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|Posted on April 26, 2021 at 4:00 PM|
When it comes to being haunted there are no places perhaps more haunted than the Winchester Mystery House. Located in San Jose, California, the giant Victorian mansion once was home to Sarah Winchester, widow of the maker of the Winchester rifle. Aside from now being a historical landmark, the place is known for its size, strange architecture, and strong paranormal activity. The most perplexing feature about the place is its known construction that went on every single day with Sarah Winchester's insistence until her death in 1922 when all construction halted. So why did Sarah Winchester keep building? Who are the spirits that haunt this place and why is the architecture so bizarre?
When her husband died, Sarah Winchester inherited his fortune and his land. After her child also died she decided to move but not before going to a medium who told her to build a home for herself and always continue to build to appease those who died from Winchester rifles. It is also claimed that she moved west because the spirits of those who died from the rifles haunted her and her family. When she finally moved to the property that we now refer to as the Mystery house she began building and it began a strange house at that. She did not use an architect and would add on to the building in a strange fashion. The house has several oddities such as doors and stairs that go nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms, doors that when you open them up it's just a brick wall, and stairs go up to nothing and stop at a wall. Many accounts suggest these oddities are due to her belief in ghosts haunting her to make up for the bloodshed her husband's rifles caused. It's suggested today that the layout for the house's odd structure could be the reason it seems so haunted.
The outside may look normal but the inside tells quite a different story. There are around161 rooms, 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 and possibly there were more. There are also two basements and three elevators. The number 13 is also prominent throughout the house with the number of stairs, tiles on a floor, windows in a room, and other things always at 13. There is also a room that Sarah Winchester stopped going in altogether after she placed one of her late child's items inside it. Perhaps the most puzzling thing of all is in modern times a census was taken to find out how many rooms were in the house and oddly enough it was more than the 161. Did people just miscount the number of rooms or have some been added over the years by spirits?
So who haunts the house and why? Sarah Winchester is said to haunt the house of course. She is mainly said to be seen in what used to be her bedroom. She is said to be seen throughout the house but mainly in the rooms she frequently used. Aside from Sarah Winchester, the ghosts of the construction workers who worked on the house are said to haunt the place. They are seen walking the halls or even seen building. During tours, people also claim they hear whistling as if a worker if passing the time while working. Whatever it is there is no doubt between the reasoning or the building that the Winchester House is in fact haunted.
Winchester died in 1922 all building of the house ceased..at least from a living standpoint. Since she left no one in her will to get the house it went to the city and it was made as a place for people to be given a tour of. Over the last few years when a census was done on the house the outcome for the number of rooms seemed to be more than the previous time they were counted. Some suggest that the person handling matters simply miscounted but the other theory is suggested that the ghosts are still adding onto the house.
So what is our fascination with this house? It’s strange, it’s not like any other house we’ve ever seen or will ever see in our lives. It’s an endless labyrinth that tells of a woman’s bizarre superstitious endeavors and is one of the best and obvious places that ghosts should roam because they feel their mission will never be done. The Winchester House is not to be taken lightly in fact if you ever tour the place you should always stay with your group because you don’t want to get lost and who knows who you may bump into.
Here is a poem I wrote that is in my poetry book, The Macabre Masterpiece: Repressed Carnage. It’s called Echoes of a Rifle and it’s about the Winchester House and it’s history. There have been many homages and references to the house in popular culture and with the house as big as it is it’s no surprise why it’s inspiration and referenced so many times.
It was to be a simple build
of what was to become a house
But told to add on for blood that spilled
With enough spaces to confuse even a mouse
So it went on for years and years
Men everyday hard at work
Adding on features hidden with fears
The lady of the house slowly going berserk
They put in windows against walls
Doors and stairs that lead to no where
For as long as the echoes call
She tells them to build without concern or care
Each stairwell ending in thirteen
of all kinds straight, angled and spiral
Even today workers are still seen
Whistling Dixie as they nail and smile
Taking a count of the rooms within
May lead to a chilling revelation
Since constant building would forgive sin
The number can only be an estimation
The whispering of voices carry on
as the spirits seem ever so delightful
The men hard a work still, never gone
All from the echoes of a rifle
|Posted on April 26, 2021 at 3:55 PM|
It’s not just playing with a Ouija board and tapping on the wall three times. Spiritualism is the belief the dead can communicate with the living. It has been a wide belief and practice throughout America and Europe since the 1800s. A few well-respected people began the practice with their own early methods. Many Victorians during the 1800s began abandoning their religions in favor of spiritualism despite the vague connection between the two. Victorians were interested in the paranormal, supernatural, and occult because it displayed a new look into parts of religion and the afterlife. Many popular forms of the paranormal included in the late Victorian era were mesmerism, clairvoyance, and others but mainly the big one in Spiritualism.
A few well-known people were for and against the idea of spiritualism. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the infamous Sherlock Holmes but was fascinated by the principles of spiritualism. Not only that but his wife had taken it up and become a medium and clairvoyant. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was also into it however, her husband was against it despite the fact that she herself was very much into it. While many people were caught up in the fad of the time that was spiritualism there were some who were not and none more so than magician Harry Houdini. Something about spiritualism bothered him and he made it his mission when he wasn’t doing magic to expose as many people who practiced spiritualism as he could. What has his motive? It’s uncertain but perhaps Houdini looked at spiritualism as “fake magic” compared to what he did and didn’t want to see people’s livelihood’s ruined by promises of talking to their dead loved ones.
However, not everyone was against it and even royalty claimed to see ghosts and found themselves getting into spiritualism. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert claimed to see spirits and even held one or two seances with a medium in hopes to get a deeper look into the spirits they saw. Spiritualism was a giant wave of a fad that took on literal otherworldly popularity and in many ways, it’s easy to see why people at the time were so taken and accepting of it. On the other hand, it’s also easy to side with Houdini on it in the sense that many people knew it was popular and most likely didn’t have any powers or connections to the supernatural. So rather than try to see if they could become good at it they simply prayed on the vulnerable and ran scams telling people what they wanted to hear and pretended to be communicating with the dead.
Whichever side you choose to stand on you can’t dent that spiritualism was a thing and it is still widely recognized today though in more dramatic fashion and other types of more profound techniques. In a different time, spiritualism could have become a concrete solid religion or common practice with all the elements of what made it popular when it first came out but perhaps luckily people were skeptical and questioned it. Maybe spiritualism has substance but then again maybe it was all nothing more than an idle scam that too many people got caught up in.
|Posted on January 24, 2020 at 6:50 PM|
When we think of possession we naturally tend to think of the horror movie The Exorcist. A movie about a young girl who becomes possessed by a demonic spirit and the church is brought in to perform an exorcism on her to get rid of the malevolent being. This while dramatically fictitious is an example of demonic possession. Demonic possession is defined as the belief that a person's actions are controlled by an alien spirit, demon, or entity. It also happens to be a controversial topic in the sense that some people believe it can happen while others believe it can't create a controversial topic that divides people on their thoughts on it. So why do I want to talk about possession? Well for one, horror is one of my specialties and possession is a bit horror topic, two I'm trying to write more posts on the paranormal and three, I think it's a decent topic to discuss and talk about.
The first thing to know about demonic possession is that it is connected to religion in the sense that each religion has its own theories, thoughts, and ways to address it. I won't be getting into the details of each religion's ways of dealing with possession but rather I'll talk about the dark sides and effects of it that they all share. Many believe possession to be a disorder and possibly a psychological disorder with several other traits to go with it. While possession could easily be diagnosed under many disorders and symptoms one must look past a medical diagnosis and try to believe that it is a supernatural happening and force. Possession is not a common occurrence which is why it should not quickly be attributed to a normal disorder or illness. Possession is a demon, an actual being from another world, possibly hell or someone who was bad in life that has become a demonic spirit. After characterizing what possession is the next step is identifying what it wants and why it's attached itself to a particular person.
In most cases, a demon who possesses a person's body wants one thing, to control them. They want to live in this world and use the person's body and essence as a way to live amongst the living and cause harm to the person as well. Now while I have never seen or heard of a real case of possession I imagine it's truly horrific and probably quite painful to the person being possessed. While fiction does do a good job of showing how possession maybe it dramatically shows the things we all expect possession to be and usually cuts out the small symptoms and things that make the ordeal truly worse. In movies and shows all we usually see is a demon talking in a voice nowhere close to the actual person's voice, the person talking inappropriately, vomiting, inflicting harm to the person's body and writing strange symbols on walls. Is this what real demonic possession is? I'm sure parts of this are true to what really happens but I can't help but feel like Hollywood dramatizes these particular effects because they know they will shock people.
Possession is a serious supernatural condition and while I have stated above that it's controversial its also the reason Hollywood and horror make it a perfect cause and effect as a tool and vice. What's scarier than a person being taken over by a demon and acting totally different, threatening people and doing strange and abnormal things? Exactly, not much. A demon itself is scary enough but when a demon tries to or successfully takes over a human body and still does demonic things? That's bound to scare the daylights out of people and put the scare and fear factor at a 10 out of 10. Should we enjoy seeing possession in fiction? Sure, as long as we remember that it's just that, fiction. Seeing it for real is probably fifty times worse and something no person wants to see or experience for themselves. Possession is many things but one thing it isn't is a horror tool used to scare people. It is a vicious and dark part of life that in rare cases does happen and sometimes we forget that.
|Posted on October 17, 2019 at 4:25 PM|
“Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they make!” -Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula
When we hear the word vampire we immediately think of two things. One, an immortal creature that longs for blood and two, the essential star vampire Dracula, the vampire who other vampires long to be. In a nutshell, we think of vampires as creatures and supernatural beings with extraordinary powers who we love to read about and watch on television. The tale of the vampire has been told over the years in so many ways from Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula all the way to Stephanie Meyer’s Twlight(with lots and lots of vampire tales in between).
The one thing to note and consider here however is our perception of the vampire and how it is that we now glamorize something that simply shouldn’t be glamorized. Why is it that we don’t fear vampires? Where exactly did we go wrong and why did this change? Well, technically Dracula is a romance novel just like Die Hard is a Christmas movie but I’ll save that discussion for another day. The way the media and authors have portrayed vampires usually runs the same...until now.
For every Dracula story and film there’s always the same premise, the same idea; that Dracula is a vampire who wants his beloved back and stalks Mina because he longs for her while causing havoc around him. Underworld tells of the classic vampires versus werewolves battle which while fun to watch is your typical beast A very beast B fighting for supremacy of who’s the best of the best. Then you have your Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice which shows the flamboyant and sometimes over the top vampire Lestat and his many adventures. Then of course there’s the love and sex appeal we have given the vampire, the glamorization I referred to in the beginning. I’m not sure of the very book or film that did this but it’s taken us to now, we have this affection and sex appeal for the vampire that just doesn’t make sense yet we are used to it because it’s become the normal.
I myself have found a new approach to the vampire, one that I have not really come across in any other story or portrayal. In my series, Vampires, I talk about how vampires should be feared in the first poem but then I tell of how vampires have become depressed and almost suicidal and longing for death because no one fears them anymore. It goes into detail about how many just wish to walk into the sun or wish to get stabbed in the heart. The most recent poem in the series shows how the vampires are tired of feeling bad for themselves and make you remember who they are and just why they should be feared.
At first, when I wrote about the vampires being depressed and suicidal it wasn’t my intention at all as I just wrote what came to me at the time. From there it took on a more interesting idea for me so I expanded on it. I felt it was a different approach to the vampire lore and there’s nothing sexy or glittery about them. The series is up to about six or seven(yes I’m not sure how many I’ve written at this point) but with the most recent being the fact that they want to strike fear into people again it will be interesting to see if I could keep it going but so far nothing is in the works of another poem in the series. Vampires can be portrayed in many different ways and even as suicidal depressed immortals who are just so over life.
If you’d like to know more about my series vampires scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe to my e-mail list for a surprise.
|Posted on September 27, 2019 at 8:20 PM|
If you’re into horror then chances are it doesn’t matter if it’s real or fabricated horror you love it regardless. However, there is a big difference between going to a place expecting to get scared from a comical theatrical sense and going to a haunted house where people were murdered and the killer still haunts the house. It goes without saying that real horror is different and far more scary than any haunted house or theme park. Let’s not let that spoil this article in fact let’s take a look at examples of both and look into why some of us can’t get enough of either.
All haunted attractions are based off of real horror, things we perceive to represent real horror and meant to scare us. These places whether it’s in a house, church(I have attended a haunted attraction in a church before), field, warehouse or wherever they are, you go there expecting to be scared and you know you will be. When you go to a real known place with paranormal activity you don’t know whether or not you’ll get scared and that triggers a whole different feeling inside you.
Real haunted horror are places like the Amityville House, The Winchester House, The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, Bobby Mackey’s, Gettysburg, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum, and many more. These are places where horrific things took place and all have haunted pasts that still continue to this day. These places are only some of the most famous but there’s many more. If the walls in these places could talk they’d have some of the most gruesome and disturbing ghost stories to tell and that’s putting it lightly. Real hauntings and real horror are what some of us think we want to see for ourselves to see if we can encounter or experience anything. Sure it seems like a good idea until we realize we bit off more than we can chew..
Haunted Horror Attractions are the places we go every year in October. Haunted Houses, Haunted Factories, Haunted Hayrides, Corn Mazes, you name it. These places are designed to scare us and we go there in anticipation in hopes of being scared. For some it’s all about the scare, the adventure and fun. When you go to these places you’re likely to feel something but at the end of the night you know that it’s all done in fun and that none of it’s real. Whether it’s a scary clown, cosmic alien, creepy lumberjack with a chainsaw or whatever you may see in these places these are characters created to scare you and you let them. These haunted attractions are scary fun and quite a change from the real haunted horrors we hope to encounter when entering a real place filled with paranormal activity.
Now of course real horrific places have inspired movies and television shows so that we as horror fans can ingest it easier. Real horror is seen countless times in Hollywood and entertainment but it’s not watered down but changed so that it’s just like a haunted attraction, to be anticipated and enjoyed in a theatrical sense. This however doesn’t always work and sometimes it just makes people want to go to the real place and before you know it they are traumatized and wishing they never watched the movie to begin with. I am exaggerating a bit but I’m sure it’s happened just like I’m sure some haunted attractions have tried to hold their haunted theme parks at real known haunted places. Can you imagine the type of horror you would get then? The best of both worlds until you couldn’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. Perhaps it’s best we keep our haunted attractions separate from the real horrors of the world because after all we don’t want to create any more real life haunted horrors...
|Posted on September 27, 2019 at 8:10 PM|
Haunted houses, mansions, asylums, and cemeteries. When it comes to haunted we genuinely think of these four places but let's not forget about factories and warehouses. These two places, in my opinion, could be even more haunted then the four listed above. Before I get into why I believe this to be so let’s first delve into why factories and warehouses are creepy. From an outside perspective, most factories and warehouses are big in stature and are made from brick and concrete so they give off a menacing look because they have to store such big things within them.
Have you ever looked at a giant factory building during a dark gloomy day? Chances are if you have you get the same feeling I do, you get creeped out! So why do I feel factories and warehouses are more haunted than houses, mansions or even asylums and cemeteries? Well for one they were built hundreds of years ago and likely had hundreds of workers inside and if you account for accidents that may have happened well you have a few dozen or so hauntings right there.
Factories and warehouses are made for businesses and back in the day when industrialism came along many of them were built all over the world especially right here in the United States. If you factor that in plus consider the fact that there were hundreds of people, accidents bound to happen and not to mention horrific deaths possibly occurring because of the equipment in these factories you could easily get hauntings from these places today. Of course not every factory or warehouse is haunted but I’m sure if a poll were taken it would show a great deal of them could have paranormal activity. Also, factories and warehouses have that natural rustic, man-made, rugged look to them which doesn’t help matters when it comes to the creepy factor.
There are so many reasons factories and warehouses could be haunted just like houses, mansions, asylums, and cemeteries but there’s also another overlooked reason that could be the case. Many warehouses over the years have been used as slaughterhouses, places where people butcher animals and maybe more. They have also been known to be used as headquarters for criminals and even places where criminals and the mafia do business by killing people within them. This could also be a reason that places that still stand now are not only creepy on the outside but scary and haunted on the inside due to the horrible history that took place.
Factories and warehouses are where work is meant to be done and maybe that’s just it. Perhaps people who once worked there long ago haunt the place not to scare people but because it’s all they knew, it’s what made them happy, to go to work every day and have a purpose. Perhaps they haunt the place because they still feel there’s work to be done or they are on a continuous loop as a residual haunting repeating an action in their once everyday working life. If you find yourself in a creepy factory or warehouse be on alert but also remember you may not have to be afraid because yes the place may be haunted but those who still roam the building are not there to harm or haunt you or maybe they are…
|Posted on July 3, 2019 at 3:40 PM|
Some buildings history can be seen on the outside from its age, abandonment or old rustic look. However, for some buildings the history and the past isn’t always seen on the exterior but rather the interior and its history still lingers thinking it’s the past. Some buildings histories have haunted pasts, ghosts or beings who stay inside the building haunting it because they either don’t want others there or they simply don’t know things have changed. From a scary horror standpoint, we all know about some of the worlds most haunted places; from the city of Salem and it’s many places to Bobby Mackey’s bar, a place said to have not only ghosts but demon spirits as well. We will take a look at some of these places but in general, we will go over why it is we as people like not only abandoned places but we also like haunted buildings.
So what is our fascination with haunted buildings? Some have made a hobby out of it and some do it for a living. Ghost hunting has become extremely popular over the last twenty years and it’s no surprise as to why seeing as we tend to enjoy the things that scare us. These ghosts all seem to reside in old haunted buildings although I would state that even if you didn’t know a building was haunted it may give off haunted vibes just from the look alone. There are thousands of haunted buildings all over the world. From houses and old factories to old battleground bunkers to medieval European castles, there is no end to the type of building it is but what is known and what they all have in common is their haunted past that currently takes up residency.
Some famous haunted buildings have become big tourist attractions such as Bobby Mackey’s, Lizzie Borden’s Bed & Breakfast, The Winchester House, The Amityville House, as well as countless factories, hotels, asylums and prisons(two most notable are Eastern State Penitentiary and Alcatraz). These places all have chilling pasts and these past events now are said to live on forever as people flock to them to see if they can catch a glimpse of a spirit of centuries past. Why do we enjoy haunted buildings and ghosts? Well, we just do. Some of us find it really interesting and are intrigued by ghosts or simply love the creepy paranormal history of a building.
If anything consider this. A normal old historical building will have lots of history and great past stories to it no doubt but an old historical haunted building will have much more. Not only will it have its history but it will also have a dark twisted and sinister history to tell. A story that is hard to believe and not only that but the past is still around today and lingers telling people to leave, showing them a residual haunting or even worse trying to harm them. Haunted buildings may sound like fun but they can also be dangerous as this is a part of the unknown and you should be more scared than excited.
We love touring places of the past and we also love touring haunted places so the two do in fact go hand in hand. You should try to learn when going to a haunted building rather than hope to get scared and see something. In fact, try to go there with the intent to learn and if you do happen to see something haunting and chilling then consider that an added bonus. Haunted buildings make up a good chunk of our history and there will always be a story to tell and there will always be horrific things that have taken place that has shaped these places into haunted infamy. As long as we visit these places and talk about them they will live on forever and perhaps that’s just what they’ve wanted all along.
|Posted on April 10, 2019 at 7:35 PM|
Ghosts. Some of us find them scary and some of us long to talk to them because they are our loved ones trying to reach out. Ghosts are beings that are still around after death. Some are good and some are bad, some interact and some are just images reliving their past experiences and cannot interact. So what exactly is the difference between a residual haunting and an intelligent haunting? Well my guest, the operator of the My Haunted Salem site on tumblr is here to explain the difference between the two.
What is a Residual Haunting?
Residual hauntings are somewhat hard to describe, but are fairly common. Also known as “psychic impressions,” residual hauntings are considered by many as the type of haunting experienced most by people. When a ghost (person or animal) or even an event is witnessed over and over again, or doing the exact same thing, this is known as a residual haunting. It is “residual” because it is believe that energy from emotionally-charged events imprint upon our world. It is the release of this residual energy that creates the ghost person, ghost animal or ghostly scene.
Famed paranormal investigator, Frederic W. H. Myers called this type of haunting a “vertical afterimage.” A residual haunting, according to Myers’ definition, would be a memory impression left by individuals, animals or events, especially, it would seem, when under duress or from a time when there was the release of strong emotions, left as pictures in the atmosphere of a particular site.
The ghosts of residual haunting can be both seen or heard repeating the same activity. It is believed that most disembodied footsteps and many ghostly noises that are heard in a haunted place might be residual in origin. The residual sounds can be heard over and over and by different people. For example, it is said that in the Queen Mary’s Second Class Pool Room, one can still hear splashing, though the pool is now empty!
We may think of a residual haunting as a movie being replayed, day after day; and occasionally, someone is lucky enough to see or hear the encore. It is believed by ghost hunters that some events, due to strong emotional energy attached to it, imprint themselves on the environment where the event took place. Sort of “trapped in time,” the event is recorded in the atmosphere of a location. It’s the same with spirits of people – if one were to see a ghost doing the same activity over and over, and with no response to the present environment, it is likely a residual haunting. The person’s spirit is not there, in this theory, but just a phantasm of them exists, like a photograph in time. Residual hauntings are past events playing in the present but with no interaction or connection to the present.
What is a Intelligent Haunting?
Intelligent haunting are those in which the ghost interacts with the present. It is intelligent, in that the ghost may communicate, or interfere in some fashion, with those of us living on the earthly plane. The disembodied person has elected, for some reason, to stay here due to a connection with a person, place or thing. Intelligent haunting sometimes happens due to a spirit’s compelling need to deliver a message from the other side of the grave or to watch over loved ones. In addition, it is also plausible that an intelligent haunting can occur due to attachments the ghostly person feels to memories, trauma, tragedy or any other emotional tie, effectively binding the mind to:
not realizing the deceased person’s body has indeed expired
completing unfinished earthly business
re-living traumatic events, as the mind consistently replays the event in an attempt to comprehend
perhaps remaining with loved ones or persons the ghost finds like company with
not letting go due to some form of fear after death, such as fear of punishment or moving on unto the unknown
Intelligent haunting manifests typically in what some may consider to be “ghost signs.” Hiding or moving objects, doors opening and closing, hearing strange sounds, noticing a spiritual presence (e.g. goosebumps), and the disturbance of electrical devices are all examples of ghosts attempting to gain someone’s attention and communicate from the spirit realm.
One may also experience dreams and visions of loved ones, especially, right before or after sleep when most of us are more open to contact (and the left brain is quieted down). It is also not uncommon to physically see a ghostly loved one, as well, as either an apparition or shadowed form. The best thing one can do is remain open to the contact and listen to what is heard deep within as that is how ghosts primarily communicate. If you encounter a haunting, seek to speak to the spirit, using in words of peace, compassion and love.
A big thank you to my guest for this great thorough explanation on residual and intelligent hauntings. Check out her tumblr page https://myhauntedsalem.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">@myhauntedsalem for more on ghosts.
If you liked this than feel free to check out the rest of my blog for more creepy horror posts as well as other topics. Feel free to subscribe to my e-mail list
And check out the novel that inspired this very question, The Wax Factory, a modern gothic horror novel with a dap of paranormal and ghosts.
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