Archive for cemeteries

MARY HASTINGS Part Three

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2012 by Dave Lapham

“Probably a case of nerves, Sis. Don’t worry. Besides, I can get over here in a couple of minutes.” He smiled.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right. Living out here in the country isn’t like the city. I guess I’ll have to get used to it all again. Want to stay for breakfast?”

“Naw, I’ve got to get busy. Betsy said she’d be over after a while, though.” Waving his hand he stepped out the door and walked to his truck.

The following days were filled with putting the house in order, spending time with family, and renewing old friendships. Mary had no more disturbances and slept like a stone for several nights running.

One night, however, a slamming door awakened her. She didn’t know whether the sound came from downstairs or the second floor. She only knew it wasn’t a dream—she had definitely heard it. She turned on her light, grabbed her pistol, and headed out the door. Turning lights on as she went, she walked through the whole house and found nothing. All the doors and windows were closed and locked. She could not explain the slamming door. Finally, she went back upstairs to bed, leaving all the lights on.

The noises continued on later nights and increased, doors opening and closing, footsteps on the stairs, and in the hall a man’s laughter. Mary began to think she was having mental problems—or was the house haunted? The first few times noises occurred, she’d phoned Travis, but he never found anyone or any evidence that someone had been there. So she stopped calling him.

One night as she slept soundly, something grabbed her big toe. Mary bolted upright. There at the foot of her bed stood Will, big grin, cow lick, and all. She couldn’t believe it. Will, her big brother. Of course, she knew it wasn’t actually him but his ghost. She wasn’t afraid. She was filled with peace. Will. Will. His image faded, and she flopped back to sleep, smiling.

Periodically over the next few weeks, she heard the usual noises, but they didn’t disturb her anymore. She knew Will was there, and most nights she slept straight through. Once she tried to tell Travis about Will, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to explain that their older brother’s ghost resided in the house. Travis seemed to be happy that she wasn’t bothered by inexplicable noises anymore.

Then one evening she awoke to the sound of breaking glass. She flicked on the light just as the bedroom door opened. There stood two men, one with a scraggly beard. They sneered and reeked of alcohol. Mary gasped and fumbled for her pistol in the night stand. Rushing forward, the bearded man yanked her out of bed and slammed her to the floor while the other grabbed the pistol out of the drawer. He knelt beside her and jammed the muzzle against her temple. She froze, her pulse pounding. Both men laughed.

At that moment a glowing apparition with a big grin and a cow lick appeared out of the wall and came toward the intruders. Screaming, the bearded intruder jumped up and raced out the door. The other man followed close behind, dropping the gun as he ran. The first man tripped and crashed through the banister. He landed on the floor below, his neck broken. Then the second slipped, his leg snapping as he tumbled down the stairwell. He lay whimpering at the foot of the steps as the smiling ghost stood over him.

Seconds later Mary ran into the hall, gun and phone in hand. The ghost evaporated. Travis arrived within minutes and took charge. The injured intruder kept babbling about being attacked by a ghost. No one took him seriously.

Nothing ever disturbed Mary’s sleep again. She lived for many years in the house and died of old age in her own bed overlooking the lake. She was buried next to her brother, Will, in the family cemetery.

Don’t forget 12-21-12. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

PORTALS & DIMENSIONS

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Psychic, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by Dave Lapham

A friend the other day read “Gateway to Hell” in my book Ghosts of St. Augustine and asked me about portals, if they really existed. I have witnessed a portal. My wife,Sue, and I visited Ireland a few years ago and went to Clonmacnoise, a religious center established around 545 A.D. at the crossroads of the River Shannon and the glacial ridge running across Ireland. We were standing in a cold rain amid the ruins of an old chapel, praying for a friend suffering from a brain tumor. As we stood there something opened in front of us and enveloped us. It was hard to describe. It wasn’t so much that we walked through a doorway, but rather that the doorway surrounded us as we stood. We were not frightened but overwhelmed with a peaceful, joyful sensation. This cocoon-like feeling lasted for several minutes, then dissipated, leaving both of us exhilarated, overjoyed, and energized. The experience was the most astounding thing that’s ever happened to me. I know many others who have also experienced portals, among them my friend, Melba Goodwyn. She devotes an entire chapter to the subject in her book, Ghost Worlds. “The Spanish Washer Woman” in my Ancient City Hauntings is another dramatic story about a portal.

We know that many dimensions exist other than the one we live in. Some believe there are in infinite number floating around the universe. We also know that not all of these dimensions are parallel, and where they intersect you will find a portal. The Irish call them “thin places.” Melba defines them as …inter-dimensional doorways opening into other realms of existence. As dimensions are not always fixed, so portals aren’t either, although some can last a very long time.

Portals can appear almost anywhere, inside structures or outside. They are often found in cemeteries, I guess, because consciously or subconsciously, we choose burial grounds for their otherworldly characteristics, spiritual vibrations, or auras. Cemeteries often innately exhibit sacredness and peace and where portals are often found. But portals may also appear under more negative circumstances and can be anything but peaceful.

In her book, Melba explains that we can discern energy patterns which might indicate the presence of a portal. These energy patterns, especially noticeable to sensitives, can be either harmonious or discordant. One can experience peace, euphoria, increased energy, elation, calmness. Or the energies cause weakness, nausea, headaches, cold chills, confusion.

There are other common signs. You may hear barely audible humming or buzzing, may feel static electricity, may see orb-like forms streaking around. The light around a portal may also seem either unnaturally bright or shaded, inconsistent with its surroundings. And there may be mist or fog concentrated in the area.

In any case, if you ever experience or think you are experiencing a portal, be careful. It may be a calming, peaceful place, or it may be something evil—as in my “Gateway to Hell” story. Either way, experiencing a portal is going to change your thinking about time and space.

And I’d like to put in another shameless plug for 12-21-12, which you can find on Amazon’s Kindle books. It’s written by my alter ego, Parker Lee. Remember that if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will give you a free app so you can download the book. Come on, guys, it’s cheap and December 21st is just around the corner. Also, Christmas is coming, and wouldn’t my other paperback books make wonderful gifts?

Happy Thanksgiving! See ya Saturday for the conclusion of “Mary Hastings.”

MARY HASTINGS Part One

Posted in Afterlife, Entities, Ghosts, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Mary Hastings pulled off the highway and stopped to check her dad’s mailbox before heading up the drive to the house. He’d been dead two weeks, but he was still getting mail. Even her mother, who’d died two years before, received an occasional piece of junk mail. Sure enough the mailbox was full, and none of it was for Mary. Laying the stack of mostly advertisements on the passenger’s seat, she closed her door and drove on.

As she continued up the orange tree-lined road to the house, now hers, she felt a warmth which made her smile, even after thirty years. She had grown up among these groves, swum in the lake, learned to drive dodging around citrus trees, received her first kiss by the water tower, enjoyed birthdays and holidays with her friends and a loving family. But she also felt a sadness. Her parents, her grandparents, her brother, Will, killed in Vietnam, were all gone, all now buried along with her great grandparents in the little family cemetery on the north side of the lake. Only she and her younger brother, Travis, remained.

She was thankful that the place had remained in the Hastings family. Mary had chosen to go off to college up north. At the time she wanted to get away from this place, this backward way of life, this boring little town of Lake Wales where nothing ever happened. The big excitement was a Friday night high school football game or a Saturday night movie. So she had elected to attend the University of Virginia, one of the biggest party schools in the country, and the home, more or less, of Edgar Allen Poe. She wasn’t a big party girl, but UVA did sound exciting, and academic standards there were high.

But that was a long time ago. She had majored in English Literature and had gone on to get her PhD. A series of teaching jobs at several universities followed, and suddenly it was thirty years later. Mary retired when her dad died, and now she was coming home for good.

In the meantime Travis had remained in Lake Wales and had taken over managing the groves just as his father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather had done. And he had harbored no ill feelings toward his sister because she’d chosen to do other things. As far as Travis was concerned, he’d always said, “No problem, Sis. When you get ready to retire, come on back. There’ll always be a place for you.”

In fact, there was. Travis and their father made sure that Mary was taken care of. At Travis’s request, their dad had willed her the family house and the adjacent five acres on the lake. The property was beautiful, covered with old live oaks, a well-maintained beach, and a large pavilion for family gatherings and parties. And the house. The two-story house was too large for Mary, five bedrooms, an expansive kitchen and adjoining dining room, and a wide, screened porch surrounding all four sides, but she loved it.

Approaching the house and seeing no cars there, she drove on to the family cemetery above the lake. It was a pristine spot. Her dad and grandfather had wisely kept the trees around the shoreline, so that anywhere a person might sit, he would feel the tranquility that only a forest and a lake can provide. The cemetery sat back several yards off the water on high ground. Enclosed by a filigreed wrought-iron fence, it was spacious, large enough to hold many more graves. Mary walked to her parents’ resting places and bent down to pat the fresh mound of earth covering her father.

Will was buried on the other side of her mother. Mary smiled down at Will’s grave and sighed. Even after forty-five years, she pictured him in minute detail, his brown eyes, strong jaw, his big grin, even the cow lick on the crown of his head. She had idolized her big brother. He’d taught her how to drive, how to smoke, how to drink, how to fend off unwanted attentions from the boys. When she was a girl he was always there to protect her. She loved her little brother, Travis, but Will was her hero. He’d been such a terrific young man. What a waste.

Does anyone like my stories or am I whistling in the wind? Let me know what you think. I’d appreciate it.

BUCK WARREN Part 2

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2012 by Dave Lapham

No one would go with him, and we couldn’t actually see Crazy Crickbaum’s grave from the gateway. I wanted to make sure Buck didn’t cheat, so I rode around to the other side of the cemetery where I had a perfect view. Sure enough, just after I got off my bike and settled in to watch, there was Buck Warren marching boldly up to the grave of Henry Crickbaum.

Buck stood at the foot of the grave, arms crossed, feet spread apart. I was actually impressed. We hadn’t made any arrangements for him to pick up something from the area to prove he’d been there, but he bent down and grasped an old vase of dead flowers. Then he straightened and stood staring at the headstone.

He had been standing there motionless for about three minutes when a luminescent, chartreuse mist oozed out of the grave and formed a funnel, like a small tornado. As the mass rose, the top of it changed into a human-like torso with an indescribable, fiendish-looking head. Piercing eyes, shark-like teeth, the most evil-looking thing I’d ever seen. I was terrified. I almost vomited.

But Buck. Buck was magnificent. He dropped the flower vase, picked up a fallen tree branch, and swiped at the monster, who darted out of the way. As the beast closed in on him, Buck realized that his defense was useless and backed up, then turned and ran. The demon came after him. Buck looked back, tripped, and fell. The awful creature now hovered over him. I screamed, and the demon looked towards me with his fiery eyes, even though I was a hundred yards away. In that instant Buck leaped up and raced toward the entrance, faster than I’d ever seen him run on the football field. The demon turned to follow him for several yards, stopped, and then vanished from sight.

I jumped on my bike and raced back to the entrance. Panting, I slid to a stop and dropped my bike. Buck was sitting on the ground leaning against one of the arches. His hair was snow white—and he was crying. Everyone else stood there in petrified silence, not knowing exactly what had happened to him or what to say. I looked at Buck and related exactly what I had seen. Well, Buck became a hero, a true legend of Washington Junior High School.

But he was forever changed. He no longer bullied anyone, and even though he was as aggressive on the football field as ever, he treated everyone kindly. He’d hit a runner with a jarring, teeth-rattling tackle—and then help the guy up. Buck and I became good friends and remained so, even though I moved to Cedar Rapids, a hundred miles away.

Several years later, Buck and I joined the Marines and went to Vietnam in the same unit. On Halloween, 1966, our company was overrun by a North Vietnamese battalion. Buck Warren died that night saving our company and me.

Buck was buried in the Ottumwa Cemetery not far from Henry Crickbaum’s grave. The demon there has never been seen again to this day.

BUCK WARREN

Posted in Afterlife, Demons, Entities, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, a small town in the southeastern part of the state. We had only fifty kids in our ninth grade class at Washington Junior High School, and we were a tight, companionable group—all except for Buck Warren and his three or four lackeys. Buck was a big guy, a tackle on the football team, and he was really good. In later years he played high school football and went on to play in college. But he wasn’t real smart. I suppose because of his lack of intelligence, he had low self-esteem, and in ninth grade at Washington Junior High School Buck didn’t think much of himself. He made up for it by being a bully.

Because I was a wise acre, I taunted him every chance I got. At five feet two inches and 115 pounds I was quick, and Buck could never catch me, although a couple of times his henchmen did. I paid the price, but it was worth it.

Halloween in 1953 fell on a Saturday. Saturdays were when we played our football games, which usually started around nine in the morning. After the games, we’d all congregate down the hill at the drugstore soda fountain. Buck had played extremely well on that day both on offense and defense, and he was all puffed up and lording it over us lesser human beings. So I decided to rattle his chain.

All of us kids knew the legend of Henry Crickbaum, a Civil War veteran, who’d served in the Iowa Sixth Cavalry Regiment and was a hero. But after the War he’d gone berserk and killed a dozen people. The local sheriff reluctantly shot him when the ex-soldier attacked him with a pick ax. Crickbaum died on Halloween and was buried in the center of the Ottumwa Cemetery up on North Court Street.

That part of the legend was probably true, but there was a companion story that every Halloween Mr. Crickbaum came out of his grave and went after anyone who was nearby. I guess he took his insanity to the grave with him. Anyway, that was the story, which I dismissed as a myth.

Well, you know how kids are, especially about ghosts and most especially about cemeteries. And it was Halloween, so that Henry Crickbaum was a topic of discussion at the soda fountain. Buck popped me on the back of my head and strutted around. “I’m not afraid of Henry Crickbaum,” he said with a sneer.

I grinned and replied, “Buck, if you’re so tough, why don’t you go visit old Crazy Crickbaum at the cemetery tonight. You could really show us how tough you are.”

He smacked me on the back of my head again and replied, “Why don’t you shut up, you little dirt ball, before I crush you?”

That started it. Everyone chimed in. “Yeah, Buck. Show us how brave you are, how tough you are.”

Buck got red in the face, but finally agreed. “Okay, you kooks, I’ll show you. Midnight, I’ll be at the cemetery, if you’re brave enough to come watch.”

And I retorted, “Yeah, and right in the middle next to Crazy Crickbaum’s grave.”

We trick-or-treated just after dark. Then almost everyone jumped on their bikes and headed uphill to the cemetery. We all gathered around the big limestone arches at the entrance and waited for Buck, who showed up five minutes before midnight with his three goons. He got off his bike and looked around, a sneer on his face.

He hitched up his jeans and said, “Okay, you melon heads. Watch this.” And he sauntered off into the darkness.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

CHASING GHOSTS

Posted in Afterlife, Book Signings & Appearances, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Investigating, Paranormal, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Before I get started on the blog, I want to put in a plug for our book-signing (Vivian Campbell, Stalked by Spirits, and me, Ghosts of St. Augustine, Ancient City Hauntings, Ghosthunting Florida, and 12-21-12) next Saturday, Oct 13th, Noon to 3 p.m., at the GhostStop in St. Cloud. Easy to find—1221 10th St.—and that’s not 1221 East 10th St (I think that’s a cow pasture.) Anyway, the GhostStop is in downtown St. Cloud. And even if you don’t want to talk to us, come on in and check out all the equipment. It’ll make you drool!

Now, about chasing ghosts. As I’ve said before, I think there’s a difference between ghost hunting and paranormal investigation. Ghost hunting is, well, hunting for ghosts. You go into a site to see if there is any paranormal activity there. Think about some of the more popular spots; Lake Worth Theater, Ripley’s in St. Augustine, the Leaf Theater in Quincy, The May-Stringer House in Brooksville. Those places are known to be haunted, and people go there to see if they can experience the reported activity. A paranormal investigation attempts to determine if a site does have paranormal activity. Most often residents of a home or other building or site invite investigators to find out if the home or site is haunted. When you hunt ghosts, you go to a site expecting, hoping, to encounter something paranormal. When you investigate, you’re looking more for an explanation of an event or activity that, on the surface, can’t be explained.

When you’re looking for places to hunt ghosts, a good rule of thumb is “the older, the better.” Not true across the board, but something to keep in mind. Older sites have more history and more chances that something occurred there to keep spirits around. Historical sites are always good. Think Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Andersonville, or, closer to home Olustee, all from the Civil War. Or try the Kingsley Plantation on Talbot Island for a really ancient site. And there’s always the Castillo in St. Augustine. And you can peruse the history of your area to find a lot of places where epic tragedies happened. Personally, I like to go to places which have never been explored before, like the courthouse in Tavares, which I visited with Outcast Paranormal Society a few weeks ago. That was exciting. And you never know what you’re going to find.

When you go into an often-investigated site like, say, Ripley’s, and you don’t find much, it can be tough on your ego. “What did I do wrong? Why didn’t I experience X, Y, or Z?” I guess that’s why so many groups use the known sites for training new members. If they don’t experience the paranormal activity there, they’re probably doing something wrong. In any case, historical sites are always a good bet.

Then, there are cemeteries. I have said in the past that since people usually die someplace else and their bodies are transported to cemeteries for burial, there won’t necessarily be much activity in those sites. But, that’s not always true. In the first place, cemeteries are often portals for ghosts trying to move on. Of course, murders and other crimes sometimes take place in cemeteries, and natural and man-made disasters can devastate cemeteries as well as other locations. Sometimes, too, grave robbers anger departed souls desecrating grave sites.

If you’re interested in graveyard ghosts, I recommend a comprehensive book by Melba Goodwyn, a friend from Texas. The book is Chasing Graveyard Ghosts. Melba is an experienced clairvoyant parapsychologist with a vast knowledge of astrology, numerology, divination, and traditional psychology. Her book is a text for learning about graveyard ghosts.

And, finally, don’t forget next Saturday’s book signing at the GhostStop, AND don’t forget checking out 12-21-12 (by Parker Lee) on Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will give you a free app to download e-books to any device.

Last but not least, please pass the word around about my site. Hey, give me some feedback, too.