Here it is. Halloween. Again.
I’ve missed it since last year. But now that it has returned, let’s give thanks for the Spooky.
Oh, I like a good Spooky Tale, I’ll tell you. I’ve lived in a couple of different houses with some highly irregular occurrences. Some might call them odd coincidences. Others would label them as interactions from the spirit realm beyond. Either way, the world is full of speculation and opinions on this.
And certainly, the stories. From all around the world.
Let’s start in Kisiljevo, Serbia.
Back in the year 1725. This place is small, still. Only 800 people live in this remote village. But, back in 1725, a resident named Petar Plogojowitz passed away. And then, in the next eight days, nine deaths occurred.
Not just like heart attacks and such. The nine who died said that Plogojowitz’s corpse had “throttled” them. To clarify, they said this while on their deathbeds. All nine. So then, of course, a bunch of priests and officials flocked to Kisiljevo to investigate. They finally decided they need to exhume Plogojowitz. So they did. About 40 days after he kicked the can. And when the popped open that coffin? Strangely, his beard and nails still seemed to be growing. Plus, there were signs of new skin.
Now the story goes, they plunged a stake into his body. There is no indication of who came up with this wise idea. But that’s what they did. And upon that plunge, it was reported that fresh blood spurted from his ears and mouth. And a horrible scream came chortling out. And then, the frosting on top? His skin turned black.
And after all of that, the murders ceased. Some call Plogojowitz “the first vampire.” It sort of sounds that way to me.
Now, a little closer to home, and a bit more recent. Let’s go to The Stanley Hotel, in Colorado.
Anyone who has seen “The Shining” knows this place. It is nestled in the Rocky Mountains. A very cool setting with breathtaking views and vistas. But there are other things there that will take your breath away. It has a heaping reputation for true ghost stories.
And the story goes like this. In 1911, a housekeeper lit a candle in a room that had a gas leak. Well, gas and flames don’t mix. It caused an explosion that destroyed a tenth of the hotel. She lived. But in later years, the guests claim her spirit has “unpacked their beds” or “done the sheets around them” while they were sleeping. Some ghosts are quirky that way, I suppose.
Other people hear piano music. But no one sitting at the piano. Footsteps and no feet. You know the drill. In 2017, a man on a ghost tour supposedly captured two little girls on film. But, there were no young girls in the room.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Redrum.
Moving east, to the Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania
This State Penitentiary was home to some of the country’s most notorious criminals. And back about 150 years ago, the punishments for those criminals were pretty horrendous.
It was one of the first prisons to institute solitary confinement (which led to insanity). Also, the prisoners were left wet in the cold until ice formed on their bodies. They were often given an iron gag that made their tongues bleed. This, and more. And many of the prisoners died there. In those cells.
So, of course, their spirits would be angry. Visitors to the building in modern day have been overcome with “negative energy” and temporarily paralysis. People have seen visions, shadowy figures, and “movement.” Laughing, whispering, wailing. All sorts of creepy activity. It has bee the subject of many “Ghost Hunting” shows.
There are hundreds of places the entire world around. From Burg Wolfsegg, Wolfsegg, Germany — where the ghostly “White Woman” scares visitors — to the Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts — where there is a real ax to grind from the realms beyond.
Many people think it is bunk. And just as many believe these things to be true. It could be a Trick. It might be a Treat.
But if we know anything for sure, it is this:
We can never be certain of the uncertain.
And even Halloween shows us this lesson about the way of the world.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.
—”Old Man’s Advice to Youth: ‘Never Lose a Holy Curiosity.'” LIFE Magazine (2 May 1955) p. 64”
― Albert Einstein