Branch Davidian David Koresh’s ’68 Chevrolet Camaro SS For Sale

Ghost Adventures’ Zak Bagans purchased the car in 2018 for $61,995. He housed it in his Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seeking to rotate his collection of oddities, he has offered up the car for sale. No, it’s not haunted.

David Koresh was the head Branch Davidian zealot who battled the FBI and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) in a 51-day standoff in 1993 in Waco, Texas. On April 19th, the government initiated a raid resulting in 4 ATF deaths and 79 Branch Davidians. Of the 79, 25 were children. Only nine members of the cult survived.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called the Camaro “Armageddon’s Relic.” It was “very close to [Koresh’s] heart.” It has been theorized that Koresh intended it to be his getaway car. He had the V8 engine block engraved with “DAVIDES 427 GO GOD.” The etching was moved in a prior sale but has reportedly been restored. The car was trashed during the raid but has been resurrected into a classic—sans the evil (but not haunted) provenance.

The car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) is 124378L302009 and comes with a Texas car title showing Koresh’s ownership. Previously sold as-is in 2004 for $37,000 to Donald Feldpausch, the car was restored “as an investment.”

If interested, contact Vegas Auto Gallery for more information, https://www.vegasautogallery.com/used-vehicle-1968-chevrolet-camaro-ss-427-coupe-c-2201/. Again, it’s not haunted.

Cartomancy

Cartomancy

Cartomancy was an early form of fortune telling using a deck of playing
cards and is still used today.

No one knows for certain who or when playing cards were created. Scholars
believe playing cards originated in China, and by trading routes through the
Mamluk Empire (1250-1517) in Egypt, they turned up in Europe by the 1370s. Each
European country used their own unique images representing the four suites. For
instance, German cards used acorns, bells, hearts, and leaves. The French
simplified the suites to shapes, and the English continued with this as a
standard with clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades.

1.    
The image in the upper left corner is a picture from
the oldest surviving deck that the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased for $143,000
in 1983. The 52-card deck was originally thought to be a tarot deck; however, an
Amsterdam antiques dealer who paid $2,800 for the deck in the 70s did a great
deal of research. The cards were hand-drawn and painted. The Central Laboratory
for Objects of Arts and Science (Amsterdam) dated the paint alone to circa
1470-1480. The clothing further confirmed the dates to 1465-1480.

2.    
In the early 15th century, the Germans
crafted wood carvings for block printing to replicate the drawings and make the
decks more accessible. Artists still hand-painted the individual cards, though.

3.    
Image 3 shows how the French used stencils to create
the cards even faster by the 1480s.

4.    
Image 4 depicts Mademoiselle Marie Anne Abigail
Lenormand, sometimes written as Le Normand.

5.    
Images 5 and 6 relate to Mlles’s Lenormand legacy.

Mlle. Lenormand transformed the industry of cartomancy. Born on May 27,
1772, she and her sister and brother were orphaned by the time she was 5 years
old. First her father died. Her mother remarried but soon died, leaving the
step-father with a family he may not have wanted. He sent the children away.
Marie Anne spent time in several convents until she reached the age of 14, when
she moved to Paris to work in a milliner’s shop.

Marie Anne was a quick learner and expanded her studies to include prophecy.
She showed early signs with the nuns and was able to transform her
circumstances to become a wealthy woman.

Marie Anne ran her business from No. 5, Rue de Tournon, where she posted the
occupation as French Bookseller. She did not sell books. Instead, the title
legitimized her business for clients and the government. Described as short,
fat, and having ruddy complexion, Marie Anne was sought out by the wealthy and
elite.

Marie Anne never married—she didn’t see the need; however, her sister did,
leaving two young children when she died. Marie Anne adopted, whether it was
literally or figuratively is unknown. The girl died of consumption; the boy
joined the military. Marie Anne’s brother also served in the military and died
before she did. Marie Anne’s nephew inherited the vast estate, which included
500,000 Francs and a massive library on the occult, when Marie Anne died on
June 25, 1843, at the age of 71. He burned the occult items, but took the cash.

After Marie Anne’s death, a 36-card deck called the Petit Lenormand (Lenormand
deck) was issued. These cards continued her legacy by encouraging others to use
for divination. Image 5 is from Black Cat cigarettes produced by the House of
Carreras. A single card was tucked inside each pack of cigarettes. The Carreras
Fortune Telling Cards were published in 1926. Eventually, the brand went away.

Playing cards are an easy way to practice divination. Shuffle the deck and
ask a question. Decipher the results as:

3 reds

Definitely yes

2 reds

Qualified yes

2 blacks

Qualified no

3 blacks

Definitely no

Try it. You may find it suits your needs.

 

The SurrealEstate Market Is Booming

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The sleeper horror/comedy Canadian series, SurrealEstate, has been resurrected. Initially cancelled, the Syfy series was renewed and is currently in production on Season 2. Created by George R. Olson, the series fills a popular paranormal niche.

With the tagline “These properties are to die for,” the Roman Agency caters to homeowners experiencing strange phenomena. Each TV-14, 43-minute episode has the elite realty team tackling some of the worst issues in homeownership: hauntings. Led by Luke Roman, played by Tom Rozon, the crew utilizes skills found when ghost hunters investigate a property. Susan Ireland, played by Sarah Levy, is brought on to close the deal, metaphysically and literally. The tech specialists include former priest Father Phil Orley, played by Aam Korson, and August Ripley, played by Maurice Dean Wint, who speaks in quotes. Office assistant Zooey L’Enfant (Savannah Basley) and homeowner Megan Donovan (Tennille Read) round out the regulars.

The star with no dialog is the “Donovan House,” a haunted Victorian mansion inherited by Megan Donovan. In real life, the home is called “Hopedale House,” built by Captain Samuel Blandford (1840-1909) in 1883. He resided in the home with his wife, Sarah Anne (Edgar), and their family. The Blandford family owned the home up until World War II, when it was used as a British headquarters. Later, the Salvation Army ran a home for unwed mothers and then senior citizens. It was subdivided into 5 apartments prior to its last title transfer to Pam Crossan in 1986. Crossan jokes the home “has more spirit than spirits.”

SurrealEstate films at other lovely properties throughout the St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador regions in eastern Canada. Season 1 streams on Hulu. Fans eagerly await the yet to be determined release of Season 2.

American Society for Psychical Research HQ For Sale

Founded in 1885, the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) uses this gorgeous townhouse as its headquarters. ASPR “seeks to advance the understanding of psychic phenomena.” The Beaux-Arts style, 8-story townhouse overlooks the infamous Dakota. Measuring nearly 10,000 square feet, the townhouse has 18 rooms, 9 fireplaces imported from Italy; at least one vintage restroom; and an old–possibly original–elevator. It is listed at $15 million dollars.

This is the 4th time in as many years that ASPR has listed the property. In 2019, it was listed at $17,995,000. The price was lowered in 2020 to $17 million. Last year the price was slashed again to $15,750,000. This is quite the gem!

The Svingerud Stone: Oldest Runestone Discovered

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In the Fall of 2021, archaeologists with the University of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History were excavating an ancient cremation pit and uncovered a 12.2 x 12.6-inch flat stone with markings. Experts claim that the runestone may be the oldest runestone discovered. It has been named the “Svingerud Stone” or “Svingerudsteinen.”

The runic alphabet is one of the oldest known forms of writing, stemming from the Phoenician alphabet. It was used extensively during the Viking Age (793-1066 CE*); however, many runestones predate this period. For instance, the Einang Runestone dates to 300 CE.

Runestones were upright stones with runic inscriptions found primarily in Scandinavia, with the most in Sweden. The Svingerud Stone differs from most runestones in that it was found lying in a burial ground. Bones and wood were also found. Radiocarbon dating of the bones and wood dates the stone to 1 to 250 CE. An inscription reads “idiberug,” which may be the name of a person or family. Its meaning is unknown.

The discovery has been called “sensational” and “unique.” Usage of runestones ended when the runic alphabet was ultimately replaced with the Latin alphabet. The stone is on display at the Museum of Cultural History, January 21-February 26, 2023.

* I am using the CE (Common Era) notation that is more accurate than the BC/AD format.

Amateur Exorcist Hickman Whittington’s Short Work

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In 1938, 68-year-old Hickman Whittington placed an advertisement offering free, expenses billed, exorcisms. Over the Christmas holiday of 1937, Hickman had a divine revelation while re-reading the Bible. A man who hadn’t stepped inside a church in over 20 years, Hickman (“Hick” to his friends) professed to have found the exact passage that would exorcize dwellings from ghosts. His ad sought clients to test his theory. Over 300 people responded to the ad; however, he never actually performed the ritual. He was all talk with no action.

Hickman’s life was tragic. The 5th grade educated coal miner married Charity O. “Bedia” Bryant in 1898. He was 28 years-old; Bedia 16. They were divorced in May of 1929. On June 3, Hickman lay in wait for this ex-wife to saunter past. She was walking home with their children Wanda, 12, and Dave Edwards, 5, and George Curry, who was boarding with them and her new-found beau. Hickman jumped out and began shooting his pistol. Bedia ran. She was shot in her abdomen and shoulder. She continued to run.

Hickman cornered her and slashed her throat with a hawk-bill pruning knife. Young Wanda pleaded for her father to stop. George ran to the neighbors to telephone the police. He did not, however, seek to rescue Bedia. Within days, Hickman was charged with attempted murder.

Fast forward eleven years. No one knows the inspiration behind the ad. However, it was picked up and re-printed in several newspapers. Initially, Hickman claimed that he his ritual consisted of his reciting the Bible verse. That was it. Criticisms soon followed, and Hickman clarified saying he used the verse to engage the spirit to appear, then he would sit and talk with it. He never disclosed the Bible verse. He never really tested his theory, either.

On February 7, 1938, an article has Hickman changing his mind and wanting to try out the de-haunting ghost removal system at Crenshaw House, also known as the Old Slave House. He was out of his league with this location.

The Crenshaw House (Equality, Illinois) has a long, sinister history. Built by John Hart Crenshaw in 1738, the third-floor attic was used to illegally incarcerate freed African American slaves who were kidnapped and resold as slaves. John Crenshaw was an evil man. According to people, those evil deeds manifested into hauntings at the house.

The home became a tourist attraction in 1913 as a “thrilling experience.” (Is attraction even the appropriate word?) For some reason, Hickman became aware of the home and the supposed hauntings. He wanted to perform a whip cracking in addition to his ritual. Newspaper articles did not report whether or not Hickman was able to complete his ritual. It is fairly evident Hickman never investigated any other location.

By 1940, Hickman was an inmate at Anna State Hospital. He died on May 14, 1949.

Bedia’s fate wasn’t much better. There aren’t any public records that she married George Curry. She died shortly before Hickman on March 1, 1949.

Crenshaw House fared better. The State of Illinois purchased the home and 10 acres for $500,000 in December of 2000. On February 27, 2003, the state purchased the antiques from the estate, salvaging them from storage. Today, the homestead is part of the Reverse Underground Railroad. It is a “station.” The home requires extensive remodeling; it currently closed.  

Hickman Whittington was a lone amateur. He was not affiliated with any organization. He was inexperienced. Hopefully, he never attempted this theory. It may have been early signs to his mental decline. His is a cautionary tale not to fabricate a ghost removal process. Leave it in the hands of those trained and skilled.

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi Has Home Exorcism Performed

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Pope Francis, greets Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her husband, Paul Pelosi before celebrating a Mass on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Pelosi met with Pope Francis on Wednesday and received Communion during a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, witnesses said, despite her position in support of abortion rights. (Vatican Media via AP)

Over the Thanksgiving break, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi requested the assistance from the Catholic Church to exorcize the evil left from last year’s attack on her husband, Paul.

Last October, David DePape, a 42-year-old Canadian who was in the country illegally, broke into Pelosi’s three-story townhouse in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco shouting “Where’s Nancy?” He intended to kidnap the former speaker. Instead, he violently attacked her 82-year-old husband with a hammer. Mr. Pelosi’s injuries were critical. He has since recovered. DePape has been charged with 6 felonies.

Speaker Pelosi reportedly felt great guilt over the attack. She was distressed and sought help from her church.

Pelosi is a devout Catholic. The Catholic Church performs thousands of similar rituals annually. According to Father Vincent Lampert, designated exorcist for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, he receives thousands of requests at his location every year. The rite consists of various prayers, rituals, and recitations from the Bible. Sometimes the ritual must be repeated.

Father Arturo Albano, St. Vincent de Paul Church, stated his church did not participate.

An exorcism makes sense. She may have had the home re-blessed, foregoing the longer ritual. Whatever course of action, Speaker Pelosi felt the need to re-consecrate her home and protect from any evil that may have been brought in by DePape or attracted to the home from the assault.

A home blessing is common. Clergy can perform the blessing; however, there are online instructions for people to perform themselves. I would caution anyone who undertakes this. Know what you’re doing. All you need is holy water and exorcized salt with a prayer to your God.

Pennsylvania Dutch Magic: Hexes

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In 2015, a strange news story went viral. The Bretzius family of Auburn, PA were renovating their 1930s home to discover animal corpses wrapped in newspaper tucked within the walls. The carcasses were filled with spices and other items. The newspaper wrappings dated from the 1930s and 1940s. The family purchased the 2,320 square foot, 5 bedroom/2 bath home in 2011, which fell far outside the window for recourse from the home inspection. The family was saddled with expensive repairs, spending over $20,000. However, they were curious and wanted to know more about the creatures. Somewhere along the line, they were told the animals were part of Dutch magic, or Powwow.

I became fascinated with the resurgence of the story. As you may know, I’m an avid genealogist and have taken many ancestral lines to the American Revolution. My material line has deep roots in Pennsylvania, with many associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch. I found a lot of information on Barnstars and Hexsigns but nothing about wrapping dead animals in newspaper and stuffing into the walls as protection spells.

Pennsylvania Dutch (PA Dutch) is divided into two categories: The Plain Dutch and the Fancy Dutch. I have ancestors in both. The Plain Dutch are the Amish and Mennonites, etc. They are plain folk, hence the name. And they’re not actually Dutch. Their religion forbids decorations, among other limitations. They did not participate in painting stars or hexes on their barns.

The Fancy Dutch are the German Lutherans and German Reformed people who relocated in America, bringing their Dutch and German culture with them. While in Europe, they did not paint symbols on their barns This is unique to their American lives.

PA Dutch Magic is called Brauche or Braucherei and incorporates the Bible into spiritual healing. Bible verses are woven into folk practices. There are pre-Christian and pagan traditions involved, as well. Early settlers interacted with the Native American Indians and appropriated the Algonquian word “powwow” or “pow-wow” for their ritualistic healing. The word can be a verb implying a trance or divination or a noun for ritualistic procedures. It is still used today.

In the early 1800s, these people sought visual protections and created the Barn Star. These “painted prayers” were large circles with painted geometric images inside. One Barn Star is dated back to the 1850s; a painted star on a stone wall was dated back to the 1700s.

The German saying “Yuscht fer schee” encapsulates the essence of the artform. “Just for nice” connotes a playful take on these pieces. No one really knows the meaning of these brightly colored, simplistic circles; however, the answer to why Pennsylvania is known. Early settlers of the state arrived with open arms and religious freedom. The ability to paint visual spells to ward off evil was acceptable.

There is much debate on whether the Barn Stars are, in fact, magic. Practitioners remain secretive about the Dutch magic practices and rarely disclose any aspect to non-Dutch people. Unfortunately, it is dying off.

In 1923, Wallace Nutting coined the term “hexafoos,” or witch’s foot, to describe this distinctly and uniquely Pennsylvania folk art in his book Pennsylvania Beautiful. He attributed them to witchcraft and spell work.

In the 1940s, the term “Hex Sign” was created for travelogues. These painted wooden disks ranged in size from 8 inches to 4 feet and provided a tourist destination for Americans to embark. Quite a few survive today with contemporary artists creating hexes painted directly onto the barn or crafted from pre-cut wooden disks that are painted and then hung using screws. Search online at Etsy or individual artists for pricing.

Interestingly, many people associate hexes with evil. This is most certainly not the case. Barn Stars and Hex Signs grew from strong biblical beliefs. The state of Pennsylvania embraces this history; there is even a trail that you can take to view them.

So, you may be wondering how I jumped from stuffed carcasses to Hex Signs. That’s just how my mind works. I’m conducting further research on PA Dutch magic and may come up with the link. In the meantime, plan your road trip and view these beautiful representations of German American heritage.

Ghost Education 101: Haunted True Crimes

Ghost Education 101 has an impressive 2023 schedule. Check them out on Facebook. Make sure to tune in on Wednesday, February 15th when I present “Haunted True Crimes.” I will highlight 3 true crimes that have evolved into active hauntings. All are well documented; however, I will share some curious details you may not know.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, February 15th at 9PM on the Ghost Education 101 Facebook livestream.

Deland’s Haunted Antique Shop and Paranormal Museum

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One of my favorite cozy mystery series is the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series by Kirsten Weiss. The murders surround a small paranormal museum set in the fictional town of San Benedetto. Who wouldn’t love to own a paranormal museum? A haunted one is even better! In Deland, Florida, you can visit one.

In 2018, Corinne Kenner purchased a quaint vintage shop and turned it into the Haunted Antique Shop and Paranormal Museum, located at 612 W. New York Avenue, Deland. Objects vary at every price point, and the shop offers psychic development classes, tarot readings, and special events. Kenner’s experiences at the store spawned a book titled Gently Haunted: True Stories from the Haunted Antique Shop.

While the store contains vintage items for sale, the intrigue is in the museum. Interact with the store’s guardian, the haunted Charlie doll. Become mesmerized by items in the Cabinet of Curiosities (continue reading for a short explanation). Contemplate whether you would like to own a haunted object. That’s the point. In a world of overpriced theme parks and crowded museums/zoos/aquariums, enjoy the kitsch of roadside attractions. They’re the true essence of Americana.

You can listen to selected stories online by purchasing a pass for $10 at https://youraudiotour.com/tours/2568/. Or listen to my favorite podcast Tripping on Legends Episode 119, https://trippingonlegends.com/2023/01/03/tripping-on-legends-episode-119-the-tarot-of-physics-and-haunted-objects/?fbclid=IwAR35iUzNqArmDtLJ8v8XrY4Uym9O7iIu6Fa-_i-pxbvSIEYS16k_SDtDg_w, with my friend Christopher Balzano. I strongly suggest watching the video feed from Christopher’s episode—no spoilers here! It amplifies just how kitsch the museum is.

Follow the store on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/thehauntedantiqueshop/, and Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HauntedAntiqueShop/. For more information, visit their website, https://hauntedantiqueshop.com/. Let me know if you visit.

Side note: Cabinets of Curiosities date back to the Italian Renaissance where wealthy people collected items of the macabre and stored them in containers of varying size. Drawers and shelves contained an assortment of items, providing the owners an opportunity to regale in the stories of acquisition. Today, items in cabinets are often purchased rather than found. (See my forthcoming blog “A Brief History of Cabinets of Curiosities” for more information.)

Deland’s Haunted Antique Shop and Paranormal Museum

One of my favorite cozy mystery series is the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series by Kirsten Weiss. The murders surround a small paranormal museum set in the fictional town of San Benedetto. Who wouldn’t love to own a paranormal museum? A haunted one is even better! In Deland, Florida, you can visit one.

In 2018, Corinne Kenner purchased a quaint vintage shop and turned it into the Haunted Antique Shop and Paranormal Museum, located at 612 W. New York Avenue, Deland. Objects vary at every price point, and the shop offers psychic development classes, tarot readings, and special events. Kenner’s experiences at the store spawned a book titled Gently Haunted: True Stories from the Haunted Antique Shop.

While the store contains vintage items for sale, the intrigue is in the museum. Interact with the store’s guardian, the haunted Charlie doll. Become mesmerized by items in the Cabinet of Curiosities (continue reading for a short explanation). Contemplate whether you would like to own a haunted object. That’s the point. In a world of overpriced theme parks and crowded museums/zoos/aquariums, enjoy the kitsch of roadside attractions. They’re the true essence of Americana.

You can listen to selected stories online by purchasing a pass for $10 at https://youraudiotour.com/tours/2568/. Or listen to my favorite podcast Tripping on Legends Episode 119, https://trippingonlegends.com/2023/01/03/tripping-on-legends-episode-119-the-tarot-of-physics-and-haunted-objects/?fbclid=IwAR35iUzNqArmDtLJ8v8XrY4Uym9O7iIu6Fa-_i-pxbvSIEYS16k_SDtDg_w, with my friend Christopher Balzano. I strongly suggest watching the video feed from Christopher’s episode—no spoilers here! It amplifies just how kitsch the museum is.

Follow the store on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/thehauntedantiqueshop/, and Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HauntedAntiqueShop/. For more information, visit their website, https://hauntedantiqueshop.com/. Let me know if you visit.

Side note: Cabinets of Curiosities date back to the Italian Renaissance where wealthy people collected items of the macabre and stored them in containers of varying size. Drawers and shelves contained an assortment of items, providing the owners an opportunity to regale in the stories of acquisition. Today, items in cabinets are often purchased rather than found. (See my forthcoming blog “A Brief History of Cabinets of Curiosities” for more information.)