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Showing posts from September, 2015

A visit from beyond the grave?

Since its inception in 1892, the Society for Psychical Research has published innumerable papers on paranormal phenomena from around the world, while being one of the first organizations to catalog and archive reports of the strange and unusual. One of its earliest cases, which took place at a London photography store in January of 1891, still stands as one of the most unusual.

On Saturday morning, January 3, 1891, a photographer named James Dickinson arrived at his London studio around eight o'clock, and a little while later a young man by the name of Thompson stopped in to inquire whether or not his photograph was finished. Dickinson looked into the matter and informed Thompson that his photograph was not yet finished, but informed the customer that he should have it ready later that afternoon.

"But I've been traveling all night," the customer complained, "and I can't call again." Thompson unhappily left the studio without another word, and Dickinson c…

Hairy Men in Caves: True Stories of America's Most Colorful Hermits

Discover the hermit from Ohio who lived in a tree, the hermit from Iowa who shared a cave with a trained pig and later became an elected judge, the hermit from California whose life was immortalized in a Nat King Cole hit song, the hermit from New York who shot Billy the Kid, the hermit from Massachusetts who went to school with King Edward, the hermit from Michigan who helped capture Jefferson Davis, the hermit from Washington who had an army of trained skunks as bodyguards, the hermit from Tennessee who was raised in the White House, the frog-eating hermit from New Hampshire who captured the emperor of India, the hermit from Kentucky whose name became a famous brand of whiskey, the hermit who was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and more! 

Hairy Men in Caves: True Stories of America's Most Colorful Hermits profiles the lives of over 80 of the most eccentric hermits, recluses and misanthropes of the past three centuries. Published by Sunbury Press, it is the largest compend…

The ghost dancer of Kataragama

Known as the "City of the Gods", the Sri Lankan holy city of Kataragama is sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike, and it has been a sacred place for thousands of years. Archaeological excavations have determined that Kataragama has been the site of human habitation for at least 125,000 years. With such an incredible history, it's easy to understand how this sacred site in Sri Lanka became a popular tourist destination.

In 1939, two Englishmen were shooting a travel film in the jungles of Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) when they were attracted to an abandoned but majestic ancient temple near Kataragama that was in a state of ruin. The film crew consisted of Charles Brooke Farrar, an artist, and G.A. Smith, a photographer. Farrar and Smith both agreed that the ancient temple would be perfect for their project. They set up their camera and began filming.

Just as the men began shooting, they saw a stunningly beautiful girl they hadn't noticed before. She was d…

The haunted telephone

Can spirits use technology to get in touch with the living? Many people believe this to be true, and this belief has endured throughout modern history, from the invention of the telephone to the invention of the cellphone and the Internet. The following is a rather interesting story that originally appeared in the New York Sun in January of 1879 under the title "A Haunted Telephone".

Mr. John J. Ghegan, the night operator in the Newark office of the Western Union Telegraph Company, is agent for Professor Phelps' and Professor Edison's telephones and he has put up a large number of both kinds of the instruments in Newark. About three months ago he put up a Phelps telephone for Mr. J.J. O'Connor, the Catholic bookseller and publisher for the diocese of Newark. Mr. O'Connor is the agent for the Cemetery of the Holy Sepulcher, in East Orange, two miles from Mr. O'Connor's store and residence, at No. 103 Washington Street.

He frequently had occasion to se…

5 premonitions of death that defy explanation

Can some people accurately forecast their own death? The historical record suggests that, yes, they can. While it may not seem remarkable for a 100-year-old human or someone with a terminal illness to predict the time and day of their demise, history records numerous cases of healthy and otherwise normal individuals who were able to predict their departure from this word with startling accuracy. Below are five examples.

1. Ten-year-old boy unknowingly schedules his own funeral

On Sunday, July 15, 1883, the ten-year-old son of Judge J.D. Comstock from Colesville, New York, startled his parents by writing a note in which he declared something remarkable would soon take place. Although he was in perfect health, the boy died suddenly shortly thereafter and his funeral was scheduled for Friday, July 27 at 3 pm. Later that day the deceased boy's parents found the note the boy had written just days before and read it:

"Within twelve days after today, on Friday, at three minutes past…

A tale of a life twice lived

As an author, William Chapman White is best remembered for his 1954 book "Adirondack Country", but White was also a well-respected journalist who penned columns for the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune. As a correspondent during World War II, White served as an executive in the U.S. Office of War Information. His credentials earned him a great deal of trust, so it's difficult to overlook a strange incident he encountered in the early 1950s, an encounter that brought him face to face with the unexplained.

White was on a cruise ship enjoying a vacation around the world when he struck up a friendship with a middle-aged married couple aboard the same ship. Their last name was a Bralorne and they revealed that they had never been outside of the United States before. They were from a small town in the Midwest and the cruise had been a wedding anniversary gift from their son. Since White was an experienced world traveler, he assumed the role of guide for the coup…

The paranormal experience of Henry Morton Stanley

Best known as the man who famously asked, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" upon finding the lost explorer in Africa, Sir Henry Morton Stanley was a celebrity with worldwide fame for his explorations of the Congo Basin. He is also a man with a most unusual past.

Born in 1814 in Wales, Stanley emigrated to America at the age of eighteen and served in the Civil War as both a Union and Confederate soldier. As a soldier in the Confederate Army's 6th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, he was captured at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862 and imprisoned at Camp Douglas in Illinois. While a prisoner, he caught the attention of the prison camp's commander, Col. James Mulligan, who convinced him to join the Union Army.

While Stanley was a prisoner of war, he had a brush with the paranormal. On the morning of Wednesday, April 16, 1862, Stanley was playing cards with other Confederate prisoners when he felt something soft touch the back of his neck. He suddenly lost consciousness.

During his u…