Reader Information

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Esoterica: Ghost Plays Church Organ -- The Phantom Barber -- Codex Gigas...The Devil’s Bible

Ghost Plays Church Organ

The Grand Rapids Tribune, Grand Rapids, Wisconsin - 27 November 1919

Curious Sights and Sounds Frighten People in English Village


Mysterious Will-o'-the-Wisp Lights Frighten Volunteer Band Marching By--Church is of the Norman Period

Hereford, Eng.–The little village of Avenbury, which lies in a secluded valley of Herefordshire, has a haunted church.

The church is of the Norman period and tales concerning its ghost have become like household words. There are many stories of different ghosts in various forms, but the most astonishing visitant is one which plays the church organ.

Hears Ghost Play

“I have heard the ghost play twice myself,” said the Rev. Archer Sheppard, the vicar. “Some neighbors brought the matter to my notice first. They heard the sounds when they were walking by the church one afternoon, and thought it was my organist practicing. They found, however, that the church was locked up.

“The first time I heard the ghostly playing was while I was gardening. I believed that the woman who cleaned out the church was allowing her child to use the organ, and I went to see into the matter. The music stopped when I was a few yards from the church, and I found that building was locked and empty.”

“This ghost was at Avenbury before Mr. Sheppard became vicar,” said Col. Purser of Bromyard. “I told him the story, but he did not believe it until he heard the music himself. My children and I have heard it, and it sounds like a voluntary. Once my children were in the church when there was a groan. They rushed out into the chancel whence the sound appeared to come, but there was nothing to be seen.

Mysterious Lights

“Mysterious will-o’-the-wisp lights are also said to have been seen, and a volunteer band which was marching by the churchyard was badly frightened in this way.

“Avenbury church has always had a ghost. A certain Nicholas Vaughan burnt down a palace of the Bishop of Hereford in the Middle Ages. His ghost was “laid” by twelve clergymen with twelve candles. A small piece of the twelfth candle was burnt and the remainder put in a silver casket under a stone, which stands ten yards above the church footbridge over the River Frome. They put a spell on the ghost not to return until the candle was burnt out and the casket carried into the Red Sea.”


The Phantom Barber

In June 1942, after a population boom brought about by the increased manufacturing of warships in the area, the citizens of Pascagoula, Mississippi were stalked by more than the specter of war—a hair cutting phantom terrorized the night.

The man nicknamed the Phantom Barber by newspapers worked in the darkness made more profound by the Army’s blackout regulations. On Monday or Friday evenings, he slit a window screen to gain access to a house, crept inside, and cut the hair of sleeping occupants, particularly blonde girls. Not necessarily one lock or two, but sometimes shearing as much as a full head of hair. He took nothing else from the home except his prize.

He began with two young girls in the convent of Our Lady of Victories, followed by a six year old female child visiting another family. That time, he left a clue—the print of a man’s bare foot in sand on an unoccupied bed in the room. The police were baffled and offered a $300 reward for information. The public was in a panic. Women refused to go outside at night. Men applied for pistol permits. Bloodhounds were brought in to track the bizarre intruder, but the efforts failed. The Phantom Barber continued his hair cutting incursions.

At last, the phantom broke his pattern, or so it seemed. A window screen was slit in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Terrell Heidelburg, and the intruder came inside their bedroom. However, rather than cutting hair, he brutally assaulted the couple. Mrs. Heidelburg lost her front teeth and was knocked unconscious, while her husband was beaten with a metal bar. Both survived the attack. Two months later, the police chief announced the arrest of a suspect, William A. Dolan, a chemist, who was charged with attempted murder.

A connection between Dolan and the Phantom Barber came with the discovery of human hair allegedly found near his residence. He continued to deny he was the phantom, and while convicted of the attack on the Heidelburgs—he bore a grudge against Terrell’s father, a judge—was never charged with the phantom’s acts. Since the Phantom Barber never touched his victims other than their hair, it would seem no meaningful tie exists between Dolan and the Phantom Barber, whose break-ins ended as mysteriously as they began. - Listverse


Codex Gigas: The Devil’s Bible

The mythology is more interesting than the facts.

A legend states that in the 13th century in what is now the Czech Republic, a monk was condemned to be walled up alive in a room in the monastery for some serious infraction of the monastery’s rules.

He made a deal with his superiors. He would create by hand, in one night, a copy of the Bible and several scholarly works, a feat so astonishing that it would make the monastery a site for pilgrimages (and subsequently would bring in a lot of money for the monastery). If he succeeded, he would be set free. The other monks agreed, and the man settled down to his task.

No matter how quickly he copied the source works, however, he soon knew that he would never be able to finish by morning.

Around midnight, he did the unthinkable. He made a pact with the devil: if the dark prince completed this task, not only would he get the monk’s soul, but he would be able to include a large and horrifying self-portrait in the work.

The devil agreed.

The following morning, the monks found a massive book in the room with the scribe monk and they inspected it carefully. It did, indeed, contain the contents the monk had promised, so he was released.

The resulting book became known as the Codex Gigas (“Giant Book”) or The Devil's Bible

Scholars have since tried to analyze this unique book known today as the Devil’s Bible. Its dimensions are staggering: 36 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and nine inches thick. It weighs more than 160 pounds and holds the title for the largest medieval manuscript currently known to exist. The pages are made of donkey or calf skin.

Mysteriously, it is now incomplete. Some pages were removed throughout time for reasons unknown. Some suspect that these missing pages merely contained benign rules of the host monastery, while others believe they contained information too sinister to be passed along.

The book does contain both Testaments of the Bible, medical texts, an ancient encyclopedia, and a calendar.

There are threads of the legend in the real book: there is a large illustration of the devil in the book, and the book seems to be the work of a single unknown scribe. Scholars believe, however, that instead of the one night of the legend, the creation of the book by that monk took more than 20 years to complete.

After the 13th century, the book apparently continued to remain with local monasteries until 1594, when it was added to the library of Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor. It remained there until 1648 (at the end of the Thirty Years’ War), when the book was, along with other manuscripts, taken by victorious Swedes back to Stockholm.

When a fire broke out in the Swedish Royal Library in 1697, the 400-year-old book was thrown out of an upper-story window in an attempt to save it, which caused some of the existing pages to come loose and blow away—and they have never been recovered.

Despite its many unique features, the book is most famous for that portrait of the devil. Sweden’s Kungliga Biblioteket points out that the picture is distinctive for the era in several ways: it shows the devil alone, it takes up a full page, and the demon is wearing a loincloth of ermine–which typically was reserved for royalty at that time.

The exact history of the Devil’s Bible may never be known, and the missing pages may be lost forever. - forwarded by reader WW


The Tunnel Bar at Union Station Restaurant - Northampton, MA

Is this an apparition/ghost? If so, are there two spectres?

This photo was taken just prior to the image in question

The original full image

NOTE: In November 2009 I received the following email from a reader, Lynn. I checked the history of the station and there were no mentions of apparitions or anomalies in the past. Let us know what you think...Lon

"This is The Tunnel Bar at Union Station Restaurant in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is located downstairs from the restaurant, which is an old, beautiful railway station. People from the street level would enter the tunnel, go up the stairs and meet their trains many, many years ago."

"My daughter's friend has taken successive photos (2) in which the second photo taken a few seconds after the first shows a woman in 50's or 60's green and aqua dress with an updo hair style. She is floating in a tilted position with no legs. The arms and hands look oddly grey and odd looking in shape. She is near people sitting on barstools and is elevated slightly higher than they are. The person taking the photo said the woman was not there when she took the shot. No mention was made about the man behind her, however, he looks normal and could have gotten out of his seat and was heading towards the door."

"We would like to know if this is indeed a ghost. There are many orbs in the tunnel, which some could be dust, but there are a few larger ones also."

Image of the bar from website


Mass hysteria outbreaks hit Bangladesh's garment workers

Doctors say 'mass psychogenic illness' – not contaminated water – is to blame for recent outbreaks of sickness. Garment workers are fearful of workplace safety after a year of deadly accidents.

Hundreds of garment workers fell ill on Sunday after drinking water of questionable quality at their workplace in Gazipur at the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka.

The incident occurred less than two weeks after about 800 workers fell ill and were hospitalized after drinking water at Starlight Sweaters Ltd., which produced clothes for European buyers Carrefour and Otto.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research in Bangladesh, which tested samples of the water after the incident at Starlight Sweaters on June 5, said they did not find anything unusual from the regular contaminants in water. The Institute’s director, Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, found the case to be a result of “mass psychogenic illness.”

The director believed the illness was a result of a panic attack that may have been triggered by factory authorities announcing that something was wrong with the water and closing work for the day.

Bangladesh’s garment industry, which constitutes 80 percent of the country’s export revenue worth $20 billion, has been troubled with shutdowns and agitations since the collapse of a factory building in the South Asian country killed 1,129 workers in April. Rumors and incidents of illness have added further panic in the industry, with workers becoming extremely sensitive to workplace accidents.

“There is fear persisting among garment workers since the incident" in April, says Mushrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers’ Unity Forum.

Dr. Rahman says the recent illness of garment workers is a result of the prevalent fear. “Such illness is symptomatic mostly among teenage women,” says Rahman. Women make up 80 percent of Bangladesh’s garment industry workforce of 4 million.

Ms. Mishu, however, says that most of Bangladesh’s garment factories do not maintain minimum health safety and hygiene. “The water used in the factories is not purified,” says the labor leader. Most of these workers take water from jars that are filled with pipe waters without purification.

The director of the Institute of Epidemiology does not dispute the poor water quality. Although the illness reported at Starlight Sweaters on June 5 was not a result of water contamination, says Rahman, “the water cannot be considered for drinking."

Responding to Sunday's incident, Rumana Rashid, managing director of Alvin Fashion Ltd., said only two of their workers are currently receiving treatment at hospital out of about 60, who shortly recovered after they were brought to the hospital. “When we visited the hospital, there were workers from two other factories,” she says.

Incidence of “mass psychogenic illness” has been recurrent in Bangladesh, particularly during summer. “This is a complicated issue, which has been recurrent in Bangladesh, particularly in schools. Most recently it is being observed in garment factories,” says Rahman, who identified empty stomachs and dehydration during summer as a contributing factor to such outbreaks in the past.

“Usually such illness is cured through counseling and the patients recover very soon. There is no fatality,” he says.

The recurrence of the problem has prompted the Bangladeshi government to prepare a health program to contain such illness.

The problem has been seen in other stressed parts of the region as well. On June 3, as many as 97 schoolgirls in northern Afghanistan were reported sick after smelling gas, only two months after a similar incident was reported in Takhar province in northeastern Afghanistan. The World Health Organization maintains the reported poisoning of hundreds of Afghan schoolgirls in recent years were in fact cases of “mass psychogenic illness.”

A recent WHO report states: “In the last four years over 1,634 cases from 22 schools have been treated for mass psychogenic illness in Afghanistan. There are no related deaths reported.” - CSMonitor


Science vs. Pseudoscience (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Physical Mediumship - Table Tipping

The Weird and Wonderful World of Retro-Death-Telegraphy

7 Fascinating Near-Death Experiences

Mass Hysteria is a Mass Hysteric Conclusion (*Suggested reading link listed below)

The Saucer and the Devil Girl

Fathers' Messages from Beyond

Living with ghosts in the Himalayas

Sojourns of a Winnebago Shaman (*Suggested reading link listed below)

The Harrowing Tale of Alaska’s Mysterious Orange Goo

The Role of Energy Vibration in Perception, Thought, and the Creation of Reality

Red Light in the Woods

Goat Man Haunts the Bridge!

"I saw the afterlife and met Grandma in Heaven!"

The Spiritualist Church, a Place Where the Paranormal World is Accepted as Fact!

Slender Man: 21st Century Campfire Tale (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Confessions of an Alien Abductee exploited its unfortunate subjects

Art of the Future: A Peek Inside the Singularity

The Possession

Fukushima--It's Getting Worse, not Better

An Island of Synchronicities (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Money From Heaven

Video - Haunted Earth - Strange Light Anomaly Enters TV Presenters Body on Daytime Paranormal Shoot

Ghost spotted at Bangladesh garment plant, prayers offered

Time Traveler Revealed (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Goblin allegedly burn's owner's privates

The Strange Case of Elisa Lam

A Monster-Hunter Sees a Monster (*Suggested reading link listed below)

Is DePere's The Union Hotel haunted?

On a full moon night, cries of a boy can still be heard in this fort

Author Tim Cook unearths soldiers’ spine-tingling ghost stories from First World War


Cosmic Cradle, Revised Edition: Spiritual Dimensions of Life before Birth

Monster Files: A Look Inside Government Secrets and Classified Documents on Bizarre Creatures and Extraordinary Animals

Strange Secrets: Real Government Files on the Unknown

Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact

The Cape Scott story

The Braxton County Monster-Revised Edition-The Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed

In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind