Facing throngs of seasoned and fresh victims alike this 2009 season, haunted attraction owners, producers and make up departments are looking for new chills, creeps and creatures to leap from the nighttime shadows. A fresh new look, for a familiar character, will be transforming scare-actors and scare-zones in scream parks and haunted houses across the country this Halloween into rampaging werewolves. (more…)
In 1848, the “spiritualism” movement swept the US and the world. This movement gained momentum VERY quickly, and several “mediums” began to get rich off a grieving public who could not let go of loved ones who had passed. These mediums would claim to bring messages from the other side to help “heal” the grief of people…. for a price. Society was a lot different back then, and in general people were very uneducated, so in 1850 the scientific community as a whole created the field of parapsychology to try and debunk these “mystics.”
The top minds of that time got together to try to figure out how these “psychics” performed their parlor tricks. Their roster included people like Sir William Crooks (discovered cathode rays, x-rays, and the electron), Sir Oliver Lodge (responsible for advancements in physics, early research into electricity, worked on radio, and credited by Albert Einstein, who used Lodge’s research to develop his theory of relativity), Henry Sidgwick, Fredrick Myers, and British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour. Later non-scientific people joined this field like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll, William Gladstone, Harry Houdini, Mark Twain, and the first ghost hunter, Harry Price.
It was not until 1924 that they come across a “psychic” they could not debunk. Her name was Mina Crandon, a.k.a. Margery. Since they could not debunk her, they were forced to label her as legitimate and spawned a rage in the scientific community. Harry Houdini tried throughout his career as a parapsychologist to “debunk” her and remained unsuccessful to his death. Because of Margery, the scientific community turned their backs on this field, and in their minds it has been a quasi-science ever since, even though they themselves created this field to investigate various aspects of the paranormal as we do now.
We still use the same theories that were first developed by Harry Price, although through technology we have gone farther than he had ever dreamed possible. Through the use of EMF meters, thermal scanners, Geiger counters, and other technology, we have proven his thoughts to be accurate concerning the atmospheric deviations “ghosts” create. The media hype concerning ghosts and psychics is creating a new “spiritualism” movement in this millennium, and it is only a matter of time before the scientific community as a whole embraces us, their long lost sister, to help combat this movement and prove frauds of those people who profit from others’ misery.
Everything we do in this field is vital for the new foundation of parapsychology. Unlike “psychics,” our equipment is nonjudgmental and cannot be tampered with by the minds of men. They simply tell the truth as to what is occurring in a location. I believe that we are more legitimate than someone who simply “feels” something in a home, something that cannot be supported with evidence.
Mary Milan, known to locals as Bloody Mary, is one of the renowned story tellers and “voodoo” tour guides in New Orleans. In addition, she is also certified to perform weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Dedicated to her craft as well as to helping rebuild her beloved city of New Orleans, Milan travels around the state and the country to promote her gifts and her love of New Orleans and Louisiana.
Recently, Bloody Mary was asked by the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventurers to visit the sleepy town of Natchitoches, Louisiana to perform a Voodoo ceremony at the historic Magnolia Plantation on Cane River. While the Ghost Hunters themselves did not seem to know much about Louisiana’s rich Voodoo tradition, they were open to Mary’s beautiful ceremony.
According to the Ghost Adventurer’s website, in a form of silent rebellion, the slaves at Magnolia often used Voodoo to cast evil wishes on their oppressive masters. Some of the signs of Voodoo rituals found at the site included “historical graffiti” in the form of black Xs, traditional symbols of Voodoo. While the real meaning of the Voodoo X varies depending upon the source, Voodoo is a religion that is a combination of African religions and Catholicism, both of which use the cross as a symbol of power and for the purposes of invocation.
The “historical graffiti” found at Magnolia Plantation could have been signs to each other than certain places were under the protection of the Voodoo gods. They could have been used to ward off hunger, fear and death. Or, they could have been used to frighten the overseers who did not comprehend the complexity of the religion. Either way, the use of a black X as a symbol of Voodoo is one that is historical. In the case of Marie LaVeau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, visitors flock to her grave each year and leave behind three black Xs in hopes of receiving a wish or blessing from the Voodoo Queen.
This practice, known as sympathetic magic, takes place in many religions. Sympathetic magic is nothing more than using an object to signify a wish, hope or prayer. In Mexican Catholicism, the milagro is often used to represent a body part that practitioner wishes to have healed by the saints.
During her ritual at Magnolia Plantation, Mary used several traditional Voodoo practices, including the wearing of white, a color that helps erase negativity, and calling upon the spirit of Papa Legba, the Voodoo god who is the “gatekeeper” who is responsible for opening and closing the gateway between the spiritual and material worlds. She also used a traditional gourd shaker as part of her ritual to maintain a rhythm in both her speech and the movement of the ritual.
During theGhost Adventurers’ stay at Magnolia Plantation, several strange things took place. However, because the show itself was more hype than real ghost hunting, it was difficult to tell how much of their â€œencounterâ€? was for the purposes of entertainment. Nonetheless, the plantation itself has a rich history, and the Voodoo Queen who officiated the ceremony is a legitimate priestess who comes highly recommended.