Category Archives: death

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!

Do you see Death and not realize it?

It happened again, yesterday. I was at a stoplight, in an unfamiliar route to the dojo; I got sidetracked and had to take an alternate way. I was not used to the stoplight’s changing patterns, and thought I was ready to go. (It did not change to green yet.) I slowly let off the brake, and realized my light was still red.

Correcting my mistake, I stopped. Then the stoplight turned green. I was slow to react, and did not go. Just then, I saw the car coming opposite me, making a broad turn in front of me. The look of terror on the older driver’s face reinforced what I just knew: He could not stop, and was running a red light. It was so obvious, I imagined, for a split second, that he had both hands in front of his face, bracing for the impending crash. He narrowly “threaded the needle”, driving past all stopped cars. He barely missed all stopped cars that had the right of way, on both sides of the divided street.

Had I accelerated at the correct interval, I would have had a head on collision. Would it have been a fatal crash? Thankfully, I did not have to find out.

Being receptive to ghosts…a learned skill or an inherited trait?

The beginning of my book focuses on the my mother’s side of the family. Being Native American Indian, part German, (and of course the Scottish mercenary who started all this in the 19th century), her stories recount a certain receptiveness to ghosts, spirits, and nature. My story unfolds as i witness, as a young child, an interaction between a natural messenger of death, and my mother. It was a lasting impression upon me that I still carry and believe in today.

My receptiveness came about a bit later, as a young adult. It was only during certain, marked periods of time. I do not, and did not, see ghosts and spirits flying around all the time. It was more of an occasional visit, which I detail chronologically throughout my writings.

What is unique in my non fiction work is that I detail how certain places invite receptiveness, for lack of a better work, to other people. One character actually invites the entities into her home, and then, well, all hell breaks loose, both figuratively, and literally!

It is my experience that certain people give off a certain type of energy. I am not the only one who observes or remarks on it. However, others who are not familiar with this realm of ghosts and spirits do not know what they are seeing. I detail this in one or two of my chapters; the most common remark is, “She gives off a certain type of energy that’s hard to explain.” Little do they know what exactly they are seeing!

I have read several books by an author who claims she has had the gift since she can remember; I believe her, and am amused and sometimes stunned that she cannot turn it off at any time; it is a constant phenomenon with her. I would not like to be in her shoes!

In conclusion, i believe that most people have some sort of receptive level in them. Most are probably a low level, and therefore discounted as circumstance or the mind playing tricks on them. Doubters will of course not process what they have just heard, seen or felt. But, belieivers will research the history of where the occurrence happened, and draw their own conclusions.

Recreating Death

My writer’s group had a biweekly meeting date/time, and usually a prompt. This was before most of us started writing our book, memoir, or other literary piece. So over a year ago I presented a piece that was mostly dialogue from someone who was in a car accident. The chapter showed how the narrator had to draw out the mechanism of injury for the patient. Unfortunately, it was not the traditional fender bender. I found this short story today, hidden in a file on my personal computer. A small amount of rewrites, and Poof! There was another chapter for me!

I had gotten most of the details when I realized this history didn’t fit. I kept running into roadblocks, as it were, as to what really happened. I soon realized the person was going to tell me, but it was hard. Imagine my surprise/horror, when he took a deep breath, and stated,

“I killed her”, he sobbed.

To add to the paranormal aspect of my book, can you imagine what I felt when I visited the wreckage? I actually envisioned “the mechanism of death”. It was not hard to do, given the mangled windshield. Horrific, as i realized due to the imprint of the hood, the driver was literally face to face with victim, briefly. I tried to capture this emotion in my chapter.

My visualization was short, but powerful. Afterwards, my legs were weak and i felt nauseous. My short description was what I saw in the victim’s eyes, pressing against the glass directly in front of me. Horrific!

My book is about non fiction ghost stories and related dealings with rats, bats, and in this case,
“the mechanism of death!”