Coyote Chris Sutton joins me tonight at 9 PM EST on Midnight.FM. Chris “brings light to the darkest places.” He’s a Shaman and uses shamanistic healing work in his paranormal investigations. He’s a genuinely nice guy who cares about every aspect of our planet. I’m so excited to have Chris as my first guest of 2021. Let’s face it. We all need a little more light in our lives.
Tune in at 9 PM EST on Thursday, January 7th on Midnight.FM.
One of the decks in my growing collection is The Literary Witches Oracle Deck, written by Taisia Kitaiskaia and illustrated by Katy Horan. This 70-card deck includes females in literary history, as well as the materials needed for spell work, or in my case for items to assist in the interpretation of the spread. The cards fit into a sturdy paper box. This is a beautiful deck and supplements any tarot and oracle collection.
Oracle decks differ from traditional tarot decks, which are generally confined to 78 cards and resemble today’s playing cards. Tarot cards were initially created for game playing. Oracle decks are usually themed. They can be character-based, topical, or a combination. Like tarot cards, their size varies.
Oracle decks aren’t new, with an early example dating back to the Coffee Ground Cards, a 1796 deck housed in the British Museum archives. This deck incorporated images with explanations. As the nickname of the deck suggests, these cards were to be used in conjunction with coffee ground reading, where the grounds left in the cup were examined and a prophecy elicited from the images perceived along the sides and bottom of the white cup. It is similar to reading tea leaves. The decks have evolved over the centuries.
Oracle decks are incredibly popular. They’re easier to use. For instance, someone can pull a card a day for inspiration and guidance. There are angel decks and religious, predominately Christian, decks that appeal to those who fear or avoid tarot decks. (Yes, the hypocrisy is real.)
As with tarot decks, oracle decks have become collectible. I’ve got a mix of oracle and tarot decks in my collection. I was drawn to this deck due to the female literary characters. The women are international and quite diverse. The deck came from Taisia’s book, Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers (2017). Taisia “reimagines 30 female authors as true witches: not hooked-nosed creatures riding on brooms, but figures of radical creativity, originality, and empowerment.” The 40 additional cards enhance the deck.
As 2020 finally ends and 2021 begins, I did a 4-card spread with the deck.
My current situation is María Sabina, Healing.
I need to be more like Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Freedom, to get me through 2021.
The Noose is holding me back.
I need to shed the House to move forward.
Interpretations: Honestly, this was a pretty good spread. I continue my treatment from breast cancer and am healing. María Sabina Magdalena García (1894-1985) was a shaman who wrote poetry. She was a Mexican healer known as the “priestess of mushrooms,” her preferred hallucinogenic.
I am expanding “The Haunted Librarian” in 2021, and the second card is incredibly fitting. Charlotte Anna Perkins Stetson Gilman (1860-1935) was a feminist writer who believed that “domestic mythology” (stereotypical role of the female to keep the house and perform the chores) had to be shattered in order for women to be liberated. Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), which is considered an important piece of early feminist literature.
The Noose signifies anxiety and self-sabotage. I suffer from perfectionism. This is a warning that I need to organize and understand the concept of completion over perfection.
The final card is also apropos. My daughter is heading off to college next year, and I’ve got house envy. I would love to downsize and be more spontaneous in where I reside. Another meaning may be that I have left traditional employment and am focusing more on my writing and radio show. Who knows!
I’m satisfied with the spread. Likewise, I acknowledge that I am reading a lot into the symbolism. As I shed 2020, along with everything the year brought, I’m okay being optimistic about 2021. I want 2021 to be positive and inspiring. I think we all need it to be.
Visit the Sage Branch of the Bay County Library System to enjoy various examples of architecture with decorative elements and possibly a ghost or two. Henry Williams Sage (1814-1897) gifted the citizens of Bay City a library. Opening on January 1, 1884, the Sage Library remains a center of activity and enlightenment for the city. It may also have a ghost, or two.
Known as Michigan’s oldest continually open library, the Sage Library is stunning. Commissioned by Sage, the library was designed by New York architect Charles Babcock and supervised by the local architectural firm Pratt and Koeppe, with Andrew Thompson as the contractor. Sage invested $50,000 for construction, additional monies to initially staff the building, and donated over 8,000 books for the collection. He believed in public libraries, as well as the importance of debate skills. The 4-storey building had high school classrooms on the first floor; a library and reading room where a men’s debate club met on the second floor; and administrative offices for the Supervisor of Schools on the third. The basement housed the furnaces.
The architectural styles are many, with “French Chateau, Victorian Gothic, and Ruskin Gothic” styles prevailing. A beautiful fountain honoring the Greek myth “Leda and the Swan” sits outside the library. The library has been well maintained with many of the town’s businesses working on or in the building.
Paranormal author and investigator Nicole Beauchamp’s debut non-fiction book, Haunted Bay City, Michigan, was published this year. Nicole joined me for an episode of The Haunted Librarian Show and discussed one of her personal favorite hauntings: Jacob Beck.
Jacob Beck, Sr. owned and operated J. Beck & Son Steam Carpet Cleaning Works in the early 1900s. According to Nicole, Jacob laid new carpet in the Sage Library in 1904. Invoices reflect a payment of $11.36 for the installation and cleaning. In 1906, Beck was paid $5.18 to clean the carpets. In 1909, Beck died of a stroke at the age of 70.
Nicole and her paranormal group, Tri-City Ghost Hunters Society, investigated the library. The name “Jacob” came through on their ghost box. Upon further research, Nicole was told about Jacob Beck and his connection with the library. Listen to the archived show and/or read Nicole’s book for more information about Jacob, the Sage Library, and other paranormal activity in and around Bay City, Michigan.
Situated off the coast of Pinellas County, Florida sits the 1,136-acre Fort De Soto Park. The park has a complicated history—a history that is ripe for haunted stories. Tripping on Legends’ Christopher Balzano joined me on The Haunted Librarian Show to discuss some of the tragic stories. Curious about them, I decided to do a bit more researching. Two time periods stand out: The Mullet Key Quarantine Station and the 1980 Sunshine Skyway Bridge Collapse.
Five islands comprise the Fort De Soto Park. Visitors can access the park via boat or car. Inhabitants date back to 1,000 A.D. when the Tocobaga Native American Indians controlled the keys, as well as the Tampa Bay area, residing in villages. One hundred years after the Spanish explorer Pánfilo de Narváez and his men arrived in 1528, the tribe were extinct. By 1861, the islands came under government control and private use was prohibited. During the Civil War, the Union Army controlled two of the islands, Mullet and Egmont Keys. Various buildings were built over the years but ultimately were abandoned one-by-one by 1937. On May 11, 1963, the park was dedicated.
Tierra Verde, the official address for the fort, was originally part of Hillsborough County. Hillsborough County (Tampa and surrounding towns) was founded in 1834 and encompassed the western towns along the Gulf of America. Tierra Verde sits within Pinellas County, which was annexed from Hillsborough in 1912. Researchers should note the dates and keep in mind when searching for data on Fort De Soto Park.
The Tampa Bay area experienced several Yellow Fever outbreaks. From December 16, 1889-1937, the Mullet Key Quarantine Station served as a short-term isolation center for travelers coming to Florida. The quarantine area housed 15 buildings. One was built above the water. The hospital sat 700 feet from the shoreline. Erected on pilings (wooden beams stuck upright into the water), the 37 by 200-foot station consisted of 9 hospital rooms. People who did not exhibit symptoms were housed inland, while patients remained in the hospital. However, people did die at the station.
By 1892, a fumigation apparatus was in use to eradicate the mosquitos, which transmitted Yellow Fever and the cases began to subside. In late 1937, Hillsborough County relocated the station to Gadsden Pointe, closer to Tampa, thus ending one quarantine chapter for the Tampa Bay area. Balzano’s new book Haunted Florida Love Stories (2020) retells some of the ghost stories, possibly identifying who the spirits may be.
On May 9, 1980, the MV Summit Venture crashed into the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, causing a 1200-foot span on the southbound lane to fall into the channel, killing 35 people. A makeshift morgue was set up on Mullet Key.
Michael Betz and Robert Raiola, two FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) divers, were already planning on being at the bridge that day. This was Betz’ fifth day on the job; Raiola was training him. Both were eating breakfast at The Bunny Hut when the call came in. Upon arrival, the FDOT divers worked with Eckerd College’s Search and Rescue divers to retrieve bodies from the water. Betz and Raiola made two dives down to the upside-down Greyhound bus, where all aboard died (22 passengers and the driver), when another storm started moving in. Betz and Raiola were unable to retrieve all of the bodies trapped in the bus. Only 18 bodies were recovered on that day. Seven were recovered the next day by other divers.
Bodies were ferried to Andrew Potter Pier (also known as Potter’s Pier), on the southwest corner of Mullet Key. Here they were processed until being transferred to the Coroner’s office in Largo. Visitors to the park speculate that some of the ghosts seen may be those drowned in this horrific accident.
In addition to the possible victims of the bridge collapse, visitors claim to see phantom suicide jumpers.
Tomorrow, Thursday, December 10th, author and paranormal investigator Nicole Beauchamp guests on The Haunted Librarian Show to discuss her new book, Haunted Bay City, Michigan. Tune in at 9 PM EST on Midnight.FM as we discuss several of the stories haunting this historic town.
Shadow People seem to be this year’s go-to response on paranormal TV shows. The immediate knee-jerk reaction is: It’s a shadow person and you’ve got to move! This is far from the truth. Likewise, it is unfortunate that paranormal investigators presume the term is new. It isn’t. There is still so much to learn about these creatures that it is irresponsible to tell a family to relocate. Instead, there is a need for more collection of data on shadow people.
Shadow people are not a new paranormal phenomena. They can be a shadow, solid form, or a black mass, and stories about them go back to ancient Egyptian times where one of the seven souls was the khailbut, a shadow. They believed that the shadow was always present, even after death. In The Egyptian Book of the Dead, the deceased was often depicted as a shadow, or silhouette, with little descriptive features. It was not evil unless the deceased was evil in life. The majority—if not virtually all—shadows were merely representative of good.
The ancient Greeks and Romans also believed in shadow people. The “umbra” or “shade” was the spirit of a dead person. Again, this was not evil or up to evil deeds. In fact, the Latin word “umbra” is used today in “umbrage” which means to give shade to a person or subject. Here the word is used negatively as taking offense or being annoyed; however, the word is not meant to be taken as literal wickedness.
In the 1690s a new use of the word “umbra” emerged. Here the word was used to identify “an uninvited guest accompanying an invited guest.” This usage evolved as the phantom was now uninvited and possibly unwanted or unknown.
This would explain today’s feelings toward a shadow person. The silhouette seen is unknown to the onlooker, who may fear the shadow. At no time should the shadow person be assumed to be evil.
It is important to note that various cultures across history have recorded versions of shadow people. One expert in the field is Mike Ricksecker, author of A Walk in the Shadows: A Complete Guide to Shadow People (2020). Mike theorizes that shadow people may also be interdimensional beings. His book includes personal accounts discussing his first experience with a shadow person, along with his multi-decade fascination investigating them. You may know Mike from his appearance on The Haunted episode “Monster in the Closet” from 2011. In addition to his book, Mike gave a lecture on shadow people for Ghost Education 101. Click here to watch the presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVjppVdtMHw.
Although the concept of shadow people is not new, several paranormal TV shows have focused on the phenomena recently. Some link the phenomena to sleep paralysis (another phenomena that should be researched more). However, shadow people should not be isolated to experiences of sleep paralysis. The key is that many people witness shadow people while awake and going about their day.
Another popular theory is that shadow people are extraterrestrial (ET). This concept differs from Mike’s interdimensional being in that an ET is an alien being coming from outer space, whereas the interdimensional being originates on earth.
When searching for online images of shadow people, it is interesting to note that many artists assign genders to them. If someone witnesses a shadow person, he generally does not note a gender. In fact, a lot of sightings lack gender descriptions. The exception is when the shadow person transforms into an apparition. For the most part, shadow people are non-gender assigned.
There isn’t one theory or explanation for shadow people; however, there is a need for more research. If you encounter a shadow person, don’t presume it is evil. Most likely, it is merely looking to communicate.
I’m daydreaming of my post-COVID travel plans. One excursion that looks totally enticing is Mike Ricksecker’s Ancient Mysteries of Ireland trip next July.
Scheduled to begin July 1, 2021, this 9-day/8-night adventure offers a variety of mystical and haunted locations in Ireland. In true Irish fashion, there are a lot of castles on the itinerary.
The first stop is Blarney Castle, where one can kiss the Blarney Stone, a ritual where a person lays on her back, leans down with the assistance of castle docents to kiss the stone upside down. Back 20 years ago, my mother did it. I declined. The act supposedly confers upon the person the “gift of gab.” The person was to obtain the ability to speak eloquently. However, the “gab” implies the ability to speak unnecessarily—not really a trait I’m seeking.
One stop that does hold my interest is Desmond Castle (Kinsale) where in 1747 a fire broke out killing 54 prisoners, most who were of French descent. The tower house structure is known locally as the “French Prison.” The building was donated to the town of Kinsale in 1791 and has served as a prison and poor house. There are several ghost stories attached to the building.
Probably the most intriguing castle on the tour is Leap Castle (believed to be built circa 1250 CE, though some sources date it at 1500s). The striking feature of this castle is the discovery of the oubliette, an underground dungeon with wooden spikes. During a period of renovations in the “Bloody Chapel,” workers located human skeletal remains in the chamber. A watch dating from the mid-1800s shows that the act of impaling people was used quite recently. Tourists report two tales of hauntings: The Red Lady and ghost children Charlotte and Emily.
The itinerary includes several favorite tour destinations like the Jameson Distillery Midleton; Spike Island Prison, once the largest prison in Ireland dubbed “Ireland’s Alcatraz”; and “Kindred Spirits” a stainless-steel monument honoring the Choctaw Nation (U.S. Native American Indian tribe). Book your tour by following the links below. This tour combines history with interesting locations that would capture any paranormal investigator’s imagination.
Netflix offer an original 6-episode horror series set in Cairo, Egypt. Paranormal (2020-) is based on the book series by Ahmed Khaled Tawfik and set in the 1960s. Dr. Refaat Ismail, an Egyptian hematologist, who lives by a set a laws based off of Murphy’s Law, loosely phrased “laws” of nature dating back to the 1940s. Dr. Refaat becomes the city’s “go-to guy for paranormal” activity. This low-budget series is deeply satisfying and addictive.
Netflix offers a dubbed version. Each episode features a different paranormal phenomena which links the entire season. The series works in a lot of historical references. Pay attention and try to catch them. Netflix has not announced a second season; however, this is standard for the streaming service which generally waits several weeks before making a decision. Tune in and expect to emerge several hours later.