Truth, Nature, Knowledge:

Three candles that illuminate the darkness.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ghost Stories from Sleepy Hollow- Second Installment

We are getting ever so closer to Halloween! There is that feeling in the air...the veil continues to thin. As we continue on with our daily work of harvesting crops and preparing for the winter ahead, we cannot help but think about the stories and experiences in Sleepy Hollow...............

Just on the back part of the farm, there is a neighboring property that is also of considerable size. My husband and his family know every inch of that place as well as they have often hunted on it and helped the owners with farm work as well. Although it has long since fallen down and been hauled away, the original farmhouse and springhouse once stood just across the property line. There was nothing extraordinary or fancy about the old house; it was just the typical utilitatian structure built by many farmers of the period. It was plain and white with a modest covered porch on the front and the springhouse stood about fifty yards off to the side. Now I never got to see the old place, but my husband and his family remember it very vividly.

Of course this particular story takes place during the fall as well; during hunting season again to be exact. It was about mid-day, but in this area of the property the surrounding woods are quite thick. This tends to block out much of the sunlight even on the brightest of days. Since this part of the property is some distance from the house, the men had gathered at this spot to have a bite to eat. They had carried jerky, cheese, and crackers that day so they settled in to talk about the the morning's hunt and what they planned for that afternoon. They were sitting about fifty to sixty yards from this old farmhouse and not really paying much attention to it at that point. At least not until they heard a banging sound coming from that direction.

Now there was no breeze at that moment and not much of anything or anyone around except my inlaws and a few songbirds among the trees. They did not think much about the banging sound in the beginning, at least not until it became annoying. As they began to watch the old house, the ricketty old screen door would periodically open and bang shut just as if someone were passing through it. Now this would not be something that anyone would give much thought to normally. You could just attribute it to the wind and move on. Only as I had mentioned earlier, there was no wind. The men just watched the activity for a few minutes before they decided to walk down and take a look at what could be causing it. There was always the possibility that some kids could be playing a prank.

They finished up their meager meal and started to gather up their belongings when the old door opened again. This time was different. It opened much slower and closed as if it had been handled by a gentle hand. Now from what my husband tells me, this door had been banging fairly hard. He always says it was as if a bunch of little kids were running in and out the way kids do, throwing a door open as wide as it will go and letting it slam. As the door gently closed this time, a bluish-white mist formed right there on the old porch.

As they watched the mist form, they all were trying to figure out exactly what they were seeing. It began to spread towards the steps and then, as if it was carefully choosing its path, took one step at a time and momentarily stopped at the bottom. Keep in mind that this mist never dissipated or attempted to form into anything. It slowly made its way towards the old springhouse. It was a solid mist, about two feet from the ground to its top, but not really having a shape. It seemed to move with purpose and finally reached the springhouse. The old springhouse door was still in place and although the wood was rotted and the hinged were rusted, it seemed to open effortlessly. The mist continued on inside. After several minutes, the mist re-emerged and the old door closed just as easily as it had opened. The mist retraced its path back towards the old house. My husband said one of his brothers dropped something that made a loud thud and the mist momentarily stopped as if it had acknowledged the sound and the men.

At the sight of this, they became a little nervous. The mist began to move towards the house again after what seemed like an eternity. It made its way back up the steps, across the porch and to the door. The door carefully swung open and then closed and the mist promptly disappeared. Of course the men stood there momentarily wondering what they had just seen and not wanting to admit to anything. Of course, being the type of people they are, the brothers and their father decided to walk down and have a look at the old place and those doors. The oldest brother walked up and reached for the old screen door. As he opened it, the weathered old wood fell apart and the door fell off the hinges. This startled them because they had just witnessed it being flung open and slammed shut countless times. He carefully leaned it back up against the door frame and they walked towards the springhouse.

Now the springhouse door was a different story. Expecting it to be in as bad a shape as the screen door, my father-in-law started to reach for it when he noticed that it was covered in spiderwebs. The webs were not only on the door, but attached to the small roof and even to the weeds just on the ground. Not only that, but it had a large, antique padlock that was securely fastened. Now they knew they had just seen this door open and close. But how? It showed no signs of being touched for a long time. What had they just witnessed? And how could anyone explain the mist stopping half way as if it had acknowledged them?

They tell this story every once in a while. And I have to admit, whenever we have been back in that area I always get a strange feeling. Maybe the family that had once been there were just carrying on their daily activities even in to the afterlife.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ghost Stories From Sleepy Hollow- First Installment

I know what you are thinking. This is going to be something about the Headless Horseman, and so on, and so on. Do not get me wrong. I LOVE the Headless Horseman. But this time he is not going to be in the spotlight. When I say Sleepy Hollow, I mean the Sleepy Hollow that belongs to my inlaws. Sleepy Hollow Farm to be more precise. And yes, it fully lives up to the name and the reputation of the legendary Sleepy Hollow.

There have been so many things that have happened right here in our little corner of the woods that the ghost stories and the experiences abound. This is probably the most appropriate time to share some of our stories of things we have experienced or that others have.

Long before I met my husband, he and his father and brothers had an experience while deer hunting one fall. Hunting is a tradition here and no fall would be complete without it. This one particular day was far more than just a day in the woods. My husband, his father, his brothers, and several of their friends were in the woods that day.

Keep in mind this is more of a forest- several hundred acres worth- and is part of Sleepy Hollow. These are not just any woods. They have a lot of history, much of it bloody history. From the earliest settlers who arrived here and fought the native tribes, through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, family feuds, accidents, and unexplainable deaths, this area has seen more than its share tragedies and unspeakable horrors.

As I was saying, this particular day was much like many other days in the late fall here. The leaves were all but gone from the trees, the sky was grey with the first hints of snow, and the air had a cold crispness to it that left no doubt the earth would soon be under a blanket of winter white. It was mid-afternoon and time to head back to the house and get ready for the evening milking and chores.

It would take over an hour to make the walk back through the woods and then down through the pasture to the house and barns. The men met up on the trail and of course, took the customary time to shoot the breeze among other things. There had been a cold breeze blowing all day with squirrells, crows, and many other forest creatures making their noises as they went about their daily routines. As the men started to walk home, they noticed a strange feeling in the air. It was one of those feelings that you cannot explain. Shrugging it off, they continued to walk and watch the woods for any sign of deer. As they walked the cold breeze began to let up and then stopped altogether. The woods began to grow quiet. Too quiet. Before long the only sounds were the footsteps of the men walking through the fallen leaves.

They began to feel uneasy. Now this is something that these men rarely admit to. Being hardy Norwegians, they are not prone to being shaken or being scared very easily. Even if they were, they would never admit it. The group stopped and began to look around and listen. The unspoken question among them was understood without the use of words. They continued to walk and the temperature began to drop dramatically. It became so cold that ice crystals began to form on their rifles and their beards. There was no reason for it to become so cold so quickly. No wind was blowing, nothing had changed. Or had it?

By this point, there was no sound at all. The men had stopped walking at a spot where the woods climbed high on both sides. It was so quiet that all they could here was the sound of their own breathing. All at once some unseen force plowed through the middle of the men, knocking several of them down. At almost the same moment, a flock of crows began to attack the air as if they were attacking some living thing. They flew right down between the men, cawing loudly and furiously attacking something unseen by the men. They managed to shake the momentary shock of what was going on and get away from the frenzied crows. The birds continued to attack something unseen and began to get closer and closer to the ground, almost as if they were beating back the unseen force. When it was finally over, they were all on the ground with their wings spread open and clearly agitated. The men watched the birds for a while longer until they finally flew up into the trees directly above the spot. They sat on the branches, guarding and waiting. The men noticed that the air had grown slightly warmer by this point. They just stood there shaking their heads and wondering what had just happened. Needless to say, they wasted no time getting back home after that.

Now you may be skeptical or think this is just another Halloween story. I can tell you that it is true- it really happened. I have looked into the eyes of these men when they tell this story and I have absolutely no doubt that their words are true. I can tell you one thing, none of them has killed a crow since that day no matter how much corn they eat from the field.........

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Samhain is Here Again

All Hallows' Eve
All Saints' Day
La Dia de Los Muertos

There are many names for it. There are many ways in which it is celebrated. It is that time of the year when the veil is at its thinnest. A time when communication with the ancestors and the other world is made easier. It is this time of the year when we see the most paranormal activity. Is it that there is more activity or is it that we are just more open to it or aware of it?

Autumn brings with it the final harvest of the year, the changing and falling of the leaves, the time of transition for the earth from the fertile growing season to the white blanket of winter. It is a time to gather in the last of the food stores and prepare for the long, cold winter. Our pagan ancestors faced much harsher realities than us when it came to surviving the winters. It was imperative that enough food had been put up to last until the warm months and the sun came back to breathe new life into the earth.

Samhain was and is the pagan New Year. Our ancestors spent the holy day worshipping their ancestors and giving thanks for the harvest. It was a time to ward off evil to ensure that the family made it through the winter, a time of protection and appeasement.

There are many sites that offer more in-depth information and history for you. My goal is to get you thinking and wondering. As you head out to the many parties, corn mazes, haunted tours, and of course to score all that yummy candy, at least offer up a quiet prayer of thanks for our ancestors and their abilities to endure the hardships they encountered that ensured our existence.

New Friends & Colleagues

I would like to thank Scott and Erin Hartney and their team members at CORE Paranormal Investigations. We were honored to be invited to investigate Eastern State Penitentiary with them back in August. What a blast we had! It is fantastic when two teams can come together, not knowing much about each other, and investigate as if we had been together all along. I have added their web site to our "Links" list at the bottom of the blog page. We are looking forward to teaming up with them on many future investigations!

New Partnership

We have partnered up with and have added them to our home page and here on the blog as well. You can scroll down to the bottom of the page and click their banner. It will take you directly to their site. Lots of things going on there! Make sure you check them out.