. it was run my a well-known abolitionist and used to hide runaway slaves. Could these bits of the past be connected with the haunting? Perhaps.

The restaurant itself is highly recommended. They serve wonderful food at fair prices. And if you've been there before and find that one of your favorites is no longer on the menu? No problem. Simply call them with some advanced notice (perhaps a week, to be safe), and they will be sure to have it for you when you arrive. That's what I call service! If you wish, you can sit beneath a surrey mounted from the ceiling in the bar area. It is believed to have once carried President Garfield. Or dine in the southern sining room, which was a dining room when when the depot was first constructed (the kitchen was also the kitchen at that time, but don't worry... they have updated equipment since then).

I will say this: I definitely plan on returning to the restaurant soon and hopefully seeing what else I can find.