Posts Tagged ‘ghosts

08
Sep
20

National Telephone Day

Where would we be without our phones? Especially these days, they are key to keeping people in touch with loved ones, health care professionals, stores and the outside world.


It’s always been that way, though to a lesser extent of course! I remember the emotion and excitement in my family when we were scheduled to receive a call from my brother serving in Viet Nam – what an amazing feat of technology!


You may have read a story that circles around on social media now and then about a young boy, decades ago, who was often home alone after school and had learned that he had a terrific friend and helper on the other end of the phone by dialing “O” for operator. She helped him with spelling words, first aid, geography and even pet questions. Later in life, he learned that he had made an impact in her quiet, lonely life by giving her something to look forward to.


All of these questions could now be answered with a quick call to Siri or the like, but the personal connection is not there. We can watch movies and the news, listen in on webinars and play games, read books and take classes, but these are mostly done in a solitary manner without personal interactions.


When we had to re-invent our Maine walking tour business at the outbreak of COVID19, we thought of options of virtual tours or videos, among other possibilities. Our choice was to utilize the power of the phone, but we felt strongly about keeping the personal connection; we did not want to offer a recorded tour. Thus, our private, live TeleTour walks were born.


While taking one of our TeleTour walks, you’ll have the opportunity to interact, ask questions, say “wait a sec, I need to tie my shoe” or let passers by pet your dog for a minute. Even though I am not there guiding you in person, I am there to point out interesting architecture, caution you on crossing a particularly dangerous street or suggest photo opportunities. You can ask for recommendations on where to eat dinner or how to spend your last afternoon before leaving town.

Of course, you’re also getting a very informative tour of one of 11 Maine towns! All of our walking tours are historically based, but we often add twists such as ghost stories, mysteries, secrets, legends, famous folks, etc. These have been the ideal way to deal with social distancing, yet allow for people to still experience something fun and different while on vacation, or staycation. 


So, Happy National Telephone Day from Red Cloak Tours and we hope to “see” you on one of our TeleTours soon!

29
Jul
20

Ghost Storytelling around the world

I learned something interesting the other day – something I kind of knew, but it inspired me to do a little more research.

Ghost storytelling around the world is very different!

I learned that now, mid-summer, is the most common time for ghost stories in Japan! Dating back to ancient times, it is believed that during summer the souls of the dead temporarily come back to this world. These spirits would include your ancestors, but also those who had no relatives praying for them as well as vengeful ghosts.

In some households the traditional custom of greeting your ancestors with a welcoming fire or altar is still practiced. Also during this summer season, ghost stories are told and plays are performed with themes developed from village folklore of unusual, other worldly stories.

The season is symbolized by these events used for interacting with the spirits of ancestors and taking pity on the unhappy souls. They say that telling the chilling tales also helps people to cool off in the summer heat.

This is similar to the Ghost Festival in China and some other East Asian countries. It is held on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. The seventh month is generally regarded as the Ghost Month. At this time the deceased are thought to visit their living relatives.

Many cultural traditions are honored during the Ghost Festival. These can include preparing food offerings and having elaborate meals with empty seats for the visiting ghosts. Incense is burned to pay respects and sometimes paper boats or lanterns are released to guide any lost spirits.

Hawaiian culture also uses lunar phases to base their ghostly activities on. “Marchers of the Night,” spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors, appear at sunset during these specific times, usually around the new moon, and march from their burial sites to battlefields or other sacred areas.

The Nightwatchers arrival is announced with the beating of drums and blowing of conch shells. The warriors are carrying torches so they are usually seen from afar. Often fog, thunderstorms or high winds accompany them.

There are no festivals or celebrations surrounding the Nightwatchers; in fact, it is quite the opposite. No one should look at, or be seen by these warriors, according to Hawaiian legends. If a mortal should be accidently in the area, they should lie face down on the ground, motionless, to show proper respect and deference.

Hawaiian history, rich in mythology and folklore, is full of supernatural entities so the Nightwatchers are not the only ghosts of the islands.

I knew that in Victorian England, telling spooky stories around Christmas time was very common – I often hold some storytelling presentations during the holidays – but why is this?

The Winter Solstice, the longest and darkest day of the year occurs just days before Christmas and is a harbinger of the end, or death, of the year.

Many people focus on those no longer with us during the holidays and it makes sense to think that during this dark time of change to the new year that the dead might have a closer connection with the living.

Inuit stories are full of ghosts, monsters, shapeshifters and other paranormal entities. These tales are told year-round, day or night, by the elders of the community and are used as lessons for the children.

Also based on oral history, Jamaican Duppies often manifest in the form of a relative, and like Inuit folklore, are always present.

A Duppy may also manifest as a shadow, animal or material object so it is hard to know when one is present, though they only come at night. Here are a few ways to tell – if you smell food but there is none in the area, if you hear a stick break, if a dog whines or howls, if you have a spider web in your face.

Duppies are restless spirits and usually malevolent. They can be controlled in various ways which often involves using their grave dirt. They are said to live in bamboo thickets and the roots of cotton trees.

Here in the U.S., in spite of my line of work, telling ghost stories year-round, ghosts are generally thought of around Halloween, or All Hallows Eve.

The Halloween tradition stems from Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival held during harvest when people would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward off ghosts.

Other All Hallows’ Eve traditions can include lighting candles on graves, attending church, lighting jack-o-lanterns and eating certain vegetarian foods such as apples, potato pancakes or soul cakes.

Over the years, Halloween has become a time for trick-or-treating, parties and telling ghost stories. It is only about 3 months away, in case you’re counting!

08
Sep
17

September, a New Beginning

Fall has always been the “New Year” for me. When I was young, it was the beginning of a new school year – new clothes, new routine, etc.

When I became a parent, it was the same idea, and to be honest, even though my oldest grandchild is in just starting Kindergarten, I still love walking the school supply aisles!

As a business owner, I am not controlled as much by the school year, but Fall still plays an important part in my business. With haunted history walking tours, people are drawn to the fall season with crunchy leaves, brisk evenings and the upcoming Halloween season.

Therefore, I am happy to announce that we have 2 new weekly offerings for Fall!

In conjunction with Maine Maritime Museum we are offering Sunday afternoon Lighthouse Legends, Lore & Haunts Cruises. These are  about 3 1/2 hour cruises to view up to 7 lighthouses and disembark once to actually see the oldest original lighthouse tower in Maine up close and personal. This will be the 3rd year we have done these tours and they are amazing! We have spectacular river views, many bird sightings, sometimes glimpses of seals and of course picturesque lighthouses (many of which are haunted!).

The very best part of these river cruises are that a portion of the ticket price goes to help preserve the 1821 lighthouse tower and associated buildings in time for their 200th anniversary in 4 years.

Our other special fall offering is a stroll though Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath, discovering the lives and times of shipbuilders and sea captains from “The City of Ships.” This tour begins by trolley, at Maine Maritime Museum, and takes guests by many of the spectacular homes of these same people that will be discussed once the garden cemetery is reached. Symbolism used in the cemetery, as well as types of graves and headstones is part of the 90+ minute tour.

Tickets for both of these tours may be purchased on the Maine Maritime Museum website, http://www.mainemaritimemuseum.org/events/.

Of course, we continue to offer our “Top Ten” evening lantern  lit tours throughout September and October (even creeping into November a bit!). Yes, we were listed in 2 different Top Ten listings this year, so please check out our daily offerings.

Thank you for reading and as always, please call with any questions! 207-380-3806

15
Oct
13

Quote of the Day (but not every day)

“The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited.” ~ Stephen King, Bag of Bones 

12
May
13

Mom

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I thought I’d do the obvious… My mother passed away several years ago. Her death was a blessing for her, so I rarely wish her back.
Of course I miss her, and often wish she could see my family now grown, my new grandaughter or even my life as it is now. Maybe she can… I know she would be proud.
Mom influenced me in many ways, but one of the important things both my parents did for me was to never discourage me. Though I do think that for them to imagine me having 2 of my own businesses, Red Cloak Haunted History Tours and Mysterious Destinations, might have been a tough stretch!
It is certainly due to both my Mom and Dad’s love of history and their family backgrounds that has always encouraged me to be so involved in anything historic, whether it be antiques, genealogy, local history, cemeteries, historical societies, etc.
Yes, my Mom did see “ghosts” and had at least one premonition that I know of, but I didn’t learn about these things until fairly recently.
In Nevada, where I grew up, they have historical markers all along the roads and highways, telling of some important event that took place there or the story of a person who happened that way and turned into an historical figure. We ALWAYS had to stop and read the markers. Suprisingly, I enjoyed it and didn’t groan, as you might imagine a preteen or teenager would.
When I was 13, they brought me to the East Coast and took me to all the “important” historical sites – every monument in Washington DC, the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations, the Empire State Building, Boston’s North Church and Plymouth, Mass. It was an amazing, whirlwind tour for me – one I look back on often. I wonder how much that trip influenced my later decision to live here in New England.
Mothers influence us all in many ways, often in ways that we don’t recognize at the time, or maybe ever. Sometimes other people’s mothers influence us as well! I am certainly very happy that I understand where my love of all things “history” comes from and I am very thankful to my Mom (and Dad) for instilling that love in me.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, aunts, cousins, teachers and others who influence younger folks in some way!
18
Aug
12

Mysterious Destinations Cruise

For those of you that might be interested in our Mysterious Destinations Cruise, please note that reservations close in just one week! It’s going to be a great time as we investigate haunted Rose Hall Mansion in Jamaica, Mayan Ruins in Cozumel (as well as spots reported to have ghosts) and go looking for “Duppies” on Grand Cayman! http://www.mysteriousdestinations.com/component/content/article/10-tours/49-7-day-western-caribbean-expedition

Don’t miss out on this fantastic adventure! Call me @ 207-380-4677

21
Jun
12

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me!

Pirates are taking over midcoast Maine! Good Pirates, of course. This weekend Pirates invade Damariscotta as a fundraising event for charity and next week they take over Boothbay Harbor for Windjammer Days!

To join the fun, we’re doing a special Pirate Tales Tour tomorrow (6/22) for a school group in the morning; and at night if you mention “Pirates” when making your reservation, we’ll donate 20% to the local charity that the Pirates are benefiting! If you ask your guide, Christine, very nicely, she might even tell a pirate tale or 2!

Next week, during Windjammer Days, we’ve tweaked our tours so that there’s some focus on Pirates in Maine (particularly the Boothbay Harbor Area) – yes, there  really were! We’ll also tell a bit about Windjammer history in Boothbay Harbor along with some ghosts, of course!

So… Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of… your choice!

01
Sep
11

Labor Day Tours

Hi there! Hasn’t this Maine weather been awesome! I hope it keeps up for the whole Labor Day Weekend! Everyone has so many fun things planned – what are your plans? Besides giving tours in the evenings, I will be involved at the Camden Windjammer Days – as a Pirate! Come and say hello if you’re there!

We have plenty of great Red Cloak Haunted History Tours planned for you – ghosts, superstitions, a witch, the mystery ship, a haunted lighthouse, funeral trivia, black mists and more! Please call or e-mail and we’ll set you up; yes, weather permitting, we’ll be giving tours all week!

10
Aug
11

Camden Maine Ghost part two

We discovered this ghost in the apple tree a couple of years ago, just about this time of year.  Apples were falling from the tree during an unrelated story and a guest was joking about there being a ghost in the tree. She took a picture and captured an incredible orb in the tree! You can see her photo on our “Ghostly Sightings” page. As she was walking away, she said goodbye to the ghost and one lone apple plopped to the ground, as if in response.

We’ve now incorporated that story into the tour, and the last few weeks, our guests have been seeing strange things going on in the apple tree. One guest saw an apple go out from the tree sideways, before dropping to the ground! Another saw an apple already on the ground roll uphill – what?  As we were leaving one evening, I said goodbye to the ghost and thanked it for sharing. A picture taken at that moment shows an orb in the tree!

So last night I was interested to see what might happen when we stopped by the apple tree…  one of the guests saw 3 apples drop straight down and 1 apple go out sideways at the same time! Lots of pictures were taken, so we’ll see what those turn up. I will keep you posted…

01
Aug
11

Quote of the Day (but not every day)

“Ghosts, like ladies, never speak till spoke to.” ~ Richard Harris Barham




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