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Effigy of Guy Fawkes

I’m sure we all know this famous quote from the movie “V for Vendetta”. I have never watched the film myself, but I had a childhood friend who used to quote it all the time on the 5th of November. You see, the 5th November is my birthday. It’s so cool, both our caregiver and I have our birthdays on the 5th. We are both Guy Fawkes babies. I have always wanted fireworks or at least a bonfire on my birthday, but no. That’s not something my parents would ever do for me. One day, though, I’ll make my own bonfire. Haha. Then we’ll see. Anyway, this is not about me. This is about Guy Fawkes.

Why

Let’s start by asking ourselves one simple question: “Why?” Why would someone be driven to such a drastic act? Well, let’s examine the background Guy Fawkes would have been born into.

Under the reign of Queen Elizabeth Catholicism was quite heavily repressed, this repression intensified after her excommunication in 1570. She then went on to massacre dozens of bishops, priests and forbid many of the Catholic practices during her. When King James I took the throne there were many who hoped that this would change. To their dismay in the year 1603, when King James I took over they soon discovered that this was definitely not the case. In fact King James I oppression only increased towards Catholics, despite his wife, Anne, being a Catholic. He was strongly protestant and would fine any person refusing to attend Protestant services. It was also under his strict observations that the King James Bible, used by Christians today, was translated. In the years between 1604 – 1612, there was understandably much unrest among the Catholics.

How?

So, now we ask: “How?” How did this take place? Who planned it? Well, let’s see how they planned all this.

One night in an inn called the Duck and Dragon, 5 men met and discussed plans to destroy the Houses of Parliament in England. These 5 men were none other than Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, Tom Wintour, Jack Wright and Thomas Percy. The plan was proposed by Robert Catesby. They planned to plant bombs using gunpowder in an attempt to blow up the Houses of Government. After all their planning, they swore an oath on a prayer book to never speak of this to anyone else. It was only later that 8 other men joined what came to be called the “Gunpowder Plot”. Catesby may have been the leader of this plan, but it was definitely Fawkes that has always been remembered.

It was clear from the very beginning that not only was Guy anti-Scottish and pro-Catholic, but also that he sought aid from the Spanish government to help him start a rebellion in England to dethrone James. He claimed that James would drive out the Catholics, declaring them heretics. In the year 1605, he also took to calling himself Guido instead of Guy. He took on an alias in aid of this plot–John Johnson. He worked as a caretaker in the cellar just below the House of Lords. It was in this cellar that they stockpiled gun powder in. It was this gun powder that, on the 5th of November 1605, Fawkes would light upon the opening of Parliament. King James I, his eldest son, the House of Lords and the House of Commons would go up in flames. While all this was happening Guy would escape across the Thames, while his other 12 conspirators would start instigating an uprising in the English Midlands. They planned to kidnap Elizabeth, James I’s daughter, and install her as a puppet queen after which they would marry her off to a Catholic. They hoped that this would eventually re-install the Catholic rule they wanted.

But before this plot could even come to fruition, an anonymous letter was sent to a Catholic sympathizer warning him not to attend the Opening of Parliament. This caused the authorities to suspect something was about to happen. There is still no name to the letter that was written and sent on October 26 warning of this plot. Some have said that the authorities knew in advance and had designs to use it as a means to cause further restrictions on Catholicism.

Why A Guy, though?

Simply put. Fawkes was caught on the 4th November the night before with a match at the ready to light the bombs the next day. They caught him and tortured him in the Tower of London under James I’s orders, while his other conspirators were arrested and given similar treatment, except for four men among which was Catesby who died in a shootout with English troops.

The next year 1606, all the conspirators were hung and drawn and quartered for their treason. After this great victory, the English started lighting bonfires in celebration of the great victory they had won. The government then declared November 5th as a day of thanksgiving (I suppose you could call it their version of Thanksgiving). Children would go around with an effigy of Guy asking for “a penny for the old Guy” something very similar to trick-or-treating.

Guy Fawkes has undergone many changes over the years. In America, it was celebrated as Pope Day, but soon died out around the 19th century when Catholics were finally emancipated. In the 1980s the graphic novel “V for Vendetta” was released completely over-hauling Fawkes’ look and turning him into a hero. We all know the DC movie by the same name released in 2005 based on the graphic novel. I have yet to watch that, but I should as I am a Guy Fawkes baby.

I originally planned to have this out yesterday, but if you want to know what happened to stop me yesterday you can access my Ko-fi account, I have it all down there. In fact, I write daily what’s happened. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sad, but if you want a look into who I am, you’ll find it all there.

God bless all of you, my darling avidReaders. Keep safe. 👧🐰

Why Do Wear Costumes and Trick or Treat on Halloween?

Image courtesy of History.com

Costumes have become a very important role in the modern celebration of Halloween, but why? Why do we dress up? In the modern age we live in, it’s become something we do for fun, but where did all this start? In my previous article, I spoke very briefly about this, but here I will take a deeper look into all this and we can see what gets dug up.

For a quick recap: “The Celts, as I mentioned in last week’s article, celebrated what we call ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ or ‘Halloween’ (Samhain to the Celts at that time) was celebrated on November 1st when it was the end of summer and the boundaries between the living and dead were believed to be blurred.” This is where the core of our article comes in.

Disguises

Samhain Disguises

We all wear disguises for some or other reason, but I think we can all agree that this is mostly to hide something. Whether it’s to hide how you’re feeling or to hide from others–we all wear disguises. On Halloween/Samhain this was the case with the Celts. Because the Celts believed that the spiritual boundaries were blurred, they believed that the dead walked among and interacted with the living. This understandably terrified them as they believed they would be cursed or quite possibly be killed. So they had to find a way to repel these beings of another world. Their solution: disguises. These they used to ward the dead and this is now a tradition that has been passed down to the present. When the Irish folk came in search of a better life and for work during the Great Potato Famine, they brought across all their customs and traditions and we just adopted them and modified them. In doing so, I feel we lost a lot of what this tradition means.

People in those times were too afraid to leave their houses because of these ghosts, but they quickly found a way around that, donning scary masks or disguises to blend in with the spirits that they so dreaded encountering. These disguises were also used to honour the spirits. This idea began in County Cork, Ireland.

Trick-Or-Treating

Trick or Treating

Of course, how could anyone think of this tradition of disguises and spirit-warding without thinking about trick-or-treating? They are tied so closely tied in with each other that it is impossible to think of the one without the other. So let’s talk about how trick-or-treating started.

A few years ago, my father explained to me the origins of the various holidays and celebrations we have today and I was quite shocked. One day, I think I’ll write on those. (If you have any ideas let me know 😉 ) In particular the tradition of trick-or-treating, this also is quite similar to the story of the Jack-o’-Lanterns. The tradition started with the offering of food or money to the dead. Trick-or-treating itself, according to my sources, say that this tradition was originally children dressed up in their ghoulish attire going from door to door asking for money or food. All things considered, this makes sense given that these offerings would’ve been made to the dead. But then, just me digressing a little (and again if you know the answer please tell me), it kind of defies the purpose if the money or food went to the spirit? It could be that the parents made the food for the dead and then something else for the kids to come collect? Either way, that is where it all started.

People in Catholic countries, however, don’t celebrate it as the rest of the world do. Instead they visit graveyards and churches to light candles for the dead, pray and bless their spirits. As a Christian, I prefer not to get involved in this simply because of what happens on this holiday. I won’t mention what, but I can tell you it’s not the trick-or-treating or costume parties that put me off.

I’ve grown to love ghost stories now that I’m older, but I still think that playing with Quiji boards and trying to interact with demonic entities is something not to be taken lightly or done simply as a game.

Tomorrow is October 31st and all around the world people will be celebrating this, not knowing it’s origins. I hope that as you read this, you’ll be a bit more enlightened about this. Please be careful out there tomorrow 🙂 In South Africa, we’ve already had terrible things happening. So please pray for us, most importantly for our children this time of year.

God bless and keep you safe, my darling avidReaders! 🙂

Halloween: The Jack-o’-Lantern

Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve as it is known by many ancient European countries is something that is celebrated world over. Trick or treaters. Carving pumpkins. Horror movies. All these have the single goal of celebrating the scariest month of the year. This ancient tradition goes all the way back to the Celts who believed that on October 31 the spirits of the dead would return from the Netherworld to walk amongst the living. They dressed up in costumes in an attempt to scare away these apparitions. They believed that by offering gifts of food or decorating their houses with ghastly ornaments they would be able to ward off/appease the spirits. If these offerings were not acceptable or presented the inhabitants of the house would become cursed in various ways. There are other uses these spirits had, but for the purpose of this article I will be having a look at the origins of the Jack-o’-Lantern.

Where did this time-consuming activity first originate. Well, we’ve established above that this was originally Celtic festival. So, who better to know than the Celts?

The Celts never used pumpkins for their Jack-o’-Lanterns, their first Jack-o’-Lantern was used to refer to people. It was only thanks to Irish immigrants that the tradition of using pumpkins came to be practiced as there were no pumpkins in Ireland at the time. Before this came into practice, as far as 1663, Jack-o’-Lanterns referred to a man with a lantern or a night watchmen. A decade later, this came to refer to the mysterious eerie lights spotted over bogs, swamps and marshes at night. These lights came to possess many names jack-o’-lanterns, hinkypunks, hobby lanterns, corpse candles, fairy lights, will-o’-the-wisps and fool’s-fire. This is a by-product of oxidization when gases from decomposing plant matter comes into contact with heat or electricity.

Stingy Jack

Before this scientific discovery, however, the Irish thought up all manner of tales to explain this phenomena–they called him Stingy Jack. Often depicted as a blacksmith, this infamous character invited the devil for a drink. However Stingy Jack had no intention of paying the bill and managed to convince the devil to turn himself into a gold coin to settle the bill. Again, Jack tricked the devil and skipped out on the bill, putting the devil–along with a silver cross to keep him trapped–inside his pocket.

It did not end here Jack proceeded to trick the devil into another act where the devil had to climb a tree. On both occasions the devil was trapped and Jack made him promise not to seek revenge on his soul. So the devil did not, but instead of being allowed through Heaven’s gates as he intended, God forbade him. Jack was left with neither Heaven nor Hell to return to and so his soul was cursed to walk the earth. The devil, upon rejecting Jack’s entrance to hell, gave him a single coal to light his way. He then sent him off into the dark to find his own hell. He put this coal into a carved out a turnip and now wanders earth with it to this day.

The Irish believed that these eerie lights were Jack’s lantern as his lost soul wandered the countryside.

Where Is It Now?

This tradition has come a long way from the Celts all the way into the heart of the western world. It is only now starting to become a big thing in South Africa. In Britain children would trick their friends into thinking they were Stingy Jack and try and scare them. In Britain, this tradition spread to turnips, beets and potatoes that were carved out and stuffed with coal, wooden embers or candles. This done during their fall festival.

In 1800s America, the children used pumpkins to the same end making them more and more grotesque to increase the scare factor. By the end of the 19th century the Jack-o’-Lantern went from being a trick to being a seasonal decoration.

This practice has become a major holiday in America with thousands of children across the continent celebrating it by trick-or-treating.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did researching it. It’s a really fascinating legend.

God bless you all and I trust you will have a blessed day further 🙂

The Tokoloshe

I have heard many stories about this creature. Any South African knows the story of the Tokoloshe. He is supposed to be a little white man that comes into the house of African people at night and kill them. He is a creature from Zulu and Xhosa folklore. African people believe that by putting their beds on bricks the Tokoloshe won’t be able to reach them.

My mother once told me a story about her maid who was murdered in her home with all the windows and doors locked. Her throat was slit which just happened to be the Tokoloshe’s MO. This scared her so much as a child. You can imagine.

I’m sure if you had to talk to any African you would hear stories about the Tokoloshe. He is a very infamous demonic entity in their history. Said to be summoned by a jealous or angry Sangoma, a Tokoloshe is a dead body that is possessed and during this ritual it’s eye is pierced through the socket with a hot rod iron. A special powder is then sprinkled over the body and it shrinks!

I can’t remember if it was my mother or father who told me that the Tokoloshe was a demon summoned by a witch doctor and since then it has been a plague to the African people. Even mentioning its name is enough to bring terror. Once summoned, the Tokoloshe demands a soul as remuneration. The Tokoloshe is the only one who then decides who it will take and not the sangoma who summoned it.

It is said that only children can see this creature, hence its choice to kill adults since they can not see it and thus defend themselves. However, if you do happen to see a Tokoloshe, pay it no heed as it can be mischievous, but ultimately harmless unless under the influence of a powerful sorcerer.

There is even a story of a Afrikaans family living on a farm where they recount the horrific tale of how they were terrorized by a pitch-black dog that was accompanied by what can only be described as a Tokoloshe. They were Christian Afrikaner farmers and they saw it. The person who gave the testimony says that if the Tokoloshe only attacks African people, then why would it have terrorized their family?

Believing in man’s ability to summon demons simply by using a Ouiji board, it is not such a stretch for me to believe that a witch doctor would be able to do the same thing. It is terrifying to think of the things we are capable of. If you’re as big as a fan of haunted houses and ghost stories as I am, you will know what I say is true.

Whatever the price you are willing and the lengths you are willing to go, when it comes to revenge (at least in this case) make sure you dig two graves.

God bless you all, my darling avidReaders! A big thank you for all your support. On Wednesday we reached over 1,000.

Impundulu/Lightning Bird

Known by many names, the Lightning Bird is known across the Pondo, Zulu and Xhosa tribes of South Africa. This creature is feared as blood-drinking like creatures known only in mythology as vampires. This infamous creature is always closely related to witchcraft. It is known to often be the familiar of a witch or witch doctor. Much like a vampire, it is said to take the form of a beautiful young man to lure its master’s enemies or seduce women. Thus you can see why it would be so similar to Dracula.

Much like a dragon is capable of breathing fire, the Lightning Bird can use its own body fat to produce lightning strikes and as valuable components in traditional medicine. It is also claimed to be immortal and often outlives its masters, being passed down from mother to daughter as a continual familiar to its master. It normally manifests itself as lightning, except to young women taking on the form of a bird. It is not known to have any weakness except for one–fire. If you set the Lightning Bird on fire, it can be destroyed.

The hammerkop

The above bird is often associated by some African cultures with the Lightning Bird, despite the actual features of the Lightning Bird taking the form a man-sized bird with black and white feathers. It uses its large talons and claws to summon lightning and thunder. These bird, as they are associated with witches, are said to be symbols of bad luck and can only be dispatched by a witchdoctor. The flesh of a lightning bird is also said to be used to trace thieves and witchdoctors use this ability to maintain control over their tribe–both criminal and law-abiding.

In order for witchdoctors to catch the Lightning Bird, they must wait for it to strike lightning once it does this they are able to capture it. It is also supposed that where they lay strike lightning is also where they lay their eggs. This site can either be blessed or cursed and these eggs need to be dug up and discerned by the witchdoctor whether or not they are blessed or cursed.

It is true that the Pondo, Zulu and Xhosa all fear this creature. I am beginning to notice more and more as I look into my country’s legends that there is a definite pattern to their shared beliefs. All these different cultures believe that these creatures are evil spirits or cursed in some or other way and, also, that they bring only misfortune. This story bears a strong resemblance to the legends of the Thunder Bird which some believe was in fact a pterodactyl. I, myself, have seen drawings of the Thunder Bird as it was described by the North American indigenous peoples and strongly side with those who believe it was a pterodactyl. However, it is for your own discernment whether or not you believe these creatures exist. I have given you the bare facts as I researched them and now leave you with one question: What do I believe?

If you want to share your own opinions on the topic or have some more information you want to share, you can post in the comments or on the forums. 🙂

God bless you all my darling avidReaders.

Mermaids of the Klein Karoo

Courtesy of Pinterest

We all know mermaids are fiction, but let us consider something: What if they were real? What if someone somewhere had seen such a creature? In the past sightings of mermaids have always turned out to be fakes. People who used Photoshop or it was discovered that what was actually see was a manatee or dugong. This is such a frequent mistake that these sea creatures have been classified as Sirenia. This has only brought discredit to the belief that such creatures exist. Still some believe they have seen and heard things to make them believe such creatures exist.

The mermaids of the Klein Karoo are said to lure their victims to their watery deaths. This is backed-up by claims that many unmarked graves have been found–the victims of mermaids. Many associate mermaids with Ariel, but these vicious creatures are nothing like the Little Mermaid. They are in fact tricksters doing everything they can to lure their victims to a watery grave. They possess pale skin, long black hair and red eyes.

One particular place among the windy rivers and roads in the canyon Meiringspoort, just outside the town of De Rust are frequent reports about a mermaid residing nearby one of the rock pools. The area is known by locals to be her home and such sightings are nothing new to them. Many locals have claimed to have spotted a mermaid sitting on the edge of a mountain rock pool combing her long black hair.

The Meiringspoort Flood

In the year 1996, a flood occurred in Meiringspoort. This incident caused a revival in the belief of mermaids. Mermaids are believed by some to be a spirit haunting the area and a clairvoyant even claimed to have contacted one of these spirits. The clairvoyant claimed that the spirit’s name was Eporia. This spirit is claimed to either be a sinister spirit associated with the demonic entities of the Eseljagtspoort outside Oudtshoorn or a victim carried away by the waters of the Meiringspoort flood.

The Khoi-San Rock Paintings

In 1875, a Bushman related to a local farmer the tale of the Eseljagtspoort water spirit. This creature took the form of a woman and lured men only to later drown them in the depths. It is here that one still see rock painting drawn by the Khoi-San of what they know to be mermaids. These depictions lead us to believe that tales of these mythological creatures have been around for centuries. When asked about these creatures(also known as the Watermeid) locals were terrified, speaking in hushed whispers. They were fearful of these vicious creatures and feared that they would become the mermaid’s next victim. These stories and drawings can be seen and heard all over the Klein Karoo and the Khoi-San people’s rock paintings are found in Eseljagtspoort, just outside the town of Oudtshoorn.

What is a Mermaid?

Well, we know what a mermaid’s physical features are: face of a beautiful woman, lovely long hair, torso of a woman with her lower abdomen and legs replaced by the tail of a fish. However, there has been much discussion in folklore about these sirens of the sea. As children we all were raised with the story of the Little Mermaid with her lovely singing voice causing a handsome prince to fall in love with her. Now, as adults, we watch Pirates of the Caribbean and the series Siren, causing us to question whether what we know of mermaids are true or not. The Greeks had their priestesses of the Isle of Pleasure. Pirates believed that the siren’s song was to fear as they would drag you to the depths. In the series Grimm, they are depicted as beautiful women who can only have children with human men. Every culture will no doubt have their own take on these mythical beings–all with their own unique names and varying attributes. I have only mentioned a few depictions, but, if one has to go into all the different mythologies concerning these creatures, you will no doubt find many similarities. This is enough to make us wonder if mermaids are real? Are they perhaps manifestations of evil spirits as the Buhsman told the farmer? Or is it just that they are falsely identified? There will always be speculation around them. I, personally am more likely to believe the Bushman’s story and lean towards them being evil spirits. You will notice with my writing that I strongly believe that a lot of what we imagine to be ghosts, dwarves or aliens are demonic manifestations. This is just my opinion on the subject and I am, by no means, a professor of Cryptozoology. Thus I cannot claim to know everything about the field. So, I encourage you to dig deep and draw your own conclusions.

As always, I love hearing what you have to say about my articles and what you believe. So, if you have any opinions on this topic or perhaps have your own story to tell, please put it in the comments. I would love to hear!

Good night all my darling avidReaders. God bless you as you awake to another bright day tomorrow.

The Congo’s Biloko

Artistic depiction of two Biloko facing a warrior.

This particular legend isn’t exactly in my backyard, but while researching the article I was going to write, I came across this legend and I was so struck by this creature that I had to write about it. I spoke in a previous article about the Skinwalker and the Eloko scared me as much as the Skinwalker. So, naturally, I decided to look deeper into this terrifying creature. It is a known fact that a large majority of the Congo is yet to be explored and, though I can’t say for fact whether the Eloko exists or not, I can say that most legends are based on some or other experience with the mentioned legend. Why would the Nkundo’s Eloko be any different?

According the natives of the Congo (the Nkundo), the Eloko (plural: Biloko) are the dark side of the Knocker from the Welsh miner’s tales. These creatures are considered to be spirits that unresolved issues. it takes the form of a dwarf, but has the spirit of ancestors with grudges. They are said to live in the densest and darkest parts of the forest of Zaire. These spirits are also known to fiercely defend their treasures of the Zaire forest. Only the most daring of hunters and explorers dare to go near where the Biloko are known to live as they fiercely defend the game and rare fruits these hunters and explorers are in search of. Very few hunters have ever had any successful hunts in the regions where the Biloko dwell. Hunters that go into the Zaire rainforest wear amulets and fetishes which are sacred objects that repel the Biloko from attacking them. These same objects lift the spell of the Biloko allowing them to see the game normally hidden by the Biloko’s protective spell.

These dwarf-like demons have no hair (having grass in place of hair) and don themselves with the grass and leaves of the forest. They live in the trees of the rainforest. The Biloko, as well as being a dwarf-like creature, have terrifying, piercing eyes. They also have snouts emitting a piercing cry that compel humans, dead or alive. With their long, sharp claws they are known to tear into human flesh in fact, it is said that they prefer the tender flesh of a woman.

Sometimes depicted as trolls, Biloko are known to carry a bell around their neck with which they can bewitch and attract humans. Don’t let their size deceive you; Biloko are far stronger than they look and only heroes and sorcerers can resist them.

These creatures have also been used as a fable to stress to men the importance of caring for their wives and to be cautious of the dangers of the forest. Biloko are also sometimes used to represent various gangrenous diseases, since these eventually eat their victims away. The Biloko is said to end at their victim’s liver where they the Nkundo believe the spirit resides. There are many stories the Nkundo can tell of this terrible creature, below I have attached a story I read in Cryptid Wiki.

“One day a hunter took his wife, at her insistence, into the forest, where he had a hut with a palisade around it. When he went out to inspect his traps, he told her: “When you hear a bell, do not move. If you do, you will die!” Soon after he had left, she heard the charming sound of a little bell coming closer, for the Eloko has a good nose for feminine flesh. Finally, a gentle voice asked to be let in to his room. It was like the voice of a child. The woman opened the door and there was an Eloko, smelling like the forest, looking small and innocent. She offered him banana mash with fried fish but he refused: “We eat only human meat. I have not eaten for a long time. Give me a piece of your arm.” At last the woman consented, totally under the spell of the Eloko. That night, the husband found her bones.”

This creature bears shocking similarities to so many legends across the world. It would seem that way or another we have all heard similar stories with slight differences. As I mentioned above, the Biloko bears resemblance to the Knockers of Welsh folklore in physical features and bear the same characteristics of departed souls that have not made peace yet and thus can’t move on.

A cautionary tale indeed. Even though we may not believe in the Eloko legend, it poses a very serious question: “What happens to me after I die?” When you close your eyes, will you die wishing you had made right with the people you had hurt or forgiven those who have hurt you? In the end, once you die, there will be no going back.

God bless you all my darling avidReaders.

Maria Roux–The Uniondale Hitchhiker.

Maria Roux ghost

It has been brought to my attention that I have a wealth of urban legends in my own country that I have yet to share with all of you.

The Karoo can be a beautiful place, but for one stretch of road that has intrigued and perturbed many South Africans. If you are a fan of haunted houses, ghosts and other paranormal phenomenon, you may very well already know of Maria Roux–known as the Uniondale Hitchhiker.

Maria Roux

Uniondale Road Hitchhiker

Maria Roux was a lovely young woman who was engaged to a Mr. G.M. Pretorius. Unfortunately, poor Maria would never see her wedding day. While travelling in the car with her fiancé from Graaf Reneit to Riversdal on 12th April 1968, Maria had fallen asleep in the back of the car. While fast asleep, Maria and her fiancé were in a car accident. Her fiancé survived, but Maria was not so fortunate. A year later her fiancé got married and that was when the first sighting of Maria occurred.

Since the late 1960s there have been many sightings of Maria. So much in fact that she became infamized in the movie The Curse of Highway Sheila. All the reports indicate that Maria waits, on the road where she was killed, for passing motorists to give her a lift. When they stop and offer her a lift, thinking she’s a normal hitchhiker, she climbs in. After a few kilometers, they hear a laugh, feel an icy breeze inside the car and then she is gone.

These incidences only occurred for a about 20 years. It seems that upon the death of G.M. Pretorius (in a car accident as it turns out) these appearances stopped almost instantly. It would seem that after so many years of haunting, Maria has finally found peace.

Maria’s story is short, but unnerving as any of her victims can attest. Of the many ghost stories and hauntings few found peace like Maria. It would seem she could only rest soundly once she had seen her fiancé die in the same fashion she had.

I will be investigating some horror stories from my own backyard. Most of these stories still linger in modern day South Africa like the tale of poor Maria Roux.

God bless all of you today, my darling avidReaders.

Cursed Paintings

Image supplied by http://courageousgirlsclub.com/cgc-blog

I heard over the weekend about a painting that was associated with various suspicious activities. A friend had this painting in his house and his accounts correlated with various other witness reports. It got me wondering about this painting and how many others there are out there. I’m going to start out with his testimony in his own words concerning the events around his cursed painting.

“…we had one in our house when I was a baby and well weird and wounded **** happened there and we had a fire in that house…I don’t know the full story [I] was too young but when I got older strange things did happen [and I] heard someone walking around but there was no one. Also heard knocking on walls and stuff like that.”

There are many others out there. These paintings, despite their value as artworks, are almost impossible to sell because of the stigma attached to them.

THE CRYING BOY by Giovanni Bragolin, 1950.

The painting my friend owned is the one famously known as ‘The Crying Boy’. The painting is below.

THE CRYING BOY. IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA

This painting was completed in the 1950s by Giovanni Bragolin. Giovanni apparently painted 60 different paintings. Prints and reprints of these paintings have continued into the 80s. These copies all depicted crying children. Howevere, in 1985, these copies stopped. There was an incident in Rotherham which was publicized by The Sun. This incident involved a fire breaking out in May and Ron Hall’s home. This was attributed to chips left frying on the stove. In the years that followed, the painting became well known for attracting fire and misery in boys. Firefighters also report that when responding to these incidents, the paintings always remain unscathed.

A fellow blogger of the unknown shared this testimony with me:

“When I was a young child in the 70s, I became fascinated by a painting in my grandmother’s house. The painting was a cheap print of a well-known piece, and was hung on the living room wall of her small terraced house. The reason I was so fascinated was that the picture depicted a child. The boy was a similar age to me and for some reason looked sad and downcast, tears brimming from his troubled eyes. I was so attached to the painting I even gave the sad child a name. A few years after the painting went up on the wall, there was a devastating kitchen fire in the house. While the kitchen was destroyed, the rest of the house was undamaged. Despite this, the painting of the boy was removed and thrown into a skip along with the contents of the kitchen. For years it puzzled me why my grandmother did this until I read a series of articles about a cursed painting. That painting was ‘The Crying Boy’.” –Exemplore; Hubpages. If you want to know more, go onto her profile at “https://exemplore.com.”

LOVE LETTERS by Andrew King

LOVE LETTERS. Image provided by “culturacolectiva.com

In the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas. Viewers of this painting have some weird things to report. Some claim when they looked directly at it, they felt dizzy or sick. Some viewers have even claimed to have levitated when they closed their eyes to look away from this painting. This painting was created by painter Andrew King. In the year 1887, Samantha Houston, the 4-year old daughter of a US Senator fell to her death down a flight of stairs. Some say that due to her near resemblance to the girl in the painting, her spirit haunts the hotel. It’s been said that the expression on the painting sometimes changes and the phantom of a little girl playing with a ball has also been spotted.

THE HANDS RESIST HIM by Bill Stoneham

THE HANDS RESIST HIM/eBAY HAUNTED PAINTING

Painted in 1972, by Bill Stoneham, “Hands Resist Him” has become famously known as the “eBay Haunted Painting”. It depicts a boy and girl doll standing in front of a shop window. According to Stoneham, the little boy is based on a photo of himself at age 5. The doorway is a dividing line between the real world and the realm of impossibility. The little girl is a guide into this unknown world, whilst the hands represent parallel worlds or possibilities. The painting is supposedly cursed and was first displayed in the 1970s as Stoneham’s sole work. The first claim to its haunting was after it was purchased by a couple off eBay. In the painting’s eBay description, the couple made various startling claims. The description led to a wildfire online and before long everyone was talking about the Hands Resist Him. Amidst the speculation surrounding this painting was reports that its first gallery owner as well as its first art critic were said to have been supposedly killed by the painting.

eBay Description.

“When we received this painting, we thought it was really good art. A “PICKER ” had found it abandoned behind an old brewery. At the time we wondered a little why a seemingly perfectly fine painting would be discarded like that. ( TODAY WE DON’T !!! ) One morning our 4 and 1/2 year old daughter claimed, that the children in the picture were fighting, and coming into the room during the night. Now, I don’t believe in UFOs or Elvis being alive, but my husband was alarmed. To my amusement he set up a motion triggered camera for the nights. After three nights there were pictures. The last two pictures shown are from that ‘stakeout’. After seeing the boy seemingly exiting the painting under threat, we decided, the painting has to go. Please judge for yourself…”

For the full report go to https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/hands-resist-him-ebay-haunted-painting

I have only mentioned three such disturbing paintings, but there are so many out there. In future, I hope to cover the paintings I was unable to in this post. Check out the attached links for more info on these cursed paintings.

God bless you all my avidReaders.

Courage the Cowardly Dog’s Story

As the title above suggests, this is the truth behind the series. Looking into this last year, I was terrified more than when I watched the actual series. If you under the age of 40, you’ve no doubt grown up either on this series or known of it, but the truth is weirder than fiction. Today we will be looking at the occurrences that inspired the cartoon.

For those of you who have not seen the cartoon or heard of it, it is rather simple. Courage the Cowardly Dog is about a small purple dog who does everything he can to protect his elderly owners, kind Muriel and grumpy Eustace, from all the evil and oddities that surround his home in The Middle of Nowhere.

Courtesy of https://todaysfive.com. Thank you for providing the image.

The Legend of the New Mexican Skinwalker.

This legend is based on an ancient Mexican demonic entity known as the New Mexican Skinwalker. These entities were described as “as real as humans are” as quoted by the New Mexico Explorer. They are also described as similar to humans, which, in my mind, is even more terrifying!

Like humans, they do kill, and like humans, they have motivations for those acts of aggression. Power and revenge fuel their murderous intent, but such things cannot occupy the brain of a rational creature all the time, and skinwalkers do not make murder part of their daily routine.” as quoted by https://todaysfive.com.

These creatures have been seen by many people, yet if you ask any native of New Mexico or the Navajo people, they will deny their very existence. If you are lucky enough to be able to befriend someone from any of these two groups, they will slowly open up to you and start to tell their story of their first encounter with a skinwalker. From the research that has been gathered, a skinwalker has been described as a human that has sold their soul to Satan or “signed with the Devil” in exchange for superhuman abilities. These skinwalkers roam the landscape looking for humans to attempt to convert into skinwalkers. They form an obsession or attraction to a particular human they have taken an interest in. They then stalk this human for many months before converting them.

avidWriter, you ask, how do skinwalkers have anything to do with a children’s cartoon? Well, before I explain that, I need to talk about another famous theory.

David Parker Ray

Courage The Cowardly Dog Real House, in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

This New Mexico serial killer is probably the coldest one you have never heard of…until today that is.

David Parker Ray lived just 7 miles north of Truth or Consequence. This was where he kidnapped all his victims. Having only a population of 3,000 people made Truth or Consequence the perfect hunting ground for this cold killer. He kidnapped and murdered 60 people from this small town, preferably from houses isolated from the rest of the population. He used various sob stories or promises of wealth and fame to gain the trust of these secluded individuals, sound familiar to any villain/s from Courage the Cowardly Dog? I prefer not to go further into Ray’s methods of killing his victims, but you will see I have attached a link to the case archive file, if you want to read it for yourself.

So, how do these two stories have anything to do with Courage?

Well, the people of Truth or Consequence needed an explanation to all these occurrences. Due to the size and condition of the town, it was unlikely that a thorough investigation would be possible or that they would’ve even had a half-decent police force. When a town, as small as 3,000 people, has a killer loose that has murdered as much as 60 people, it is something of an epidemic and without any help it is no surprise that people would come up with their own theories! People began to believe that due to the skinwalkers ability to resemble humans, David Parker Ray was himself a skinwalker. This was all due to the similarity between the Navajo skinwalker stories and Ray’s tactics in hunting his victims.

Now we face the question: was Courage based on reality or not?

The answer is simple: Yes. These stories were based on the stories of skinwalkers, only made worse by the gruesome and horrific acts of David Parker Ray!

Before I speculate as to whether or not these skinwalkers exist, I just want to say that this cartoon was based on these legends and the gruesome acts of Ray. There are plenty of resources for you to come to your own conclusions, I am simply stating that this is what Courage was based on whether it is true or not is for you to decide.

All my avidReaders, below I have attached a link for the archived article of David Parker Ray’s case. You can also find quite a few videos on YouTube about Courage’s true origins.

David Parker Ray case files: archived CNN article from 1999.

God bless you all, my darling avidReaders! 🙂