Jack-o-lanterns

Ok ok queue up people calling me a liar, but in my giddiness for the holiday I thought a post about the Jack-o-lanterns was perfect to do.

The topic in question then? How we came to have Jack-o-Lanterns! Yes those wonderful pumpkins people hack up in a gourd based version of the chainsaw massacre. Carving, slicing, and scooping out their “brains” just to have another decoration on the front porch is a tradition for many people across the country and a few international boundaries as well. Why is it a tradition though? Skipping the Halloween origin story, since you can find that on any site, the story of the Jack-o-Lantern is nearly as old Halloween itself.

Now the folk lore following it varies from person to person but the short skit goes like this. The main character is a farmer named Jack and in one form or another he tricks the devil causing him to be trapped. Jack only agrees to let him go if the devil promised not to claim Jack’s soul when he died. The devil begrudgingly agrees and he is set free. Years later Jack does eventually die but he is left in a dilemma, that is he can’t go to heaven. Why is this? Well apparently he was a stingy son of a she-dog to the fault of sin (I’m guessing) and had a penchant for having sticky hands, for those heaven will not take him. The devil, being a man of his word, won’t take him either. This leaves Jack exasperated and he cries out “well how am I going to see where I’m going to go!?”.  Apparently the after life doesn’t have a light switch, but anyway the devil flicked an ember from hell at Jack saying that that would never burn out and that would be his last favor. Jack grabbed a turnip left over from his farm and carved it out to place the ember inside. With a dim light emanating from the turnip Jack now wanders the earth to find a place to rest. After that he was called Jack of the lantern oooooor Jack-o-Lantern. Fives bucks he found someplace tropical and said “this’ll do”.

Story aside as the years went by people found it easier to carve pumpkins than turnips. That or there was a turnip shortage with a surplus of pumpkins, but either way we usually carve out pumpkins today. For the superstitious among us it is also thought that the food based lanterns can ward off evil spirits, the undead, and vampires. How the last two work is beyond me. I’d think zombies would be attracted to light and I don’t think a jack-o-lantern is an apt sun light replicator.

Smart Alecness aside a fun tradition that comes with free roasted seeds that come post baked.

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But I swear it’s not me! Another children and the paranormal post

I’ve already done a post relating to children and the paranormal, but last night’s episode of Paranormal Witness struck another chord. If you’ve ever seen “A Haunting in Connecticut” from the Discovery channel its a more detailed retelling of that. To cut into what struck me is how when a lot of stories relating to children and the paranormal, why the hell does the parent ignore it. I know the mother knows her mistake now but when something truly, and I mean truly, bothers a child its the parents responsibility to battle back the shadows. I don’t care if it only turns out to be a really ominous jacket or a lump of toys that look like a monster.

Don’t get me wrong here. For the last statement above I know that that’s a portion to why parents don’t take it seriously. Children do have imaginations and can run away with said imagination. The only thing is when there are things beyond a child’s imagination why still ascribe what they see to it? Not all children are into history or violent related subjects, if anything most children would like to avoid the latter. So why is it that when they tell their parents of seeing other people in period dress or bloodied or worse that its just “something they saw on tv”.  If this infuriates me so much I can only imagine how truly frustrated the children feel.

Imagine being a child again and how everything in the dark would turn frightening. The smallest shadow would send pure terror into the core of ones soul. Now take it one more step and tell the parent/guardian what’s been seen. When first told they might brush it off and might even entertain what it might be just to humor the child.  Next few times it bothers them a little bit too and they start prodding the closet to set minds at ease. After the next few times they might grow irritated at the continued information of what the child sees and would soon regulate it to wanting attention. For some parents a little attention showering later, they grow more irritated since they’d see no reason for the child to harp on. At this stage it’s probable that if it is a paranormal, happening things go missing. Result of this is further infuriated parents, demanding items back for which the child had no assistance in there abscontion (hence the title ). Past that point there are many ways it could go depending on the children and parents involved.

Perhaps it’s just because I’m not a parent yet myself when it comes to children. I grew up believing that parents were a child’s knights in shining armor, slashing back the darkness with their imaginary swords. When I was a child things crossed my vision that bothered me as well, I just never told my parents. I couldn’t really tell them though even if I wanted to, but this subject isn’t about me. It also leads me to another one which I’ll need to write about at a later date. Subject in question is about children with mental handicaps and how to deal with them and their purposed encounters. If the average children have difficulty with it I don’t dare imagine the amount of fear and confusion they would feel. Again though, a topic for another time.

To make a small summary of this if something bothers the children take them seriously. I honestly cannot stretch that enough. Even if what they see is just a shadow and only that their fears and feelings should be taken into account. No one wants their child to feel insecure, untrusted, and troublesome for things beyond their control.

Image Credit: Profilingtheunexplained.com, Ghosthuntingtheories.com

Disposal of an Ouija board

Some time ago I remember spotting in top searches on how to rid oneself of an Ouija board. Mind you all I can post our “superstitious” methods and as to whether or not they truly work I cannot attest to. If anyone has a better method I can place up here then by all means, speak up.

Method One:

First break the board apart into seven pieces then you can either sprinkle holy water on the pieces and bury it. If one is unable wait for the holy water just sprinkle salt water on it. Personally upon burial I would dump in a canister of salt on top of it. Going back to the breaking bit, breaking the board is breaking the “vessel” for the spirit at the time. Think of it like breaking a vase, since a broken vase can hold no water.

Method Two:

This is less superstition and more giving it to responsible people. If there is a paranormal group within the area turn the board over to them for disposal if one is not very willing to do it on their own. Never EVER put the item up to an auction site to pass it off to someone else.

Method Three:

Burn it with fire, lots and lots of fire.

Note: for those truly superstitious about the board it is ill advised for reasons of bad luck upon the former user. I wouldn’t worry too much about it since one could easily get a charm to ward it off.

Method Four:

If the disposal is because the hunk of wood is just gathering dust, rather than a paranormal disturbance it can go one of three ways. A) Give it to a friend that likes to have paranormal paraphernalia but not use them. B) Give it to Goodwill. C) If none of the above are palatable just chuck it in the bin.

Important message! I would just like to remind everyone that the board as we know it today was created as a toy. Something to keep people occupied like hangman, or mad libs. Though it’s ties to the paranormal are now permanently bound it was never meant as a contact device for any one or thing. Again the above methods are part superstition so it’s be a good idea to go to someone else for a second opinion.

Ghosts Vs. Salt

For those in the reading and possibly getting into the supernatural it is important to know about salt. Yes that little container on the dining table. No I’m not kidding.

It goes back to waaay back in the day in the mists of time when many superstitions began taking root. Among the superstitions were ways to defend oneself and family from the spirit world. With the fact that spirits can do anything save for turn the light back off after they’re done, I can’t quite say I blame them. I’d want protection too if a spirit made me through up enough needles to start a hardware store ( Reference people. Twenty points to whoever gets it).

Getting back to the superstition bit there are two big reasons as to why salt is supposed to work. For the picky folk I know there’s more but to my mind a few of them can be crammed together for this one.

The first one to cover also used to apply to many other creatures as well. One was supposed to sprinkle salt or grains or brooms around their homes or beds since it was thought that some spirits or entities had severe cases of OCD and would have to count out each individual grain/straw bristle or some of them without patience would just leave the person inside the food circle alone.

The second one being a bit more salt centric. It was thought that salt had purifying energies to ward off negative ones. It was often used in rituals with water and could be thought as the origin of holy water. I could go into more detail but I’ve already done all the research I want for the day. Besides I can’t give it all out at once. Google, my friends, Google.

I will say that salt is salt. Rock salt, Table salt, Sea salt, Iodized salt all salt. All the same chunks of sodium chloride so no it isn’t going to matter. So yeah, one could go grab a big tub of the little girl with the umbrella salt then pour it out around their “base of operations” just to have a safe zone while investigating. I’d still personally prefer to save some for eating a good watermelon though.

Images: Topnews.in, Simplebites.net

Hags

Few and many come in contact with these malevolent beings known as Hags.  Their generally described appearance is of a haggard old woman with a nasty case of bed head and bad finger nail grooming. They can be most often associated with nightmares. To explain that the origin of the nightmare revolves around a hag riding the body of a sleeping person as though they were a horse. It was thought at one time that the hags were actually witches coming to assault the people of the local village when they were most vunerable.

That’s not exactly how it went but the imagery works well enough to get the point across.  Moving on, the hag is an entity that a small percentage of people will encounter at least once in their life. They’d be getting off lucky if they were to have just one or two visits. In a manner of speaking the hag is an “energy vampire” literally sucking the life from it’s victims. Frequent visits may result in a fatality if the hag is not dealt with.

The symptoms of “Hag syndrome” include but are not limited too:  paralysis, the feeling of hands or a body pressing against ones own, and in some cases violent assault. Outside of the nighttime attacks a victim will display signs of sleep deprivation, irritability, anxiety, and depression. Note that not all symptoms will apply.

Going back a moment to dealing with hags it can be a rather difficult thing to do. Like with many spirits they can either be attached to the land and are actively trying to run off the intruders or they could be attached to their intended victim(s). Like I’ve suggested in other posts if it is believed that one is under siege by a spirit of ill intent contact the nearest paranormal group for assistance.

Additional note: Not all elderly appearing spirits can be related to the usual application Hag. They can be benevolent or just not really care one way or another.

Image and Video credits: Atomicthinktank.com, Arts.Uwaterloo.Ca, Moonraventales

Ouija Boards

Yup here it is, the obligatory Ouija board post! This is obligatory mainly for the fact that when one thinks of ghosts and hauntings Ouija boards aren’t too far behind. Given to what I’ve seen with the boards this post will be minor history and big red warning saying “DO NOT USE”. To that effect I will not be using the “burn everything that isn’t Jesus” approach that many christian sects use.

Since before many of use can remember people have sought methods to speak to those that have left us behind. Seeing faces in smoke from a fire to saying the intended spirits name while staring into a mirror. Don’t start on the second one, that was around long before “Bloody” Mary ever showed up. Back to point people have tried to communicate with the departed. The big spike in communication occurred during the spiritualist movement in the late nineteenth century (late 1800’s-early 1900’s). The image above shows a form of automatic writing, where the people provide the energy for the spirit to write or draw what they wish to put across.

Like the key chain above, the original Ouija board was nothing more than a novelty. Something to amuse guests with while the butler hurriedly slapped together some cheese n’ crackers hor dourves. The people then didn’t tie anymore significance to it than we would a magic eight ball. During the first world war was when the board made it’s debut into the spirit realm and the tables of many spiritualist enthusiasts. It wasn’t long before Ouija gained a large chunk of the lime light of the supernatural. So much so that many movies and tv shows from the forties on have used it at one point or another, shoving it into the mainstream media.

Given it’s immense popularity it wasn’t long before people began bashing on the board. Christians deemed it a symbol of witchcraft (yeah right), The scientists (rightly) deemed it unscientific and the news people just over blew everything (like always). The christians are unfounded, the scientists are right, and the news can blow itself. But for all of this why did I put the words “DO NOT USE” in capitals? Because Murhpy’s law happens.

As in my “welcoming death into the home” post stated, one really cannot invite death into their home. However spirits can be invited. This is the main danger of the Ouija board. I’d like to think of a board as an old fashioned operator working the lines. If one asks for someone specifically the operator can line them up. But, if no one is specified then the operator just connects to anyone that can receive the call. This is where uninvited guests can come in since they were invited but not by name and without meaning to. Given the many ways that a doorway can be established I don’t think that the Ouija board is one. All it is is the operator not bothering to take the line down. As a result of that there have been many Ouija seances that didn’t exactly end well in the days afterward. While that is not always the case caution should still be used with it.

If it’s intended for a nights festivities to play with an Ouija board, do so safely. Get protection and if a professional with the board is available to use it with the party involved, please do.

Image snagging: stacyspielman.com, zazzle.com, can’t find source again

Doppelgangers

At one point or another for anyone digging into the supernatural doppelgangers have popped up. Sometimes there’s only a footnote and other times there can be a whole chapter or book dedicated to them. How we think of it today though is a mix between different and culture over time so the way one thinks of it depends on their belief system. A basic definition of a doppelganger could be along the lines of an apparent body double going about the routine of the day, long before the original is to show up in the current location.

Again with the different beliefs this can be varied. There is another tidbit of legend that claims if someone were to run into their doppelganger they would die on the spot. I kind of think of that like matter meeting anti matter and the two forms of the person cancel each other out. One would hope for such a unfortunate meeting to never occur. Then again if that were the case no one has survived to either deny or confirm it.

There is a lot speculated about why doppelgangers exist. Theories range from dimensions crossing boundaries to a time warp where our future self is seen by others. For some though all doppelgangers are, are spirits. There are several recorded instances where a body double will show up in the moment of the original’s death. This to me makes sense since when the original expires then their “double” appears among friends or family by that point it’s technically a ghost sending the last goodbye.

Given I don’t really know much on the doppelganger subject this is all I can write about now. I’ll see about adding onto this with additional research later. TTFN all.

Image snatching: No idea where it’s from. Anyone?