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New owner turns historic Ghostly Guitar Mansion into graceful home again
The Guitar Mansion's new owners set up a piano in what was traditionally the music room of the house. Large windows like those of the music room exist all around the house, allowing natural light to fill the Civil War-era home.

CORRECTION: David Guitar purchased the Guitar Mansion in 1859. when he was about 33. An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect date. The house was dubbed "Confederate Hill" by author Ward Dorrance, who lived there from 1940 to 1953.

COLUMBIA — Almost everyone who visits Guitar Mansion has a story to share about the historic antebellum home.

Elena Vega, who spontaneously purchased the home at 2815 N. Oakland Gravel Road in 2010, said a man stopped by earlier last year and insisted there was a tunnel inside the house.

Another visitor mentioned a second stairwell with private access to the bedrooms, though neither the tunnel nor stairwell remain today.



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Ghosts are common topics at the mansion, which was built more than 150 years ago. Members of the Missouri Ghost Hunters Society reported encountering several during a visit in December 2002, including a young boy and several slaves.

The house got its name from the Guitar family, who moved in during the 1860s, just as the Civil War was rupturing the country. The house changed hands several times over the years until Vega and Pat Westhoff bought it, restored the building's utilities and moved in last January.

Before their purchase, it had been vacant for three years. Previous owners included Ward Dorrance, an MU French professor who lived in the home from the 1940s to the 1950s, and historian Miriam McCaleb, who helped secure a place for the mansion on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was most recently used as a wedding reception site and for bed-and-breakfast lodging.

At a public auction on Oct. 18, 2010, Vega surprised herself by buying the house for $155,500. When bidding began lower than she expected — at $75,000 — she was moved to jump in. The contest was largely between Vega and one other bidder.

"It’s my dream to live in an historic home," she told a Missourian reporter at the time. "I just don’t know if I can afford it."

Preserving a piece of history

Vega lightly taps the antique door knocker against Guitar Mansion's emerald green front door. The sound, she said, can be heard throughout the two-story, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home.

The door opens into a room with a black-and-white linoleum floor and a curved walnut stairwell, Vega's favorite part of the house.

The staircase, believed to be original, features a small, carved acorn on the handrail. A music room with a piano and antique red couch is to the left, and a small pink library is to the right.

The family keeps modern appliances, such as TV sets and other electronics, out of these front rooms to preserve the historic feeling of the house.

Signs of the mansion's historical roots in the Civil War lie both inside and on the surrounding property.

Within the perimeter of a wrought iron fence in the yard sits a vine-covered brick dovecote. Nearby is a wooden gazebo, built within the last decade when the home was used for wedding receptions.

Behind the house, a worn wooden smokehouse and cookhouse, both now used for storage, contain an oversize, rusted tub that remains intact from the original farmhouse.

Neighbors, Vega said, discovered a cannonball in their yard while digging the foundation for their home.

Much of the original architecture and furnishings in the Guitar Mansion hark back to its time when a big Victorian house accommodated growing families and provided a backdrop for gracious living.

A house divided still stands

Brothers Odon and David Guitar moved to Boone County as children in the late 1820s.. David Guitar purchased the home on Oakland Gravel Road in 1859* and lived there with his 10 children — who shared two bedrooms — for about 40 years.

During the Civil War, the brothers supported opposing sides. Odon served for the Union Army in the 9th Missouri Cavalry, later known as the "Bloody Ninth." He was recommended as brigadier general by President Abraham Lincoln.

David Guitar's home was named Confederate Hill by author Ward Dorrance, which refers to his service as a captain for Confederate forces during the Civil War, according to a document from the National Register of Historic Places.

"It’s one of the last Civil War-era houses that’s standing in town," said Liz Kennedy of the Boone County Historical Society.

The Guitar family originally had about 862 acres, according to the National Register of Historic Places, but the house now sits on 6.3 acres.

Much of the land was sold after 1997 by the McCaleb family, after Miriam McCaleb, who lived in the home from 1956 until 1997, was killed in an automobile accident.

Although this is the first historic home for Vega and her husband, Pat Westhoff, she said they have always been interested in older houses.

Since moving into the Guitar Mansion, the couple has made several changes while trying to preserve its historical elements.

"You can't really see what we’ve done so far, but it’s been a lot of work," Vega said. "It’s always a work in progress."

The first thing they did after moving to the Guitar Mansion was yard work. This included cutting grass that had grown 2 feet tall and removing a huge, broken tree limb dubbed "the widow maker."

Vega also plans to replace the black locust trees on the property with maple, oak and walnut trees — vegetation more typical of the home's history.

She said the Guitar family used to call the home "The Maples" because the driveway was lined with maple trees.

The couple intends to keep the original glass on the windows, as well as the "cello-shaped" wood carvings on the shutters. The eight fireplaces and abundant chandeliers also will be preserved.

Over the holidays, Vega's three children stayed in the original bedrooms of the house. The names bear witness to the contentious history of the Guitar Mansion.

One room is called “The Confederate Room” and the other “The Union Room.”


Ghost of Bell ‘vanishes’ after portrait put back
As ghosts go, she was rather a cultured specimen. The pale Edwardian figure made frequent visits to the mansion home of Alan Smith, always accompanied by the music of Chopin, according to the startled souls who bore witness.

Her interest in the house was a mystery – until the discovery of a long-lost painting that appeared to feature the very same person, sitting at a piano.

When the portrait was returned to Heale House’s drawing room, the sightings stopped. Mr Smith was so fascinated he decided to investigate the history of the painting – and uncovered the sad story of the uninvited guest.

He identified the woman as a Mrs Bell, one of the 15-bedroom mansion’s previous occupants, who had been bankrupted and forced to sell all her possessions – including her beloved portrait – shortly before her death in the early 1900s. daily times monitor


Elves-Do they exist?
Some would rather let elves live in the fantastical world of Middle Earth and Tolkien's imagination or in the holiday dreams of children imagining Santa's little helpers. But do these magical little people have any bearing in reality?

Legends of dwarves, elves, and faeries are found worldwide. There are the famed trolls of Scandinavian folklore, the wealthy leprechauns of Irish lore, and other mischievous elves who mainly live in (fiction) literature, but numerous sightings are actually reported by surprised individuals throughout the world. Native Americans of the United States and Canada have similar legends as well.

The majority of "evidence" of these miniature humanoid beings are the numerous eye-witness testimonies. Encounters with elf-entities usually occur when the elf approaches a home and requests food or shelter. If the resident refuses to comply with the elf's demands, they would bring misfortune upon the greedy person. Unless harrassed, elves are said to generally avoid contact with humans. The majority of elven legends throughout the world confine these beings to the deep forest, where they lead a reclusive, mysterious life.

Although the sworn testimonies of those who claim to have encountered elves on occasion or spotted them in the forest are easy to dismiss as fantasy or hallucination, scientific, archaeological discoveries cause one to think least for a minute or two.

In 1932, a 14-inch tall mummy was found by gold prospectors in the Pedro Mountains 60 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming (USA). The tiny mummy was found sitting on a ledge in a small granite cave. Its legs were crossed and arms folded on its lap. It had a flat nose, low forehead, and a broad, thin-lipped mouth. The mummy was x-rayed and analysed. The Anthropology Department of Harvard University certified the mummy as genuine and believed by some to be of a 65-year old man. A more skeptical Dr. George Gill speculated that the mummy could have been an infant afflicted with anencephaly, a congenital abnormality which causes tiny adult proportions. Since its discovery, the mummy changed hands several times and, unfortunately, disappeared.
It is interesting to note that Shoshone and Crow natives that inhabited the area where the mummy was found had legends of "little people" in their ancient folklore.

Perhaps the most spectacular and baffling find was in the later 1800s. Hundreds of tiny flint tools were found in the Pennine hills of east Lancashire, all of which were no larger than half an inch long. The tiny tools included scrapers, borers, and crescent shaped knives. The craftsmanship of such tools were extremely fine, and in many cases, a magnifying glass needed to be used to detect the evidence of flaking used to bring them to a sharp point. None of these tiny tools were practical for perfoming the tasks that the regular sized ones were intended for. Because of this, some speculated they were ritualistic replicas...but why, and why so small? Were these tools made by similarly small people?

As with the elf legends, tiny tools similar to the ones found in Lancashire have been found worldwide including Devon and Suffolk, England, Egypt, Africa, Australia, France, Italy, and India.

It would seem that if elves did/do exist, more evidence or contact with these strange miniature people would be collected or reported. However, if giant 6-8 foot tall bipedal hominids such as Sasquatch and Yeti can keep their existence unknown, how much easier it would be for elves to do the same, being just inches tall!

SOURCE: The Casper Star-Tribune, July 22 and 24, 1979
The Casper Tribune Herald, October 22, 1932
Exploring the Unknown, C. J. Cazeau and Stuart D. Scott
Mysteries of the Unexplained, Readers Digest
For some intruiging information on little people sighted in the New England states of the US, read "Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls, And Unsolved Mysteries" and "Passing Strange" by Joseph Citro
These books available in the Paranormal Book Store, an Associate.

Hallow E’en

Behind the name... Halloween, or the Hallow E'en as they call it in Ireland , means All Hallows Eve, or the night before the 'All Hallows', also called 'All Hallowmas', or 'All Saints', or 'All Souls' Day, observed on November 1. In old English the word 'Hallow' meant 'sanctify'. Roman Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherians used to observe All Hallows Day to honor all Saints in heaven, known or unknown. They used to consider it with all solemnity as one of the most significant observances of the Church year. And Catholics, all and sundry, was obliged to attend Mass. The Romans observed the holiday of Feralia, intended to give rest and peace to the departed. Participants made sacrifices in honor of the dead, offered up prayers for them, and made oblations to them. The festival was celebrated on February 21, the end of the Roman year. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints' Day to replace the pagan festival of the dead. It was observed on May 13. Later, Gregory III changed the date to November 1. The Greek Orthodox Church observes it on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Despite this connection with the Roman Church, the American version of Halloween Day celebration owes its origin to the ancient (pre-Christian) Druidic fire festival called "Samhain", celebrated by the Celts in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Samhain is pronounced "sow-in", with "sow" rhyming with cow. In Ireland the festival was known as Samhein, or La Samon, the Feast of the Sun. In Scotland, the celebration was known as Hallowe'en. In Welsh it's Nos Galen-gaeof (that is, the Night of the Winter Calends. According to the Irish English dictionary published by the Irish Texts Society: "Samhain, All Hallowtide, the feast of the dead in Pagan and Christian times, signalizing the close of harvest and the initiation of the winter season, lasting till May, during which troops (esp. the Fiann) were quartered.

Faeries were imagined as particularly active at this season. From it the half year is reckoned. also called Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess).(1) The Scottish Gaelis Dictionary defines it as "Hallowtide. The Feast of All Soula. Sam + Fuin = end of summer."(2) Contrary to the information published by many organizations, there is no archaeological or literary evidence to indicate that Samhain was a deity. The Celtic Gods of the dead were Gwynn ap Nudd for the British, and Arawn for the Welsh. The Irish did not have a "lord of death" as such. Thus most of the customs connected with the Day are remnants of the ancient religious beliefs and rituals, first of the Druids and then transcended amongst the Roman Christians who conquered them. Halloween, one of the world's oldest holidays, is still celebrated today in several countries around the globe. The autumn rite is commemorated in the United Kingdom, although with a surprising and distinctive British twist. In Mexico, Latin America, and Spain, All Souls' Day, the third day of the three-day Hallowmas observance, is the most important part of the celebration for many people. In Ireland and Canada, Halloween, which was once a frightening and superstitious time of year, is celebrated much as it is in the United States, with trick-or-treating, costume parties, and fun for all ages.

he word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which means "end of summer", the Celtic New year.

Trick for Treat

The custom of trick or treating probably has several origins. During Samhain, the Druids believed that the dead would play tricks on mankind and cause panic and destruction. They had to be appeased, so country folk would give the Druids food as they visited their homes.

An old Irish peasant practice called for going door to door to collect money, breadcake, cheese, eggs, butter, apples, etc., in preparation for the festival of St. Columb Kill.

Also a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes" made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

Did You Know...

  • A traditional food eaten on Halloween is barnbrack, a kind of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or baked at home. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake that, it is said, can foretell the eater's future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on its way.


Bobbing for Apples:

When the Celts were absorbed by the Roman Empire, many rituals of Roman origin began. Among them was the worship of Pomona, goddess of the harvest, often portrayed sitting on a basket of fruits and flowers. Apples were the sacred fruit of the goddess, and many games of divination involving them entered the Samhain customs.

The Witch's Broomstick:

The witch is a central symbol of Halloween. The name comes from the Saxon wica, meaning wise one. When setting out for a Sabbath, witches rubbed a sacred ointment onto their skin. This gave them a feeling of flying, and if they had been fasting they felt even giddier. Some witches rode on horseback, but poor witches went on foot and carried a broom or a pole to aid in vaulting over streams. In England when new witches were initiated they were often blindfolded, smeared with flying ointment and placed on a broomstick. The ointment would confuse the mind, speed up the pulse and numb the feet. When they were told "You are flying over land and sea," the witch took their word for it.


Irish children used to carve out potatoes or turnips and light them for their Halloween gatherings. They commemorated Jack, a shifty Irish villain so wicked that neither God nor the Devil wanted him. Rejected by both the sacred and profane, he wandered the world endlessly looking for a place to rest, his only warmth a glittering candle in a rotten turnip. Read about Jack in the 'Legend of the Jack-O-Lantern' short story.

Did You Know...

  • The Irish Potato Famine (1845-50) prompted over 700,000 people to immigrate to the Americas. These immigrants brought with them their traditions of Halloween and Jack o'Lanterns, but turnips were not as readily available as back home. They found the American pumpkin to be a more than an adequate replacement. Today, the carved pumpkin is perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday.

Halloween Masquerade Mask:

From earliest times people wore masks when droughts or other disasters struck. They believed that the demons who had brought their misfortune upon them would become frightened off by the hideous masks. Even after the festival of Samhain had merged with Halloween, Europeans felt uneasy at this time of the year. Food was stored in preparation for the winter and the house was snug and warm. The cold, envious ghosts were outside, and people who went out after dark often wore masks to keep from being recognised.

Pumpkin Facts

  • In 1584, after French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America, he reported finding "gros melons." The name was translated into English as "pompions," which has since evolved into the modern "pumpkin."
  • Pumpkins have been grown in North America for five thousand years. They are indigenous to the western hemisphere.
  • Pumpkins are fruits. A pumpkin is a type of squash and is a member of the gourd family (Cucurbitacae), which include squash, cucumbers, gherkins, and melons.
  • Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.
  • 2007 New World Record! In what has become an annual event, the world record has fallen once more. The largest pumpkin ever grown stands at 1,680 pounds. It was grown by Joe Jutras of Rhode Island. It was weighed in on October 7, 2007 at the Rhode Island Weigh-off. Will the record fall again in 2008? I will let you know!



The Bennington Triangle

Many unexplained events have baffled and mystified people throughout Vermont history, but none were as startling and publicized as the mysterious disappearances of ten people in the Glastenbury Wilderness.

In his book, "Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls, and Unsolved Mysteries", Joe Citro calls the area in Bennington near Glastenbury mountain, the "Bennington Triangle". It is similar to the more famous Bermuda Triangle in that it has been a hotspot for UFO activity, strange lights, sounds, odors, specters, mysterious creatures...and more startling, human disappearences.

American natives shunned the place, using it only for a burial ground. They believed the land to be cursed because all four winds met in that spot. There is also mention in native American folklore of an enchanted stone which is said to swallow anything that steps on it. Since then, numerous people have died mysteriously, suffered many hardships, and have gone insane.

In 1892, a millworker named Henry MacDowell killed his co-worker, Jim Crowley in a drunken fight. He was sentenced to life in an asylum, but escaped, never to be seen again.

On November 12, 1945, 75 year old Middie Rivers led four hunters onto the mountain on an unseasonably mild day. When the group was returning to camp, near Long Trail Road and Route 9, Rivers got ahead of the others and was never seen again. Police and many volunteers searched the area for the experienced woodsman but never found him. The only clue was a single bullet which his friends speculated fell out of his belt when Rivers took a drink of water.

A little over a year later, on December 1, 1946, an 18 year old sophomore at Bennington College vanished without a trace. Paula Welden hitched a ride to the Long Trail to take a day hike. Several witnesses confirmed seeing her on the trail after she hitched the ride, but when she did not return to school, a search team scoured the area. Despite a 5,000 dollar reward and help from the FBI, Paula Welden was never seen again. Two unconfirmed rumors circulate about her whereabouts. Some say Paula arranged her disappearance and moved to Canada with a lover; while others speculate she still lives a reclusive life on the mountain.

Three years to the day after Paula Welden's disappearance, a James E. Tetford vanished. Tetford boarded a bus in St. Albans after visiting relatives. He never got off the bus at the Bennington Soldiers Home where he lived. His presence on the bus was confirmed at the stop before Bennington, buthe was not on the bus when it reached Bennington. None of the passengers, including the driver, had any idea what happened to him.

On October 12, 1950, 8-year old Paul Jepson became another victim of the Bennington "black hole". His parents were caretakers for a dump. His mother was tending to some pigs, leaving Paul unattended for no more than an hour, only to find him gone...without a trace. According to Paul's father, the boy had a strange "yen" to go into the mountains. Although Paul was wearing a red jacket, which would have made him more visible, intensive search parties found nothing. Blood hounds traced his scent to a highway and suddenly lost it, suggesting that Paul was picked up, or maybe vanished into thin air.

Two weeks later on October 28, Freida Langer was hiking with her cousin Herbert Elsner. After falling in a stream, Freida told her cousin to wait there while she ran a half mile back to camp to change clothes. When she didn't return, Elsner went back to camp only to discover that she had never arrived, and nobody saw her leave the woods. Freida knew the area well and was unlikely to get lost, especially since it was still broad daylight. Search teams scoured the area on foot, by plane, and hellicopter finding nothing. Another search on November 5 and 7 turned up nothing at all. And on November 11 and 12, 300 military, police, firemen, sportsmen, and volunteers also came up emptyhanded. On May 12, 1951, Langer's body did turn up, in an open area where she would not have been missed during the search. The cause of death was unknown.

A 13-year-old boy named Melvin Hills disappeared in the Bennington area around October 11, 1942, and in 1949, three hunters mysteriously vanished as well in the Glastenbury area.

The disappearences stopped after 1950, and to my knowlege, no one else has vanished in the area since then.

Many theories attempt to explain the strange phenomenon of the Glastenbury area vanishings. One paranormal-based theory speculates that their are interdimensional horizons in which people step into, leaving this world. Some speculated that they were abducted by aliens, while others suggest the Bennington Monster (a large creature said to lurk in the woods of the area) carried them off. Another, more logical theory is that perhaps a serial killer was responsible. However, their was no pattern to the killings. Serial killers usually target a certain type of individual, and the Bennington victims ranged in sex and age. The only pattern was that all disappearences occured during the months of October, November, and December. And one final theory, but no closer to an answer, is that perhaps the victims fell into abandoned wells.

Despite these many disappearances, many people including camp owner Larry Lauzon, who appeared in a Burlington Free Press article, says he spends much time in the Glastenbury wilderness and has yet to encounter anything strange. Whatever happened to the 9 or 10 people who vanished in the wilderness is still a mystery.


"Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls & Unsolved Mysteries" by Joe Citro
"Into Thin Air" by Paul Begg
The Burlington Free Press

Encounters With Green Children

There are two different yet similar reports of strange green-skinned children found abandoned near villages in Europe. The first account dates back to the 12th century near Suffolk, England.

Local farmers found a boy and a girl weeping in a field. They brought the children to the home of Sir Richard de Calne in the village of Woolpit.

The children spoke no English and refused to eat food. They both wore oddly-coloured clothing of unknown materials. Eventually they began to eat beans exclusively after going without food for several days, but only after they were shown how to open the stalks.

Both children were soon baptized. The boy grew weak shortly after and eventually died. The girl survived, learned to speak English, and eat other food. Her skin turned to a normal color.

When asked about her origins, the girl described a place with no sun where all the inhabitants were of green color. She claimed that she and the boy were separated from their people as they wandered in a large cavern and, upon exiting, were "struck sensless by the excessive light of the sun and the unusual temperature of the air." A separate recorded account states that the girl said she came from a place called St. Martin's Land where the people were all Christian.

Despite the bizarre accounts of the children's origins, some suggest that the children were lost and had wandered from the nearby village of Fordham St. Martin. Malnourishment gave their skin a greenish color.

The second account of green children comes from Banjos, Spain in August of 1887. A boy and a girl of greenish colour were found abandoned near a cave. They did not speak Spanish and wore unfamiliar clothing. Their eyes were described as Oriental in appearance.

As with the first account from England, both children refused to eat at first. The boy grew weak and died, but the girl survived, learned Spanish, and explained that she and her companion came from a sunless land. The account differes from the first as the girl was reported to have claimed they had been caught up in a whirlwind and found themselves in the cave. The girl died in 1892.

Neither of these reports describe any other strange activity in the area such as UFOs. The children's true origins were never discovered. While some suggest the green children were aliens from another world or dimension, the rational explanation would be that the children were lost and undernourished. In any case, these events still remain a mystery. What is odd is that both accounts, although happening hundreds of years appart, are strikingly similar. Perhaps they are a retelling of the same story.





John Lennon's Face Appears On Gate Post

Keith Andrews of Wavertree, Liverpool (England) was one of the first people to notice a strange simulacrum of John Lennon's face on a stone gatepost in Newcastle Road - the road where John Lennon was born in 1940. The gatepost was being stripped of its 40-year-layer of paint when the image of the trademark NHS specs and the face were uncovered. John Lennon's birthplace is less than 50 yards from the post. Mr Andrews, 61, was a childhood friend of the murdered Beatle, and often visited John's home at Number 9 Newcastle Road.


Astrology vs. Astromancy

Astrology was once part of astronomy, with astrology being the practical use of the data given by astronomers. Several hundred years ago, the 2 fields split. Studies have shown that now days, those who practice astronomy know very little about astrology, and vice versa. Astronomers consider astrology a superstitious myth, using todays definition of the word, when in fact, the 2 sciences coincide more than one might think. Astrology is not, and was never meant to be, a device for fortune telling. So what is the correct term to use for palm reading, tarot, and the idea that the stars tell the future? Little known today, astromancy is the belief that an individual's destiny can be determined by reading a star chart. Astrology can only predict trends and probabilities, usually promoting the idea that the person has the ability to change their path. Astromancy enforces these predictions as destiny or fate, unchangeable by will or action.


Alps and Mares

The alp is a demonic being which presses upon sleeping people so that they cannot utter a sound. These attacks are called Alpdrücke (nightmares).

The mare in nightmare is not a female horse, but a mara, an Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse term for a demon that sat on sleepers' chests, causing them to have bad dreams.

Dialect variants, as explained below, include the forms mara, mahr, mahrt, mårt, and others.

In High German, the demon who causes bad dreams is most often called an Alp, a word that is etymologically related to elf.

A mare-induced bad dream is called a nightmare in English, martröð (mare-ride) in Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic, mareridt (mare-ride) in Danish, mareritt (mare-ride) in Norwegian, and Alpdruck (alp-pressure) or Alptraum (alp-dream) in German.

A trud or an alp often travels a great distance to make his nighttime visits.


 Raven"Like the sad-presaging raven that tolls the sick man's passport in her hollow beak. And in the shadow of the silent night Doth shake contagion from her sable wing." -- Christopher Marlow, "The Jew of Malta"

Crows, ravens, magpies and other birds of the Corvidae family have played a significant role in the folklore, superstition, and mythology of humankind. Native American cultures believed in Raven the Great Trickster; a mischievious being that was said to have created people and aided their survival. In Europe, the birds had a darker association, seen as malevolent harbingers of impending doom or messagers of Satan.

Prophetic Birds:

It is believed that among the early Celtic people, ravens, crows, and magpies were seen as ominous creatures that foretold things to come. Crow (or magpie) augury was and is still practiced in the UK. According to the number of birds seen, they predicted everything from a new birth, prosperity, or death. In Scotland, a raven circling a house foretold a death in the family. In Wales, however, a raven perched on a house brought prosperty to those living within. The prophetic abilities of the raven were believed in Arab countries as well where the dark bird is called Abu Zajir or "Father of Omens".

Supernatural Birds:

In Norse mythology, the god Odin kept two ravens, Hugnin (Thought) and Munin (Memory). The ravens would fly throughout the world and return to Odin informing him of everything that happened.

In North American, the native people of the Pacific Northwest credited the Raven with the creation of humankind; and said that Raven brought them fire and created salmon for them to eat. Raven the Great Trickster was a mischievious entity and was associated with humor and the love of life.

In Celtic mythology, the goddess(es), Morrigan, would take the form of a raven during battle and lead those on her side to a savage victory. When the fighting finished she would descend to feed upon the dead.

Superstition of Corvids:

There are a number of superstitions involving ravens, crows, and magpies. Among the many sayings that associate corvids with evil, Satan, and general ill luck is a superstition that is practiced even to this day in England. It is tradition to keep ravens at the Tower of London for it is said that if the ravens ever leave, the tower will crumble and England with it. In fact, the flight feathers of the ravens have been clipped to prevent them from flying away and testing the truthfulnes of the legend.




Gentics determine what traits will be passed down through a family line. Hair color, eye color, height and weight are all determined by the DNA and are transferred from parent to child. Certain medical conditions and allergies can also be hereditary. With so much of our own genetic make up coming from our parents, the question has been asked:


Can one’s sensitivity to paranormal events also be transferred through DNA?


Prism Paranormal Investigators, a paranormal investigation team, recently produced a survey asking why people think some are more sensitive to the paranormal than others. Their results showed 26% of the responses indicating that they believed paranormal sensitivity is passed down from the parent to the child. Shaman legends indicate that the abilities are passed down from generation to generation, usually through the male gene. Likewise, the ancient witches and druids believed their children would also possess the powers they possessed.

Another question raised by these findings is, why does it appear that women experience more paranormal phenomena than males? It is not that men cannot experience the unknown, but it less common. Some people believe that women are generally more sensitive to feelings and emotions than men, and therefore are more apt to know when something is wrong. Intuition and the "mother’s instincts" already exist very strongly in the female make up, so therefore, women have a heightened sensivity toward paranormal occurances. Others believe that males and females all have the ability to experience these occurances, but women tend to use the part of the brain where this ability lies more than men do.



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Theresa F. Koch