Remember when Agatha Christie Disappeared?

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Best-selling mystery writer Dame Agatha Christie was distressed. On December 3, 1926, Christie kissed her only child, Rosalind, goodnight. She and her husband, Col. Archibald “Archie” Christie, had argued, and Christie left Styles, her Sunningdale house, in her Morris Cowley roadster needing to clear her head. The next day, the wrecked car was found abandoned and Christie missing. The mystery surrounding her disappearance has never been solved. However, there are several elements of the story that are worthy of discussion.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller (9.15.1890-1.12.1976) was born to an American father and a British mother and grew up in England. She is decidedly British. Her father died when Christie was 11 years old. Christie has stated that his death ended her childhood. Until then, Christie was homeschooled. This ended. She found the village school too confining. Her mother sent her to Paris; however, she soon returned to find her mother, Clara, ill. The pair spent 3 months living in Cairo. The visit had a profound and lasting effect on Christie.

In 1914, Christie married Col. Archibald “Archie” Christie. She soon found literary success. In 1919, they had their only child. The family of three eventually settled into Styles, a house named from her first published novel The Mysterious Affairs at Styles. Agatha uncovered Archie’s extramarital affair with Nancy Neale. Archie was heading for a weekend with “friends,” when Christie left the home.

Day 1. December 4, 1926: The Morris Cowley was found crashed into a hedge by the chalk pits, near the Silent Pool, a popular nature park. The Silent Pool is supposedly haunted.

The Silent Pool is a spring-fed lake located in Albury, Surrey, Southern England. The online pictures show a lake in a lovely shade of green. One wonders how a serene lake could be linked to a horrible folktale.

Long, long ago, the woodcutter’s daughter named Emma was bathing in the pool. She was a young lass of great beauty. She was bathing in the “all together” (an old phrase for nude). The equally young Prince John, the youngest surviving son of King Henry II and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was riding by on his steed (a really old word for horse). John saw Emma and advanced, still on his horse. The scared Emma backed further into the water. Unfortunately, Emma could not swim. Her calls for help were heard by her brother, who quickly attempted to save her. Both drowned. John rode away, leaving behind a feather, and possibly his cap, with the family crest attached.

The woodcutter found his two dead children and the feather. Although the feather and crest incriminated John, he was never held accountable. He went on to rule England as King John from 1199-1216. The spirit of Emma is said to haunt the pool, appearing nude at midnight.

Legends embellish the hauntings at the pool. Stories claim that the birds do not sing and the pool is bottomless. Both are false. People enjoy the wildlife in the park. The birds do, in fact, sing. The wildlife is active. Further, the lake is actually quite shallow in areas.

The story is pure fiction. Martin Tupper made up the story in his book Stephen Langton, a Romance of the Silent Pool (1858). Tupper wanted to create a fantastic story about the pool in order to attract tourists and make the nearby town of Albury famous for something—anything. He succeeded.

The Silent Pool isn’t the only aspect of Agatha Christie’s disappearance linked to paranormal activity. Mrs. Christie believed her home Styles to be haunted, calling the house “spooky.” The house is now divided into apartments. There aren’t any substantive stories regarding hauntings online.

For four days, police enlisted the assistance of volunteers to walk the areas around the chalk pit where the roadster was found. Theories began to circulate. One theory was that Christie was suffering a mental breakdown due to Archie’s affair and Agatha’s mother’s death. Agatha remained close to Clara and was devasted when she passed.

Day 5. December 8, 1926: Agatha’s brother-in-law confirmed that he had received a letter from Agatha, where she stated that she was heading to an unnamed spa.

Day 7. December 10, 1926: Police expand the search. Now over 1,000 officers are searching.

Day 8. December 11, 1926: One of Agatha’s favorite terriers is brought to the chalk pit. Authorities hoped that the dog would lead them to her corpse. The dog “whined pitifully.” No body was recovered.

Authorities now report that Christie wrote three letters: 1) to her personal secretary to cancel an event; 2) to her brother-in-law; and 3) to Archie. Only the letter to the secretary survived, as the other two were burned almost immediately.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle enlisted the help from a clairvoyant, who held one of Agatha’s gloves. The medium proclaimed that the international best-selling author had met with foul play.

The working theory now was that Agatha dressed up as a man and made her way to London.

Day 9. December 12, 1926: Media were reporting that the clues of Agatha’s disappearance were contained in her unfinished manuscript The Blue Train.

Day 10. December 13, 1926: Somewhere between 10,000-15,000 people were now actively searching for Christie. Spiritualists held a séance at the chalk pit. They, too, were not so optimistic on Agatha’s return.

Day 11. December 14, 1926: The latest theory was that Agatha was hiding in London with no desire to return.

Day 12. December 15, 1926: Agatha found! Mrs. Christie was noticed by a banjo player who alerted the authorities. Agatha was, indeed, at the Harrogate Hydro or Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate. She registered under an assumed name: Tressa/Teresa/Theresa Neele, spelling dependent on the source. The name was similar to Archie’s mistress’s name of Nancy Neale.

Harrogate Hydro, now called the Old Swan Hotel.

Day 13. December 16, 1926: The police update the public. Christie checked into the hotel unable to remember how she arrived. She had cash on her, as she enjoyed dinners, activities, and visiting the library where she obtained a library card. She was suffering from amnesia, though.

When Archie arrived to pick up Agatha, she made him wait.

Fifteen months after the incident, Agatha sued Archie for divorce on March 17, 1928. Thirty months later, Agatha remarried. Her new husband was prominent British archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan CBE, 14 years her junior. They remained married until her death in 1976. Archie also remarried. To Nancy Neale.

Christie refused to discuss the incident. She eventually took her version of events to her grave. Her eternal resting place is St. Mary’s Churchyard, Cholsey, South Oxfordshire District, Oxfordshire, England. Max died two years later. He is buried alongside Agatha.

Norman Reedus Hunts Orville Peck in New Music Video

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Screen shot from video.

Norman Reedus Hunts Orville Peck in New Music Video

Orville Peck dropped Chapter 2 of his upcoming album Bronco, due to be released on April 8. The music video of “The Curse of the Blackened Eye” stars Norman Reedus as Peck’s ex-lover who stalks him—zombie-like—throughout the video. It’s a nice nod to Reedus and The Walking Dead (2010-2022).

Orville Peck is the pseudonym for the versatile 34-year-old singer/songwriter. Known for his bejeweled country attire and staunch stand on LGBTQA+ issues, Peck has morphed into a country music icon—one who encompasses the refreshing attitude of inclusivity in today’s country music.

Bronco.

The casting of Reedus, filmed wearing zombie make-up and wearing the stereotypical black clothing of a country villain, is brilliant. On The Walking Dead, Reedus plays “Daryl Dixon,” primary zombie hunter in the popular series. Here, he continues to stalk his prey. The irony is obvious and appreciated. Don’t worry. He does appear without make-up and more humanoid in flashback scenes.

Screen shot.

The song is a great addition to Peck’s repertoire. Peck’s voice and swagger reminds me of Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Chris. Peck’s star is on the rise!

Jiggy Webb, Paranormal HooD, Dies

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Twitter account

Jiggy Webb, Paranormal HooD, Dies

On February 10, 2022, Joey “Jiggy” Webb passed away at the age of 51. He was two weeks shy of his 52nd birthday. He leaves behind a granddaughter. Jiggy was a popular paranormal host, and many in the field were surprised by his untimely death.

Jiggy’s mother Donia has kept the community updated via her own YouTube channel. Ms. Donia stated “a mother knows” when she received the call from Jiggy’s girlfriend. Describing Jiggy as always happy and joking, Ms. Donia was candid in recalling her intuition about the cause of death. She “believes his body gave out.” Jiggy had been dealing with medical issues for the past two and a half years. His second surgery related to diverticulitis was unsuccessful. Jiggy’s roommate found him unresponsive and called 911. Paramedics worked to revive Jiggy for 2 hours. The cause of death is a suspected heart attack.

Jiggy is now at peace, and the family has started a GoFundMe page, https://www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-the-family-of-joey-jiggy-webb. While his parents paid for the funeral, they would like to create a small legacy for his granddaughter, nieces, and nephew.

The GoFundMe set up to establish a small legacy gift.

The fate of Paranormal HooD has not been publicly posted. However, viewers/listeners can still access the various videos and podcasts he starred in. Jiggy contributed so much to the field. He will be deeply missed.

High John the Conqueror Root

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High John the Conqueror Root

While visiting New Orleans a few weeks ago, I finally stopped into the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. I’ll be writing more blogs about the museum in general and the special collections specifically in the coming weeks. However, one of the collections includes voodoo medicine. One display included High John the Conqueror Root, and I wanted to know more!

Display at the museum

High John is a folk term for root medicine associated with conjuring powers. It goes by several names including: High John, High John de Conker, John the Conqueror Root, and Jalap Root. Usage is complicated. Depending on the practitioner, the root may be carried for luck, financial gain, protection, and depression. It is related to and resembles morning glories and sweet potato vine. It is poisonous. Do not consume!

Ipomoea purga or I. jalapa

Many believe it is the most powerful of the gris gris ingredients. A gris gris (pronounced gri gri) is a voodoo amulet or talisman that is carried. It is usually worn around the neck.

High John has been popularized in pop culture. Muddy Waters (1913-1983) sang about it in two songs: “Mannish Boy” and “Hoochie Coochie Man.” Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) wrote about a mythical African-America trickster in “High John de Conquer.” High John has been personified and used in religious practices across the world.

To learn more about voodoo in New Orleans, join me on April 27 for a Facebook Live session through Ghost Education 101.

Georgia Vehicular Homicide Penalties Less Than the Cost of a New iPhone

A friend of mine lost her brother, Andy, when a motorist attempted to turn left in front of him. Andy was a motorcyclist. He died on impact. The driver failed to yield and was eventually cited. Unbelievably, the woman who killed him may serve one year (the max) and pay a $1,000 fine. That’s it in Georgia. Andy’s family has started a Change.Org petition for the laws to change in Georgia, and you can help!

I rarely post these types of items; however, this is different. Andy was barely 20 years old. He had his entire life in front of him. Further, some people attempted to blame him all because he was on a motorcycle. According to statistics, people driving cars are more likely to cause an accident when a motorcycle is involved. Yep. You read that correctly.

Anyone, even those who do not reside in Georgia or those not registered to vote, may sign the petition. To sign, go to https://www.change.org/p/georgia-vehicular-homicide-penalties-less-than-the-cost-of-a-new-iphone?recruiter=557522759&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=share_petition&recruited_by_id=f64e5120-3365-11e6-bc40-f166903ad638&share_bandit_exp=initial-31851422-en-US&utm_content=fht-31851422-en-us%3A6.

Visit http://www.andyslawga.com/ for more information.

Please consider signing. Feel free to share!

Mummy Brown Pigment Was Made with…Wait for It…

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During the 16th century, a new, transparent paint pigment hit the market. Called Mummy Brown (Caput Mortuum or Egyptian Brown), the pigment quickly became a favorite amongst artists who used it for shadows and flesh tones. The source of the paint wasn’t a real concern. See, the pigment was made from ground up Egyptian mummies—human and feline. If unavailable, corpses of slaves and criminals were ground up.

Roberson & Co. of London made the pigment and sold it in tubes. White pitch and myrrh were combined with the ground up Egyptian mummies. Since the mummies were embalmed, they also contained trace elements of ammonia and fat. Scholars state that the color fell between burnt umber and raw umber on the color scale. Over time, however, the paint cracked and faded. Further, the ammonia and fat affected other pigments. This was a restoration nightmare. You know, in addition to the obvious.

The 19th century Pre Raphaelite artists favored it. Some who were to have purchased a tube included Sir William Beechly, Edward Burne-Jones, and Eugene Delacroix. Once word of the ingredients surfaced some artists discarded. Famed author and nephew of Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling retold the story of when Burnes-Jones found out about the ingredients. He supposedly ceremoniously buried his tube in his garden.

It is difficult to assess whether any of them actually used the paint. Experts believe Mummy Brown was used in L’Interieur d’une Cuisine, (Interior of a Kitchen, 1815) by Martin Drolling. Researchers speculate that Delacroix used Mummy Brown in La Liberté quidant le people (Liberty Leading the People, 1830) and Salone de la Paix at the Hotel de Ville (1854). As for Burne-Jones, researchers believe Temperantia (1872) and The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon (1881-1898) were painted with Mummy Brown.

Production ceased in the 1920-1930s with the last tubes selling in 1964. By that time, Roberson’s stated that interest in using the pigment had wain so much that one mummy could supply 20 years’ worth of tubes. The Egyptian mummy supply had dried up, as well.

There are better substitutes to Mummy Brown. For instance, Daniel Smith sells Bauxite Mummy.

If you’re interested in other historical paint colors and their origins, check out this amazing blog: http://www.veritablehokum.com/comic/mummy-brown-and-other-historical-colors/.

Tulane University’s Two Mummies Have Attended 3 Super Bowl Games

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Tulane University hosted 3 Super Bowl games: IV in 1970, VI in 1972, and IX in 1975. The crowds of 80,000+ people never knew that underneath the bleachers tucked in a storage room were two Egyptian mummies. Theirs was a lurid story.

George Robbins Gliddon (1809-1857) was the former US vice consul in Egypt. He fashioned himself an Egyptologist and assembled the “Gliddon’s Transparent Panorama of the Nile” exhibit that traveled the United States in the mid-1800s. The panorama was a beautifully illustrated painting that measured 900 feet long and 9 feet high. Gliddon was a master salesman and signed up subscribers who funded his traveling show. These subscribers attended mummy unwrapping parties, where Gliddon unwrapped a mummy and displayed any funerary items contained within the coffins.

While in Boston, Gliddon, who prided himself on his ability to translate hieroglyphics, misidentified one of the mummies. He claimed that the mummy contained in the case was a female of noble lineage. He claimed she was a high priestess or of that level. Unfortunately, upon the reveal, the mummy was most certainly a male. His erect penis had been carefully wrapped. Gliddon talked himself out of this uncomfortable situation and planned his exit from the field. He shortened his traveling itinerary, making New Orleans his final stop.

Flyer for Gliddon’s traveling show.

Gliddon arrived in March of 1852. He opened his show at Tulane University. He unwrapped the second mummy, that of a female, at what is now Gallier Hall. When the show closed, Gliddon donated the mummies to Tulane. He attempted to sell the vast panorama, even suggesting it be divided into 50-foot sections; however, it probably didn’t sell. There aren’t any records as to its fate. Thanks to Tulane’s football stadium’s demolition, we now know what happened to the two mummies.

Tulane’s former stadium was a popular venue. The Third Tulane Stadium, as it was known, was built in 1926 with a capacity of 35,000. Four expansions followed with capacity reaching 80,985 in 1955. On July 17, 1976, ZZ Top performed to a raucous audience which led to the university banning all concerts inside the stadium. (The ban remains in effect) The stadium became known as the Sugar Bowl, based on its form as resembling a sugar bowl lid, and the Queen of Southern Stadiums. Professional and college football teams played there up until 1979.

Sections of the stadium were declared unsafe, and demolition commenced on November 18, 1979. Demolition finished in June of 1980. It was during the early stages of demolition that the mummies were discovered ensconced in glass cases sitting above their coffins.


The mummies were displayed initially in a museum at the university’s medical school. Next stop was the museum of natural history in Gibson Hall. That museum closed in 1955, and the mummies were placed into storage, underneath the stadium. Somehow, they ended up at a Charity Hospital museum and then to a physician’s home. (Not sure I would take them home) They were then placed back in storage until their discovery. They were kept in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library basement until 1979, when they relocated to their final resting place: Dinwiddie Hall in the Department of Anthropology.


University professors, along with graduate students, have learned a lot about the mummies. The male’s case had his name inscribed. It is often written as Djed-Thoth-iu-ef-ankh or “Thoth says that he will live.” He was a priest and “overseer of artisans” at the Temple of Amun in Thebes. He suffered from dental decay and spinal issues. He was around 50 when he died and was embalmed.

Initially, Gibbons, among others, believed that the female was Djed-Mut-iu-es-ankh; however, her skull is housed at Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania. At some unknown time, this 13.5-15.5-year-old female was placed inside the other’s case. Even though she is better preserved, little is known about her.

More has been discovered about George Gliddon. Some Edgar Allan Poe scholars have theorized that Gliddon was the inspiration for Doctor Ponnonner in Poe’s satirical short story “Some Words with a Mummy,” first published in April 1945. The main character procured a mummy and plans to unwrap it at his home in front a of few friends in the name of “scientific discovery.” The inept doctor instead revives the mummy they christen Allamistakeo. The story centers around Egyptian mummy mania that captured the imaginations of people in Europe and the United States.

Tragedy did not escape Gliddon in real life. He abandoned his research in Egyptology and shifted, instead, to proving polygenism, the belief that each race came from a distinct, individual source. (It is racist conjecture and shunned by science and scientific communities) Gliddon was in Panama in 1857 where he contracted Yellow Fever. He died before reaching the age of 50.

Ultimately, the Tulane mummies are more interesting. While visiting the university, I will attempt to visit them. I’ll post images if I am successful.

Not One Dead Body Was Found

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Undated postcard.

The Waverly Hills Historical Society thanked the Louisville Metro Police. On January 26, the Louisville Metro Police responded to an unusual call. Someone reported that an actual corpse was being used in the Waverly Hills Sanatorium displays. The police went out to see what was going on. Upon arrival, the police were assured by the people who run Waverly Hills that all of the props were just that: props. Not one dead body was found!

The police got a tour and a chance to chat up the folks before heading back out on patrol. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium Facebook page posted a sincere thanks, which piqued everyone’s interest. Here is what they posted:

The Great Potoo, Mother Nature’s Incredibly Spooky Bird

A great potoo with its mouth open.

Yes, the strange bird of epic memes is real. It is the great potoo, a nocturnal large-mouthed, large-eyed bird that emits the creepiest of moans.

The great potoo is a fascinating bird. It sits in camouflage for extended periods of time, which makes it difficult to spot. Young birds learn to sit quietly alongside their parents for hours. Even though their eyes are closed, they sense movement with their “magic eyes.” Despite the resemblance, they are not related to owls. They are closely aligned with frogmouths and nightjars. The seven species are located throughout Central America and Bolivia and Brazil.

Their large mouths scoop up insects and small birds. They’re called “monstrous nightbirds’; however, they’re kind of cool.

They appear in an Amazonian folktale.

In Ecuador, the Shuar people tell the story of a married man and wife who have a disagreement. The wife, Aóho, failed to make a satisfying dinner with the pumpkins. Her husband ran away in anger. He began to climb with Aóho following. She fell to the earth, scattering her pumpkins. Upon impact, she turned into a potoo. The husband turned into the moon. Every night when the moon appears in the sky, Aóho calls “aishirű, aishirű” (translated as “my husband, my husband”). Her calls can be heard throughout the night.

To listen to their moaning growl, visit: https://ebird.org/species/grepot1.