Celtic Origins of Halloween, Samhaim, Zoroastrianism and more.

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One of my friends with a major paranormal interest, Mr. John Easter, submitted this for inclusion on my site here. The following is his text.

The popular holiday of Halloween has its roots and origin in the Celtic holiday of Samhain. It is truly fascinating that how Halloween and many other ancient Indo-European festivities, have been preserved untouched in Mazda-Yasna or Zoroastrianism with the original ancient beliefs behind them.”

 

“The Gaels, like the Zoroastrians believed that the border between this world and the Other-World became thin before the New Year; it thus allowed the spirits to reach back through the veil that separated them from the living.”
-Celtic Origins of Halloween and Zoroastrian Beliefs and Festivities by Herbad Ardeshir Farahmand

 

Some near death experience reports describe Hell as being in an Earthbound state as a ghost. There are exceptions, such as in ancestor veneration, but many of the ghosts and other undead beings that are recorded in folklore from all over the world are usually described as hostile or sad as well as being in an unnatural or even Hellish like state.

“But what if one level of hell existed right here on the surface- unseen and unsuspected by the living people occupying the same space? What if it meant remaining on earth but never again able to make contact with it?”
 -Visions of God: From the Near Death Experience p. 131 by Dr. Ken R. Vincent

 

Taken from Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie and Elizabeth Sherrill

 

“The psychiatrist George Richie (1998, pp.37-41) who had an NDE(near death experience) in 1943 tells of visiting hellish realms invisible but on the earth-plane, as well as tours of other realms where people were trapped because of their own desires.”
-Scientific Investigation of the “Dark Side” by Dr. Ken R. Vincent

 

Gathic Avestan “Druj” means malicious falsehood, the opposite of “Asha” or goodness, and the essence of evil in the wickedest, vilest, deepest, and un-holiest sense. It is a close cognate of Vedic Sanskrit “Druh” which means affliction, hurtful, hostile, injurer, foe, fiend, demon, and evil power. “Druh” is also the opposite of “Rta” which is the Vedic Sanskrit cognate of Gathic Avestan “Asha” and means order.

 

Old Norse “Draugar” and Middle Irish “Aurddrach” refer to undead beings and are related cognates of Gathic Avestan “Druj” and Vedic Sanskrit “Druh” through Indo-European roots. Other related words include Old English “Dreag”, meaning ghost, Scottish Gaelic “Dreag”, meaning ghost lights or “fiery death-warnings”, Old Persian “Drauga” and Persian “Dorug”, meaning lies, German “Trug”, meaning fraud or deception, and English “Trick”. Possibly even English “Darkness”, which derives from Old English “Deorc” meaning obscure, gloomy, sad, cheerless, sinister, and wicked.

 

“Aurddrach” means ghost. “Abhartach” is a similar word that refers to an undead dwarf in an Irish legend who is described as one of the “neamh-mairbh” or walking dead. “Draug”, singular, or “Draugar”, plural, are ghoul like beings described in the Norse/Icelandic sagas. Including Eyrbyggja Saga, Saga of Grettir the Strong, Saga of Erik the Red, Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, Saga of Egil & Asmund, Saga of Hromund Gripsson, Njal’s Saga, Laxdaela Saga, Gisli Sursson’s Saga, and Floamanna Saga.

 

Draugar are related to ghasts in Swedish lore, Nachzehrers in German lore, and revenants in English lore. Draugar are particularly similar to the vampires in Slavic & Romanian lore and to both the Rakshasas and the undead beings in Hinduism & Indian lore. They are also similar to the ghouls in Arabian lore and to the Dybbuks in Jewish lore. Whether described as physical ghoul like beings or non-physical ghost like beings the undead are mentioned in the lore of numerous countries and cultures and on every continent.

Draugar were thought to be very greedy, cruel, and wicked people in life. As undead they injure and terrorize both human and animal life in the Norse sagas. This does seem to be connected to the Dregavants, the followers of Druj and the living injurers of human and animal life, who fall back into the House of Druj after their deaths, which is described as a Hellish state for their souls in the Gathas. Frawardin Yasht 12 states that the guardian angels help prevent Druj from gaining power over the physical world or corporeal life.

 

“In Norse mythology the bridge/or link to the Aesir’s realm is inaccessible to the wicked and is only open to the noble souls. Also, in the Zoroastrian holy writings the vile because of their own actions (destroying the world of men/mortals) and lack of vision are unable to cross over the bridge and are cast back into the domain of lies that have consumed them through all ages. (Yasna 46.11 and Yasna 51.13)”
-The Concept of the Illuminating Bridge in Zoroastrian Faith, Norse Mythology and the Al-Sirat in Islam by Herbad Ardeshir Farahmand

Vampire Princess – The Secrets of Nature

This odd thing showed up in my Youtube today. I hadn’t had time to really watch it, but I think it would fit the paranormal hub thing I’m trying to cultivate here. Like all the documentaries I want to post, this is purely for your evaluation purposes and I encourage you, if you enjoyed the work, to purchase it through the appropriate channels so the creators get paid for their work. 🙂

If there’s something wrong with the video or it has been removed, contact me at Meteo(dot)Xavier(at)gmail(dot)com.

The Shadowlands – Uncle Mike

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This article comes from The Shadowlands, reprinted and shared with permission.

Uncle Mike

Interview by Dave Juliano

I interviewed the owner of this haunted house located in southern New Jersey about 12 years ago. This is the story she told of some incidents in her house and others with her family. This house is on a quiet street in a small town.

It started in the early sixties , when Joan’s brother Mike started dating a wild girl whom the family called Reds. One night out, Mike and Reds were joy riding around Philadelphia. Both of them were intoxicated. Reds kept telling Mike to drive faster and faster. His speed still did not satisfy she reached her foot over and stepped on the gas pedal, Mike lost control and slammed into a utility pole. Reds was killed in the crash and Mike was seriously injured. He was even unable to attend the funeral. He was ordered to remain at home in bed. When the family returned from the funeral they went up to Mike’s room. As soon as they walked in the door Mike began to describe exactly what Reds was wearing in the coffin, down the rings and other jewelry. The family asked him how he knew all this since he wasn’t there. He told them that Reds had just been there to visit him.

Years later Joan’s son, Bobby, was supposed to ship out to Vietnam on the following morning. His Uncle Mike told him he would stop by in the morning to give him a lucky coin that would bring him good luck and protect him. His Uncle was very persistent about Bobby getting this coin. The next day, The whole family was there to see bobby off at the airport except for his Uncle Mike.. As they waited for him to arrive Bobby bought his 2 young sisters Raggy Ann dolls. His Uncle never showed up and Bobby had to leave without the lucky coin. When Joan arrived home her neighbors told her to put on the TV and watch the news. She turned on the TV and the scene was of her brother Mike laying dead in the street. He had been killed while attempting to rob a bank, he was trying to steal a coin collection.

One night while Bobby was on guard duty near the front lines, He saw a figure approaching him in the distance. He called out for the person to identify themselves. Bobby had never fired his gun at a person before and He was hesitating. The figure was even closer in an instant and he recognized it, it was his dead Uncle Mike. His Uncle told him to turn around and he spun around to be face to face with a North Vietnam soldier with his bayonet raised. He fired instantly killing the enemy soldier. He quickly turned around but his uncle was gone. Joan received many letters form men in Bobby platoon who told of mines not going off, shells veering off in opposite directions, etc. All of these occurred when Bobby’s life was in danger. His uncle had failed to give him the lucky coin, so he was protecting him from beyond.

During the war the sisters had started sleeping in Bobby’s room. This was the same room that Red’s had visited years before. One night they both awoke to find the Raggy Ann dolls sitting up in bed laughing at them.

After the war Bobby went to work as a bus driver. On one late night run he got the feeling of his Uncle’s presence just like in Viet Nam. He heard his Uncle say “turn around”, he did and there was a man with a knife ready to stab him. He overpowered the man and called the police. Bobby still has times when his Uncle Mike appears to aid him.

The day before I conducted this interview Joan’s grandchildren were over and were playing in the room that was once Mike and Bobby’s room. They ran downstairs to Joan and her friend and claimed someone was watching them as they played. The women went upstairs to look. The room was very cold, but they found no intruder. The girls said they were being watched form the closet. Joan showed the girls there was nothing in the closet, she even stood inside to point this out. As she stood in the closet, she looked up and noticed a small hole in the ceiling above the closet door. She inspected the hole and found a box full of old clothes and things. Among them were the Raggy Ann dolls that had come alive years before.

For the skeptics among you, I met Joan through my Mother at our Church. She became a good friend of the family and later became our town’s mayor. I also know Bobby, he was my football coach. Real people, real story. 

See more from The Shadowlands at www.theshadowlands.com.

The picture in the article here isn’t related to post, I just need some eye candy. Got it from Google Images.

The Shadowlands – “Dave Juliano’s Story”

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This article comes from The Shadowlands, reprinted and shared with permission.

It started when I was three years old. One night I awoke to find a small child-like figure in my bed with me. He was about 2 feet tall and had the features of a small child, but its head was swollen well beyond a normal size. It was wearing a blue gown with the hands not visible at the end of the sleeves. It was moving its mouth and talking in gibberish. The figure was as real as I was, and it was surrounded by a kind of glowing haze. I ran to my parents’ bedroom and woke up my dad, but, of course, he told me to go back to sleep. So I returned to my room and now the figure was standing on my bed. I grabbed a pillow and covered my face and jumped on the bed. It was gone. That started something that would last the next 26 years.

I’ll condense the years up until 1990. Those appearances, while still frightening, never really made me feel threatened. During this period, which included teenage years, I saw the figure with the same frequency. My bedroom is located at the end of a hallway with 2 other bedrooms before mine. At the other end of the hallway is a landing that blocks the view to the steps. From my bed I could look out my door and down the hall to the landing and the top of the steps. I always knew right before the figure would appear, because the hair on the back of my neck would stand up and I would get uncontrollable chills. The figure would then appear either on top of the landing or come around the base of the landing and start down the hall toward my room. It never seemed to pay any attention to the other rooms at all. I would normally panic and either shut my door or run into my parents’ room and sleep on the floor. Imagine finding your 18 year old son curled up on your bedroom floor when you wake up in the morning. My parents and sister didn’t really fully believe that I was seeing this apparition. I also would stay up late, being the night person that I am, and watch TV. In my living room, we have the stairs that lead up to the 2nd floor. It has a wooden railing on it that goes the length of the last 4 steps. I would often see the figure on the steps watching me from the 3rd or 4th step and then disappear. The only real changes during this time period were that the figure was losing its color and becoming more transparent.

Now things will change drastically. A neighbor, with some knowledge of this sort of activity, told me to confront the figure and tell it to leave and never come back. I was to tell it that I was its power source and I was shutting off the power. I did this and enjoyed about a year of no sightings. Around this time, I told the story to my girlfriend of the time. She thought that its description sounded like a baby with water on the brain and still wearing its gown from the hospital. She thought that it was a lost soul trying to contact me to help it with some task, so that it could finally rest in peace. I started to look into the house’s history and my family’s. The house sits on land that was farmland and a dirt road only 150 years ago. The land was owned by one man and he had his farm and homestead around the area of my house (the main house of his estate is one block from my house and is still standing) My house is 40 years old and we are the 2nd family to live in it. The couple before us had no children that we know about. I have a sister 3 years younger than me and no other siblings. I have asked my parents if they had a child that died that I was unaware of, but they didn’t. So after all my checking, I found nothing that could explain the apparition.

After a week of thinking about the interpretation my girlfriend had given, guilt of banishing the figure overcame me. I asked it to come back one night and told it I would help it. The very next night the sightings started again , but with much greater intensity. I can say now, NEVER do what I did, once it’s gone, let it stay gone. The sightings would happen more frequently and sometimes they would terrify me. The figure looked the same but something was very different. I was sure what it was, but now there was another force in addition to the familiar figure. I began to see small black colored creatures which I can only describe as imps. They were solid black, 1-2 feet tall and ran around on all fours. They appeared mostly in the living room and coming from the hall closet.

Now to explain the rest of the house set up that pertains to the story. The man that lived here before us started to dig out a basement, but he never completed it. All that remains is a 3-4 foot crawl space accessible from outside the house. The hall closet was to be the stairs down to the basement. He had started making the stairs going down but he boarded it all up when he stopped digging the basement. The stairs going up to the 2nd floor are directly over the would-be basement step and the hall closet. So there are 2 ways from inside the house to access the crawl space, if you really wanted to, rip up the 3rd or 4th step of the stairs or knock out the back of the closet. I began to make the connection between where the figures appeared and where the access ways were.

The sightings got more intense and sometimes they even drove me from my house. Normally, my dog would sense the small figure and act funny when it was around, but now when the imps appeared my dog would be in a very deep sleep and I could never wake him up. I would either leave the house and stay over at a friends. Sometimes I would be knocking on her door at 2 a.m. terrified. Other times, if I was able to get between them and the steps, I would make a run for it to my room or my parents’ room, because, even these creatures would not venture in the bedrooms. My mother was noticing my moods and I had told her about the new happenings so she told me to get her the next time I saw the figure or imps. The next time I saw the figure upstairs coming down the hall, I ran into her room and woke her up. I led her out into the hall where the figure still was. I pointed to it and it began to back away and go down the steps. I chased it down to the 3rd step where it vanished. While she could not see it, she could tell by my eye movements that I was watching something moving across the hall and steps. I think that’s when my family started to believe a little.

I became used to these new additions because they never did any harm but they did make me feel very uneasy. The figure was becoming even more transparent. Certain lamps in the house would go on and off by themselves often with other witnesses around. I would hear the TV go on in the middle of the night when I knew no one was downstairs. I had theorized that the figure needed help to appear because it was slowly fading away. I assumed the imps were helping him, but the figure was still fading. I was waiting for a new addition to the cast, so the figure could still appear, since I still hadn’t figured out what it wanted me to do.

The sightings stopped again for a few months. I spoke with a parapsychologist , but then decided to leave well enough alone. I didn’t want things getting worse. I decided to go into the crawl space and check out the area under the stairs. I took my dog down there with me and I crawled to the area. There had not been anyone under there for years before this. I found an Old Maid playing card with not a bit of dust on it right under the 3rd step. We have wall to wall carpeting so this did not fall through the joints. I hadn’t seen that deck of cards for over 20 years, but here was one. It had one corner that looked like it had been dipped in acid, but the rest was in good shape. I took it and put in a pocket bible and put it in my car.

The sightings started again, only very small. I would call my girlfriend on the cordless phone and tell her it’s happening again and then walk upstairs while still on the phone with her. The next time was the worst of all. The figure appeared very bright, like it did years ago, but it didn’t look very happy. The imps appeared again but they were more bold this time. Then a 7 foot tall man- shaped black figure appeared. It looked like it was either made of smoke or some liquid. It looked semi-solid and you couldn’t see through it. At the same time, the room was filled with imps and a bearded old mans face took shape on the wall and started mumbling. The face was about 6 foot high and 4 foot wide. The familiar figure looked like it was sorry for doing this to me. I left the house and sat in my car until dawn.

I knew I had to confront this new entity and try to drive it away. I also figured that if it wanted me, it was going to get me either way, so I had nothing to lose. My sanity, life and maybe my soul were on the line and I honestly believed this was the only way to stop it before it branched out. I was the original power source, so I was going to shut off the power. The next night I prayed for protection and the strength to drive this evil away. I had a bible handy as I sat up as usual listening to my CD’s. About 2 a.m., I noticed my dog was in one of those deep, deep sleeps and I began to look around. The figure and the Tall black figure appeared along with the rest of the apparitions. I informed them in the calmest voice I could get at this time, that I was taking away their power and they had no hold on me or power over me. I told them I, my family and house was protected by God and they could not harm us. I walked right past the tall figure and the imps moved out of my way. I walked right up the steps and never looked back.

That was about 2 years ago and I have not seen them since. We placed a bible on the stairs and a cross in the closet to block off their entrances. I still feel there is a presence there that tries to get me to let in it. I still hear bumping and walking around, but the apparitions are gone, banished to the crawl space I assume. They will not get another portal in here so they will remain there. We did have the house blessed years ago, every where except the crawl space. I think that might be the answer to end it all for good.

Footnotes 1998:
I have learned alot since I first put my story to paper. I now realize that many of my reactions to the majority of the encounters were, while natural, not necessary. The house was haunted by an earthbound spirit and when I had asked it to leave, it stopped contacting me, but was still there. It never harmed me and was only trying to get my attention. Because I didn’t understand what was happening, I reacted the way everyone else would, with fear. I did tell it it could come back and the way I did it caught the attention of other earthbound spirits in the area and one non human one. The majority of the experiences after I opened the door back up were with human spirits, some not as friendly as the original one who also came back. While there was one encounter with something I believe was a non human entity, the majority of the other spirits were earthbound human spirits. In regards to the black imps, let me just say that these may have been either type of spirit, I’m still not sure at this point. I have researched them further but I am unable to say with out a doubt that they were evil. I believe the tall black figure was evil though.

See more from The Shadowlands at www.theshadowlands.com.

The picture in the article here isn’t related to post, I just need some eye candy. Got it from Google Images.

Paranormal Documentary – “Top 10 Most Haunted Places in the United States”

Please enjoy this paranormal documentary as a means to sample and enjoy the work. If you enjoy this documentary, then please consider purchasing it through the appropriate methods and support the studios and filmmakers who made it. 🙂

This work is not mine, I did not record or upload it and my only intent is to share it with people as a means for exposure. If this video link is broken or the video has been removed, please contact me at Meteo(dot)Xavier(at)gmail(dot)com.

Excerpt 16 – The Spur

The following is one of many entries from the Phantoms Fill The Southern Skies book. I am producing it here from the original manuscript file for visitors to sample and see if they would be interested in the full text available on Amazon.

Please respect the copyright owners – Jeff Lawhead, J.S. Lawhead and 23 House Publishing – and do not reprint or reproduce any portion of this text on any monetized formats and without permission. Reproduction for hobbyist or academic interest (as well as “fair use”) is ok as long as sources are explicitly cited. Contact me at Meteo.Xavier@gmail.com for any permission inquiries regarding this or any other excerpt.

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This short entry is one from my own hometown; barely more than a mile from my own house, and it’s one that, even if I don’t personally believe it, I can certainly attest to it.

In Sevier County, Tennessee, at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a thickly forested roadway connecting Pigeon Forge with Gatlinburg known as The Spur, and one of the landmarks on the spur is a reasonably long tunnel that only passengers going from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge get to drive through. It is well lit most of the time throughout the year and the bright orange glow and heavily reverberating environment is a stark contrast to the brown, grey and green roadway that it cuts through.

And yet, somehow, every so often, it is reported that some people will drive the entire length of the Spur from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge and either never drive through the tunnel or remember driving through it. I have been driving and have been driven through that tunnel for a quarter of a century, as of writing, and I can corroborate that, once in a great while, I will get to Pigeon Forge from Gatlinburg and think, “…wait a minute… didn’t I go through the tunnel?”

It wasn’t until I started researching for this book that I found I was not the only person having this experience. Juanita Baldwin reports in her book, Smoky Mountain Ghostlore, that a couple had written to her with the same experience, and that local folklorists have known and talked about the mystery of the tunnel for some time as well. I don’t know how I would have missed it.

While I personally lean on the side of rational thinking for this mystery, I must admit it’s very hard to miss the tunnel on the Spur. You can’t really be daydreaming so heavily that you miss a bright orange, loud tunnel that takes half a minute to go through. I don’t know of any strange history or events surrounding it (except for a stray post on a paranormal forum by a poster claiming to have seen a man cloaked in black on the side of the road), so I have no idea why the tunnel would be causing this effect randomly.

But now that I know others have experienced it, I’ll never be able to drive through it the same way ever again…

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Images used in this post do not belong to me or 23 House and are not part of the original manuscript. They were pulled from Google Images or Snappy Goat and only serve as graphical decoration. They are not being used for any monetizing purposes whatsoever.

Excerpt 15 – The Third Eye Man of USC

The following is one of many entries from the Phantoms Fill The Southern Skies book. I am producing it here from the original manuscript file for visitors to sample and see if they would be interested in the full text available on Amazon.

Please respect the copyright owners – Jeff Lawhead, J.S. Lawhead and 23 House Publishing – and do not reprint or reproduce any portion of this text on any monetized formats and without permission. Reproduction for hobbyist or academic interest (as well as “fair use”) is ok as long as sources are explicitly cited. Contact me at Meteo.Xavier@gmail.com for any permission inquiries regarding this or any other excerpt.

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If you stood in the middle of a college campus anywhere in the South, or the country for that matter, and starting slinging rocks in every direction you could until you ran out (don’t actually do this), each and every spot that those delinquent stones land on might be rumored to be haunted. For some reason, higher-learning schools of all kinds soak up urban legends and ghostly folklore like sponges, and they haunt the dark corners of academia more persistently than the entities themselves. One possible reason for this is the often tense atmosphere that colleges impose onto students – usually freshly minted adults who now have to learn how to cope with being on their own, saturated with the stress of grades, deadlines and real failure, while their heads still transition from the superstitions of their youth to the logic and reason of the real world. Not only could this be a source for why campuses are surprising hot-spots for legends that would be better suited for campfires, but it could also act as a source for the entities themselves. It’s a strange dynamic.

In my research for this book, I certainly had a wide variety of college folk legends to choose from just from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas alone, but definitely the most interesting “haunt” coming from a Southern school I found had to be the Third-Eye Man of USC.

USC is the University of South Carolina in Columbia, a rather prestigious school with many academic accomplishments and recognitions under its name. It is renowned for having the largest collection of Ernest Hemingway in the world, and the largest collection of Robert Burns and Scottish literature outside of Scotland itself. According to U.S. News and World Report, it has laid claim to the highest and third highest ranking Undergraduate and Graduate International Business programs, respectively, in the country for years’ as well as the third highest ranking school psychology doctoral program.

With so many good things to say about USC’s commitment to practical, real world knowledge, it seems very out of place that it would have rumors of a very unworldly creature hiding in its underbelly, but for more than sixty years, those rumors continue to be spread both on-campus and off.

No one seems to know much about who or what the Third-Eye Man might be – he’s not stated to be a ghost or demon, he’s too human to be creature and he’s not human enough to be an actual man. All anyone seems to know on him are based on a few reports going back to the mid-part of the 20th century from people who have encountered him in the “catacombs”, a steam tunnel system running underneath various buildings and parts of the campus (and some say connect to the State House and the Governor’s mansion). Use of the catacombs today is exclusive only to USC administration and any unauthorized entry is punished to the full extent of policy, but that may be a blessing compared to what might happen if you run into the ghastly sewer mutant.

The Third-Eye Man was first reported in 1949 when two USC students spotted a strange looking man dressed in all silver opening one of the manholes on campus. Although the campus manholes lead to the steam tunnels, he was first dubbed the Sewer Man by a Christopher Nichols, a student who worked on the campus newsletter and one of the two who first claimed to see him. It was subsequently reported in the campus newsletter which lead to a short-lived frenzy about the Sewer Man.

The next report came less than six months later in 1950 and put a series of macabre spins on the Sewer Man story. He was next spotted by an officer with the USC Campus Police during his patrol behind the Longstreet Theatre building. When the officer came to the loading docks of the theater, he found a collection of bloodied chicken parts and feathers from two chickens that had just been mutilated there. Thinking it was some horrible student prank, the officer went to his patrol car to report the incident. When he came back, he found a strange man dressed all in silver bent over the mess either gathering it all together or eating it. The officer shone his flashlight on the man and he found the stranger had a discolored face with what looked to be a small, third eye in his forehead. Understandably, the officer got spooked and ran back to his patrol car for backup, but when backup arrived, the stranger and most of the evidence of his disturbance were gone.

While no one believed the officer’s wild story at the time, his report would solidify the legend of the Third-Eye Man of USC, but it was still far from the most frightening encounter that was reported. As a result of the bizarre legend, the catacombs became a hangout spot for college students in the years following, and it was apparently also popular as a potential hazing ground for fraternity leaders to break in their pledges.

Well, this came to a stop finally one night in the late 1960s when he was spotted again in his most frightening appearance yet. A fraternity had decided to take some of their pledges down to the catacombs, presumably as part of an initiation, and they barely got inside the tunnels when they were surprised by the silver-suited Third-Eye Man. This time he was described as being “crippled” and carrying a lead pipe. He charged at the students and tackled one of the pledges to the ground, but despite suffering minor cuts and bruises, the pledge and everyone else were able to get away relatively safely.

They immediately contacted the authorities, but despite a thorough sweep of the tunnels and the area, the Third-Eye Man was never found. That was his last reported sighting.

And as silly as the stories may seem, the university does not seem to see it that way. Entrance into the tunnels is now strictly forbidden with many places sealed off entirely, and administration seems to look down on even discussing the Third-Eye Man. This, however, does not stop many students and locals from sneaking and prying in to go look for him, as several online forums have shown me.

Even though he hasn’t been seen since before the Beatles broke up, and it’s quite unlikely the school will be changing their football team to the USC Triclops anytime soon, his eerie legacy will likely carry on for many decades to come. Ghost stories and folklore stick around whether it’s a simple, back-country community or one of the most respectable halls of academia in the South.

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Images used in this post do not belong to me or 23 House and are not part of the original manuscript. They were pulled from Google Images or Snappy Goat and only serve as graphical decoration. They are not being used for any monetizing purposes whatsoever.

Excerpt 14 – Trahlyta/The Witch of Cedar Mountain

The following is one of many entries from the Phantoms Fill The Southern Skies book. I am producing it here from the original manuscript file for visitors to sample and see if they would be interested in the full text available on Amazon.

Please respect the copyright owners – Jeff Lawhead, J.S. Lawhead and 23 House Publishing – and do not reprint or reproduce any portion of this text on any monetized formats and without permission. Reproduction for hobbyist or academic interest (as well as “fair use”) is ok as long as sources are explicitly cited. Contact me at Meteo.Xavier@gmail.com for any permission inquiries regarding this or any other excerpt.

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“Be careful what you wish for” is a lesson imparted through many types of fables throughout the world. It tries to teach us that cheating to overcome an obstacle (in this case, using magic to bend nature to your fortune) is never worth the effort, and the payment for doing so outweighs the reward in the end. We see this in stories featuring wish-granting genies, adaptations or variations of the famous W.W. Jacobs short story, “The Monkey’s Paw”, and, more often than not, witches that an ordinary person has set out to consult for an extraordinary problem. One major reason the witch is often associated with evil intent is that asking one for a favor is akin to making a deal with the devil. She will help you and get the job done, but she chooses the method and will not be held responsible for the outcome. Other times, the witch is actually just a kindly old soul and doesn’t need to be anything more than helpful, as we saw with the “conjure woman” in Creatures of the Night.

In Fannin County, Georgia, there is a classic example of the former with a story dating back to mid-1940s. Miss Parry was the name of the local frump that lived in a paper-thin shack up on the hill. Locals called her that because no one knew her first name and likely didn’t have the courage to ask her what it was. No one knew anything about her other than she was exceptionally old and mysterious, and yet it was still said that many came seeking her spells and solutions.

One of them was a woman who lived in Gilmer County by the name of Marge who was the self-proclaimed head of her family. She was a bullish woman, heavily opinionated and given to steamrolling her way through the affairs of the family. She had a niece named Lily who was growing up and came to find the man of her dreams with a local moonshiner named Grady Holmes. Grady was a decent enough man, but his business in unlicensed alcohol did not sit well with Lily’s proper, Christian family (I wonder if this story inspired The Cutter Legend, or vice versa). Like so many Southern families at the time, they held so high a standard for who their children should marry that they wanted to make sure Lily never saw Grady Holmes again. They came to call on Aunt Marge, and she, in turn, came to call on old Miss Parry.

Both Marge and her sister, Lily’s mother Hilda, hiked the road to where Miss Parry was said to be and, sure enough, they were greeted by a strange little woman who looked as frail as the tiny stick house she was living in. Marge and Hilda asked Miss Parry if there was anything she could do to stop Lily from wanting to marry Grady and, turning her attention away from the two busybodies, began mixing some ingredients together in a pot, mumbled something that sounded like a spell, and then told them Grady will not be a problem anymore.

Thinking she must’ve meant that Lily would no longer be interested in seeing the lowbrow shiner-rat, they went back about their business, only to find out Lily had still gone down to the meeting place they spent most evenings and he had not shown up. The next day, as Marge and Hilda were shopping, they learned in an unceremonious fashion that Grady had died in a car crash – he lost control of his truck as he was carrying a shipment of moonshine and collided head on with a tree. The engine exploded and the intensity of the fire inside was fed by the alcohol in the car until the authorities had to remove a charred corpse from the wreckage. As it happened shortly after Marge and Hilda had left the hillside shack, there was little doubt now that Miss Parry was a genuine black magic witch.

The second story comes from Dahlonega of Lumpkin County in North Georgia, a city famous for its roots with the Creek and Cherokee Native Americans and as the site of the first major gold rush in the United States back in 1828. Nowadays, the Dahlonega is better known as the “wine capital of Georgia”, and as the site of a strange rock pile that acts as both a historical marker for the forest and the grave-site of a Cherokee princess named Trahlyta.

The tragedy of Trahlyta is another story of love gone wrong, and where she is buried now is not far from where she lived in life. Not much seems to be known of her early years, other than she was Cherokee royalty and she was renowned for her ageless beauty. It was said that she consulted with someone the legend states was the Witch of Cedar Mountain, who guided her to the site of a fountain of youth, now known as Porter Springs, that was blessed by the Great Spirit. The water had the power to temporarily stop the aging process in her body and she needed to drink the water periodically to maintain its power, otherwise she would grow old and die all the same.

She did as she was told and won the affections of the men of the tribe, and none more so than a warrior named Wahsega, who eventually asked for her hand in marriage. Trahlyta rejected his proposal and Wahsega did not take it well – he kidnapped her shortly afterwards and fled Georgia for a land much further away where the tribe could not take her back. Wahsega kept his now trophy wife almost a prisoner, and her beauty and life did not last too long without the powers of the fountain. She wasted away and when she came near to her death, instead of begging to be released, she asked Wahsega for one final wish – to bury her back in her homeland when she died under a pile of stones, so whoever puts another stone on the pile will be granted good fortune. Some legends even tell that she cried tears of gold in her last day; probably as a strange side effect of the water’s power latent in her body.

She died not long after making this plea and Wahsega, likely now seeing the error of his ways, went back to Cedar Mountain and buried her where she lies today underneath a stone pile now some six feet in height.

But the story doesn’t end there – it was then said that the Witch of Cedar Mountain, who apparently had taken a shine to Trahlyta, was heartbroken over her kidnapping and death and added a curse onto the stone pile so that whoever removes a stone does so at the risk of their lives. It is said that there were two attempts, in much later years, by two road construction companies that tried to move the stone pile so they could get work done and, like the story of Miss Parry, both met with vehicular fatality not long after carrying the stones. Now the stones are set to remain where they are today and the site is recognized by the Georgia Historic Commission.

Both stories offer interesting similarities and reversals for the traditional Southern role of the witch, and even if the Witch of Cedar Mountain could be seen as far more good-hearted than most examples, it doesn’t escape the fact that what Trahlyta wished for still eventually brought on her sad demise. For those who believe in the power of witchcraft, there has been a constant, age-old warning that you can’t play with the forces of nature and expect to go unpunished. We are not normally given these powers for a reason, and those who know this reason often find out much too late…

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Images used in this post do not belong to me or 23 House and are not part of the original manuscript. They were pulled from Google Images or Snappy Goat and only serve as graphical decoration. They are not being used for any monetizing purposes whatsoever.

Excerpt 13 – The Däkwä

The following is one of many entries from the Phantoms Fill The Southern Skies book. I am producing it here from the original manuscript file for visitors to sample and see if they would be interested in the full text available on Amazon.

Please respect the copyright owners – Jeff Lawhead, J.S. Lawhead and 23 House Publishing – and do not reprint or reproduce any portion of this text on any monetized formats and without permission. Reproduction for hobbyist or academic interest (as well as “fair use”) is ok as long as sources are explicitly cited. Contact me at Meteo.Xavier@gmail.com for any permission inquiries regarding this or any other excerpt.

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Fairies aren’t the only folklore archetypes that find their way into Cherokee mythology – another common type of legend that you can find in almost every country of the world is one of a great fish, lake monster, or some other type of amphibious beast that has resided in an important local water source since before the age of man. Scotland has the poster child of the trope with the Loch Ness Monster, aboriginal Australia has the Bunyip, China has the shape-shifting Jiaolong, the Northern United States has Champ of Lake Champlain in Vermont, and the Southern United States has the Däkwä of the Tennessee River of Toco Creek in Monroe County, Tennessee.

Or had, rather, as, unlike many of these other cryptids, the Däkwä has been dead for centuries, and the story of how that came to be is one of the more graphic and thrilling versions of the archetype; a perfect illustration of the warrior spirit of the Cherokee.

At an unknown time of Cherokee history, very likely before the settlers arrived from Europe, a canoe of warriors was making its way down the Tennessee River when the monster fish rose up from the depths beneath them and attacked their boat; throwing the entire party into the water. Each warrior, now completely disoriented, fought the waves and each other to get to the nearest shore before it could return and swallow them whole. Luckily, the Däkwä did not surface again, but they did not survive the ambush unscathed – all but one of their warriors made it back safely. The one that didn’t was swallowed whole.

The Däkwä, however, was an enormous fish, and there was enough room inside its cavernous stomach that the swallowed warrior was able to escape instant digestion. He was far from safe, though, and once he came to his senses, he knew he had to get out as soon as possible before it swallowed something else and knocked him into the stomach acids. The only way that was going to happen was to cut his way out through the side, but to make matters worse, he found he did not have his knife; he lost it somewhere as the boat overturned.

The warrior searched frantically for anything sharp that he could pick up and use to hack his way out and came across a number of whole mussel shells that had also yet to be digested. With nothing else to work with, the warrior felt for the shell with the sharpest edge to it and immediately started cutting his way out through the stomach lining. The Däkwä thrashed about in the waters as its stomach came under attack, and the quaking innards threw the warrior up and down the organ. The acids and scorching body juices that the warrior was lucky to avoid at first were now flying all around him and they burned his flesh almost down to the bones. Both of them were suffering searing amounts of pain, but the warrior refused to give up. He cut, and cut, and cut until finally there was a hole large enough for him to get out of.

The cold water of the river relieved his scalded skin and he pushed through as hard and as fast as he could until he could see the sky above him. Once he broke through the surface, he swam towards his comrades on the shore. When he was able to stand on solid ground, he turned to the Däkwä and watched it die from its wounds; an impressive victory of man over nature if there ever was one.

But as the warrior turned back to the others, he found they were staring at him and muttering things amongst themselves. He asked to know what they were staring at (aside from a man who just cut his way out of a monster fish with a mussel shell, that is) and one of the warriors directed his attention back to the water’s edge where he could see his reflection.

Instead of the young, dark-skinned man he was used to seeing in the water, there was an elderly man with bleached white hair and skin looking back. The stomach acids of the Däkwä had permanently scorched the color right off his body (or, in some versions, the hair as well, leaving him bald for the rest of his days).

Another version of the story is told by Wahnenauhi, a famous Cherokee storyteller from the 1800s, and was also collected into James Mooney’s Myths of the Cherokee. In this version, a little Cherokee boy was sent to do an errand by his father, but instead of obeying his father, the boy ran down to the river (presumably the same Tennessee River) to goof off. As he played in the sand with a mussel shell that he found on the shore, some of his friends from the village floated by on the river in a canoe and invited him to join. The moment he stepped onto the boat, however, his weight caused it to tip over and send him plunging into the cold waters below.

As he was submerged in the dark river, a giant fish spotted him and swallowed him right then and there. Luckily, the boy landed in a safe spot of the fish’s stomach where he would not be digested. After a while, the boy became very hungry and began to look around inside for food he could eat before the fish got a chance to dissolve it. When he couldn’t find any, he saw the fish’s liver hanging down from up high and, thinking it was dried meat as he was accustomed to back in the village, he took the mussel shell that he was playing with earlier and cut it down (!). The fish, suddenly overcome with pain and nausea, immediately vomited the boy back up.

There is even an identical tale from the Ojibwe/Chippewa tribes of the United States and Canada where Manabozho, the hero of the Anishinaabe (which encompass the Ojibwe) is the warrior who gets stuck inside the monster fish and has to fight to escape. It is an extremely common type of story throughout history that almost every culture can identify with and thus adapt. With water being one of the most essential and dangerous elements of early civilizations across the world, it becomes very understandable that it would be the setting for all kinds of monsters, heroes, gods and spirits that could fill the gaps of understanding. Stories like this taught early man to be careful and watch what he was doing as he paddled down the rapids with food supplies for his family or village.

Of course, just because stories of monsters may carry similarities across nations does not mean they’re not true – that’s what the legend of the Kraken taught us (see Creatures of the Night). Maybe those stories are similar for a reason…

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Images used in this post do not belong to me or 23 House and are not part of the original manuscript. They were pulled from Google Images or Snappy Goat and only serve as graphical decoration. They are not being used for any monetizing purposes whatsoever.

Excerpt 12 – The Battle of Nïkwäsï

The following is one of many entries from the Phantoms Fill The Southern Skies book. I am producing it here from the original manuscript file for visitors to sample and see if they would be interested in the full text available on Amazon.

Please respect the copyright owners – Jeff Lawhead, J.S. Lawhead and 23 House Publishing – and do not reprint or reproduce any portion of this text on any monetized formats and without permission. Reproduction for hobbyist or academic interest (as well as “fair use”) is ok as long as sources are explicitly cited. Contact me at Meteo.Xavier@gmail.com for any permission inquiries regarding this or any other excerpt.

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The Cherokee always seemed to live in areas that were surrounded by thresholds to hidden realms. They hardly even had to wander outside their usual hunting grounds before they got lost and came upon a stranger from one of the other “peoples” that would offer to return them to where they came from, or maybe offer them food and lodging at their own villages before sending them back out. Other times, there may have been a battle with a different Native American tribe that would happen to be just close enough to one of these hidden realms that a surprise reinforcement group would arrive to help the Cherokee out when they needed it the most.

One such story was the Battle of Nïkwäsï’, which was a sacred mound located on the Little Tennessee River in what is now Franklin, North Carolina. The Nïkwäsï’ was a major center for the Cherokee of the area, as they built a townhouse used for meetings, councils and religious ceremonies at the top of the mound and kept a sacred flame burning at all times in there. The story goes that an unknown tribe from somewhere further southeast were moving their way up through Nïkwäsï’, killing and destroying everything in their path for no known reason, until they came to conquer the Cherokee on the mound. The warriors of Nïkwäsï’ fought long and hard but just could not overcome this vicious tribe.

As they begun to retreat, a stranger appeared on the Cherokee side of the battlefield, staring down the enemy, and he called for the Nïkwäsï’ chief to call off his men as he was going to finish off the enemy with his reinforcements. At first, the Nïkwäsï’ warriors thought he was a chief from nearby Overhill who brought his own men to drive off the invaders, but they watched instead as hundreds of warriors poured out from the sides of the mound and rushed to the battlefield, ready for blood and war. Even stranger than that, the warriors suddenly became invisible the moment they were outside the settlement, but their weapons and arrows stung and slashed all the same. The invaders had no idea what was going on, but the Nïkwäsï’ tribe soon realized they were being helped by the Nunne’hi; who were long said to have lived under the mound itself.

The Nunne’hi made short work of the invaders, and the few remaining survivors fled to the head of Tuckasegee many miles away. The Nunne’hi followed, and the desperate warriors begged to be spared. The Nunne’hi chief listened to their pleas and allowed them to escape back to their homes so they could spread the news of their defeat to their respective villages. It was a Native American custom to spare the last few men for this purpose anyway, but it speaks to the benevolence the Nunne’hi were often credited with.

It is said the invisible warrior tribe still exists today inside the Nïkwäsï’ mound in Franklin, protecting the sacred area from anyone who wishes to bring violence to a land set aside for peace. It is also said that many years later, during the Civil War, a group of Union federal soldiers were preparing to ambush a platoon of Confederates who were stationed there when they suddenly saw that it was guarded by a much larger number of men, said to be the same Nunne’hi who protected Nïkwäsï’ years ago, than they were prepared to deal with and canceled the attack. Interestingly, the story says the protectors did not take the forms of the Cherokee, but instead took the forms of the Confederate soldiers they were protecting.

Does this mean the Nunne’hi are actually shape-shifters (a reasonable assumption since they already have power over visibility itself), or perhaps they just like to keep up with emerging trends?

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Images used in this post do not belong to me or 23 House and are not part of the original manuscript. They were pulled from Google Images or Snappy Goat and only serve as graphical decoration. They are not being used for any monetizing purposes whatsoever.