Cockney English; East End London

In my previous article, I spoke about Appalachian English in America’s Appalachian mountainous regions. For this next dialect, I thought I’d take a skip across onto the next continent–namely England, more specifically the East End of London. This specific language is called “English slang”. The first time I heard it was when watching Only Fools and Horses with my mother. She loves that show and now I’m addicted, too.

Alot of this language’s expressions and vocabulary have now become a part of the language. In fact creating new phrases is no longer something only Cockney speaking people do. Before you think Britain was the only country to have this influence. Right up until the 20th century, this particular slang was used in Australia, too. Due to the almost code-like manner of this dialect, people used to think that it was used by salesman or criminals to convey secret messages. Some even held that it was a community’s way of discriminating from outsiders.

In Cockney rhyming slang words are replaced by phrases that rhyme with the words. For example the phrase “Adam and Eve” refers to “believe” and “plates of meat” refers to “feet”. In Cockney rhyming slang there is no hard and fast rule with this dialect. Words can be phrases or they may be shortened (e.g. bottle & glass/plaster). As an outsider, this will make it incredibly difficult to learn this dialect of English. This version of English is mostly spoken by working class Londoners. Cockney speaking people are born within hearing distance of the bells of St. Mary-le Bow in Cheapside, London.

The word “Cockney” is derived from the Middle English word “cockenay” or “cockeney” in the 14th century where this referred to “cocks’ egg”, “milkshop” or “cockered child” meaning a spoilt or pampered child. There are 150 terms often referred to as “Argot” or some type of coded language. As I mentioned above, this coded language would make it awfully difficult to understand and thus was the perfect language for communicating something in confidence with another person. If you were to look into these phrases you would see that a lot of them have their roots in history and this seems to strongly influence the various phrases. Instead of some covert criminal language, these phrases have become innocent nicknames. In the 1950s many working-class Londoners would use this language, changing it as they pleased. This vocabulary has become a reflection of pop-culture (TV shows such as Faulty Towers and Only Fools and Horses). However the arrival of rap/hip-hop/text messaging/young slang have become a threat to this now-dying language. In an effort to save it, Museum London has launched a campaign by which they teach East End Londoners to speak it and have now begun to recognize it, out of the 100+ languages in England, to recognize it as an official dialect. Thereby saving this beautiful and fun dialect.

If you ever get the urge to learn some Cockeny Rhyming Slang, I have attached a link below. I have printed this out myself and keep it in my notes. Some of these phrases and words are wonderful. Please, if you get time, take a look there will be no regrets. Also, if you are Cockney, please please PLEASE DM me on Instagram or even get a hold of me on Twitter. I love your dialect.

https://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/usage/slang_cockney.html

God bless everyone, stay safe

Appalachian (Appa-lach-ian) English

The Appalachian Mountain Region. Home of Appalachian English.

In the eastern United States is a version of English native only to the Appalachian mountain region. Stretching from Alabama to Canada, this language is spoken in parts of Georgia, North & South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Their language is rather unique and has been described as sounding like singing. With a rich vocabulary using words such as “tote” in place of “carry” and “poke” as opposed to “bag”. Some have even referred to this dialect of English as “hillbilly talk” because of the nature of it’s song-like characteristics.

So, where did this dialect originate? The answer is rather surprising, although given the nation the Appalachians find themselves in is quite the melting pot, it really shouldn’t. Also, the fact that the Appalachians (Appa-lach-ians as they call themselves) have a tendency to make up their own words makes it even harder to recognize. However, in truth, the dialect originates from the Scots-Irish that inhabited that area centuries before as they brought their version of English over from Europe. Their descendants are now the Appalachians living in towns such as Graham County continuing to advance and evolve the Appalachians’ English.

It’s really interesting to see what words they have invented. Words such as “si’gogglin'”meaning “not straight/bent”. My favourite has got to be “gaum” meaning “cluttered”. Sometimes where I work, I feel like it’s too “gaum”. I love that word. Other words and their definitions include:

  • “fler” meaning flour
  • “airish” meaning chilly
  • “dope” meaning soda-pop
  • “boomer” meaning a noisy creature–squirrel/wharf-rat
  • “scald” meaning that farming land is infertile (dead land)

Appalachian English is one of the oldest varieties of English. The preservation of this ancient dialect is due to its isolation in the Appalachian mountains. It is the most ancient and protected dialects in America. This ancient English is actually believed to be a remnant of Elizabethan English. Phrases such as “afeared” and “might could/might be able to” are remnants of 17th & 18th century English. This further adds credibility to these claims. Appalachian English is said to be one of the purest spoken forms of English.

One of the most ancient dialects of the English language, Appalachian English is an accent that is hard to lose. Just like the accent, the people who leave the Appalachian region soon find themselves coming back looking for that feeling of home that the only Appalachians can provide.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a link for an Appalachian dictionary. Although I doubt it would’ve been much help, especially with them making changes to the language all the time. Still, I was looking forward to finding one for myself. For now there are dozens of videos on Appalachians and their hometowns. Check them out if you want more of this wonderful dialect.

God bless you all, my precious avidReaders. 🧐

A Great Melting Pot

I think it is fair to say that at some point or other we’ve all heard someone with an accent. I can personally testify to hearing people with all kinds of accents. I, myself, develop an accent when I try to speak Afrikaans. When South Africans go across to any other country they have an accent, whereas at home they do not have one.

I am going to be starting a brief series around the origins of certain accents and what influenced them.

Living in certain communities can influence your accent. For example, people that live isolated from the rest of the world can develop their own way of speaking; sometimes even better than the current inhabitants of whatever country they are living in. Accents also depended on where they were in the social hierarchy. Children who were offered a higher standard of education, would’ve spoken better than those that had no education. More often than not, the peasants or serfs spoke a ruder dialect than the upper-class lords and ladies. In the colonial period it was not uncommon to send your children to university or boarding school causing them to mix with the children of the same higher standard.

Nowadays with people being so spread all over the world you can have people from every country learning to live and speak as the inhabitants of the countries they immigrated to. These people would also develop an accent from their chosen countries as they would be forced to adapt to their chosen country. As well as developing an accent from these countries, in the beginning while they learn they would take their own accent with them. An example of this is in Africa, where multiple tribes and peoples all live together on one continent and as people would immigrate to towards all their chosen countries they would bring their home accents with them. In South Africa, we have people from all over bringing their accents with them and as they would try to speak English or even Afrikaans there would be a definite accent. Even people from mainly English areas as they learn to speak Afrikaans or even Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho would develop an accent learning those languages. As I learn different languages, I can hear my dominant English accent seeping through. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this as they would try to learn new languages. As much as they adopt the accent from their immigrated countries, they can never lose their home accent it will always be there even if in a mild capacity.

Another huge influencer of accents is the culture of the individual. The Celts have their own origins in Gaelic and while some speak English, the accent of their culture will always seep through. The English are a great example of how different countries speak the same language, but with varied accents. The Americans, South Africans and British all speak English only with their twist on it. I was in a school where we were taught an American curriculum. We used to laugh. Joking that if we started to argue we’d switch over to the American accent. Being raised a specific way and being taught a specific way can also influence how you speak. If you speak Afrikaans and move over to English, your accent comes with you. Every country has turned into a great melting pot and because of this you will find French, English, Belgian, African, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and so many more in every culture even the English we speak was influenced by the ancient languages and traces of it remain.

One thing that can influence an accent and how people respond is more often than not being misunderstood or labeled an “outsider”. Honestly, I find any accent charming. To me it’s gorgeous and full of uniqueness. People come from all over and bring with them cultures and beliefs. Afterall, aren’t we a world of different nations all blended together. We all came from the same people and have spread out and developed our own cultures from there. I sound different to you, but don’t we all?

I hope you enjoy this new series as I explore the origins of all the different accents. God bless you and stay safe, my precious avidReaders

The Greatest Pranksters

Given it was April Fools’ Day a week or two back, I was wondering about the first prank. Who did it? Where did they do it and what was it?

In the year 1582, France decided to adopt the Gregorian calendar which set the date of the New Year to January 1st. Up until then New Year’s day was always April 1st. The people who didn’t know that and still celebrated in April were considered fools and thus were the butt of a lot of jokes. This gave them the title “April Fools” and so began a long tradition of pranking “fools” every April. Some historians believe that the first prank started in France in this same year.

First Pranks

We go all the way back to Rome, specifically the reign of the emperor Elagabulus (c. 218-222). Known as one of the originator of the famed whoopee cushion, this emperor also had a penchant for leaving tamed wild animals such as lions, bears and leopards in the room of his sleeping, drunken guests. He also had a tendency to release snakes in public. He found this amusing to the terror of anyone who was unfortunate to be nearby.

Our next story takes us to two feuding neighbours. Anthemius was an architect who was at war with his neighbour. One day he lost it and ended up creating an earthquake machine. What he did was to build several boilers of water under his house. He then proceeded to feed a hose from his house through a tiny hole into his neighbour’s cellar. Whenever he got the inclination, he would start up these boilers and give his neighbour an “earthquake”. This prank was achieved by using massive amounts of steam caused by the boilers.

In the early 15th century what was probably the earliest pranks were done by a monk in England’s Syon Abby. He performed such tricks as making eggs levitate (this was his favourite prank) as well as making apples move on their own by putting bugs in them. He seems like he was the life of that Abby, doesn’t he?

Just over 200 years later, in the year 1740, we meet our next two pranksters. These two men decided to publish a fake newspaper called the English Mercurie which was supposedly published in 1588 (this would’ve made it the oldest newspaper ever published). These two pranksters decided to deliver it as a gift to the British Museum 26 years later where it can still be found and referred to to this day.

Then we come to the year 1810 and a prank that is my personal favourite. Theodore Hook made a bet that he could turn any home into the most talked-about address in London. He then proceeded to do just that. He started in the morning with a delivery of coal, then it became furniture, musical instruments, flowers, bread, fish, wedding cake, gardeners, undertakers and even the Mayor of London! All of this occurred outside the home of Mrs. Tottenham who was ignorant of the whole affair. It caused such a traffic jam, that Hook did, in fact, win his bet.

Pranks That Went Horribly Wrong

There have been many pranks over the years that have gone horribly wrong, such as the high school senior who was accidentally shot dead while participating in an elaborate treasure hunt. Then there were students who decided to put laxatives in a chocolate Bundt cake for their teachers and ended up sending two to the hospital with insecticide poisoning (Dulcolax poisoning). They ofcourse thought it was a huge joke, but I doubt the teachers agreed.

There are a few that fall into the category of pranks that went horribly wrong. Here are a few.

An Icelandic teenager falls into this category. The teenager had somehow managed to get the private phone number for George Bush. In the year 2007, this young man decided to call Bush to ask for a private meeting. The young man, Vilfill, pretended to be the president of Iceland. He managed to get through to Bush’s secretary and she informed him that he should wait for a call from the President, instead he got a house-call from the police and was dragged off to an interrogation room where he was interrogated for hours. He was able to answer all their questions and explained that he only wanted to talk with Bush.

Then we have the story of the two teenagers who covered up a stop sign and ended up accidentally killing two elderly ladies as they drove into the intersection and were hit by a car as they crossed. Both men were arrested and charged with reckless homicide.

Two guys were hanging out with a third friend for Thanksgiving (they were staying in Vermont with him). The one friend fell asleep and, in an hilarious attempt to wake him, fired off an air rifle and fire it off near off his friend. He was shocked to find blood spurting out. Later his friend was pronounced dead on the scene.

Our last tragic prank gone wrong, is a young boy of only 14 years old, who was shot dead in a drive-by for egging the wrong car.

Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with a fun prank between friends, but it’s important that, like in the instance of Elagabulus and his wild animals, sometimes a prank can go too far. It’s always important to remember that safety comes first, otherwise you’ll end up with a dead prankee.

It’s fascinating to note how far back some pranks go. From the very first whoopee cushion to the ultimate prank call, they all have their place.

God bless you all, my darling avidReaders.

Jack the Ripper/The Whitechapel Butcher

Magnifying Glass–Wikipedia

We all know the story of Jack the Ripper. Famed serial prostitute killer. Brutal murderer. Never found or caught. He is famed for being uncaught and even to this day his infamy lives on. There have been plenty of movies and series that have included the famed serial killer. Even famed author Patricia Cornwell has had her say in this world-famous case stating that the post-Impressionist painter Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper, due to a letter found matching his artistic style.

His MO

There have been over a hundred suspects over the years and the list just keeps growing. Ofcourse because of the lack of DNA technology back then there was no way to confirm the identity of someone. There are many who speculate that he lived in or around the Whitechapel district of London as female prostitutes from the East End of London were being murdered. Jack the Ripper, or the Whitechapel Butcher as some called him, had a very specific and gruesome MO(modus operandi/preferred method for murder). His MO was to cut the throats of his victims, mutilate them and then proceeded to remove certain of their internal organs–one such victim had her kidney removed. This is what originally caused the police to suspect a doctor or butcher. Both were soon disproven when they could find no one who was a viable suspect among the slaughter houses or doctors.

Who Did It?

Now that we have a bit more of a background to this famed murderer, let’s take a look at some of the speculation surrounding the murders. I mentioned above that there are a list of suspects that goes over a hundred people. Some of these however are just plain silly. At the time among the suspects were local gangs referred to as “High-Rip” gangs at the time. After this was found to be a faulty assumption, they then began to look into the possibility of a lone assassin. This conclusion came about after the murder of Annie Chapman. Due to Jack’s firm grasp on human anatomy, they began to inquire among doctors and slaughter houses, however both turned out to be dead ends. They then turned to medical students, however this also soon proved to be futile. Among all the mentioned suspects were such prominent figures as Winston Churchill’s grandfather, Prince Albert Edward Victor, Lewis Caroll, Dr. Barnado even the Freemasons made it onto the list. Two men who came on and then off the list were Thomas Cutbrush and Carl Feigenbaum. In recent years these men have once again made it into the spotlight due to modern research and records that were discovered showing that both men were in an asylum. Then came along Aaron Kosminski.

Aaron Kosminski

Aaron Kosminski was a Polish Jew who lived as a barber/hairdresser in the Whitechapel district of London. A sad fact at the time was that a lot of the low-rent boarding houses and brothels were not protected and a large amount of “working girls”, as they called themselves, were beaten and sometimes even murdered. A lot of these working girls lived and worked in Whitechapel and the police had no interest in these activities as long as there was no ruckus caused. So, as a result, a lot of murders involving these poor girls went unsolved. Only in the year of 1888 when Jack the Ripper began to cause a stir did the police finally get involved. He murdered up to five women–two of these within a span of two hours.

This sets the backdrop for the time and place that Aaron Kosminski lived in. Catherine Eddowes was the fourth victim in the string of murders involving Jack. Amos came on to the crime scene and found Eddowes’ shawl. He thought his wife would love it so he decided to take it home as a present for her. She was understandably appalled and rejected it immediately putting it away in a trunk up in her attic. There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not the shawl actually belonged to Catherine Eddowes as some suggested it, in fact, belonged to Jack the Ripper himself. Whatever the speculation, the shawl was sold to one “armchair detective” Russell Edwards. The well-to-do businessman and cold case enthusiast bought it in the year 2007 at auction as he was very interested in its history–being connected to Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders. Despite it’s age, the dried blood on the shawl still held DNA and when compared to Aaron Kosminksi’s sister’s descendant, Matilda, the DNA was too close to leave room for doubt. This all pointed to Aaron Kosminski. Aaron had also been seen attacking a prostitute, but the witness refused to speak up. We see here DNA links as well as some evidence of violent tendencies. Aaron Kosminski was soon sent to an asylum where he lived till 1919, when he died of gangrene.

Conclusion

There will always be people who criticize or are skeptic of the evidence brought out. Ripperologists all over doubt and criticize Edwards’ discovery. They claim that as no one published the findings, there is something that is not right about the DNA research he did. Some even doubt the very appearance of Simpson at the scene. Personally, I stand with Edwards and his findings, but don’t take my word for it. The search goes on. One day THE most famous unsolved cold case in history will be solved.

Till then, my darling avidReaders, keep safe and God bless you all.

Leah and How To Deal with Rejection.

In the Book of Genesis, we come across a woman by the name of Leah. Now Leah’s story is the epitome of rejection. Her husband was tricked into marrying her and, when he found out, he was rather upset since he was in love with her younger sister and had made arrangements to marry her. Poor Leah had an eye problem. All we can gather is what Genesis tells us, “Leah was tender-eyed” which could mean anything. Leah’s story, however, has little to do with her eyes and more to do with the way she was rejected by her husband. She bore him 10 strong sons, while her sister was barren. I can only imagine how desperate she was to please him, but nothing worked. Sometimes rejection can make you desperate for acceptance no matter what happens or whether or not that acceptance will ever come.

What is Rejection?

Let’s start by defining rejection. Rejection, simply put, is the act of pushing someone or something away. It could be anyone from a family member, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend. It could be on a large scale or just every day occurrences that can cause you to feel rejection. This rejection can be hard to deal with. Rejection can lead to feelings of sadness, shame or grief. These emotions can be caused by a few things such as the end of a relationship, few or no friends, adoption (abandonment) or a parent leaving. It can even be something as simple as losing a job or a position in your company. It could even be a bad interview at a college.

Accompanying rejection, is the fear thereof. This can cause you to cut off yourself off entirely from other people because you are afraid they will reject you. Although this may help you deal with your fear of rejection, it can also cause you to feel emotions such loneliness and depression. Disorders associated with rejection can be BPD (borderline personality disorder)/EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder) and AVPD (avoidant personality disorder). BPD/EUPD can lead to self-harm while AVPD can cause harm to your work and personal relationships.

How do I deal with it?

There are many ways to deal with rejection, but it does take time to recover from rejection. The first step is allowing yourself to feel the emotions that accompany the rejection as well as to process what’s happened. You need to identify what these emotions are and how to deal with them and from there you can start to get over the pain of the rejection. Making a list of all your positive attributes can help draw your head out of the cycle of negative emotions. Ask yourself “What makes me great?” and from there compose your list. This simple act of jotting down all your positive attributes on paper is a great way to inspire positive thoughts and restore your confidence.

The next thing you need to ask yourself is: “Why?” Why was I rejected? What did I do? This isn’t always the case in some relationships, but if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you have no friends you may want to know why. This is always helpful even if just for your benefit. Asking yourself if there were things you could’ve done differently is never bad, just as long as you remember it’s for your benefit not to create self-hate. Don’t be so harsh on yourself and whatever you do–DON’T CRITIZE YOURSELF! That is not the point in checking your heart, besides there if nothing is wrong, you’ll only end up hurting yourself even if you’ve done nothing wrong or becoming bitter towards everybody. If you’ve had a bad first date or had a terrible visit with a friend or family member it is extremely important to avoid this as it can cause you to prevent further visits or dates with people and this can cause you to have AVPD where you find yourself unable to work or relate to other people.

The last thing and the most important thing is to have loving friends who will support you and keep you from falling into a pit of self-criticism and hate. It’s a known fact that some good old-fashioned girl talk is the best remedy for getting over hurt or rejection. Men are no different. Going out with the boys is a great way to get over something that has hurt you. Something as simple as an uplifting text can be enough. Visiting a friend can actually make you forget what was wrong in the first place. If you’re a person on call centre or a telemarketer, it’s sometimes hard to be objective and not to take it personally. I’ve worked on call centre and have done thousands of cold calls. It’s often hard to accept that inevitable click in your ear when they drop the call, but remember you’ve done nothing wrong.

Conclusion

We’ve spoken about the impact rejection can have on you and how to deal with it. We all suffer rejection in our lives, but it should never stop you from being brave and doing what you want. Remember at the end of the day, this is for your benefit and no one else. Dealing with rejection is never easy and it’s not easy to overcome, but remember you are not alone. Millions of people across the globe have felt that familiar sting. If you ever feel alone or like you’re a reject, give a friend a phone call or listen to some really uplifting music and think positive uplifting thoughts.

The best way to deal with rejection is to face it and move on to better things.

God bless all of you, my precious avidReaders

The Nain Rouge

I remember a while back I was looking into this while looking up fairies. One such story was regarding someone who had actually seen a dwarf watching her from the tree in her yard. She said he looked just the dwarves in folklore. We now know that there are people that have a condition called “Dwarfism”. This would not have been known at the time when the legends were forged into the culture of such peoples as the Scottish and Irish. Other cultures no doubt will have their own legends.

The most well-known are notably the Irish leprechauns. These were little men famous for their love of their “pot o’ gold” as they used to say. This is also where the legend of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was founded.

Dwarves are associated with wisdom, smithing, mining and crafting. They are little men with long beards who dwell in their mines mining all different kinds of ore. In the Germanic mythology these creatures lived in the earth and mountains, as you can most likely guess it is because of their precious ores in the earth. The most recent mention of this in the movie trilogy The Hobbit. In this trilogy we see dwarves swayed by the riches of their old mines. In this movie they are depicted as short, stubby men with long unkempt beards, but quite a few scholars debate whether this is true or just a comical portrayal of these beings. They would’ve no doubt been great miners because of their size and ability to fit into the smallest of cracks and crevices in the earth to get to the ore no one else could. In result, they could’ve perhaps become quite prolific as miners and even started to craft their own jewelry and other useful items. Something else to consider, why couldn’t these so-called misfits form their own communities–I mean being ignorantly treated as mis-fits, wouldn’t you? This could’ve very well led to the tales of the little people. Afterall, aren’t most fables and legends based on truth?

The Nain Rouge/Red Dwarf

But what about now? I mean that was then, are they still being sighted in recent years, well maybe. People in Detroit in recent years have claimed to have seen these famous little people. They have been sighted for hundreds of years dating back to the Ottawa Tribe up to most recent times. The most common sightings have been of what is called “Nain Rouge” or “Red Dwarf”.

The Nain Rouge was sighted by Native tribes for hundreds of years and were considered very real by these people. The earliest recorded sighting of the Nain Rouge starts with the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in March 10, 1701 at a party he was hosting. In this account he was met by a fortune teller who told him he would found a great city, but that there would be great turmoil within it and that he ought to always pay heed to and respect the Nain Rouge. If not, it would mean his downfall. He probably laughed at this. Later, however, he would realize the truth in her words. When he did found the city of Detroit, he was walking with his wife one night and heard two men complaining about the city and talking about a little man they had seen who they referred to as the Nain Rouge. This man then went on to say it was a sign of bad luck for the city.

Now we come to the great question: Are the dwarfs/dwarves of mythology real and as they were depicted back then? Well, quite a few have claimed to see them, but again are they not people that have lived outside of human civilization by choice? Well, if you ask the miners of Cornwall, you will know that they lived with the knowledge of the Knockers (sometimes called the Knockertommys) who were little people that were known to bring good fortune should you show them respect or misfortune should you show them any disrespect. I first read of the Knockers in an old heirloom my mother inherited from her grandmother called the Mermaid of Zenna–a compilation of Cornish folktales. It was about a young boy who learned this lesson very quickly and became blessed because he showed them respect. If you have someone in your family who is Cornish ask them about the Knockers, you might just hear something interesting. As for the other legends out there, there is always a possibility these things may be real. People didn’t believe in werewolves until Hypertrichosis was discovered and suddenly everyone understood the legends. Legends, as I mentioned above, very often ring with truth.

Don’t always doubt something before you see it.

Triple Nine

The room was musty, and no matter what you patted, dust flew up in a great big ‘poof!’. I folded my arms and sat down in a chair. Three years ago my wife, Georgette, had died, leaving me a beautiful little girl, Abigail, and a three-storey townhouse. Abigail was busy downstairs in her room when I was up here rummaging through my wife’s old books. I wished I could have been more for our daughter, but I could never replace her mother. I heard that there was a book up here my wife’s mother read to her, when she was a baby—I wanted to read it to Abby. I heard footsteps below me, Cassandra. I closed my eyes to dream when my sister tapped me on the shoulder, “Cassy?” I opened my eyes and saw the familiar blonde locks of my younger sister. She seemed to shiver, “Are you cold, Cassy?” She shivered again, “It’s a bit small.” Cassy said and I looked up into her eyes, “What? The house? I think you’ll find that three stories can be quite big. Georgette was a very wealthy bride.” She shook her head and I sighed. “Quite right, Alex.” Cassy sat down next to me and in traipsed a little blonde-haired beauty. She was barely big enough to reach the first shelf, but she was reaching for a book. “Hello there.” I said and she flinched pulling a cloth and some books off the table causing them to fall all around her. She shivered and ran to me, climbing onto my lap she looked into my eyes seeking forgiveness. “Daddy.” She leaned against my chest and peeked at my sister. Cassy had come to stay with us to help look after the house and my little princess.

“What are you doing in here?” Cassy asked as she coughed and waved off the dust. Abigail peeked her head around my arm and smiled playfully, “Are you going to read to me?”  Cassy and I looked at her. “Is that why you’re here? You’re after a book? I thought you only read non-fiction.” Cassy said taking the book. “It doesn’t seem all too bad.” I said, “Georgette’s mother read it to her when she was Abby’s age.” Cassy was silent. “Well, are you going to read it to us or not?” She demanded as I had already found the book in the pile Abby had pulled onto the floor. I peered down at the title and then I crossed to the front page, “Try to see more than what other people see and you’ll find treasures where no one else will.” I said looking at the front page. “I hope you don’t fall asleep.”

“What’s the name, Daddy?” I closed the book and read the name to Abigail, “Triple 9.” She put her thumb in her mouth, and I pulled it out as I began.

“The one tree that stood as bravely as it could against the death around it, the door that looked broken in and the windows all boarded up as if millions of years had gone by since it was open. There was no paint on the walls, anymore. It was all peeling in its droves off the outside walls. Mindy looked out the window and I leaned back into the leather seat with my eyes closed. I was thinking about an adventure. No doubt the sight of the house had encouraged that daydream—it looked simply dripping with intrigue and horror.” I stopped and looked to Cassy, “Could you get me something to drink?” She looked reluctant, but relented and was gone for about five minutes. She came back and said, “I’ve put some tea on. I’ll go check on it now-now.”

I continued where I’d left off, “The next day, Mindy and I woke up in a house we didn’t know. Our parents had decided on a house in the suburbs and they had told us the night before we were moving. Mindy was not happy, but I explained to her that there was nothing we could do. Our first morning in our new home, she came through to my room at about half past seven and sat down on my bed. ‘I’m sleeping, Mins.’ I growled and rolled over. Mindy just stayed on my bed. I don’t know how long she was there, but at last I could no longer sleep so I turned around and peeked at her from beneath my sheets. ‘Go away?’

‘Why do boys sleep so late?’ She countered. ‘It’s not late.’ I growled. Mindy just frowned down at me and said sarcastically, ‘Why couldn’t I have a big sister?’ I squinted my eyes cynically up at her as she said this. I just tucked my head beneath the sheets and threw a pillow on trying to block her out. ‘Mins, let me sleep–PLEASE!’ I tried shoving her off, that did not work. She was not getting up. I got up and rolled her off of me. ‘How’d you get so fat?’ I said pretending to complain. I looked up at her, she was twelve and I was sixteen. Mindy and I were interrupted by our mother. She came in my room with some hot cocoa. ‘I was wondering where you had gone.’ She said to my sister. She looked at me and shook her head, ‘Mindy, leave the old man to sleep.’ She said and took her hand to lead her out. ‘I’ll wake up now, mom.’ I said and heard Mindy shuffle off. ‘I hope you’re awake in time for breakfast, old man.’ She said and left me there in my cocoon.” –“Where’s the tea you promised me?” I said and once again paused my reading. She looked at me and got up to leave, giving me a dirty look.  I looked down to Abigail, she was sucking her thumb again. I laughed and took it out while scolding her. “Mindy in her little jacket, dress and her pink gumboots that were covered in My Little Pony stickers, stood next to me with her arms folded. ‘Are we going in?’ I sighed and gulped down fear—Mindy couldn’t see that I was scared. I nodded and took out my phone to check the time, ‘Well?’ She said and nodded her head for me to go in. I sighed and went towards it, ‘If not for you and your annoying curiosity I could be in my room brooding.’ I said and walked up to the door. I wasn’t entirely truthful then, I was the one who had imagined hauntings and great adventure in this old, haunted house, but I would never tell her since I was the one standing there terrified.  I stretched my hand out to knock. I wondered if anyone actually lived in the house. There was a feeling in my gut that I should not knock, that I should just run away and take Mindy home with me. Mindy would never follow me, though. I hadn’t even I touched the door before it creaked open. It sounded like an old man with arthritis. Mindy stood behind me and investigated the house. ‘Still want to go in?’ ” I paused once more as Cassy came in. She had the tea on a tray. “Read without me, will you? Just for that you’re not getting supper!” I laughed and turned my gaze to pick up where I left off, but before I could Cassy exclaimed, “No! Don’t start yet, what did I miss?” I grimaced and sighed, “Can’t you read the book when we’re done?” She slumped into a chair and appeared to be doing some kind of subtle sulk, I ignored it and continued, “She made a face and marched passed me into the hallway—she sneaked a single look of doubt and seeing me, threw her nose in the air, tapping her foot waiting for me to come in. Mindy could be so stubborn sometimes it made me angry. The house was empty, but Mindy seemed to move towards the staircase. She seemed to be drawn there somehow, I tried to her pull her back—to convince her no one was there. She looked back to me and said, ‘Aren’t you seeing this?’ I looked around and frowned. ‘What do you mean? Who are you seeing?’ Her face contorted and she bore a look of terror and confusion, ‘She says only I can see her. I don’t know why, but she wants me to ask you why you’re here? Oh, my goodness, Jens, am I possessed?! ’ I looked at my sister and said, ‘I don’t know.’ Mindy nodded and… laughed. ‘She said her friend wants to see you. You’ll meet him in the hallway,’ She paused as if listening to instructions and at last said, ‘She wants me to go with her. I think I should.’ I moved forward and reached out for her hand.” I stopped briefly and said, “This is a kid’s book?” Cassy looked at me angrily and said, “Why shouldn’t it be? It’s not bad. Carry on now, Abby’s falling asleep.” I looked down to my daughter, she was falling asleep. I turned to the book and continued, “She drew it back and looked at me, ‘Let me go. I don’t think she’ll hurt me.’ Mindy, slowly and bravely, crept up the staircase.  I stood still and my eyes followed her up the stairs. At the top she looked at me, she looked somehow unafraid. I raised my hand to wave, she waved back and disappeared out of my view. If there was something up, it was better to play along until I was sure we had a chance to escape. Besides, Mindy wasn’t going to come down. It was better that way. I stood in the hallway looking this way and that, as if something was going to leap out at me.” I handed Cassy the book, “Why don’t you continue? I’m going to walk around with Abby in my arms, she’ll sleep for longer then.” Cassy smirked, “Wasn’t this for her?”

“She hasn’t slept properly for a few nights, she has to get sleep whenever she can.” Cassy nodded and picked up where I had left off:

“I was beginning to think nothing would happen, when I felt a warm hand on my shoulder. I turned and was greeted by a tall, man sporting a normal plain, blue T-shirt. He smiled and started moving towards the lounge, I moved with him–following to see what would happen next. He sat down on the couch and looked at me beckoningly. I hesitated, but slowly moved forward. I cautiously sat down on the opposite couch and looked at him. I had an odd sensation in my soul that something was going to happen. He suddenly had a notebook in his hand and he was writing furiously. ‘So, Jack, is it?’ He said and looked up from the notebook. I was fidgeting furiously, shifting from side to side like I was sitting on hot coals. ‘It’s not polite to ignore people, Jack.’ He said after about 3 minutes. I didn’t know what to say, at last I managed to mumble some barely intelligible words, ‘Who are you?’ The person leaned forward and looked right into my eyes as if he was trying to gaze into my soul. ‘That’s for later. Right now I’m asking your name. Do you have any idea how many Jack’s there are out there?’ The man said and turned back to the notebook. I got up and tried to see what he was writing. This was just too weird for me to be scared, anymore. The man looked at me expectantly. My name! ‘Jack Weatherstone.’ The man nodded his head and scribbled some more notes in his book. ‘Well, Jack, how about some refreshments? Hungry? Thirsty?’ He moved across to a room just behind the lounge through an arch. I followed and found a small, dank kitchen. There was some steaming hot chocolate on the counter, which was accompanied by a plate of cookies. I moved over and as I turned found the man digging in a rusty old fridge. ‘There’s cookies and hot chocolate here, you don’t…’ The man looked at me and spun around revealing a small cake. It was smothered in chocolate and covered with assorted sprinkles. ‘How…?’ I stood shocked and went over to the fridge. When I opened it, there was nothing but a rusted old tin of beans. I turned around again and the hot chocolate had stopped steaming.” She took a breath and continued as I circled the room with Abigail, “The man stood there with the cake. He was busy munching on a star-shaped cookie. He brushed off some crumbs and sat down on a chair around the crummy kitchen table. I wasn’t sure where to sit, so I stood. He seemed to be amused by it.

‘You can sit down by me.’ He patted the chair next to him and dust and something vile fell to the ground. I shook my head, ‘uh… no thanks.’ I said and shifted around awkwardly. ‘Alright then.’ He said and took the hot chocolate. ‘You better drink yours before it gets cold. It’s really good.’ He said; to me it looked cold. There was something I was missing. I picked it up and took a sip. My eyes widened, it was horrible! I looked to his cup, it still looked cold. I scratched my head. He was still looking at me with laughter in his eyes. ‘Something wrong?’ He seemed to be enjoying himself. ‘No,’ I coughed, ‘Nothing.’ I said trying to sound like it was good. The man suddenly looked solemn. He got up and went to one of the drawers taking out a knife. One thought flashed through my mind, he was going to kill me and take Mindy. I immediately spun around looking for a weapon of my own, but nothing of the sort happened. He sat down and cut a slice of cake and put it on a plate. ‘You look hungry. The cake was made especially for you.’ He motioned for me to take it. I moved closer, but only looked at the cake. ‘But, how…the fridge?’  I was trying to arrange my thoughts. ‘Everyone likes chocolate.’ He mumbled as if he hadn’t heard me and added, ‘Oh, well, more for me.’ He got up to take a spoon from a jar behind him on the counter. ‘So? You’re worried about your sister? Would you like to see her?’ I nodded again, it was weird how he knew that was what I was about to ask. He sighed. ‘Okay. Take your hot chocolate before it gets cold.’ This time I had to ask. ‘It is cold. What the heck is different about your cup?’ The man scratched his head. ‘I drank mine before it got cold. Maybe you should’ve done something before it was too late.’ I shook my head, but somehow I knew he was right and I was wrong. I looked from the cup to stare at him. ‘Is this what I came here for? I mean, I thought you were going to kill me, aren’t you?’ He smiled slightly and lifted his cup to his lips. ‘Is that how I appeared? I assure you I brought you here for hot chocolate, some cookies and a slice of cake.’ He motioned through the arch that led us to the kitchen in the first place. Once again we were in the lounge, but we crossed through into the hall. He crossed through an opposite arch into a sitting room. The man sat down and got comfortable. I felt a mixture of anger and frustration. So? When were we going to see her? I broached the question and got a silent dismissal. Instead of getting angry which I knew wouldn’t work, I stormed into the hall to try the door. If they weren’t going to give Mindy back, I was not sticking around like some loser waiting to get her back. I tried the door; it was like trying to drag a rhino up a mountain hillside. I stopped and looked at the man; he had gotten up and was waiting for me under the arch, arms folded. ‘Well?’ I clenched my fist and crossed the room.  ‘Give me my sister.’ I said from in-between clenched teeth. The man looked at me startled, ‘You will see her.’ He got up and walked over to a beautiful, old grand piano and began playing some chords I didn’t know. I was never one for classical music. At first, they sounded lovely, but after a while they began to sound horrible. I blocked my ears and shouted at him to stop. He carried on playing as if he hadn’t heard me at all. I ran to the settee by the window, which was boarded up, and grabbed a pillow to cover my ears. I shoved my whole head in the pillow, but still the sound made me scream. I wanted to run away—somewhere where I wouldn’t hear the sound.

Instead, I just sat with the pillow clenched tightly around my head. It did no good. At last he stopped playing and the thumping in my head vanished. “What was that?” I said still crouching on the couch with my ears covered by the pillow. I squinted to look up. He got up and came over to me on the couch, as he did so he took the pillow away. He looked like he wasn’t sure about what to say. At last he seemed like he had got it right and leaned back calmly, ‘What was the first thing the music made you think of?’ I had no trouble answering, it reminded me of my mother the day Mindy was born. I had no idea why. Well, he knew everything why couldn’t I let him answer? I did. ‘It made me think of the day my sister was born. I don’t know why. You seem to know so much, why don’t you explain?’ He looked slightly perturbed, but then a gleam of understanding came into his eyes. ‘You’re frustrated aren’t you? I guess I owe you for the headache. To be honest, I feel like I owe you a lot of things.’ I furrowed my brow. ‘Really?’ I felt like asking why, but that was too many questions at once. Instead, I stayed with just the one and watched him—he was just standing there. So I sat down expectantly and folded my arms. He sat down and folded his hands in his lap. ‘Well, you’re a child of the arts, tell me what happens when you hear music—to your heart, I mean?’ I thought about it for a moment, then my Biology teacher’s squeaky voice played in my head, ‘Music, especially drums, has a manipulative ability over your emotions.’ I looked at him.  ‘You were invoking an emotion.’ I said. He shook his head tiresomely. ‘I was trying to invoke a memory using emotion. I was trying to remind you of something that happened to you twelve years ago. Do you remember?’ My baby sister’s new born face popped into view. I felt happy then afraid. I wasn’t going to tell him that. Turns out I didn’t need to. This guy was creepy. A laugh crept into his face and he patted my leg reassuringly, ‘It invoked an emotion, right? Making you think of the feelings you had–joy then fear and slight hate or frustration.’ I scratched my head and sighed. ‘I don’t know why I even bother talking to you. Why don’t you just read my thoughts?’ That horribly blithe smile, like nothing could shake him. I wanted to punch him in the face! My thoughts were no longer my own. How was that a good thing?” Cassy looked like she was going to say something, then she smiled and said, “Alex, I miss mother.” She looked like she was going to cry, I put Abby on a couch I had dusted and went over to her, “I miss mother, too, Cassy. She’s in heaven with my dear Georgette. The woman I loved more than my own life.” I wanted to cry, but Cassy continued, “ He didn’t seem in the least disturbed. I got up and started off in another direction, he followed me into the room behind the second lounge—where we were. I moved over to a window and stood there looking out into the night. I was taken aback, “It’s night already!” I shrieked. He covered my mouth, “Calm down, when you see things in a different light you understand anew. Think about that. Now, you wanted to see your sister?” I nodded and he led me through the lounge and into the hall. “Just wait.” He said and left me standing there with my thoughts.

  • Try things before judging them.
  • The grand piano and the memories
  • Look at things in a different light and you will understand them better.

I waited there, mulling this over in my thoughts.

-*-*-

After a few moments I heard a familiar set of footprints padding down the upstairs hall. Her little face appeared at the top of the stairs. Mindy. She came padding down the stairs in full force and launched herself into my arms. “Oh, Jens, it’s been so fun! That nice lady took me upstairs, told me stories, and let me play in an old dollhouse!” She slowed down for a minute and gave me a thoughtful look. “Jens,” she said at last, “the man said you were worried about me. Why?” I looked down at my little sister and sighed, “I’m responsible for you, Mins. You’re my little sister.” She tilted her little head and said, “Can we play longer?” She looked at me with her big ocean-blue eyes and smiled broadly. I laughed at her and said, “What about mom, Mins? She’ll be looking for us.” Mindy looked as if she hadn’t thought of this and looked down at her feet. She broke from me and went over to the stairs. Sitting down, she looked up above her, this time there was someone there—a tall, beautiful woman and beside her the man who had led me through a journey in my heart. I walked up to her and stood in awe. “I can see you,” I breathed. She smiled and looked at my little sister. “Finally.” Mindy said and rose to take the woman’s hand. My eyes widened with the mystery of the occasion. We were in a haunted house with two angels—because that’s all they could’ve been. I had learnt important lessons that day. As I looked at my little sister and thought of the wonder and fear I had endured at the age of four with a new born sister, it became clear: I was afraid of losing my mother to this new little being in our lives. When I saw the faith and love Mindy had in me, I smiled. I had heard the sound of a grand piano’s beauty through my little sister’s eyes. She was so small and yet she was wiser than I had ever been. From now on I would see—really see—things as they were, and I would not judge something from the surface anymore. Even the fear that had seemed to consume me had disappeared. I had grown to trust this stranger. From him, I had grown to love my sister as sweet as a tune out of a grand piano. The man looked at me and tilted his head, he knew what I was thinking—again. This time I grinned and picked Mindy up. I was hugging her against me and burying my face in her neck, when the man touched my shoulder, “Cherish her while you can.” He looked at the woman and smiled. I looked at the two of them and it struck me—brother and sister. I took the man by the hand and said, “I understand what you were saying and what you meant by the grand piano—I don’t fear her, anymore. I love her.” He stifled back a giggle and pointed to the door, I turned to open it and when I did it suddenly became clean and white. I turned to look at the two angels—that was what they were, after all. To my surprise they had vanished and instead there was a beautiful abandoned old house. As perfect as the day it was built, sun shone through the shutters and the curtains were satin silk. I looked upstairs and a lovely old lady came down holding two white cloaks. She came over to us and said, “What are you two doing here?” She smiled as if she knew the answer. When we looked at her, I said, “You wouldn’t believe us, miss.” She smirked and looked behind her, “Really?”

-*-*-

Mindy and I have shared many adventures with that lovely old lady, known to us as Miss Angel—for her house was the first—and last—place where we have ever seen angels. Mindy has stopped talking about it and I am off at University as I type this story of the mysterious two strangers in house Triple 9. Still both of us are sure that one day someone else will find that house and meet our two angels, only I hope this time they’ll drink their hot chocolate quickly. Miss Angel will always get a visit from us and the lessons I learned are ones that I still hold close to me. He would want that. If you ever come across a house numbered 999 be sure to drop in—you may find quite an adventure!”

Cassandra closed the book and looked at me. “Do you think that really happened?” I looked at her, shaking my head.

“I mean…do angels really exist?” I thought for a moment about her question. Do angels really exist?

“I don’t know, Cass. I don’t know. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to answer that.”

“Soon, I hope.” She replied. I hoped so, too. The thought of an angel watching over us brought me great comfort. Miss Angel waiting for me at door Triple 9—What a thought!

THE END

Youtube Video Editing

I’ve always wondered about video editing. How do they get it to look so clear and crisp? When I take a video, I look like the Dark Lord from Lord of the Rings. If you’re as curious as I am, here is something to answer that question.

There is various software you can make use of when video editing. There are options such Hitfilm Express, which is a free video editor or perhaps you want to make use of Adobe Premiere the #1 paid video editor in the industry? Whatever your choice, there are dozens of options and dozens of ways to go about editing your videos on YouTube. In this article, I will be discussing the top options for editing software.

Adobe Premiere Pro:

Known as the standard-setting editing software in the industry. Adobe Premiere Pro really has it all. It is capable of functioning on PC or Mac iOS. Created as part of the Creative Cloud Licensing program, it was developed by Adobe Systems and has since taken the industry by storm with prices at R9,285 , it is well worth the purchase. It allows you to import footage from any file format with an easy drag and drop option for your videos into your file format. It doesn’t matter if you use DSLR or GoPro, this software will allow to make YouTube videos or even feature films. It offers you precision cutting with the option to trim your edits using their tool “Trim”. This tool allows you to shorten or extend your clips. With Adobe Premiere Pro, many movie editors were able to create and edit films such as Deadpool and Gone Girl. Sounds powerful, doesn’t it? It has definitely earned its rightful place as the #1 video editor on the market.

Vegas Pro 18

At half the price of the Adobe Premiere Pro (R4,821.), the Vegas Pro 18 is functional on normal laptops and PCs. It makes use of A.I. tools to bring you a video that is two steps ahead as well as high-quality effects and provides great audio effects.

The Vegas Pro 18 gives you the ability to take shaky, unsteady images and turn them into stable, pro quality video footage. This technology was built from the ground up by Vegas Pro 18. Along with their stabilization technology comes “Planar Motion Tracking” this allows you to account for images that are not square to your camera. It allows you to manipulate these images as you need to so you can achieve the optimum quality for your videos. Independent workflow or nested timelines is another feature offered by Vegas Pro 18. With this, you can share segments of your work, while keeping the main piece yourself as a backup. Their denoise filter allows you the ability to enhance grainy or dark images to achieve maximum visibility. Should you find yourself using flickering or neon lights, their flicker control feature can either remove the flicker effect or use the tool to add a flickering effect to your video. With all these amazing features, they make a great companion for any video editor.

Final Cut Pro

Created by Macromedia in the mid-90s and later bought out by Apple Inc., it has now become a giant among the video-editing industry. It uses a magnetic timeline, this allows users to cut, trim or reorder videos without syncing problems or collisions of videos. They also provide means by which users can bundle video and audio clip into a single, bundle video. This software functions best on MacOS Catalina 10.15.6 or later, they offer a range of features. At professional-level, non-linear, non-destructive video editing software. Its latest updates have now made it faster and more reliable. Its software utilizes Apple’s Metal interface for improved performance as well as a 64-bit application that works on MacOS Mojave and later. It is capable of editing HD, 4K, 8K and 360-degree videos. Extra add-ons available for this software are “Motion” and “Compressor”. These add-ons really expand Apple’s video editing interface by giving users the ability to really make your videos really pop as well as allowing you to export your videos to a variety of different formats. Colour-coding allows users to differentiate between their content. Famous movies such as 500 Days of Summer, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Leverage, Social Network and X-Men: Origins were made using this software. This application is purchasable at $599.99 (R9181,74)

HitFilm Express:

HitFilm Express is a revolutionary piece of software available for free for gamers, students and YouTubers on a budget. It is easy to use and it offers all of the same features offered by the above applications. Revolutionary workflow, video editing, compositor’s toolkit, colour-correction and grading, keying and extraction, tracking and file handling are offered by HitFilm Express. Within these are tools for special effects, combined timelines, mask editing, animation tools, multiple streams, audio mixer, cinematic looks, green screen effect, lightning and electricity effects and can work with various video formats.

It functions on PC and Apple Mac devices. Hitfilm Express also offers free support training for any user of their software.

Conclusion

As you can see by the above there are many tools such other tools include FilmoraX, YouTube Video Editor and Davinci Resolve (free or purchasable). The above I mentioned are great whether you are making feature films or just starting out.

Web Detectives

We were watching a crime show a while back and it had me wondering about what they called “web sleuths”. What are they and how do they solve these crimes to help the police? Well, how about we take a look?

If you feel like you want to know more of their world, they do have a Twitter account and FB account called “Web Sleuths”. It’ll be worth it, if you are interested. Many of these people have helped the police solve crimes, but sometimes they can be a nuisance to authorities. None the less, they push on with the solving of a case even if no one supports them. In this television documentary we watched, that became clear. They are an online collective of sleuths.

The Collective:

That’s what they seem like to me and I think instead of web sleuths, they should be called “The Sleuths Collective” because that’s what they are–a collective. A collective of amateur sleuths solving murders, finding people and discussing current ones. They have taken the web by storm and when I tried to research them, all I found was forum upon forum upon forum. If you are as curious as I was, take a look at these forums. There is one main forum bought by Tricia Griffith in 2004 called Websleuths LLC.

There are ways to go on the forums for free, but you can also register if, in some or other way, you may be connected to a case or have some or other expertise that will help in the solving or investigating of missing persons or murders. Sometimes even cases the police themselves couldn’t solve. As I mentioned above, they have on occasion even helped police solve certain crimes.

These crimes that web sleuths have looked into have without fail gained national attention. This is extraordinary given that some of these people have their own lives and somehow managed to unearth such vital and famous crimes. One such fame was from the TV show Law & Order and it was called “Crimebusters”. Another case which launched them yet again into the limelight was the case of Tammy Alexander who went missing from Florida 35 years ago. A web sleuth came across an image of the missing woman and found that it matched up to a coroner’s report in New York called Caledonia Jane Doe as she remained unidentified. He approached the police with his theory and because of that they were able to conduct a DNA test using her sister’s DNA and found it to be a close match (this is often the case when comparing DNA between families). This allowed them to, after 35 years, find the missing person and figure out who New York’s Caledonia Jane Doe was.

Noted Acclaim

Tricia Griffith, the owner of Websleuths LLC, has her own podcast and the collective sleuths have even been on the TV documentary The Killing Season where they looked at the case of the Long Island serial killer cases. They have become such a big collective that they have even started up their own YouTube channel. In this current time the last mention on one of the forums was the COVID disease. They have been looking into all the misinformation, hoaxes and scams surrounding it.

If you find yourself intrigued by their work there are various means by which you can investigate them, as I mentioned above “Websleuths” on Twitter and Facebook. I, myself, am following them on Twitter.

I found this to be extremely interesting and am so glad I dug into this like I did.

God bless you, my darling avidReaders 🥰