Thursday, March 23, 2017
Monday, March 10, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Growing up with cats and dogs, I got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while I slept. Now that I live alone, it is much more unsettling.
In all of the time that I've lived alone in this house, I swear to God I've closed more doors than I've opened.
A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said "I heard that, too."
Friday, February 14, 2014
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
It’s wonderful to know in a few days I will be on my way to let my dark side run rampant and photograph some more haunted places. The state I chose was Iowa. It has some wonderful mansions and cemeteries and I’m also looking forward to catching up with some friends while I’m down there. I will be spending four days traveling to as many different locations as I can. The weather should be in my favor with high 70s-low 80s. Maybe a storm or two!
This will be the first major trip I’ve taken for this project in a few years. I’m looking forward to visiting these places with a renewed sense love and determination. Allowing very little distractions and leaving the stress behind me I want to concentrate on my subjects with the camera and allow myself to be immersed in the atmosphere of the place. Taking in the sights, sounds, feel and smell of each place.
During my journey which begins this Wednesday (July 24th) I will blog as often as I can posting photos and and info as I go. Thanks for the visit.
To be continued…
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Christmas traditions we keep are mostly personal. The type of food we make or eat, the gifts we give or receive they way we decorate our homes. Many of the general traditions we observe come from the Victorian era, the Christmas tree, stockings, ornaments, fruitcake and a long list of other traditions. But one I’ve noticed that hasn't been kept is the telling or ghost stories. I began to wonder why and started to think of the reasons why they did in the first place and why don’t we now.
I then came across this story that sort of explains a bit of what I was thinking.
While reading a list of all the modern Christmas traditions that were either borrowed from pagan winter festivals or invented by the English during the mid-19th century, it's remarkable to see how little Christmas has changed over the past 160 years.
People still send Christmas cards, decorate evergreen trees, go door-to-door caroling and stuff stockings with candy. Christmas, at least as most Americans celebrate it, really is a product of Victorian England.
In the last few decades, though, perhaps one of the most interesting Victorian Christmas traditions has been almost completely lost from memory.
“Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories,” wrote British humorist Jerome K. Jerome as part of his introduction to an anthology of Christmas ghost stories titled “Told After Supper“ in 1891. “Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters.”
The practice of gathering around the fire on Christmas Eve to tell ghost stories was as much a part of Christmas for the Victorian English as Santa Claus is for us.
Traces of this now-forgotten tradition occasionally appear in noticeable places at Christmastime, although their significance is generally overlooked.
One verse of Andy Williams’ classic Christmas song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” for instance, clearly says, “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.”
The most obvious example of how Victorian ghost stories have persisted to some degree in modern Christmas celebrations, however, is of course Charles Dickens’ own “ghostly little story” (as he calls it in the introduction) “A Christmas Carol.”
Some argue that Dickens’ Christmas ghost story single-handedly saved the winter holiday from dying out during the Industrial Revolution. At a time when England was no longer celebrating Christmas, Dickens reintroduced many centuries-old traditions with his instant holiday classic. It has become so much a part of Christmas in its various film adaptations and theatrical versions that people don't even wonder why Dickens chose, of all things, four spectral visitors to bring about Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from miserly curmudgeon to selfless philanthropist.
Isn’t there something inherently unseasonal about ghosts? Don’t ghosts belong with all the ghouls and goblins of Halloween? Not so for Victorian England.
“There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas — something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer rains brings out the frogs and snails… For ghost stories to be told on any other evening than the evening of the twenty-fourth of December would be impossible in English society as at present regulated,” Jerome wrote.
He continues, “So what is it about Christmas that goes so well with ghosts? Such a question inevitably brings up the issue of why we celebrate Christmas in December at all.”
As Lord Protector of England during the mid-17th century, Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell was perhaps not entirely without justification when he tried to abolish the celebration of Christmas. As he argued, nowhere in the Bible does it tell Christians to celebrate Christ’s birth on the 25th of December. Nor, in fact, does it mention any “holy day” other than the Lord’s Sabbath.
On top of that, the 25th of December was not an arbitrary choice for early Christians. Rather, it was selected because of its connection with pagan festivals like Yule and Sol Invictus (the birthday of the Unconquered Sun), both of which commemorated the winter solstice or the longest night of the year.
These festivals celebrated the death of light and its subsequent rebirth the following day. It was for the obvious symbolic connotations that early Christians adopted dates significant to pagan Romans and Northern Europeans.
In addition to being the longest night of the year, however, winter solstice was also traditionally held to be the most haunted due to its association with the death of the sun and light. It was the one night of the year when the barrier between the worlds of the living and the deceased was thinnest. On Christmas Eve, ghosts could walk the earth and finish unsettled business, as exemplified by the apparition of Marley in Charles Dickens' Christmas masterpiece.
In short, the Victorian Christmas celebration, which drew heavily on pagan symbols like yule logs, holly berries and Father Christmas himself, also embraced the winter holiday’s associations with the supernatural to create one of its most popular annual traditions.
Unfortunately, of all the traditions and rituals that have survived through the generations, the Victorian custom of recounting blood-curdling ghost stories with friends and family around the fire on Christmas Eve has been almost completely forgotten.
So if you decide to watch "The Others" or "The Sixth Sense" this Christmas Eve instead of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” or “Elf," you'll be keeping alive a Victorian Christmas Eve tradition.
By Jeffrey Peterson
For the Deseret News
The Victorians where very aware of their mortality they loved Spiritualism and often conducted séances or searched out mediums in hopes of communicating with the dead. They honored loved ones recently past by photographing them and taking clips of their hair to produce hair woven lockets, bracelets and necklaces. It would seem fitting to tell a ghost story or two during the bleak month of December.
Todays sensibilities we focus more on getting the right gift, spending time with friends and family, food, shopping, church, decorating and trying to recapture the love and magic of Christmas from our youth. We no longer have time to dwell thinking about the supernatural. Ghost stories are a much apart of the season as in any other time of the year. They are perfect for the season because what a better way to demonstrate the moral tale then through a ghost story.
Friday, November 16, 2012
There is something wonderful about having a creative place of your own. A place to daydream, a place to get your hands dirty, to think, a place to pursue the most strange and bizarre ideas and a place to fall into the depths of your own thoughts and feelings, a place to allow your creative spirit to run free.
For me I’ve always needed such a place. A creative place to surround myself with things I love and give me inspiration to allow my dark side run uninhibited. I’ve always had a fascination with things of horror and macabre. This past year I began adding to my collection new items like a hypnosis machine, gas mask, vintage embalming bottles, Ouija Boards and a framed movie poster of the 1928 silent film “The Haunted House”.
Strangely enough these items have given me much needed distraction from such a very troubled year. This year has been a roller-coaster of emotions and experiences. As I look back I’ve noticed I’ve shot very little in the way of photography but I have remained busy exploring other projects and talents.
As this year winds down I’m making new plans for 2013 and I’m excited for what the future holds. Conventions, travel and new explorations of haunted places are just some of the items on the calendar.
This weekend I traveled to my hometown in Illinois for a funeral of a family member. Despite the bad circumstance for me leaving my home I was glad to venture past the borders of Wisconsin for the first time this year to see family and have dinner with a good friend. As I was driving I realized how much I’ve missed traveling and experiencing new things. Plus eating at places that are not available at home. I also remembered some of the “rules” I set for myself when I travel. They are not much but they add to the excitement and experience of what Traveling is all about.
(1) If I see something interesting along the side of the road, I take the time to stop and check it out. I’ve met and seen some of the most interesting things and people doing this.
(2) I NEVER eat at a restaurant that’s available in the town you live in. Part of traveling is the new experience. Eat somewhere that is normally not available to you. It keeps the trip fresh and exciting.
(3) I NEVER watch TV or the news during traveling (except for weather reports). The idea is to unplug a bit from the negativity and reality of life. I do plenty of TV watching at home I don’t need to spend allot of money on hotels, gas, airplane tickets and meals to go far away from home just to sit in a hotel to watch TV. To kill down time I like to sit in cafes, visit local book and antique stores, blog, read, write in my travel journal or just walk around the town or city taking pictures.
(4) I Travel light. I Don’t bog myself down with a ton of bags. When I travel I carry two bags my camera bag and travel bag. ALL the clothes I carry for a week is in one carry-on bag. If at all possible I never check a bag because I believe a checked bag is a lost bag. Traveling is stressful enough and I don’t need the added burden of locating a missing bag and being SOL with no clothes or personal items. I walked up the side of a mountain in Germany to my hotel carrying a backpack full of camera equipment and a travel bag around my shoulder. By the time I reached the top I was exhausted but if I was carrying anything more I don’t think I would have made it.
I try to keep my mind active and open minded constantly with inspiration and new experiences. Traveling and finding things that inspire me is truly rewarding. There is nothing more satisfying then finding an item or photographing something to add to my ever growing collection. In the end all my collections of items, photographs and written experiences are part of me and who I am.