What Time Is It?

What Time Is It?
-By Debbi Decker

My mother passed recently and I had been spending time at her house, cleaning and gathering things to send to Goodwill and other charitable organizations. Towards the end of a 6-day stay, I was still trying to understand why the house felt so “clear”. It was not an after effect felt by me due to my mother’s death. I had noticed from the moment I walked in that the house felt empty. As if no one had ever lived there. I was confused, curious, and a bit unnerved. Houses imprint. Unless the place is brand spanking new, there are going to be elements that will resonate with everyone. I even commented to several family members and friends about the emptiness that I felt. My brother commented that he could feel it too but he felt that it would change.

The last full day I was there, I spent the day alone cleaning and sorting until late afternoon. I stepped out to get a bite to eat and to wind down from my busy day. After finishing my meal and checking the day’s e-mails, I decided to kick back in a very comfortable recliner in the living room and read until it was time to head to bed. Within a few minutes of reading, I began feeling a sense of heaviness in the atmosphere. As the evening wore on, and the sense of heaviness increased, I several times stop reading, looked around and tried to figure out exactly what I was feeling. The house was now occupied by someone or something other than me. I was not able to figure out who or what it was, but as the feeling got stronger I began to sense that it did not quite like me being in the house. It was not a hateful or hurtful feeling, but more of a “why are you here and you need to leave” kind of feeling.

At that point, I figured I would head to my room, read some more and then try to get some sleep. I noticed the digital clock at my bedside nightstand was not working. Thinking it was a battery issue, I went into my mother’s bedroom and rustled up some batteries and inserted them into the clock. The clock would light up, and then within 2 seconds the numbers would appear to melt from the top to the bottom and the clock would stop working. I fiddled with the clock trying to fix it for several minutes and it continued to react in the same manner. Assuming that the clock was broken, I went back into my mother’s bedroom to get a clock that was on her dresser. This clock, although battery operated, was not digital, had hour, minute, and second hands, and was running but the time was wrong. I reset the time and the clock stopped working. Again, I inserted fresh batteries, but nothing changed. That clock would not run either.

Now, I was two clocks down, with a house that was feeling creepier and heavier by the minute. I was frustrated and starting to get a bit edgy. Both clocks were put on my mother’s dresser in her room. I had to have a clock that worked though. It was important to me that night that I be able to see the time at any moment. Eventually, I found a small clock that was working, placed it on the nightstand beside my bed, and proceeded to read until my eyes were blurry. I was unable to get any sleep that night. It was a doze off, wake up, and repeat kind of night. I never did turn off the lights. And I was NOT leaving that room. For whatever reason, my room felt the least strange of all of the rooms in the house that night.

Morning came, and I managed a sleep-deprived stagger into the kitchen to make some coffee and get ready for the day. My sister was due early to assist with the sorting of mom’s clothes and further cleaning out of closets. Although the house felt a bit better than it had the night before, there was still a sense of occupancy and some heaviness.

My sister arrived and we began our day. Going back into mom’s bedroom to retrieve some items we needed, I happened to glance at my mother’s dresser. Both clocks were up and running perfectly, with the right time displayed on both! The heaviness I’d sensed the night before seemed now to be centralized in my mother’s bedroom. I quietly walked out and shut the door behind me.

I’m sure you can imagine all the swear words I was speaking under my breath. I let whatever or whoever it was that messed with those clocks the night before know that I was not amused. And I left a day earlier than originally planned and drove home.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

A Phantom Smell.

A Phantom Smell.
-By Debbi Decker

I am an empath. I won’t bore you with all of details and descriptions of what that entails. You can find all kinds of information on the internet. Being an empath, I am very familiar with the idea of Clairempathy (the ability to feel emotions, illnesses, etc. that are not visual). I am also very familiar with Clairvoyance (the ability to perceive in my mind’s eye the past, present, and future). My mind has a tendency to connect with people and basically be on the same page with them without ever having a conversation with them. I can walk into a room and immediately feel what has just occurred without even looking at anyone in the room. If I am around negative people or sick people for long periods of time, I begin to feel ill. I have moments of vivid thoughts that turn out to be predictions of coming events. While unnerving to many, it’s a normal way of life for me. I’ve written before about what I call the “Clairs”. Clairempathy and Clairvoyance are the two that frequently happen to me. The others not so much.

My first visit to New Orleans post-Katrina was for Halloween, in October of 2006. While a full year had passed since that catastrophic event, there was still a great deal of anguish present in the atmosphere, some of it human, and some of it… “other”. You could feel the stress of the residents and workers in the Quarter. Hotels were understaffed as were most restaurants, and the seafood industry was still in a flux. I spent a great deal of time taking pictures in the Quarter, and in the cemeteries just outside of the Quarter. Bus and cable car service to the Garden District or to the Canal Street cemeteries on the far outskirts of the City were still not in operation. The Quarter was safe. The rest of New Orleans was not. Case in point. My hotel was housing some of the private security teams that went out each day to the various Wards to stand guard and to prevent looting and other nefarious activities. Picture a hotel full of men garbed in black, carrying an array of weapons. Think Swat teams.

It was easy enough during the days to keep myself from being overwhelmed (Clairempathy) with the anguish and stress that the others around me were feeling. I have to do that on a daily basis anyway. Still, there was that subtle undertow of “other” that concerned me. Katrina had stirred something. And it was not a happy something. It had a darkness and sadness to it that I had never before experienced in New Orleans, though it is well known that the area is steeped in dark history, bloodshed, crimes, and natural disasters. Sunset during that visit brought an extreme sense of urgency. I had to get indoors. Whatever I was feeling was not good. The Quarter has always been a fairly safe place to roam and I have done so at all hours of the night (something I would never attempt in my own city!). And remember, this was Halloween – a time when the veils and doorways are open. Lots of things travel back and forth in the ether during Halloween. So, while I was able to block the sensations during the day, the nights left me feeling raw and over exposed.

Halloween morning brought me down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. As I was reading the menu, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the smell of fire. It had a reminiscent tang of a campfire or the scent of wood burning in an open space and very strong. Glancing around I found no visible smoke, no smoking restaurant patrons, and no fireplace in the room or anything else that could be giving off that odor. My waiter must have noticed my consternation and confusion because he came over to ask me if I was all right. I asked him if he could smell smoke. He did not and after confirming that there were no fireplaces in the vicinity, nor was there ever a smokehouse or a fire in the building, I let it go. Because at that point, my waiter was looking concerned. I went on to order and eat my breakfast, enveloped in the phantom smell of fire the entire time. I took note of the fact that upon leaving there was no smell of smoke outside of the restaurant, nor did I smell smoke when I ventured outdoors. This was my first experience of Clairscent or the ability to perceive phantom scents or odors.

My plans for that day were to visit St. Roch Cemetery and I was particularly excited to be seeing the chapel dedicated to St. Roch. Since the cemetery is located a few blocks outside of the French Quarter, and in an area affected by Katrina, I felt it was best to take a cab to my destination. The neighborhood itself was not safe, but there would be other tourists around, so I was not concerned about being in the cemetery alone (are you ever REALLY alone in a cemetery?)

My cabbie dropped me at the entrance and gave me his phone number to call when I was ready to leave. He expressed some concern about me being by myself, assured me that there would be a caretaker on the grounds, and wanted to be sure I was able to get back to the Quarter safely. I spent several hours taking pictures and sat in the chapel for a while mourning the fact that the altar and statue of St. Roch had been damaged by the floods from the broken levies. To call this chapel interesting is somewhat of an understatement. The walls are covered in offerings and Milagros left by patrons who have experienced miraculous healings in the chapel (some very recent healings too). The floor is made of bricks, all of which say “thanks” in English and French. St. Roch’s head rested in the chapel side room among the relics and Milagros, and his headless torso stood guard outside the chapel door.

Right across the street from the cemetery entrance stood a shotgun cottage tattooed with that unforgettable graffiti of numbers and dashes representing the number of dead found on the scene after Katrina and the date of search. Water lines clearly indicated the depth of the flood waters it had endured. It was difficult to get a photograph of the cottage due to the traffic passing constantly in front of it, blocking the view and I gave up trying. In retrospect I wish I HAD taken a picture, good or bad. The cottage also made me uncomfortable, though I cannot explain why. I suppose you could put it down to the graffiti on the wall but that explanation has never resonated with me. After all, I had spent the last year grieving deeply for my City and had seen too many pictures and news stories for it to have just been my reaction to the general leftover aura of Katrina.

Dinner that evening was a hurried affair. I had hoped to watch the Halloween parade in the Quarter but it would not start until after sunset and my intuition was to get indoors. Something just did not feel right and I was not interested in figuring out why. I would leave that to the local Voodiennes to suss out. Entering my room after dinner, I turned on the television which just happened to be tuned to a local news station giving a live update. There, on the screen, was the shotgun cottage that I had just viewed only hours ago, engulfed in flames, and surrounded by firefighters pouring water on the structure. I was stunned. It clicked. The smell of smoke….

To this day, I believe that the phantom smoke I was smelling was a precursor to that event. I did check back frequently to see if there was an update at to the cause of the fire, but I never learned anything. After all, the City had a lot on its hands and a follow up on an abandoned cottage burning to the ground was probably low on its list of priorities. If there was a message, I do not understand what it was. If there was a lesson, I have yet to figure it out. It could have all been coincidence but again, there is no resonance. I cannot explain what happened but that phantom smell of smoke and the subsequent burning of that cottage haunts me to this day. Perhaps that was where the feeling of darkness emanated. The house was grieving deeply, ready to say goodbye, and it chose me to deliver its eulogy.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

A Gothic Easter Celebration Part II

A Gothic Easter Celebration Part II -By Debbi Decker

In my last post, I shared some ideas about Gothic Easter decorations. By now, you should be well on your way to gathering your items for decorating, and even have come up with some ideas of your own! In this post, I want to share some great food ideas for your Easter menu.

Cracked Easter eggs are so easy to make. All you need to do is boil your eggs as normal and let cool. Take the cooled eggs and crack by rolling gentle on a paper towel. Do not peel. You can use any kind of regular egg dying kits you buy in the grocery or craft stores but when mixing the colors, omit the vinegar. Immerse your eggs in your colors of choice and leave overnight. When you are ready to serve, completely peel the eggs to uncover the interesting crackle effects left on the egg white by the dyes. Some will look like spider webs too! The eggs can be used for deviled eggs or sliced in wedges or large rounds for salads.

Gothic Sugar Cookies. I love the idea of this because you can be as wild as you want. Using your usual sugar cookie mix, you can create sugar cookie skulls,rabbits, bats, coffins, chicks, etc. Decorate the cookies using colorful spring colored frostings and candies, or pipe tattoo style designs on the cookies. You could use crosses, pagan symbols that represent spring, steampunk themes, the sky is the limit.

I am not a big fan of sit down dinners when I have get-togethers. I prefer to have what I call easy eating food that does not interrupt the conversation flow and fun. So, finger sandwiches with a variety of fillings in shapes such as rabbits and chicks, with bits of veggies for the eyes and faces. Radishes and other vegetables cut into floral shapes, molded cheese in creepy shapes. Dips for the veggies can be created in many colors and flavors. Thin slices of ham and cheese wrapped around slightly steamed asparagus stalks. Fruits dipped in chocolate. Use serving dishes and utensils that have a Victorian or Gothic feel. Cracked and crazed pottery, old slightly tarnished silver, frayed table cloths, lace, and mats. Did you get that Zombie Peeps tableau set up yet? Beverages using cherry, pomegranate, or grape juices are great and follow right along with whatever theme you end up with. They can be fancy or plain. Sangria is a wonderful punch for any time of year.

Remember the masks that were discussed last month? Well, here is a great Easter egg hunt idea for either before or after the party using those masks. Find a location that is easy to get to, such as a wooded area on your property or a friend’s. A cemetery that has lots of trees and natural settings would be great too. Create fancy invitations for each of your guests, giving the location, time, date, a reminder to bring the masks they made, and to dress in their interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, Steampunk, or Victorian. Ask everyone to bring a basket for their eggs and a camera. Digital or those throw away cameras are fine, and settings are preferably black and white. Right before the party, eggs should be hidden throughout the location.

Once everyone has arrived, off you go to hunt for eggs and taking pictures of everyone while they are hunting. Don’t try to stage your shots. Rather just take shots randomly and from different angles, far away and close up. After the hunt, everyone’s pictures are shared. The best pictures can be used to create a book to commemorate your event and the good time had by all! Some of the creepiest and best pictures I have ever seen are people in costumes and masks taken in black and white.

Have great Easter celebration everyone!

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

Crossing Over

Crossing Over -By Debbi Decker

Usually when you hear that term, it is in connection with death, ghosts, and other paranormal events. But I can’t help using that term for my recent vintage discoveries.

I collect images and post cards from the Victorian era to around the early 1960s to incorporate into my art. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I was interested in finding some old Valentine images to add to what I already have. It’s not a favorite holiday of mine, and I rarely do create anything in that genre, but I enjoy looking at the old Valentines, and sometimes find quite interesting and unusual images to add to my collection.

It is not unusual to find spooky images in connection with Christmas. After all, there is Krampus and so many creepy Santa Claus images. But, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Valentine images chock full of Halloween and spooky images and references! And a Valentine that references fairies and elves too. Wow, talk about crossing over!

The images included in this post are from the late 1950s and possibly as late as the 1960s. Now that I have found these, who knows, maybe I can rouse myself to create a spooky hauntingly beautiful Valentine item for next year! I know that I will now be searching for more!

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

My Mother’s Ghost.

My Mother’s Ghost. -By Debbi Decker

What is it about the end of the year that brings out the paranormal? Are we sending out a different kind of energy that allows for these entities to pass through more easily? Or are we more open at this time to see things we would not normally see or hear and feel things that we would not normally hear or feel simply because we are poised to enter into a new year and we are opening ourselves up to hopes for what it will bring?

My mother is not normally open to paranormal events. She believes that spirits are good, the souls of those who are in heaven and the souls of loved ones, invisible to mankind but felt by us. Ghosts are visible and bad, evil people who will never reach heaven and wander the earth in various shapes and forms. Over the years I have tried to convince her that while I understand her choice of words, ghosts and spirits are really one and the same. She would never allow herself to be convinced. That is, until last Thursday night. She now believes they ARE both one and the same, and that it is how the spirit or ghost presents itself that matters.

She had just turned out the light in her bedroom and was sitting on the side of her bed. Her bedroom is never really dark due to all of the many electronic components. Glowing clocks, computer lights, telephones, and other assorted sundry items that give off light. As she was sitting there she looked up at the window beside her and saw a full bodied man come through the curtains, walk around the foot of her bed, walk out of her room into the hallway and into the bathroom where he immediately disappeared. It was a young man, wearing a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up the way the boys would wear them in the 1950s. He wore faded blue jeans and his hair was neat and cut short. She could not see his face as his head was bent down but she had a sense of seeing something in 2D. Mom said she felt that she could see through parts of him but it was not readily apparent that he was translucent. Just a sense that she was. She also could not see his feet. The apparition actually walked around the end of her bed, turning to go through the door! Just as if you or I would have done had we been looking out that window and decided to leave the room and go to the bathroom!

The most astonishing thing to me about this event is not that she saw a full body apparition, but that she was not in the least scared or in any way upset. She said that when he disappeared she said out loud, “well hello and goodbye to you too!” Where most people would have been terrified, she said she felt calm and happy during the whole event.

My mother is no stranger to the paranormal even though in the past she has not been open to the possibilities it brings. She feels the presence of her mother nearby and she sometimes feels her mother sit down on the side of her bed that her mother would normally sit when visiting. Mom has also remarked about seeing shadow people walking the halls of her house, taking the same path every time. The shadow people are just that, dark shadows with no details that travel the hallway and always go into the rear bedroom. She has heard doors opening and closing when she is alone, and she also has heard heavy boots walking on wood, even though the house is fully carpeted and there are no wood floors. She also has visitations that she believes are a long deceased cat who would spent a great deal of time with her in her bedroom and would jump onto her bed and land on the same spot pretty much every time.

While discussing the event, my mother kept commenting about how calm she felt throughout it all and how amazed that she was afterward that she was not afraid. We talked about the fact that she may have some pre-conditioning regarding these types of events because of all of the strange things that happen in her home. I know that for me, it has become “just another day in the neighborhood” or the “new normal” because of all of the things I have seen and experienced throughout my whole life. You can get used to these strange things. So, perhaps she was in a more accepting frame of mind when the young man came through.

These kinds of manifestations are considered the “holy grail” of ghost hunting and I will admit to a wee bit of jealousy that she got to experience it. But how wonderful for her that she did! Mom now understands what it is that those of us who experience these kinds of things are trying to explain. She gets it now. Whether this understanding will leave the door open for other manifestations, only time will tell.

My mother is elderly and lives alone and does not get out much anymore. On several occasions she has stated that she needs a hobby, something to keep her busy and to engage her mind.

Hey mom! Guess what? You have a new job now. Ghost Hunter. Investigate the presences in your home and learn about how they manifest and perhaps even get some sense of who the young man could have been and the connection he has to the house or to you.

I am excitedly waiting for the answers you find. Oh, and yes, there WILL be a test!

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

Come to the Dark Side. We Have Yule.

Come to the Dark Side. We Have Yule. -By Debbi Decker

Although the holiday season of Yule is generally associated with birth and light, the original festival as celebrated has a much darker side. Celebrated by Germanic peoples (the most familiar will be Norse and Anglo Saxon) in pre-Christian times, Yule not only encompassed feasting, reveling, and celebrations, it also featured death, sacrifice, and ghosts.

Yule was primarily a midwinter observance during the months of December and January, which, over time, was incorporated into the Christian celebration of Christmas. Some familiar practices that have come down from this observance include the Christmas ham (the Yule boar) and caroling. Some of the not so familiar Yule customs and beliefs are as follows.

With December 21st comes the shortest day of the year and along with that comes the Wild Hunt. It is believed that the Wild Hunt comprises demons or dead fairies, ghosts of former huntsman or the undead, called Drauger (possible zombie references here), raging across the sky in search of dark secrets and souls. It was considered most unlucky to see the Wild Hunt, and many lit fires or candles to keep the Wild Hunt at bay as the light would repel the dark and the spirits that reside there.

Christmas Eve as we know it was originally celebrated in January and was known as Mōdraniht, which is old English for Mothers-Night. This celebration references “dis” or spirits of fates. Sacrifices were made on this night and many practices centered around fertility rituals to ensure a bountiful new year to come as well as to celebrate the fertility of tribes.

Aspects of modern day Christmas festivities can be traced back to the reverence of the Norse god Odin. The ham we eat is a reference to the boar with an apple in its mouth. The Yule log is burned to revere the departed souls and also to keep the darker side with its ghosts and demons and ghouls at bay. And again, another aspect of the Yule log may be phallic in nature as the ashes were sprinkled in the fields to bring fertility to the coming harvest.

So, this Yule season, light your candles and Yule logs and keep the darkness and all it encompasses away. Pay tribute to your ancestors, and most importantly, if you hear a huntsman’s horn on Christmas night, remember to stay inside. If not, you might be carried off to the darker side of Yule.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

Set An Extra Plate at the Thanksgiving Table. Company May be Coming.

Set An Extra Plate at the Thanksgiving Table. Company May be Coming.-By Debbi Decker

Halloween has come and gone, and for many it is a time to put away the decorations, and begin thinking about the next big celebration, that of Thanksgiving. No more spooks, no more worries of black cats, hobgoblins, witches and monsters. The door to the other side has closed.

But has it really? While there are two times of the year where the other side bleeds more readily into our everyday world (Halloween and Walpurgisnacht), the fact is that spirits can visit us readily at any time of the year. Especially when it’s a big family event such as Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving as we celebrate it today is a far cry from what it originally was. In far older times, it was a harvest festival celebrated by many cultures during all times of the year, depending on the growing season. A “last meal” was created using what was left over from the harvest, and everyone gathered to eat and share memories and stories from days past. In some regions, it was believed that the spirit of life remained in the last ear of corn harvested. Corn dollys or corn mothers were created using the husks from the last of the harvest, put in a place of honor at the table and kept until the next year’s harvest. Because so much depended upon nature, weather, and the will of the gods involved, harvest celebrations were a way to thank the forces for a good harvest, or in the case of a bad harvest, to propitiate the spirits in the hopes that they would look favorably on the next growing cycle and therefore bring about a good harvest.

Many of these celebrations were also a time to honor the ancestors. Food was given to effigies or placed on altars as a tribute to the ancestor or spirit. As western man and western civilizations grew, and different religious groups came together, other celebrations and rituals would spin off the harvest festival, giving birth to what we now know as Halloween, Day of the Dead, and All Saint’s Day, just to name a few. If you think about it, the holidays just mentioned are in reality a celebration of the dead and the harvest is simply the end or death of the growing season.

Honoring the dead is not uncommon in our culture today and Thanksgiving is another time where we can do so. Because we gather together and talk of times past, or events of the prior year, we bring an energy to the table that is easily tapped into by the spirit world. Simply telling our stories and the stories of our ancestors calls out to the dead and invites them in. How many of us have felt the presence of a long gone family member when sitting around the table and sharing memories?

So, set an extra plate that the table at this year’s Thanksgiving feast. Put a picture of a loved one on the plate and honor them by telling their stories. You never know. They might just stop in for a visit.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

May this Halloween bring you all good fortunes.

May this Halloween bring you all good fortunes.-By Debbi Decker

Ever had your fortune told? No? Why not? Depending on who does it or how it is done, it can be illuminating and fun at the same time. Tarot and other types of card readings, tea leaves, crystals, and runes are some of the most popular ways of telling fortunes. Fortunetelling is related to divination, which has its roots in ancient civilizations. As an example, the ancient Greeks used oracles to “divine” the future and to predict for its followers. Divination is more aligned to ritualistic and religious practices, while fortunetelling has, over time, become more aligned to social and non-religious settings. Most of what we know today as fortunetelling has its roots in the European Renaissance era. It can be argued that present-day fortunetelling owes its arrival to the witchcraft persecutions. Those who practiced any form of fortunetelling or divination risked their life and the lives of their family and friends during this dark period of time. So, much like the early Christians appropriating pagan celebrations and cloaking them with Christian beliefs, the practice of fortunetelling and divination was given a “cover” of superstition, party games, and other social connotations. While still frowned upon by many during the burning times, it was still considered a pastime and not so much a religious practice.

The Victorians, with all their love of past pagan practices, brought another revival of the fortunetelling genre to family gatherings. Halloween parties and Yule gatherings saw a surge of such practices and the popularity is partly evidenced with all the different post cards created during this era that either reference a fortunetelling game or actually offer the reader a fortune right on the card.

One of my favorite fortunetelling games was taught to me by my Grandmother. She would give me an apple and a paring knife. The idea was to peel around the apple in a long strip, keeping as much of the strip as intact as possible. Once done or when the peel broke off, the peel was held gently in my cupped hand and thrown over my left shoulder, while wishing to know who my husband or next beau was to be. If I saw an initial in the way the peel lay on the floor, it was surely the initial of my next love! I must have done this every Halloween for years hoping to see the initial of the “one”!

Nuts were given the names of the persons of the opposite sex. Some would carve the initials onto the nuts, while others would choose a different type of nut for each person. The nuts would be then be thrown into the fire in a fireplace or bonfire, and the name of the first nut to pop would be the name of the nut owner’s bride or groom.

Victorian girls who were anxious to be married would walk down a flight of stairs at midnight, holding a candle in one hand and a mirror in the other, hoping to see the face of the man they would marry in the mirror!

A burning candle’s melted wax would be dripped into a basin of water and scrutinized for shapes of familiar objects and letters with the hope that a future would be revealed for the person looking.

These are only a sampling of the many games that were played throughout the Victorian age at Halloween. Why not try a few at your next Halloween gathering? And don’t forget to bob for apples. The first person who snags an apple from the tub will be the first person to marry. Already married? Well, I cannot help you there. Perhaps you will need to seek the services of a fortuneteller to get the answer to that one!

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

It Just Speaks To Me.

It Just Speaks To Me.-By Debbi Decker

When a good friend suggested that I write about haunted objects, I thought it a great idea and off I went to gather my ideas and how to present them. Halfway through the thought process, it occurred to me that I do not know, exactly, what I believe about this or even how to definitively define the idea.

Haunted objects are a popular subject. People search for these items, sell these items, there are museums that house these objects, and the televisions shows, movies, and stories are a dime a dozen. Paranormal investigators will swear to this phenomena.

The word “haunt” has different connotations. The presence of a ghost in a particular setting. The constant visitation or haunting of a particular place. The haunting memory that comes back over and over. The harmful effects of an action that we took that comes back to haunt us. These will suffice for the subject matter hand.

So, what exactly IS a haunted object? A commonly accepted explanation is that it is a tangible object, be it jewelry, furniture, books, dolls, personal effects, etc., that has a ghost or other entity attached to the object. The simple possession of the object in question brings with it a presence that manifests paranormal activity in proximity of the object. Strange noises, movements, feelings, illnesses are all reported in connection with objects purported to be haunted.

However, there is another equally commonly accepted explanation. That houses and land can be imprinted. Thoughts, emotions, etc., are all types of energy, and energy can affect its surroundings, to include the objects that are in those surroundings. Items from these locations could also be termed haunted.

An excellent example of the latter explanation would be a battlefield where people died and were left in situ. This type of event had enormous energy expended by the people there, so much so that it imprinted the land. The land becomes haunted. People report ghostly battles, see ghostly soldiers. Someone then comes along at a later date finds a button from a uniform or a bullet from a gun, and takes it home. Suddenly they experience feelings of pain, horror, fear, and sadness. And after investigation they realize that these feelings come to them through ownership of the button or bullet, so they get rid of it and then these feelings go away. That button or bullet had been imprinted with the same energy and emotions as the land it came from. The owner is haunted by the energy imprinted on the button or bullet.

The above explanations leave me a bit short, though, when trying explain the phenomena of an object that seems to call out to me. SOMETHING is communicating with me. Calling me to own that item for whatever reason. Which feels entirely different to me from experiencing a run of the mill haunting of a house or bit of real estate. I’ve touched “positive” items and bought them, and I have held “negative” items and put them down fast and walked away ignoring that call. For want of a better explanation I would have to say that the object is haunted.

So now comes my dilemma. Is it a ghost speaking to me? Will that ghost come home with me? Or, is it the ghost’s personality and emotions imprinted upon that object that speaks to my psyche and therefore imparts the feelings of being drawn to that object? I am sure that there were people who had such enormously strong attachments to their personal possessions that they would haunt in either a negative or positive manner the current owner. However, I imagine that as a ghost I would find other, more fulfilling activities to spend eternity on. Perhaps, it’s simply explained as a matter personal preference of the ghost involved. To haunt or not to haunt as it were.

I debate back and forth with myself regarding my personal convictions related to this phenomena so I can’t really offer a solid explanation for the idea of a haunted object. I have, however, adopted the expression that “it just speaks to me”. It is as good an explanation as any leaves me with less angst over my inner debate.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.

An Accidental Haunting

An Accidental Haunting-By Debbi Decker

I have often wondered what it would be like to be a ghost. What would I do, who would I haunt? I suppose it would depend upon how I left this mortal coil. Sometimes I think I would like to hang around, maybe play practical jokes on my loved ones. But what if that were not the case? What if I were caught in some kind of time warp, where I would be doomed to repeat things over and over?

There is a type of ghostly activity called a residual haunting. The ghosts re-enact the same events repeatedly. Think of it like a taped show that you watch or a song you play again and again. Examples of a residual haunting would be seeing Civil War soldiers marching on the anniversary of a battle in a particular area. Or the screams heard yearly in Hampton Court attributed to Catherine Howard as she was being dragged away to prison on the orders of Henry VIII.

Years ago, I used to travel to visit my mother in South Carolina every April 16th. I would get up in the wee hours and begin my journey. Flying down the road, my car windows would be open, and my music would be cranked to full blast. Rarely would there be anyone on the road with me, maybe a trucker or two, here and there.

I would pass this little farmhouse right around 4 A.M. every single year. The house would be completely dark, the inhabitants sound asleep. Imagine, being woken up each year at the same time to music. At first it comes softly, and then rises in volume, only to fade away again. The way the house was situated, the headlights on my car would not have been seen.

Years later, it crossed my mind that the people who lived in that house might have thought that they were the victims of a haunting! I imagined that they would wake up, confused, and a bit frightened. I could hear the conversation in my mind, something along the lines of “Pa, there’s that music again! Its April 16th and its come again! Same time too! I swear we got a ghost in here!”

I stopped my annual journeys some time ago. But, sometimes I remember the little farmhouse and I wonder, do they still listen for the music? Did they ever wait up and watch to see exactly what it was? In all likelihood, they probably never heard me pass by. Its fun to think that I could have been an accidental haunting and it sure gives me a chuckle to think about it.

Debbi Decker is proprietor of twistedpixelstudio Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.