Posts Tagged ‘storytelling

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

20190624_092344

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!

28
Aug
18

Helping & Sharing & History (and a ghost story)

I’m writing this at the end of August – cannot believe summer is over already! I have spent some great moments these last few months discovering all kinds of new tidbits, meeting fantastic new people, investigating new places and helping with some fundraisers.

One of the best parts of this business is helping others, often by the usual monetary or time donation, but also in many other ways. We did a really great fundraiser earlier in the season that raised a good amount of funds for a children’s project – they assist with meals, back to school supplies, Christmas, etc.
We help by reassuring folks who might have some unnerving experiences with the paranormal. Sometimes they are so relieved just to learn that other people might have had a similar experience and that they are not alone. Just being able to tell your experience in a “safe” environment is often enough.
We also help to encourage people’s interest in history. Many people think that history is boring and we open their eyes to a whole new world of fun, exciting, history – kind of like thinking out side the box and looking at it in a different way. I saw an exhibit at a new found museum that used art sketches and stereotypes from the 1800’s to tell a portion of the area’s fishing industry. It was certainly more interesting than reading a book about it!
That museum was one of my newfound treasures! Maine has surprises at every turn if we just keep our eyes open – a historical marker hidden by a tree branch can be just the thing to open your eyes to a piece of that area’s history. A local corner store might have some old photos on the back walls that showcase something you’ve never seen. Even a lecture at a small historical society can really spark a new interest in something you didn’t even think about.
Our new Maritime History Tours have opened my eyes to a lot of things that I’d seen over the years, but didn’t really realize the meanings behind them. I am having such a great time sharing on these new tours in Bar Harbor and Boothbay Harbor. I hope to finalize one for Rockland over the winter. All of the early history of Maine was associated with the water – rivers or sea, as it was the main mode of transportation as well as the livelihood of most, one way or another. Farmers, brickmakers, coopers and more all sent their goods off on boats for trade, unless of course they were small operations and dealt locally.
One of the reasons I like offering custom or specialty tours and speaking engagements is that it does give me the chance to look into different pieces of history. A tour on a singular topic or a particular person offers all kinds of challenges, but what fun when you find the hidden tidbits that make it come alive! Better yet, you get to share it!
I have 3 places on my fall bucket list of travel. We don’t have that much time to travel between May and November, but these are right here in Maine and should be easy. One is to Greenville and the Lumberman’s Museum in Patten – these are really 2 places, but they both relate to the lumber industry in Maine, of which my ancestors were a part of.
The next is to Castine – just a place I’ve always wanted to go. A huge maritime history as well as Revolutionary War ties are there and I hear it’s beautiful! Maybe there’s a ghost or 2 as well…
Lastly, an inn in Bethel that I just heard a haunted story about. Now, I hear ghost stories all the time, but this one was intriguing and offers an opportunity to go somewhere new and different to see what we can find! I’ll share it with you –
A couple was staying at this inn and both commented in the morning how they had heard noises in the night and both had heard similar things. It sounded as if someone was scratching inside a bureau drawer, opening it and rattling the handles. The handles were the hinged pull handles which do make a pretty distinctive noise when jiggled. Neither one of them got up to investigate, but did comment to each other in the morning. When they returned to their room after breakfast, they could not get in. No matter what they did to jiggle the key in the lock and turn it every which way, it would not open! In frustration, they went to get the innkeeper who opened the door with ease. They couldn’t help but think they were being kept out of the room just at that moment for some reason, though nothing seemed amiss!
Thanks for reading – share some history today!
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!

20
Nov
17

A Time for Thankfulness

We are all thinking along these lines this week. Here at Red Cloak Tours we are most thankful for each other, our outstanding team that makes the Haunted History Tours happen!

Next, we are thankful for the wonderful guests who come on our tours and share in our love of the lore and legends!

We are also thankful for you readers – you may not have ever been on a tour or to a speaking engagement, but we are grateful for your support!

Our thankfulness extends to our communities – the property owners and neighbors, chambers and businesses that support us and help in every way they can!

Of course, we must be thankful for the beautiful state of Maine – its rich history, huge amounts of folklore, both oral and written, and amazing people!

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

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

22
Dec
13

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago…

We’ve all hummed along or sung along with this classic Christmas Carol, dating to 1963, but most of us never really think about what ghost stories are doing in a Christmas Carol!

In reality, during Victorian times, telling ghost stories around the fire after Christmas Eve dinner was quite the norm. Just as normal as us nowadays hanging our stockings and putting out milk and cookies for Santa.

There are a lot of interesting evolutions of Christmas traditions, but this one certainly seems out of place. Apparantly, there is a connection to the Winter Solstice, as there is with many of our traditions; Yule Log, evergreens and gift giving to name a few.

Of course, “A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens, involves the visitations of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, on Christmas Eve. A great story for re-telling!

I, for one, think this is a tradition that should be brought back to the forefront! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A great blog with lots of information on this topic can be found here http://www.hypnogoria.com/html/ghoststoriesforchristmas.html

17
Jul
11

Tour Options Available

I’ve had a couple of requests lately for daytime walks – yes, we are certainly available for daytime tours if that is what works better for you and your group! Mysteries and ghosts are not around only in the evenings…

 Other options that we have for tours include (but are not limited to) fireside tales at your home or cottage (or maybe even inn), driving tours of midcoast haunts, historical tours only, camp or school groups, seafaring tales, private tours, cemetery tours, family reunions, birthday parties, themed tours, etc.

Of course some of the above would need advance notice, some would have a different price structure, and all would be based on availablity.

16
Mar
11

Leprechauns, Fairies and Wee Folk

Here’s a fun, timely blog I ran across – thought you might all enjoy a wee bit o’ Irish storytellin’ this week. It appears that the Wee Folk are in places other than Ireland (but of course, we all knew that!). There’s tales of a wee man, very hairy, caught in my hometown here in Maine, way back in the late 1800’s – too bad they didn’t take a picture!

Enjoy the wearin’ o’ the green tomorrow!

http://www.ghosttheory.com/2011/03/14/legend-of-the-isles-fairies-and-leprechauns

11
Nov
10

Thank you all for your support this year – we had such fun! We hope all the ghosts had fun, too! The ones that some “interacted” with, seemed to, in most cases! Of course, we hope that your tours were enjoyable, as well! Folks always comment on the history that they learn on our tours, we try to have fun, unique facts for everyone involved; there is so much history here in mid-coast Maine! Winter is a time for further research – more in depth on some tales that we already tell, as well as new ones! We’ll also be evaluating CD’s and photos that have been sent in – letting people know the results and posting some in our gallery. Will we expand again? Who knows…. we’ll keep a little mystery going! We hope you all enjoy your late fall and winter, check back with us now and then. Even though we’re “closed for the season”, The Lady in the Red Cloak will post occasionally. Feel free to ask questions, share stories, and think about special events where you’d like some storytelling done! Even in the middle of winter we’ll come out of hibernation to tell tales!




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Also receive our Haunted Lighthouses of Maine booklet, free!

Join 83 other followers