Category Archives: tales

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Thomas Baurley

Based in the town of “Sleepy Hollow”, New York formerly known as “North Tarrytown” experiencing the name change to honor this story in 1996. The tale is not documented as an actual legend, but rather a tale by the American author Washington Irving while he was traveling abroad in Birmingham, England. He was a resident of North Tarrytown, New York and used the area as a setting for his short story. Irving included it in a collection of short stories and essays he wrote in 1820 called the “Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic example of American fiction, alongside his masterpiece “Rip Van Winkle” which made Washington Irving become a legend in the literary world. As of an “actual” headless horsemen, there exists no evidence of a prior legend or reporting in the means of how Washington Irving told the tale, though there does exist a headless corpse buried in a unmarked grave in the Old Dutch Burying Ground (Sleepy Hollow Cemetery) that matches the “Headless Horseman’s” lack of a head and being a Hessian soldier. (The Full legend and short story can be read here: http://www.sleepyhollowcemetery.org/sleepy-hollow-country/the-legend/. )

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The story details Sleepy Hollow and its inhabitants living there in 1790 around the historical Tarrytown as it existed in that day. The area was inhabited by all Dutch settler descendants who moved to this sleepy little glen called “Sleepy Hollow” by Irving’s story which was already basked in myths and legends making it a dreamy and drowsy place even before this tale came to be. Full of ghost stories and the paranormal, Sleepy Hollow was the perfect place for the existence of the spirit of a Headless Horseman. He was seen by some as the most popular curse upon the village, as he was apparently a ghost of a angry Hessian trooper who lost his head by a stray cannonball during the American Revolution and “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head” eager to victimize those of ego and arrogance. The tale involves the local superstitious ego-centric school master named Ichabod Crane who was after the hand in marriage of 18 year old farmer’s daughter Katrina Van Tassel. He was in competition for the proposal with the town mischief maker named Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt. Crane was after the farmer’s wealth, Van Tassel estate, and saw marriage to Katrina as a way to obtain that status. “Brom Bones” however, also interested in Katrina, was interested in her for love. In his fight for the bride, he tries to mishap and veer Ichabod away from Katrina by performing numerous pranks on Crane, based around Crane’s paranoia and superstitions. Tensions become high, and during the annual Van Tassel harvest party, Crane is told ghostly legends of the area by Brom Bones and the locals. Crane is made so jumpy and nervous on that night that his intended proposal to Katrina was interrupted. He rides home “heavy-hearten and crest fallen” through the ghostly woods that the locals and Brom Bones told the tales of … edgy and spooked traveling from the Van Tassel farm to the Sleepy Hollow settlement. He passes by the tulip tree that had been struck by lightning and was reputedly haunted by Major Andr, the British spy. Instead of seeing that specter, he sees a cloaked rider at an intersection to the menacing swamp. This cloaked rider approaches him and rides alongside Crane. The man, large stature and size, appears to Crane not to have a head on his shoulders, but rather a decapitated cranium sitting on his saddle. Crane becomes spooked and races off to the bridge next to the Old Dutch cemetery. Upon reaching the bridge, the Headless Horseman vanished “in a flash of fire and brimstone” upon crossing the bridge. Ichabod crosses the bridge, but not before the specter re-appears on the bridge and hurls his head into Crane’s face. The next day, Ichabod could not be found except for his wandering horse, trampled saddle, discarded hat, and a mysterious shattered pumpkin. With Ichabod Crane nowhere in sight, the match with “Brom Bones” for Katrina’s hand in marriage was forfeited. Brom and Katrina married. Suspicion amongst the villagers bounced between believing the legend and “Brom Bones” being the villain who had the stature and size of the Headless Horseman. Many believe it was Brom in disguise, playing on Ichabod’s fears, and as a prank used to scare off Crane. However the Old Wives tales prevailed, stating that Crane indeed was “spirited away by supernatural means” and thereby increasing stories (mainly fabricated) of numerous sightings of the Headless Horseman to this very day.

Folklorists compare the American short story to the German folktale of “the Wild Huntsman” when a phantom races through the woods atop a horse scaring trespassers out of the forest. This tale most probably was the one that inspired Irving during this travels through Germany to concoct the tale of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

The German folklorist Karl Musus states that the Headless horsemen was a staple of Northern European storytelling especially in Germany (“The Wild Huntsman”), Ireland (“Dullahan”), Scandinavia (“the Wild Hunt”), and English legends. These “headless” horsemen would race through the countryside with their decapitated heads tucked under their arms, often followed by hordes of coal-black hounds with fiery tongues (demon dogs). Folklore would talk of these as being omens of ill-fortune for those who chose to disregard their apparitions. These ghosts would mainly focus on individuals who had egos and arrogance, were overly proud, and/or scheming persons with misguided intentions such as the likes of Ichabod Crane. There are other folk tales and poems of a supernatural wild chase including Robert Burns’ 1790 “Tam o’ Shanter” and Brger’s Der wilde Jger, translated as the 1796 “The Wild Huntsman”.

The legend of Sleepy Hollow is classified as a fictional tale. It was set on a local bridge in Sleepy Hollow that crossed the Pocantico River into the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Irving most likely incorporated local residents as characters in the tale, whereas Katrina’s character has been matched by folklorists to local resident Elanor Van Tassel Brush. However, there is ample evidence to make it an actual legend based on place names, characters, and history leading to the fabricated tale by Washington Irving. There was a farm owned by Cornelius and Elizabeth Van Tassel that was raided by English and Hessian soldiers in November 1777. They tried to fight off the invaders which led to their farmhouse being burnt down and their family being held hostage. While they watched in horror as their farmhouse was burning, Elizabeth could not find their baby Leah anywhere, and upon trying to run into the flames to search for her baby, was interrupted by a Hessian soldier who led her to a shed where Leah was safely wrapped up in a blanket safe and sound. The family was so grateful to this soldier for the safety of their baby. After the event, when a Hessian soldier was found in Tarrytown (around the area now called Sleepy Hollow) dead missing his head, they gave him a proper Christian burial and buried him in the Old Dutch Burial Ground (now Sleepy Hollow Cemetery) in case he was the soldier who saved their baby.

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Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow was one of the historical sites where many battles and events of the American Revolutionary War took place, and was a great backdrop for this invented myth as many matching actual reports of hauntings and ghostly sightings that pervade the area. After these battles were done, a 30 mile stretch of scorched desolated lands were left to outlaws, raiders, and the corpses of the dead. One of those corpses was indeed a headless corpse of a Hessian soldier nicknamed Mr. Jger found in Sleepy Hollow after a violent skirmish took place there. He corpse was buried by the Van Tassel family in a unmarked grave at the Old Dutch Burying Ground. While Washington Irving served New York Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, he had met an army captain named Ichabod Crane during an inspection tour of the fortifications in 1814. This meeting took place in Sackets Harbor, New York and not Sleepy Hollow. This meeting most likely inspired him to name the character as the schoolmaster for the name, and the schoolmaster image as Jesse Merwin, a local teacher in Kinderhook, New York he also inspired Irving.

This short story has been one the most well studied and examined of tales of its time and of Washington Irving’s works. Numerous re-tellings and re-writings have come about through the ages. Numerous plays, films, and television shows were done to memorialize the legend such as Edward Venturini’s silent 1922 silent film “The Headless Horseman” playing Will Rogers as Ichabod Crane; 1948 Broadway Musical “Sleepy Hollow”; Walt Disney’s “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” in 1949; Disney’s 1958 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; the 1980 Henning Schellerup “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” television classic; 1988 PBS adaption; The one-act stage adaptation by Kathryn Schultz Miller in 1989 called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; Nickelodeon’s 1992 “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” episode “The Tale of the Midnight Ride”; Rocko’s Modern Life “Sugar-Frosted Frights” parodie; Canadian television’s 1999 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; The 1999 Speaker and Orchestra 15-minute composition by Robert Lichtenberger called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; and the most famous 1999 Tim Burton’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Casper Van Dien, and Christopher Walken. The Legend continued through film and audio tellings with the 1999 computer animated classic “The Night of the Headless Horseman” by Fox; Porchlight Entertainments 2002 “The Haunted Pumpkin of Sleepy Hollow”; Steven J. Smith, Jr.’s 2004 “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in Concert”; the television movie by ABC Family Channel in 2004 called “The Hollow”; 2004 “Charmed” episode of “The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell”; PBS “Wishbone” series “Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars”; The 2009 Opera “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Robert Milne; William Withem and Melanie Helton’s 2009 Legend of Sleepy Hollow Opera; the Jim Christian and Tom Edward Clark 2009 Musical “Sleepy Hollow”; The 2011 Hunter Foster book and play called “The Hollow”; Darkstuff Productions 2012 adapted Legend of Sleepy Hollow; and in 2013 a Fox TV series pilot called “Sleepy Hollow” is in production as a modern tale.

North Tarrytown in 1996 changed their name to “Sleepy Hollow” as a memorial to Washington Irving, and its local high school team are called “The Horsemen”, by 2006 a large statue of the Headless Horseman chasing Ichabod Crane was erected, and since 1996 at the Philipsburg Manor holds a Legend Weekend where the story is retold and played out just before Halloween.

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The UFO Tower of Hooper, Colorado


UFO Tower vortex and shrines

The UFO Watchtower
* 2502 County Road 61, Hooper, Colorado * $2/person or $5/car. * Open year round * www.ufowatchtower.com * 719-378-2296 *

As we were driving back to Colorado Springs after a wonderful soaking weekend at the infamous clothing-optional Orient Land Trust hotsprings, we entered the “odd” strip of San Luis Valley … where aliens, alligators, and weird phenomena is considered “common” at its best. As we were driving down Highway 17 we were seeing signs for the Alligator Farm (in Colorado). “Really?” “Really?” I just kept echoeing in my head. Sure enough, there was one. But just as I was about to grasp this connundrum, there it was, on the right hand side of the road, none other than the “UFO Watchtower”. I felt like I was in a bad episode of the Twilight Zone.

Along Highway 17 in the San Luis Valley, near the Great Sand Dunes, Orient Land Trust, and the Colorado Alligator Farm, lies an observation platform with associated campground and gift shop just north of Hooper, Colorado. This raised platform, established to have a 360 degree view of the valley, was built by cattle rancher Judy Messoline in May 2000 as a fundraiser to make money off the the scores of “UFO enthusiast” tourists who come through the area in hopes of seeing a spaceship. The San Luis Valley, like Roswell, New Mexico, is a hotspot of UFO sightings, abductions, and media coverage. The site is a kitchy junkyard of alien-fad related trash. There is not much to see, but its worth a gander if your drowsy-drooping eyes along this long stretch need some amusement. Even to the serious “fan” of alien-dom, time better spent going back to Roswell and its empty field of a UFO crash. By the residents and patrons of this site however, it is considered an alien “vortex” of activity with promises that “the Truth is out there”. The owner is friendly and really nice. She’ll be sure to drive on down to the usually closed gift shop if she sees you pull in and has lots of stories to tell. The dome building is the gift shop, a garden of fandom junk is the healing garden, and the deck is just simply that … a raised platform deck. The junk littering the garden consists of pens, hubcaps, watches, jewelry, alien propaganda and toys, kitchy figurines, and even the infamous yoda is sprawled out in the sun. A book has been published about the Tower and Judy called “That Crazy Lady Down the Road” and while I’m the first to be open-minded about the strange and unusual, this book is precisely labelled properly. Rated: 1 star out of 5 ~ review by Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Research and Reviews.

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“Cliff Dreamers” & The “Mia Golden Goddess Figurine”

The “Goddess Quest”
Promotion Adventure for “Cliff Dreamers”

During my visit this summer to Saveok Archaeological Site, upon meeting the magical and inspirational Jacqui Wood … I was introduced to the fantastical tale of “Cliff Dreamers”. “Cliff Dreamers” is a amazing novel written by Experimental Archaeologist Jacqui Wood as a ‘fantasy’ fiction tale rocketing you into Europe around 6,000 B.C.E. where Jacqui weaves her knowledge into a mystical adventure tale about a heroine named Mia who is rescued from an evil shaman by some log boat traders and discovers she is the reincarnated high priestess of an ancient Goddess Cult. As she becomes aware of her powers she has at her fingertips, the dark lord Zundel notices her, and she battles to stop him from pulling her into his Dark Realm. She is between the worlds as she holds on to her Mother Crystal of light and becomes invisible to the dark forces. She flies off into the future on Swan’s wings and begins to remember a past life in which she left a Golden Goddess for herself to find 6,000 years later when she knows the Goddess power will be needed again. It is the first of seven novels.

Several years ago, in October of 2006, Jacqui Wood had weaved together a magical quest for participants to enter for free to find the treasure known as the “Mia Goddess Figurine”. This was prompted by many readers of her first book that wanted to help Jacqui get a publishing deal – and couldn’t understand why publishers weren’t jumping at the opportunity to print her book – so they donated gold, diamonds, and precious stones to have a brilliant craftsman create the figurine. This magnificent work of art was created by Kif Wood from gold and gemstones donated to the fundraiser that would help promote Jacqui’s book “Cliff Dreamers” and get it national publicity. The hair of this amazing figurine was made of twisted gold, eyes vibrant blue with a turquoise topaz upon the head surrounded by a golden arc. Pearl breasts with ruby and gold nipples, a skirt of gold cords with a rainbow of sapphires and green garnets with red rubies cascading from her waist to her toes. A cluster of diamonds and opals hang from her right hip below a upheld hand with a diamond embedded into the palm. She holds a golden staff upon which hangs a crescent moon holding three diamonds. The “Mia Goddess” represents the Goddess in all her golden awe and glory as reminding us of a magical age gone that will be renewed into the future. The figurine is estimated value of 10,000. Once residing on a now defunct web site called www.cliffdreamers.com, Jacqui’s book was revealed to the explorers seeking the treasure. Clues, hidden secrets, and challenges awaited the contestants on these pages. Contestants went to sign into the Quest Book at the Queens Hotel at the Promenade in Penzance where they were given clues by cloaked Quest Mastes at each quest site. Adventurers were give 28 hours to find the Figurine. The Winner was presented the Mia Goddess Figurine atop St. Michael’s Mount in Marizion near Penzance.
It was an amazing journey. The figurine was won by a valliant group of women who teamed together in horrendous weather to be the new owners of this magical statuette. 5 groups of 18 people met the two quest masters atop a hill on Bodmin Moor, then made it to the beach fire on Porthtowan beach, then ending up on Trencrom hill where the winners were greeted. The books can be obtained thru lulu.com as
Cliff Dreamers paperback 11.12 (471 pages)
Journey through the Inland Sea paperback 11.63 (510 pages)
Mallata paperback 8.33 (256 pages)

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6.12.10: Chronicles: WPP: Day 8 – Pixies of Penzance, Walk-a-bout, Hengestones, Madron Well


I have to say I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t hear any ruckus or moving’s about in the castle last night – except for a British bicyclist sharing the bunks who slapped his hands together at 4 am for either me or his bunkmate who was snoring in order to make it stop. I suppose he’s a sensitive sleeper who can’t sleep to snoring (not sure why he’s in a dorm room then …) Castle Horneck is supposedly haunted, but honestly can’t say I felt any presence of anything in the building other than the school kids running around, and older travellers like me. I found out late last night that Michael’s Mount (and most of all National parks in the area) is closed on saturdays as they figure everyone is out shopping about or being leisurely, and not necessarily looking into history … makes no sense to me. But hey, its a bit of a backwards country to what I’m used to – the English drive on the opposite side of the road and have enormous electrical plugs … takes some getting used to. So no need for googling the tidal schedules. Much to my quest’s purpose, clues to charms and blessings were abound. A late night talk with the receptionist at the Castle Horneck desk led me to an adventure I will never forget. I can only assume that through the chat with her upon my revealing that I was a archaeologist and her guessing correctly on my spiritual orientation that she revealed to me the map to Madron’s Holy Well and Wishing Tree. It was only a 2 hour round-trip hike. I figured I’d be back in plenty of time to wander about to Michael’s Mount, hit the tides, and at least walk onto the island to take some pictures followed by some leisurely hanging about on the beach all day. Little did I know that a long journey on foot awaited me. I grabbed breakfast in the cafe where the teachers were rotating the children in groups for breakfast so as to create lesser impact on the other hostellers. I slipped into line, tuned out the grade school chatter, and grabbed a hearty English breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, beans, croissant, tea, juice, and yogurt. I barely found a seat with some of the older hostellers to chat about wandering plans as many of the seats were taken up by the school kids.


Lesigney Round

I hit the trail by 8 am. As per the hand-drawn map, I wandered up into the farmers field to the west of the Castle in search of the Lesigney Round, an old Iron Age fort consisting of a “round” of trees and dense foliage wrapped around an inner earthworks wall with a central grove. There were a couple of comical chairs along the way, I suppose the local farmer’s humor with chairs where he possibly sits on occasion to greet travellers to the round. I’m Not quite sure. I worked my way around the western side of the round for the most accessible entrance into the fortress and was blessed by walking into a beautiful grove that was beaconing a meditation and some tree hugging. The Dryads and sacred spirits of the place radiated immensely a tingling sensation that kindled my heart. Nevermore had I felt an essence of “protective” energy so strong … never before did I feel so ‘safe’. This makes common sense to me since this was a defensive fortress used since the Iron Age or before. There were some very unique trees in the middle of the grove. Light patterns were divine and mixed with some tree chatter in guise of creaks and crackling of the wood in the wind. I heard some rustling in the bush I could only expect were dwarves or wee folk spying on me. I didn’t see them if that was the case – just felt their essence. I felt very deeply that I was being watched and monitored. This didn’t stop the sudden urge to meditate. After a pretty intense meditation, a pair of leaves drifted down into my lap with the omnipotence that it was to be taken to be joined to the Madron wishing tree … so I abided. The Lesigney Round is also referred to as The original Castle Horneck as well as the Timber Castle. It is the earthwork remains of an old iron age hillfort with earthen ditch and walls creating a densely wooded large round or circle.

Onward with my quest, I followed my hostel friend’s directions and map to get to the public footpaths as the Lesigney Round is on private farmland. It is only a permissable un-official path for wanderers like me to come take a peek at this unmarked and technically unprotected historical monument. After footing it through the farmer’s field I came to a road, and questioned whether to go right or left as my sense of directions were all messed up. To make matters worse, the paths were overgrown, and many of the small and already infrequent footpath signs were missing or covered. I could of sworn I heard some pixie chatter to the left beckoning me that direction. Sure enough a Cornish pixie tinkering with my American lack of directional sense being uprooted from Home. As I took a 2 mile meandering loop south-west instead of north-west, I found my way back up to Tremethick Cross. I knew something was wrong as I should have had hit Madron already. Apparently I was travelling in the opposite direction. Tremethick Cross is a crossroads with a stone cross overseeing travellers passing through it. Looking over the map I realized I had already gone a mile or so out of my way. I found what I believed to be the right directions, so headed the opposite direction along the roadway as I couldn’t find the public footpath. Before long I found signs to Madron and the footpaths to cut through the fields up to Madron Church and the unmarked cross stone in the field along the way. I did meet an elderly lady walking her dog and inquired as to where the Well was and she physically walked with me through town chatting away and pointed the right way to the Wishing Well. Madron is a small Parish Church village that is dedicated to the Mother Goddess Mabon. I pitstopped into the local graveyard to embrace the amazing artwork on the graves. Then on through more fields along the public footpath until I found a road sign pointing the way 1/2 mile to the Well. Down a muddy corridor of a footpath, I found an old trough that definitely was not a well but rather intriguing none-the-less. There was Beautiful foxglove flowers all along the journey – a plant I’m forever thankful for as it had saved my daughter’s life when she was born. There was also an incredible amount of Gorse along the roadway.

Continue reading 6.12.10: Chronicles: WPP: Day 8 – Pixies of Penzance, Walk-a-bout, Hengestones, Madron Well

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The Roswell Alien Crash Site


Me at the crash site
Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

It was 1947, on July 4th, when William Woody saw a brilliant object plunge to the ground from the sky. They tried to explore where they thought it came down, and was sent away by a military barricade. a NM rancher named WW “Mack” Brazel was out for a ride with his friends checking on their herd after a terrible storm the night before – and they discovered on the ground, unusual pieces of metallic debris and a several hundred foot long shallow trench emblazened into the ground. They brought home some of the metal in order to try to figure out what it was, and his neighbours, the Proctors, told him he might be in possession of wreckage from a government project or a UFO. He reported the wreckage to the local sheriff, Wilcox, who reported it to Major Marcel of the 509 bomb group. The military explored the crash area, and closed the area to public access until all wreckage was removed. He was amazed by the weird nature of the metal and took some home to show his family. A press release was put out shortly after stating that it was the wreckage of a crashed disk by Roswell Air Force Base’s Public Information Officer. It was published in the Roswell Daily Record. Hours later, the press release was retracted, and a new one released, stating it was a weather balloon that they mistakenly identified as a flying saucer. The military tried hard to convince the local news that it was nothing other than a weather balloon and a big mistake by their department to say otherwise. During all of this, the local mortician, Glenn Dennis, received calls from the morgue on the air force base, stating they needed some small hermetically sealed coffins and needing information about how to preserve bodies that have been exposed to the elements for a few days without contaminating the tissue. He drove out to the base hospital and saw scattered pieces of weird metal with strange markings sticking out of one of the ambulences in the parking lot. Upon entering the hospital was threatened by military police and told to leave. The nurse that he knew there told him the next day about the bodies and drew him pictures of them on a prescription pad – the next day she was transferred to England, and was never heard from again. Future research on the incident had determined that the military was watching a strange object for 4 days in Southern New Mexico and on July 4th, discovered the object to have crashed down somewhere 30-40 miles northwest of Roswell. Since then, many movies, many books, and documentaries were created to publicize the incident even though the Military has removed all documentation and covered up most of the information that would validate their involvement. You can read more about the incident Here. In 1991, Glenn Dennis the mortician above, Walter Haut a military public information officer and original writer of the first news release, teamed up with Max Littell to form the Roswell UFO museum and the IUFOMRC. Within the first 4 years of the opening of the museum, Roswell has increased tourism 5x their small city population with UFO visitors.


Alien crash site – Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

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07.30.06: Part I – Roswell, The Alien Crash Site, The Missle Silos


C.S.I. Crash Site Investigation
Roswell Crash Site, Roswell, New Mexico
photos ©2006 technogypsie.com

Sunday, 30 July 2006
Roswell, New Mexico
Part I – Delving into the Past, Alien Technology

We slept in a bit, then wandered down for the Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar, packed up the room, and caravaned out of town. Got gas at $2.83/gallon – cheapest I’ve seen for ages in the West … and the southwest. I think Colorado Springs is about $3.15/gallon. Aliens must have some cheaper technology for finding fuel I suppose. We then hit the dollar store to purchase a couple of flashlights. Then drove up Hwy 285 north, to Mile marker #133, and pulled over to walk around the Roswell Alien crash site. We both bought Roswell souvenir t-shirts “C.S.I. Crash site investigator” and donned them for the day’s explorations. David wore his bluetooth phone and shades. As we were poking around the Crash site, two elderly tourists drove up, was nervous about getting out of their car, and finally the husband was brave enough to approach us, thinking we really were official, and asked … “sorry to bother you, but where is your crash site?” and I replied … “Its down the road a ways … or so I’ve heard …” As we were locking up our cars, grabbing our flashlights, and proceeded to walk to the highway to walk down 3/4 mile to the abandoned missle silo. I could hear the husband/wife talking:

husband: “I think they are here investigating the crash site. They are doing what we are doing.”
Wife: “Noooo … I don’t think they are doing what we are doing. They are investigating something else.”

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15th Annual Emma Crawford 2009 Coffin Races


Hearse Con: Gary (white), Zach (black), and Ghostbusters; then parade

15th Annual Emma Crawford 2009 Coffin Races
* 1-800-642-2567 * manitousprings.org * 12 pm – 3 pm * Every October * Manitou Springs, Colorado
This is one of the spectacular festivals that makes Manitou Springs sorta-unique especially as a place where people can be strange, different, and freakish. It definitely rhymes in with the “Keep Manitou Weird” campaign that’s been going around for a few years. Of course, Colorado has at least two of these wacky Coffin Races, the other being the “Frozen Dead Guy Days” in Nederlands, Colorado. Every October, on Manitou Avenue, in the town’s National Historic District, thousands gather to watch push-cart coffins be raced down the avenue in honor and memory of the late Emma Crawford. Emma Crawford moved to Manitou Springs as did many to partake of the healing mineral springs that were a known cure for tuberculosis that she was suffering from. However, the summer of 1890 she died just as she was about to marry an engineer named Mr. Hildebrand of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. She wanted to be buried atop Red Mountain, and even though the city did not approve it, Mr. Hildebrand and eleven other men carried her coffin to the top of the Red Mountain and laid her to rest there at the 7200 foot Summit. 1929 storms eroded the granite holding her coffin and her remains were washed down the side of Red Mountain. Some say her coffin went racing down the roads. She was reburied in the Manitou Springs Cemetery in an unmarked grave. An official grave was dedicated to her in 2004. Coffin Races were established in her honor to keep her story alive. At 12 o’clock, someone is dressed up as Emma to judge the races. Everyone dresses up ghoulishly, festivities take place all over town, and thousands gather to watch the races. Teams push-carting their coffin hosting a “Emma” within race up and down Manitou Ave. Parading of costumes and coffins, The Hearse Con from Denver come down and do a Hearse parade as well. So too come the Ghostbusters. It’s a great affair and a fabulous time! Arrive early to grant parking. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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The Truth about what really happened with ‘The Haunting in Connecticut’

The True Story about the Haunting in Connecticut

208 Meriden Avenue, Southington, Connecticut

Hollywood made claim that the film they produced in 2009 was based on the “true story” of the supernatural hauntings in a small Connecticut home at 208 Meriden Avenue, Southington, Connecticut; occupied by the Snedeker family from 1986-1988. The Snedekers moved into the house to be close to the UCONN hospital where their son was being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The family claimed to have experienced a demonic presence in the home. The house has been proved to have formerly been the Hallahan Funeral home for multiple decades before the property was purchased by Darrell Kern in the 1980’s. Carmen Snedeker claims they were never told that the house was formerly a funeral home. The landlords stated that the Snedekers were fully informed about the house’s history prior to it being rented. There were unfounded claims of seeing ghosts, terrifying visions, Carmen and Tammy claim to have been continuously raped by demons, and the husband claims to have been sodomized by a demon, lights reportedly turning on/off by themselves, mop water turning to blood, smell of decaying flesh, dishes putting themselves away, etc. Carmen Snedeker described the demons as: “One of the demons was very thin, with very high cheekbones, long black hair and pitch black eyes. Another had white hair and eyes, wore a pinstriped tuxedo, and his feet were constantly in motion. Also one had a very big smile that on each side touched his eyes, and he was very short.” [wikipedia article] UCONN oncologist claims the medication the son was on would have ‘no chance of him having hallucinations or delusions’. The Brothers, Philip and Bradley Snedeker actually both slept in the basement as it was the only room in the house that could accomodate the teens – they slept in the casket display room down the hall from the former embalming room. There is no ‘Jonah’ and no recorded seances conducted in the house. This was a fictional element added. The family did find old pictures of dead people, toe tags, head tag, and personal effects of the deceased in the house. The son did not see dead people with writings carved on them, this was added for the movie. There was no priest that came from the hospital. The niece Tammy claims the shower curtain incident did occur, just not how it is presented in the movie, and it happened to the mother, not the niece. Apparently the shower curtain wrapped around Carmen’s face so she couldn’t breathe and had to be rescued by Tammy. The real-life Philip Snedeker did attack his cousin Tammy and he was sent to a mental hospital for the incident for 45 days. There were no bodies ever found in the house. The house was not burned down. These were filmmaker’s additions. Philip’s cancer did go into remission and never resurfaced. He survived cancer, is a trucker with four children now. Paranormal investigations on the house was conducted by a pair of self-styled ‘demonologist/ghost hunters’, Ed and Lorraine Warren (who were involved with the Amityville story), as well as John Zaffis, who discovered mortuary equipment in the basement and a trap door in the master bedroom where the coffins were brought up at night with statement that chains hoisting could be heard until 1988. The investigators moved into the house for a few weeks and reported they were physically abused by unseen entities and experienced some of what the Snedekers claimed. They substantiated the claim that the house was infested with demons. They believed the former funeral workers were guilty of necrophilia. Lorraine claimed the house was exorcized by them with the Catholic Church in 1988 and no longer has any presences. Moments after the Mass and Exorcism in the house, the Warrens claimed that the huge tree in front of the house – broke into two and fell off the property. The current owner Susan Trotta-Smith, claim the house is not haunted and never was. They have been living in the house peacefully for 10+ years. In addition to the 2009 Hollywood blockbuster, there was a documentary done on the history of the houe in an episode of the A Haunting TV-series, called “A Haunting in Connecticut”. The Snedekers told their story on national television talk shows and a Discovery Channel television show. A book written by Ray Garton (hired by the Warrens to write the story) called “In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting” (1992) also told tales of the hauntings. There is complexity to stories told by the Snedekers that make many believe the tales to be false. Including some dialogue with the Warren’s that there were holes in the stories and they told Garton to make up some of the details to write a scary book. On April 27, 1999, Garton wrote in a post about the Warrens: He told me not to worry, that the family was crazy. I was shocked. He said, All the people who come to us are crazy. You think *sane* people would come to us? He knew I’d written a lot of horror novels prior to that, so he told me to just make the story up using whatever details I could incorporate into the book, and make it scary. Skeptics claim the story to be fallacy and fantasy. Investigator Joe Nickell reports in ‘Skeptical Inquirer’ (May/June) that the story was found ridiculous by the landlady and house owner. Typical paranormal investigation methods of documentation demonstrate that there is little to no proof of anything supernatural about the house. That is was the first time anyone reported anything unusual in the house. Current house owners are bombarded by hoards of photographers, curious gawkers, and paranormal enthusiasts coming to their home hoping to get a glimpse of the hell house. Carmen Reed (nee Snedeker) is now a spiritual advisor and plans to write more books on experiences with John Zaffis. The 2009 blockbuster grossed $55,389,516 on its opening weekend in the U.S. and $68,683,927 in the worldwide box office.

Article: The Real Story Behind ‘The Haunting in Connecticut’

Review & interview: The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

Wikipedia: The Haunting in Connecticut

Dread Central: What Really Happened

A Connecticut Haunting: The Real Deal

Movie was made in 2009 as a Hollywood dramatization horror flick with modern special effects over the story. Read my review here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=630

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7.11.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 2: ‘Journey to Tribal Visions & Earthships’


[ Back to Chapter 1: Volcanoes and Virgins ]   [ Chapter 2: Journey to Tribal Visions ]   [ Forward to Chapter 2: Tribal Visions ]

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 11th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era: Part Une.


“I awoke earlier than Lady Allison and Maiden Astrana, so I ventured over a nook in a tree overlooking the rumbling river and blogged a bit on my laptop. I figured the Ladies needed to sleep a bit, after all it was 7 am. I’m so used to awaking early as I’m usually in the archaeological lab by 7:00 or 7:15 in the morning. I also started a new diet that had some odd eating techniques and involved 5 meals a day – but hey, I was supposed to lose 20 lbs. in 13 days. They eventually awoke and we partook of our morning rituals. As the Ladies did their rites, I packed up the tent and gear into Allison’s compact chariot. I thought this campsite in Cimarron Canyon was nice, but a little more bent to the RV tourist. Nonetheless, we got to camp in a scenic area with a nice river. Back onto the highway 64 west, we made our way into the artist haven of Taos, New Mexico. Always loved this town. So full of vibrant colors, pueblos, art, design, and expressions. We headed onwards to find this collective where the Sacred Visions Festival was being held. We stopped by the canyon, most infamous in the movie ‘Natural Born Killers’ and absorbed its immensity. Visiting the local artisans selling their wares to the side of the bridge, was quite impressed by a rastafarian’s gold leaf jewelry. Too bad I just simply did not have the $75 it would have cost for the piece. I’m such a budget-tight-wad on travels. I just never have spending money for nice things. I thought that in future travels, this has got to change. We got back into the car and headed southwest. Somehow we missed the turn off to Tribal Visions. However, we did discover a humongous and spectacular community of Earthships that warranted investigation. We wandered over to one of the show models and was going to take the tour, but given we had ice melting in the car, decided to postpone it until tomorrow, as we had agreed upon leaving the festival early in the morning for our trip home. Our main focus for Tribal Visions was to see Lunar Fire play that evening. We switched a witch back from whence we came and found the turn off, poorly marked by a stylistic half decorated pointer sign that looked like a half burnt board from a campfire, etched onto which was “Tribal Visions”. We followed the dirt gravel roads for a few miles and eventually found the turn-off. Not very well marked, we started to suspect that this gathering might not be what we were looking for.”

Continue reading 7.11.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 2: ‘Journey to Tribal Visions & Earthships’

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Cronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: “Revelations and Visions”: Chapter 1: ‘Volcanoes and Virgins’


[ Back to Thomas the Rhymer & Visions ]   [ Volcanoes and Virgins ]   [ Forward to Tribal Visions ]

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf:

The 10th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era: Part Trois.


“Ah, so the last adventure we had together was the Quest of the Eternal Key. Not that I knew exactly what I was embarking upon with that quest. I merely was on an adventure to Rhineland to join Lady Vanessa on yet another Epic adventure. Silly me thought I was looking for some physical ancient key. I had A vision just before embarking on the journey to Amsterdam, Holland, Belgium, and Trolls et Legendes. At this time I spiraled into the sadness with the long distance news of the deaths of close friends giving more urgency to find this key of life. Little did I know that the “key” were actual people, or dare I say, the most gorgeous English and Irish faeries a mortal man could behold, both of whom contained the “essence of faerie, youth, life, free-spiritedness, and vitality” that was the “influential energy key” of eternity that I was seeking, that I once had within me, but had lost through my stagnation of staying in one place over the course of the last 5 years. In fact, every individual that I met on the journey, from mortals to faeries, were elements of this “energy key” that awoken the playful, intuitive, and care-free spirit that lies within me once again. Of course as always happens when one makes a discovery and receives a gift, it can be quite over-powering and over-whelming. One always needs to find a balance with the energy gifts one is given. I felt like I was now 20 years younger and imbibed with the spirit of vitality and I let it get the best of me as the tales in the next two months shall reveal. As I searched for love, I also seemed to be awkwardly co-mingling with beautiful maidens that were just too young for me. It took to this point of this writing and analysis of this Living Myth more manifestation of what I want out of love and what I seek out of partnerships. While I’m still in contemplation and understanding of all of this new material, I’m sure it will be revealed in the days to come. The “Niamh” I seek is very much an equal in all regards: spirit, vision, energy, adventure, and essence. I know in this Quest of Love, I shall find her.”

“After my return to the Americas, I of course had to do what any good law-abiding serf has to do, pay the taxes. This gifted me more servitude to the crown as much of my return went to repayment of back tariffs to the Universities that have endowed me much of my wisdom throughout the years. But I was able to bless myself with a new laptop to continue on with the bardic story weaving I do. Then in early May, at Beltania, I was possessed by the spirit of the Green Man. As I danced the May weaving magic of fertility, prosperity, and growth … new energy entered within me. I was charged with much blessings in life – a very prosperous summer that allowed many adventures, a new laptop, and job security for another year. I had the opportunity to network with many of the Native American Tribal elders in the region cleansing my spirit and renewing my life’s dedication to protecting the remains of the ancestors. Evermore did I know my ultimate purpose on this planet. ”

Continue reading Cronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: “Revelations and Visions”: Chapter 1: ‘Volcanoes and Virgins’

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07.10.09: II – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: “Thomas Rymour and Visions, the Mythic Call”


From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf:

The 10th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era: Part Deux.


“In the early 90’s, Elyse Tera, a former lover once dedicated a book to me called “Thomas the Rhymer” as I reminder her deeply of this historic figure. I recently re-read the book. Quite a few things clicked as a spirit within my being awakened during many different changes I am currently going through. Little did I know how insightful she was and that eight years later I would wake up with the realization that there was messages and mythos in this tale that I needed for understanding my life path. ”

Continue reading 07.10.09: II – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: “Thomas Rymour and Visions, the Mythic Call”

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The Lady of the Rhine Sagas: 1 – Quest of the Enchanted Ring, 2 – Quest of the Sacred Key

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LoTR, Sect 2: Chap 17, Pt C (4/11) – “Trolls et Legendes” Festival – Concerts & the Sacred Key


Chapter 17: Part C

Saturday, 11 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

Realizing the key has been discovered, Sir Thomas Leaf sat to ponder the new revelation that the key was not an ancient rusting artifact, but rather a gift of spirit, warmth, youth, Faerie energy, and a re-awakening that the Irish and English faeries he met unlocked just by being in their presence. Their passion for life and frolick re-awakened that which he had lost over the last few years and once himself very famous for – healing the recent disconnection from his inner child, wild self, spirituality, artistic essence, and the traveller he is – bringing it back, and entering a new spiritual outlook. It has dawned that this year will bring new beginnings and new thoughts for him. He felt as if he was brought back to the land of Fae, to be lost in Faerieland once again as his epic mythos that his life is styled upon, that of the tale of “Oisin”, but more being the older Oisin after his wanderings with Saint Patrick who was separated and lost from Faerieland and his queen when he fell off his horse to assist the mortals in lifting the henge stone. His faerie queen is near. Life is to be lived, not to be withered away – to ward off that stagnation in the muck that humanity has created with materialism, politics, drama, compliance, and boring routines. The lock to his soul has been opened to kindle the inner child again, become bathed in the fountain of youth, and to be the wandering gypsy artist and adventurer that is the root of his soul. To be at one with his art / oracles / and visions. To write. To Dream. To Experience. Blessed by the Fae, Sir Thomas Leaf began the evening with music, dance, and revelry – dancing till his daughter Princess Brea dragged him home; knowing the quest of the sacred key had been complete. In celebration with some amazing new family, friends, kin, and connections enchanted beyond belief by one of his favorite bands – Qntal. Amazing. Blessed. Re-vived. New journeys and adventures to be summoned forth in the very near future … embracing the misty lands of Ireland, England, and Scotland … as well as the tropical molten lava lands of Hawaii … and down the road – Australia and Thailand. :: Fin ::

Continue reading LoTR, Sect 2: Chap 17, Pt C (4/11) – “Trolls et Legendes” Festival – Concerts & the Sacred Key

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 17, Part B (4/11) – “Trolls et Legendes” Festival – Market, Woodland, Faeries


Chapter 17: Part B

Saturday, 11 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

“Closer to the key, I can feel it …” Sir Thomas Leaf pondered. “It is the day for the revelations to be revealed.” Difficulties making conversation or getting around without knowing French was pretty prevelant for the duo, and it frustrated Princess Brea. Sir Thomas Leaf made poor half-ass attempts at utilizing his 6 years of schooling in French to get around, but failed horribly. The dialects were quite different than the French he had learned in school. Some intriguing films drew Leaf into the theater – but not being Faerie or “fantasy” at all, but rather, macabre sick-n-twisted flicks in French. That was entertaining but not what he had expected. The vendors and crafts-beings were amazing and lured the already-broke Leaf into purchasing some art for his collection at home. Fantastical creatures, wizards, faeries, monsters, trolls, orcs, centaurs, and lizard people crept, crawled, hymned, hawed, and enchanted those around them as they weaved around the crowds. Crepes, festival food, and Belgium beer greeted many in the dining hall. A stunning Irish Faerie captivated the curiousity of Sir Thomas Leaf – alluring him to the British “Fae” magazine booth. (He’s always wanted to check out this magazine, but had not seen it in physical form, as well as the American “Faeries” magazine as well, which future investment shall be made into when the time is right. The Fae magazine he had always wanted to get and delve into, and a charming Faerie Moe to promote the already sold zine, he excitingly purchased the full set of 6 issues. As he became friends with the mesmerizing Irish charm, he returned later to the booth to meet a familiar kindred spirit – a captivating British Faerie named Zoe, who recognized him from being an online friend. Instant deep connections were created as Sir Thomas Leaf realized these kindred spirits were faerie family, and were soon to be the ones to reveal the sacred key of which this quest was set out to discover. From the mystical lands of Britain and Ireland, the mythos is near realization. A bounce around, Sir Thomas Leaf was also pleased that his beloved Faerie band “Woodland” from Oregon, that he had come to love from seeing them at “Faerieworlds” was doing an un-expected un-plugged jam session performance so that he was blessed with the ability to see them on this trip, making the day ever more so magical as he was prior disappointed he’d be missing them since the adventurers had to leave that night after Qnthal. Alas, Woodland was scheduled for a sunday performance. But he did not have to miss their charm. Magic in the song, inspiration from the tunes. The European quest coming to fruition. [to be continued …]


Photo by Zoe Nicholls

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 17, Part B (4/11) – “Trolls et Legendes” Festival – Market, Woodland, Faeries

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 17, Part A (4/11) – Legos, “Trolls et Legendes” festival … Day 2: The Fair, Artists

Part A


figures by Brian & Wendy Froud

Saturday, 11 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

Today is the revelation of the key. Such as sacred day indeed. The adventurers awoke at the hostel, packed up their gear, and headed down for a decent breakfast. It was quite obvious many other Trolls-et-Legendes Festival-goers were there, as one could tell from their dress. Checking out and off to the rental carriage for a shuttle over to the Lotto Mons Expo center. With time to spare as the duo arrived early, getting a close parking space, they wandered over to the Grand Place Mall, awaiting stores to open, as they gazed upon the Lego exhibits. Pretty cool stuff. They wandered into a French version of a Target for Belgium chocolates, french comics, books, and souvenirs. Then over to the festival center to await in line for the doors to open to “Trolls et Legendes”. The festival end was much more exciting, with vendors galore, art, crafts, costumes, books, and writers … faeries, monsters, elves, and orcs, wandering about in curious twitches and stances. Meeting Brian and Wendy Froud again (originally met at Faerieworlds) – with much admiration of their artwork. Galleries showcased some incredible faerie art.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 17, Part A (4/11) – Legos, “Trolls et Legendes” festival … Day 2: The Fair, Artists

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part B (4/10) – “Trolls et Legendes” festival … Day 1

Part B


Trolls et Legendes

Friday, 10 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

Heading down to the Central Station, and getting a little turned around doing it, the adventurers finally found the info booth, and in half-english, half-french was directed round-a-bout to where they needed to find the C bus. Of course, none of the signs listed a “C” bus so they were quite confused as where to go. Just as frustration began to set in, a pan-like spirit came tromping through the square – harem pants and all – and obviously enroute to the Trolls et Legendes festival. He spoke some decent English and guided us to follow him. Sir Thomas Leaf, while his french is poor, could make out most conversations even though he lacked the confidence in his own usage of the language. He made out that some woman was making fun of the pan-like spirit’s harem pants saying they’d look better on her – Leaf doubted that much. Once at the Lotto Mons Expo center. Picking up tickets from the booth, they got into the lineup in the nick of time as it began to wrap around the block. Once in they stood in numerous lines to get the tickets, to get in, to get their troll coins, to get their drinks, and to get some food. Some fabulous bands went on with some cute Lord of the Ring parodie flicks (all in French). After a few shows, the fatigued travellers sought to find their way back to the hostel. At the bus stop they met some fellow travellers, originally from Russia, who spoke good English and was able to help guide them back to the Central Station. As the four of them realized that they missed the last bus, they all went for a hike roughly two miles away to get back to the station. Good times …. Turning in pretty much as they returned, the adventurers rested up for a long day tomorrow.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part B (4/10) – “Trolls et Legendes” festival … Day 1

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …

Part A


Hunting for the hostel in Mons

Friday, 10 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Mons, Belgium

The adventurers had a pretty interesting night partying in Amsterdam with the pub crawl. Awaking early with a hangover was not the best start to the day that Sir Thomas Leaf could have. Onwards to check out from the Zeesburg hostel after a good night rest. Princess Breanna took advantage of the free breakfast and chatting with friends before their departure, Sir Thomas Leaf was certainly too groggy and needed to catch up on winks. A short bus ride from the hostel to the Zeesburg park-n-ride, the party was soon into their rental auto-carriage and off on the road to Belgium – the land of chocolate and fries. The roads getting out of Amsterdam were pretty congested and a headache, but once into Belgium, the traffic alleviated somewhat. It was afterall Easter weekend and since European’s are big on travel and vacations, one would be sure to run into crowds hitting the roads for their Easter vacation plans. The party drove through Brussels, but didn’t stop, as they wanted to get to Mons to find their hostel and the festival center so they could see the opening acts at http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/. Sir Thomas Leaf has 6 years of French under his belt so was quite excited to try it out – unfortunately he sucks at comprehension and pronunciation, so it was no better that he knew French as he was still stuck with English. It however was much easier for him to manage in Belgium than Germany and other countries he felt. The roads in the historic section of Mons were an absolute nightmare. Cobbled roads all one way, roads the GPS was saying existed either didn’t or were blocked off, the frustrated duo, arguing over directions, finally two hours of driving around in circles parked and hoofed it on foot dragging their luggage. They weren’t too far off as the looming castle of a hostel was right in front of them the whole time, it was just shut off from driving to it because of road constructions and restorations. Checking in, they were blessed with their own private room, as the apparently “full” hostel on the web, wasn’t so full in person. One could spot a few of the festival goers in their outfits that were staying at the hostel as well. Unfortunately, the duo really struggled getting around because no one knew English and with Sir Thomas Leaf’s poor french, it was a struggle finding out where to go. The woman at the hostel desk knew decent English so was able to guide them to the Central station so they could catch a bus to the festival center.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part B (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour, pt. 2 – Begijnhof, Amsterdam Miracle, Dutch Courtyards & Paintings, Multatuli, The Bird

Part B


Entering the Begijnhof

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sir Thomas Leaf was inspired by the healing energies of the plaza that was mythologically known for its healing and the bread that doesn’t burn. From the crazy wild partying city of Amsterdam – a walk through a door to another dimension – into a Dutch square where it was sacred, quiet, and tranquil. Intriguing thoughts about the key swarmed Leaf’s mind. He realized he is closer yet to discovering the ‘key of life’. After the tranquility, Kevin led the band to oogle over the Dutch masterpiece painting and learning about the seals and marks of Amsterdam. The tour ended at Anne Frank’s house where the story of “tolerant” Amsterdam stood up against the Nazis and the tragedies befell that struggle. Hungry for Thai food, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea headed over to the Asian District to try out the highly recommended “Bird Thai” restaurant which they quite enjoyed. Wandering back to the hostel for a nap and down time before exploring the nightlife with the New Amsterdam Tour’s Pub Crawl.

Read my telling and review about the Amsterdam Miracle and the Begijnhof / Chapel here …

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part B (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour, pt. 2 – Begijnhof, Amsterdam Miracle, Dutch Courtyards & Paintings, Multatuli, The Bird

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The Miracle of Amsterdam, Begijnhof and Chapel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Begijnhof and Chapel
*Zandvoorterweg 78 * 2111 GZ Aerdenhout * Tel. 023-5246229 * Fax. 023-5440081 * info: info@stille-omgang.nl * website: www.stille-omgang.nl
Amsterdam, Holland
http://www.begijnhofamsterdam.nl/
It was here, at the Begijnhof that a few days before Palm Sunday on March 15, 1345 a sick man in the Kalverstraat took the Sacrament of the sick from the local priest. The man vomited up the host, which was caught in a basin and thrown on the fire where it “appeared” to “float above the flames”. It was an amazing miracle. A woman then stretched out her hand into the flames to seize the host from the fire and put it in a case. She remained unburnt and unharmed from putting her hand in the fire when touching the host. The priest, who was from the Oude Kerkwas sent for and took the host back to the “Old Church”. The next day a woman in the house in the Kalverstraat opened the case and saw that the host had magically transported back. She sent for the priest again, and again he took the magic host back to the Old Church. The next day for a third time, the host transported back to the case in the sick man’s room. The miracle of the bread that didn’t burn and wouldn’t leave the house became known widespread. Again, the priest took the host, but this time returning to the Old Church with a solemn procession. The next year the Bishop Jan van Arkel declared this host to be a genuine miracle. Two years later, a church was built on the very spot where the miracle took place. As people joined a procession to take the holy sacrement through the streets of Amsterdam in mid-march to celebrate the Miracle. The Holy Stead Chapel (The Ter Heylighen Stede) was consecrated by the vicar-general of Bishop Jan van Arkel, the Bishop of Utrecht in 1347.

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Oude Kerk (Old Church) (Amsterdam, Holland)

The Old Church (Oude Kerk) in the Red Light District
* http://www.oudekerk.nl/ * Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Oude Kerk is the oldest parish church in Amsterdam. It was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht and is located in the De Wallen, Amsterdam’s main red-light district. The church spans over 3,000 square meters. Its foundation was set upon an artificial mound. Its roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe. The floor is primarily gravestones as the church was built atop a cemetery. The planks are Estonian and date to 1390. The church has gone through numerous renovations through its history. The first set of alterations occured in the 1350’s where the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. During the 15th century, the north and south transepts were added creating a cross formation. This work was completed in 1460. Before the Alteratie or “Reformation” in 1578 the Church was primarily “Catholic”. The Church then became Protestant. The 16th century saw many battles leading to the Church becoming looted and defaced. It became a public space where the locals gossiped, peddlers selling their wares, beggars sought shelter, but in 1681 the Calvinists fed up with the homeless kicked them out. The Church was closed off with a brass screen. Then the Church became a center for the registry of marriages, followed by the city archives. Local citizens continued to be buried underneath the church up until 1865 with a total count of 2500 graves containing over 10,000 Amsterdam citizens. Pipe organs were built in 1658 with the cabinet organ constructed in 1767. The third was built by the German Christian Vater in 1724 establishing the finest baroque organs in Europe. Today, many concerts are performed here including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. This is now a center for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions, and dinner parties. Continue reading Oude Kerk (Old Church) (Amsterdam, Holland)

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New Amsterdam Free Tour (Amsterdam, Holland)


New Amsterdam free tour meeting place at the monument in De Dam square

New Amsterdam Free Walking Tour
Rain or shine this tour meets every day at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm in front of Centraal Station, and Starts at 11:15 am and 1:15 pm at Dam Square in front of the National Monument. It is Free.
Again, I’m not a big fan of tours, but this tour is spectacular and quite informative – best yet it’s free. This is one of best orientations you could take of the city. Our tour guide was Kevin, a humorously fun and knowledgable man who guided us on a three-hour free walking tour through the history of Amsterdam, from its beginnings as a muddy village on the Amstel River to the prosperous industry it is now. He told the tales, the legends, the lore, and many tales that most won’t tell you about prostitution, drug decriminalization, Anne Frank and the Nazi occupation, the Old Church (including the sour occupants), the Red Light District, The Jewish Quarter, the Royal Palace, the Jordaan District, the Anne Frank House, the Dutch East India Company, The Begijnhof Convent, Masterpieces of Dutch Art, the Widest bridge and the narrowest house to name just a few of the sites we saw. We were blessed with a fantastic guide, Kevin, who was the perfect match for our crowd. According to the New AMsterdam site: “Kevin is originally from Boston, MA in the States. There, he went to the University of Massachusetts and began studying psychology. While studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam, he fell in love with the city and began working as a tour guide. Now, he still works as a tour guide, still goes to school in Amsterdam, and is eventually hoping to marry in to the European Union.” Excellent Job Kevin! Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Continue reading New Amsterdam Free Tour (Amsterdam, Holland)

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part A (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour

Part A


The Dam Monument

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sir Thomas Leaf awoke shortly after Princess Brea disappeared down to the dining hall. Slowly rustling out of bed, Sir Thomas Leaf headed downstairs to join her and their new friend from Ireland, James for a pretty delicious continental breakfast and good conversation. Princess Brea had been worried a little bit with Sir Thomas Leaf disappearing off with the two girls they had just met – but was glad he was safe and sound. Sir Thomas Leaf was a bit hungover from clubbing with Kristien and Karolien. As 10:00 rolled around, Princess Brea and Sir Thomas Leaf met in the lobby the New Amsterdam (free) tour guide who took the crew of them on the bus and down to Centraal Station. There they were led to the De Dam square to meet at the monument. A New Amsterdam tour guide named Kevin who took them on a few hour foot trek around Amsterdam showing the sights and explaining the history of everything under the sun. The duet definitely felt it was a fabulous tour. Meeting a handful of Canadians, new friends were also made as the explorers all tromped around the streets, canals, and alleys of Amsterdam. Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part A (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part C (4/8) – Amsterdam, Red Light District

Part C


Candles in a cafe

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Looking over the maps, the weary travellers decided against hiking across town to the City center. Sir Thomas Leaf bought the pair some 24-hour Metro tickets so they could hop the bus and trains unlimited for the next 24 hours. The hostel recommended taking the bus, so the duet hopped on the bus, and was blessed with the driver not stamping the tickets, giving it more of a boost of a timeline when they could use it. Now the quest for the sacred key of life is amongst the living. No longer to focus on the crypts and the deceased, but rather amongst the aspects of the living, and that which gives life energy. What form shall the key hold? Only time will tell.

Venturing around the streets, into the Red Light District, along the canals, and into the City Center – where a amusement park was setup in front of Madame Tussaud’s House of Wax. To get a good perspective of the city, the duet took the ferris wheel for some ethereal viewpoints. Afterwards, some shopping ensued and a drop over to the Sex Museum before taking the Red Light District tour. They planned to take the tour of the museum later, but given they were running late for the RLD tour, planned to do it later. Since Sir Thomas Leaf had done the museum on another visit, was not much of a rush. Over to the Tourist Information center at Central Station, they awaited for the tour guide to arrive. [to be continued … ]


Copy free photo of Redlight windows from amsterdam.info

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part B (4/8) – Off to Amsterdam, Zeeburg, hostel

Part B


Atop the ferris wheel in Amsterdam

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Arising early and calculating his paycheck, Sir Thomas Leaf spontaneously decided to take Princess Brea to Amsterdam for an excursion enroute to Belgium. Rental motor carriage arranged and lodging set at a hostel in Amsterdam, routing was figured out and plans set in motion. Lord Christian graciously awoke early to shuttle Sir Thomas Leaf to Avis to pick up the motor-carriage. Within a few hours, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea were off to Holland. The Autobahn was clear and speed was actualized as the duet drove into the rain and was wondering if they would be tromping around Amsterdam in the rain. Quite a few pockets of traffic congestion between Dusseldorf, Germany and Amsterdam, The Netherlands – but by 3:00 pm they arrived at the Park n’ Ride to store the rental, hop the bus to the hostel, and check in. A little lost in the rain, tromping around a neighbourhood they were unfamiliar with, they got a little frustrated as they tried to find where to go. Eventually they made it, checked into a very spacious hotel-like hostel, and unwound before setting off to explore the historic part of Amsterdam.


Amsterdam

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part A (4/8) – Contemplations on Life and Death; losses of friends

Part A



Sir Thomas Leaf with a heavy heart …
atop the ferris wheel in Amsterdam

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Dusseldorf, Germany – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Let the quest for the sacred key of life to pause for a moment, to reflect on some great spirits who have moved on to the other realm. Sir Thomas Leaf has felt a setback in his heart on this quest as he heard through wire overseas that he lost two souls out of his life. These two individuals were very special to him, always happy to see them, and inspired by their beautiful lights of happiness. For this entry, the story will take a recess and I share my thoughts about the tragic loss of two friends that I lost on April 1st of this year.

“I contemplated about just posting this in my private livejournal blog or sharing it here where everyone can read it. I’ve decided to make it open, as a release, for great losses I recently experienced. It was very tough to take this in, being separated from an great sea from those that I love, and in being there for those who are experiencing this great loss as well. It’s weird for these losses to occur when I myself, feeling dead inside in the recent year, and going through great transitions and stresses with life, career, and emotions this current year. This is part of why I dreamed up the fantastical tale of a quest for the sacred key of life, to unlock the box that seems to confine me, so that I can re-discover myself and renew my spirit before i myself walk to some dark lost place. Life is difficult and one is challenged with many decisions of what turns to take with life choices. As much as a tale of fantasy with real-life faces, experiences, and places – the quest has become real and has transformed into a life changing event. The losses I experienced, and am experiencing, are still transforming me as I write this.


Me and Timber celebrating Fat Tuesday and my birthday this year
Timber may you rest in peace: October 11th, 1963 – April 1, 2009

The Loss of Timber
http://www.legacy.com/gazette/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStoryPrint&PersonID=125711930

On April Fool’s Day, I started seeing my friends post very tragic news … that our mutual friend Timber was found hanging in the warehouse next to the Inqb8tor with a letter. Knowing Timber to be the world’s biggest prankster, I refused to believe it, though pretty pissed that it was a very poor April Fools joke. It took me a couple of days to realize it wasn’t a joke, and being distanced by thousands of miles and a ocean, and a good friend clarifying to me that it indeed was a fact, Timber had chosen to part this existence. I was besides myself with great sadness as well as disbelief. How could, this incredible shining soul, who always had a tremendous smile on his face, a soul who could walk into every room and bring great happiness to everyone there. How could this happen? How could this be? I just couldn’t understand it. This was a great man who brought me much inspiration. He was an idol of sorts. He was an incredible artist and muse. While I haven’t had much one-on-one time with this great spirit, I cherished every minute I did have to spend with him – from his fabulous parties and events at the Inqb8tor, Apogaea, Burning Man, SantaCon, V bar, and seeing him around the art scene, First Fridays, and the Burning Man community.

His letter was released on April 22nd. I am so glad Douglas that you shared this with us so we know why he took his life and thereby giving us a sort of completion to this tragedy. Like many of us, Timber had many things on his plate that were weighing him down and restricting him from freely experiencing life as one should. I had no idea behind this smiling face, he was fighting through such weights but kept a very happy persona. Much to the same that I do through the many things that weigh me down. It resonated too deeply with me and is why its taken me this long to process it. Why Timber have you left us? Emotions of anger and sadness rushed over me, and oddly enough some excitement for his new journey now that I read his letter. Death is a very tragic life experience, but it is also a cross-over to a new place, for those of us that believe in life after death or reincarnation. I truly believe, that Timber is looking down on us and is on a journey that he felt he needed. Timber, I hope you find the happiness and experiences you seek in this new journey you have chosen to take. I thank you for everything you have done for our community, for the wonderful times and smiles you brought to us, and the beautiful art and music you enchanted us with. I understand how the materialism and trappings of this world frustrated you, and that the other dimensions appear so very much more attractive. I’m very sad about the loss of you. I love you Timber. You truly have been a blessing to my life. Thank you for everything you have done. You will be greatly missed.

For those who were friends of Timber: Here is his memorial page: http://www.facebook.com/wall.php?id=63270483525#/group.php?gid=63270483525
http://csartsblog.freedomblogging.com/2009/04/01/another-major-loss-timber-kirwan/897/
http://csartsblog.freedomblogging.com/tag/timber-kirwan/
http://csbj.com/hazlehurst/2009/04/03/a-death-and-a-life/




Michael Dunning: November 17, 1946 – April 1, 2009

The Loss of Michael Dunning

http://www.legacy.com/gazette/Obituaries.asp?Page=Notice&PersonID=125711934

My dear friend, co-worker, and spiritual elder; Michael Dunning also lost his life while I was away in Europe this year. Across the wire across the sea I heard the disturbing news that he had passed while I was gone. I didn’t hear about Michael’s death until almost a week later, but he too, passed away on April 1st of this year. Michael was a incredibly happy spirit, always full of smiles, and a soul full of great wisdom. He was warm, accepting, and a very helpful spirit who lived to protect our ancestors, the Earth, and the wildlife. He served greatly and admirably as a wildlife officer at Fort Carson. He was a wonderful elder with the Lakota Sioux Inipi Lodge at Fort Carson, helping initiate sweat lodge ceremonies to bless and heal friends, family, and soldiers at Fort Carson. He passed of natural causes. Michael, you will be greatly remembered for everything you have done and I thank you for being such a blessing to my life. You’ve inspired me in many great ways. You will forever be missed.

Other losses on April 1st and the same week

I heard reports from other close friends that they too lost friends this year on April 1st and the week of that date. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you – being so far away, thousands of miles, separated by a sea, and also lost in dealing with my own losses that I was trying to shut out and not accept the reality of such. I am truly deeply sorry for your losses. Alot of great spirits and souls left this existence that week. It reflects great changes that this year is to bring – and I just hope an end to this dying cycle happens soon, as I keep hearing about losses this month. Much love to you and know you can also call me if you need someone to talk to.



If anything, these losses, and my current quest, has taught me to appreciate every minute of life – to live every day like there will be no tomorrow, to sieze the moment, and take advantage of every beautiful jewel that comes into your life. It is with the losses and self-discovery on this quest that I realize much needed changes must occur with me right now. I need to get back into my spirituality, I need to rekindle my inner child, I need to focus on more exploration of the world around me, and I need to focus on why I’m here. This has become my journey, This has become my new quest. A celebration of life and a walk away from the darkness that has been recently drowning me. I will focus on my writing, my travels, the Faerie world, and protecting the wisdom of the ancestors and those enlightening souls that came before us.

Death – lament
Although thou hast died,
Love, though hadst not needed to die;
Still uam, still am.

Thy little kebbocks of cheese
Had been placed on the withe;
Still uam, still am.

Thy little kegs of butter
Had been smoothed by thy hand;
Still uam, still am.

And thy little chests of meal
Had been pressed by thy foot.
Still uam, still am.

Where shall we go to make out plaint
When we are hungry on the round?
Still uam, still am.

Where shall we go to warm ourselves
When we are chilled with cold?
Still uam, still am.

Where shall we go for shelter
Since thy hearth is now dead?
Still uam, still am.

Whom shall we resort to and visit
Since thy house, love, is cold?
Still uam, still am.

Although thou hast died,
It was not thy wont to be gloomy;
Still uam, still am.

Well mightest though have stayed
To give crowdy to folk.
Still uam, still am.

But, O gentle loved Mary,
Be thou kind to my love.
Still uam, still am.

[Carmina Gaedelica [550] p 540. ]



Annually a trip to Europe to begin a mystical, magical quest. The tales to come in the next two months are a blending of truth and fantasy, merged together in a incredible journey of continents … this year, LoTR The Sequel will begin …. “Lady of the Rhine, Quest of the Key”. The people and places are real, some of the mythology is real, but some fictitious titles and descriptions will be added to the story for a novel experience.

The Sequel: will take place from Sir Thomas Leaf’s journey to the Old World, to the Land of the Rhine, explorations around Germany and ending up at the Trolls et Legends Faire in Mons, Belgium. Be prepared for the adventure, start from the beginning ….


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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 13, Part A (4/7) – Duesseldorf, Planning, the Key, Keinohrhasen, The Secret

Part A


Various Roman and Medieval keys at Xanten, Germany

Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Duesseldorf, Germany

This particular morning Sir Leaf McGowan, Explorer and Adventurer from Colorado, awoke with visions. Clarity to the understanding of what exactly it is this key that the adventuring party seeks. Even though many keys had presented itself during the expedition – Xanten, Worms, Nuerenberg, Wurzburg, Cologne …. Sir Thomas Leaf is starting to realize that which he seeks is not the physical “key” that one would expect. But rather a “energy form” or “universal law” that is this “key of life; key of untapped raw wild energy that brings bliss”. As an archaeologist, he had been searching the crypts, the catacombs, the cathedrals, castles, museums, and archaeological sites for a sacred physical artifact that would unlock the secrets of youth and vitality of life. How to ressurect the child within. How to escape the coma he’s been in. But is realizing now it is something different. Its obvious now to the explorer that “the key” is something similar to the concept of “The Secret“. For those who haven’t watched this inspiring piece, “The Secret” is the “key” to “prosperity, health, relationships and happiness.” So “The Sacred Key of Life” being delved for is the key to keeping your “inner child alive” and staying “youthful”, “vivrant”, “exciting”, and “full of passion” about life. Not just in action, but in appeance, because they are quite connected. As the quest began with Sir Thomas Leaf feeling like his life has been stagnating in the last couple of years and that he had lost his way to the power that he had tapped into for most of his life 1990 until about 2007. Then he somehow lost it. In order to open this energy gate again, he realized he needs the key to unlock the lock. His first conclusion of course was a physical key. Now he knows this is far from the truth.


The city key in Worms, Germany in the zodiac wheel fountain clueing us to follow the dragon slayer in his tale for answers

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Wurzburg, Germany


Entering Wurzburg

Wurzburg, Germany
Wurzburg is a Franconia city in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the Main River approximately 120 kms from Frankfurt and Nuremberg by road and it is a center for culture, exports, trade, and commerce. It is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken. It is a German speaking city with the regional dialect as Franconian. The city itself is not included in the district of Wurzburg but is its administrative seat and holds a population of roughly 131,320 (2006 census). Wurzburg started as a Celtic fortification in 1000 BC where the Castle Marienberg now stands. As it was Christianized in 686 by Kilian, Colman, and Totnan; a group of Irish missionaries wanting to convert the area. First called Vurteburch in 704, the first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 who appointed Saint Burkhard as the first bishop of Wurzburg. The bishops created a duchy in the center of the city which extended throughout the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. Wurzburg became the seat of several Imperial diets, including the one of 1180, in which Henry the Lion was banned from the Empire and his duchy was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. [wikipedia] In 788, the first church was built and became the present Wrzburg Cathedral and was later consecrated that same year by Charlemagne. It was converted to Romanesque style from 1040 to 1225. Wurzburg is also home to the infamous University: The University of Wrzburg, which was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 12, Part B (4/6) – Wurzburg and Castle Marionburg, Return to Dusseldorf

Part B


View of Castle Marionburg from the bridge in Wurzburg

Monday, 6 April 2009
Wurzburg, Germany

The adventurers made it to Wurzburg. Wandering around the streets and exploring the artistic architecture, statues, and sights. The adventurers were in awe of what a beautiful city Wurzburg is. Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Vanssa, and Princess Brea crossed the bridge with all the statues to see how far a walk it would be to make it to the Castle on foot. Deciding against it, they opted for a scenic walk along the waterfront and over to the Tourist Information center. Soon thereafter, Lord Christian picked the group up in his motor-carriage and drove them up to the Castle. There they explored the still used interiors, walls, towers, and well. A key was held in the hand of a Saint and the other who may have held one, was missing the arm that would of held the missing key. Could this be the heavily sought after “Key?” to “Life”? Was the key in the hands of this other statue and cut off by someone who wanted “the sacred key of life”? Bedazzled and confused, the adventurers continued on as Sir Thomas Leaf believed a mighty Troll may have taken the Key to Belgium. Omens and prophecies said the key would be there. Being a reknown diviner – faith was planted to follow his intuition. After the castle, it was a couple hour drive to Dusseldorf. The party dropped by Sir Ingo the Great’s for some tea and cake, then Lady Vanessa lured Princess Breanna and Sir Thomas Leaf off for some Lebanese fast food. That evening they took it easy and settled down to a movie satisfied with their adventure.

 
The statues at Castle Marionburg, one holding a key, the other perhaps had the missing key

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Kaspar Hauser

The Story of Kaspar Hauser
(April 30, 1812 – December 17, 1833)
Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany
In the 19th century, around the streets of Nuremberg, Germany there appeared a small teenage boy with no family, little ability for speech, and no caretaker. From what could be determined was this poor child had grown up in the isolation of a darkened cell, and that he could quite possibly be a lost prince child of the House of Baden. It was on May 26 of 1828 that this foundling was discovered on the streets with a letter addressed to the 60th cavalry regiment 4th squadron Captain von Wessenig dated “From the Bavarian border / The place is not named [sic] / 1828”. The letter told that the boy was given into custody on the 7th October 1812 as an infant with instructions to teach him the Christian religion, reading, and writing; but with explicit orders for him never to “take a single step out of my house”. The letter stated the boy was to become a cavalryman – to enlist him or to hang him. Continue reading Kaspar Hauser

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 12, Part A (4/6) – Lord Christian’s Farm, Leaving Ansbach

Part A


Leaving Christian’s Family’s Farm

Monday, 6 April 2009
Ansbach, Germany

Rustled up by Lord Christian the explorers got their gear together and departed the farm. Today was the road trip to Wurzburg and the Castle Marionburg to accomplish the quest for the sacred key. Sir Thomas Leaf having some revelations overnight is realizing insight about the key and to stop looking for it buried in crypts, tombs, dungeons, and ancient ruins. But that it may exist in more ethereal form in the beauty of aspirations of life. So the quest begins to change as they begin the search for the key above ground to discover the mystery it beholds. Perhaps there is a gatekeeper to a secret world where this mystery lieth.

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