Lights Over St. Louis

ghost-train-of-st-louis canadian stamp

A collection of Will-o’-the Wisp ghost stories revolving around an abandoned rail bed near St. Louis, Saskatchewan, Canada.  A phenomenon that has inspired ghost stories, helped two high school students earn a gold medal in a Science Fair, and even earned its mark on a Canadian stamp.

The St. Louis Light

An unidentifiable light phenomenon is visible along a rail bed north of St. Louis where the tracks have long been removed.   The light is said to begin as a glow starting on one side of the rail bed that increases in brightness as it moves to the center of the rail bed.  A common description by eyewitnesses of the level of intensity of brightness has been compared to the brightness of a star. The length of time of the phantom light lasting varies from a few seconds to roughly an hour.  In some accounts the phantom light is followed by a deep red light.

What is this phantom light?

 

Story #1

Way back when the rails ran past St. Louis, a railroad worker was on a routine rail inspection.  While on his daily work routine consisting of inspecting the rails, moving from one stretch of rail to the next on his iron coal fed work horse, and of course not to mention his routine visits of his ol’ pocket companion the flask, the inebriated worker stopped at a stretch of rail just north of St. Louis.  When getting out of his overworked iron horse he inadvertently neglected to make sure the brake was applied. The worker was on the ground behind the engine checking the rail with his head aligned parallel to the rail facing away from his oncoming death. While lining up his sights on the rail, the engine slowly started to roll in reverse and slowly severed his head.

campfire

To this day…

Some say, the phantom light is the rail worker holding out his stretched arm clinching to his lantern in front of him looking for his lost head. “Oooo…”

 

Story #2

A long time ago, some time between World War I and World War II, a train passing by St. Louis had to come to a complete stop just north of St. Louis due to snow covering the tracks.  Two men decided to exploit the situation and rob the train. At some point during the heist the thieves killed the hapless conductor and over a dispute over the loot one of the thieves killed his partner.  Both bodies were buried under the snow and were not discovered until later in the spring when the snow melted away.

campfire

To this day…

Some say, the phantom light is the spirits of the conductor and the thief wandering the rail bed, lost for eternity. “Oooo…”

Another Story

Back in the days when it was common to see the sights of trains permeating the skies with their black bellowed smoke clouds grinding and chugging away down the rails a passenger train derailed just north of St. Louis.  The passenger cars were illuminated with oil lanterns. When the train derailed, the lit lanterns fell and immediately endoused the wooden passenger cars into flames. All passengers died in a fiery hell.

campfire

To this day…

Some say, the phantom light is the front of the train and the tailing red light is coming from the rear of the caboose transporting the lost souls to a destination that they will never arrive to.  “Oooo..”

The Scientific Explanation

Two 12th graders in Saskatchewan Canada conducted an experiment for a science fair project on the St. Louis Phantom Lights starting in the fall of 2001 and ending in winter 2002.  After doing several experiments to figure out this unknown light source and trying to recreate the phantom light they succeeded. The conclusion to their theory of the explanation behind the ghostly lights suggests that it is an optical phenomenon called diffraction.  Diffraction is the process by which a small beam of light from a distance is spread out through a narrow passage, such as gaps between trees, and create the appearance that the light source is closer to the observer. Their project received the gold medal.

diffraction

Another Tidbit

In 2004, Canada Post debuted their “spooky tales” stamp collection.  One of the 5 featured stamps was dedicated to the St. Louis Ghost Train.

 

References

Byrd, D. (2016, October 29). Ghost lights: Believe if you dare. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from http://earthsky.org/human-world/ghost-lights-believe-in-them-if-you-dare

‘Ghost train’ of St. Louis, Sask., gets its own stamp | CBC News. (2014, June 13). Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/ghost-train-of-st-louis-sask-gets-its-own-stamp-1.2674498

Riemer, T. (2014, October 31). Ghost train story haunts small Saskatchewan community. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from https://www.producer.com/2014/10/ghost-train-story-haunts-small-saskatchewan-community/

Northatlanticblog. (2017, September 05). Ghost Train: The St. Louis Light. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://northatlanticblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/ghost-train-the-st-louis-light/

Yanko, D. (n.d.). The St. Louis Ghost Train. Retrieved October 12, 2018, from http://www.virtualsk.com/current_issue/ghost_train.html

St. Louis Light. (2018, May 07). Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis_Light

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“There’s a Ring Around Your Rosy Dude”

Ring-a-ring-a-roses

Are the Children actually singing and playing a game about pestilence and death,or is it folklore evolving from folklore?

The Game

The singing play game involves a group of children holding hands to form a circle, dancing around singing, “Ring Around the Rosies”.  The lyrics have many variations and have also developed over time.

This is the version that I remember as a child:

Ring around the rosies

Pocket full of posies

Ashes…Ashes…

We all fall down

When the children finish singing the last line, “we all fall down”, the children fall to the ground. The last child to hit the ground ends up in the center of the circle and the game continues with another round of the lyrics.

Another variation of Ring Around the  Rosy

children playing ring around the rosey

Hidden Meanings

The most notorious hidden meaning in the nursery singing game is about the Black Plague also known as the bubonic plague originating from Central Asia and spreading throughout Europe in the late Middle Ages starting around 1340 and lasting ‘til 1400.

  • Ring around the rosies:  represents the red sores that are a common symptom
  • Pocket full of posies:  the posy flower was used to help relieve the pain of the sores
  • Ashes…Ashes… :  It was common practice  to cremate the infected bodies and homes
  • We all fall down :  A third of the Western European population died from the bubonic plague
Plague_-buboes

Plague Buboes

Another Common Version

Ring a ring a roses

A pocket full of posies

A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down

This version of the song is supposedly referencing the plague that occurred in London 1665.  A-tishoo! A-tishoo!, is claimed to be representing the sound one makes when sneezing, that or… London depleted their tissue supply in 1665 and the people were demanding more tissue. “A-tissue! A-tissue!”.  That last statement about tissue was completely 100% made-up and it seemed funny at the time so I’m standing by it.

Anyways…

The first printed version of “Ring around the Rosy” was published in 1881 in Kate Greenaway’s Mother Goose Old Nursery Rhymes.

mother goose

I have a question

If there were groups of children gathering in the streets of Europe holding hands dancing and singing about pestilence and death for roughly over 500 years why didn’t anyone report it or at least document it?

 

MetaFolklore

Folklife Today, has classified folklore that is about folklore as metafolklore.  It is typically untrue but some might have some small truths to them.  The metafolklore about the game in question is untrue. The lyrics of any version of “ring around the rosy”  have no real meaning or known origin. As for the origins of the game involving the nursery rhyme, Folklorist Philip Hiscock suggested:

“The more likely explanation is to be found in the religious ban on dancing among many Protestants in the nineteenth century, in Britain as well as here in North America. Adolescents found a way around the dancing ban with what was called in the United States the “play-party.” Play-parties consisted of ring games which differed from square dances only in their name and their lack of musical accompaniment. They were hugely popular, and younger children got into the act, too.” (Snopes)

Final Thoughts…

Ring around the rosy is a children’s game with many variations from around the world and modern versions have developed and are currently still being played as a sing play game by our little ones today.  It is very human of us in wanting to believe in hidden meanings behind the games, stories, movies, or other forms of entertainment. The older the secret of the hidden meanings the better, whether it’s true or not, doesn’t matter.  It creates an added entertainment value to the old original piece of folklore. As long as the beliefs in these hidden secret meanings are maintained the value of the entertainment will hold its value.

Some other interesting hidden meanings…

According to Urban Dictionary, a ring around the rosy is a service that one will provide with their tongue after doing some butt stuff with a partner.  As for those gentleman who have experienced having intercourse with a lady who was having her menstrual cycle, if you discovered that you had a red ring around your penis after taking off the condom, that… is a ring around your rosy dude.

References

FACT CHECK: Ring Around the Rosie. (2000, November 17). Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/ring-around-rosie/

Bubonic plague. (2018, August 27). Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubonic_plague

McDaniel, S. A. (2017, May 03). “Ring-around-the-Rosie” Is Not about the Black Death, Nor Has It Ever Been. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from http://talesoftimesforgotten.com/2017/05/03/ring-around-the-rosie-is-not-about-the-black-death-nor-has-it-ever-been/

Winick, S. (2014, July 24). Ring Around the Rosie: Metafolklore, Rhyme and Reason. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2014/07/ring-around-the-rosie-metafolklore-rhyme-and-reason/

Rapist Thwarted by a Flying Vagina

A Hawaiian folk legend about sexism, chauvinism, and a goddess with a flying yoni.

 

The_goddess_pele_by_arthur_johnsen

Pele

Pelehonuamea

According to ancient Hawaiian legend Pelehonuamea, commonly referred as Pele, was one of six daughters and seven sons of Haumea (the Earth goddess) and Kane Milohai (the creator of the sky, earth, and the heavens.  Pele is the goddess of fire and volcanoes. She came to the Hawaiian islands after being exiled from Tahiti because of her hot flaming temper. It is believed that she made Halema’uma’u Volcano her home. Pele is referred to as  “She who shapes the sacred land”.

Stories over time have developed of Pele traveling throughout the islands appearing as a beautiful young or old woman sometimes accompanied by a white dog.  When humans encounter her she will make small requests. If the person refuses to accommodate her needs they will face her wrath. Pele was reported by tourists of photo bombing her face in their vacation pictures of lava lakes.

Halemaumau_Crater,_March_2013

Halema’uma’u Valcano, March 2013

 

Tourist beware, when visiting the Hawaiian Islands it is forbidden to remove a lava rock from the islands.  Lava is a sacred piece of the fire goddess. If you remove a piece bad luck will fall upon you. Also when visiting Halema’uma’u, around the edges of the caldera, grow ohelo berries.  It is considered offensive to eat these berries before offering them or at least asking for permission from the goddess. Remember, a fire goddess is not someone you want to offend, they tend to have a reputation of having explosive tempers.

Kapo

Kapo

Kapo is a Hawaiian goddess of fertility, sorcery, and dark powers.  She is believed to take on any shape that she pleases and has the ability of detaching her vagina from her body.  It is also believed female mediums serving as a host to Kapo must cover their genitalia with a ti leaf. If they fail to do this, the mediums would be victims of having their vaginas ripped off.

 

Kamapua'a

Kamapua’a

Kamapua’a – The Pig God

Kamapua’a translates to pig child.  Born on the island of Oahu through human parents he was known to be an adventurous and a mischievous character.  Kamapua’a has the powers of turning his human form into a hog. Kamapua’a was a demigod that was only worshiped by commoners.  In human form, Kamapua’a was described to be a very strong, attractive, and charismatic man. He had a reputation with the females in villages that he traveled through on his journeys.

There are many different variations to this story.  According to one source, Kamapua’a falls in love with Pele but was quickly rejected by her calling him a “child of a pig”.  With time, they fell in love but their short lived romance ended in a heated feud.

 

Feminism vs. Male Chauvinism

One Hawaiian legend tells of a situation where Kamapua’a was stalking Pele.  After several rejections from Pele, Kamapua’a tried to force himself on her like a lusting animal.  Somehow feeling something was wrong, Pele’s sister came to her aid. When Kapo arrived and saw Kamapua’a trying to rape Pele, Kapo pulled up her hula skirt, grabbed and ripped her own vagina off.  She threw her heavily scented womanhood across Kamapua’a face enticing his lust away from Pele redirecting him like a dog fetching a flying stick hurling across the horizon. His pig instincts on overdrive caused Kamapua’a to run off of a cliff and land on his face.  Some variations of the legend are saying that this magical vagina sprouted wings and flew about 200 km to the south-eastern point of O’ahu. The Kohe lele, another word for vagina, made an imprint on the ground after landing. The Hawaiian volcano crater is referred to as kohelepelepe, Hawaiian for fringed vagina.

Hanauma Bay, koko Crater, and hawaii Kai

Kohelepelepe aka Koko Head

 

Final Thoughts…

The story of Kapo and her flying vagina has many deeper meanings depending on how one perceives the telling of this story.  Some people say that Kapo was an ancient feminist fighting against a male dominated culture. Kamapua’a, the pig god, coincidentally or intentionally played the role of a modern day reference to a “male chauvinist pig”.  While reading about this legend, I’ll be honest, it lured me in the moment I saw the words magical flying vagina.
References

Oliver, M. (2017, April 09). Top 10 Truly Bizarre Folktales And Legends From Around The World. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://listverse.com/2017/04/09/top-10-truly-bizarre-folktales-and-legends-from-around-the-world/

HAWAIIAN GODDESS OF THE DAY: KAPO. (2014, July 04). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://glitternight.com/2011/04/01/hawaiian-goddess-of-the-day-kapo/

Yamanaka, K. Y. (n.d.). Pele, Hawaiian Goddess of Fire and Volcanoes. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://www.hawaii.com/discover/culture/pele/

Kamapua’a – The Pig God. (2015, July 26). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://www.privatetourshawaii.com/blog/kamapuaa-the-pig-god

Camphausen, R. C. (n.d.). The Flying Yoni of the Goddess Kapo. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://yoniversum.nl/yoni/kohelele.html

Traditions of Maunalua: Ko’olaupoko: Stories of an Ancient Island: Asia-Pacific Digital Library. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://apdl.kcc.hawaii.edu/oahu/stories/koolaupoko/makapuu.htm

WikiVisually.com. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Kapo_(mythology)

 

Lost In Alaska

Welcome to alaska

Could it be Bigfoot, evil spirits, aliens, serial killers, freaky acts of phenomenon, or the cruel side of Mother Nature herself.   Let’s take a trip through the Alaskan Triangle!

 

If 33,000 miles of wilderness including 70 active volcanoes, 3 million lakes, 3,000 rivers, and an estimated 100,000 glaciers, blanketed with year round snow inhabited by untamed man eating beasts that could literally eat your face right off, is not enough for you outdoor adventure/survivalists types, then possibly an encounter with Bigfoot, evil spirits, aliens, or a run in with a local serial killer burying evidence in the woods might satisfy your adventure thrills to take a trip through the Alaskan Triangle.

Land of the Missing

In 2007, Alaska state troopers added 2,833 missing person notices just in that year alone.  With over a population of 670,000 residents that 2007 statistic averages out to four in every 1,000 people who go missing.  Many of these missing persons reports have been closed, however, Alaska also has the highest open missing persons alerts than any other state within the United States.  The 2016 FBI Violent Crime Report stated that Alaska also has the highest violent crime rate per capita in the United States.   Alaska also has become known to be the number one state, proportional to its population, that has had the most serial killings in the United States with a 15.65 serial killings per one million inhabitants.

alaskan-bermuda-triangle-1a

Many that are still missing have disappeared  within the boundaries of what is being referred to as the Alaskan Triangle.  The Cities of Anchorage, Juneau, and up to the north coast of Barrow, form this mysterious vortex that is also a hotbed for paranormal and UFO phenomenon that some people are claiming are the culprits of those who are still lost in Alaska.

220px-Hale_Boggs

Thomas Hale Boggs Sr.

Hale Boggs

One of the most high profile missing persons that has vanished within the Alaskan Triangle in 1972 would be the House Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs Sr.  He and his colleagues were on a flight, a twin engine Cessna 310, en route to a campaign fundraiser. On October 16, the plane disappeared somewhere between Anchorage and Juneau.  After a 39 day search for the plane and passengers, with the aid of the US Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Civil Air Patrol, neither the wreckage of the plane nor the remains of those who were onboard were ever found.  With Boggs involvement in the Warren Commission many conspiracy theories were born.

Vile_Vortices_Map
Vile Vortices

Vile vortices are geographical areas around the world that exhibit extreme electromagnetic anomalies and energy vortices, which are also called ley lines.  The term vile vortices was coined by researcher and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson. The most famous of these Vile vortices is the Bermuda Triangle. They also exist in the Algerian Megaliths to the south of Timbuktu, the Indus Valley in Pakistan,  Hamakulia Volcano in Hawaii, the Devil’s Sea near Japan, and both the North and South poles. Stonehenge, The Moai monuments of Easter Island, and the Pyramids in Egypt, sit on vortexes and it is currently believed that these structures were intentionally built in these places for that specific reason.

These electromagnetic vortices create all sorts of weird phenomena.  They are believed to affect humans in a wide variety of ways physically, mentally, and emotionally, causing auditory and visual hallucinations, giving people miraculous powers of healing, causing spurts of creativity and epiphanies.  These vortices can also cause disorientation, confusion, and wreak havoc with electrical instrumentation.

Microburstnasa

Microbursts

On 26th of April 2016, the Science Channel broadcasted an episode of “What on Earth?”.  Part of the segment claimed that the mystery behind the disappearances of ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle were due to natural meteorological phenomenon known as microbursts.  Hexagonal clouds that can create up to 170 mph downward winds. These microbursts can be strong enough to force airplanes down from the air and flip ships over.

Shortly after the episode aired, the two scientists that were on the show talking about these microbursts stated that what they were talking about on the program was taken out of context. They stated that microbursts happen everywhere on the globe not just in the Bermuda Triangle. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/scientists-solve-bermuda-triangle/

Myths and Legends

Within many cultures around the globe, legends and myths have lived and flourished through time and serve many purposes in our lives.  The Alaskan folklore is rich with terrifying creatures and share common characteristics with other horror pop culture beasts that roam within the dark forests of many people’s minds.

Qalupalik

A creature from Inuit legend that is described as being a human-like female with green skin, long hair, and very long fingernails.  According to legend, she resides in the sea humming to entice children to come closer to the waters. If the unsuspecting child gets too close to the shore line, the Qalupalik snatches them from the waters and claims them to be her own for eternity, never to be seen again.  Children are reminded by their parents and elders that if they are disobedient and wander too close to the shore that the Qalupalik will get them.

bigfoot

Tornits, aka The Alaska Bushman

Since the human migration crossing over the Bering Land Bridge, the story of the Tornits were created and are still being told today.  The story begins with the Inuit tribe and the Tornits living peacefully in villages near each other and shared common hunting grounds. The Inuit people were well skilled at building kayaks that were very useful for fishing, hunting, and transportation.  The Tornits were also great hunters themselves but lack the skills to master building kayaks like their friendly neighbors. One of the stories tells of a young Tornit that borrowed a Inuit’s kayak without permission and damaged the bottom of the boat. The young Inuit became very angry and stabbed the Tornit in the neck while the Tornit was asleep.  Fear in the Tornit’s villages quickly ran rampant, causing the Tornits to quickly disappear into the Alaskan bush and rarely were ever seen again. Inuit hunters eventually started to disappear while on hunting expeditions. Later they would be found dead, their bodies mutilated and limbs torn off. Sightings of Alaskan Bushmen also referred to as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti  have been reported from all over the world and share similar characteristic with each other. If you are ever wandering in the woods and you see trees that have been uprooted and flipped upside down, just remember, trees don’t do that by themselves. It is a sign that you are in Bigfoot country.

werewolf

Adlet

Adlet is commonly described and compared to the likes of the pop culture horror creatures known as werewolves.  According to Inuit legend, Adlets originated from the offspring of a human female and a male dog. The woman gave birth to 10 children, half of them were dogs and the other half were Adlets.

Tizheruk

A snake-like sea creature that is believed to roam the Alaskan waters.  They are commonly described as having a 7 foot-long head with a flipper tail and are typically 12 to 15 feet from head to flipper.  It is believed that they snatch and eat people from docks and piers.

Mount_Hayes

Mount Hayes and UFOs

If you saw the movie “Men Who Stare at Goats”, you might possibly be blown away if I were to tell you that the movie was loosely based off of a real CIA project that occured in the early 1970’s

Project Stargate was a CIA project with the support of the University of Stanford.  Individuals with the ability of remote viewing were recruited and assigned the task of discovering foreign countries secret military facilities.  While these sessions were being held, not only were key locations of other countries bases revealed but the remote viewers were also able to locate four additional bases that were being operated by extraterrestrials.  The four locations named were Monte Perdido in the Spanish Pyrenees, Mount Nyangani in Zimbabwe, Mount Zeil in Australia, and Mount Hayes in Alaska.

References

Toombs, T. (2012, June 12). Alaska folklore: Five mythical creatures of the Last Frontier. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.adn.com/features/article/alaska-folklore-five-mythical-creatures-last-frontier/2012/06/13/

Urban Legends of Alaska. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.history.co.uk/shows/missing-in-alaska/articles/urban-legends-of-alaska

Hale Boggs. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hale_Boggs

Conger, C. (2008, April 15). Why has part of the Alaskan wilderness been called the Bermuda Triangle? Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/alaska-bermuda-triangle.htm

FALSE: Scientists Finally Solve the Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. (2016, October 25). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/scientists-solve-bermuda-triangle/

Seaburn, P., & Swancer, B. (2015, April 07). The Mystery of the Alaska Triangle. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/04/the-mystery-of-the-alaska-triangle/

Medred, C. (2010, September 8). Alaska: The land of disappearance. Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.adn.com/uncategorized/article/alaska-land-disappearance/2010/09/09/

Project Stargate: Remote Viewers Discover UFO Bases. (2017, January 31). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from http://www.historydisclosure.com/project-stargate-remote-viewers-discover-ufo-bases/

Facts About Alaska. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from http://alaska.gov/kids/learn/facts.htm
Additional Sources

Table 3. (2017, September 07). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-3

(n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp96-00788r001100210002-6

(n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/search/site/projectstargate

(n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2018, from http://www.nuforc.org/webreports/ndxlak.html

 

The Folklore Behind Easter

1abunnies007b

Fertility, rebirth, and resurrections have been apart of human culture since the dawn of civilization.  The bunny and the egg are universal symbols representing fertility and rebirth. Cultures throughout time have been celebrating the rebirth of life by paying homage to old gods and goddesses of spring, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus, or still pondering the unsolved philosophical question, “which came first the chicken or the egg?”.

220px-Punic_ostrich_egg_from_Villaricos_(M.A.N._1935-4-VILL-T.609-7)_01

A decorated ostrich egg over 60,000 years old

Ostara or Eostre

Anglo-Saxons were Germanic inhabitants of Europe between the 5th and 11th century until the Norman Conquest.  Before the 8th century, Eostre was a Saxon goddess of Dawn and Spring. The hare was considered to be her sacred animal representing fertility and the egg was a symbol for rebirth.  The Scandinavians of this time period referred to her as Ostra and those who lived in the area now known as Germany called her Ostara. In Germany today they celebrate Ostern which is Easter to the english speaking world.  There were many other gods and goddesses worshiped by ancient cultures during the spring equinox around the Mediterranean Sea, but Eostre is so far the only pagan goddess that has a direct influence on the modern holiday Easter.

ostara_by_johannes_gehrts

Passover

In Judaism, Passover is one of the three Shalosh Regalim, or 3 pilgrimage festivals.  People would gather in Jerusalem at springtime with their agricultural offerings. On the first night of Passover a seder (order) meal that has 15 separate steps in a traditional order is prepared.  At sometime during the seder the telling of the story of Exodus from Egypt and the first Pesach (Passover) is told. The seder ritual objects can vary by tradition but most common are a shank bone, lettuce, an egg, greens, a bitter herb, and a mixture of apples, nuts and spices.  The egg represents the Passover offering of ancient days as well as the wholeness and continuing cycle of life.

A Ukrainina 19th century seder table

The Resurrection of Jesus

Christians celebrate Easter as a remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus was crucified and resurrected during Passover. In 325 AD the Council of Nicaea determined that Easter should be the Sunday that follows the first moon, after the Spring Equinox.  On the Gregorian calendar, (named after Pope Gregory XIII) that would fall between 22nd of March and 25th of April. The Christian custom of Easter eggs started with early Christians of Mesopotamia who colored eggs red to represent the blood of Christ.

Red_Paschal_Egg_with_Cross

 

The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny is the egg-laying bunny that leaves colored Easter eggs on Easter Sunday.  In the 1700’s German immigrants brought this tradition into America. The parents told their children to use their bonnets or caps as nests and leave them out at night before going to bed and if they were good, the Easter Bunny (Oschter Haws or Osterhase) would leave them eggs in their nests.  Eventually traditions evolved where the egg-laying bunny would lay and hide the eggs for the children to hunt.

no evil bunnies

Final Thoughts…

For those of you who have been losing sleep over the metaphysical question,  “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. It’s simple of course; the magical bunny laid the egg and out hatched the chicken.  Now you can get some sleep and have a good night.

funny bunny

References

Patterson, R. (2011, April 19). Is the Name “Easter” of Pagan Origin? Retrieved April 25,      2018, from  https://answersingenesis.org/holidays/easter/is-the-name-easter-of-pagan-origin/

The Pagan origins of Easter. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm

Ēostre. (2018, April 18). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ēostre

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://archives.adventistreview.org/article/1062/archives/issue-2007-1509/jews-revive-the-sanhedrin-with-plans-for-a-passover-sacrifice/adventists-and-easter

Passover: Customs and Rituals. (2018, February 06). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://reformjudaism.org/passover-customs-and-rituals

Easter egg. (2018, April 20). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg

Travers, P., & ABC Radio Canberra. (2017, April 13). Origin of Easter: From pagan rituals to bunnies and chocolate eggs. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-15/the-origins-of-easter-from-pagan-roots-to-chocolate-eggs/8440134

Origins of Easter. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2017/04/13/origins-of-easter.html

Origin Of Easter. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/origin-of-easter.htm

Is it true that the name Easter is pagan in origin? (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2018, from https://billygraham.org/answer/is-it-true-that-the-name-easter-is-pagan-in-origin/

Sifferlin, A. (2015, April 01). Easter Bunny: The Origins of Easter Day’s Rabbit. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from http://time.com/3767518/easter-bunny-origins-history/

Turnbull Canyon

Looking for the most Extreme mountain biking or hiking experience?  Then check out Turnbull Canyon located near the city of Whittier, CA.  The history of Turnbull Canyon has a checkered but interesting past.  Over time urban legends developed and spread like a wildfire about the canyon, which created an infamous reputation of being a hotbed of tragedies and weirdness.

TurnbullCanyon_google

The History of Turnbull Canyon

The Native American tribes that inhabited the San Gabriel Valley referred to a canyon within the valley as Hutukngna which means the “night”, “the dark place”, or “the place of evil”.  According to one story, the Spanish would force the natives  who refused to convert to Christianity to spend several days in the canyon of evil.  Later the east side of the San Gabriel Valley was named Rancho La Puenta by William Workman who was a banker and land developer.  In 1876 Workman was ruined financially which led to his suicide four months later.

A Scottish immigrant by the name of Robert Turnbull moved to the San Gabriel Valley in the 1870’s and made a small fortune through real estate.  After Workman’s suicide, an advisory committee was formed to regulate bank loans.  While sitting as an advisor on the committee, Robert Turnbull came across an opportunity that allowed him to buy land in the canyon for a cheap price.  Due to a stream of water running through this land he was successful at raising sheep.  While making his name as a shepherd he also developed a reputation of being a drunk and a loud mouth.  A group of Quakers moved into the area and decided to develop a settlement for their people.  They made several offers to buy Robert Turnbull’s land, but Turnbull never accepted their offers.  Until one day, the Quakers offered him $30,000; a fortune during that time period, and Robert decided to sell.

One night in 1888, Robert Turnbull was leaving one of his favorite taverns, the St. Charles Hotel, and was arrested for public drunkenness due to falling off of his horse.  The next day he was released and while entering his home his housekeeper, Mary Kate, noticed that Robert had several bruises all over his face and body.  She reported that it looked like he was involved in a brutal fight.  After taking a long nap, Robert got up the next day and Mary told authorities that he didn’t seem himself and left the house wearing mismatched clothing including a hat that belonged to her.  The next day two children found his body floating face first in the Los Angeles River.  The coroner stated that Robert died from a blood clot that developed from a head injury and that it was very possible that Robert was murdered.  Shortly after, the Quakers renamed the canyon to honor Robert, and that is how Turnbull canyon got its name.

William Haight-popular science

The Electrodome

During the late 19th to early 20th century, droughts were very common from the mid-west to the west coast of the United States.  Rainmakers were coming out of the wood works claiming that they could make it rain for a small fee of course.  Many rainmakers were eventually exposed as  charlatans but some names were noted in history as the real deal.  During the 1916 drought in San Diego, CA; Charles M. Hatfield’s method of controlling the weather was successful, so successful that he caused a heavy downfall of rain that caused a flood that claimed 20 lives, washed out the infrastructure of the city, and many homes as well.  He was chased out of town and was never compensated.

In the early 1930’s, William Haight made his mark as a rainmaker with his invention of the Electrodome.  His device would generate negative electrical currents into the atmosphere and create a pulsating direct current from the ground to the sky.  His invention would allow people to create rain, displace fog, and could even prevent frost from forming on crops.  His smaller model of the electrodome was a success, but to produce a more effective result Haight would require a serious financial support which he didn’t have.  Due to some financial support from a Citrus farmer, John Dodrill,  William was only able to build one big tower that was based off of an old existing oil tower located in the Turnbull Canyon.  With the laboratory sitting on an 80 foot tower the Electrodome reached 125 feet from the ground to the sky.  The final test of his experiment happened on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight in 1932.  There is no mention in the media of the results of the test.  However, the Russian Government at the time was very interested in Haights invention and used it for themselves.  Currently, more advanced versions of the Electrodome are currently being used by the United States government, Japanese government, and a company called the Australian Rain Technologies.

Flight 416W

On April 18, 1952 a North continent airline, operating under Robin Airlines, was on a flight from New York City, NY to Burbank, CA.  After making several intermediate stops flight 416W was redirected to Los Angeles International Airport due to bad weather in Burbank.  The plane was on an instrument landing system approach to LAX.  While the landing gear was fully extended, the left wheel of the plane struck a ridge near the Turnbull canyon causing the pilot to lose control causing the plane to crash into a steep hillside.  The plane exploded into flames instantly and all 29 on board were killed.  After the investigation was completed the officials stated that the cause of the crash was due to pilot error.  The pilot was flying below the minimum altitude of the area.  It was suspected that the pilot couldn’t see the runway due to fog build up and decided to fly below the minimum altitude which led to the accident.  The investigations also found Robin Airlines had more than 40 violations that included, charges of overweight planes, demanding and excessive flying time for crews, and failure to use approved seats and safety belts.  The investigation also discovered that the pilot of the plane was flying with a restricted medical certificate.

flight 416 crash

KKK, Satanic Cults, and UFOs..ooh my

Many locals of the area of Whittier Heights claim that Turnbull Canyon is home to KKK rallies and Satanic Cult activities.  During the depression era of the 1920’s rumors were spreading that people in black outfits with hoods were seen walking around at night and some stories claim that orphan and runaway children were being sacrificed in the area.  Video’s of UFOs and orb sightings in the Turnbull canyon are also all over the internet.

 

Hell’s Gate

In the depths of the brush of Turnbull Canyon lies Hell’s Gate.  There is not a lot of information about the origins of this notorious gate on the Web.  The location of Hell’s Gate is between the intersections of Skyline Drive and Descending Drive.  There is a dirt path that cuts through the overgrowth of vegetation that leads to a chain linked fence with a “Private Property” sign along with another sign warning intruders that there is a dog.  One story that is floating around the Web is that behind the chain link fence there use to be an insane asylum that was notorious for neglect and abuse of the inmates.  The facility eventually burned down.  Years later some teenagers decided to visit the abandoned asylum and supposedly came across a device that was used to administer electrical shocks to the inmates.  Joking around one of the teenagers applied the electrode probes to his head got electrocuted and was killed.  As the story goes…the electricity was shut off 20 years ago before this alleged incident.

While digging deep on the internet I have not been able to find any validation of an asylum in the area of Turnbull canyon or no proof that a teenager was killed by self-electrocuted shock to the head.  I have found some Youtube videos of brave souls exploring beyond the chain link fence.   Behind the fence is a lot of vegetation overgrowth along with some remnants of concrete slabs with pipes coming out of them.  The notorious Hell’s Gate was still present but the rod iron gate that was shown in these videos did not live up to the infamous reputation that have developed overtime.  No dead babies, hell hounds, or internal flames coming out of the ground, just an ordinary rod iron gate.  According to one of my sources, one person made a journey beyond the Gate of Hell which just led to someone’s backyard.

gates of hell

Gravity Hill

Many locals claim that there is a gravity hill somewhere located in Turnbull Canyon.  Gravity hills have been found all over the world and locals in the areas of these mysterious hills will tell stories of spirits or aliens that are to blame for the phenomenon.  For those of you who don’t know what a gravity hill is, don’t feel bad,  I had to look that one up myself.

A gravity hill is a hill that appears to be going up and people in cars will travel up the hill without applying any gas.  Balls have been placed on these hills and they would roll up the hill.  A gravity hill is an optical illusion, sorry to disappoint everyone but there is no prankster ghost or alien messing with us.  When standing on a path of a gravity hill the horizon is obscured from the person’s viewpoint which creates the illusion that the hill is going up but it is actually going down.

The Hanging Tree

There is supposedly a tree somewhere in the Turnbull Canyon that is referred to as the “Hanging Tree”.  While reading up on the Turnbull Canyon, I came across two different stories about this elusive tree.   One story states that a man hanged himself on a branch of a tree and at the time and day of his death you can see his ghost dangling from the branch.  Another story that I came across involved a teenage couple who decided to take a drive through the canyon and ended up having car troubles.  The male told his girlfriend to stay in the car and not to let anyone in while he goes and gets help.  After a while, the female started to hear sounds on the roof of the car that resembled the sound of light rain.  After several hours waiting for her boyfriend to return she ended up falling asleep.  The next day she was woken up by taps on the window from a police officer.  While the police officer was asking her to step out of the car he instructed her to not look up.  Supposedly she disregarded the officer’s advice of not looking up and saw her boyfriend was dangling from a rope tied to a branch and his blood was dripping on the roof of the car.  While searching for any validations to these stories I came across quite a bit of uncertainties from other curious minds of where this “Hanging Tree” is located and there are so many different trees that are being referenced as the phantom tree of death.

Final Thoughts

I always love to hear a good ole ghost story and the Turnbull Canyon is riddled with them.  There have been actually deaths and horrible tragedies that actually occurred in the canyon.  Walking around in the wilderness especially at night will naturally create some healthy paranoia.  But after my journey of reading up on Turnbull Canyon the only real threats to be aware of are: rattlesnakes, white supremacists, mountain lions, and drift car racers.

The canyon also has some great mountain bike paths.  If you decide to go hiking on these paths, bikers going down hill have the right away.  Gravity trumps their brakes so to avoid any collisions get out of their way when you see them.

References

F. (2014, November 17). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii8KDPMg7Ys

F. (2014, February 28). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb-beiXJMDg

Valenzuela, A. (2016, January 22). The Ascension to Hell – POETINIS: DRINK IN THE TRUTH – Medium. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://medium.com/engl-201/the-ascension-to-hell-d30d43952889

“The Rainmaker” House and Weather Station (1916). (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.vchistory.org/historical-sites/the-rainmaker-house/

Brown, R. J. (1934). Electricity Governs Our Lives. Popular Science, 124(2), 11-13. Retrieved November 23, 2017, from https://books.google.com/books?id=2CcDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=William Haight PopularScience&source=bl&ots=gB_8GWBnUY&sig=gIjPl7i5pE6axyoWR9I0_KT_2VA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiWtLWApMLQAhWJ7YMKHXLTBrYQ6AEIHzAB#v=onepage&q=William%20Haight%20Popular%20Science&f=false.

Sundermier, A. (2016, April 14). People all over the world are flocking to these mysterious hills that seem to defy gravity. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/what-really-happens-on-a-gravity-hill-2016-4

WeirdU.S. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.weirdus.com/states/california/local_legends/turnbull_canyon/

Whittier, CA (near) Airliner Crashes Into Hills, Apr 1952. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.gendisasters.com/california/5517/near-whittier-ca-airliner-crashes-hills-apr-1952

M. (2014, August 14). Haunted Los Angeles. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://hauntedlosangeles.blogspot.com/2014/08/turnbull-canyon-whittierhacienda.html

McKenna, J. A., M.A. (n.d.). Native People. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.hillsforeveryone.org/the-corridor/native-people/

A Weekend at the Myrtles

photo of the myrtles

If it’s a good ole haunted house getaway vacation that you are looking for, or you just want to visit the South, then check out the Myrtles Plantation Bed & Breakfast in St. Francesville, Louisiana.  A cursed ancient Indian burial ground, home to death from disease, slavery, murders, and a survivor of the Civil War; “the Myrtles” house has a very dark and deep history that has been the influence of many ghost stories that have been told over centuries that has led this now Southern B&B to be a topic of focus on TV shows such as Unsolved Mysteries in 2002 and Ghost Hunters in 2005.  “The Myrtles” has been given the title of being one of the most haunted houses on the United States soil.  Plus, they even have a gift shop.  What more can you ask?

History of the Myrtles

James Bradford an attorney, businessman, Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and then later a criminal for his involvement in the Whiskey Rebellion, fled the Pennsylvania area and eventually settled in an area in Louisiana which is now known as St. Francisville.  He purchased six hundred acres of land and then built an eight room home near Baton Rouge and named it “Laurel Grove”.  Due to Bradford’s efforts of settling a territory dispute between Spain and the United States, President John Adams pardon Bradford in 1799.  After being pardoned Bradford moved his wife Elizabeth and their five children to “Laurel Grove”.

William Bradford

William Bradford

Clark Woodrooff; a student of Bradford’s, earned a law degree and married his teacher’s daughter Sarah Mathilda.  After Bradford’s death, Clark Woodrooff took over managing the plantation for his mother in-law Elizabeth.  Eventually, Clark and Sarah had three children, Cornelia Gale, James, and Mary Octavia.  Then the yellow fever epidemic, which ran rampant through Louisiana, claimed the life of Sarah Mathilda on July 21, 1823.  In 1824, the fever took the lives of two of his children James and Cornelia.  Elizabeth Bradford sold the farm to Woodrooff, who later changed his name to Woodruff, and continued to manage the plantation until he sold “Laurel Grove” and the plantation in 1834 to Ruffin Grey Stirling.

Clark Woodruff

Clark Woodruff

The Stirlings were a wealthy family who owned many plantations on both sides of the Mississippi River.  “The Laurel Grove” house went under some serious renovations and remodeling that ended up doubling the size of the original house and the name of the house was changed to “the Myrtles”.  The name change was inspired by the myrtle trees that decorated the landscape of the property.  After four years of completion, Ruffin Stirling died from tuberculosis on July 17, 1854.  His wife Mary Cobb inherited most of his estate and quickly developed a strong reputation as a hard business woman and managed to operate all of her fields almost single handedly.  The Stirling family was frequently visited with tragedy.  Only four of the nine children survived and lived long enough to marry.  In the same year of his father, Lewis Stirling; the oldest son, died from yellow fever.  Sometime during the Civil War many of the family’s personal belongings were looted by Union soldiers.  The wealth that backed the Stirling family’s bourgeois lifestyle, was confederate currency, and became worthless after the war ended.    Mary Cobb hired William Drew Winter, the husband of her daughter, Sarah Mulford, as an attorney to help manage the estate on December 5, 1865 and as one of the perks William and Sarah got to live in “the Myrtles” house.  The January 1871 issue of the Point Coupee Democrat newspaper wrote an article about William Winter.  He was teaching a Sunday school lesson in the house when a stranger on horseback rode up to the house and called out William.  William walked out of the house onto the front porch and the mysterious horseman shot and murder the Sunday school teacher.  William Winter died on January 26, 1871.  The newspaper stated that a man named E.S. Webber was to stand trial for the murder but the outcome of the trial was never recorded.  After Mary Cobbs death in 1880, her son Stephen Stirling purchased and maintained ownership of “the Myrtles” until 1886.



The property changed hands for decades and was divided up many times.  In the 1950s, the house itself was sold to Marjorie Munson.  Supposedly after experiencing unexplained events in the house, Marjorie asked locals in the area if they knew anything about the history of the property.  This is where the ghost stories behind the Myrtles gave birth.  After changing hands for several more years, “the Myrtles” was purchased by Arlin Dease and Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Ward and the stories were continuously evolving with greater embellishments as time went by.  The stories were spread by word of mouth and for a great while the stories only existed in the area until James and Frances Kermeen Myers purchased the property and soon after, the story of “the Myrtles” was being covered in magazines.  The house appeared in the November 1980 issue of Life magazine and the ghost stories involving the house spread all over the country.

The Ghost of Chloe

The most infamous of the stories is the story of Chloe.  There are several variations to the story of the vengeful slave girl that haunts the property.  One of the versions of the story apparently took place in 1817 when Sarah Mathilda was pregnant with her third child.  Clark Woodruff had a strong reputation for being a man of integrity and a man of law.  He also had a reputation for having intimate relationships with the slave girls.  One of these girls was named Chloe.  Woodruff brought Chloe in from  the fields to be a household slave.  Chloe hated having to be forced to have sex with her master, but she realized that if she resisted her master’s sexual demands that her household slave position could immediately change and she would be forced back out into the fields.  Chloe had a habit of eavesdropping on Woodruff’s  private conversations and in one incident was caught.  Woodruff and had her ear chopped off and to cover her deformity Chloe started to wear a green turban around her head.

Out of fear of being thrown back out into the fields with the other slaves, Chloe hatched a devious scheme to paint herself as a hero to the family by baking a birthday cake that was laced with poison.  When the children ate the cake her plan was to rescue the sick children by giving them the antidote and then become the savior to the family.  Her heroic efforts would be greatly appreciated by the family and her position as a house slave would be permanent.  Well, that plan went south real quick.  According  to the story Sarah and two of her children died from eating the cake.  During the incident Woodruff was out of town, so the other slaves decided that it would be best for their interests to hold her accountable before their master returned to alleviate a backlash towards all of the slaves.  They dragged her off to the woods and hanged her from a tree.  Later her body was cut down and had a rock attached to her body and was thrown into the Mississippi river.

The haunted Staircase

Reports of phantom foot steps that can be heard going all the way up to the seventeenth step are the footsteps of William Winter who was murdered.  The story claims that after he was shot by a mysterious horseman, William dragged himself from the porch into the house and climbed the seventeen steps and died in his wife’s arms.

staircase at the myrtles

The everlasting Bloodstain

During the Civil War, three Union soldiers were caught looting the house and were shot in the gentleman’s parlor thus leaving a bloodstain that refuses to be wiped away.  When the Myrtles house became a B&B, a maid was mopping the floor and when she tried to mop over the stain, the mop was being mysteriously held away from stain.  No matter how hard the maid forced the mop over the stain an invisible force was preventing her from erasing it from history.

The murder of  Lewis Stirling

Lewis Stirling  was supposedly stabbed to death in the house over a gambling debt.  his ghost allegedly is one of many that haunt the house.

The Myrtles haunted mirror

The mirror that holds the spirits of Sarah Woodruff and her two children are the main attraction to this Southern inn.  Visitors frequently have their pictures taken in front of this mirror in hopes of possibly getting photo bombed by Sarah and or her children.  Supposedly the mirror was the only mirror that wasn’t covered during the wake.  It is a custom in many cultures to cover mirrors in a home to prevent the recently deceased from being trapped.  People claim to have seen ghost children in the mirror and some have stated that hand prints mysteriously appear on the mirror.

haunted_mirror_myrtles_plantation

Final Thoughts…

Of all of the stories that have been created that revolve around the “Myrtles”, only one of the murders was actually documented.  William Winters was shot and died on the porch.  There is  no other documented proof that all the other murders took place within the house.  The documented facts surrounding the house contradict many of the ghost stories that are currently still being told to visitors of the famous B&B.  This leads to the question is the “Myrtles” really haunted or were these stories, originally created to entertain the locals and are now being used to generate business?

There is suspicion that the Myrtles house was originally built over an ancient Indian burial ground.  There was an enormous amount of misery surrounding  the property such as slavery and death.  There is a saying that is commonly said from upper management types, “if it’s not documented then it never happened”.  That saying can go both ways.  Just because someone failed to document their evil deeds for posterity purposes doesn’t mean it never happened.

Another Thought…

I wonder if they do kid’s birthday parties and the staff can tell the story of Chloe while the children are eating their birthday cake.

References

C. (2016, June 6). The Myrtles Plantation Mirror. Retrieved August 06, 2017, from http://realunexplainedmysteries.com/the-myrtles-plantation-mirror
Myrtles Plantation. (2017, July 28). Retrieved August 06, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtles_Plantation
Taylor, T. (1970, January 01). American Hauntings. Retrieved August 06, 2017, from http://troytaylorbooks.blogspot.com/2016/08/debunking-history-of-myrtles-plantation.html
Myrtles Plantation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 06, 2017, from https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/louisiana/myr.htm
Rhodes, C. (2016, December 07). History vs. The Ghost Story. Retrieved August 06, 2017, from http://catierhodes.com/2011/10/history-vs-the-ghost-story/
Myrtles Plantation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 06, 2017, from http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/Myrtles_Plantation
Posts about General David Bradford on Where the Ghosts Live. (n.d.). Retrieved August 06, 2017, from https://wheretheghostslive.wordpress.com/tag/general-david-bradford/
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