Saturday, October 31, 2009

Unfortunate Costumes for a Mugshot

Something to keep in mind as you go out for Tricks and Treats tonight....

Be good & Be Safe!

Happy Halloween!!

Michele Allen, 32, of Middletown, Ohio, was arrested after neighbors reported witnessing her chasing children, blocking traffic, and urinating on a porch. The officer who arrested the belligerent bovine said she smelled of alcohol. Allen was charged with disorderly conduct.

Adam Ballingall was dressed appropriately for his arrest for possession of drugs. (Link)

Fares Baroudi, 25, was pulled over in Tampa two days before Halloween in 2007. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, and later released on bond

Wearing more of a lifestyle than a costume, Samuel McGilton of West Virginia was arrested after security cameras captured the 72-year-old pleasuring himself in a public library; he claimed he was just pleasure … reading.

And my personal favorite.....

If you've followed my posts about Savannah and have a hankering for visiting, keep an eye out for this guy!

In another case of pre-Halloween lawlessness, 21-year-old Will Johnson was arrested in Savannah, Georgia, on October 30th, 2005, for running around in traffic, performing pelvic thrusts, screaming profanities at cars and otherwise causing a commotion, all while dressed up as Lion-O from Thundercats. For those unfamiliar with the classic cartoon, a Lion-O costume involves a blue leotard and an orange mane-wig. And, of course, feline face paint.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The History of Bonaventure

Click on The Bird Girl image above for more info on this famous statue

Plantation History

On December 4, 1753, John Mullryne of Beaufort, South Carolina, requested 500 acres on the south side of Midway River, Georgia, stating that he was "desirous of becoming a planter in the Colony." The land was granted, and by 1771, John Mullryne and his son-in-law, Josiah Tattnall, owned approximately 9,920 acres in Georgia, stretching from Ebenezer in the north to Sunbury in the south. Included in their property were the 600 acres named "Bonaventure" or "Good Fortune," three miles from Savannah on St. Augustine Creek. Bonaventure became the family home.

All, however, was not Good Fortune. On January 7, 1771, the plantation house burned; it burned again in 1800.

In October, 1779, the plantation became a hospital for the French troops under Count Charles d'Estaing in their attempt to capture Savannah from British control; many of these French troops probably lie buried at Bonaventure. It was from here that the remnants of the defeated French forces departed.

It was Josiah Tattnall, Jr., who returned to Bonaventure and bought the property in 1786. He had never gotten over his love of Georgia even when his family, who were loyal to King George III, returned to England. It is even said that when the family boarded the ship that would return them to England a young Josiah Jr. jumped overboard and tried to swim ashore. He was rescued from the sea either from certain death or a successful escape. It wasn't until his university years as a student at Eton many years later that he approached his father about returning to his beloved Georgia. And while he requested his father's permission to return to Georgia and fight with the Patriots, he eventually left England without it.

Josiah Jr. met and married Harriet Fenwick, introduced island cotton from the Bahamas, was elected state senator, and in 1801 was elected governor of Georgia.

Sadly it was the second burning of the home at Bonaventure in 1800 which affected Josiah Jr and his wife, Harriet. According to legend, it occurred during a dinner party hosted by the couple when Josiah calmly announced to his dinner guests that it would be necessary for their party to be moved outside. Tables and chairs were moved onto the lawn well away from the home, the burning of which provided light for the party. Toasts were made to the family and to the home itself, champagne glasses shattered against the nearby oaks as the home burned to the ground. Today, it is said that those passing by Bonaventure at night can can still hear the faint sounds of laughter and the shattering glasses. The sounds from that final, and perhaps eternal, dinner party.

It was only two years later in 1802, that Harriet died and was buried beside four of her children in the family plot at Bonaventure; officially Harriet was the first adult to be buried in what was to become Bonaventure Cemetery. In 1803, Josiah died at Nassau; he was returned to Bonaventure to be buried with his family. The surviving children of Josiah, Jr., and Harriet Edward Fenwick, Josiah III, and Harriet Tattnall were sent to England to live with their grandparents.

In 1817, the eldest son, Edward Fenwick, returned to the plantation, which he possessed until his death in 1832. Upon his death, Bonaventure became the property of Josiah Tattnall III.

Savannah businessman, Peter Wiltberger purchased Bonaventure from Josiah Tattnall, III with the intention to develop a public cemetery on 70 acres, including the Tattnall Family burial ground which had been used for burials since 1794. The cemetery was designed around the ruins of the Tattnall mansion using the existing live oak tree lined roadways to provide access and separate the major cemetery sections.

The Oak Trees

Bonaventure has long been known for the massive live oak trees with arched limbs covered in Spanish moss overhanging her roadways. It is said that these oaks, planted by Colonel Mulryne as a wedding gift to his daughter Mary upon her marriage to Josiah Tattnall, were planted in the shapes of an M entwined with a T to celebrate the union of these two families who had been friends for many years back in Charleston. Historical documentation has proved that many of the live oak trees in Bonaventure today are nearly 250 years old.

Live Oak has a naturally spiraling wood grain that allows the tough wood to bend rather than break, making the tree the most hurricane-resistant tree in North America.

The trees have been slowly declining since the Great Sea Islands Hurricane of 1893; however, there are two and a half centuries of surveys, photographs, reports, and folklore that have documented their life story. In 2004, the live oaks of Bonaventure Cemetery were registered on the Georgia Landmark and Historic Tree Register.

Bonaventure's Ghosts

Laughter and the shattering of glasses from the Eternal Dinner party, statues that come to life, and phantom dogs are said to be among the haunts of the Bonaventure Cemetery.

One visit to Bonaventure and it's easy to imagine that life still goes in a resting place for the dead. The snarling oaks centuries old, roses and azaleas in bloom, birds chipping and add to that many statues; angels, cherubs and those designed after the cemeteries inhabitants, all lend life to the this stretch of land that has so many stories to tell that one book could not contain them all. Nor, do I imagine, that anyone living today even knows them all. It is said that these lifelike monuments come to life; babies cry, children play, and Corinne, a beautiful young woman, smiles because she was “allured to brighter worlds, and led the way”, that is, she committed suicide.

But perhaps the most famous of these is Little Gracie. The lifelike monument of her, carved after her death at the age of six from pneumonia, was created from a portrait and also has a plaque that reads:

"Little Gracie Watson was born in 1883, the only child of her parents. Her father was manager of the Pulaski House, one of Savannah’s leading hotels, where the beautiful and charming little girl was a favorite with the guests. Two days before Easter, in April 1889, Gracie died of pneumonia at the age of six. In 1890, when the rising sculptor, John Walz, moved to Savannah, he carved from a photograph this life-sized, delicately detailed marble statue, which for almost a century has captured the interest of all passersby."

If you visit Little Gracie today, you will find various toys and little trinkets that many have left for her ghost to play with. Particularly around the holidays. But please don't be tempted to move them. As the story goes, the statue of Little Gracie is said cry tears of blood if her playthings are moved or taken. Today, the statue is gated off. People had taken to rubbing the statue for good luck and because of the belief that placing a coin in her hand and walking around the statue three times would make the coin disappear, it was eventually decided that in order to preserve the precious monument and resting place it would need to be closed in. Of course, some believe this gate wasn't erected for keeping out but, perhaps, for keeping in....

I would be remiss if I did not remind you to keep in mind that these intriguing statues and grounds are the actual resting places of peoples' loved ones. Should you be lucky enough to visit Bonaventure you are encouraged appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the sites and the people interred there, the cemetery architecture, the scenery and the natural ecosystems which inhabit the sites. Please show respect for the dead and their remaining family members, many of whom still visit today.

And the Winners Are...

The first prize winner was chosen from my current followers. And the winner is:


The second prize was chosen from present followers, new followers and those who left a comment on the prize post. And the winner is....

Emily R.

Winners, please be sure to email me your address so I can get your prize in the mail!

A great BIG thank you to everyone who followed, visited, commented and dropped by to enjoy the 13 Days of Halloween with me! I've had a blast and hopefully you have too!

There are still two more days left! Be sure to stop by so you don't miss out on any of the fun.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Ghosts of Savannah Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia has some interesting history of it's own.
Click on the photo above for more on The Bonaventure Cemetery.

The city of Savannah is literally built on its dead. Cemeteries were built on the edge of the settlement. As the colony grew into a port city the cemeteries were absorbed and homes and businesses built on former burial sites. Some of the dead were moved, some probably weren't. And some just turn up. A mummified body was found in the walls of the Foley House some years back.

Oglethorpe's founding of the city is famous in great part because of his venture into urban planning. But, what did his plan involve? What was its basis? Historians have speculated on its origins, perhaps in freemasonry or the Biblical design of Solomon's Temple. Perhaps there is more to the city's plan than we know or imagine. By one measurement - using cubits - the original city was a square 1000 cubits on a side. The square is an important pattern in occult lore, a magical square can be used to trace a talisman to achieve a purpose or set a tone or direction for an ongoing enterprise. Could this plan have been, in effect, a magical design of such power and persistence that spirits are trapped between two planes of existence? No one knows.

Whatever Savannah's mystical connections, there is one thing that is certain. A lot of people seem to believe they have had paranormal experiences in the city. There are hundreds of ghost stories. And strange occurrences connected to the paranormal still occur. Just recently a local woman who had organized "Psychic Fairs" was brutally murdered and dismembered, allegedly by her father. That should be enough to set another spirit adrift or at least fuel tales until well into the next century.

The above is an excerpt taken from:
Compiled from published reports and other reliable sources by Jess C. Henderson

Join me on Friday for the story of Bonaventure, how it was once the site of a grand plantation, how it became a cemetery and how, some say, you can still hear the sounds of the final dinner party held at the plantation...the Eternal Dinner party.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last Day to Enter to Win

Tomorrow is the last day to enter to win my 100 Followers Celebration Prize Giveaway!
Winners will be chosen Wednesday at midnight. You MUST click HERE to enter!

Winners will be annoucned on Thursday!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween At The Mouse's House '09

I think it's entirely possible that Disney IS the most magical place on Earth! And I can assure you, it's also a place where dreams come true!

Last year my lil knight in shining armor actually pulled the sword from the stone. Did you have any idea it could actually come out? All it takes is one special little boy, some magic pixie dust and an observant Imagineer! Of course, my lil knight knows it was all about him....and, really, isn't that the point?

This year we enjoyed another special treat. Just as the night began we were approached by a quartet who sang us a story about The Headless Horseman. You'll notice quite an astonished little vampire in the left hand corner of this video.

(Be sure to pause the playlist at the bottom of my blog to fully enjoy the video)

If you haven't been to a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party before it may be a little late to do so this year but I encourage you to begin making plans to do so for next year...NOW! The party starts in September and is held on select dates until Halloween night. And as you can imagine the Halloween night party sells out quickly. The party starts at 7 pm and runs until midnight. All of the rides are opporational, there are virtually no lines because the amount of tickets sold is limited and you get to head down various trick-or-treat trails around the park to load up on some wonderful goodies! Even mom and dad get a bag to collect candy. So if you're like me and you miss being allowed to trick-or-treat without getting a sideways glance, (you know, the one that means 'aren't you too old for this?') then this is the party for you. It's fun for the whole family: Mom, Dad and Boils & Ghouls! Oh! And don't forget to put on your favorite costume. Dressing up is optional but I saw more than a few "grown-up" Peter Pans & Cinderellas!

Here are some more fun pics for you to enjoy until you make your own trip to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party:

Some singing ghouls and a happy little vampire

Of course as great as Disney is, it isn't the only attraction in Orlando worth taking in. This time we didn't have a chance to enjoy Universal Studios or it's Islands of Adventure but there's still fun to be had there.
In the evening we took a stroll down Universal's City Walk.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Jimmy Buffet's Margarittaville complete with a Cheeseburger in Paradise, Heinz 57 and French Fried Potatoes! But the highlight of the evening was the show - The Blue Man Group. Another fun for the whole family event. If you have a chance to see them, you enjoy music, comedy and quiet blue men who say more without talking in an hour in 45 minutes than most of us say in a lifetime, it's a don't miss! And yes, take the kids!
My six year old thinks it was the coolest thing since PB & J!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Trivia Game

Halloween Trivia Game

Are you ready to test your knowledge about All Hallows Eve? Print out this Halloween trivia game and see just how much your party guests really know about this spooky holiday and other creepy things.

Answers can be found at at the bottom of the page.

1. The word Hallow means:

a) saint
b) holiday
c) haunted

2. The wer in werewolf means:

a) once
b) spirit
c) man

3. What is the purpose of a ghoul?

a) to rob graves
b) to poison food
c) to kidnap children

4. Bonfire originally came from the word for:

a) good (in French)
b) forbidden (in Old English)
c) bone (in Anglo-Saxon)

5. What was Dracula's real name:

a) Vlad Tepes
b) Dom Delouise
c) Bela Lugosi

6. The word wicca means:

a) wise woman
b) healer
c) witch

7. What does Samhain really mean?

a) the end of summer
b) All Saints Day
c) somebody's name

8. Every year, Charle Brown waits with his friend Linus for who to appear?

a) Pigpen
b) the Grinch
c) the Great Pumpkin

9. Pumpkins grow on a:

a) bush
b) vine
c) tree

10. Halloween is celebrated on the eve of what Christian holiday?

a) Guy Fawkes Day
b) All Saints Day
c) All Souls Day

11. What phobia means you have an intense fear of Halloween?

a) Samhainophobia
b) Hallowohobia
c) Necrophobia

12. The name Dracula means:

a) bad blood
b) son of the devil
c) demon

Halloween Trivia Game courtesy of

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Funny Tombstones

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, NovaScotia:
Here lies

Ezekial Aikle
Age 102
The Good Die Young.

In a London, England cemetery:
Ann Mann
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:

Anna Wallace
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.

Playing with names in a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies
Johnny Yeast
Pardon me
For not rising.

Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:

Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.

In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:

Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.

A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:

Sacred to the memory of my husband John Barnes who died January 3, 1803. His comely young widow, aged 23, has many qualifications of a good wife, and yearns to be comforted.

A lawyer's epitaph in England:

Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:

I was somebody.
Who, is no business of yours.

Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, Arizona in the cowboy days of the 1880's. He's buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona:

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.

John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:

Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.

On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia:

She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:

On the 22nd of June
- Jonathan Fiddle -
Went out of tune.

Anna Hopewell's grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont has an epitaph that sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie:

Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go.

More fun with names with Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England:

Gone away
Owin' more
Than he could pay.

Someone in Winslow, Maine didn't like Mr. Wood:

In Memory of Beza Wood
Departed this life
Nov. 2, 1837
Aged 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in wood
One Wood
Within another.
The outer wood
Is very good:
We cannot praise
The other.

On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, Massachusetts:

Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.

The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania:

Who was fatally burned
March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with R.E. Danforth's
Non-Explosive Burning Fluid"

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:

Born 1903--Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if
the car was on the way down. It was.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:

Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ghost Photos

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England

This photograph was taken in 1966 by Rev. Ralph Hardy, a retired clergyman. Taken in the Queen's House section of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England he only intended to take a photograph of the elegant spiral staircase, known as the 'Tulip Staircase' but when the photograph was developed a shrouded figure was revealed to be climbing the stairs, seeming to hold the railing with both hands. Expert opinion, including some from Kodak, is that the original negative has not been tampered with. It is also said that the unexplained figure has been seen on other occasions in the vicinity of the staircase, along with unexplained footsteps.

R.A.F. Airmen

This bizarre photo of R.A.F. Airmen was taken in 1919 by Sir Victor Goddard. A strange figure can be seen behind one of the airmen and has been identified by the airmen as that of fellow airman Freddy Jackson, an air mechanic who had been killed two days earlier in an accident involving an airplane propeller.

The Brown Lady at Raynham Hall, England

This photo was taken in 1936 by photographers Captain Provand and Indre Shira while shooting for Country Life magazine. Taken at Raynham Hall in England it seems to show what looks like a lady walking down the stairs. Although the photograph has been scrutinised by experts it has never been proved as a fake. It is believed by some to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole who once lived at the Hall. Officially she died of smallpox but it is also rumoured that she was murdered by her husband after learning of an affair.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Festive Pumpkin Dip

This is a wonderful, hearty dip! And when you're done making it for your party that night, you can save the left over pumpkin puree to make pumpkin pancakes the next morning!

12 oz Cream Cheese
3/4 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1/8 garlic powder
1/3 cup chopped dried beef
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 can (2-1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 round loaf (1 pound) Italian or pumpernickel bread (I use Kings Hawaiian)
Fresh vegtables, crackers or corn chips

In a mixing blow, beat cream cheese, pumpkin, taco seasoning and garlic powder until smooth. Stir in beef, peppers and olives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, cut top off bread; scoop out the bread from inside, leaving a 1/2 in. shell (save the bread from inside for another use). Fill the shell with creams cheese mixture. Serve with vegetables, crackers or corn chips. Yield: 3 cups.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

100 Followers Celebration Giveaway

Whether you know it or not, your following my blog or leaving me comments means a whole lot! When I first starting this blogging thing I had no idea what to expect. I certainly couldn't have imagined anyone wanting to read what I had to say much less coming back for more. But I've been pleasantly surprised!

To celebrate, I'm hosting a prize giveaway. Here are the details:

1) If you are already a follower, you are automatically entered to win. I will be giving away two prizes. The first is a surprise and will be drawn from among my current followers. The second is pictured above and will be drawn from among current followers, new followers, commenter's and those who help to advertise my giveaway.

2) For additional chances to win: Follow My Blog, Leave A Comment (on this post only, be sure I have a way to contact you) and finally, help promote my giveaway on your own blog, website, twitter, etc. Feel free to snag the little Giveaway Button in the top right hand corner of my blog - be sure to link it to THIS post as it will not stay on top of my blog during the 13 Days of Halloween Event. That's it!

Winners will be chosen on Wednesday, October 28th at midnight.

Good Luck & Happy Haunting!

~* SALE *~ My Etsy Shop


Save $40 on my Halloween Art Dolls, the last of the 2009 season. Hurry! Sale ends Wednesday. Click the banner above to visit My Etsy Shop now!

And join me here tomorrow for more frightful frolic & the 13 Days of Halloween!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Fear of Darkness ~ A Ghost Story

We're all afraid of something. For many of us, our first fear is that of darkness. If we're lucky, we out grow it. Some of us aren't lucky...

On St. Simon's Island in Georgia there's a small little church, Christ Church, Frederica, one of the oldest churches in the state. It was after the Revolutionary War, in 1808, that Christ Church was founded.

Christ Church is a Gothic style building with a tall belfry and narrow stained glass windows. It is set in tall, mossy grass under towering oak trees. The church grounds include a cemetery. The oldest marked grave at Christ Church cemetery is dated 1803. Among these, is the grave of Emma, and this is her story.

When Emma was a child she was terrified of darkness. No one knew just how badly until one night her father, who felt he indulged Emma's every whim, decided he'd put a stop to her childish folly. Emma was to sleep through the night without a candle to light her room. Having instructed everyone to stay out of Emma's room, it was her father who eventually gave in. Finding Emma in such a state of fright that he decided that never again would she spend a night in the darkness.

Like many parents, Emma's mother and father believed one day she'd outgrow her fear but as Emma grew older her fear grew in intensity. So much so that Emma began to become frantic about running out of her supply of candles. She began to hoard them.

Emma had many friends and even more suitors all of whom considered themselves her protector from whatever lurked in this darkness that paralyzed Emma with fear. It was at a party with her friends in Brunswick that Emma met the young man that she would one day marry.

Phillip and Emma were married at Christ Church on St. Simon's Island. Emma had divulged her secret fear of darkness to Phillip though he did not fully understand its grasp.

Once Emma was married and away from her childhood home, her fear of the dark persisted and her obsession over running out of candles was deepened. Emma began to make her own candles obsessing over their length and burn time. Emma remained productive in all areas of her life. She was involved in her church both as a missionary and Sunday School Teacher. Phillip encouraged Emma to break from her candle making but loved her so fiercely that he continued to supply her with the wax and wicks she needed to continue.

Sadly, it was Emma's fear of the darkness that ultimately killed her. Once during her candle making, Emma spilled the hot wax on her arm. While she cared for her wound diligently the wound did not heal. Emma developed blood poisoning and died within the week.

On her deathbed Emma expressed her fear of dying and the darkness it would bring. It was then that Phillip vowed that she would never be without candlelight. And every night of his life Phillip placed the promised candle at Emma's grave. When Phillip died, he was laid to rest next to his beloved.

In the days that followed Phillip's death, local residents noted that each evening without fail, there at Emma's grave, glowed a candle. Of course the residents each believed that a local was carrying out Phillip's promised task. Eventually it was discovered that none of the local residents had done so and no one knew where the candle came from. Many years passed and many more witnessed the glow of the lonely candle in the evening.

Today there's a brick wall that obscures the view of the cemetery from the road but if you were to take a walk under the tall, mossy oaks in the evening, my guess is, you'd see it, too. That lonely, promised candle.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Midnight Madness ~ A Halloween Celebration

Our celebration began with a birthday party for both my brother and I. My birthday was just a few weeks ago, his, in a couple of days. We gathered for a party at my house. The menu included Bewitching Chili with Broomstick Bread Sticks. Frankenstein's Monster Toe Cookies and even a Festive Pumpkin Dip to start.

We both have sons, one 5, the other 6. Tonight as we watched them, we were reminded of what the fair was meant to be, what it used to be. We saw it through children's eyes again.

Lights were everywhere. The air was chilly and the smells of ciders, coffee and midway treats filled the air.

Screams of delight washed over our ears, whether our own or someone else's.

The light drizzle that soaked us to the bone didn't matter. Even after our toes, noses and fingers were numb.

Smiles were abundant, as were squeals of delight.

A cup of hot cocoa and some flannel pjs were all it took for a pefect ending to a perfect night.

Happy Celebrating!

Thanks to Vanessa of A Fanciful Twist for hosting A Hauntingly Magical Halloween Celebration.
There's always more magic where Vanessa is!

Click on the banner above to visit all of the wonderful Halloween Celebrations!

A Real Ghost Story

I absolutely adore this time of year so I thought what better way to celebrate than to tell you a few ghost stories. Most of the stories I'll tell happened directly to me or to a member of my family. Stay tuned....I'll save the BEST story for last!

My love of history and all things old came from my mom. We moved alot when I was a child - mostly in the south. Anytime we moved to a new place we'd always explore the old Civil War mansions, cemetaries, battlefields, forts - anything old with a story to tell: Old Salem in Winston Salem, NC where we learned about the Moravians and Selma, AL where I met renowned writer Kathryn T. Windham. I even have a signed copy of one of her books 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffery. The inscription reads 'For Jamie, to add to the TRUE ghost tales you already know - Hauntingly Yours, Kathryn T. Windham and Jeffery'. Jeffery was the live in ghost at the Windham home. Jeffery's presence stirred Kathryn's interest in the subject of ghosts and she began a collection of authentic ghost stories from throughout the South.

It was May 31, 1986 when I met Kathryn. I was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. I had no idea at the time that I'd soon be living my own ghost story.....

One afternoon my mom and I were exploring a local cemetary. I often wondered whether I was the only child who enjoyed a walk through a graveyard - it's a bit macabre, I know. But our interest was not really in the dead but in the stories they had to tell. On these trips we often never visited the newer more recent graves. Just the ones who's stones had turned color over time and were inscribed in such a way as you don't see now. This particular cemetary was a small one.

One lone dirt road seperated the newer part of the cemetary from the old. It was small enough that one could easily see from one side to the other without an obstructed view and the dirt road used to enter the cemetary was the same road used to exit it. Making our way past the stones we began to walk along the dirt road. We noticed a car parked alongside the road at one of the newer graves approximately 100 feet from where we were standing. The flowers and tent still stood from the graveside service. Next to the car stood an older couple silently looking down at what surely must have been a beloved relative.

We knew that a 16 year old girl had been killed in a car accident earlier in the week and had recently been buried here. It made all the sense in the world that these two people were her loving grandparents come to pay their last respects. Not wanting to be rude and intrude my mom and I stood alongside the road and waited until they were done before we finished our walk to our car which was parked just past their car.

We made ourselves seem busy and continued to look down - trying desperately to give them their privacy. Only a few moments had passed when I looked up. At first I was confused and just stared in the direction of our car....and then it hit me. They were and all. Completely disappeared. No sound of car doors closing, no sound of an engine turning over and here we were standing in the road they would have had to drive out! I looked over at my mom and could tell by her pale face she'd seen it too. I said 'Where'd they go?'. She was stunned. She looked down at me and said you saw it, too? She thought she was losing her mind. Well, you'd have thought we'd have gotten out of there like our pants were on fire but we were determined to figure out what had just happened. We looked that cemetary up one side and down the other. We finally realized there would have been no way they could have left the cemetary without driving down the road....the one we'd been standing in.

I often wondered who these people had been. We hadn't noticed a car come in that day. We assumed they'd done so when we'd been on the far side of the older section of the cemetary but still as small as it was we thought it odd that we hadn't noticed them driving through the entrance. How had they gotten there? Where did they go? We never found out. But one thing is for sure....they were there and then they were gone and they could NOT have driven out of there.

WHooo Looooves Halloween?!

A recipe from one of my new favorite designers, Matthew Mead. It can be found in his new book, Halloween Tricks & Treats

Wise Owl Cake

30 Unfrosted cupcakes, store-bought or made from your favorite recipe. (I used Devils Food!)
1 Recipe Easy Icing*
1 Tube ready-made vanilla decorating frosting (to fill donut holes)
2 Chocolate-glazed jimmy-topped donuts
2 black jelly beans

Orange gel food color
Red gel food color
Decorating bags with couplers
#199 fine cut tip, #2 and #5 round tips
Offset spatula

To decorate the cake

1. Arrange the cupcakes in a single layer to fill a large round plate (ours is 16 inches in diameter).

2. Spoon 3/4 cup Easy Icing into a small bowl. Tint with 23 drops orange food color and 10 drops red food color, mixing until blended, for the beak. Spoon 1/4 cup frosting into a second bowl and tint with brown food color, for the accents. Tint the remaining 3 cups frosting with 30 drops of orange food color, 9 drops of red food color, and 6 drops of brown food color.

3. Fit decorating bag with the #199 tip. Fill the bag with orange icing. Cover the top of the assembled cupcakes with "feather" peaks as shown. For each peak, hold the bag straight up with the tip against the cake; squeeze the bag, keeping the tip in the icing until the peak forms; stop the pressure and reposition the tip for the next peak. Work from the center out, rotating the plate; refill the bag as needed.

4. Place the donut tops on the frosted cake for eyes, as shown. Pipe vanilla decorating frosting into the center of each and top with a jelly bean. For the beak, use a spoon to place 3 drops of frosting on the cake: start with a largish dollop near the eyes, then add 2 dollops below it, each smaller than the previous. Run the spatula under hot water until heated, dry thoroughly, and use to contour the beak as shown.

5. Fit the other decorator bag with the #5 round tip. Fill the bag with the brown icing. Hold the bag at an angle and pipe the brow outline onto the cake as shown. Change the tip to the #2 round tip and pipe on the squiggle details.

Easy Icing

They call this "easy" but it's just plain good! It's a pure shade of white so it's easy to tint.

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat the shortening, vanilla and almond extracts, butter flavoring, and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add 2 cups confectioner's sugar, beating well. Beat in 2 tablespoons water. Slowly add the remaining 2 cups confectioner's sugar; add 1 to 3 tablespoons more water, as needed, beating to a spreadable consistency.

Getting Ready for the Halloween Celebration

Getting all of the boils and ghouls ready for the Halloween Celelbration. Please check back throughout the day. I'll be posting ghost stories, recipes and pictures of how we're celebrating A Hauntingly Magical Halloween Celebration hosted by A Fanciful Twist. To visit all of the celebrants, please click the Fanciful Twist banner above.

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