Friday, August 22, 2014

An Evil Visitor

This story was told to a priest by one of his older female parishioners in the early 20th century.

It was the late 1800s and Edith was a newlywed. She had been born and raised in a city in Upper Michigan so it was a shock to move to her husband’s rural farm.

This farm was isolated being the last mailbox on the lane. It was a lonely tough life but Edith was happy in her marriage and she and Lou her husband where lucky for they didn’t want for life’s necessities.

One early summer morning Lou had gone out to a field to mow hay. As Edith stood at the kitchen window she saw a stranger ride into the farmyard.

He hitched his horse to the post but Edith was surprised to see him head toward the barn instead of approaching the house.

She watched with concern as he entered the barn and then come out and inspected their shed. As she watched him wander around the yard seeming to look for something she became anxious.

He finally headed for the house. By the time his knock sounded on the door Edith was frightened.

She hesitated not wanting to answer but she became afraid the stranger would break down the door. She opened it just a crack.

The words caught in her throat as she said, “Yes, what do you want?”

The stranger peered at her and said in a toneless voice, “Are you alone?”

Edith terrified now and not wanting to be alone with the stranger blurted out, “No!” “My husband is in the attic.” To convince him she then turned and called out, “Hey Lou.”

A voice, that of her husband, responded immediately, “Yea, what is it? I’ll be right down.”

Edith turned back to the stranger to see him transformed. His face became animated with anger as he backed down the porch steps. He then jumped on his horse and quickly rode away.

Edith’s shut the door and sought a chair before her knees gave out. She wondered why Lou was in the attic she had not heard him return from the field.

She went upstairs to see what he was doing but no one was in the attic.

A half hour later he returned from mowing hay for lunch. He had not seen the strange man.

The priest mentioned above, after retelling this story asked his parishioners, “Whose Guardian Angel do you think that was, Edith’s or Lou’s?”

A young woman gave a surprising but thoughtful reply. “I’d like to think it was the rider’s Guardian Angel keeping him out of trouble.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The “Are You Psychic?” Test

Dr. Dorothy McCoy who has a degree in Counseling Psychology published a wonderful book in 2005--The Ultimate Book of Personality Tests.

There are over 50 tests in this book. Some ponder the questions: Are you a Witch? Can you put a love spell on your boyfriend? What type of car would you be? Are you an experience seeker?

From the titles above it is obvious McCoy’s book is entertaining but it also has more in-depth tests that reflect a person’s: people skills, sensuality, emotional state, fears, and personality type just to name a few.

I bought this book for McCoy’s Chapter 6. In this chapter she provides tests that determine if one is open to spiritual possibilities etc.

I love her test in this section that asks, “Do You See Things That Go Bump in the Night?”

Here it is--It is for entertainment so take it with a grain of salt...

Are You Psychic?

Answer Yes or No

1Have you ever known the phone was going to ring before it rang?
2.    Have you ever felt a sudden chill in the room, when there was no apparent reason?
3.    Have you ever seen anything that could not be explained by science or logic?
4.    Have you ever felt you were being watched when you were alone?
5.    Have you ever had a vision or dream that came true?
6.    Have you ever had a successful session with a Ouija board?
7.    Do you have an open mind about the supernatural?
8.    Would you refuse to spend the night in a “haunted” house?
9.    Do you meditate?
10.                  Have you retained the childlike ability simply to “accept” new experiences, free of distorting preconceptions?
11.                  Are you more likely to make decisions using your “gut feeling” than your “thinking logic?”
12.                  Have you ever been told that psychic ability runs in your family?
13.                  Do you wear black 90% (or more) of the time?


Give yourself 1 point for each Yes answer. Leave question 13 out McCoy was just kidding.

0--4 Yes answers:

Your psychic ability is not fully developed. Your personality leans toward the more rational and pragmatic and you prefer to see “phenomena” that can be explained by logic.

5--8 Yes answers:

You are coming along nicely. Your score indicates you are open to unique experiences and you esteem an open, inquisitive mind. You may have experienced the supernatural.

9--12 Yes answers:

It is certainly possible that you have psychic ability. Your score is encouraging. You, as well as the last group, may have experienced the supernatural.

McCoy uses one of my favorite quotes before and after this test.

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

                                             --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hindenburg Ghosts

“As the airship came in for a landing it suddenly exploded into flames. The rear was completely engulfed in a bright orange fireball. An eyewitness standing a half-mile away on the ground said an intense blast of heat blew over. Then, a blow torch-flame shot out of the airship’s nose.”


In 1936 the future looked bright for rigid airships. These zeppelin ships were lighter than air and huge. They could travel at a speed of 84 miles an hour--which was the fastest travel mode at that time. Passengers traveled in luxury in the zeppelin's bellies.

Hindenburg flying over
Manhattan in April of 1936.
The Hindenburg was Nazi Germany’s pride and joy. It could carry up to 75 passengers. Hitler had wanted it named after him--but the German builders had "Hindenburg" put on its side quickly to prevent this.

In 1936 it was used for one glorious season ferrying over 1000 wealthy passengers back and forth across the Atlantic from Frankfurt, Germany to America. This trip took about 2 and a half days which was much faster than boat travel.

During its first trans-Atlantic crossing in May of 1937 it burst into flames over Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The ship was destroyed in less than 1 minute.

Thirty-five people of the 97 onboard were killed, including 13 passengers, 22 crewmen. One ground crew member died of burns he suffered when the hull of the ship fell on him--which took the tally to 36.

This disaster became the main focus of the international media and marked the end of the use of rigid airships in commercial transportation.

The Hindenburg at the time of the disaster was was using hydrogen gas to lift it which is highly flammable. 

The fire was officially attributed to a hydrogen leak that was set off by an atmospheric discharge. Despite this at the time it was speculated that the disaster was actually an act of sabotage that resulted from anti-Nazi sentiment--this theory was ruled out.

Today a new theory has been put forth as to the real cause of the accident. Here is a link to the video shown on PBS that discusses it. 

Haunted Naval Station

Hindenburg Memorial
At Lakehurst Naval Air Station a chain and a bronze plaque were placed in 1987 in the area where the Hindenburg came down to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this disaster.

In 1937, many of the 61 passengers and crew that survived were injured and burned so they were transported to the base hospital.

The 36 deceased where placed in a nearby hanger that would have housed the Hindenburg if it had successfully landed.

It was in this hanger--a makeshift temporary morgue--where survivors had the gruesome task of identifying the charred remains of the dead. It was said that the smell of burned flesh hung in the air for days.

Over 75 years later Lakehurst is still an active base and workers still report smelling burnt flesh in this hanger.

Over the years many who have worked at Lakehurst feel those who were killed when the Hindenburg burst into flames still roam the base.

The old hospital were the wounded were taken is a clinic today. Workers in this area have seen and heard things they cannot explain.

Witnesses have reported seeing lights flashing on and off with no logical reason.

They mention hearing strange footsteps; doors rattling and loud unexplained crashes.

One staff member who was working alone in the building that houses the clinic heard one of these loud crashes.

When he went to check out the area in the clinic where the sound came from he found a large pamphlet rack had fallen over and the pamphlets were scattered across the floor.

Irritated, he announced out loud that he didn’t make the mess so he wasn’t going to clean it up. He told the ghost that he should “do it” instead. Then he went home.

The next morning, the rack and pamphlets were back where they belonged.

This staff member and others that work in the clinic still do not know how this rack got back in its proper place.

The Hindenburg disaster was made more compelling because a radio reporter for WLS by the name of Herb Morrison was describing the arrival of the zeppelin when it caught on fire. His live on-air vivid description of this disaster is heart-rending.

Here is video of the disaster with the audio of his description.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Miraculous Shove

While in High School during my senior year I tried out for one of the lead roles in a play. It was a comedy written by Neil Simon entitled Fools. *

I was given the part of Sophia, which was the character I wanted. I was exited to perform in this play about a curse that is placed on a small village in the Ukraine in the 1890s.

As my fellow actors and I rehearsed we realized just how funny this story truly was. The curse on the village made everyone stupid especially my character Sophia.

A new teacher, Leon comes to the village and falls in love with Sophia--he finds he must teach her something within 24 hours or he as well will fall under the curse.

In one scene Sophia is standing on a balcony and asks Leon to climb up a trellis to reach her. But as his character does this Sophia really dense runs down to meet him. He then tells her to wait for him but she races back up.

The play was a great success in the community and many returned to watch it several times.

The balcony scene elicited the most laughter but for me it was a challenge to maneuver physically. After saying my lines I had to rush backstage to enter the balcony and then I had to rush back onstage meeting cues both ways.

During this sprint I had to jump over a small gap between the balcony set and the stage. I had not told anyone I was afraid of heights and I was terrified that I would trip.

For the first few performances everything went fine but one night a high heel on one boot I wore as part of my costume caught the narrow edge on the platform were the gap was located.

I lost my balance and started to fall backward. I realized that my head was going to hit the metal supports below. I was terrified I was going to be badly injured or even killed.

I tried to catch myself by waving my arms but I continued to fall.

Suddenly, an unseen force shoved against the center of my back. It propelled me forward 3 to 4 feet. I landed right in front of the curtain that led to my balcony cue.

I turned to see who had helped me but no one was there. My adrenaline pumping I managed to finish the balcony scene.

Afterwards I checked with the cast and crew but no one had come to my rescue. My teachers and fellow students were amazed at my story--several were skeptical it had actually happened.

For the rest of the performances a teacher was placed at the gap to assist me across.

My only explanation for that shove was that an angel was sent to save me. Today--years later--I still feel humbled.

* The original play of Fools lasted on Broadway only 40 performances. The story goes Neil Simon who was divorcing his wife had promised her the profits from his next play.

Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters, compiled by James Stuart Bell