Top 10 Solar Eclipse Legends

Cultures from around the world each have their own explanations for the cause of a solar eclipse, each spiritual or supernatural in nature. Below are some of the more interesting ones, with an accompanying video.

10: Heavenly Union
In old German mythology, the hot female Sun and cold male Moon were married. The Sun ruled the day while the sleepy Moon ruled the night. Seeking companionship one day, the Moon was drawn to his wife and they came together, and their union created a solar eclipse.
Likewise, Australian Aborigines, considered the Sun as a woman who carries a torch. Again, the moon was considered a male. Because they associated the lunar cycle with the female cycle, the Moon was linked with fertility. A solar eclipse was was believed to be the Moon and the Sun coming together as man and woman.

9. Danger to the Unborn
The ancient Aztecs believed that a solar eclipse is dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn children. It was believed that since an eclipse was a bite on the face of the sun the unborn child could develop deformities, usually a cleft lip. Therefore, pregnant women were forbidden to go outside during an eclipse. Many times the Aztecs would perform human sacrifices during solar eclipses in order to appease the gods.

8. Transylvania
In Transylvanian folklore, people believed an eclipse was caused by the sun turning its back on the sins of humanity, most notably the bad behavior of men. Evil demons would wreak havoc upon the Earth during this time, and simultaneously, the eclipse would create a poisonous dew (scientifically, an eclipse can produce a dew, but it’s not poisonous). This dew would be the onset of some sort of plague.

7. Water Protection
In certain parts of ancient India, many believed that when an eclipse (either solar or lunar) occurs a dragon is trying to capture one of the two celestial bodies. People immersed themselves in rivers up to their neck as an act of worship to help aid the Sun and Moon defend themselves against the dragon.

6. Sun Swallowers
In ancient China, the earliest word for eclipse, shih, meant to eat, and eclipses were believed to be caused by a dragon eating the sun. Instead of immersing themselves in water they would bang on pots and drums to scare away the dragon. If the dragon left (which it always did, of course), this would mean good fortune was on its was for their emperors.

In Vietnam, the sun swallower was a giant frog trying to escape his master, the Lord of Hahn, and the Lord is the only one who can convince the frog to release the sun.

The Tatars of western Siberia claimed that a vampire tried to swallow the sun, but he spat it out when it burned his tongue.

5. Bitten By The Bear

The Pomo, a Native American tribe in northern California, tell a story of a bear who started a fight with the Sun and took a bite out of it. In fact, the Pomo name for a solar eclipse is “Sun got bit by a bear.” According to the Pomo myth, solar eclipses occur when a bear, wandering along the Milky Way, crossed paths with the sun. The two began to argue about who should move out of the other’s was, and when the sun refused to step aside, the bear challenged the sun to a fight. After taking a bite of the Sun and winning the fight, the bear continued on until it encountered the Moon, the Sun’s sister. When the bear also took a bite out of the Moon this caused a lunar eclipse. It’s possible this story may be the Pomo explanation as the why a solar eclipse usually occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.

4. Preventing Ragnarok
The Vikings believed that the apocalypse would be inspired by the actions of two wolves — Skoll and Hati who are endlessly chasing the sun and the moon, waiting for Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse. They thought the wolves wanted to eat the sun and the moon; Skoll would go after the moon, while Hati would go after the sun. An eclipse was the result of one of the wolves finally catching the sun or moon. The people on Earth would scream and shout and make as much noise as they could in order to scare off the wolves and stave off Ragnarok, which would begin if both the sun and the moon were caught.

3. Korean Fire Dogs

A long time ago among the many heavenly kingdoms was Gamangnara (Dark World), whose king, concerned about the darkness surrounding his kingdom, ordered a fierce fire dog that belonged to one of his subjects to steal the sun and the moon. The fire dog tried to carry the sun in his mouth, but it was too hot and the dog could not hold on to it, and gave up. The failed attempt made the king angry, and he ordered a more ferocious dog the steal the moon. But when the dog tried to carry the moon in its mouth, the moon was so cold that its mouth froze. The dog tried many more times to bite the moon with its teeth, but in the end it gave up and came back. The king did not give up, however, and continued to send more fire dogs, but they all failed every time. It’s believed that a solar or lunar eclipse is when the fire dogs from Gamangnara are biting the sun or the moon.

2. Cherokee Cardinal Legend
Long ago, the sun’s daughter was killed. The sun was so distraught over the loss of her daughter that the sun went dark.

People knew they could not live without the sun, so they sent seven men with magical powers to bring the daughter back from the ghost land. She was brought back in a box, but the people were instructed not to open the box. The daughter pleaded and begged to be let out, so they succumbed to her pleas and lifted the lid. When they did there was a flash of red, and instead of the daughter a bird flew out. This was the first red bird, a cardinal, and it is the reason people can’t be brought back from the dead.

Still trying to resolve their problem and bring back the sun, young dancers were sent to the sun instead. As they began dancing, the sun was please, showed her face, and balance was finally restored between the upper and lower worlds.

1. Hindu Demon Rahu
A group of gods desired to create an elixir of immortality, so they enlisted the help of some demons to help them churn the cosmic ocean, using a mountain for a churning stick. The ambrosia eventually emerged like curds in milk. In the process the sun and the moon were also created along with many other enchanted things. The gods promised to share the elixir with the demons, but when the task was complete, the god Vishnu disguised himself as a woman, enchanted the demons and stole their portion of the elixir.

Upset and wanting what he was owed, the demon Rahu sneaked into the camp of the gods and stole a swallow of the elixir. The sun and the moon spotted him, however, and immediately told Vishnu. Vishnu got to Rahu just as he was drinking the elixir and cut off Rahu’s head before it could slide past his throat. Thus, Rahu’s body died but his head remained immortal. Rahu was angry at the sun and the moon for telling Vishnu, so he began chasing the two objects through the sky. Every once in a while, he catches up with one of his betrayers and swallows it, but because since he’s just a severed head, the sun or the moon slips back out through his open throat. Nonetheless, the demon continues his pursuit indefinitely.

Top 5 Paranormal Investigations

A common question I get asked during interviews is what’s the most haunted location I’ve investigated. This is a tough question since one cannot make the paranormal happen on demand, so I can only speak to my own personal experiences and not what has happened at a location for all time. There may be a particular place at which I witnessed very little paranormal activity while it was off the chain for others, and vice-versa.

The following list are the Top 5 paranormal investigations that I’ve conducted by experiences. These are single investigations, not what I may have experienced cumulatively at a location and not necessarily in the order of my favorite locations. This was tough to narrow down since I’ve had a lot of experiences at a number of locations that I talk about all the time, but the accompanying video is already 20 minutes long at just five. I encourage you to give the video a watch since it also includes footage from the experiences I describe.

5. Mineral Springs Mall (Hotel), Alton, Illinois

This is actually a recent investigation the Shana and I (Society of the Haunted) just conducted with Lee Ehrlich and Chris Sutton. Lee specializes in underwater investigations and showed us a very interesting method in being able to converse with spirits using water. Using this method we captured a plethora of EVPs that are plain as day, answering various personal questions such as “Where are you from?” and “How old are you?”, giving us a better insight about the spirits that are there. It may very well be the single best investigation for capturing EVPs I’ve ever had (tough to gauge at this point, however, considering how many investigations I’ve conducted).

4. Residence in Jacksonville, Illinois

This nearly 100 year old house in Illinois is teeming with paranormal activity. Originating in the third floor front bedroom, a strong presence kept following us and affecting us all evening throughout the investigation. Of significant note was the way Diesel the dog was affected all night long. For the longest time he wouldn’t come out of the second floor side room, and when he finally did he was spooked by something we all heard but nobody saw.

3. Residence in Edmond, Oklahoma

This was the “cleansing night” for the episode “Monster in the Closet” we filmed for the television show The Haunted on Animal Planet. There were so many things that happened as the cleansing was being performed by Carl Johnson, including the back door flying open multiple times, the girl getting punched in the gut by something unseen, the “Die” EVP, the wind kicking up out of nowhere, and more. The show failed to show it all due to the limited air time. Little known fact… the original episode title was “Wrath of the Wraith.”

2. Goldenrod Showboat

Teaming up with Shana, I’ve investigated the Goldenrod Showboat quite a number of times now and have had plenty of paranormal experiences aboard, including the “Annie” incident as chronicled in Encounters With The Paranormal: Volume 2. However, the greatest paranormal experience I’ve had there to date was at the end of the investigation following the “Ghosts of the Goldenrod” event organized by Haunted Road Media. There was some mild activity throughout the evening, including sightings of the shadow upstairs and a couple “twinkles”. But after all had gone except for Shana, her friend Tara, and I, what started off as a bar of light on the ground near Shana turned into a translucent yellow ball that started dancing around the showroom. At first we deemed it a fairy, but it’s difficult to know what it really was. For nearly five minutes we watched it dance around us before it flew off toward the lobby and disappeared.

1. The Stone Lion Inn

The night of one particular investigation at the Stone Lion Inn started with an EMF sweep that almost caused me to pass out. When the full investigation got started the activity immediately ramped up. While investigating the lower level Parlor Suite, a bureau drawer in the entrance hall slammed shut all on its own, and I captured a fantastic white wisp near it with my camera. A few minutes later while walking up the stairs a framed pictured of Lizzy Borden crashed to stairs of its own accord. Add in some of the “usual” hauntings of the house, including disembodied footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, and shadows darting about throughout the night, and it made for what was definitely my most active paranormal investigation to date.

Apologies to the Ferry Plantation, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Samuel Mudd House, among many others. Even if I had put together a Top 10 I would still be apologizing to a number of locations. You can find videos to all of these investigations and more at http://www.youtube.com/hauntedroadmedia.

Shadow People Exposed!

Of all the supernatural entities I’ve encountered, I’ve encountered shadow people the most. That seem rather fitting since I love things that are dark and mysterious, writing about and exploring the unknown since I was seven years old. Just recently, I gave a presentation at the haunted Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville, Virginia, in which I spoke at length about the different types of shadow people that are believed to exist, legends and folklore throughout the ages, and various theories we have about them today.

Below is an online version of that presentation:

 

I began this presentation with my own account of my first encounter with a shadow person which occurred when I was only about eight or nine years old. This story was featured in the first volume of Encounters With The Paranormal, and Adam Tillery drew a fantastic illustration representing what I had seen.

As a special treat, here is an excerpt from that book, the chapter “The Shadow Person” in its entirety:

Encounters With The Paranormal

I was young, very young, the night I was scared speechless. I’d like to put an age on it, perhaps seven, eight, or nine. I can’t be sure other than it wasn’t the first time I had witnessed something paranormal in nature. That honored is reserved for “the blinking gorilla” I saw at my grandparent’s house when I was perhaps five or six.

I was lying in bed in the front upstairs bedroom of their house built by my great grandfather in the 1920s when my eyes traveled to the doorway. Beneath the Fenn College sticker affixed to the door there stood the ghostly apparition of what my child mind deduced was a gorilla. I can’t say for sure what it was – a short, squat man, perhaps – but it glowed white and faded in and out in the doorway. I called for my parents who came rushing upstairs and I told them of what I saw. Of course, what I saw was simply excused as a dream or my eyes playing tricks on me, but the blinking gorilla did become a part of family lore, more like a side joke, for years to come.

A couple years later I was, again, in bed, but this time it was my own. Something had awoken me out of a dead sleep. It was the middle of the night and the house was deathly still, dark save for the light from the street lamp coming through the window and the soft glow from the Peanuts nightlight against the far wall. My eyes adjusted to the dim lighting and looked down the length of my bed. That’s when I saw it.

In the corner of my bedroom, between my closet door and the window to outside, stood a shadowy figure. It was as tall as a man with vague features of a face, but nothing else discernable. I couldn’t even tell if it was wearing clothes.

For a long while we stared at each other, I at it and it at me. Part of me hoped it would just go away, perhaps slide into the open closet doorway and just disappear. Then, perhaps, I could just chalk the incident up to a strange dream in the middle of the night. But that’s not what happened.

“The Shadow Person” by Adam Tillery

The shadowy figure approached me where I lie and hovered over me. Its presence blocked out the light the filtered in from outside and the world around me grew dark and heavy. I still could not see any features the shadow may have borne. It was dark and ominous and as quiet as the dead. Then it reached for me.

I tried to scream, but couldn’t. My mouth gaped open and all my muscles tightened as I struggled to let loose with a cry to my parents for help. My body failed me while shadowy hands took hold of me. I was frightened out of my mind not knowing what this creature had in mind to do with me. I was absolutely helpless, but its next actions made no sense.

The shadow grabbed my arms and pulled them across my body, yanking my wrists up to my neck. I continued to try to scream, but still nothing came out. What was this thing going to do with me? Why had it crossed my arms? I almost felt like I was choking.

It let go of me then and rose from my bed. It turned from me and exited my bedroom door, which was directly to my right. I rotated my head and watched as it suddenly ran down the hall to the linen closet, opened it, and then darted inside, closing the door behind it. I lied there motionlessly for a long moment, arms still crossed, mouth still gaping open trying to scream over what had just happened to me.

Finally, I was able to climb out of my bed and shuttle over to my parents’ bedroom directly across the hall. I woke them from their slumber and told them what had happened, but like all good parents they were comforting and reassuring and told me it was all just a bad dream. I slept with them the rest of the night.

Years later others would try to tell me that what I experienced was sleep paralysis and that upon waking my mind was still in a bit of a dream state and hallucinated the incident while my body… my body. Sleep paralysis requires complete muscle atonia, the complete weakness of the muscles while one sleeps. With my mouth open, my arms crossing, and my head turning to watch the shadow person run down the hall, I was able to move. I just wasn’t able to scream.

Since that time I’ve seen many wisps of shadows darting to and fro at other haunted locations, peaking at me from around a corner, or darting into an open doorway. I’ve even seen one dart across a room and slam into a swinging metal door, producing the sound of the slam but not actually moving the door. However, after countless paranormal investigations and visiting scores of active locations, I have never again seen a full figure shadow like that nor has a shadow person touched me in such a way ever again.

Encounters With The Paranormal is available from Haunted Road Media: http://hauntedroadmedia.com/index.php/books/5-encounters-with-the-paranormal

Saw A Ghost? You’re Not Crazy!

Almost everyone has a ghost story.

Encounters with the paranormal and the supernatural by the living have been occurring since the beginning of recorded history but have often been relegated to local folklore, legend, and superstition. Those with their own personal story were often seen as being crazy or, at least, a little bit off their rocker. Thus, many people kept their experiences a secret, whether that experience had just been a chance encounter or something absolutely terrified them. After all, one who started talking about seeing or hearing things often found him or herself institutionalized. How many of the spirits that haunt old insane asylums were originally placed there in life after reporting their own paranormal experience at home?

One of the most satisfying experiences for me as a writer and as a paranormal investigator sharing my adventures with the world through Haunted Road Media is when someone contacts me through social media and thanks me for helping them. Many times I’m initially confused, but then he or she explains that by sharing my experiences I have helped to ensure that this person is not, in fact, crazy.


Fortunately, with the modern explosion of paranormal television all over cable and the internet the stigma against those that have experienced something otherworldly has begun to wane, and those people that previously feared telling their tales have now found a more accepting atmosphere in which to come forth. For many, telling their stories has been a relief, years or decades worth of weight lifted from their shoulders. No longer are they shunned and the burden of their experiences can be released from the shackles of (obscurity). Most of society is now willing to listen and explore these tales with a sincere curiosity and an open mind to a world that is usually hidden from us.

It’s quite telling that those that are coming forth with stories of paranormal encounters come from all walks of life. Having an interaction with a spirit is not something reserved for the ghost hunter you see on television or those that travel across the country to a myriad of haunted locations and write ghost tales, but anyone can experience the supernatural. It doesn’t matter who you are. Many of the stories in Encounters With The Paranormal are just that – tales from everywhere by anyone.

I have also found it quite interesting over the past few years the number of people that have told me, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I did have this one experience…” and he or she suddenly launches into reciting what amounts to a full-fledged ghost story filled with intimate details of shadows, unexplained moving objects, and full-bodied apparitions. So you don’t even have to believe in ghosts to start telling tales of one! Amazing.

I find each person’s experience quite intriguing. Some seem to coincide with local history or legend while others stand on their own as a completely unique encounter. Some are familial in nature, even heart-warming, while others are a step into someone’s scarred past and can be rather heartbreaking.

If there’s one thing to take away from the work that we do at Haunted Road Media, it’s that if you have had a paranormal experience or have witnessed something you can’t explain, you are not alone. There are many others out there who have experienced the same phenomena as you. Reach out and find those people, and take comfort in the fact that you are not crazy!

The Legend of Lavinia Fisher

Is this really a painting of Lavinia Fisher?

I always find the evolution of legends to be fascinating. How did they become the way they are today?  What have been the different variations along the way? And, of course, what was the original truth?  Over the years as a Ghostorian, I’ve had the pleasure of digging into a number of these stories, including the Skirvin Hotel and the “Gore Orphanage,” and this has cropped up yet again while researching a topic for a recent episode of Friday Night Ghost Frights. This time, her name is Lavinia Fisher.

It is said that Lavinia Fisher was America’s first female serial killer, that she and her husband, John, murdered over 100 people, and that when she was hung at the gallows she was wearing a white wedding dress. The legend includes a trap door bed in and inn that they ran in which sleeping travelers would meet their peril.  One version of the legend has the trap dropping the victim onto a bed of spikes and impaling them.  Another version of the legend as the trap dropping them into the basement where John killed them with an axe. It is also said that Lavinia would poison the tea of unsuspecting travelers.

That’s the legend. So what’s the truth?

The truth is that Lavinia Fisher and her husband, John, were two members of a gang of outlaw highway men who were convicted and sentenced to death for highway robbery, at that time a capital offense. The elusive gang would stop wagons traveling into and out of Charleston, South Carolina, and steal their goods and money, thereby damaging the Charleston economy. They worked out of the Five Mile and Six Mile Houses, the former of which was burned to the ground by a cavalcade looking to bring the gang to justice. At the Six Mile House, the occupants were evicted and a man named David Ross was left to guard the premises while the cavalcade returned to Charleston. The next morning, the gang arrived and assaulted Ross, including Lavinia Fisher who Ross looked to for help, but she answered his pleas by choking him and smashing his head through a window.

One legend had stated that John Peoples thwarted a murder attempt at the inn of the Fisher’s by sleeping in a chair rather than the trap door bed, then escaped and turned the Fisher’s into the authorities. It’s true that Peoples did identify members of the gang, including Lavinia and John Fisher, but this was after a hold up near Six Mile House when he stopped to water his horse, far from the legend that had him escaping a death trap. Unglamorously, the Fisher’s and several other members of the gang gave up without a fight after the Sheriff arrived at Six Mile House with a warrant for their arrest for highway robbery.

No one was ever charged with murder as the legend frequently claims. Two bodies, one of a white man and one of a black woman believe to have been deceased for about two years, were found about 200 yards from Six Mile House. It was impossible at that time to deduce who had killed them and nothing ever came of it. There were no accounts of 100 murders.

At the gallows in 1820 just outside of the Charleston city limits (not at the jail) following their conviction of highway robbery, John and Lavinia Fisher wore loose-fitting white robes over their regular clothes. This likely grew into the legend of the white wedding dress supposedly worn by Lavinia — imagine “they were wearing white” morphing over time: “she was wearing white” … “she was wearing white as if she was at her wedding” … “she was wearing a white wedding dress.”

To their deaths, John went peacefully, claiming he had found God, while Lavinia was dragged up to the gallows kicking and screaming, launching a tirade of obscenities at the crowd. One part of her legend is true — Lavinia’s final words to the throng of spectators: “If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me — I’ll carry it!”

Since her death, stories about Lavinia Fisher’s ghost being seen at the old jail have surfaced as well. It’s possible she haunts there, although it’s not where she died. Perhaps she developed some sort of attachment to the location while incarcerated there, however, Lavinia doesn’t exactly strike me as the sentimental type. There are plenty of other reasons for the jail to be haunted. Not only did it operate for 137 years, but prior to its construction in 1802 the location served as a workhouse for runaway slaves, as a makeshift hospital, and even as a holding area for criminals, a foreshadowing of its future use.

Catherine Maria “Kitty” Fisher by Nathaniel Hone in 1765

A final mystery of Lavinia Fisher’s legend… is the painting that is commonly associated with Lavinia Fisher truly a painting of the notorious highway robber? After all, when would she have had time to sit for this painting and the money to commission the work? Alas, a little digging reveals that the painting is titled “Kitty Fisher and Parrot” painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1763. Kitty Fisher was a prominent British courtesan who died at the age of 26 in 1767, only fours months after she was married. Any relation to Lavinia Fisher is extremely doubtful and it seems the use of the painting is an advent of the legend continuing on today in modern times, as someone likely searched for paintings of a woman named Fisher to use as a substitute for a Lavinia article. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened in history, after all… since there are no known paintings of Elizabeth Bathory, substitutes close to her likeness have been used to represent her. Did Lavinia Fisher resemble Kitty Fisher? It is yet another mystery of the legend.

On a final note… the band All The Little Pieces has a  haunting album specifically themed for Lavinia Fisher titled “The Legend of Lavinia Fisher.”

Music from this album can also be heard on Enigma Underground Radio, and is regularly featured on its Friday Haunting Hour at 9:00 PM Eastern / 8:00 PM Central.

 

Join Us for the March 25th Watch Party!

Come join us! Celestial Entertainment Presents… a watch party with Mike Ricksecker at Montgomery’s Steak House in Spiceland, Indiana, to watch the March 25th Season 14 premiere episode in which I was a special guest of Ghost Adventures to discuss my paranormal experiences at the haunted Stone Lion Inn! Starting at 6:00 PM, there’s going to be a meet & greet, book signing, and we’ll watch the show! Come join us!

Haunted Bellaire House (Part 1)

The haunted Bellaire House in Bellaire, Ohio.

The haunted Bellaire House in Bellaire, Ohio.

The Bellaire House is innocently nestled into the hills alongside the Ohio River across the water from Wheeling, West Virginia. A beautiful early 20th Century colonial home, it’s outside appearance is pleasant and inviting for a happy family. However, it’s owner, Kristen Lee, will not let the house fall into the hands of another unsuspecting family under her watch because she does not want them to suffer the same terrors as she.

I have now investigated this house three times for paranormal activity, including this past weekend the day after it was featured on Paranormal Lockdown, and I continue to find its history and the history of the town of Bellaire quite compelling. For someone simply looking to experience paranormal activity, this house will not disappoint. The moment I walked in the door this past time with my friend and colleague, “Copperhead” Greg Graham, we felt the heavy energy upon us immediately, heard noises coming up out of the basement, and heard footsteps overhead when no one else was in the house. But there is more to this house than just simply a supernatural thrill.

As with most places I investigate, there is a living story that accompanies it, living both in this life and the afterlife. From the original landowner, to those who worked the mines underneath it, to those who have lived in the house, each have a narrative to tell. Some are told through historic records while some told through other means from the world beyond.

Below you’ll find some pieces of our most recent investigation of this storied home when we sent Facebook Live throughout the night and The Edge of the Rabbit Hole preview that preceded it, but in the coming weeks Haunted Road Media will be releasing a full documentary on the Bellaire House. Stay tuned!


 

Facebook Live videos:

Investigation Introduction: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210461174518279/

Master Bedroom investigation: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210463227689607/

Altar Room Investigation: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210464145472551/

Attic Investigation: https://www.facebook.com/mricksecker/videos/10210465148737632/

 

Haunted Road Media production schedule (full-length videos):

Return to the Goldenrod Showboat
Bellaire House
Guthrie, OK

Happy New Paranormal Year 2017!

Happy New Year! This past year, 2016, proved to be quite and adventurous and eye-opening year, and I’m almost sad to see it gone. However, that just means 2017 is shaping up to be bigger than ever, and we at Haunted Road Media and Society of the Haunted have a lot in store to share! But, first, let’s recap 2016…

It was a dynamic year, both professionally and personally, with a lot of traveling, investigating, and major life changes. I met my soulmate, moved back to the land of my birth, and discovered an even bigger realm of the paranormal and supernatural. Haunted Road Media has grown, especially on the YouTube channel, with the new Friday Night Ghost Frights and all of our investigation videos, Paranormal Roads, et al, featuring the revamped and resurrected Society of the Haunted, originally founded in 2011. For a full recap, watch here:


The biggest spotlight of the whole year has been the Goldenrod Showboat. That fantastically haunted piece of history is what finally brought Shana Wankel and I together, and I’ve never felt more complete in my entire life. She’s my twin flame, my partner in crime, the one true companion of my life, and I can’t wait for the new adventures that await us. The showboat itself has some wonderful haunts and history associated with it, and even some additional supernatural activity that we have yet to detail in full, and we featured this former National Historic Landmark in the latest Encounters With the Paranormal: Volume 2, of which a portion of the proceeds with go toward the restoration and preservation of the Goldenrod.

In other ventures we brought The Edge Of The Rabbit Hole radio show, the paranormal talk show I co-host with Vanessa Hogle, to an actual video Livestream on YouTube, which has received a very positive reaction from fans. Vanessa and I are looking at possibly going to a weekly show in 2017 rather than every other week. We also launched Enigma Underground Radio this past year, which is a streaming hard rock radio station with a paranormal theme that specializes in spotlighting independent bands while also mixing in some mainstream favorites. Shana does a fantastic job as our “Procurer of Music” in reaching out to the bands for our weekly lineup on Thursday, including the fan favorite show Chicks Who Wail, and our media mogul, Paula, keeps up on our Facebook page and creates some great show banners.

I keep saying that the latest “big” Haunted Road Media videos will be the Ferry Plantation, the return to the Goldenrod, and the haunted Guthrie, Oklahoma, tour — so be on the lookout for those in the near future. Of course, we’ll be bringing you more Friday Night Ghost Frights, Paranormal Roads, Ghosts and Legends, Edge of the Rabbit Hole Livestreams, the new Time Channeler Chronicles episodic supernatural adventure with featured illustrator Adam Tillery, and more, so keep check backing on all of our social media outlets for the latest and greatest to come.

Finally, I want to thank everyone that has been tuning in and watching all that we do and also supporting our Haunted Road Media authors. While we would continue to do what we do because it’s our passion, we are so greatly appreciative of all of you for being there throughout our adventures. It’s really humbling that you have taken an interest in us, but we also consider you a part of the team, that extra set of eyes and ears as we investigate. We’re looking forward to you continuing the ride with us in 2017!

 

Elizabeth Bathory | Friday Night Ghost Frights

Elizabeth Bathory, most noted in history for her brutality toward young women, was a Hungarian noble woman born in Transylvania on August 7, 1560. As had been the case with Vlad The Impaler, her people were in constant war with the Ottoman Turks, a very violent time in history in that part of the world.

She was born into extreme wealth and privilege, her family’s control over the surrounding area complete. In fact, her husband appended her name to his own when they were wed. However, her family was also known for its brutality, a collection of Hungarian and Transylvanian princes that would kill their opponents and peasants who fell out of line in the most brutal manner. The torture of servants was part of everyday life.


Although her marriage had been arranged since she was three years old, she actually got along quite well with her husband, Ferenc Nadasdy, right down to torturing people together. One such recorded account was in covering a naked servant girl in honey and making her stand outside for a full day while she was attacked by bees and ants.

While her husband was away at war, Elizabeth was left to rule the empire on her own, and by all accounts did so quite well. But when Ferenc died in battle when she was aged 44, Elizabeth spiraled out of control. Her obsession became sexuality, youth, and power.

With the help of a few favorite servants, including a deformed male dwarf she called Fizgo, Elizabeth is said to have murdered over 600 people. She took to beating, biting, and burning her victims, but she also had an array of mechanical devices that she would use, including cages that would shoot out spring-loaded blades and cages with spikes that would slowly spear the victim while Fizgo yelled out sexual obscenities at them. There were times Elizabeth would fly into a rage and kill her victim instantaneously, but she also enjoyed killing her victims slowly through an assortment of means, including stripping girls naked in the dead of winter, throwing them outside, and pouring water over them to watch them literally freeze to the ground.

Of course, there are the infamous legends that gave Elizabeth Bathory her moniker – The Blood Countess – stories that she bathed in the blood of virgins, believing this would help her retain a youthful visage. Some of these legends claim that she was a vampire. The story goes that a servant girl who was brushing her hair pulled a little too hard with one particular stroke, and Elizabeth smacked the girl so hard that she bled. Some of this blood dripped onto Elizabeth’s hand and she noticed it had a rejuvenating quality to her skin. Thus, she took to bathing in blood… as the legends goes. But there is little evidence to support that she actually did bathe in blood, even with all the atrocities she committed. However, she did take to biting victims during her torture sessions, even to the point of drawing blood.

Elizabeth’s downfall could either be contributed to carelessness or her own ego after having gotten away with murder for decades. Bodies were carelessly discarded around the land, near rivers, or simply thrown over the castle wall, but she also upped the ante when she started running out of local servant girls to prey upon. She began luring the young daughters of nobility to Cachtice Castle to learn etiquette, and when they started disappearing, the noble families wanted answers.

One of the portraits used as a stand-in for Elizabeth Bathory.

One of the portraits used as a stand-in for Elizabeth Bathory.

When an investigation was launched by King Matthias of Hungary, the investigation’s lead, George Turzo, wrote that immediately upon entering Cachtice Castle the murdered body of servant girl was discovered. In all, nine girls were discovered in some state of mutilation.

Elizabeth was arrested and testimony was collected against her, but she was never put on trial. Doing so would have put her in line for an execution. Such was not the case for her loyal servants who assisted her, three being executed and the other serving life imprisonment.

Although some called for her torture and execution, Elizabeth Bathory was still a noblewoman, after all, so instead she was locked away in a room in her castle and fed through a slot in the wall. She eventually died there four years later in 1614.

There’s a lot we don’t know about Elizabeth Bathory. Many documents that were compiled at the time were destroyed in an effort to hide the atrocities that happened, to cover up the blemish of this Hungarian society. There is also no known image of Elizabeth, the paintings that are used to depict her are actually of other women who have been said to resemble her appearance. And then there are the legends and stories that have cropped up over the centuries, eventually making it into Hollywood to further murky the facts of her life.

Today, the ruins of Cachtice Castle, abandoned in the 1700s, still exist as a haunting visage and may be visited, and a local winery uses the basement of a Bathory manor house where many of the tortures were committed to store barrels of wine. They do sell an Elizabeth Bathory-themed wine, which is, of course, blood red.