Monday, July 6, 2015

A Haunted Abbey For Monday Mystery...!

When it comes to places being haunted, religious buildings are reported just as often as regular ones. No place is immune, I reckon.

One thing about this next place, it has a very interesting history. That is worth a lot in a decent ghost story, ya know. The better known the place is, the better the story of hauntings is. At least, that's what I've been told!

The Lucedio Abbey

Photo via Wikimedia

The Lucedio Abbey, located in the province of Piedmont, is said to be one of the most haunted places in Italy. It was built by Cisternian monks in 1123 on land given to them by the Marquis of Monferrato. It later became a major cultivator of rice in the region, until it was secularized and sold off by the Vatican in 1784. After passing through a number of different owners (including Napoleon) the abbey has now been incorporated into a modern rice farm.

Due to its (alleged) grisly history, the abbey has spawned a number of legends. When the area is foggy, ghostly monks can be discerned wandering through the mist. One of the buildings possesses a pillar that inexplicably becomes wet, “crying” for all the evil things it has seen. During a restoration of one of the abbey’s houses, a perfectly preserved man is said to have been found buried inside a wall. More corpses can supposedly be found in the crypt, where the mummified bodies of former abbots sit in a circle of thrones, preventing the release of a monster trapped underground. The surrounding countryside is also said to be haunted: A hooded figure can be seen roaming the countryside, and one local church possesses a painting of an organ pipe and piece of sheet music known as the “Sheet of the Devil.” If the notes on the painting are played in reverse, the piece can apparently summon Satan himself.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm in no hurry to spend the night in this place. Not that I believe the stories, but why take the chance, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bugs Bunny Sunday...!

Some days just call for a little Bugs, ya know? This is one of those days.

Bugs doesn't make friends easily, ya know?

Something about Bugs is timeless, ya know? I really don't know what it is, though.

OK...enough of Bugs for today. Time to make something to eat and clean up the yard from the neighbors fireworks.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. OK with you?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Real Survivor Story...!

I think that most folks know that all of the best "made up" stories have some kernels of truth. Many of the people in fiction are actually based on real people.

The stories of some castaways make ideal inspirations for books and even movies. Here is one of the castaways that may be the most well known.

Alexander Selkirk

Scottish mariner Alexander Selkirk’s solitary odyssey began in 1704, when he arrived at an island off the coast of Chile along with a group of British privateers. The men had spent the previous year harassing Spanish shipping around South America, but when they dropped anchor in the Juan Fernandez archipelago, Selkirk got into a dispute with his captain over the seaworthiness of their ship. Fearing the worm-eaten vessel would not survive another voyage, the hotheaded Selkirk elected to stay behind on the island with only a small supply of weapons, food, tobacco and rum to keep him company.

Selkirk may have believed that a passing ship would pick him up in a matter of weeks, but he would eventually spend more than four years and four months alone on the island. He passed the time by notching the days and months on a tree, reading his Bible and chasing goats—first for food, and then merely to have something to do. All the while, he kept his eyes peeled for signs of rescue, but the few ships he saw flew the Spanish flag. On one occasion, he was even forced to hide in a tree when Spanish mariners landed on the island to resupply. Selkirk was finally rescued in February 1709, when a band of privateers led by Captain Woodes Rogers stopped at his island. The wild-haired and bearded castaway initially had trouble remembering how to speak, but he went on to become a minor celebrity in 18th century England, and was likely the inspiration for the title character in Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe.

Just imagine how strange it must have been to have nothing but a herd of goats for company for 4 years. That would certainly test the survival skills of just about anyone!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Salty Post For Friday...!

You wouldn't think of something as common to us now days as salt has caused a great many problems in the past. Here is a little history of salt for ya to consider.

Off the Spice Rack: The Story of Salt
By Stephanie Butler

Salt doesn’t just make your food tastier—it’s actually required for life. Sodium ions help the body perform a number of basic tasks, including maintaining the fluid in blood cells and helping the small intestine absorb nutrients. We can’t make salt in our own bodies, so humans have always had to look to their environments to fill the need. Early hunters could get a steady supply of salt from meat, but agricultural groups had to seek it out by following animal tracks to salt deposits.

The Egyptians were the first to realize the preservation possibilities of salt. Sodium draws the bacteria-causing moisture out of foods, drying them and making it possible to store meat without refrigeration for extended periods of time. Delicacies like our modern-day Parma hams, gravlax, bresaola and baccala are all the result of salt curing. But back in the day, this type of preservation wasn’t limited to meat: Mummies were packed in salt too. In fact, when mummies were shipped down the Nile as cargo, they were taxed in the “salted meat” bracket.

How did ancient populations get their salt? The Shangxi province of China has a salt lake, Yuncheng, and it’s estimated that wars were being fought over control of its salt reserves as early as 6000 B.C. Salt was gathered from the lake during the dry season, when the water evaporated and flats of salt were exposed. The Egyptians got their salt from Nile marshes, while early British towns clustered around salt springs. In fact, the “wich” suffix in English place names like Middlewich and Norwich is associated with areas where salt working was a common practice.

Even well into American history, destinies were decided by salt. During the Civil War, salt was a precious commodity, used not only for eating but for tanning leather, dyeing clothes and preserving troop rations. Confederate President Jefferson Davis even offered a military service waiver to anyone willing to work on salt production on the coast. The ocean was the only reliable source of salt for the South since inland production facilities were so valued they became early targets of Union attacks.

Amazing how something we take for granted was such an important part of life in the old days. Makes you appreciate the little pleasures of life a little more, doesn't it? This article came from the website.

Coffee out on the patio today. No rain in sight...yet!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Early Mechanical Marvel...!

So many things we think of as being new and modern...aren't!

Who would have thought that mechanical realistic automons would have been built as far back as the 16th century?

The Mechanical Monk

The 16th century “mechanical monk” may have been the result of King Phillip II of Spain keeping up his end of a holy bargain. According to legend, Phillip II’s son and heir suffered a head injury, and the King vowed to the heavens that he would deliver a miracle if the boy were spared. When the Prince recovered, Phillip II commissioned a clockmaker and inventor named Juanelo Turriano to build a lifelike recreation of beloved Franciscan friar Diego de Alcalá (later Saint Diego). Completed sometime in the 1560s, Turriano’s 15-inch-tall automaton is powered by a wound spring and uses an assortment of iron cams and levers to move on three small wheels concealed beneath its monk’s robe. Artificial feet step up and down to imitate walking, and the friar’s eyes, lips and head all move in lifelike gestures. Working together, these elements give the impression of a monk deep in prayer. The robot can walk in a square pattern mouthing devotionals, nodding its head and occasionally beating its chest with its right arm and kissing a rosary and cross with its left. The 450-year-old device is still operational today, and is held at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

I reckon the next time we get to thinking we have come up with something new and wonderful, we need to go and study the history books a bit more, ya know? The past is a lot more colorful than we originally thought!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Seth Bullock For Western Wednesday...!

There were so many notable characters in the Old West, we could never cover them all. However, some stand out a little more than others.

While Mr. Bullock may not be a name you are familiar with, maybe you should get to know his history a bit more. He was a very interesting man indeed!

Seth Bullock

Photo via Wikimedia

Seth Bullock will be familiar to anyone who watched the TV show Deadwood. Bullock was the inspiration for the main character of the show, bringing order to a lawless town rife with violence, gambling, prostitution, and men who moved there to escape the government.

Before all this, Bullock got involved in politics. At 22, he became a Republican member of the Territorial State of Montana and proposed legislation (later passed) to create the first national park in the country—Yellowstone. In 1873, Bullock became sheriff of Lewis and Clark County and went into business with longtime partner Sol Star. The two of them traveled to Deadwood in 1876.

Unlike in the show, Bullock never became friends with Wild Bill Hickok, as Hickok was murdered the day after Bullock arrived in Deadwood. In fact, it was this event that made the people of Deadwood (mostly the miners) demand some form of law. And that law wasn’t Bullock but a man named Isaac Brown, who was appointed marshal. However, he was soon killed in an ambush. Eventually, Bullock became county sheriff and brought order to Deadwood.While serving as a Dakota lawman, Bullock befriended Theodore Roosevelt, then a marshal, who held him in very high esteem. Bullock became part of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and then served as a captain during the Spanish-American War. When Roosevelt became president, he named Bullock US marshal for South Dakota.

I told you he had a very colorful history. Made some well known friends as well. Guys like this are always a surprise to rfind out about.

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Stormy outside.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Shocking Story For Tuesday...!

I think I've talked about this lady before, but she seems to be worth another look.

This story falls into the realm of unsolved mysteries we talked about yesterday. It's fun for all of us to study, but probably not so for the people involved.

Jacqueline Priestman
The Electrifying Lady

The Stockport, Manchester (England) mother’s ordeal began in 1980. Following an argument with her first husband, Ron, Jacqueline shouted, “I hope you break your neck!” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. After Ron sped away from the house on his scooter, he was involved in an accident resulting in spine and neck fractures. After a month in the hospital, he died, leaving Jacqueline devastated by guilt.

Not long afterward, a lightbulb in Jacqueline’s bathroom exploded. Her arm was cut by flying glass. She put the cause down to a faulty bulb. When her vacuum cleaner kept burning out—a repairman could find no cause—and another lightbulb exploded, she became convinced her home was haunted by the ghost of her dead husband.

Moving house didn’t help. Electrical appliances continued to go haywire in her presence. The stove and vacuum cleaners she bought kept burning out. The television changed channels on its own or the picture distorted. The radio switched channels without being touched too. She also received and delivered severe electrical shocks. Some grocery stores and appliance shops attempted to ban her. After she married her second husband, an electrician, the strange and frightening phenomena continued to occur.

The depressed woman, who suffered headaches and fainting spells, contemplated suicide. Psychic mediums and investigators failed to find a cause. Once, a visiting reporter accused Jacqueline of fraud, making her so angry, the vacuum cleaner burst into flames.

At last, a visiting professor provided the key to Jacqueline’s dilemma: both he and her second husband, Paul, believed she suffered from an extreme build-up of static electricity—more than 10 times the normal amount—in her body. By sticking to a special diet and daily program which included walking around the house holding onions to discharge the surplus electricity, Jacqueline’s problem gradually diminished. However, in 1985, her fourth child (a daughter) was born and immediately began exhibiting signs of taking after her mother by giving the midwife a static shock.

What was the cause of Jacqueline’s condition, sometimes called High Voltage Syndrome? Why did her symptoms begin after the death of her first husband? The answers to these questions will probably never be known for sure.

I can't help but feel sad for the woman and her family. How terrible having something like that hanging over your head.

Coffee out on the patio this morning, OK?