Friday, December 28, 2012

What is the Green Thing?

During the holiday this question came up when I put a photo on Facebook to signal to family members that the green thing was being made and would soon be available.

I must give you some background before I can tell you what the green thing is. Early on in my marriage we had holiday gatherings at my sister-in-law’s house. She is the ultimate earth mother figure in the family. She does it all. She always cooks everything so if we bring something, it needs to be something she wouldn't have already prepared.

It was not intentional that I would end up bringing the green thing, it just worked out that a Jello mold was what I chose since no one else ever brought one. Initially, I wanted to make a mold that would go with dinner, not necessarily be a dessert (but everyone decides when they want to eat it-with or after dinner). So I remembered a green mold that someone had made at a church event years earlier that I loved. I didn’t have a recipe but figured I would try to work out the ingredients and see what I could come up with.

“What is it called?” someone asked when I first showed up with it.

“I don’t have a name for it. It’s just a green Jello thing.”

So was born The Green Thing.

Since I never had a standard, written recipe to follow, it’s never exactly the same. The ingredients have varied through the years—sometimes better than at other times.

One year I was sure would be the last time I'd make it was when I was rushed and made it late. I planned to unmold it just before dinner at my sister-in-laws. It didn’t gel and I announced that it was ruined, but no one was deterred. They took a little cupful and ate it with a soup spoon. I thought they were being polite.

As a result, I didn’t make it the next year and was chastised soundly. We laughed about it being good whether or not it gelled and I’d better keep making it. It turned out to be one of the more memorable years and the subject of much joking and laughter ever since—especially when someone new asks, “What’s the Green Thing?”

One year I grew bored making the same jello dish and so brought a red “thing” for 4th of July, with fresh, in-season strawberries—great fit for the holiday, right? And I think I tried mandarin oranges for an orange thing another time. But always the question, “Where’s the green thing?” came up. After a while it was no longer simply looked for and asked about, it was demanded, ‘You will bring the green thing. If you bring anything else that’s okay, but you must bring the green thing.’ It has been loved, criticized, eaten and drunk, but always demanded.

So was born a tradition, The Green Thing (only a general recipe follows-so if you try it you will have to experiment to find the taste and texture that suits you and yours):

The Green Thing

2 - 6oz. lime Jello pkgs (the large ones). (you can use one box if you have a small gathering)

Follow the recipe for a mold, which includes a less water so it will unmold well (especially since there is juice in the pineapple). If you would rather not do a mold, you can let it gel in a serving bowl so everyone can scoop out a portion size they want (probably a good idea the first time in case it doesn't gel).

You have to let the gelatin thicken a little before adding the other ingredients or the ingredients will all float to the top during the gelling process.

To the slightly gelled mixture,
1 large can of Dole crushed pineapple (I use the one with pineapple in its own juice)
Chopped cucumber (I like pickling cukes and you can use 1 or 2)
Chopped celery (1 or 2 stalks)
1 pkg cream cheese (I use the whipped cream cheese because it breaks down easier)

{You can add sour cream and/or cottage cheese in addition if you like more tartness or less sweetness (vary the amounts to your taste)}

Pecans, chopped (amount to suit you—you can use walnuts but some people are allergic to walnuts.)

Be sure to make the Jello as indicated on the box for a mold (less water). When it has thickened, but not yet set, add the cream cheese (beat it to smooth or keep a little chunky to your preference). Then add the rest of the ingredients to taste and pour it into mold or a serving bowl to jell in frig.

I used a Christmas tree mold this year and so added in just enough prepared gelatin (without anything else added yet) to the bottom of the mold so it would hold the added maraschino cherries (the balls on the tree) to set in the frig while I mixed the rest of the ingredients. By then the Jello and cherries were firm enough so I could pour in the rest of the ingredients without them bleeding through.

Mystery solved. So now you know and can make the Green Thing if you dare, just in time for New Year’s. If you do, let me know how it goes.


Do you have a family tradition that has grown through the years? Was it planned or did it grow organically?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing-No Not Santa

Yikes, I have neglected my blog terribly. What with NaNoWriMo, Thanksgiving and my head in my newest novel, three cars needing repairs in as many days, etc., blah, blah, I have been AWOL. 

I have to thank Liv Rancourt who twisted my arm  politely asked me to agree to do this Next Big Thing post, or there would still be head banging going on my desk as I try to squeeze out my newest plot idea. So, I guess there's that to be grateful for.

Here is the deal, I answer ten questions about my latest writing project (Yay! I have a contract and am going to get published!). (Ahem, excuse the jumping up and down.) Now you will get a peek into Dance The Dream Awake, my long awaited novel.

The Next Big Thing is a blog hop that’s been traveling from site to site, and I was tagged by the lovely Liv Rancourt. Be sure to check out her site--it's very clever. 

I answer ten questions about my current WIP, then tag five other bloggers to play the next round (I think I was the last kid in the corner chosen because I couldn't twist five other people's arms find anyone else interested at this busy time of year). But I did find one victim willing participant, Marta Chausee. (give her a big hand)

After you read the interview answers below, then peruse the list Marta's blog at the end of this post and check her site out--give her time to get her answers up, though. You might find a new book you want to check out or inspiration for writing ideas.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
What is your working title of your book?
            Dance the Dream Awake (cover yet to come)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
            A déjà vu experience I had in Mexico’s Yucatan at one of the Mayan pyramids at Coba.
What genre does your book fall under?
            It’s going into the new Mystic line at Oak Tree Press, which would fall under paranormal It covers a past life and shamanic scenes with curanderas. It has suspense and romance throughout.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
            My protagonist, Tessa, would be a cross between Sandra Bullock (pretty, with a curious spirit) and Angelina Jolie (woman with dark edges that will risk real danger)—or maybe Anne Hathaway, who can fill all those parameters.
            Porfirio, dark, mysterious character. Maybe Jimmy Smitts- dark, romantic, charming or Benicio Del Toro. Johnny Depp with slicked back hair could play him with the charming panache needed.
            Jack, Tessa's neighbor and thorn in her side for the summer, “He had a bold, brusque John Houston manner, softened around the edges by a sort of Robert Redford charm.” Got any suggestions? Gerard Butler maybe. 
            Nick, archaeologist who is key to her unveiling the past. David Boreanaz (Bones) or Brad Pitt. He has to wear a hat like Indiana Jones, I think.
(I've started a board of characters over at Pinterest you could check out if you are a visual person.)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
            Tessa risks danger in the jungles of the Yucatan to put an end to her nightmares of a Mayan sacrifice in a past life, the revelation of which puts her in mortal danger, once again, but frees her to be able to love again.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
            Oak Tree Press is publishing it.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
            Years. It was my first novel, on which I learned to write during the process of finding and shaping the story.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
            This year I read a novel by MJ Rose, The Book of Lost Fragrances, which followed that theme of past lives influencing the present one. It felt very similar to my novel in atmosphere, danger and intrigue. She touched on several past lives but I focus on a single one.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
            The experience I had at the Coba pyramid was startling. I sensed this other time when people had their hearts cut out of their chests and I felt the scenes viscerally. I knew that there was corruption in the Mayan priesthood similar to what we see today in politics (our current power structure) where many politicians pretend to be out for the interests of the people but in reality manipulate and control through theatrical demonstrations before the public – for their own power and greed.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
            Mayan life around 900 AD, in which my protagonist lost her heart physically, is highlighted by her inability to love now. It is reminiscent of those compulsions that drive some people to do or not do something; they can’t figure out where the compulsion comes from or how to change it. A past life might hold the key.
Go visit Marta Chausee at The Write Stuff: 
(Give her a day to get her answers up.)    

Rules of the Next Big Thing
***Use this format for your post
***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
                   (Good luck with that, Marta)

Any questions, comments or suggestions? Leave a comment if you like. I would love it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Freak Out, But...

Well, Thanksgiving is past, NaNoWriMo is over today (I completed almost 30,000 words on my new novel-woot!) so the next stop on road is the end of the Mayan 2012 calendar round. What's in store for us? 

It could be a catastrophe, plenty have been predicted: wars, earthquakes, meteor strikes or maybe the feared plasma burst said to be coming from the sun that would have the potential of knocking out all electronics: (do not watch if you are susceptible to conspiracy theory freak-out)

Or, maybe we are slated for UFO contact on top of Chichen Itza? Well, apparently contact has already happened. So, what did they say? This video puts most of the longest lasting theories together. You decide whether they are bunk as you listen to the many sources in this one (scientists, UFO contactees, Star Trek, the Bible, etc.) and decide for yourself: 

(You can skip the advertisements as they pop up during the video by clicking the Skip button on the right of the screen).

What do you think? Freaked out or encouraged? If we don't evolve, are we doomed on 12-21-2012?

Friday, November 23, 2012

After the Pumpkin Pie, Then What?

Now that the last morsel of turkey, stuffing or pie has been consumed, and you are finished scrambling to get those Black Friday sales, you might be thinking about how interesting it would be to write about the conversation that erupted at the Thanksgiving table, or the latest gossip about eccentric Aunt Betty or maybe what your brother's crazy kid has gone off and done now. 

In case you got hold of that wish bone, and wished to become a writer, you might like to hear why writers have chosen writing as a career. Thirteen other writers (below) and myself have created a blog hop today. You you can hop around to read about: 
Why I became a writer.

For myself, I couldn’t help being a writer. My life forced me into it.

After responsibilities to others for most of my life, I am finally accomplishing the one thing I wanted to do for me—be a working writer (published). The journey has been a long one, but I have always been a writer at heart. 

As an only child, I probably used my imagination more than most. One of my strongest memories was the weekly visit to the library as a preschooler. To this day I can see the richly painted murals covering the floor to ceiling walls of that library in Queens, New York. While the librarian read the stories and fairy tales pictured on the walls, I got lost in my imagination.

After my fairy tale phase (I read every known fairy tale I could get my hands on, from around the world), I was drawn to mysteries—most heavily weighted toward Edgar Allan Poe, then comics-the darker, scarier ones were best, like Tales from the Crypt. 

Of course there were the weekly radio serials that forced me to visualize the stories (The Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, The Whistler, to name a few). 

I spent my 25 cent allowance on Saturdays mornings to get a bag of popcorn and watch two feature films (and a string of about twenty cartoons). That didn't include the first rate motion pictures I went to every week with my mother.  We would travel into Manhattan to the movie palaces of the day (I was stimulated to imagine scenarios just walking through the opulent lobbies), and I spent hours afterwards playacting what I had seen on the screen.

When I wasn't playing 'cowboys and Indians' with my younger cousins in the woods nearby our homes, I would make up stories on the spot when they begged me to tell them one. 

I went through a lot of emotional angst in my early years which led me to escape into writing in journals, creating poetry, exploring philosophies and the metaphysical—the weirder or more unconventional the better. Thinking at the edges. I always wrote as a way to cope, meditate, pull out and explore deeper ideas. During all that interior work, I hadn't imagined writing any of that stuff down for public consumption.

In the back of my mind I thought I would eventually write children’s books, drawing from the storytelling with my cousins, but then I had a déjà vu incident on a vacation in Mexico that affected me deeply. When I came back from that trip, I had an opportunity to do a free-write for a training I was involved in as an elementary school teacher. What did I write about? You guessed it, the Mexico incident. The idea hooked me.

I knew it was time to find a writing teacher, which I did. It took me years to uncover the whole story, and during that time I learned the craft of writing while continuing on with my main responsibilities.

I find writing to be a joy, a yoga of self discipline offering a great sense of accomplishment, and I like the time exploring my imagination. You have to like the process of working alone until you get it down, and I do, then the time it takes to edit your work. If you are fortunate enough to have a good critique group, you learn to listen to their advice and apply the changes necessary.

Fast forward to today. That novel that took all those years to write will be published by Oak Tree Press. The story, Dance The Dream Awake, is set in present day Yucatan and highlights a past Mayan life that influences my protagonist's current life, her loves and her struggles, amidst murder and intrigue. It will be coming out soon, date yet to be announced

Thankfully, my second book is already half completed. Writing is exciting, cathartic and fulfilling--not to mention frustrating, head banging, and time-consuming, but when each story is finished, very satisfying.

*Thirteen other professional writer friends and myself who have blogs have joined together to post on this same theme, “Why I Became a Writer.” Take a moment to pop on in and read their accounts on what drives them in the pursuit of our favorite obsession, writing. You will find them interesting, inspiring or funny--to suit your taste.   

Did anything you experienced during your Thanksgiving Day holiday or Black Friday shopping spree inspire you to write? I welcome your comments.

John Brantingham and Sunny Frazier:
Chris Swinney:
Stephen Brayton:
Carole Avila:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Smell Something Burning?

            Where has Cora gone? Why no post this week? Gone to writing for NaNoWriMo, that’s where.

            I am in the middle of pushing out my next novel. The thing is, I think I have two novels in one, or it might even be three novels. The realization hit me when I remembered I’ve done this before—too many subplots that maybe weren’t subplots. I had to take the weekend to sort it all out as to what my story was, losing precious time and momentum to reach my quest for 50,000 words completed by the end of November.

            In the midst of burrowing through mounds of paper trying to sort it all out this past weekend, I burned the stew I was making—twice. After the first time, I picked out the parts not burned and then added them to a fresh pot of vegetables only to burn out the liquid and bottom layer, again. All that was left was a salty mush of potatoes with some puny carrots and meat peeking through.

            My husband was not happy (who would be?) but he bravely picked through the mush stew to find the meat and vegetables that were edible. Not a harsh word came out of his mouth. (Yes, he is as patient and wonderful as he sounds.) Afterwards, I felt so guilty I drove to Baskin Robbins for ice cream to soothe our stomachs.

            Ah, well, I will have a story by that date, just not sure which one—and it may not be finished but I will know which story and what direction. Meanwhile, I will be writing full steam ahead. (With no more cooking until Thanksgiving.)

So how are all you NaNos doing?  Any tragedies to share?

Ever burn the beans? That is so much worse!

Monday, November 5, 2012


I’m taking a break from my blog this week. I’m on the NaNoWriMo writing train and 
chugging along nicely. . .Choo--choo.

Instead, here's some entertainment from Glenn Miller and the Modernaires, from the film "Sun Valley Serenade" (1941):    Chattanooga-Choo-Choo

If that wasn't enough, or if you enjoy old movies--try this one:
The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B with the Andrew's sisters singing and dancing. 

See you next week. . . . . 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Haunted Halls in a Creepy Clinic

This is the last of the scary stories for the month

  My friend, Sunny Frazier, has given us one of her true experiences with a ghost while in the service in Puerto Rico. Enjoy.


            As if going to the dentist wasn't scary enough, I worked in a haunted dental clinic.

            The year was 1974. I was in the Navy and stationed at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. The base was the largest in land size of all Navy bases. Our clinic was on a high hill, very isolated from the rest of the base. Standing duty alone could be frightening. Often, the women volunteered to stand duty alone or their boyfriends would sneak up the hill and stand duty with them.

            I wasn't one of those women. One night, I was on duty and the electricity went out, a very common occurance. There was nothing to do but climb in the bunk bed in the duty room and go to sleep. I had a flashlight and I knew my way around, even in the dark.

            I was asleep when something that felt like the gauze squares we used was over my mouth. I quickly sat up, pushing it away. I saw a figure, very vague in the dark. It was as tall and stocky as the boyfriend I was dating at the time. He was wearing the loose tech jacket we worked in.

            “Dave, you scared me. What are you doing here?” Instead of answering, he disappeared. It didn't register at first. I jumped up, went through the locked door of the duty room and hall way. I was halfway down the corridor when I realized that nobody could get through both doors.

            Shaken, I realized I'd seen an apparition. I wanted to contact the Chief on call, but I couldn't see the phone or call list. I went back for the flashlight, but couldn't find that either (I'd kicked it under the bed). Believe it or not, I lay back down to sleep. I felt the cold again in the room, but said, “Go away,” and it did.

            I slept. You'd think I'd be up all night, afraid. In fact, when I woke up and started making coffee and turning on the lights to get the day going before the crew came in, the incident wasn't on my mind. Not until the Chief asked, “How did duty go?” My reply? “I saw a ghost.”

            They took me into the Captain's office and called security guards. I thought I was going to have to see a shrink. Instead, they asked lots of questions. Turns out, I was the third person to see the ghost. It had been kept under wraps so the others wouldn't refuse to stand duty. One person was transferred out.

            I spoke to the other person before he left. He told me that there had been a very popular dental tech who shocked everyone by joining the Marines for duty in Vietnam. Everyone was sad to see him leave, but he promised to return. He was killed in the war. But, he kept his word.

            The base is gone now. I suppose the ghost has gone too, at rest at last.    

Sunny Frazier:
Acquisitions Editor for Oak Tree Press


Have you ever awakened to a ghost? 

Or maybe heard stories of a ghost at work?

Maybe you've experienced things missing and then showing up again, but you dismissed it as not seeing it the first time you looked. Ghosts can be tricky.

Have a great Halloween!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stranger in the Window

As promised, another ghost story this week. 

Author and Astrologery,  Hazel Dixon-Cooper has graciously agreed to share her ghost story with you today:

            I believe in ghosts. I believe that the spirits of the dead sometimes get caught between this world and the next and try to communicate with us. They might be confused or frightened. Perhaps they’re angry. They certainly get our attention when they show up.
            Although I’m not a psychic, I have intuitive flashes and periods when I pick up their energy and see, feel, or hear them. Although these encounters can be startling, most aren’t scary. A few have been chilling.
            One of the most frightening experiences I had was when a young man showed up at my home office window one summer night. I live near the San Joaquin River in a fairly new neighborhood built in an area that was previously wild riverbanks and farm land. That particular night I was on deadline, and working late. I’d opened the window a few inches to let in the cool summer breeze.
               As I worked, I began to get a creepy feeling as if someone were watching me. You know how you can spook yourself into thinking someone or some thing is right behind you? That’s how I felt. Only it wasn’t behind me, it was outside the window looking in at me. I tried to shake off the feeling, attributing it to the imagination of my tired mind. Until my cat, which had been sleeping on his corner of my desk, sat up, ears twitching, and stared at the window, then I froze. He jumped down and left.
Looking at my computer screen, I reached over and slid the window shut. Through my peripheral vision, I saw an arm in a white dress shirt and the side of a dark-haired young man’s face.
            I stood and closed the blinds, but I could feel that he was still there and that he wanted something from me. So I sat back down and thought about what to do next. He stayed at the window. After a few minutes, I went to the kitchen for a glass of water. He was sitting in one of the patio chairs. Again, I saw him out of the corner of my eye.
            Black pants, white dress shirt, black hair, only the right side of his face. Suddenly, I knew that I didn’t want to see the left side of his face. I didn’t think he had any face there to see. By this time, all four of my cats had disappeared, and I was on the verge of panic. He, on the other hand, was calm. Waiting. For what?
            I paced around the kitchen, into the den, and back to the kitchen. Finally, I decided to concentrate on why he had appeared to me. Confusion was the word that popped into my head. He was confused about where he was and what had happened to him. I thought he felt that I could explain it to him. Of course, I had no idea why he was there or what had happened, so I told him so.
            I turned my head slightly toward him, still afraid to look at him, and said, “I can’t help you. I don’t know what happened to you. But I think it’s okay for you to go now.” Then I walked back into my office and sat there trying to get a grip on what had just happened. There wasn’t any use in trying to work again, so I shut the computer off and went back to the kitchen like the stupid girl in a horror movie walks back to where the monster lurks.
            Only my ghost wasn’t a monster, and when I peeked at the patio chair, he was gone.
            The next morning, I wrote down the experience. I told my friends, the ones that believe in other worldly connections then slowly forgot about it.
            A few months later, my friend, Bonnie Hearn Hill told the story to a group of her writing students. Later that week, one of the women in her class told her that when she’d related the story to her mother who lives close to my neighborhood, her mom looked shocked. She told her daughter that a young man had committed suicide on the bluffs a few years before my neighborhood was built. He’d shot himself in the head.
HazelDixon-Cooper has been a professional astrologer for more than twenty-five years, and is the author of the internationally bestselling Rotten Day astrology book series.
She is a research member of the American Federation of Astrologers and a member in good standing of the National Council of Geocosmic Research. 

Thank you, Hazel. That gave me the chills. I can imagine how I'd feel if I looked out my window on a dark night and saw a ghost looking in at me. At least he stayed outside!

Do you believe in 'other worldly connections?' (love that phrase Hazel)
Do you think the ghost was the same man that committed suicide on the bluffs? 
Have you ever seen a ghost that didn't frighten you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spirit in the Redwoods

I love the redwoods. Northern California in Humboldt County has half of the remaining old growth redwoods in the world. Some are five stories taller than the Statue of Liberty. Some have been around two thousand years.

About thirty-five years ago we were traveling to Oregon and had stopped and pulled off the road to get out among the huge redwoods. The air smelled wonderful and fresh. I wanted to go off by myself for a few moments and just be in the forest, quietly taking in that wonderful feeling. Being around redwoods raises your spirit and lightens your mood—at least it does mine.

I started down a hill through the trees, the ground covered in ferns as far as I could see. There was light through the trees from a meadow farther down the hill. It was magical. I found a spot and sat down to listen to the forest and meditate a moment.

I was peaceful for a little while, when all of a sudden I got agitated and scared. I felt I should leave right away. I started to walk out but soon felt the imperative to hurry. My thoughts turned to stories of the Yeti thought to inhabit areas like this that are isolated. My heart beat faster. As adrenaline coursed through me, I began running until I reached the car.

“What’s wrong?” my husband asked when he saw me panting.

“I don’t know. All of a sudden I felt something weird while I was down there.” I got my camera out and snapped a picture aimed at the area I had just come from. We left.

Later when I got home and had the film developed, what I found shocked me. On the film was a fog-like area in the center of the shot. It was the profile of a creature with pointed ears. My husband and daughter’s reaction was, “What, I don’t see anything but a white fog.”

So I went and got a marking pen to outline the area of white. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't outlined it because that was the only copy and it could be seen as manipulating the photo. But at the time I didn't care. I knew there was a creature on that film and it was amazing. I wanted my husband and daughter to see the face I was seeing and I had no plans to share it with anyone else anyway.

This week, I spent three days looking for that photo for this post. You know the drill, you put something away for safe keeping and then you can never find it. 

To make matters weirder, this morning I took out a pen to draw what I saw, and then went to load it into the computer to share on this blog and my computer froze. I spent all morning finding a way to get in and unfreeze it. AT LAST, I did. So, barring any further complications, here is the picture of the creature I saw . 

This is my last scary story for Halloween, but next week author/astrologer, Hazel Dixon Cooper has graciously agreed to share her ghost story with you. Don't miss it. It's a good one.


I always wondered if that scared and creepy feeling that came over me was caused by this creature, or was he maybe warning me to leave because of some danger I was unaware of? Or maybe I just have a very active imagination. What do you think?

What do you think I saw in the redwoods?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ghosts-What Me Worry?

I believe in ghosts. I think they’re just people who no longer have bodies. Some get stuck and don’t move on for a myriad of reasons. 

Some find ways to make themselves known (check out the ghost hunting shows: Ghost Hunters

I also believe some of the manifestations are residual, just a moment in time repeating itself like a broken record. Places hold energy as well, and sometimes spirits are attached to a place and can’t move on, usually when there was trauma or pain and distress of some kind.
Objects can hold energy and cause problems for those the objects are around (Haunted Collector), and if they disturb the living it can usually be stopped by removing the object. 

I mention all this because I have a ghost story to share this week. It happened when my daughter was very young, about eight years old. We have an older house (1920s era) and whether the haunting was associated with the house or the area or some object, I don’t know. (The house was owned by a coffin maker early on.)

Our house is known as an airplane bungalow, the kind with one room on top that is accessed by stairs at the back, through the bedroom (awkward). 

My daughter had that bottom room as her bedroom at one time and she used to complain of hearing noises and footsteps on the stairs leading to that top room. 

As in any scary movie, I dismissed it as due to the age of the house, with its many creaks and knocks that normally occur with the expansions and contractions that occur in an old wooden house.

One day she was especially upset about the noises, saying someone kept walking up and down the stairs.

Then she said it was a little girl. Uh, oh.

I casually asked her how she knew it was a little girl and she said she could see her. Uh, oh.

She wasn’t in the habit of making up this kind of thing and so I had to consider that maybe it was a ghost. It was really bothering her, and I decided to exorcise the ghost. 
(No, not with crosses and holy water. More like Ghost Whisperer and Psychic Kids) by talking to her and finding out what was keeping her here.

So, we went upstairs, burned a candle and pulled in white light around us. I asked my daughter to call to the little girl to come and talk to us. My daughter did this in her mind. The little girl came (I never saw her, but my daughter said she could see her and if nothing else, I figured this would clear it for my daughter to play-act this out so she wouldn’t be scared any more).

It seems the little girl was upset and told my daughter that she was waiting for her mother and could not find her. I had my daughter tell her that her mother was no longer here and that it was time for her to move on, that someone was waiting to take her to her mother and that she only needed to look around and find that person(s) and go with them. I suggested there was a white light to look for, and when she could see it, she would find someone to take her on to her mother.

The little girl soon said she saw the light and with a little coaxing left. The creaking stairs no longer creaked and the vision of the little girl no longer appeared to my daughter.

So, this week pay attention to those creeks and knocks you usually dismiss as house noises and watch to see if your dog or cat seems to be watching something you can’t see.

I hope to have another ghost story for you next week and all this month of Halloween.

Have you ever seen a ghost or felt a presence?

Ever picked up an object at a garage sale that just felt too weird when you got it home and then you had to get rid of it?

Do you have a ghost story?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spirit Dogs at Wounded Knee

Paranormal alert:  There be spirits here.

My niece, Marcy, told me this story after her experience at the Wounded Knee National Monument. It is important to note that she has Native American blood and is very sensitive. Here is her story:

My husband and I were on a road trip on our motorcycles and decided to stop at Wounded Knee, a place I had longed to see for many years. When we arrived at the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, it was not like anything I had expected. It was an extremely poverty-stricken reservation, with some Lakota Indian folk here and there, but not many. Tony and I parked in the dirt lot at the base of the hill, approximately 50 yards below the cemetery.

Two friendly Native men were there when we arrived and seemed eager to talk with us. They wanted to share as much information as they could about Wounded Knee.

There was another group of five Native Americans in a van parked a little farther away. It hit me that they were waiting for us to leave the bikes so they could rip us off. I often get feelings, psychic insight you might say, and this was one of those times. I told Tony about this feeling and we decided to take turns visiting the cemetery, that way one of us would be with the bikes at all times.  

I didn't want it to appear too obvious that we suspected their intentions, so I walked with Tony a few yards up the hill, and then pretended to forget something. I walked back to the bikes by myself while Tony went on to the cemetery. I rummaged through my saddlebags, pretending to be looking for something, finally pulling out my pack of cigarettes from one of the side pockets. I smoked a cigarette until Tony came back. It was now my turn.

I walked to the top of the hill, where a huge wrought iron archway stood over the entrance to the crumbling "WOUNDED KNEE CEMETERY". I stepped under the arch way and stood at the head of the graveyard which was about 20 yards long and about 8 feet wide. I imagined the 200+ Sioux buried there and contemplated the horrific tragedies that occurred where I stood.

I had walked almost all the way around the graves, noticing the many old and newer head stones—some written in English and some in Sioux. I was alone—or so I thought when an odd feeling of being watched came over me. I turned around.

An extremely large, dirty, white dog was getting up from a lying position. I thought it odd that I hadn’t noticed him when I passed that spot. He walked towards me very slowly, but was big enough to encourage me to walk a bit faster. I have an overpowering fear of large dogs and had absolutely no desire to engage him in any way.

Then, I saw other dogs coming out from behind head stones, as if they had been laying in their shade. I continued on, noticing more of them appearing, all walking towards me—staying behind the white one.

They were all big dogs of different colors, all dirty, hot and tired. I started feeling VERY, VERY uneasy so I picked up the pace, trying to stay calm. I feared if I ran, they might run after me. They didn’t seem to be in a hurry but were determinedly walking towards me—as if pushing me back to the entrance.

After I passed under the archway, I turned back to check where they were. They had stopped and were staring at me. They did not step beyond the wrought-iron entrance, even though I was just a few feet away from them.

They all made eye contact with me as I looked at each one. They were not fidgeting or looking around like normal dogs would. They just stood there, staring. Then I knew they wanted me to leave—this was not a place for me, or anyone else. This was a place of horror, lost life, anger, hatred and sadness. I left immediately, walking back down the hill. I looked back once to see them still standing there watching me.

When I reached the bottom of the hill, I asked the two Native Americans with Tony, “What the deal with all the dogs?” 

They looked at each other in a puzzled kind of way and asked, “What dogs?”

I quickly told them what I had seen, which seemed to concern them both. They told me and Tony that there were not any dogs living in the cemetery or hanging around it. I turned back  to point to the dogs, but they were gone. The two men looked at me as if I were out of my mind. They told Tony that we should leave there, now.

I'm not too sure what happened up there that day, but I know they were not dogs. I believe they appeared because they knew I feared large dogs and it was a way to get me to leave, whether because of the threat I felt from the men near the van or because of the horror of that place.
Many Native Americans believe animals are messengers from the spirit world and sometimes they give warning of approaching danger.

It is said that if a person carries dog medicine, he or she is usually serving others of humanity in some way. Marcy was working in the emergency services field at the time.

Dogs as symbols are said to embody the loving gentleness of best friend and the half-wild protector energy of a territorial nature. The dog is also an archetypal symbol of a shape shifter in Celtic myths.

What do you think Marcy saw?

Have you ever experienced a warning from an animal?

Have you ever gotten an instinctive feeling that made you change course?