What is it about Vampires?!

54ffcee5dc1b04f72f678a7205920a2cI’ve heard that question a time or two!  Most recently it was asked of me while speaking at a public library in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.  The funny thing is, I never grow tired of offering an opinion on the subject!

Having been dubbed with the title of “Vampire Historian,”  these three questions are encountered frequently:  “What is it about Vampires?”  “Do I believe in Vampires?” and “Which is the authentic Vampire origination theory?”

All three of the above topics just happen to be my favorite to discuss, and well, just don’t get me started if you have somewhere to go!

Vampire legend and lore is most intriguing research.  Every region, religion and era defines their own brand of the immortal.  Most legends are common in traits and characteristics.  Surprisingly, many legends are referenced or are similar to, creatures described within ancient text based within that same specific regions and time period.  This recurring phenomenon compels one to believe the old saying, “Every legend, no matter how obscure, is based on some level of truth.”

So, “What is it about Vampires?”  and “What is the most authentic of origination theories?” can be answered somewhat simultaneously.  In my opinion, Vampire’s represent the most forbidden form of taboo.  Most of us were raised and exist within a religious environment of some form.  Considered one of the most blasphemous of sins is to deny God.  Though the Vampire’s characteristics are “God-like” in a sense, they were cursed with their existence for having committed this most offensive of sins; they turned their backs on the creator.  No matter the legend, the cause, is most generally the same.  Ancient religious text in association with the earliest recorded history of the Vampire collaborate on many levels. (The word Vampire was introduced in the early 1600th century but did not become common until the 1800th century.)

The earliest recorded legends are in association with Lilith, first wife of Adam.  Following Lilith came Cain, son of Adam who spilled the first human blood by murdering his brother Abel.  Another theory that is in association with the King James Bible and other religious text is that of Judas, who betrayed Christ, resulting in his crucifixion.

These are all well know stories from within the King James Bible.  There is also something else that is occurring during this same era.  Broad references are made to the Fallen angels in the aforementioned Bible yet in other ancient texts, namely the book of Enoch, these references are expanded upon in great detail.

Genesis 6:1-2 states: “When humans began to increase in number and daughters were born to them The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair and they took them wives of all they chose.”

This is, in my opinion, is the point when Vampire race was originated.  God had enforced but one demand onto the Heavenly Hosts; they were not to interfere with mankind.  With this one lustful act, the Sons of God became cursed and were cast from the Heavens.  No longer existing within the grace of their maker, The Fallen turned on mankind, determined to corrupt the race in retribution.  Mankind had been deemed the chosen race by the same God who had created all angels within His image.

The integration of The Fallen into the human population initiated a hybrid bred race.  Having the physical attributes of a mortal, they were like no man that had existed.  These creatures would inherit the same characteristics of their maker.  Consider the fact that angels were created by God in his own image.  The Fallen were in fact, immortal, all knowing beings who possessed abilities incapable of any man.  These characteristics mimic those associated with Vampire race.  Most legends define Vampire as an all knowing, powerful being with the curse of immortality, and most legends have similarities in their weakness.  These weaknesses are reflective of having committed the unforgivable sin, denying their maker.

Legends concur that Vampires are nocturnal, thus never again to walk within the light (or grace) of God.  They have weaknesses concerning Holy relics, as they tend to remind the breed of their error and impending fate.  Silver is also said to be another of those reminders, based upon the Judas theory, silver is said to represent their transgressions as silver coins were earned by Judas for his betrayal of Christ.

I believe that in this, we find the most authentic origination theory.  This theory, in turn, explains our recurring fascination with the Vampire.  We have know the breed to be exact perfection, they are creatures of beauty as their makers were formed in the image of our creator.  They are powerful and all knowing, to be revered by those of us with mortal souls.  They have lived lifetimes yet still retain the original and forbidden knowledge never intended to be shared with our race.

In these facets, the Vampire is intriguing to us, yet, it is also within our mortality that we embrace their weaknesses as we are fragile and flawed by nature.  Can it be that even though the Vampire is as such because of God’s curse, that we as human yearn for them as they are as close to God as we could come without dying a mortal death? Indeed and in fact, I believe this to be the truth of it.

Having broadly answered two of the three questions, I will address the remaining; “Do I believe in Vampires?”  In a word, no.  I have found no evidence of like creatures in recent documents, at least not the depiction of Vampire that has become common within the last few centuries.  I do believe that there once was a hybrid race which possessed the characteristics associated with that of the Vampire.  They most certainly did exist.  The evidence is all around us.  New relics, sites and records are being excavated at this very moment.  Though these particular treasures are new to us, the history recorded and represented by them, only collaborates with existing legends and lore.

Though there is no reliable evidence that these creatures have endured in this day and age, there is no guarantee that they will not return.  They have been banished twice, once from Heaven then from Earth by means of the great flood.  That having been said, I will leave you with this verse:  Genesis 6:4 – There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that.

More detailed information on Lilith, Cain, Judas and other Vampire origination theories can be found on this site in past blogs!  Type your query into the search bar on the home page , happy reading!

Haunted Louisiana – The Magnolia Plantation

magnolia  The Magnolia Plantation still stands in all of it’s glory today, a aged reminder of prosperous cotton and tobacco industry that once thrived in a pre-Civil War Louisiana.  Originally constructed by Ambrose LeComte III in 1830 in order to expand the family cotton plantation which represented up to 5000 acres at one point; 2000 of those acres were cleared, planted and harvested by slave labor.  The crops that were harvested here would allow the family business to expand even further into to additional plantations.  The Magnolia plantation would remain the family home and business headquarters.

The grounds of the plantation still host over 18 individual improvements, ranging from slave quarters to a general store.  All of the buildings have long since been restored and stand in their former glory today, a far cry from the dilapidated and abandoned eyesore that they had become in the late 1980’s and 90’s.  All 3 of the family plantations had weathered the civil war era badly, the Magnolia would be the only to survive, at least until the 1970’s when cotton was still being picked by hand.

The haunted history of the Magnolia is mostly represented by the slave labor that built her.  Legend states that LeComte and his overseers were rather cruel and were known to torture the slaves ruthlessly.  The quarters, though provided for the slave families, were tiny, sometimes as many as 10 family members were housed in under 500 square feet with nothing more than a tiny fireplace as an amenity.  Devices of discipline such as leg stocks, have been uncovered on the property as well, a never forgotten symbol of past atrocities performed by those in a position of authority.

In 1897, after the Civil War had ended, the main house was in such a state of disrepair due to constant looting and vandalism.  LeComte would rebuild and exact replica of the original home on the same grounds, much of the lumber used in it’s construction was taken from the slave quarters, perhaps implanting the ghosts of mistreated slaves into it’s very foundation.

The slaves of the Magnolia were known for their practice of voodoo.  Many signs of their faith are still found on the grounds today.  Slaves that worked in the blacksmith shop on the plantation grounds were tasked with creating elaborate metal crosses for family grave sites.  The results were breathtaking but within the ornate decor of the crosses are voodoo symbols placed discretely by the creator in an attempt of seeking revenge upon the souls of their oppressors.

One of the most noted apparitions is that of a slave known as Aunt Agnes.  Agnes was known among the other slaves as a healer.  She is seen frequently around what is now known as cabin 1, thought to have been her home while living on the plantation.  During a paranormal investigation performed by the Travel Channel, equipment had been padlocked into the tiny improvement at the end of the day.  The next morning when the crew went to retrieve their equipment they found a line of yellow powder had been strewn across the threshold and the padlock was missing.  Inside they found that the equipment had been moved from one side of the cabin to the other, but nothing was missing other than the padlock.

On the grounds many other apparitions may be encountered.  Those that are brave enough to investigate may even hear the sounds of voices chanting at night, reminiscent of old voodoo rituals that were performed on the grounds.

Another of the famous haunts is said to be that of Mr. Miller who was known as the overseer of the plantation during the Civil War.  Mr. Miller met his demise one night when soldiers moved in on the estate with intentions of burning it to the ground.  Mr. Miller stood humbly on the front steps begging the soldiers to leave his home be; he was consequentially shot dead where he stood and is buried somewhere on the plantation grounds.  When things go missing around the plantation, it is typically Mr. Miller who is blamed.

Haunted Louisiana – Oak Alley Plantation

oak alley     Originally dubbed “Bon Sejour” (Pleasant Sojourn) by it’s original owner Jacques Telesphore Roman III, this majestic structure would come to be known as “Oak Alley” indicative of the 300+ year old oak trees, which line it’s .25 mile long driveway.

Oak Alley was constructed during a two year time span beginning in 1837 and ending in 1839; over 100 years after it’s mammoth Oaks were planted  by a French settler that had once lived on the grounds.   Though built to suit the high standards of Josephine Pile, the wife of Jacques, the elaborate estate would not hold her fancies for long.

Josephine had been well known among the most elite circles of New Orleans and yearned to return to the big city social life.  She would often return with her children to visit the city.  As time passed, the visits became more frequent and longer, leaving Jacques alone within the home that he had built for her.  Jacques would die home alone in 1848 of Tuberculosis.

After Jacques passing, his son Henri, would take over the family home.  During this period Oak Alley experienced many blows brought on by the Civil War.  Vandalism and looting brought her to her knees and by 1866 she was sold at public auction to John Armstrong.  The plantation would pass ownership through many hands until purchased by Andrew and Josephine Stewart.

The Stewart’s would spend the remainder of their lives restoring Oak Alley, which would become the first antebellum restoration in the South.  When Josephine died in 1972, Oak Alley was left to the “Oak Alley Foundation” a non-profit organization which she had founded.   In 1998, Oak Alley would be opened to the public as a bed and breakfast with guided tours.

History of Hauntings

While the original structure was under construction, a slave named Antoine was known by all as the head grounds keeper.  Antoine was known for grafting pecan trees and  is responsible for breeding what we know now as the soft shell pecan.  His original hybrid trees still stand on the estate grounds.

Antoine loved the estate and dedicated his life to caring for the grounds, it is said that he can still be seen meandering about beneath the sprawling Oaks and among the pecan trees which he had created and cared for.

Louise Roman, daughter of Jacques and Josephine, was raised to the same social standards of her mother.  During her courting years, Louise became angered by a suitor who had drank too much and in his drunken state, attempted to kiss her.  Furious over his actions, Louise ran away from him.  In her rage, she tripped and fell,  slicing her leg open on the metal frame of her hoop skirting.  The wound developed gangrene resulting in the loss of her leg.

Now seeing herself as damaged goods and no longer worthy of the attentions of those within her social standing, Louise retreated to a convent in St. Louis; she would return to Oak Alley in her late years in order to live out the last of her days.  She is often seen wandering throughout the home, many guests have heard her crying over both the loss of her leg and social status.

Josephine Roman is frequently seen wandering from room to room, making sure that everything is in order.  Josephine has been caught on camera many times both by investigators and guests alike.

Jacques died lonely in his beloved home, his shadowy apparition is sometimes spotted around the back of the estate.  He is always seen in a gray suit wearing his riding boots.  Jacques also makes appearances in a mirror that is now stored in the attic.

Josephine Stewart was said to favor the lavender room, perhaps that is why she is frequently seen walking about the room, sometimes she is seen sitting on the bed and is known to turn on the lamp at nightfall.

A fantastic list of apparitions, but that’s not all folks!  Things are known to be flung about, thrown by unseen hands.  Many items have been reported missing by guests, only to be recovered by the staff at a later date either near or in the same place from where they previously vanished.

On rare occasions the sound of a hours drawn carriage can be heard on the driveway as it approached the estate, the sound vanishes just upon it’s arrival at the front steps.

Oak Alley has been investigated by several well known paranormal researchers.  Sci-Fi’s Ghost Hunters, The Travel Channel’s, Ghost Adventures and TAPS have all reported intriguing activity citing both photographic and EVP evidence.  Many have had encounters during their stay.  One particular incident occurred during the middle of a guided tour.  Imagine the surprise of both the tour guide and 35 patrons when witnessing a candlestick fly from the mantle across the room!

Oak Alley has definitely earned her title as one of Louisiana’s most haunted, book your stay or guided tour soon, it’s definitely on my bucket list!

 

Haunted Louisiana – The Myrtles Plantation

myrtles Our story begins in 1796 when General David Bradford, aka “Whiskey Dave” of the Whiskey Rebellion, obtained a 650 acre land grant from Baron de Corondelet.  Bradford had fled the United States to avoid arrest and imprisonment for his involvement in the Rebellion, he would land in Bayou Sarah which, at that time was still a Spanish colony.  Bradford would later be pardoned for his actions by President John Adams.

When construction began on the original home it was said that workers had unearthed a Native American burial ground.  Bradford would order the remains burned thus initiating over two centuries of hauntings that endure to this day.   Bradford experienced great losses during his time at his family home.  One of his sons would fall into the river while working one day, his body was never recovered.

After having received his Presidential pardon, Bradford, his wife Elizabeth and 5 children would move to Pennsylvania where he would pursue his political career resulting in him being appointed Deputy attorney-general for Washington County.  The  mansion would remain in his ownership until 1820 when it was purchased by his son in law, Judge Clarke Woodruff.  The Woodruff era would produce one of the Myrtles’ most well known ghosts; a young Creole slave girl named Chloe.

Woodruff took Chloe on as his Mistress.  She was moved into the main home to live with his family while caring for his children.  Chloe, however, yearned for more than just the position of Mistress.  In an attempt to gain leverage, Chloe would often eavesdrop on family conversations as well as debates held amid the many prominent guests that frequented the mansion.  After several warnings she was caught one evening eavesdropping on a heated conversation between Woodruff and some of his more affluent visitors, Bradford ordered her left ear to be cut off and banished her from working within his home.

Chloe, devastated by the terms of her punishment, devised a plan to see her way back into the home.  She would bake a cake laced with poisoned herbs and when the family became ill, it would be she that would care for them and bring them back to good health.  A good plan, but unfortunately Chloe would lace the cake with lethal doses of her herbs; Woodruffs’ wife and two of his children died.

Now Chloe was even further distraught.  She had cared for and loved his children for years, as if they were her own.  Chloe, no longer able to bear the guilt, would confess to her actions.  Woodruff, in response, ordered for her to be hung just outside of the mansion, her body would then be weighted down and thrown into the Mississippi river.

Woodruff and his last remaining child would then move to Covington Louisiana, the house would be sold in 1834 to Ruffin Gray Sterling.  Sterling and his wife would remodel the homestead, it would nearly double in size to become what we know as the 11,000 square foot Myrtles Plantation.

The Sterling era would bring about even more of the frequently seen apparitions.  Four years after completion of the renovation, Sterling would succumb to Consumption.  Further tragedies struck the family throughout the years as only 4 of their 9 children would live long enough to marry.

The Plantation suffered along with the family as it had been looted and vandalized many times by soldiers during the Civil War.  Many rogue soldiers had lost their lives by charging onto the estate grounds as both the family and slaves had been armed to protect their home.  It was during one of these looting sprees that Sterling’s son-in-law, William Winter, was shot on the front steps as he tried to defend the family’s interests.  After crawling into the house and halfway up the stairs, he died in the arms of his frantic wife.

Occurrences

Many guests have reported the loss of just 1 earring while visiting the Plantation.  Later earrings will turn up in the oddest of places, discovered by staff as they clean and organize.  Perhaps this is the work of Chloe as she would only require the one earring!

There are reports of bloodstains on the parlor floor which will appear and disappear on their own accord, no matter how often the floor is cleaned.  These stains are said to appear where Union soldiers met their demise as they attempted to loot the mansion during the Civil War.

An apparition is seen frequently on the stair case and at some times the sound of fleeting footsteps will accompany him.  It is said to be that of a man dressed in his Sunday best.  Many suspect the apparition to be remnants of William Winter as he met his demise on those very steps.

chloe1a1    Chloe is seen frequently about the grounds, even sometimes spotted on the very limb from where she was hanged.

In this picture there is the apparition of a young slave girl just in between the two buildings.  This photograph has been researched and debunked by many well-known paranormal investigators. National Geographic has used this photograph in a documentary of the Myrtles’ Plantation.  It was also researched by Mr. Norman Benoit who performed a shadow density test, thus proclaiming that all of the physical measurements of the apparition were of human dimensions and proportions.  The circumference of the head, the length of the shoulder to the elbow and the length of the elbow to the wrist were all indicative of a human.

 

childThe ghosts of children are often captured in photographs all about the interior of the Plantation as well as it grounds.  So many children have perished on this property it would be quite difficult to accurately identify any one of them.  As records were not kept on the slave population and waves of plagues were rampant during this era, there is no way for anyone to know exactly how many children passed away on this property over the past 212 years.

This photograph was taken by a teacher on a school field trip.  The figure of the little girl in the window was not discovered until some time after.  Note that the child appears to be looking directly into the camera.

 

mirror Owners and staff have reported hand prints on mirrors and windows for centuries.  The infamous mirror which hangs near the staircase is a prime target.  Previous owners have gone as far as replacing the actual glass to rid themselves of the nuisance, but to no avail; the hand prints would only return.

 

 

 

 

As the Myrtles have been visited and investigated frequently through time, reports range from the inconspicuous to the insane.  Guests have had many encounters with the ghostly inhabitants.  Many items have gone missing and some overnight guest complain of their difficulties in getting out of their beds in the mornings after having been tucked too snugly into their sheets while they slept.

The Myrtles offers guided tours and is currently in operation as a bed and breakfast where many paranormal enthusiasts have conducted their own private investigations.  The Myrtles Plantation is definitely a destination for anyone seeking a ghostly encounter.

 

Haunted New Orleans – The Castle Inn

the-castle-inn1The Castle Inn stands fully restored to it’s original glory at 1415 Prytania street within the Garden District of New Orleans.  The Inn was constructed on a site that had formerly been a plantation during the early 1800’s.  In 1848 a town home was constructed on the same property.  The home was owned by a prominent local business man who would die just a few short years upon the town homes’ completion.  In 1891 the property was purchased by Alva Schnitt, a German gentleman who was in charge of the New Orleans school district and the leader of a organization known as “The White Men’s League” somewhat similar in ideals to what we now know as the Ku Klux Klan.

Originally constructed as a gift to his new wife, Schnitt oversaw the construction of the three story mansion personally.  He too would succumb to some strange illness and would die in the home just a few years later.  The mansion would remain within his family until the onset of the 1920’s depression.  The financial burden of large New Orleans estates became too much for many to handle.  Some of these home owners, including the owners of this home, would convert the property into a transient rooming house.

The property would change hands several times until the 1950’s when purchased by the Allison family.  It would remain within their family until 1998 when purchased by Andrew Craig and Karen Bacharach who would upon renovations, rename the property The Castle Inn.

Several spirits are said to haunt the property some having a history with the original structure, others that are said to be connected to the properties which formerly graced the grounds.  One is said to be seen and heard most frequently.  A young girl that was said to have drowned in a pond that had been on the grounds of the plantation.  She reportedly enjoys shaking the beds to keep the guests awake at night.  There are claims that she touches female guests to get their attention.  She can be both seen and heard giggling as she frolics about on the grand staircase.

Another of the spirits is said to be a former paid servant who had resided in the quarters behind the mansion with the other slaves.  He is said to be light skinned and dressed in the finest clothes available in his era.  The Servant was said to be a flirt and a bit of a prankster.  He was know to drink heavily and was a smoker.  Legend states that he fell asleep while smoking in bed.  He was too drunk to escape the flames when his bed caught fire consequently, he perished on the grounds within the slave quarters.  Many say that this is why he haunts the mansion, the man felt that he did not belong with the slaves, but that he deserved to reside within the mansion itself.

There are other reports of a carriage driver that could have been associated with the town home owned by Schnitt.  He is said to appear on the front stoop as well as walking around in the surrounding neighborhood.

There have been many reports made of encounters experienced by guests.  Shaking beds, items disappearing and electrical devices turning off and on by themselves.  There was one report of a complaint that the ceiling fan would not turn off.  The “fan” was a dormant fixture, never wired to be used; its purpose was cosmetic in nature only.

Missing room keys were reported found inside a second floor microwave and reports of showers and faucets running while in the “off” position are common as well.  One guest claims that the spirit of the servant man had climbed in bed with her and was smoking a cigarette.  Others claim that they hear the sound of a music box playing.

The Castle Inn is a must for seekers of the paranormal.  Just blocks away from Mardi Gras parade routes and a short walk from the streetcars, the Inn should be added to your list if you plan on visiting new Orleans!

A big shout out to all of my fans and sponsors!

6    The “Short & Gory” launch party will be the talk of the town for quite a while!  A big thanks to Rizzo’s of Independence for hosting the event; The food was AWESOME!

Another big thanks to all of my sponsors; You guys ROCK!  Thank you to Carlos Notriano, Mama Mannino’s, Sparks Power, PCI, Linda’s ToyBox & Southern Solar!  Another “Thank You” to TC Elliot and Triple UUU 98.9 FM for a great job in promoting the event!

And last but certainly not least, THANK YOU to all of my fans!  Your support means more to me than I could ever express!  Thank you for reading, and loving my work; I look forward to corrupting you all further in the future!

 

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Author Lyn Gibson presents: “This day in Horror History” – June 10th

Born on this day in 1962: Gina Gershon, Best known for her roles in “VooDoo Dawn” and “Demonlover”

Died this day in 1996: Jo Van Fleet, Best known for her roles in “Satan’s School for Girls” and her roles in “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” – “Thriller” and “Inner Sanctum”  Jo was 81.

Notable Horror Films released on this day:

1944: The Invisible Man’s Revenge

1989: Damien:  The Omen II

1993: Witchcraft V: Dance with the Devil

On this day in Horror History in 1692: The Salem Witch Trials began with the hanging of Bridget Bishop on Gallows Hill just outside of Salem for “certain detestable Arts called witchcraft and Sorceries”.  Bridget was found guilty by a special court that convened in Salem where she desperately professed her undying innocence of the charges.  Thirteen more women and five men would follow her to the hanging gallows and one additional man was sentenced to death by crushing.  Most of these had been condemned on the basis of “witnesses” behavior during the actual proceedings characterized by fits and hallucinations that were argued to have been brought on by the defendants that were on trial.

Tune in to Triple UUU  98.9 FM next Tuesday morning for the next issue of this day in “Horror History”

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