Monthly Archives: October 2016

Stingy Jack and the Jack O’Lantern 

cindie harper halloween jack o'lantern pumpkin carving tradition historyPeople have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him but didn’t want to pay for his drink so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Jack decided to keep the money instead of paying for the drinks so he put it into his pocket next to a silver cross to keep the Devil from changing back. Jack eventually freed the Devil if he agreed not bother Jack for one year. The next year, Jack tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack he would leave him alone for ten more years. Jack died shortly after this. God would not allow Jack into heaven. The Devil wouldn’t allow Jack into hell because of the tricks he played so he sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth. He has been called “Jack of the Lantern,” and “Jack O’Lantern” ever since.

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Facts:
The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets. People began making their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips, beets or potatoes and placing them in windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits.

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The jack o’lantern tradition was brought to America by immigrants from Scotland, Ireland and England. This is where they discovered that pumpkins made excellent jack-o-lanterns.

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Written by:

Cindie Harper

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Black Cats & Halloween- Safety Watch

It seems as though Western culture has always had a love-hate relationship with cats, especially black ones. Ancient Egyptians revered cats but western culture seems to perpetuate negative superstitions about them. In the Middle Ages, it was a common belief that cats were associated with witchcraft and evil. Many believed that witches could turn themselves into cats. During the witch trials and hunts in the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of cats were torturously killed along with the humans who cared for them.

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Even though cats are the most popular pet in the United States and other Western countries, they are still at high risk for maltreatment.  As a result of misinformation and inaccurate age old beliefs, some people still use Halloween as an excuse to capture and viciously harm cats, especially black cats. This past weekend, during a trip to Petco, I spoke with a local cat rescue agency representative who informed me that they do not allow the adoption of black cats during the month of October. She explained that the Halloween season seems to trigger violence against cats in general and black cats in particular, so the shelter and pet foster families take extra precautions to decrease the chances of cats being adopted for the purpose of being tortured and abused. Unfortunately, this does not protect cats who are not in their care.

During Halloween season, especially on Halloween night, there are more people outside, increased traffic, and noise which could make the world a very scary and unsafe place for a cat. Please keep this is mind. Our feline friends are counting on their humans to protect them.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit (EE-hyeh HOW-nuh HUN-uh ditch)! (Happy Halloween!)

Written by: Cindie Harper

 

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SUNDS: Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome

There were a disproportionate number of Hmong in America who reported night visitations by the dab tsog demon and over half of the Hmong immigrants also reported having episodes of sleep paralysis.

I have suffered from sleep paralysis several times in my life but my episodes increased after spending four days and three nights in the infamous Sallie House in Atchison Kansas. It is one of the most disturbing and terrifying feelings in the world. These experiences peaked my curiosity to find out more about the similarities between sleep paralysis and sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome.

During my research on this subject, I found that most Anthropologists identified the Hmong immigrant deaths attributed to the tsog tsuam demon, as sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome.

So where does sleep paralysis come into play in regards to SUNDS? According to some medical experts, one probably triggered the other and it is believed that the Hmong immigrants were scaring themselves to death in their sleep. They also believe that sleep paralysis reinforced the Hmong immigrants’ belief that they deserved to die. So in other words,  the negative thinking in relation to the mind-body connection creates a phenomena in which your health gets worse by focusing and thinking negatively. A self-fulfilling prophecy if you will.

We also know that beliefs are powerful. Believing in evil spirits makes them real to the believer. Those who died of SUNDS were immigrants with religious backgrounds. Interestingly enough, studies show that it did not afflict those who did not believe in spirits. Medical experts also believe that severe and ongoing stress, along with intense feelings of powerlessness could have contributed to the phenomena. Especially among people whose culture and belief system reinforces the notion that evil spirits have the power to kill men who do not fulfill their religious obligations.

I will be researching more on this subject in the near future.

By:

Cindie Harper

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Dab Tsog Demon and Tsog Tsuam Spell

Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) was identified as an epidemic in the early 1980’s after many healthy male Hmong immigrants fled Communist Laos and began mysteriously dying in their sleep. These odd nocturnal deaths became that leading cause of death among healthy male Hmong immigrants who fled to the United States.

The Hmong people believed that the deaths were being caused by an ancient demon named dab tsog. The dab tsog was known to dwell in caves but would leave the caves at night to steal people’s souls by sitting on their chests and suffocating them while they sleep. This frightening experience is known as the tsog tsuam. The Hmong community believed that the only way to stop this horrible experience was through a ritual conducted by a shaman.

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There is a similar experience known to Southeast Asia. In the Phillipines, this evil demon experience is known as Bangungut. While I was living in Hawaii, I learned of this epidemic from a Fillipino family whom reportedly lost a male relative to the experience. They believed that SUNDS was responsible for killing thousands of lives since it was identified in the Phillipines in 1917. I am told that the term Bangungut means “nightmare” or “rise up loudly”. The Hawaiians refer to this phenomenon as a “Dream Disease” and it is believed to attack those of Fillipino ancestry. I found several common themes among the different cultures. Each person I spoke with reported that the experience involved sleep paralysis, a heavy weight sensation on the chest from an evil presence. It is believed that if the person is not woken during the experience, then they would die.

These occurrences seem to have many similar characteristics to the phenomena known as sleep paralysis. Unfortunately, I have experienced sleep paralysis on several occasions. It is not a pleasant experience.

Written by:

Cindie Harper

 

Hilltop House Hotel in Harper’s Ferry

The century old stone inn overlooks the village of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.

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Since 1888, Historic Hilltop House has received some notable guests like Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, Pearl S. Buck, President Woodrow Wilson, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

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Historic Hilltop House is an establishment that can be directly connected to African American history of Harper’s Ferry.  Its first proprietor and manager was Mr. Thomas S. Lovett, an African American native of Harper’s Ferry.

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Mr. Lovett managed several hotels in Harper’s Ferry including the Lockwood House. Mr. Lovett fulfilled his dream by building the first Hilltop House in 1888.  His first building burned in 1912 and his second in 1917 or 1918. Mr. Lovett and his wife Lavonia, were determined to rebuild each time.  Mr. Lovett maintained his proprietorship of the Hilltop House Hotel for 38 years.

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In Harper’s Ferry, Storer College was created primarily to educate former slaves, and the first public meeting of the Niagara Movement was held to combat the injustices of the Jim Crow laws and legal segregation. Today, the Hilltop House stands as a testimony to the dedication and determination of the Lovett’s.

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In 2008, SWaN & Legend Venture Partners of Leesburg, Virginia bought, opened, then closed the historic 74-room Hilltop Hotel. Since then the Harper’s Ferry hotel has been left to deteriorate and crumble, inside and out. SWaN also purchased between 28 and 30 residences near the hotel, but once the residents were evicted from their houses, those structures were left to decay.

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If you’d like to support Saving this historic location, please LIKE the following Facebook page:

I’d love to see this place be preserved! I have visited this location numerous times and would love to help save it. Please share this post! Let’s save this awesome location!!

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Cindie Harperhilltop-hotel-harpers-ferry-wv-abandoned-historic-paranormal

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ZoZo Phenomena: Hoax or Hysteria

The first reported appearance of this entity occurred in 1816, when a young girl in Picardy, France fell victim to a severe demonic possession. She became the vessel for a number of demons, one of which was reportedly the mysterious Zozo (de Plancy, 1863).

Later, when Ouija boards entered popular culture in the 20th Century, stories of Zozo began to rise. There were numerous tales told of the Ouija spirit, the one who devours souls and changes lives. It’s difficult to tell which stories about Zozo are authentic and which are urban legends. Some tell of murders and suicides, while others involve possession, physical ailments, abuse, curses, and other phenomena commonly associated with demonic forces.

What is the Zozo Demon?

The Zozo demon is a demon that has been documented since the 1800s. The Zozo demon is the demon specifically associated with the Ouija Board, now referred to as the Ouija Board demon to most. This demon is said to be a “Demon of Destruction.” He is a three-headed dog demon that guards the gates of Hell. Each of his three mouths has very sharp fangs.

Zozo typically attaches his presence to unsuspecting Ouija board users. It is believed that once he attaches himself to you, it can take weeks or months before he leaves. According to many, Zozo is very intelligent and intuitive. Zozo will do everything in his power to trick those who have summoned him in order to attach his essence to their being. Some have claimed that Zozo is Lucifer himself.

When Zozo is summoned, either by accident or on purpose, some common themes are reported among Ouija users. It is reported that the planchette on the Ouija board makes a repetitive movement through the alphabet from “Z” to “O” or counts down from ten to one to announce arrival. Some people have reported that the letter “Z” will be scratched into a nearby surface or on the board itself. Many people believe that you should not go backwards in the alphabet or numbers while using a Ouija board. It is believed that demons and evil spirits use this method to open portals into our world and break through from the other side. As a result of this belief, it is believed by some that the name “Zozo” is a trick.

While researching the “Zozo” phenomenon, it was common to come across claims that “Zozo” may actually be a demon named Bahzozo from ancient Babylonian times. Upon further research, no evidence of an entity named Bahzozo could be found in any Mesopotamian belief systems. It is possible that Bahzozo might come from Pazuzu, the Babylonian demon of the wind.

Research also found that some people believe that “Zozo” could be a djinn. Djinn do not possess for the soul, they possess for pure pleasure. Other people believe that “Zozo” is actually Lola Zaza, the daughter of Aleister Crowley. Crowley was known by many as one of the most evil men in the world.  It is reported that Aleister Crowley claimed that “Zozo” also represented 666.

Among the most common beliefs surrounding the “Zozo” phenomenon is that “Zozo” (the destroyer) is a three headed dog demon who guards the gates of hell. Others believe that “Zozo” is also a version of “Zaza” who is described as the Jewish goat-like demon, Azazel.

However, not everyone believes that “ Zozo” is a demon. Many people believe that Ouija boards are fake and that it is possible that “Zozo” could be a shared experience of our human creation. According to Brunvand, word-of-mouth transmission of stories heard “from a friend of a friend” is a powerful way to spread memes.

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The Ouija board has become one of the most feared occult devices. Once this method of “communicating with spirits” was invented, the Zozo phenomenon really took off. It is reported that “Zozo” was always hanging around looking for a way to enter the Earthly plane.  It is believed that the Ouija board allowed access. Once the entrance was provided, it is believed that Zozo would torment the individual forever.

There is a paranormal researcher, Darren Evans, who has a blog called The Zozo Phenomenon. This blog documents hundreds of encounters with Zozo. Darren calls himself a “Zozologist” and states that “The fact remains that an entity or group of entities are harassing Ouija participants all over the world. Language is not a barrier. Geographical locations on earth are no barrier. It is best left alone. If you experience aggressive interaction and planchette movements while using a Ouija, take precautions. It is not just a game. Be aware of the circular patterns, and do not let it count through numbers forward or backwards thru the alphabet. Figure eights while common, can result in some type of manifestation.” (Evans, 2012)

Is the Zozo phenomenon just superstition or is it possibly a result of the ideomotor effect? Rob Schwartz’ article at Stranger Dimensions suggested that it’s possible that the Zozo phenomena could possibly be purely human inventions that rely on credulity and a blurred understanding of the line between fact and fiction.  Regardless of individual belief of Zozo’s existence, reports of Zozo continue to increase.

 

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Table Tipping: Physical Phenomena or Supernatural Force?

Humans have been attempting to contact the dead since the earliest of times. It was so much of a concern, that God forbade people to seek out mediums as recorded in the book of Leviticus. However, throughout the years, humans continued to seek out ways to contact the spirit world. In the 19th century, Kate and Margaret Fox announced that they were going to contact the spirit world. The two young Fox sisters began demonstrating their skills for an audience and within a few months, Spiritualism emerged.

Table tipping in the early days was predominantly considered a parlor game. The basic technique behind table tipping or table turning is simple. Have the participants sit comfortably around the table and have everyone put their hands on the table, palms down. One participant should perform a ritual of protection. Select a leader for the group and have this person address any possible spirits in the room. Ask the spirits to communicate with you by giving them instructions for how you would like them to communicate using the table. After some time, the table should start to move. Participants have reported tables sliding, swaying, turning, tipping and occasionally it has been reported that knocks have been heard in response to the questions.

Table tipping phenomena became the subject of scientific investigation (Heap, 2002). In 1852, the term Ideomotor was first used in a scientific paper discussing the means through which the spiritualistic phenomena produced effect. In the paper, William Carpenter explained his theory that muscular movement can be independent of conscious desires or emotions (Carpenter, 1852). Chemist and physicist Michael Faraday also took an interest in the phenomena and began some scientific testing of his own.

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At some point, several other respected researchers took an interest in the table tipping phenomena. Among these notable men was surgeon James Braid, the French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, and American psychologists’ William James and Ray Hyman. The general consensus among these men was the belief that the phenomenon that was attributed to spiritual or paranormal forces, or to mysterious “energies,” was actually due to ideomotor action. Hyman reported that these tests demonstrate that “honest, intelligent people can unconsciously engage in muscular activity that is consistent with their expectations.” He also implied that verbal suggestion can guide behavior after being given subtle clues (Hyman 1977).

In 1853, John Prichard wrote “A Few Sober Words of Table-Talk.” Prichard agreed that the table movement is the result of some physical phenomenon, not a supernatural force. While Prichard agrees with Faraday in principle, he did not agree with Faraday’s explanation. Prichard explains that there is an interaction between atoms, nerves, and electricity that creates a force “antagonistic to the force of gravity.” According to Prichard, he discovered a completely new physical law, boldly declaring that not only will the theory of gravity need to be revisited, but the very movement of the cosmos must be reconsidered (Prichard, 1853).

Raymond Buckland reported that table tipping phenomena is not phenomena of levitation, but most likely a demonstration of parakinesis. Parakinesis is the movement of objects with physical contact that is not considered sufficient enough to explain the movement of the object (Buckland, 2006). Many reports have documented claims that tables have tipped and also lifted into the air and galloped about. There are even reports of tables moving with all participants sitting on top of them. Despite numerous documented experiments, table tipping phenomena remains a mystery to most people.

Scientists and Spiritualists continue to disagree on the methods and results from table tipping phenomena experiments. Most skeptics dismiss all table tipping as either fraud or a result of the ideomotor effect as they do not typically believe in telekinesis, parakinesis, or paranormal phenomenon. Either way, the power of the human mind is fascinating. It has been found that the average person utilizes only ten percent or less of their brain capacity. That leaves a lot of possibilities for researchers to explore. Regardless of whether or not table tipping is a result of some physical or psychic phenomenon or a supernatural force, it is worthy of further research and investigation.

Written by: Cindie Harper

 

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