Posts Tagged ‘spooky

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!

15
Apr
20

Coach Stop Inn

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COACH STOP INN

This post is about one of the oldest inns on Mt. Desert Island,Maine, and one of the most haunted!

The Coach Stop Inn on the road to Bar Harbor, Maine was built in 1804 and was known as the Halfway Tavern in those early days. It was used to host early newcomers to the island – newcomers who came to build homes, establish farms and build fishing schooners.

Travelers arriving by boat and wanting to go inland to visit or look for a place to settle would also take advantage of all that such a tavern had to offer – rooms, drink and companionship.

The current Bed & Breakfast is known as the oldest establishment in the area, and possibly the oldest house still standing, being the only lodging establishment to survive the Fire of 1947. It is an example of a type of architecture known as Federal style, which blossomed in the newly founded United States of America between 1780 and 1830.

I’m not sure when the Halfway Tavern became a stagecoach stop, but as early as the mid 1600’s the General Court made towns liable to maintain an ordinary – or tavern – though these were usually at harbors due to the fact that most travel in those days was by water. The government felt that it was important to have provisions for travelers. Taverns were set up along the post roads, usually about every 3 miles or so, and usually had accommodations for watering horses as well.

Regular stagecoach service began in Maine after the Revolutionary War. The stagecoach routes followed the old post roads and so it was natural to have the taverns used as stage stops and they were often the first “post offices” in the area. This made them popular gathering places for local people to come and get the news and visit with their neighbors. Folks would know when the stage had come because drivers announced their arrival by blowing on a horn.

There is a cemetery very near the Coach Stop Inn, Leland Cemetery, that holds graves dating to the 1830’s. These older burials are all for the children of Ebenezer and Thankful Leland – Ira and Eben, both in their 20’s. Two other children also died in their prime.

This does not explain the amount of childlike hauntings and strange occurrences that happen in the Inn! One of the child spirits is nicknamed “Abbe” because she often is heard or seen in the room of the Inn that is called Abbe after the founder of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. Some of “Abbe’s” antics, described by guests and owners, are fleeting reflections, a child’s voice and flickering lights. If you happen to be staying in the Abbe room, beware – she might lock you out, or in!

“Abbe” seems to like music, as she’s more active when it’s on, but “Abbe” is not the only spirit at play here. Voices of several children might be heard echoing throughout the rooms, as well as strange sounds and manifestations in mirrors at the Inn.

Furniture and other objects are often discovered to have been rearranged and guest’s belongings are sometimes moved or found in disarray. One guest took his clothing into the bathroom while showering and found them neatly laid out on the bed, while another had laid his on the bed to put on after his shower, but found them strewn about the room when he came out!

This is a working inn, so whether you want a spooky stay or just a great Bed & Breakfast – make a reservation!

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!

17
Sep
11

Maine Open Lighthouse Day

What a beautiful day for Maine Open Lighthouse Day! I hope many of you are out and enjoying! Did you know that several of Maine’s lighthouses are reported to be haunted?! Oh yes! One of them, Seguin Island Light, we tell about on our Bath Red Cloak Haunted History Tour – by the way, there’s a Bath tour tonight – you can join us and hear the story!

Some of the other lighthouses reported to be haunted are Owl’s Head Light, Burnt Island Light, Hendrick’s Head Light, Wood Island Lighthouse, Pemaquid Lighthouse, Ram Island Light and Boone Island Light! Quite a few isn’t it?!

Another way to hear some of the haunted lighthouse stories would be to join me for a night of spooky tales on October 3 at Medomak Valley High School adult ed class. You can sign up on line at http://msad40.maineadulted.org/courses/searchResults?search=red+cloak&area=04572&radius=50&x=0&y=0.

Have a great weekend everyone!




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