Face to face with your “favorite”, natural horror?

Judging from the crowd’s reaction last night, I hit yet another nerve in reading one of my chapters….”The Unwanted Visitor”. My brother barges in to his kitchen for a third time, trying to find out what was causing an unusual disturbance. As I narrated, he came face to face with a pair of red eyes.

So, what is it that makes us scream and yell in disgust? Our fears? After all, it is only nature. I am reminded of the Indiana Jones movies, where the main characters most feared animal is snakes. He usually mutters, “why did it have to be snakes?”  His look of total horror is almost comical.

Is there a favorite animal that one fears the most? What is your favorite horror in the animal kingdom? Could there be more than one?

My book dwells on the topics of rats, bats, and ghosts….all written in a non fiction, “this is what happened to me style.” I imagine the reader has an interest in exploring different scenarios, in which all these unpleasant subjects are presented.

By the way, I was an avid hunter for many years, carrying on a tradition set by my father, uncles, and grandfather.  It was only an occasional visit in the woods that would leave me with an uneasy feeling; several times in archery season I would have to traverse through the woods in the darkness. To my knowledge, I had a rather confident and mellow “feel” to the woods that I was in. Some of my chapters, however, deal with walking at night in unknown regions; that would give to anyone’s imagination that would slowly graduate into horror.

So, what’s your favorite natural horror? Maybe I can help you explore it a little more thoroughly!

Being stalked in the middle of a winter’s night, by….

How many people have experienced the solitude of a mid winter’s walk? I should say, journey? travel? Now add in a landscape that is not humanly compatible, and a sense of urgency, and voila! this is the setting for one of my latest chapters in my book.

I am not going to get into the exact details of the chapter…that is for the reader for explore in their own, once my book is available for publication. I would like to share, however, the circumstance that creates an ill at ease feeling, which, gradually, grows into a full blown terror.

Walking over a mile, at night, on a deserted path is not an ordinary event. Therefore, the ill at ease starts immediately. It is not the same as, say, walking a mile down your street, through your neighborhood. Some people desire this leisurely stroll, as a routine. Let me just say, there was nothing routine or pleasant to start my journey.

One’s senses are heightened, as they have to be. I do mention that my hunter’s reflex does kick in at one point, but more as a self preservation than a way to hunt, seek, or track a prey. My senses were aroused at one point in order to find out if i was being hunted, not the other way around.

To my urban friends, who have never experienced the great outdoors, I am sure their reaction would have been more extreme, and perhaps, more earlier that the chain of events that unfolded that dark, dreary night. To say that I escaped death may seem embellished, or emboldened at some point, but i disagree. Sub freezing temperatures are not to be brushed off lightly.

In conclusion, when one is exposed to nature, and sometimes, to nature’s harsher side, fear and fright come naturally. Hopefully, the reader can relive my perils in my book.

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!