Monthly Archives: July 2015

Seeing the Death Mask…

Can you see Death in people’s faces? Many cultures agree that you can. It is commonly referred to as the Death Mask. I personally experienced this without realizing what I had seen. It is in one of my chapters, where I go into the exact process of what had happened.

The Death Mask can be described as a morphing, of sorts, between the living, and Death. Often, it is a common phenomenon in which the living person has not died, but is alternating between the two physical realms. Naturally, it is the elderly that are most afflicted. However, others can be spotted as well.

“He looks like Death warmed over!” is a common cliche. “I don’t know what he is doing, but it looks like he is slowly killing himself with his XXXX” is another. (Substitute drinking, smoking, doing drugs, not sleeping, etc.). “They don’t look themselves today.” I had a distant relative battle cancer for quite some time. Although I did not get to see him, his last few days were spent quietly coming in and out of consciousness, and he did exclaim to his family that at last, he was ready to finally be pain free.

So what exactly is a Death Mask? I would describe it as a slight variation of the person’s regular features, but the consistency aspect is what stands out.  At a glance, it could be missed by the observer, but a more concentrated look will reveal something that is off. The person does not look like themselves. As they start getting closer to Death, the look starts to remain fixed. Glazed eyes, a crooked smile, a half smile that would not go away, an empty stare, could all be used to describe this.

In my chapter, it was a tell tale facial expression that gave it away. I won’t go into the exact details, but I was surprised to find out the subject did in fact pass away shortly after I observed the metamorphosis; it was the nature of the recollection process that literally floored me.  Another important point was that the significant other in this person’s life knew; she had to. As a matter of fact, I described it as the couple sharing a private joke that no one else knew about. Later, I realized the private joke was that Death was being cheated, or for lack of a better term, procrastinated by the living host.  When I presented this to my writing group, several authors mentioned they either had experienced this exact event, or knew someone who did.

So, the next time you spot a relative, loved one, or friend with the Death Mask, do not despair. They are preparing for a natural, peaceful end of their life, and will pass on, albeit quietly. For some, it will be an enormous relief from pain and suffering. For others, a completion of a very long journey called life.


The Unofficial Legend of the King George Inn; south whitehall/lehigh valley, pa.

There was a recent preservation movement to “Save the King George Inn”, which was successful. What most people fail to realize was the historic treasure of ghost stories associated with the Inn. While there was no specific incident, to say that the over two hundred year old building is not haunted is foolhardy.

The location of the King George inn is at a famous crossroads, which have been traveled since the Revolutionary War times. Footpaths,eventually upgraded into  stage coach routes, and then finally a major auto throughway highlight the Hamilton and Cedar Crest boulevards. The inn offered respite to the weary traveler. Unfortunately, some lodgers never left the Inn in human form!

The legend was that the attic offered several rafters; depressed people would hang themselves from these rafters. There is no body count, so to speak, nor is there specific incidents or highlighted events. It is a legend passed on by word of mouth.

I witnessed the owner, Cliff McDermott, make his usual wager. Halloween night, a patron is allowed one full bottle of their choice from the bar; the idea is to stay in the attic for the full  night, without leaving. Should they accomplish this feat, there was no charge for the liquor or the night’s stay. I imagine there was additional wagering involving cash, which i was not privy to. Needless to say, I never knew of any takers of this paranormal bet.

In the basement, there was a rather large well that was converted into a wine cellar. On a hot summer night, with the Inn being very quiet, it is rumored that one can hear a baby crying from the direction of the well. This is another legend of the late seventeen hundreds, when there were numerous Indian raids. The legend states that babies and or toddlers were the victims of these Indian raids; they were promptly thrown down the wells for instant death by drowning.

One employee stated that he constantly felt a presence on the second floor. It was not an evil or bad spirit, rather the spirit was full of mischief. More than once the employee was changing into a uniform in the linen closet, only to have the closet light turned off. Problem was, there was no off and on switch, rather a pull chain on the bottom of the light bulb. The employee mentioned that he could actually hear the chain clicking on and off!

In closing, the King George Inn may be opened again, with or without the public invited. (It may reopen as a private office space or headquarters.) There are paranormal activity groups that would love to tour and record the Inn’s current activity; it would be very interesting to see if there is an entity proven to be lodging at the King George Inn!kinggeorgeinn

Sensory inputs from ghosts, other than sight?

I’m quite sure most people have seen a ghost; whether they want to admit, believe, or confess that they did actually see one remains up to the individual. But, besides seeing a ghost, is there other sensory stimuli that convince us something is “not kosher?”

I have confirmed with more than one person an unlikely aspect of a haunting entity or spirit: of all the things, the olfactory bulb located in our nasal passage. The sense of smell! The writers of ages ago implied the spirits or entities would give us the stink of death; a musky, decaying smell of sort. However, in my, and others encounters with the hereafter nothing could be farther from the truth.

One example is from Ghost Stories of Cape May, New Jersey. I will not steal from it, but describe the fact that a certain human had a food preference at a local eatery. True to form, as in most creatures of habit, the restaurant patron was a daily visitor. One night, he did not arrive at the appointed time. The waitress was quoted as saying that she KNEW something was awry, and assumed the worse. Sure enough, a very strong smell came to her at her waitress station, and she surmised it was the missing customer’s spirit, making contact with her. She was later proven right.

Certain daily items, such as cologne, tobacco, perfume, or even foodstuffs such as coffee, tea, and so on, have a certain strong, distinct aroma. These aromas can be “reproduced” for lack of a better term, by entities trying to get your attention. Usually the smell is overpowering, and therefore not a chance wift being sidetracked by a breeze or errant wind current. It is my belief that these strong aromas are being put upon the living for a reason. In my book, there was a chapter that detailed this event very thoroughly. The only problem is that there was no suitable explanation given or formulated by myself in order to explain this supernatural occurrence!

In another chapter, soothing kitchen aromas were detected by the owners of the house, usually without the stove on! It could be stated that the spirit or ghost were amusing themselves, in a past tense activity that brought them joy and comfort. Imagine that, ghostly cooking, but without palatable food!

So, the next time you smell a strong odor of Uncle So and So’s after shave, Aunt So and So’s morning roasted Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Coffee, Grandpa’s Prince Albert pipe tobacco, or an apple pie smell coming from the oven, beware! Either one of your relatives has just passed on, or your resident entity is trying to get your attention!

Marriage, Dating, and Hooking Up with the younger generation

Tales of my wife, and second wife are barely mentioned in my book. I am a baby boomer, and the matrimonial tradition was still strong with me before most of the chapters in my book started. However, different forces, circumstances, and just plain life in general set this askew. I dated/lived with a girlfriend for over 5 years in the domicile where Dr. Schadt haunted us. Myra has several chapters devoted strictly to her, and our collective misfortune of being haunted. Myra was only twelve years my junior; the generational gap was more of an overlap than a complete paradigm shift. After our parting of way, it was pretty much hit and miss, relationship wise, until I started meeting and living with much younger females.

Interesting enough, there is some separate lingo and terminology when dealing with the younger generation. Since I am in an open relationship, my much younger friend Diane states we are not boyfriend or girlfriend. We are neither dating, or in a relationship. We are, however, hooking up.

I can’t say that I blame them, this younger generation, for their lack of focus. Ignoring politics, economics, or the speed of technology, their mindset is different. My previous contact with a like minded female who did not make it into my book (in other words, no paranormal activities that involved her) was more or less of the same attitude.

These young ladies do not mind my company (or my wallet) when going out to eat, or shopping; They do mind  being seen at  a social setting or event. I, for one, am not ashamed of any discovery of our May/December relationship. It was the direct opposite for my female friends.

My last chapter highlighted this setting, and added an ugly twist. (See my blog on a taboo subject as to the events, and how they played out.)

Many people my age cannot fathom being in an open relationship, and ask me about my sanity, and it’s status. The recent SCOTUS landmark decision of equal marriage rights, regardless of gender, highlights the changing matrimonial landscape. Transgender individuals are a big issue in these modern times. So, compared to these new developments, is a May/December status really that much out of the ordinary? By ordinary, I might mention that I have a resident entity on a regular basis? How normal is that?

Tonight, my young friend is getting settled in her new apartment, I am happy for her in her new found independence, saddened by the fact she is closer in vicinity to her other friend, and am looking forward to visiting her, when allowed. Luckily, tomorrow she stays with me for the day. Hooking up with the younger generation is no easy task.

Tracing your “brawling” heritage….good idea, or not?

John_L_SullivanI often make reference to my heritage in my non fiction book. I focus on my infrequent receptiveness to entities, spirits, and so on. I readily attribute this to my mother’s side, specifically, her Native American roots. I also do mention that a very distant relative of hers was from Scotland, a paid mercenary to come over and fight Indians. (The aforementioned individual actually sires a Native American/Scottish son.)

However, while researching my father’s lineage in describing my paternal grandfather, i stumbled upon a startling fact. Through out all my years, I never went into depth on my paternal grandmother’s side. I did know that my Nana was the first born of 19 children, although 6 of them had died in childbirth. Beyond that was blank to me.

Imagine my surprise when my cousin Bud, who was called upon to verify a story time line about my grandfather, mentioned some stories about my Nana’s father. The setting was in a rural Pennsylvania region, where my Pop pop actually built his home from a Sears and Roebuck catalog. It seems that Nana’s father was not only a brawler, but a leader of a local gang.

Due to the Hollywood glamorization of street gangs, this term was almost comical to me. Drug dealers, Crips, Bloods, Shootouts, all these images came to me during this announcement by Bud. However, this was not the case in “Pappy” Neuwieler. Pappy was a fighter, and would travel from his rural town of Limeport, to fight with other gangs of towns like Lanark, or Coopersburg. Bud went on to describe the mindset of the early 20th century male; my grandmother was convinced to quit school in 8th grade in order to assist in housekeeping chores.

My brother, Darin, was a fighter from an early onset. Being more athletic, he would do more than his share in fighting our local inner city kids, specifically to keep them off me, and our youngest brother Dalton. I was way laid by a severe bout of asthma as a child, and could not participate in sports, let alone fight for myself. Eventually, I overcame my disease and trained in martial arts, making up for lost time some 30 years later.

So, I have a strong willed paternal grandfather, whose spirit, i sincerely believe, came back to my family during a billiards outing. (My chapter is titled, Pop Pop and his magical pool cue.) I have some tenacious blood running from my Nana’s father, and on my mother’s side, a Scottish man of war. I can clearly see this in my brother Darin’s composition.

So, do we inherit these traits from our distant relatives, or is this a learned behavior? What does have to do with a ghost story book? Well, for one, I believe in the imprinting concept. We, the living, give off a certain energy; some objects, if kept long enough, absorb this energy. To the right receptive person, or some major event, the energy is released or displayed. This paradigm is exemplified several times in my non fiction book.

Even though my sword class is based on 500 year old Japanese scrolls, I cannot help but think of my Scottish relative every time I pick up a sword. The movie Braveheart has me running around my viewing area, hyped up on adrenaline during the battle scenes. It’s not so much the intensity portrayed, (the movie does do an awesome cinematic war), but rather it is a vehicle in which I can imagine, or envision, being there. I feel that the thin veil between the living world, and the energies emitting from the spirit world, are sometimes lifted, or overlapping. Skeptics may say I have an overactive imagination. I strongly feel that it more like the fact that I can “see” the battle, and feel it’s effects on my persona .

I feel most people are more receptive than they realize. Some may not even know what they are experiencing. Oscar winning movies dwell on our basic emotions, the idea is to “feel” the character or storyline.  Tracing one’s roots is novelty for some people; for others it is either a reinforcement of our dominant (both positive and negative) traits, or possibly, a search for answers concerning our genetic make up.

In closing, most of my stories concerning ghosts are based on the premise that there was “history” affiliated of where the ghostly events took place. I am now realizing that this could be applied to our own ancestral genetic make up as well. So the next time you feel adrenaline when examining historical weaponry, get excited watching a boxing match, or enjoy particapating in full contact sports, do a little research into your own family’s history. While your immediate relatives may lead you down a certain path of unspoken possibilities; check your immediate surroundings as well. It might not be your relative, but I am sure an entity, ghost, or spirit may be emitting energy to you. It could be a ghost affiliated with the place that you are in, and maybe not a distant relative. I am sure your research will answer your supernatural questions for you. Good luck!