In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bloody Mary

A Tale of Bloody Mary, as requested by my daughter for Halloween.

Have a Happy Halloween from Prairie Specters!

She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.

Then the little girls in the village began to disappear, one by one. No one could find out where they had gone. Grief-stricken families searched the woods, the local buildings, and all the houses and barns, but there was no sign of the missing girls. A few brave souls even went to Bloody Mary's home in the woods to see if the witch had taken the girls, but she denied any knowledge of the disappearances. Still, it was noted that her haggard appearance had changed. She looked younger, more attractive. The neighbors were suspicious, but they could find no proof that the witch had taken their young ones.

Then came the night when the daughter of the miller rose from her bed and walked outside, following an enchanted sound no one else could hear. The miller's wife had a toothache and was sitting up in the kitchen treating the tooth with an herbal remedy when her daughter left the house. She screamed for her husband and followed the girl out of the door. The miller came running in his nightshirt. Together, they tried to restrain the girl, but she kept breaking away from them and heading out of town.

The desperate cries of the miller and his wife woke the neighbors. They came to assist the frantic couple. Suddenly, a sharp-eyed farmer gave a shout and pointed towards a strange light at the edge of the woods. A few townsmen followed him out into the field and saw Bloody Mary standing beside a large oak tree, holding a magic wand that was pointed towards the miller's house. She was glowing with an unearthly light as she set her evil spell upon the miller's daughter.

The townsmen grabbed their guns and their pitchforks and ran toward the witch. When she heard the commotion, Bloody Mary broke off her spell and fled back into the woods. The far-sighted farmer had loaded his gun with silver bullets in case the witch ever came after his daughter. Now he took aim and shot at her. The bullet hit Bloody Mary in the hip and she fell to the ground. The angry townsmen leapt upon her and carried her back into the field, where they built a huge bonfire and burned her at the stake.
As she burned, Bloody Mary screamed a curse at the villagers. If anyone mentioned her name aloud before a mirror, she would send her spirit to revenge herself upon them for her terrible death. When she was dead, the villagers went to the house in the wood and found the unmarked graves of the little girls the evil witch had murdered. She had used their blood to make her young again.

From that day to this, anyone foolish enough to chant Bloody Mary's name three times before a darkened mirror will summon the vengeful spirit of the witch. It is said that she will tear their bodies to pieces and rip their souls from their mutilated bodies. The souls of these unfortunate ones will burn in torment as Bloody Mary once was burned, and they will be trapped forever in the mirror.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Talking with your Child about Ghosts

Talking with your Child about Ghosts: Do's and Don'ts

By: Dawn Colclasure (
Parents everywhere often hear this from their children: “I saw a ghost.” For the parent unaware of exactly how to handle such a delicate situation, the following do’s and don’ts might come in handy.

DO ask the child to explain what he is seeing/hearing.  

Getting the whole story will help you understand the situation better and how to approach it. Odds are your child is about to unravel a story or reveal an imaginary friend. Never try to pressure your child for details, however; he might clam up instead of telling you what he feels comfortable in sharing.

DO sit down and listen attentively. 
Giving your child your complete attention says you think this is important and are willing to take the time to listen. 

DO calm your child's fears and anxieties. 
Chances are your child thinks all ghosts are "bad" or that he/she is afraid the ghost will hurt them. Before you can help your child out with this matter, it's important to spend a few minutes trying to calm him down. Offer him some water or sit in a favorite chair. Cuddle up, get comfortable and ask him if he feels okay talking about it.

DON'T tell the child ghosts are make-believe or that they don't exist. 
This only tells the child he can't believe what he sees and will confuse him. It will also be confusing if he hears ghost stories or if he starts to witness strange things happening (voices in a closet, furniture moving, etc.)

DON'T get nervous, frustrated, upset or hysterical over your child's confiding in you. 
Children are very sensitive to what their parents are feeling and can pick up on anxiety, fear and doubt. Try to remain calm and only listen to what your child has to say.

DON'T encourage improper activity like séances or Ouija board sessions. 
These things can only make a situation worst and they foster improper habits. Some activities require an experienced host and your child may see these things as a "cure-all" to the situation then lose hope when they don't work.

DO tell the child that you will help him/her deal with the situation. 
Parents are a child's first defense. Thank your child for sharing this with you and assure them that you will help them out. Let them know they aren't alone and that you will do what you can to make the problem go away.

DO ask the child how the situation makes them feel. 
It's important to understand how the child feels about their new "friend." Even if a child is not afraid and feels even happy to have a "friend" to "play" with, keep a close eye on the situation and stay apprised on how your child feels about it. Talk to them the minute they start to feel stressed, anxious or afraid.

DON'T put down or discourage your child for telling you this. 
Kids take a big leap of faith when it comes to confiding in their parents. Be sure to remain objective about the situation and never express doubt of your child's perceptions or tell them they have an overactive imagination. If they feel you don't believe them, they'll start to clam up and you could miss out on learning of something worse happening later on.

DON'T rely on everything people tell you about ghosts and hauntings or things you read on the Internet. 
Family members suggesting you get rid of a TV in your child's room because ghosts are coming out of it or friends encouraging you to move away are only trying to help in whatever way they know how. Trust your instincts and do only what you feel comfortable with. An expert group or investigator can offer more experienced advice on what to do.

If you’re still not sure of how to handle this situation, contact a legitimate paranormal research organization or a local minister for advice.

Friday, October 26, 2012

World's Scariest Ghosts Caught on Tape

Hey all, here is an oldie for you to enjoy this weekend. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Part Two

Part Three

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Death and the Twentieth Century

Death has become one of the great taboos of the twentieth century. At the most basic level, the level of sustenance, we do our best to hide from ourselves (and certainly from our children) the harsh facts about fried chicken, hamburgers, and bacon. A pet, too old and frail to live much longer, is "put to sleep." At the human level, we are even more isolated from the one final act that we must all experience. Few people die at home. Funeral "homes" turn the act of mourning a "departed" loved one into a sanitized reunion of family and friends. The deceased are not "dead," they have merely "passed on." Euphemisms proliferate.

It has not always been so. Our forebears, young and old alike, frequently witnessed the slaughter of animals (or their capture by predators), and they were not spared the reality of human death. They could not avoid this reality, but they could laugh at it.
Laughter is one of humankind's most basic defense mechanisms. Even in the face of death, we can show our resolve and demonstrate our last bastion of control by doing the unexpected: laughing. Gallows humor, in one form or another, permeates pre-industrial European folklore, even making its way into children's nursery tales and rhymes. Indeed, some critics have claimed that traditional nursery rhymes are preoccupied with death and violence and have hence urged that they be rewritten for a more humane and enlightened era. Consider the following catalog of horrors ostensibly found in traditional children's rhymes by Geoffrey Handley-Taylor, writing in 1952:

The average collection of 200 traditional nursery rhymes contains approximately 100 rhymes which personify all that is glorious and ideal for the child. Unfortunately, the remaining 100 rhymes harbor unsavory elements. The incidents listed below occur in the average collection and may be accepted as a reasonably conservative estimate based on a general survey of this type of literature.
  • 8 allusions to murder (unclassified),
  • 2 cases of choking to death,
  • 1 case of cutting a human being in half,
  • 1 case of decapitation,
  • 1 case of death by squeezing,
  • 1 case of death by shriveling,
  • 1 case of death by starvation,
  • 1 case of boiling to death,
  • 1 case of death by hanging,
  • 1 case of death by drowning,
  • 4 cases of killing domestic animals,
  • 1 case of body snatching,
  • 21 cases of death (unclassified),
  • 7 cases relating to the severing of limbs,
  • 1 case of the desire to have a limb severed,
  • 2 cases of self-inflicted injury,
  • 4 cases relating to the breaking of limbs,
  • 1 allusion to a bleeding heart,
  • 1 case of devouring human flesh,
  • 5 threats of death,
  • 1 case of kidnapping,
  • 12 cases of torment and cruelty to human beings and animals,
  • 8 cases of whipping and lashing,
  • 3 allusions to blood,
  • 14 cases of stealing and general dishonesty,
  • 15 allusions to maimed human beings and animals,
  • 1 allusion to undertakers,
  • 2 allusions to graves,
  • 23 cases of physical violence (unclassified),
  • 1 case of lunacy,
  • 16 allusions to misery and sorrow,
  • 1 case of drunkenness,
  • 4 cases of cursing,
  • 1 allusion to marriage as a form of death,
  • 1 case of scorning the blind,
  • 1 case of scorning prayer,
  • 9 cases of children being lost or abandoned,
  • 2 cases of house burning,
  • 9 allusions to poverty and want,
  • 5 allusions to quarreling,
  • 2 cases of unlawful imprisonment,
  • 2 cases of racial discrimination.
  • Expressions of fear, weeping, moans of anguish, biting, pain and evidence of supreme selfishness may be found in almost every other page.

Halloween Time is upon us again.

Hello folks, sorry for the long delay in posting. Again I had problems with my login information for the Blogger site so that kept me from updating the site. I seemed to have fixed it ... so on with the posts!