Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Edgar Allen Poe Short Story

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ghost Hunting Basics
Ghost Hunt- going to a place where there have been no sightings of ghosts and trying to catch some on film (video and photos), sounds, eyewitness, etc. (graveyards are the number one place to start, churches, schools and older buildings too) 
Ghost Investigation- going to a known haunted place and recording data (video, photos, audio, temperatures), notes, interviews and other evidence to prove/disprove the haunting and to assist the owners and the spirits in moving on and leaving the place if they want that. The assistance can be either you directly assisting the owner with the situation or putting them in contact with experienced groups or individuals that will try to resolve the situation. Your assistance can be something as simple as educating them on what is going on and their options. 

What you may encounter:
There are generally two types of spirits you may encounter. One was a human at one time and it has remained on this level for some reason. It may not know it's dead, may be held here by unfinished business, guilt, etc. These spirits are like the person was when they were alive, so they could be good or bad, just like the living, but not normally dangerous. This human spirit is the type you will encounter 95% of the time. You could also witness a residual haunting which is just a playback of a past event. This is just like watching a video from the past playing over and over. The other types of spirit you may encounter were never human and are generally bad news. You must be aware of this type but not obsessed with them, the chances that you will encounter them in a regular ghost hunt are slim. I have experienced both types and I just want to make you aware of their existence. So be aware and protect yourself and you should have no problem. 

Types of Haunting
The first type of haunting is exactly like a video playback of a historic or tragic event. This is called a residual haunting. The event unfolds in front of you and there is no interaction between you and the ghosts. They seem to not notice you and go through the motions of the event that occurred in the past. This event has been imprinted on the area or building and is replayed back later when conditions are right. The ghosts that you see in this type are not earthbound spirits; they are just visual playbacks. Since everything is made up of energy, the theory is that some of the energy from an event can be recorded by certain materials and played back when the atmosphere triggers it. Remember that video and audiotape is just oxidized (rust) film that enables the images and sounds to "stick" to it. This type may be frightening when you see it, but you are in no danger so enjoy the experience.

The second type of haunting is an interactive spirit that manifests in many ways. You may see a full bodied or partial bodied apparition. More frequently than that, you may here voices, music, footsteps, etc. You may also smell odors which sources cannot be found (i.e. pipe tobacco when no one smokes). You may also see orbs, mists and other light effects. You may feel touches, cold spots, and other light physical contact. This ghost is the spirit of a deceased human being. They may be stuck here (earthbound) for reasons such as tragic sudden death, fear of moving on, guilt or unfinished business. They also could be here visiting loved ones or to warn or pass along a message. These human spirits are the same as they were in life, so they may be good or bad, but not really evil. Think of all the people you know, probably a bit of good and bad, some worse than others. This type can cause some scary situations but you must think about the situation they are in, you don't see them but they see you. They will try to get your attention any way they can. Many times this is the terrifying event people will write to me about like the lights going on and off, items moving, noises, etc. For the most part these are just attention getters and nothing more. There are a few more mischievous human spirits that will do these things to bother you and scare you on purpose. They may just be a prankster or maybe they want you to leave the old home or not to change something in the home. They have all the same motivations you and I would have. These human spirits account for a majority of the haunting we encounter and are relatively harmless. Yes, there are extreme cases and sometimes they can cause dangerous situations, but this is not the norm and is rare. 

The third type of ghost you may encounter is not a rare one, but is rare that they interact with the living. They are non-human spirits, commonly known as demons and devils. They are mentioned in the bible numerous places in both the old and new testaments. People like Ed and Lorraine Warren have been dealing with this type of spirit for years. This type is dangerous and can cause you harm. I believe that if there is good, there must be a counter balance, evil. These non-human spirits often disguise themselves and friendly and helpful human spirits. They often appear in cases dealing with Ouija boards, black magic and satanic worship. This is why I recommend not trying to contact spirits and doing ghost hunts without some understanding of what's out there. It's also why I recommend you go with or learn from experienced people before hand. That way you can ghost hunt with relative safety from these entities.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

'Haunted House 2' is too much of a bad thing

Colin Covert

Displayed with permission from Star Tribune

Imagine a Venn diagram charting three qualities: Silly, gross and dumb. At the point where they overlap you will find the fright film spoof "A Haunted House 2," a scattershot, anything-goes affair that's unapologetically stupid. Proudly stupid. Aggressively stupid. The film is writer / star Marlon Wayans' take on suburban ghost stories. Putting himself at the center of that usually lily-white genre gives him a target-rich environment for broad, politically incorrect satire. The first entry in the series gave Wayans' upwardly mobile new homeowner a head-spinning freakshow of a girlfriend (we've all been there, right, guys?). Those demons banished, he takes another shot at suburban life with his new girlfriend (Jaime Pressly) and her two teenagers. Once again the road to settling down and relationship building is strewn with supernatural stumbling blocks. Wayans is repeatedly hypnotized by a chalk-faced, creepy-eyed antique doll whose erotic magic sends him into a mating frenzy, typically when Pressly or her kids are approaching the bedroom door. The star's gymnastic, flesh-baring humping and randy pillow talk is funny at first. It's not the kind of joke that improves with repetition, though. Wayans beats it to death, then to smithereens, then to dust motes. To the limited degree that the film works, it's thanks to the all-in commitment of the cast. In a Santeria blood-sacrifice ritual, Wayans has to catch, pummel and slaughter a chicken that turns out to be remarkably uncooperative and tough. The scene is a master class in physically punishing over-the-top slapstick. Pressly is winning as Wayans' oblivious, cougarish new squeeze. Gabriel Iglesias provides good-humored ethnic awkwardness as Wayans' Hispanic neighbor, and Cedric the Entertainer returns as a serenely sinful exorcist. The film parodies a lot of movies that deserve it (its basic framework comes from the "Paranormal Activity" series, the doll from "The Conjuring") and one or two that deserve better (the sublimely scary "Sinister" gets a thorough drubbing, turning its occult killer into an accident-prone klutz). The script is lazy, recycling countless genre cliches rather than inventing novel twists. The jokes aren't just painted in broad strokes, they're applied with a roller. But at least in one way, "A Haunted House 2" improves on the first entry in the series. That film had a long, gratuitous shot of Nick Swardson's bare rump, a horror that the sequel spares us. ——— A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 1.5 stars Rating: R for crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violent images.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lest We Forget

Perhaps in no direction has the human mind ever shown greater weakness than in the opinions entertained of witchcraft. If Hecate, the oldest patroness of witches, wandered about at night with a gruesome following, and frightened lovers at their stealthy meeting, or lonely wanderers on open heaths and in dark forests, her appearance was at least in keeping with the whole system of Greek mythology. Tacitus does not frighten us by telling us that witches used to meet at salt springs (Ann. xiii. 57), nor the Edda when speaking of the "bearers of witches' kettles," against whom even the Salic Law warns all good Christians. But when the Council of Ancyra, in the fifth century, fulminates its edicts against women riding at night upon weird animals in company with Diana and Herodias, the strange combination of names and the dread penalties threatened, make us almost think of witches as of real and most marvelous beings. And when wise councillors of French Parliaments and gray dignitaries of the Holy German Empire sit in judgment over a handful of poor old women, when great English bishops and zealous New England divines condemn little children to death, because they have made pacts with the Devil, attended his sabbaths, and bewitched their peaceful neighbors — then we stand amazed at the delusions, to which the wisest and best among us are liable.

Christianity, it is true, shed for a time such a bright light over the earth, that the works of darkness were abhorred and the power of the Evil One seemed to be broken, according to the sacred promises that the seed of woman should bruise the serpent's head. Thus Charlemagne, in his fierce edict issued after the defeat of the Saxons, ordered that death should be inflicted on all who after pagan manner gave way to devilish delusions, and believed that men or women could be witches, persecuted and killed them ; or, even went so far as to consume their flesh and give it to others for like purposes ! But almost at the same time the belief in the Devil, distinctly maintained in Holy Writ, spread far and wide, and as early as the fourth century diseases were ascribed not to organic causes, but to demoniac influences, and the Devil was once more seen bodily walking to and fro on the earth, accompanied by a host of smaller demons. It was but rarely that a truly enlightened man dared to combat the universal superstition. Thus Agobard, archbishop of Lyons, shines like a bright star on the dark sky of the ninth century by his open denunciation of all belief in possession, in the control of the weather or the decision of difficulties by ordeal. For like reasons we ought to revere the memory of John of Salisbury, who in the twelfth century declared the stories of nightly assemblies of witches, with all their attending circumstances, to be mere delusions of poor women and simple men, who fancied they saw bodily what existed only in their imagination. The Church hesitated, now requiring her children to believe in a Devil and demons, and now denouncing all faith in supernatural beings. The thirteenth century, by Leibnitz called the darkest of all, developed the worship of the Evil One to its fullest perfection ; the writings of St. Augustine were quoted as confirming the fact that demons and men could and did intermarry, and the Djinns of the East were mentioned as spirits who "sought the daughters of men for wives." The first trace of a witches' dance is found in the records of a fearful Auto-da-fe held in Toulouse in the year 1353, and about a century later the Dominican monk, Jaquier, published the first complete work on witches and witchcraft. He represented them as organised — after the prevailing fashion of the day — in a regular guild, with apprentices, companions, and masters, who practised a special art for a definite purpose. It is certainly most remarkable that the same opinion, in all its details, has been entertained in this century even, and by one of the most famous German philosopliers, Eschenmayer. While the zeal and madness of devil-worshippers were growing on one side, persecution became more violent and cruel on the other side, till the trials of witches assumed gigantic proportions and the proceedings were carried on according to a regular method. These trials originated, invariably, with theologians, and although the system was not begun by the Papal government it obtained soon the Pope's legal sanction by the famous bull of Innocent VIII., Summis desider antes, dated December 4, 1484, and decreeing the relentless persecution of all heretical witches. The far-famed Malleus maleficatum (Cologne, 1489), written by the two celebrated judges of witches, Sprenger and Gremper, and full of the most extraordinary views and statements, reduced the whole to a regular method, and obtained a vast influence over the minds of that age. The rules and forms it prescribed were not only observed in almost all parts of Christendom, but actually
retained their force and legality till the end of the seventeenth century. Nor were these views and practices confined to Catholic countries; a hundred and fifty years after the Eeformation, a great German jurist and a Protestant, Carpzon, published his Praxis Griminalis, in which precisely the same opinions were taught and the same measures were prescribed. The Puritans, it is well-known, pursued a similar plan, and the New World has not been more fortunate in avoiding these errors than the Old World. A curious feature in the above-mentioned works is the fact that both abound in expressions of hatred against the female sex, and still more curious, though disgraceful in the extreme, that the special animosity shown by judges of witchcraft against women is solely based upon the weight which they attached to the purport of the Mosaic inhibition: "Thou Shalt not* suffer a witch to
live " (Exodus xii. 18).

These are dark pages in the history of Christendom, blackened by the smoke of funeral piles and stained with the blood of countless victims of cruel supersti- tion. For here the peculiarity was that in the majority of cases not the humble sufferers whose lives were sac- rificed, but the haughty judges were the true criminals. The madness seems to have been contagious, for Protestant authorities were as bloodthirsty as Catholics ; the Inquisition waged for generations unceasing war against this new class of heretics among the nations of the Eomanic race. Germany saw great numbers sacrificed in a short space of time, and in sober England, even, three thousand lost their lives during the Long Parliament alone, while, according to Barrington, the whole number who perished amounted to not less than thirty thousand! If only few were sacrificed in New England, the exception was due more to the sparse population than to moderation ; in South America, on the contrary, the persecution was carried on with re- lentless cruelty. And all this happened while fierce war was raging almost everywhere, so that, while the sword destroyed the men, the fire consumed the women !

Schele de Vere, M. (Maximilian), 1820-1898

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pat Robertson tells Wiccan: You're 'nice' -- but you're going to Hell anyway

Monday, April 7, 2014

History of Astronomy

History of astronomy

Astronomy is probably the oldest of the natural sciences, dating back to antiquity, with its origins in the religious practices of pre-history: vestiges of these are still found in astrology, a discipline long interwoven with astronomy, and not completely separate from it until about 1750-1800 in the Western World. Early astronomy involved observing and predicting the motions of visible celestial objects, especially stars and planets. An example of this early astronomy might involve a study of the relationships between the "apparent height" of the noon Sun, with respect to the changing patterns of nighttime stars. Eventually astrological charts were drawn up by cultures around the world using the raw, astronomical data collected.

Ancient astronomers were able to differentiate between stars and planets; as Stars remain relatively fixed over the centuries, while planets will move an appreciable amount during a comparatively short time.

Ancient history

Early cultures identifed celestial objects with gods and spirits. They related these objects (and their movements) to phenomena such as rain, drought, seasons, and tides. It is generally believed that the first "professional" astronomers were priests (Magi), and that their understanding of the "heavens" was seen as "divine", hence astronomy's ancient connection to what is now called astrology. Ancient constructions with astronomical alineations (such as Stonehenge) probably fulfilled both astronomical and religious functions.

Calendars of the world have usually been set by the Sun and Moon (measuring the day, month and year), and were of importance to agricultural societies, in which the harvest depended on planting at the correct time of year. The most common modern calendar is based on the Roman calendar, which divided the year into twelve months of alternating thirty and thirty-one days apiece. Various Roman emperors altered the calendar subsequently. Julius Caesar instigated calendar reform and created the leap year.


There are astronomical references of chronological significance in the Vedas. Some Vedic notices mark the beginning of the year and that of the vernal equinox in Orion; this was the case around 4500 BC. Fire altars, with astronomical basis, have been found in the third millennium cities of India. The texts that describe their designs are conservatively dated to the first millennium BC, but their contents appear to be much older.

Yajnavalkya (perhaps 1800 BC) advanced a 95-year cycle to synchronize the motions of the sun and the moon.

A text on Vedic astrology that has been dated to 1350 BC, was written by Lagadha.

In 500 AD, Aryabhata presented a mathematical system that took the earth to spin on its axis and considered the motions of the planets with respect to the sun.

Brahmagupta (598-668) was the head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain and during his tenure there wrote a text on astronomy, the Brahmasphutasiddhanta in 628.

Bhaskara (1114-1185) was the head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain, continuing the mathematical tradition of Brahmagupta. He wrote the Siddhantasiromani which consists of two parts: Goladhyaya (sphere) and Grahaganita (mathematics of the planets).

Maya civilization

The Maya calculated the solar year to somewhat greater accuracy than the Gregorian calendar. They made detailed tables for calculating phases of the Moon and the movements of Venus for centuries in the past or future. Astronomy and the measurement of time were vitally important components of Mayan religion.

Ancient Greece

Greek philosophers thought of several models to explain the movements of stars, planets, the Sun and the Moon. Eratosthenes, using the angles of shadows created at widely-separated regions, estimated the circumference of the Earth with great accuracy. Hipparchus made a number of important contributions, including the first measurement of precession and the compilation of the first star catalog. Ptolemy later referred to this work in his important Almagest, which had a lasting effect on astronomy up to the Renaissance.

Middle ages

Greeks made some important contributions to astronomy, but the progress was mostly stagnant in medieval Europe, while it flourished in the Arab world and priests in distant parishes needed elementary astronomical knowledge for calculating the exact date of the Easter. The Arabic world under Islam had become highly cultured, and many important works of knowledge from ancient Greece were translated into Arabic, used and stored in libraries throughout the area. The late 9th century Islamic astronomer al-Farghani wrote extensively on the motion of celestial bodies. His work was translated into Latin in the 12th century.

In the late 10th century, a huge observatory was built near Tehran, Iran, by the astronomer al-Khujandi who observed a series of meridian transits of the Sun, which allowed him to calculate the obliquity of the ecliptic, also known as the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the Sun. In Persia, Omar Khayyám compiled many tables and performed a reformation of the calendar that was more accurate than the Julian and came close to the Gregorian. An amazing feat was his calculation of the year to be 365.24219858156 days long, which is accurate to the 6th decimal place.

Meanwhile in Europe, astronomy was one of the seven core subjects of any studium generale (now known as "Universities"). The model from the Greeks most remembered through the Middle Ages was the geocentric model, in which the Earth was in the center of the Universe, with the Sun, Moon and planets each occupying its own concentric sphere. Stars used the outermost one.

The Copernican revolution

Gallileo Gallilei (1564-1642) crafted his own telescope and discovered that our Moon had craters, that Jupiter had moons, that the Sun had spots, and that Venus had phases like our Moon. Galileo claimed these observations were comprehensible only within the Copernican system, in which the planets revolved around the Sun and not the Earth, as was commonly believed then.The renaissance came to astronomy with the work of Copernicus, who proposed a heliocentric system. His work was defended, expanded upon and corrected by the likes of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler.

Kepler, using precise naked-eye observations made by Tycho Brahe, discovered the three laws of planetary movement that carry his name (though he published them mixed with some other not-so-correct ideas, and didn't give them the importance that we do).

Galileo was among the first to use a telescope to observe the sky, and after constructing a 20x refractor telescope he discovered the 4 moons of Jupiter in 1610. This was the first observation of satelites orbiting another planet. This along with Galileo noting that Venus exhibited a full set of phases was seen as incompatible with the church's favoured model of the Earth at the center of the universe and led to much controversy.

Physics marries astronomy

Isaac Newton was the first scientist to marry physics with astronomy, discovering that the same force that causes objects to fall on Earth, causes the motion of planets and the moon. Using his Law of gravity, the laws of Kepler are explained, and the heliocentric system gained a sound physical basis, celestial mechanics was invented. Newton also found out that the white light from the sun can be decomposed into its component colors; this fact is crucial for most of the 20th-century research.

Modern astronomy

At the end of the 19th century it was discovered that, when decomposing the light from the sun, multitude of spectral lines were observed (regions where there was less or no light). Experiments with hot gases showed that the same lines could be observed in the spectra of gases, specific lines corresponding to unique elements. It was proved that the chemical elements found in the sun (chiefly hydrogen and helium) were also found on Earth. During the 20th century spectrometry (the study of these lines) advanced, especially because of the advent of quantum physics, that was necessary to understand the observations.

Although in previous centuries noted astronomers were exclusively male, at the turn of the 20th century women began to play a role in the great discoveries. In this period prior to modern computers, women at the United States Naval Observatory (USNO), Harvard University, and other astronomy research institutions often served as human "computers," whom performed the tedious calculations while scientists performed research requiring more background knowledge.   more women astronomers.) Some of these women received little or no recognition during their lives due to their lower professional standing in the field of astronomy. And although their discoveries are taught in classrooms around the world, few students of astronomy can attribute the works to their authors.

Cosmology and the expansion of the universe

Most of our current knowledge was gained during the 20th century. With the help of the use of photography, fainter objects were observed. Our sun was found to be part of a galaxy made by more than 10 billion stars. The existence of other galaxies, one of the matters of the great debate, was settled by Edwin Hubble, who identified the Andromeda nebula as a different galaxy, and many others at large distances and receding, moving away from our galaxy.