Archive for grave

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.

BECOMING A PSYCHIC

Posted in Afterlife, Ghost Hunting, Ghosts, Hauntings, Investigating, Paranormal, Psychic, Stories, Updates, Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by Dave Lapham

I came across a book the other day, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch, by Ted Andrews. (This book was published in 2001 by Llewellyn, the same folks who published Vivian Campbell’s Stalked by Spirits.) I was intrigued when I saw the book. Ted Andrews, who died at a young fifty-seven in 2009, was a best-selling author and teacher of animistic and shamanistic lore and was most noted for his mystical writings about animals. But more than that, he was really a Renaissance Man. He was a healer, a musician, a clairvoyant. You name it, he did it.

What intrigued me were the titles of some of his books, How to Heal With Color, How To See & Read the Aura, Sacred Sounds, and most especially, HOW TO Develop and Use Psychic Touch. I didn’t know much about Mr. Andrews, but this particular book looked interesting.

In this day and age, we have so much technology at our disposal, ghost hunting has become almost a science. We have instruments to measure electromagnetic fields, to capture photographic evidence of shadows and apparitions, to hear voices from the other side. Even the most insensitive slug (me?) can find evidence of the paranormal. And, yes, most teams have a psychic or very sensitive person on the team, but for most the preponderance of evidence is collected with technology. The psychic on the team sort of mops up and confirms the findings provided by the technology.

So it’s interesting what Mr. Andrews has to say. Here are some random thoughts covered in his book. They are his not mine, but I believe what he says is right. I have just started reading the book, which has exercises at the end of each chapter.

We are all psychic. Almost everyone has had a psychic experience. Have you ever met someone who you think you might have known, and yet you know you’ve never met them. You might even know something about them. Or, when you’re driving down a certain street, and something tells you to turn when you hadn’t planned on it, only to learn later that an accident had occurred farther down. It may be a premonition that something was about to happen, a sudden insight, a hunch. Or you might have heard someone say something to you, either inside your head or out. It may have been a dream, a passing thought, or a smell. We’ve all had them. For example, I normally go to yoga at 6:45 Wednesday mornings. This morning I overslept and didn’t wake up until 6:46, a minute after class began. I awoke to the distinctive smell of the yoga studio. Psychic event? I don’t know, but it was really weird.

And if we’ve had one of these experiences, we can have them again. With study and practice, we can develop psychic abilities that might surprise us. I have a friend who is psychic and who, at one time, had only a vague sense that he was. After a couple of experiences, he decided he needed to find out more and began studying with some well-known mediums. He is now the psychic on a paranormal investigating team.

We know, of course, about our five senses, smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight. Mr. Andrews considers common sense the sixth sense, which brings our other senses together. When through our experiences we can integrate our five senses, we will often have an awareness of things beyond what those five senses can tell us. “Common sense helps us to see the patterns of our life as defined by the physical senses.” And our seventh sense, our intuition, helps us to recognize where those patterns are likely to lead.

Mr. Andrews goes on to talk about clairsentience and psychometry, how psychometry works, the basics of psychic touch, enhancing your sense of touch, the power of empathy, and so on. If you can find this book, I highly recommend it. (May be a good topic for PIA next year.) In any case, I’m going to plow through this book to see where it takes me.

And on a lighter note, if you haven’t got your copy of my (Parker Lee) Amazon e-book, 12-21-12, do it soon. Time is running out. And if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will provide a free app to get Kindle books.

Happy Halloween! (Don’t eat too much candy.)

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.

THE TABBY HOUSE (Part One)

Posted in Afterlife, Ghosts, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Fort George Island is one of the Talbot Islands near Jacksonville just off A1A. On the section owned by the National Park Service there stands the Haunted Tabby House and the Kingsley Plantation. I had read about Fort George Island in Joyce Moore’s excellent book, Haunt Hunter’s Guide To Florida, and it piqued my interest. I called the National Park Service to get permission to visit after dark; the hunter’s moon was just a few days away.

The following Saturday night I found myself driving down the winding, shaded roadway toward the Tabby House. Small pin points of moonlight knifed through the thick canopy above and created an eerie glow, made even more ghostly and macabre by long strands of softly swaying Spanish moss which hung from the trees and by the dense palmetto scrub which lined both sides of the road. I was alone, and I began to feel a little claustrophobic.

I also began to feel something else. Fort George Island has been continuously occupied by humans for five thousand years. Traces of every period remain. There are thirty-some archaeological sites on the island, including the old tabby slave quarters, and I could almost hear the big old bell clanging, calling the slaves in from the fields. Is that what I sensed? Or was it some pre-historic Indian?

I drove on and suddenly I was in a clearing and there stood the ruins of the Tabby House, washed in the whiteness of the full moon. Tabby is a mixture of sand, water, and lime made from burning oyster shells, which is then mixed with whole shells and poured into forms to make a serviceable concrete. The moonlight reflecting off the shells made the ruins fairly glow.

Not much was left of the house. The walls had eroded, and there was a gaping hole in the middle of the front wall where once stood a door and behind it another wall with a smaller hole, presumably once a window or another doorway. About ten or twenty yards in front of the house there was another low tabby wall, which had once surrounded the house.

I stopped by the wall and got out of my truck. All was quiet. I was alone, just me, the crumbling ruins of the old house, girdled by weeds and bathed in the ghostly light of the moon, the dark, forbidding trees which seemed to envelope the whole clearing—and something else which I could sense but not quite see. Beads of sweat formed quickly on my upper lip, yet I was freezing cold. My heart pounded loudly in my chest. I stood there motionless by my truck for a few minutes staring at the ruins and wishing I had enough sense to climb back in and drive away. (TO BE CONTINUED)

THE MOORISH HOUSE ON CHARLOTTE STREET (Part 2)

Posted in Afterlife, Ghosts, Paranormal, Saturdays, St. Augustine, Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Zamora had been able to acquire more land around the house, because it was south of the main part of town. That made room for a detached kitchen, a sizeable garden, and a carriage house. Although the property had passed from the Zamora family’s hands, subsequent owners had been able to keep it intact. Through the years there had been modifications, although the original Moorish atmosphere had been maintained. The kitchen had been connected to the main house by an enclosed walkway. Servants’ quarters were built above the carriage house. The garden had long since been abandoned, but Sara was already making plans to grow her own vegetables.

She knew the history of the house but, oddly, had never been in it until she and Matt had looked at it with the realtor a few weeks before. When she was growing up, it had been owned by the English couple, who were there only a few months out of the year. Later, it had sat empty and deteriorating. No one seemed to want it, partly, she supposed, because restoring the house was going to cost a good bit and partly because of the stringent requirements of restoration enforced by the city and its Preservation Board—St. Augustine was the only city in the United States with an archeologist on staff.

Matt fumbled with the keys as he unlocked the pedestrian gate which led to the loggia. Sara kept pushing him, she was so excited. “Hold on just a second, Sara, let me get the gate open.” The handle finally turned. “There.” He stepped back to let her enter first.

Sara rushed in, grabbing the keys from Matt as she went. She had the front door unlocked and was inside before Matt had taken three steps. Breathless, she stood in the middle of the large living room and turned slowly, trying to take it all in. A wide, deep fireplace anchored the far wall. To the left stairs led to a landing and then up to the second floor. Also on the left another room tucked in between the outside wall and the loggia. She planned to make it a small library and office. To the right the dining room extended from the front wall next to the loggia almost to the back wall. A hallway led from the living room behind the dining room to the kitchen. The inside, like the exterior featured Moorish accents with an intricately-tiled floor and elaborate filigree covering the arched doorways. An ornate mirror hung over the fireplace.

Matt walked up behind Sara and put his arms around her. They stood there staring at their reflections in the mirror, neither saying anything. After a few moments she turned quickly and hugged him. As she looked over his right shoulder she thought she saw something move on the far side of the room. When she looked again, she saw nothing.

“Let’s go check out the rest of the house,” she finally said, grabbing his hand and pulling him toward the stairs.

The upstairs was just as enchanting as the first floor. The floors were wood, but the Moorish motif had been carried throughout the house. Even the bathroom had a Moorish flavor to it. They walked quickly around the rooms, deciding that they’d use the corner room as the master bedroom and considering the possibility of adding a second bath to the other bedroom. Then they went downstairs to inspect the kitchen and the rest of the property.

The ensuing weeks were busy for Sara and Matt. Sara was taking days off to spend time with the architect, the contractor, and the city archeologist, and Matt worked extra hours at the hospital to cover for her.

One Saturday Sara was in the house alone checking on the many details of the renovation. She was standing in the dining room, when she heard guitar music again. It was coming from the living room.

She stepped through the doorway—and there, sitting in a chair, was a dark-haired man bent over what looked like a very old guitar and playing the piece she had heard a few weeks earlier. He was dressed in what she thought was 18th or 19th Century clothing: brown, tight-fitting trousers with a long waist; a short cream-colored waistcoat with wide lapels; and a white, high-collared shirt with ruffles down the front and hanging from the cuffs of his waistcoat. He didn’t acknowledge her presence but continued to pick out the music with long, slender, and very supple fingers. Sara stood just outside the dining room and listened. After several moments, she cleared her voice. Slowly turning his head, his face expressionless, gazed at her for four or five seconds. Then he disappeared.

Her knees were shaking. She wasn’t exactly afraid. She was stunned. She had never seen a ghost before, but she was certain that’s what the man was. Still, it wasn’t a frightening experience. And she had been enthralled the music.

For weeks she came to the house as often as possible, and every time she was alone, the guitarist appeared. After several visits, he stopped disappearing when she made her presence known, evaporating only when someone else came or when he finished what he was playing, always the same piece.

Sara was fascinated by the apparition. She didn’t tell Matt or anyone else about it. She didn’t know exactly why. Did she believe he would think her insane? Did she feel guilty for some reason? She should have said something, but she didn’t. TO BE CONTINUED…