Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Daily 2 Cents: There Be Dragons! -- Seeking Houdini -- Maine Ghost Tales



There Be Dragons!

Click for video - Dragon flying over Cornwall

Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons (Ologies)

A Practical Guide to Dragons (Practical Guides)


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Seeking Houdini

Ghost hunters seeking to contact the spirit of magician Harry Houdini said they will hold a seance in Nova Scotia.
Seances attempting to contact Houdini, real name Ehrich Weisz, have been held on Halloween yearly since the magician's death 87 years ago, and researchers said they will make an attempt this year in Halifax, where Houdini spent a week in 1896 and performed an escape at the police station, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

"He did do his first jail break at Halifax City Hall, where the police station used to be. And another notable event for Houdini was his performance in Dartmouth, was actually his first performance outside of the United States as a headliner," said Bruce MacNab, a Cumberland County resident and longtime Houdini fan.

The seance will be led by Alan Hatfield, a psychic and spirit medium from Pictou Landing, and will also feature live performances from magicians and illusionists.

"My specialty is EVP -- electronic voice phenomena. I've been to the Titanic site twice and recorded voices there and at Deadman's Island and other places through the years," Hatfield said.

Houdini famously promised his wife he would send her a message from the afterlife if he found such a thing to be possible. - MSN

The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero

Escape!: The Story of The Great Houdini


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Maine Ghost Tales

It takes more than a spooky noise, a flicker of light, a hushed voice or a curtain moving in a chilly draft or air to make an authentic ghost story. It has to stand the test of time and scrutiny of numerous non-believers.

Of course, the closer we get to Halloween, the more commonplace these tales of the supernatural become. You may be surprised at how many ghosts have been glimpsed in these Twin Cities.

It’s been told that a house in East Auburn, built in the early days of the settlement, is the site of haunting that dates back many generations. A former occupant of the house is said to have twice seen an elderly couple appear and then vanish.

Once, that occupant came into the house and saw them seated at the dining room table. They looked up with a friendly expression. The vision was so clear that the color of their clothing was seen vividly. On another occasion, the pair was seen rushing through a hallway, as if on some important errand.

The residents of the house said there was nothing frightening about the sightings. In fact, they hoped they would see these unearthly people again.

One of the best-known of the local ghost stories relates the tale of a hitchhiking girl on Route 26 in Poland. Several versions are known, but usually the story has a trucker stopping on a dark night to offer her a ride. Some accounts say she wore a wedding dress. Others called it a prom gown.

But always, after a short ride, the mysterious passenger disappeared, although all the vehicle’s windows and doors remained closed.

Much has been written about Basil, the ghost of Winter Street in Lisbon Falls. As for consistency of sightings, he holds the record. His first appearance was about 1878, according to a story by Sam E. Connor in the April 24, 1943, edition of the Lewiston Journal Magazine Section.

Basil was seen by several families in that house, and they all reported that he wore a pink or rose-colored shirt, and you could look right through him.

Basil had a bad temper, too. One night, the first owner of the home, F.L. Roy, was holding a dance party. Midnight approached when the building began to shake, frightening the guests to the point of panic. They grabbed their coats and ran.

The party was over.

In later years, other owners and visitors saw curtains billow out when the air was still. They heard noises at windows, but found no footprints, even on snow-covered ground.

And there was that box beside the rock pile in the cellar. The rocks had been uncovered when the cellar was dug in 1907. It was not a haphazard pile of rocks. It was oblong, about 12 by 10 feet, and the owner would never allow its removal.

One day, some years after moving in, Mrs. Fillius Fillion placed a box full of vegetables and other produce beside the rocks. That afternoon, she was terrified by a great racket below. When her husband arrived home from work, he discovered that the box had been smashed and its contents strewn about the cellar.

There were many other spectral apparitions around Lewiston and Auburn throughout the years. There was an old house in Turner, near Hebron, where a young boy was killed in a fire in the early 1900s. The house was rebuilt, and for years, members of the family saw the little boy. As recently as 1993 or 1994, it was said the child had been seen.

I got some of these stories from “the ghost lady.” That’s a nickname my aunt, Edith Labbie, picked up, as she wrote many Halloween columns in the Lewiston Evening Journal Magazine Section in the 1960s and 1970s.

She wrote about the year she was born, 1918, when there was a “witch cat controversy” in Auburn.

“Oscar Jones said his black cat was the only genuine pure witch cat in Maine,” she wrote. “Mr. H. W. Getchell claimed that his cat was once a fair maiden and was turned into a black cat by a Salem witch.”

Her own ghost story concerned a research trip to the Maine State Archives. She wrote, “As I was running the copy machine, a whiskery pale-faced young man in drooping clothes approached me. When I glanced up, I shivered as I saw the strange other-worldish look in his eyes. With a smirk he said, ‘You must know where the books on witchcraft are.’” - Dave Sargent - Sun Journal

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China to test giant 'smog vacuum'

A novel new technique for dealing with smog is to be trialled in one of China's largest cities.

Pollution has become increasingly problematic in China in recent years with smog enveloping its largest cities on a regular basis. The level of pollution is now so bad that it can often exceed 300 micrograms per cubic meter for days at a time and wearing a face mask outdoors has become commonplace.

Authorities have been trying to deal with the issue by imposing limits on factories and traffic when the pollution is particularly heavy, however Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has come up with an intriguing new approach that could prove to be far more effective.

Roosegaarde has devised what he calls an "electronic vacuum cleaner", a device that uses static to attract smog particles out of the air. He plans to set up a large scale version in a park in Beijing as a demonstration of the system's effectiveness.

If the setup works it will clear an area of 2090 square meters in an otherwise smog-filled sky, giving the city's inhabitants a taste of what it would be like to live in a smog-free environment.

"Here, the absence of the smog is the design and I like that," said Roosegaarde whose previous artistic inventions have included a dance floor that generates electricity and a highway that's connected to the Internet. "For me design is not about chairs and lamps or tables, what you know Dutch design to be. I like thinking of designs that enable and improve life." - Gizmodo

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