Water Scrying as Art

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Image on page 66.

In Spirit Reflections: Water Scrying Spirit Images (2020), Evidential Medium Philip R. Wyatt captures thought provoking images using a stainless-steel bowl or ordinary Mason jar. Containing 101 images, the book serves more as a coffee table art book. The images are incredible!

Water scrying, also called hydromancy, has been performed since Ancient Greek times. The technique of using water as a form of divination transcends cultures and religions. Even Nostradamus wrote of using it to predict the future. In Wyatt’s book, the images become compelling works of art.

Images are scrutinized for possible pareidolia, where the viewer assigns meaning to an image when there is no meaning. Photos shared by paranormal investigators are often criticized as being pareidolia, which is fair. Wyatt makes no assertion. Instead, he allows the viewer to interpret the images as he or she sees fit. He does, however, encourage the viewer to turn the book upside down and spin to view at different angles. I prefer to flip through the book and randomly select an image and view from all angles, as well, as close up.

My personal favorite is on page 66. (The images are untitled) I’m drawn to the colors. Looking at it, I see a female face with red lipstick wearing a blue with red flowers/embellishments and collar. The piece of clothing reminds me of a pajama top. The hair looks to be blonde and styled in an older hairstyle. I realize my mind is filling in gaps, and I am totally applying pareidolia to make sense of the image. However, isn’t that what we do when looking at fine art?

Wyatt provides instruction on how he took the pictures. Before beginning, Wyatt meditates and calls upon his spirit guides and higher beings. First, he gets a bowl and fills with tap water. He shines colored artificial light or uses sunlight onto the water. He videotapes his sessions, which last between 30-90 seconds. Then he swirls the water with his hand. He has begun experimenting with scrying with a glass jar filled ¾ with tap water. Afterwards, Wyatt views the footage, frame-by-frame.

This is Philip’s third book. He lectures online and in person with Ghost Education 101, which he co-founded during the pandemic. Find his books online, offered as ebooks and print at https://www.amazon.com/Philip-R-Wyatt/e/B081287K9P?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1627265830&sr=8-1. If interested in purchasing prints of his images, contact Philip directly.  

The Tragedy behind Madame Kovar, Ringling Lion Tamer (1944)

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Madame Kovar, Ringling Lion Tamer (1944), oil on canvas measuring 35×30 inches by Jerry Farnsworth (1895-1982)

The Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida campus, Gainesville, Florida celebrated 30 years last year. Separate from the celebration was a more impressive feat: Jacksonville, Florida residents Samuel (Sam) and Roberta (Robbie) Vickers selected the museum as the next home to their 1,200-piece, Florida-themed art collection. The first exhibit since the donation runs until August 1—better hurry and see it—titled “A Florida Legacy: Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers.” It highlights 162 paintings from the massive collection featuring 700 artists, with 128 women included. One painting captivated me: Madame Kovar, Ringling Lion Tamer (1944).

The oil on canvas painting measures 35 x 30 inches and was completed by Jerry Farnsworth (12.31.1895-12.08.1982). Farnsworth was an American portraiture artist who ran 2 art schools aptly named Farnsworth School of Art. One was located on Siesta Key, outside of Sarasota, Florida. (Sarasota was the winter home of John Ringling and location of his art museum and stunning mansion Ca’d’Zan, eventually the Circus Museum) Farnsworth was called the “father figure of the Sarasota Art Colony.” In 1944, he completed the painting. It is unknown whether it was prior to the July 6th tragedy.

On July 6, 1944, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was performing in Hartford, Connecticut. Madame May Kovar had finished performing with 5 panthers when the nation’s worst fire erupted. May quickly led her animals to the chutes that accessed the cages. Then she rescued several children, sending them to safety. May, herself, remained with her animals until the fire was extinguished. Over 700 people were injured and 169 killed. Four men were convicted of manslaughter—only to be blanket pardoned soon thereafter. However, May’s story doesn’t end there.

In 1949, May, age 42, had left Ringling and was working in California. Still working professionally as Madame Kovar, May was now called May Kovar Schafer and had three children: Michael Kovar, 13; May Kovar, 14; and Sandra Schafer, 3. On December 20 or 21, May was attempting to break a lion named Sultan. She was working in the cage using a chair and a whip. Her children watched. Sultan lunged and mauled May, biting her neck and severing her spine. The older children, Michael and May, grabbed sticks and entered the cage trying to poke the lion into releasing their mother. They failed. Rudy Miller, a 59-year-old elephant trainer, heard the screams and rescued the children and reclaimed May’s lifeless body.

Looking at the painting, I saw confidence and a sense of pride. The red jacket contrasted with the green background. It was slightly haunting. I didn’t know who May Kovar Schafer was; however, I took a picture and decided to research. Madame Kovar was incredibly brave. And Jerry Farnsworth captured her essence in this breathtaking painting. Head to the Harn, where admission is free, to see this haunting picture.

Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

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Tagline: 2020 Isn’t Over Yet Kids! Fitting for those of us still surviving the pandemic. Willy’s Wonderland (2021) stars Nicolas Cage as a drifter named The Janitor who is tricked into cleaning a condemned arcade where a mass killing took place years before. It’s a horror movie making The New York Times “Five Horror Movies to Stream Now” article, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/25/movies/horror-movies-streaming.html. No spoilers here, but stream it!

It’s streaming on Hulu, which is glitching when you access. Instead of searching and linking, go directly into Hulu and find it listed as a newly added movie. The movie is a cross between Five Nights at Freddy’s and Chuck E. Cheese. In fact, on my handful of visits to the Chuck, I’ve imagined myself trapped much like the Janitor.

Phobias (2021) Delivers

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The New York Times’ article “Five Horror Movies to Stream Now” came at the perfect time. Okay, I didn’t actually read the article; I jotted down the titles and streaming services to get me through Tropical Storm Elsa. I figured the films would be palatable, if not great. I viewed Phobias (2021) first. Initially, I expected a knockoff B grade film, but I was quickly proven wrong. This horror film delivers.

You can take my word for it and stop reading now. Go stream it. Then read the reviews.

The film is divided into short vignettes that are linked by a deranged governmental doctor, who has imprisoned patients who exhibit extreme phobias in an effort to exploit their fears. Each vignette details how the patient came to the facility.

I enjoy opening and closing credits. I play a game trying to link names with prior roles. When Macy Gray’s name appeared, I was confused—was she the same R&B singer? (Answer: It is!) The opening credits also show each writer and director for each segment. This raised a flag. Many films attempting to bring together distinct stories often fail. But I continued watching.

This film is not a slasher film. The gore is minimal, which seems to be the largest complaint about the movie, but present. The film is rated R. The acting is consistent, the other complaint, but may come across as choppy due to each director’s vision—the main issue with these anthology attempts.

The final story stars Macy Gray. And boy does she shine. Phobias fills the void created by COVID binging. It is currently streaming on Hulu.

Amityville Horror Murderer Dies

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Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr. is dead at the age of 69. On November 13, 1974, DeFeo murdered his parents and 4 siblings. One of his defense theories was that he was possessed at the time. The Court did not entertain the idea. Instead, DeFeo was sentenced to serve 25 years to life. On February 2nd, he was transported to the Albany Medical Center, and his death was reported on March 15.

The combination of a horrible crime coupled with the farfetched defense theory spawned one of horror movie genres most successful and lucrative franchises. However, it was build upon a hoax. (See my blog from 2014: https://thehauntedlibrarian.com/2014/03/19/amityville-horror-hoax/)

Prison officials nor the hospital provided a cause of death stating that one would be released only to immediate family. We may never know how he died. Honestly, I’m okay with that. Let’s focus on the victims instead.

R.I.P. Sabrina Hatfield

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Tonya Webb and Sabrina Hatfield celebrating the filming of the Old Hospital on Destination Fear.

The paranormal community lost one of our own on February 28, 2021. Sabrina Hatfield, age 54, recently purchased the abandoned hospital and nurses’ college buildings in Williamson, West Virginia. She co-owned the property with Tonya Webb, who together were making improvements and recently re-opened the Old Hospital on College Hill for events. Sabrina will be missed.

Last week, Tonya appeared on my radio show, The Haunted Librarian Show, and discussed the duo’s plans for the properties. Tonya spoke so highly and compassionately about Sabrina that I was looking forward to meeting her when I travel up there this summer. Tonya’s love and admiration for Sabrina was evident.

Sabrina was a local businesswoman in Williamson. She was excited to realize Tonya’s vision for the properties. As Tonya stated: She had the business savvy to make the endeavor profitable. And this project will be successful. Listen to the broadcast for free here: https://www.patreon.com/TheHauntedLibrarian.

I’m planning to visit the hospital later this summer. The drone footage of the two buildings shows the beauty and mystery contained within the grounds. Initially, I thought the small tower was a bell tower. Tonya explained how that was the chimney from the basement where the dead were cremated, and the smoke was able to escape.

Currently, the nurses’ college is off limits. A large portion of the roof has collapsed. However, Tonya and her crew will be working to update and eventually open once the hospital events are fully functional.

I sincerely admire both Tonya and Sabrina. It takes a great deal of vision and money to save historic buildings like these. Sabrina saw the potential and believed in her friend. She took a chance. I am prayerful that she will be able to rest in eternal peace knowing that she left the properties and the histories contained within in the capable hands of Tonya. Rest in Peace, Sabrina.

View the article discussing the plans here: https://www.mingomessenger.com/news/article_a9b708a6-361d-11eb-b32f-e76e610906aa.html

The Old Hospital on College Hill, Williamson, WV

Join me tomorrow night as I chat with the new-ish owner of the Old Hospital on College Hill in Williamson, West Virginia. Tune in at 9 PM EST on http://www.Midnight.FM or listen to the archived show at https://www.patreon.com/TheHauntedLibrarian.

Seeking New Patients: Old Hospital atop College Hill (WV) Re-Opens

Sitting atop College Hill, Old Hospital closed for patients in 1988. New owners re-opened the facility for “new patients” who desire historical or paranormal tours today, February 5, 2021. The hospital was purchased by investors last year in order to preserve the stories of the City of Williamson and surrounding area of West Virginia. The hospital was featured in the Season 2 Episode 14 finale of Destination Fear, which originally aired in December 2020. Visit www.collegehillhospital.com for more information.