April 26, 2017

Invited abroad together with Dracula's Mistress

Hi everyone! 
Here is a beautiful spring day. Even warmer than normal. I can't believe that, at the end of the previous week, we had high winds, snow and even frost.
I have great news. For me, at least. Dracula's Prodigy is released tomorrow. Isn't it great? I have no links for the moment, so...
But my post today is about my being a guest together with Dracula's Mistress, abroad. yes, virtually, of course. Sally Cronin, invited me at her amazing blog

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-draculas-mistress-by-carmen-stefanescu/ 


If you'd like to click the link, stop by Sally's blog and leave a comment and share on your social accounts, I'd be grateful.

Thank you in advance for your kindness!

April 23, 2017

William Shakespeare's Day



“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.”
“In time we hate that which we often fear.”
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
“The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.”
“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

April 18, 2017

Oddities - Ghost Solving Death Mystery Receives Monument



 
Those of you who read my novel Till Life Do Us Part know that Barbara, the main character in this paranormal mystery,  can hear voices of the dead people. They tell her how they died and she is able to help the police solving some case. 




Well, what I am sharing with you today is not fiction. It really happened in west Virginia, on January 23, 1897.

24 years old   Zona Heaster Shue is found dead in her own house.
She is buried, though witnesses do notice her head flopping around limply when she is moved. Cause of death? “Everlasting faint,” and  “complications from pregnancy,” according to the local doctor who also acts as coroner. The doctor tried to examine the victim, but the violent protestations of Shue, her husband of three months,  kept him from doing much more than glancing at her.

After praying every day for a month, Zona’s mother, has a dream. Zona’s  ghost confesses to her  that Shue cruelly abused her, and one night attacked her in a rage because she hadn’t made any meat for his dinner. He broke her neck, the ghost says, and it turns its head completely around to show her mother what happened. Then the ghost turns and walks away, disappearing into the night while staring back at her mother.
Armed with this information, Zona’s mother goes to the local prosecutor, Mr. Preston, and demands him to open an investigation. She is persistent and convincing enough  so  that he begins asking questions around town.
Shue’s neighbors and friends tell the prosecutor about the man’s strange behavior at the funeral. They say that Shue paced by the casket, fiddling with Zona’s head and neck. In addition to the collar and the veil, he covered her head and neck with a scarf. It didn’t match her burial dress, but Shue insisted that it was her favorite and that she would have wanted to be buried in it. He also propped her head up, first with a pillow and then a rolled up cloth.
Dr. Knapp  also admits,  at last, that his examination was incomplete.
An autopsy is done.   
A local newspaper, The Pocahontas Times reports that, “On the throat were the marks of fingers indicating that she was strangled; that the neck was dislocated between the first and second vertebrae. The ligaments were torn and ruptured. The windpipe had been crushed at a point in front of the neck.”
It is clear the young woman’s death was not natural, but there is no evidence pointing to the killer, and no witnesses. 
Shue’s strange behavior since his wife’s  death stuck in the prosecutor’s mind and cast some suspicion on him.
The prosecutor continues to investigate and begins looking into Shue’s past. He learns that Shue was married twice before. The first ended in divorce while Shue was in prison for stealing a horse. That wife later told police that Shue was extremely violent and beat her frequently while they were married. His second marriage ended after just eight months with the mysterious death of the wife. In between these marriages, Shue boasted in prison that he planned to marry seven women in his lifetime. The previous wife’s mysterious death and Shue’s history of abuse were circumstantial, but enough for Preston to bring him to trial.

Mary Jane, Zona's  mother is the prosecution’s star witness, with what the ghost revealed her.  Many people in the community, if not the jury, believe Heaster’s story, and Shue does himself no favors taking the stand in his own defense, rambling and appealing to the jury “to look into his face and then say if he was guilty.” The Greenbrier Independent reports that his “testimony, manner, and so forth, made an unfavorable impression on the spectators.” The jury deliberate for just an hour and ten minutes before returning a guilty verdict.

Shue is sentenced to life in prison, but dies soon after as epidemics of measles and pneumonia tore through the prison in the spring of 1900. 
Mrs. Heaster lived until 1916, and never recanted her story about Elva’s ghost. Maybe Mrs. Heaster's story story swayed the jury and won the case. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe her daughter spoke to her from beyond the grave, maybe the ghost was all in Heaster’s head, or maybe it was a strategic lie. But no matter who saw or believed what, without the ghost story, Heaster may have never gone to Preston, and Shue might not have gone to trial.
What strikes as unusual is the fact that the state erected a monument in remembrance of the ghost who solved the death mystery! 




April 11, 2017

Oddities - The Eaten Heart Legend



         Do you remember the ancient Greek myth according to which Dionysus was dismembered and pieces of his body boiled in a cauldron and then pierced with spits and roasted?  Those who did such an abominable thing were the Titans. Luckily, he was later reborn from the one organ they didn’t consume, his heart.
Well today I bring you a story that was told over and over again-  the legend of the Eaten Heart.  Scholars collected about 24 distinct versions of this story. For many years, it was thought that this story came from Europe. Most of the versions came from European literary traditions in England, Germany, France, and Italy. There was also one Swedish version. 
In the 1880s, a scholar found a version of the story that included all the key elements in the Punjab district of India, and everyone studying this story had to scramble to account for that. Was the Indian version derivative of the European versions, or vice versa? No one place could definitely lay claim to this story—it’s just a classic.
Some even go as far as to consider it as an aside in the story of Tristan and Iseult. It happened during the Middle Ages, in Europe. In the most basic version of this story, a married woman takes a lover, and her husband finds out. When the lover dies or is killed, the husband takes possession of his heart, cooks it, and feeds it to his wife, who dies shortly after.

 Vessel in the form of a heart held by a hand; 16th century Wellcome;Wkimedia

There are two main variations, dealing with how the lover dies. In one version, the husband tracks down the lover and kills him. In the second, the lover dies some other way, usually when he goes off to the Crusades. He wants his heart removed and sent back to his lady love, (this was a popular gesture at the time), but while the heart is en route, the husband intercepts it. No matter what, the wife eats the heart. That’s a key bit. She almost always dies after that, usually by throwing herself out the window or refusing to eat, sometimes both. Occasionally she dies of grief. When she survives, which is rarely, she ends up in a convent. Although she’s always in love with the dead man, in some versions of the story, her love is innocent and never consummated. More often, though, she’s an unrepentant adulteress.
Besides being a thrilling tale about a woman or women being tricked into cannibalism, the legend of the eaten heart is a story about power. Who wins in the end, the husband or the wife? Different versions have different answers to that question: sometimes the husband is explicitly punished for his transgressive act by a vengeful relative of his wife or by being exiled from his home.

March 21, 2017

Oddities- Out of Place Artifacts.




Have you ever stopped for only one moment and considered  that the world isn’t quite what we think it is? 
Why do I say it? Well, I am fascinated by odd occurrences,  by the so called paranormal- ghosts, haunted places,strange apparitions -  Loch Ness, or the Mothman or even the  controversial UFOs.  They are fascinating. Unlike many of these, that many say are just the figment of imagination of people, there are also tangible, enigmatic artifacts all over the world that in form and construction look pretty modern, though they don’t  fit the geologic or historical timeline. They are ancient, anachronistic artifacts. Hence the name –"ancient anomalies”, or Ooparts. They can be touched, examined but nothing in our present-day knowledge can explain their existence. Can they offer a different view of our world? Could there be more to the history of life on our planet than we currently know about? Welcome to the world of Ooparts, or Out of Place Artifacts.
Here are just a few examples:


Helicopter Hieroglyphs.   The 3,000-year-old hieroglyphs found in Seti I's temple in Abydos, Egypt, depict nothing less than a helicopter, plane and futuristic aircraft among the usual insects, symbols and snakes. One popular myth is that the "advanced race" who bought details of futuristic technology to the Egyptians, were visitors from a far-flung highly advanced planet, to share their knowledge with the primitive communities on Earth.
The ancient aliens conspiracy theory claims the extraterrestrials were the ones behind the development of the pyramids, Stonehenge and other world famous monuments.

Ancient nanotechnology. In 1991-1993, gold prospectors on the Narada river on the eastern side of the Ural mountains in Russia found unusual, mostly spiral-shaped objects, the smallest measuring about 1/10,000th of an inch! The objects are composed of copper and the rare metals tungsten and molybdenum. Tests showed the objects to be between 20,000 and 318,000 years old.
Aiud Aluminum Artifact.  Romania has its share of Oooparts, too. In 1974 , workers digging a trench along the Mures River discovered a couple of mastodon bones and an enigmatic object, over which scientists have puzzled ever since.
This 5-pound, 8-inch long object of solid, nearly pure aluminum, clearly
manufactured and not a natural formation was sent for analysis and was found to be composed of 89 percent aluminum with traces of copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, nickel, and other elements. Aluminum in this form is not found free in nature, but must be manufactured and wasn't produced in quantity until the 1800s.
If it is the same age as the mastodon bones, that would make it at lease 11,000 years old, when the last of that species went extinct. An analysis of the oxidized layer coating the artifact dated it to 300 to 400 years old -- still well before the known time when aluminum manufacturing process was invented.
So who made this object? And what was it used for? There are those who are quick, of course, to suggest it is of extraterrestrial origin... but the facts are at present unknown.
Oddly (or maybe not), the mysterious object has been secreted away somewhere and is not available for public viewing or further analysis.
 

There are dozens of examples of such Ooparts- enough to give the traditional scientific disciplines a shake-up, I would think.