Saturday, October 17, 2020

Beware Of America's Creepiest Roads!

They've been called urban legends, ghost stories, creepy encounters.  But they all have one thing in common—unexplained happenings on dark roads in the dead of night.  If you'll pardon the use of the word dead.

Or maybe it's more appropriate than you realize.  :)

Since October is the month of things that go bump in the night as well as Halloween, it's the perfect time of year to explore these creepy lanes and the unexplained happenings.  Here's a sampling of some of these haunted places.

Shades of Death Road in Warren Co., NJ:  Yes, Shades of Death Road is the real name of the street, but no one is sure exactly how the name came about.  Over the decades many murders have happened along this stretch of road, each its own ghastly tale, which certainly explains why so many different ghosts haunt the area.

The San Antonio Ghost Track:  If you put your car in neutral on the tracks, the car will move by itself off the tracks.  And if you cover the bumper in baby power, you'll find child-sized palm prints.  However, be careful if you decide to try it out.  There have been reports of bandits waiting in hiding for people to start their paranormal test.

The Georgia Ghost Roads:  Travelers late at night along Railroad Bed Road and Old Ghost Road (Robertson Road) see a faint orange light flashing in the distance.  As they drive closer to it, a man will appear who is digging a ditch…or perhaps a grave.  He turns and walks toward the car, but disappears before he gets there.

Buckout Road in Harrison, NY:  The shocking murders committed by Issac Buckhout are believed responsible for the area's many reports of notorious activities such as farms burning, vandalism in a local historic cemetery, and people who claimed to have been attacked by flesh-eating monsters because they parked in front of a specific red house and honked their car horn three times.

Meshack Road in Tompinsville, KY:  This is supposedly the original location of the oft repeated story of the young woman in the prom dress who is walking along the road and given a ride by a young man.  He gives her his coat to keep warm.  The next day he returns to the house where he took her in order to retrieve his coat.  The woman living there told him her daughter had died several years ago…on prom night.

Milford Road in Oxford, Ohio:  The story of star-crossed lovers.  The boy and girl were in love but the girl's father hated the boy.  The boy would flash his motorcycle headlight three times and if he saw her porch light flash three times in return he knew it was safe to go there.  One night he's killed on the road, but the flashing lights continue to haunt the area.

Mona Lisa Drive in New Orleans:  A philanthropist donated a collection of statuary to the city with one stipulation.  The statue commissioned to commemorate the death of his only daughter, Mona, be placed in a special location in the park by itself.  One night a car chase ended with a car crashing into the statue and shattering it.  After that, rumors began to circulate that Mona lurked in the park where the statue had been, haunting innocent and unsuspecting visitors.

Archer Road in Justice, IL:  Resurrection Cemetery is the site of a story similar to the Meshack Road haunting.  A young man met a pretty blond at a dance.  At the end of the evening, he drove her home.  When they reached the cemetery, she asked him to stop.  She got out of the car, walked toward the gate, and disappeared.  He went to the house where she said she lived and the woman told him her daughter had been dead for five years.

Spook Hill in Burkittsville, MD:  In addition to the ghostly reputation courtesy of the 1990s horror movie, The Blair Witch Project, an unexplained recurring happening here is similar to the Railroad Crossing in San Antonio.  When driving up Spook Hill, if you stop and put the car in neutral it won't roll back downhill.  It will continue uphill as if being pushed.  The local ghostly tale claims it's Civil War soldiers who think they're pushing one of their cannons up the hill.

Clinton Road in New Jersey:  If you find yourself on this haunted road, be sure to toss a coin into the river at the Old Boy Bridge. The ghost of a boy who drowned will throw it back. There have also been reported sightings of UFOs, mutated circus animals, and mysterious glowing eyes.

Highway 666:  This highway was originally named because it was the 6th spur off of US Highway 66 (now mostly replaced by Interstate 40) through Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. Travelers on this haunted highway, known as the Devil's Highway, have reported speeding ghost cars, packs of devil dogs, and a flaming demonic semi-truck that drives directly at the spooked travelers. Many people attribute these sightings to a biblical association between the numbers 666 and Satan. In 2003, the highway number was changed to Highway 491. There are still a few places where you can see the Highway 666 sign labeled as old next to the Highway 491 sign labeled as new.

Do you have any ghostly tales or spooky happenings where you live?

Saturday, October 10, 2020

10 Halloween Superstitions

Superstitions flourish in all countries and all cultures.  Some of the origins are so obscured by time that no one knows when, how, or why they came into being.  Friday the 13th always brings out superstitions and the rituals used to thwart them.

And then there's Halloween.

Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic, and superstition.  It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends.  They set places at the table and left treats on doorsteps for these friendly spirits.  They also lit candles to help their loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.  Today's Halloween ghosts are usually depicted as scarier, as are our customs and superstitions.

Here's a list of ten superstitions that seem to apply specifically to Halloween.

1)  If a candle goes out on its own on Halloween, it is thought a ghost has come to call.

2)  A burning candle inside of a Jack-o-lantern on Halloween keeps evil spirits at bay.

3)  You invite bad luck into your home if you allow a fire to burn out on Halloween.

4)  A person born on Halloween can both see and talk to spirits.

5)  Seeing a spider on Halloween could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you.

6)  If you hear footsteps behind you on Halloween, don't look back because it could be the dead following you.

7)  Don't look at your shadow in moonlight on Halloween night.  If you do, you will die within a short period of time.

8)  If a bat flies around a house three times, it is a death omen.

9)  Ringing a bell on Halloween will scare evil spirits away.

10)  A bat that enters a home may have been let in by a ghost.

Do you have any superstitions that apply to Halloween?

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Horror Movies For The Halloween Season—and the lessons they teach us

Today at Halloween time, we think of horror movies as being series such as Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and even a horror series titled Halloween. But these modern horror movies rely on slasher and gore for their fright factor.

What has happened to the scary horror movies from the past that traded on the atmosphere of fear rather than the visual of spurting blood and flying body parts?  The tingling sensation that made the hair stand on the back of our necks and goose bumps on our arms as our imaginations ran wild.  The spooky ground fog that slithered over and around the tombstones, cloaking the cemetery in an eerie silence and spectral glow.

I'm talking about the traditional horror classics from many decades gone by such as Frankenstein from 1931 with Boris Karloff's brilliant performance as the monster.  Also from 1931, Dracula with Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the vampire as both elegant and mesmerizing which left the horror to the imagination of the viewer.  The next year gave us 1932's The Mummy with Boris Karloff once again turning in a stellar performance, this time as the two thousand year old mummy in search of the reincarnation of his mate.  Then came 1941's The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney, Jr., as the stricken and cursed Larry Talbot.

True to Hollywood tradition, these classic horror movies spawned numerous sequels—Bride of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Dracula's Daughter.  And as long as Hollywood was on a roll, they added to the profit factor by capitalizing on the popularity of the characters by having them co-star in such movies as Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man.  Then there were the myriad remakes that came over the ensuing years, some serious attempts and others totally ludicrous.  Each one pushed the envelope in its own way in order to hopefully make it better (as in more box office dollars, not necessarily better quality) than its predecessor.

And the award for the most remakes over the years goes to Dracula.  Some were serious films and others were more on the ridiculous side with titles such as Dracula's Dog. And don't forget the use of the characters to sell products such as Count Chocula cereal from General Mills. And even Sesame Street has a character called The Count who, no surprises here, counts things.

With all four of the above mentioned original movies, the remakes never really captured the essence of the originals…in my humble opinion.

But these classic horror movies have done more than provide us with entertainment.  They have given us some valuable lessons for handling real life as well as those evil things lurking in the shadows.

Here are 9 important lessons Halloween season horror movies have taught us.

9)  When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.

8)  If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination with blood, glowing eyes, or increasing hairiness, get away from them as fast as possible.

7)  Do not search the basement when the power has just gone out especially if it was NOT knocked out as the result of a storm or if yours is the only house on the block without power.

6)  If appliances start operating by themselves, move out.

5)  Stay away from certain geographic locations such as: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog, the Bermuda Triangle…or any small town in Maine.

4)  If your children speak to you in any language which they should not know or if they speak to you using a voice which is not their own, be afraid…be very afraid.

3)  When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER pair off and separate from the group (are you listening to this advice Scooby Doo gang?) or worse yet go it alone when searching the spooky old mansion for the source of the strange noises.

2)  As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to hell.

And last, but not least…

1)  If you find a town that looks mysteriously deserted, there's probably a good reason for it.  Take the hint and stay away!