Friday, June 26, 2009

When "Horny" is a Bad Thing...

Want the holy ghost in you? Feeling possessed by one of those pesky gay demons? Well, you might be in luck. All you need is a little help from the friendly folks at Manifested Glory Ministries of Bridgeport, Connecticut. After all, they helped someone out recently. The church held an exorcism to rid a teen boy of his homosexuality, hence equating it with demonic possession.

Reverend Patricia McKinney and her cult... I mean congregation... performed what they called a "casting out of spirits" (because she thinks the 'exorcism' label isn't accurate) three separate times on a 16-year-old boy (the reverend claimed he was 18) at his request. he writhed on the floor, vomiting up the "evil", while onlookers made such priceless statements as "Loose your grip, Lucifer!" and "Right now in the name of Jesus, I call the homosexuality, right now in the name of Jesus!"

When did homosexuality suddenly become an object or energy? I missed that memo.

So, what do you to when you get rid of the "homosexuality demon"? You post it on YouTube, of course! I guess they figured they already had a website and the best way to scare the hell out of people (no pun intended) is to be were the action is. Activist groups and citizens are up in arms about the video, since taken down by the flock. But the church stands by their actions. McKinney, who calls herself a "prophet", told the press, ""Every Sunday we call people up to the altar who want to be delivered from any spirit that causes them to not be able to function. We were just beginning to worship the Lord and all of a sudden he hit the floor."

"Manifested Glory Ministries is not against homosexuality. We do not hate them," the reverend said. "We do not come up against them. We do just not believe in their lifestyle." I'm sure it makes sense to someone. Is that anything like a double negative?

And did their purging work? According to the executive director of True Colors, Robin McHeavin, the boy told their organization he has since been "engaging in risky behavior". I guess if you take something out of someone, you just have to put it back in.

This is actual footage from the "exorcism":

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just One Final Poke...

After the last post, I couldn't resist mentioning this little find. If you're a skater (or just happen to like them), you might find this interesting. The demented... er, creative guys behind Roger Skateboards, Stacy Lowery and Michael Sieben, have one board in particular with a mention.

What is it about a skateboard featuring a ghost with a boner that's so interesting? Beats me. No, not some obsession with necrophilia. It's just... bizarre. But bizarre in a good way, hence it earning a place on here. My humor quotient is way down lately, so I figure, what better way to get back into the swing of things (sorry... bad joke). hey, it could've been worse... I could've mentioned the trouser snake one.

That is all for now. No more lewd paranormal talk or mental images of sharking ghosts for you today. Carry on as you were.

Sleeping with a Stiff in St. Louis...

Our next story which fell through the cracks during book research brings us deeper into the center of the United States. This time, the setting is St. Louis, Missouri during the mid-1980s. It centered around a musician named David Udell and an unusual experience which he recalled on his blog.

At this time in his life, David called an apartment on Oregon Avenue his home. It was by no means spacious; with a mock recording studio taking up one entire room, his bedroom consisted of a large converted storage room facing the street, just large enough for sleeping quarters. The streetlights maintained a certain level of illumination on David's bed all through the night. His more-fortunate roommate stayed in a separate bedroom in the rear of the home.

On one particular night in either 1983 or 84, he was settling down after a late night. It was some time after three in the morning when he laid down on his mattress to get a bit of shuteye, his back turned toward the doorway. Moments later, he heard the sound of what he believed to be his then-girlfriend entering his room. He felt some comfort as he felt someone slip in bed beside him, nuzzling up close in a spooning position. Playfully, he reached around and gave her rear a squeeze. For reasons still unknown to him, he felt a compulsion to reach around to the front.

What awaited him wasn't anything he had expected. His hand latched onto something. Something becoming stiff. Whatever was in bed with him wasn't a woman, and it seemed a bit too happy to see him. David yelled and turned around, only to find himself alone. In seconds, he was out from beneath the covers and bounding over studio equipment in a mad dash for his roommate's bedroom. Waking him from his sleep, David told him of his experience and forced him to stay awake with him until daylight came.

When David's roommate asked him if he finally believed in the paranormal, his response was a weak and sheepish "no..."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Spirit of No Importance...

When the great playwright Oscar Wilde died penniless in a cheap Paris hotel room in 1900, he never would've imagined his posthumous fame. Yet after decades of silence regarding the writer, somewhat humiliated publicly by the trials concerning his sexuality, he is today viewed as one of the greats. In 1962, The Letters of Oscar Wilde was published and accepted by a more open-minded population. That same year, a lesser-known event occurred: Oscar Wilde apparently returned from the grave.

It happened in a séance room belonging to Leslie Flint, often regarded as one of the great British mediums who held up to ridicule and testing. Flint was known to contact both common people and celebrities in his time through an ectoplasmic "voice box", which would appear during mediumship, making the words come not from his own lips but the nearby air. On the 30th of August, a spirit came through in the presence of George Woods and Betty Greene. After much aloofness, it declared itself as Oscar Wilde.

The author spoke of his life and afterlife, and views of many differing topics for quite some time before fading away from "lack of energy". Given Flint's fame as a medium, audio recordings were taken of each session starting in 1955. The recording of "the spirit of Oscar Wilde" has survived and can still be listened to today. Many recordings can be found on this website. The full 30-minute recording of the Wilde séance is available online through this link. A partial excerpt and transcript is provided on "Oscar Wilde Returns". British videographer Jim Clark took an excerpt of the recording and jazzed it up slightly. Here is his computer animation of a photograph of Oscar speaking the words recorded almost 47 years ago:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Love Lies Bleeding in the Windy City...

While researching for Queer Paranormal, I ran across a lot of interesting tales from everywhere. Unfortunately, several stories could not be researched enough to earn a spot in my book. In light of Pride Month, however, I think it's an appropriate time to give some mention to these tales and revive this blog from its coma as of late. And so, I bring you a strange tale from Chicago of a haunted apartment and its gay phantom...

Christina* lived with her roommate on the northern end of Chicago during the 1990s in a run-down, old, inexpensive building. Throughout her five years tenancy, strange incidents occurred that made her question whether they were indeed alone. Footsteps paced the floor between the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen itself seemed to be a hot spot for activity; sounds of a chair dragged across the linoleum floor and silverware being put away were not uncommon. But one incident in 1997 escalated the spooky goings-on to a new level.

One hot summer's day, Christina relaxed in her room, absorbed in a book while stretched out on her bed. She was suddenly struck with unexplainable paralysis. As she looked toward the end of her bed, a shirtless man stood there before her. He appeared to be in his late 20s, with a muscular torso and handsome face twisted into an irate expression. His whole body exuded anger, so powerful that Christina felt the pain in her own limbs. They stared at one another for an agonizing moment before the young man slowly faded into the air. Able to move once more, Christina ran from her room and stayed out of the apartment until her roommate returned. Knowing her roommate's fear of ghosts, she didn't mention the unnerving event.

Two years passed. When the landlord announced the building had been sold, Christina decided to inquire into the strange event. During a conversation with the owner, the owner mentioned thatsince they would soon be out of the apartmentshe had a confession to make. She had not been entirely up-front about the history of their apartment. In the years before Christina and her roommate moved in, the ground floor space had been rented by a gay couple, one of whom was a very handsome, athletic young man... the other, somewhat older. At that time, the neighborhood was very gay-identified, even having a few bars nearby. Both men were involved in S&M, and consumed a lot of drugs. Perhaps the substances contributed to the constant arguments heard from their apartment. The police were called on many occasions to break up the fights.

On one particular night, the couple returned from a night of heavy drinking and partying. An argument began, and escalated quickly from the alcohol. In a passionate rage, the older man stabbed his young lover to death in the very bedroom used by Christina. the murderer was sent to prison for his crimes, but the landlord remembered the horror of cleaning up the aftermath. Christina asked for a more detailed description, and it matched the apparition she had witnessed perfectly.

Whatever became of the the apartment (or even it's location), as well as the haunting presence of the angry young lover are not a mystery. But undoubtedly, somewhere in Chicago, the wandering spirit of the murdered man still lingers, filled with rage over his life cut short so early.

*Complete name unknown; anyone knowing this person or the apartment, please contact me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A San Francisco Haunted Anniversary...

For anyone visiting San Francisco this summer, or even local residents looking for something unique and historical, Trax Bar is celebrating their 70th year of business. The name might sound familiar, since I mentioned a ghostly legend involving the bar and a former patron or employee spotted on a few occasions. I was contacted last month and gave permission to a graphic artist for using part of my blog entry for the flyer. And here it is!

(click the image to enlarge)

I wish I could be there! Thanks again, Tim!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Travel is Fatal to Melancholia...

After successfully eluding the blogosphere for neigh two weeks now, I think it's about time I spilled about my trip up north. While some photos of my trip are on my Flickr page, I haven't divulged any other details. If I continue to put it off, people might actually think I had a terrible time. And that would be far from the truth.

Honestly, I've learned that greyhound might be an inexpensive form of transportation, but you truly do get what you pay for. my trip to Ottawa lasted nearly 18 hours, most of which was spent crammed uncomfortably in a seat with zero legroom. With layovers and stops, sleep was not a possibility. I did nap briefly, but that was all. If anyone is considering a long trip, I highly suggest shelling out the extra money for Amtrak. It might take just as long, but the difference is night and day.

In some ways, Canada feels like a different world. Take the good parts of the United States, add a splash of Europe, and there you have it. Upon arriving in Ottawa, it was time to check in at Home Sweetland Home Bed & Breakfast. It's housed in a beautiful 1895 home in a quiet neighborhood near the University of Ottawa. Brian and Sid were wonderful hosts, and open about their ghostly inhabitants. After a much-needed shower, we chatted for a while before dinner time. I had forgotten to eat that day, so I needed some kind of fuel to make it through the rest of the day.

I was lucky to have a terrific sidekick/tour guide (and then some), Marc, along with me for the journey. There is no possible way for me to condense the entire week into a few words. The weather was perfect (aside from that one evening rushing back in the rain, soaked to the skin), as was the scenery and company. As far as ghosts are concerned, not much happened at the inn. I did hear a loud bang on what seemed to be the outside wall of the room late one night, but I can't be sure what it was. A paranormal group did investigate prior to my visit and recorded a bit of evidence, though I diidn't have the same good fortune. Then again, when you travel light (and don't exactly want to spend your first time in a city surrounded by death), it's not so easy to document everything.

The two of us also attended the Haunted Walk of Ottawa, a daily event operated by a wonderful little company. I had some great conversations with both employees and participants, managing to snap a few photographs of some of the buildings as we went. The city holds a plethora of strange, eerie, and interesting historical tales. Earlier in the week, Marc and I stopped by Bytown Museum and the staff relayed some information about its ghosts. Hopefully, on my return trip, I'll be setting my sights on an investigation there. They were kind enough to give me the contact information for going about that... and, considering I didn't get much investigating in this time, it would make up for it. But I did get a few souvenirs: a copy of Ghosts of Ottawa and a mug from the tour gift shop.

There was simply too much to see in one week: Sparks Street, Parliament Hill, Gatineau, dozens of museums, the Rideau Canal, Rideau Falls, the Ottawa River, and so much more. Trying to see everything at once would've been too overwhelming. Part of me feels I've missed out on a great deal of things, but that side is comforted by knowing I'll return again. I was tempted to see if the walking tour was hiring, but decided against pressing my luck. but yes; if I found employment in Ottawa or nearby, I would be extremely tempted to live there. A safe, clean, friendly, bilingual city. And some of the best memories of the recent past happened during my week there. great conversations and revelations, nice restaurants, being flirted with by a female mallard duck (long story... you had to be there), walking across Alexandra Bridge (beautiful view and not the slightest fear of heights that day... wonder why), a late lunch at the wonderful Le Twist in Gatineau (if you go to Ottawa, you MUST go there... great staff, good food, and gay-friendly/-operated), sleepless nights not brought on by insomnia or stress, beautiful things to look at...

As you can imagine, the return trip was unwelcomed.

There are only so many ways to say "I'm glad I went". But I can't say it enough. The past few years have had rough times and stressful moments, yet this marked a major turning point deep inside me. Sadly, it has also marked a period of apathy toward blogging. Perhaps all these years of babbling about silly, stupid things or humorous morose moments in the world drained me of my death obsessions. or maybe, when things in your life suddenly are positive, you're not so eager to think about the afterlife and death. I'm sure it's just needing a break from the literary meanderings of my mind. It's not easy to poke fun at the world when you don't feel like thinking about everything else. Things truly are looking up in my life. While part of me wants to get back to the humorous news stories and quirky paranormal bits, I feel sapped of the energy. Priorities have tilted. I miss life and the living. Being chained down to a computer, researching and relaying morbid things isn't as high on my list. I feel the need to branch out more, expanding my horizons.

And so, therein lies my current quandary. I know I need to take the time to get back to blogging about the standard posts for which this blog has become known. Still... I'm a bit too happy to do it! Living life is far more enjoyable than writing about it. Experiencing people, places, cultures, history, and everything inbetween gives greater pleasure than glaring at the glow from a laptop. And once that ball begins rolling, it's hard to turn the path around. Somewhere, I'll achieve balance again. Perhaps once the afterglow I've been basking in wears off. For now, life takes some precedence over death. Ghouls must go to the back of the line; I need more living to recharge myself, and to figure out not only where exactly I'm going but how on earth I'm going to get there...