Saturday, December 31, 2011

The darkest night


We were in full swing of Winter 1982-83...several inches of snow blanketed the ground, bitter winds and temperatures that chilled to the bone. The house that we lived in at the time had echoes of troubled lives that had lived there before us...to which I knew a little about...and the house, after we had moved-on...would be one of death...a woman was murdered there a few years later.

One night, after the wood stoves were loaded and the dampers set so that the wood would burn slowly through the night, we settled into bed...the 4 (3 of which were my step-children) oldest children upstairs and my several-months old daughter lay nestled between my husband and I in our bed. Outside the wind howled...it was going to be another cold, cold night.

I know that I fell asleep for a while but something woke me and I had a deep sense of fear building inside me. There wasn't a sound...not outside--the wind was eerily non-existent...not inside--the wood stove should have been making faint crackling sounds. It felt like the everything around me was in a bubble where no sound could escape.

And with there being no sounds...not even that of the breathing of my husband and daughter...which I had reached-over to check that they were breathing...the house was in total darkness. The room was so dark that I couldn't see anything, which was wrong...because there was light always showing from the wood stove and a nightlight in the kitchen.

And still...my fear grew...my chest felt heavy like I couldn't breathe.

I got out of bed, and felt my way around it to the windows, and looked out...and could see nothing. Only more blackness. In my mind, the words "evil" and "Satan" played over and over in my mind...making my fear even more real and tangible.

Something was very wrong...I could see it...but even more, I could sense that there was something evil in that house with us. I was so scared...yet I knew I HAD to do something.

Without turning on any lights, I felt my way to the bedroom closet, quietly opened the door and reached in to the shelves where some of my books were. I grabbed a book, one that I didn't know well, but knew by feel alone...and took it out into the kitchen after shutting the bedroom door behind me.

I turned on the light above our kitchen table, and opened the Bible, working my way through it until I found the right verse: Psalm 23. I never ever once thought that I would have to read this verse in the way that I did that night...but I am glad that I knew it enough to know what and where it was in the Bible.

 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I can't tell you how long I sat there reading that verse over and over and over again...but I know it was a long time. Hours. And although I am not generally a religious person, I prayed as well, that God protect us from whatever evil it was that had come into the house that night.

Sometime, not long before dawn, I felt that presence leave...and the normal sounds of our household returned...the wood hissing and crackling in the stove and the sounds of the the night outside...the seemingly never-ending howling of the wind. 

And I felt at peace...my fear had left too.

This was my first brush with pure evil...and the Ouija board was my second. Evil does exit...I have met it...twice. 

 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

From the spirit world...my Ouija board experience


My  introduction into the spirit world came early in my childhood...I had always been somewhat intuitive...but it was when I was 13 that it really kicked-in (another story for another time)...and from that point on, I developed an interest in the supernatural. However, it's remained an interest in learning about, but not dabbling in. Not until I was introduced to the Ouija board in the mid-80s. 

I don't recall how we came to having the Ouija board other than someone had given it to one of the kids, but I had already had a vague feeling that it was not "just a game" and decided not to let the kids touch it. During a conversation with a neighbor lady, I had mentioned it and she wanted me to bring it out, she said that she had used one before and that it was fun...and harmless.

I have always been a skeptic...and this time was no different. As we placed our finger-tips on the planchette, she began asking it random, generic questions...similar to 'am I ever going to be rich', etc. The planchette began spelling out words, and I felt like she was deliberately moving the planchette...so I wasn't satisfied with the way the session went. Maybe I was a little disappointed, who knows!

Later that evening, I decided to brave the unknown and took the Ouija board up into my bedroom and shut the door to keep the kids and the husband out...I wanted complete quiet and privacy to do my 'test' on the board.

With candle lit and the room somewhat darkened, I began...first asking it my own generic questions: 'will I ever author a book?', and a few more in which the answers always came back as a "yes".

Then the planchette started moving on its own under my finger-tips...and began to spell out the words "help me", "help me". By now, cold chills were coursing through my body, and goosebumps covered my skin.

I asked the board if it was my mother...to which it spelled out "no". I asked the board who it was then, and it began spelling out a name...something very similar to "IROD". Then the planchette started moving again spelling out "help me" a couple of more times before I asked who it was. It replied with "spirit".

That did it, I shoved the board and the planchette back into the box, blew out the candle and ran back downstairs to be with my family. I asked my husband the next day to burn the board...and he tried. It wouldn't burn. He left it in the smoldering fire barrel and we pretty much forgot about it for a couple of days.

I happened to go into the dining room closet and there on the shelf, sat the Ouija board...in the box...and there wasn't a burn mark on it! I was so frightened! 

This was too much for me to understand or cope with...so I placed it in a garbage bag and we got rid of the thing that way. It never materialized again...thankfully.

I did a quick search on the web to see what I could find regarding the name "Irod" and I found the reference to a demon in Slavic mythology called initially "Chort", but who was also known in the Ukraine as "Irod".
In folk Christianity, he is known as a minion of Satan.
Coincidence?   I don't think so...I really feel that had I not stopped when I did, I would have opened a gate to a place of great evil.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ouija board..."just" a game?

Parker Brothers Ouija Board game
planchette

I had an interesting conversation today with a friend on Facebook...talking about the Ouija board and why it has never been pulled from the store shelves because of public outcry over the dangers/possible mental and emotional trauma that these so-called "just games" can create...especially with children. One has to wonder what parent would be willing to buy a game with such a negative history (and stigma) for their child. (For that matter, what adult would chose to mess with something that is often-times dark?)

Some form of the Ouija board (or spirit/fire key board or talking board) has been around since 1100 CE, in historical documents of the Song Dynasty in China. According to Wikipedia
Following its commercial introduction by businessman Elijah Bond on July 1, 1890, the Ouija board was regarded as a harmless parlor game unrelated to the occult until American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I.
And it seems that from that point on, it's been all downhill with the reputation of this 'game'!

While it's said that there have been scientific studies done that claim that the Ouija board is harmless, and that the movement of the planchette is "explained by unconscious movements of those controlling the pointer, a psychophysiological phenomenon known as the ideomotor effect": where-in a person sometimes "reacts reflexively to ideas alone without the person consciously deciding to take action". (Yet try to find such a study online!)

What I did find interesting while doing some research on the Ouija board, there are hundreds of websites that have frightening stories and warnings not to use them. Amongst those, are a few sites that are Christian oriented, such as  ChristianCourier.com. In their article titled: What About the Ouija Board?, the author cites a couple of Bible verses that show that it goes against God's teachings, as contact with the dead is "futile".

Yet there are many, many more people out there, who will tell you that the Ouija board does communicate with not only the dead, but spirits that are/can be evil in intent...that using the board is much the same as opening a gateway to an astral plain better left alone.

About.com has an article: Is the Ouija board dangerous? and it states in it that:  
These spirits are often very confused and may have died a violent or sudden death; murder, suicide, etc. Therefore, many violent, negative and potentially dangerous conditions are present to those using the board. Often times several spirits will attempt to come through at the same time but the real danger lies when you ask for physical proof of their existence! You might say, 'Well, if you're really a spirit, then put out this light or move that object!' What you have just done is simple, you have 'opened a doorway' and allowed them to enter into the physical world and future problems can and often do arise."
Another warning comes from Our Ultimate Reality that expounds on the fact that the Ouija board is NOT just another board game...that there are very real dangers associated with its use. The last two paragraphs of the article: The Ouija board and its hidden dangers couldn't have been stated better: 
...the use of a Ouija board should be strongly discouraged. Due to the nature of the way this instrument functions it is much more likely to attract malevolent low-level Astral entities than well-meaning or even helpful inner-level beings. Those who do attract lower level beings ultimately stand a very high chance indeed of suffering possession and/or serious mental illness, both of which would be nearly impossible to overcome by modern medical means. The only solution to such a serious situation involving inter-dimensional forces would be an exorcism carried out by a highly experienced practitioner of which there are very few living today.

The most sensible solution therefore is to resist any such temptations completely, leaving the Ouija board and similar instruments such as a tumbler with playing cards and automatic writing very well alone for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.
Wise words, indeed.

Yet the biggest question of all...why are Ouija boards still sold...knowing all that we do about them? Even though they are no longer as popular as they once were (thankfully--they faded out after the 1970s pretty much) but the fact remains...they still can be found for purchase. 

If you are a concerned parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend...whatever, speak out against this so called 'game'! There is no productive purpose in having one...especially in a home where there are children. This piece of cardboard is akin to a loaded gun...no good can come from having one around!

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

In the blink of an eye...

Remainder of Christmas
This time of year really seems to stress everyone out...hurrying to buy gifts, making sure that all the groceries are bought for that perfect Christmas meal; the wrapping of gifts and decorating the tree and the house...it's no wonder that people get depressed or have bouts of anxiety. I know I do. For me, the pressure builds and builds...as I have said before, I always want to do more for my kids and grandchildren, yet I also know that there is only so much that my finances allow. 

I really thought this holiday season would bog me down mentally and emotionally since this is the first year that I have not celebrated Thanksgiving or Christmas with at least one of my kids and their children. However, I was surprised that I wasn't...I was sad and did miss not being with them when they got up Christmas morning to open their presents, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared it would be.

It always amazes me though that we all got through this business of getting all hyped-up, stressed-out, and depressed because of the anticipation of Christmas, then within 20 or 30 minutes, after the last gift is open, the day is essentially over...save for the meals and the company that may come or the traveling one may have to do.

I sat writing to my son this morning and stated the same...but also wondered how this holiday has become so commercialized that I had to ask him how many people still celebrate the day as it was meant to be. 

A kind of sadness enveloped me because I can remember the days when Christmas was the celebration of Jesus' birth...and not just a day to get presents for no reason in particular. Although I am not religious per se, I was raised in a religious household, so know the importance that this holiday is supposed to mean. And I do still link the holiday to the true meaning of Christmas. 

So Christmas has come and gone in a blink of an eye ...and now we look forward to the first of a new year. 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas (I did!) and may 2012 be a better year for us all!


Thanks for reading!

 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paper dolls

one kind of paper dolls I had as a child
It's sometimes very strange to me to find that I can remember stuff from when I was a little girl...some 50+ years ago, and it's even stranger still that those memories still give me a sense of fondness...and loss.

What spurred this particular memory, I can't say, but I know that the other day I was thinking about how much things have changed over the years. So many of the toys that I cherished as a child have come and gone...or been revamped and modernized so that they no longer look the same or even work the same.

Such is the case with paper dolls. I can remember being in love with these things...probably as much as I would eventually love my first Barbie doll! 

I remember sitting and playing with my paper dolls for hours on end. They were such a curious fascination for me...heavy cardboard dolls with little stands, clothing made out of a glossy but somewhat stiff paper...and then being able to simply change the outfit to create a different look or fulfill a different play that I was acting out in my mind.

As I grew, so did these dolls in looks and accessories. Some had belts, shoes, purses, hats and even jewelry that could be added to complete an outfit.

As I grew, the paper dolls evolved into women, not unlike these
I can't remember how old I was when I quit playing with the paper dolls but I know that I did hang onto them for years. Perhaps I decided to throw them away when I hit my teens and other interests took hold...but looking back, I have to feel sad for what once a cherished play thing.

Today, a majority of little girls aren't even aware that there was...or is...such a thing, and even if they knew, something tells me that they would rather play with something that's made of plastic or metal and three dimensional, then something like the paper dolls. 

Out of curiosity, I did do an online search and found that a few have been updated...including many different animals that you can dress-up. Still in all...it's just not something that many girls would even care to play with for more than a few moments, I'm sure.




Paper dolls. Such simple pleasures!

What do you remember....?


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Pre-Christmas Gift


I had a phone call this morning, one that I didn't quite expect. My daughter called and asked if I would like to come and stay a few days...she is coming this way tomorrow to go upstate to visit family, and on her way back through would swing by and pick me up.

At first I was hesitant...and it wasn't because I didn't want to go, but rather I know that I am needed here too...my brother and niece have come to depend on me. I replied that I would talk to my brother...not for permission, of course, but to see if he could do without me for most of the coming week. She said okay and we hung up.

Not two minutes passed and my oldest grand-daughter (9) called me and said "Grandma...will you please come down and stay with us a few days?"  Then my youngest grand-daughter (3-1/2) got on the phone and asked me in her little voice: "Gandma...you come down and be with us?" 

It broke my heart and I knew I couldn't tell them "No".  I have missed my grand-children dearly for the last 3 months...since I moved to Wisconsin and then back to New York. This will be the first time that I have seen them since September 4th.

I think what has been the hardest for me is that I have been with these grandchildren since the day they were all born, as I lived with my daughter for just shy of 10 years. If you have heard of 'co-dependence'...I found out after I moved to WI that I had a severe case of it, yet had been in denial for years. (Which my therapist had suggested time and again and believed, I am sure, this was the reason I wouldn't move out, even during some very stressful times.) But now...this will be for me a very wonderful pre-Christmas gift...time to see and spend 4 days/5 nights with my family...and my grandchildren.  

What more can I ask for?  

(Hopefully, too...I will get the opportunity to see my other 3 grandchildren that I haven't seen in some time...one I haven't seen since last Summer and the other two, I haven't seen in over a year...only in photos.)

I will be gone from tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) until late afternoon Friday...and won't be able to post anything until my return. In the meantime...I'll have camera in hand and where ever I wander...I'll get some photos for another blog when I return!

In the meantime...be well...and thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shawn Campbell's Journey to Justice: Hearing finished

Today, I was at the court hearing of Shawn's that was supposed to be the process of showing that his previous lawyer Bill Kelly was not only ineffective counsel but also that he did not ever once, make Shawn aware of the two letters (from inmate incarcerated at the prison at that time) which were sent to the District Attorney's office forewarning of a "murder for hire" plot that was going around Wende Correctional Facility prior to the murder of Rhonda Bilby in September of 2004.

I am sorry to say that the whole morning seemed to be a waste of time for everyone and that very little was accomplished in Shawn's favor.  I'll explain why...

The first witness called by Shawn's lawyer, Mr. Baxter, was Christopher Lian, an officer with the Steuben County Jail, where Shawn was housed for some time before his case went to trial. The focus of the line of questioning was that a visitors record is kept as to who comes to see a particular inmate at the jail...however, it was learned that there are times that professionals aren't asked to log in because perhaps they are known to the particular guard on duty who essentially lets them through. The purpose here was to refute Shawn's previous lawyer's statement that the had visited Shawn numerous times prior to trial. A fact, which although was not proven in court today, was he had not...and I know this as the lawyer was on the phone with me several times a week prior to trial.

A.D.A. Brooks Baker was called to the stand next, and was questioned about whether there was in fact any DNA evidence found on the instrument that was deemed to be the murder weapon, and he went off on a tangent about technical stuff that most of us don't understand, when a yes or no answer was all that was needed. Eventually, when re-questioned...the answer came back "No" there was no conclusive evidence of DNA belonging to Shawn or Ronda Bilby on the instrument according to the New York State Forensic's Lab.

Next, Shawn was called to the stand...to verify some points regarding the issues of the letters and whether he had knowledge of them before the trial...which we all know that he did not.

The next witness called by the defense, was Shawn's previous lawyer who the hearing is primarily regarding, Mr. Kelly. Throughout this period of questioning by Mr. Baxter, Mr. Kelly repeated his previous testimony that he had hand-delivered copies of the original letters sent to the D.A.'s office regarding the murder for hire plot and that he and the Assistant D.A., Brooks Baker, had a private conference with Shawn to discuss the use of the letters, if Shawn so chose...which is a lie, as no such conference ever took place.  I would have known. (Mr. Kelly had a big mouth then...too eager to put this case behind him a.s.a.p.)

Mr. Baxter was going to put Shawn back on the stand to do a rebuttal on what Mr. Kelly had testified to, but D.A. Tunney objected and Judge Latham agreed with Tunney...so the next witness, and the final one for the day was Joe Valley, Shawn's lawyer that stepped away from the case just a few months ago. 

The line of questioning continued with when he found out about the letters and about some other details regarding the letters themselves...as to the authenticity. Unfortunately, at this point...there were tempers beginning to flare...and just before noon, the judge ordered the two lawyers to submit their closing arguments to him and they only had a week to do it. Court was then adjourned...the hearing is done. The judge will now decide on the matter.

From the moment court went into session...every question either Mr. Baxter asked or started to ask, D.A. Tunny objected to, and the judge sustained. All Mr. Baxter had to do was get one or two words out and Tunney was up and objecting...so by the time that Mr. Valley got on the stand...everyone's tempers were flaring...mine included. (I made the comment to the reporters sitting next to me that this was nothing more than a kangaroo court!  It was so totally absurd!) 

Tunny felt questions were too broad, weren't rebuttal material, had already been brought out in previous court hearings...he had a reason for every objection, whether in fact it was proper law procedure or not. (I can't say because I am not a lawyer.)

Tonight, I have no idea how Shawn must be feeling but in my own opinion, I don't think court went all that well today. I have the distinct impression--call it a gut feeling--that the judge has already decided this hearing...and all the efforts of those involved are nothing more than time wasted. I still believe that the judge should have recused himself when asked to, as well as this moved to another venue outside of this county. It's probably the ONLY way Shawn can get any real justice.

Here is the news clip from tonight:


Thanks for reading!

**Disclaimer:  This is my interpretations of the events in court today...and my opinions (even though I am also voicing the opinions of others in the courtroom today).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A boy named 'Jonah'


A new YouTube video that is going viral is of a young boy, named "Jonah", who is enduring bullying in school. Soon to enter the 8th grade, he says that he has been bullied since he was in the lower elementary grades. 

When I first viewed this video on Facebook last night, there had already been some 800+ views since August 10, 2011 but this morning, the view count is now at 64,610

I can only hope that he has stayed strong and not given-in to the pressures of being bullied. It gives us a good look at what bullying does to a child...