Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bon Voyage

Heading off to Europe for a MUCH needed respite. I will be visiting the ancient landscape of the Eternal City; exploring Renaissance wonders in Florence, Pisa, and Genoa; marveling at French artistic vistas in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence; and checking out a Spanish monastery that clings like a goat to the cliffs outside Barcelona.

If you know of any paranormal must-see destinations in these locations, by all means let me know. I've a small list already, but am excited to hear about others. Hopefully, I will have some stories to share when I return.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy (Late) Birthday!!

Meant to post about this a couple of days ago, but it slipped my mind. So now, without further ado...

NOVEMBER 11, 1012
NOVEMBER 11, 2012
(if you believe one early translation of the enigmatic rune inscription)

You can read more about the mysterious Heavener Runestone here, or by picking up a copy of [insert shameless self-promotion] Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma. :D

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Would You Take: The Ephemera of Sanity

Lost within the cold embrace of the now-abandoned Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane were scores of trunks and suitcases belonging to patients who had passed away without anyone caring. In 1995, as Willard closed its doors, employees discovered these odd time capsules and passed them over to the New York State Museum, which has created a permanent collection where visitors can glimpse not only the insanity of these patients, but more importantly their humanity.

To me, as a writer, I am very intrigued by the case of a Dmytre, a Ukranian man with a penchant for higher mathematics and a curious story about being arrested by the Secret Service for claiming to be the husband of President Truman's daughter. What a curious thing. Was this all he did? If so, why would the Secret Service arrest him and lock him up in an asylum? It seems like there is WAY more to his story and that gets my gears spinning!

You can read more about this interesting collection and the man who photographed it at Collectors Weekly.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Truth Behind A High-Flying Fake

Caught a bit of a documentary about the science behind supernatural phenomena. The program I caught, which aired on Chiller, dealt with purported events of levitation, focusing much on ancient Indian mystics and their practices. One in particular caught my eye because of its romantic, colonial connotations: the Indian rope trick.

The famous rope trick, in short, involves a rope that at the command of a mystic rises mysteriously into the air with enough rigidity to allow a boy to climb it--and sometimes disappear. The entire illusion is fraught with controversy, from how it is achieved to even how and where it began. Some claim it began no later than the 1890s with a hoaxed newspaper article. Still others claim it dates back much further in India with references to tricks of climbing unsupported ropes showing up in the 1700s and perhaps even earlier.

As to how the trick was performed, explanations range from mass hypnosis (brought about by burning hallucinogenic substances) to performing the trick at night between two trees where a wire could easily hide against the dark sky. However, mostly it seems that the whole invention didn't exist prior to an 1890 article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Most reports of having seen the trick performed earlier in the 19th century (often by former British soldiers) are either misremembered events or some type of tacit collusion with the hoax.