Posts Tagged ‘spirits

03
May
18

National Paranormal Day

Happy Paranormal Day to you! It’s good timing for us at Red Cloak Tours since we just opened for our season 2 days ago.

Paranormal interest certainly has its cycles. There are not quite as many shows on TV anymore, so in some cases interest has waned, but in others it has left a void for some who would like to continue to live vicariously through those shows.
In the later half of the 19th century, Spiritualism was very, very popular with seances, table tippings, and private readings. The Civil War had prompted many to try to connect with their lost loved ones. Over time it became less and less popular to be associated with such events.
We have an interesting story of a minister who spent some time here in Maine in the early 1800’s. Rev. John B. Dods was preaching in Levant as a Congregationalist and had so many experiences with spirits and haunts (not for the first time – his deceased father appeared to him several times as a younger man) that he was forced to to leave the house that he’d built. Many Levant residents witnessed activity at his home.
He moved to Union, changed his vocation per the demands of a particular spirit, and began preaching at Universalist Churches in Thomastonand Rockland. His home in Union was also taken over by violent activity, deemed to be poltergeists! This activity was again witnessed by many people. “This was followed by a series of astonishing physical phenomena, such as loud rappings about the room, the moving of a table across it without perceptible means, the raising of himself in his chair, etc., until he had all the evidence that the senses were capable of receiving, that these things were real, and that he was in his normal state.”
Rev. Dods often used the pulpit to share his paranormal experiences and over time this was considered inappropriate and his connections were dissolved by mutual consent on June 20, 1829, according to “A History of the Town of Union, in the county of Lincoln, Maine to the middle of the 19th Century” by John L. Sibley.
John moved to Massachusetts, became involved in animal magnetism and electrical psychology and wrote several books. He converted to Spiritualism and became very well known in that circle. Some credit him with coining the term “Spritiualism.” Here is a link to one of my sources if you’d like to read more –
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08
Dec
17

Mistletoe Bride

“The Mistletoe Bough” written by Thomas Bayley (Bayly) in the early 1800’s and set to music in 1830, might have been inspired by an incident in Germany, reported in 1809.

Also known as “Mistletoe Bough, ” “The Missing Bride,” “The Lost Bride,” and sadly “Bride-and-Seek.”

The tale goes… a group of young friends on the night of the wedding were playing hide-n-seek and all were found but the bride. Everyone, including servants were employed to search the home and grounds. Thinking maybe she had been taken or had second thoughts, searchers were sent out through the countryside, looking in vain through the night. She was finally found 30 years later when the estate was being repaired and an old trunk in the attic popped open upon removal, finding the aged skeleton, and remnants of her wedding dress… I’m sure she haunts that castle!

The mistletoe hung in the castle hall,

The holly branch shone on the old oak wall’

And the baron’s retainers were blithe and gay,

And keeping their Christmas holiday.

The baron beheld with a father’s pride

His beautiful child, young Lovell’s bride;

While she with her bright eyes seemed to be

The star of the goodly company.

“I’m weary of dancing now,” she cried;

“Here, tarry a moment-I’ll hide, I’ll hide!”

And, Lovell, be sure thou’rt first to trace

The clew to my secret lurking place.”

Away she ran-and her friends began

Each tower to search, and each nook to scan;

And young Lovell cried, “O, wher dost thou hide?

I’m lonesome without thee, my own dear bride.”

 

They sought her that night, and they sought her next day;

And they sought her in vain while a week passed away;

In the highest, the lowest, the lonliest spot,

Young Lovell sought wildly-but found her not.

And years flew by, and their grief at last

Was told as a sorrowful tale long past;

And when Lovell appeared the children cried,

“See! the old man weeps for his fairy bride.”

 

At length an oak chest, that had long lain hid,

Was found in the castle-they raised the lid,

And a skeleton form lay moldering there

In the bridal wreath of that lady fair!

O, sad was her fate! – in sportive jest

She hid from her lord in the old oak chest.

It closed with a spring! – and, dreadful doom,

The bride lay clasped in her living tomb!

26
Oct
17

Candles

It’s my birthday week, so I thought this was a timely article to write –

Candles are romantic, candles are for birthdays, candles are for scent, candles are for religion and celebrations, candles have lots of different meanings for many of us – crossing cultures around the world.

The earliest candles may have been small torches – branches dipped in animal fat and lit for a slow burning, dependable light source.

In 3000 BC, Egyptians were using tallow (fat rendered from animals other than pigs) for candles and as time went on, other cultures began finding different sources to use. In India they found that a residue was left by melting cinnamon and it would burn (also smell nicer than tallow, I presume!). China was using whale fat and insects, while Japan extracted oil from tree nuts.

Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest found that fish called eulachon had a very high fat content during spawning, so they would dry them and use them as candles for lighting, thus the fish’s new name “candlefish.”

In more modern times, beeswax, bayberry wax and whale spermaceti were used. Spermaceti was made by crystalizing sperm whale oil which was a harder wax that didn’t melt in the summer, produced a brighter light and didn’t smell as badly as tallow.

In the early 19th century a French chemist discovered how to extract stearic acid from animal fatty acids, which lead to stearin wax, a wax that burned cleanly and was hard and durable. Later, paraffin wax, made by distilling coal, came into use.

Candles seem mystical – have you ever been mesmerized by watching a candle’s flame flickering? It’s easy to understand why/how certain superstitions got started. If a flame burns blue, supposedly a ghost is in the area and if there is a tall, straight flame it means a stranger will come. Burn a candle in the window to make sure a lover will return.

You should always light a candle with your right hand, otherwise, expect bad luck! Also, it’s bad luck to melt the base of a candle to make it set well in its base or to light it from a fire’s flame. I do hope, for your sake, that a candle that you light does not immediately go out – otherwise bad luck will follow! If it is difficult to light – rain is on the way.

The Irish used to have a superstition that 12 candles must be lit around a body at the wake as protection from evil spirts.

In 1700’s New England, a cultural tradition was begun using wax and oil of the bayberry plant added to their candles. They found the candles burned longer and gave off a wonderful scent. They presented these new candles to friends and neighbors at Christmas time, with the poem that indicated all good wishes would be lost in the smoke if they were blown out.

A Bayberry candle, burned to the socket

Brings joy to the home, and wealth to the pocket.

And now to the point of this whole article – birthdays! And of course, with birthdays, come candles on birthday cakes (or in my case birthday pies) and the tradition of blowing them out.

Apparently, the first birthday party was recorded in early Egypt, for a pharaoh on his coronation, which marked the moment he was “birthed” as a god. But the Greeks made cakes in offerings to some of their gods and eventually placed lit candles on some cakes as a way to symbolize the moon. It was believed that when the candles were blown out their prayers were carried up to the gods.

In the 1700’s in Germany, there were many accounts of cakes and candles used to celebrate children’s birthdays – a kinderfest. A record of a cake decorated with a candle for each year of life was in 1746, for Count Ludwig Von Zinzindorf.

Just when the belief of having to blow out all the candles to have your wish (or prayer) come true is unsure, but we still all make that important wish (prayer) annually, and send the wishes up to the heavens.

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

07
Nov
14

Boothbay Harbor Experience

Here is a link to a story that a guest on one of my tours wrote. It is about an experience she had the night after her tour with me in Boothbay Harbor. Maybe some of you who’ve also stayed at Captain Sawyer’s have some stories you’d like to share as well?

http://www.theconcordwriter.com/More_Ghost_Stories.php

31
Oct
14

Eccentric

Mary Moody Emerson was Ralph Waldo Emerson’s aunt. She spent her whole life taking care of friends and relatives, never marrying. She traveled throughout Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire helping whoever needed help. Mary was just 4 feet 2 inches tall, a frail looking woman with short blonde hair, the short bob being unusual for the times, but quite strong and determined. She didn’t care at all what people thought of her and she quickly became known as quite eccentric.

She was fascinated with death and traveled with her own shroud and coffin shaped bed! At one of her relatives homes she delighted in the coffin shaped shadow that was made by the nearby church steeple. She was so obsessed with death that her friends used a quote from Shakespeare to greet her, “I wish you the joy of the worm.”

One hot summer day she decided to put on the burial shroud she made for herself rather than the heavy skirt, corset, stockings, etc. that were the custom of the day. Mary found her shroud to be so cool and comfortable that she continued to wear it often, to the surprise and shock of many townspeople and her relatives! According to her nephew, she even wore it horseback riding and ended up making several in her later life because they would wear out.

In spite of her wish to die, she lived to be 89 and was laid to rest in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, with this quote of her nephew, “Mary’s body—her “tedious tabernacle”—was finally placed into a cool, sweet grave, freeing her soul to ascend to Heaven. Worms, those most valuable companions, finally would gnaw away the meshes that had trapped her soul on earth, a place where she felt she never truly belonged.”

One of the places where Mary spent a considerable amount of time was Wiscasset, Maine, with her sister, Hannah. Even though Mary was not there when she died, she apparently has chosen Hannah’s home as one of her favorite places in the afterlife.

We were asked by some members of the office that is now in the house to do a light investigation, as they thought there was the spirit of a man there. Also, the office dog spent a lot of time at the bottom of the stairs looking up at nothing they could see.

When we went in, we immediately had lots of EMF activity in several areas of the downstairs at once. We quickly determined that there indeed was a man there, but Mary Moody Emerson was also in the house! They both “spoke” to us by making the EMF detectors go on or off in response to questions. They did not seem to want us to leave as the detectors were still registering as we walked out and we had to remind them to stay there.

Recently, I was by the house, outside, telling Mary’s story, showing some students an EMF detector and explaining what had happened to us inside. When I started talking about Mary the EMF detector started beeping, even though it was in the same place it had been for several minutes without registering anything! We asked if it was Mary and it beeped 3 times in response. I asked if I could tell about her shroud and it again beeped as if in the affirmative. When I mentioned that Mary had been quite an eccentric character, it again beeped. Several different times, the EMF detector beeped in appropriate places or in appropriate response to questions. We had to move along, so the students thanked Mary for “talking” to us and I asked her if she was glad that we had come by, and once again, the EMF detector beeped 3 times.

28
Oct
11

Halloween – only a few days away!

Halloween already?! My, time flies here at Red Cloak Haunted History Tours! We’ve been having such fun… I mean, how can you beat the apparition of Grandpa, the ‘Spectre’, a ghost who slaps men on their backsides, the most haunted building in the state of Maine, and the spirit of a playful little boy?!?

In case you’ve been wanting to come on a lantern walk and haven’t made it yet, we do have some 5:00 and 9:00 tours in addition to the regular 7:00 ones. Our last night is October 30th. Check www.mysteriousdestinations.com for a special event on Saturday, October 29 – a Visit with Myrtle – a chance to participate in a ghost hunt of 2 buildings!

I’d really like to thank everyone who came on tours this year and gave us the opportunity to share our stories and the rich history of midcoast Maine. I’d also like to thank my associate ‘Ladies in Red Cloaks’ who worked very flexible hours these last months!

I’m looking forward to a winter full of research and maybe some new offerings next summer/fall! Don’t forget I am available off season by special request… I have some great school tours coming up in November! Check back now and then – you never know what random weird thing I’ll come up with to blog about!

Also, keep an eye on www.mysteriousdestinations.com for winter offerings as well as next summer and our November 2012 cruise!