Friday, September 12, 2014

Fallen From Grace: The Ghosts of the Tower


During it's long and eventful 900 years, The Tower of London has developed a reputation as being one of the most haunted places in Britain. It has been the scene of beheadings, murders, torture and hangings, as well as being a prison to the noble class.

Thomas A. Becket is the first reported sighting of a ghost at the Tower of London. During the construction on the Inner Curtain Wall, Thomas appeared apparently unhappy about the construction, and it is said he reduced the wall to rubble with a strike of his cross. Henry III’s grandfather was responsible for the death of Thomas Becket, so Henry III wasted no time building a chapel in the Tower of London, naming it for the archbishop. This must have pleased Thomas’ spirit because there were no further interruptions during the construction of the wall.


The Tower of London is reputedly haunted by other famous entities. Anne Boleyn, beheaded in 1536 for treason against Henry VIII, allegedly haunts the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, where she is buried, and has been said to be walking around the White Tower carrying her head under her arm. Other ghosts include Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey, Margaret Pole, and the Princes in the Tower (Prince Edward and Richard).

The Wakefield Tower is haunted by that most tragic of English monarchs, Henry VI, whose weak and ineffectual reign ended here with his murder “in the hour before midnight” on 21st May 1471, as he knelt at prayer. Tradition asserts that the knife with which he was “stikk’d full of deadly holes” was wielded by the Duke of Gloucester (later the infamous Richard III). On the anniversary of his murder, Henry’s mournful wraith is said to appear as the clock ticks towards midnight, and pace fitfully around the interior of the Wakefield Tower until, upon the last stroke of midnight, he fades slowly into the stone and rests peacefully for another year.

A memorial on Tower Green reminds all of those unfortunate souls who have been executed here over the centuries. Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey are both said to return to the vicinity, whilst the ghost of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury and last of the Plantagenets, returns here in a dramatic and alarming fashion. At the age of seventy-two she became an unwitting and undeserving target for Henry VIII’s petty vengeance. Her son, Cardinal Pole had vilified the King’s claim as head of the Church in England. But he was safely ensconced in France and so Henry had his mother brought to the block on 27th May 1541. When told by the executioner to kneel, the spirited old lady refused. “So should traitors do and I am none” she sneered. The executioner raised his axe, took a swing at her and then chased the screaming Countess around the scaffold where he, literally, hacked her to death. The shameful spectacle has been repeated several times on the anniversary of her death, as her screaming phantom continues to be chased throughout eternity by a ghostly executioner.

The Bloody Tower, the very name of which conjures up all manner of gruesome images, is home to the most poignant shades that drift through this dreadful fortress. When Edward 1V died suddenly in April 1483, his twelve year old son was destined to succeed him as Edward V. However, before his coronation could take place, both he and his younger brother, Richard, had been declared illegitimate by Parliament and it was their uncle, the Duke of Gloucester who ascended the throne as Richard III. The boys, meanwhile, had been sent to the Tower of London, ostensibly in preparation for Edward’s Coronation, and were often seen playing happily around the grounds. But then, around June 1483, they mysteriously vanished, and were never seen alive again. It was always assumed, that they had been murdered on Richard’s instructions and their bodies buried, somewhere within the grounds of The Tower. When two skeletons were uncovered beneath a staircase of the White Tower in 1674, they were presumed to be the remains of the two little princes and afforded Royal burial in Westminster Abbey. The whimpering wraiths of the two children, dressed in white nightgowns, and clutching each other in terror have frequently been seen in the dimly lit rooms of their imprisonment.

Sir Walter Raleigh lived quite comfortable compared to others who were imprisoned within the walls of the Bloody Tower. His "rooms" are still furnished as they were in the 16th century, and can be seen when visiting the Tower today. He was executed by James I, and has been seen looking exactly as he does in his portrait hanging in the Bloody Tower.

At one time the Tower of London was home to the Royal Menagerie. Lions, leopards, bears, birds, monkeys and an elephant, that was a gift from the King of France, were kept on exhibit. It was here that a sentry encountered a huge phantom bear, before dying of shock two days after the frightful incident in which he speared the creature with his bayonet, only for the blade to pass right through.

Mr Edmond Lenthal Swift was the Keeper of the Crown Jewels, at the Tower Of London from 1814 to 1842. Mr Swift also encountered a terrifying apparition. It was during the October of 1817 when Edmond settled for an evening meal with his wife, their young son, and sister-in-law in the sitting room of the Jewel House. The room was dimly lit by flickering candles, the adults enjoying a glass of wine to relax, when suddenly Mrs Swift yelped, “Good God, what is that?” It was then that the weird spectre came into view...a figure of sorts, but tubular and the thickness of a man’s arm. The weird spook was hovering ominously above the table, its substance and colour seemingly akin to a thick cloud as it swirled.

The witnesses froze in horror as the thing moved slowly around the table, passing before Edmond and his son, before stopping near the right shoulder of Mrs Swift, when she suddenly screamed, “Oh Christ! It has seized me!”

Mr Swift’s reaction was to immediately approach the form and strike it, but his blow seemed to merely hit the wall. The phantom then eerily floated towards the end of the table before vanishing in the area of the nearby window.

Edmond sprinted upstairs to speak to the nurse who was present, and other people from the tower also rushed to Edmond’s aid, whereupon the shaken Mrs Swift retold the encounter.

Something unseen and terrifying resides is in the Salt Tower. This is one of the most haunted areas of the Tower of London complex. This is a very old section, dogs will not enter this ancient building, and ever since one of the Yeoman Warders was nearly throttled by an unknown force, they will not go in the area after nightfall.


In 1864, a soldier whose post was to guard the Queen’s House at the Tower of London, saw a apparition so real, that after ignoring the soldiers three challenges, he charged with all his might at the intruder with his bayonet, only to go straight through the figure.

He was found unconscious at his post and was court-martialled for neglecting his duty. Luckily there were two witnesses who corroborated his story. The soldier was eventually acquitted.

While imprisoned, Henry VIII's ex-queen Catherine Howard escaped from her room in the Tower. "She ran down the hallway screaming for help and mercy. She was caught and returned to her room." The next day she was beheaded. Her ghost has been seen still running down the hallway screaming for help.

Other strange sightings at the Tower of London have been "Phantom funeral carriages" and “A lovely veiled lady that, upon closer look proves to have a black void where her face should be."

Sources:
haunted-britain.com
londonist.com
Ghosts of the Tower of London
castles.me.uk
The Tower of London: Past and Present
guide-to-castles-of-europe.com
Tower of London: England's Ghostly Castle (Castles, Palaces & Tombs)
mysteriousbritain.co.uk
The White Tower
hrp.org.uk
Allen Brown, Reginald; Curnow, P (1984), "Tower of London, Greater London: Department of the Environment Official Handbook, Her Majesty's Stationary Office"


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The Enduring Ghost of Anne Boleyn

The ghost of Queen Anne Boleyn is quite a unique phenomenon in the world of the paranormal. Unlike most ghost who haunt a certain locality, Queen Anne Boleyn's ghost is said to haunt a number of different locations through out the UK. Her spirit seems to have left a permanent imprint on the fabric of her surroundings, which is perhaps down to the impact she made in life and her traumatic death as to why her ghost still persists more than 500 years after her execution.

Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII, with their marriage changing the course of English History. King Henry was already married to Catherine of Aragon and could not obtain a divorce from the Roman Catholic Church. In order to obtain his divorce he therefore created a reformed version of the Church, putting himself at the head - a direct challenge of authority to the Pope.

Having obtained his divorce and married Anne, the King's most important desire was for Anne to conceive a male heir. His previous queen had only given him a female heir, Princess Mary. On 7th September 1533 Anne Boleyn gave birth to a girl, Elizabeth (who was later to become Queen Elizabeth I). After her birth, the relationship between the King and Anne Boleyn deteriorated, and he began to court a new queen in Jane Seymour.

However, Anne became pregnant again, and there was a brief reconciliation, but the child was stillborn. Henry determined to get rid of Anne Boleyn and came up with a charge of treason, arresting and confining her to the Tower of London. Her execution had been scheduled for 18 May 1536 but actually took place the following day as there had been a delay while a skilled executioner was brought in from France.

Queen Anne Boleyn is one of the most enduring ghosts at the Tower of London. Queen Anne is buried under the chapel's altar, with her ghost being spotted there on many occasions. Anne Boleyn has also often been seen standing at the window in the Dean's Cloister at Windsor Castle.

Anne Boleyn's ghost also appears in the grounds of Blickling Hall dressed all in white, seated in a ghostly carriage that is drawn by headless horses, spurred on by a headless coachman. Anne too is headless, holding her severed head securely in her lap. On arrival at Blickling Hall the coach and driver vanish leaving the headless Anne to glide alone into Blickling Hall where she roams the corridors and rooms until daybreak.

The magnificent Blickling Hall was built during the reign of King James I, by the Holbert Family, on the ruins of the old Boleyn family property. Blickling Hall in Norfolk has recently topped a National Trust poll as the Trust's Most Haunted Building. Blickling Hall was in the possession of the Boleyn family between 1499 and 1507. There is a statue and portrait of Anne Boleyn in the Hall, the statue is inscribed "Anna Bolena born here 1507".

Her brother, Lord Rochford, also appears on the same night, he too is headless although he doesn't enjoy the comfort of a carriage, for he is dragged across the surrounding countryside by four headless horses.

Sir Thomas Boleyn, who stated his belief of Anne's guilt at her trial has not found peace in death. Every year, for a thousand years to do as penance, tradition says he is obliged to drive his spectral coach and horses over twelve bridges that lie between Wroxham and Blickling.

The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn (Random House Reader's Circle)


Saturday, September 6, 2014

The 'Professor'

In 1944, Manly Palmer Hall, a Rosicrucian and a member of the Philosophical Research Society wrote The Secret Destiny of America. The following is an excerpt from his text:

On July 4, 1776, in the old State House in Philadelphia, a group of patriotic men were gathered for the solemn purpose of proclaiming the liberty of the American colonies. From the letters of Thomas Jefferson which are preserved in the Library of Congress, there is considerable data concerning this portentous session.

If the Revolutionary War failed every man who was about to sign the parchment lying on the table would be subject to the penalty of death for high treason. It should also be remembered that the delegates representing the various colonies were not entirely of one mind as to the policies which should dominate the new nation.

There were several speeches. In the balcony patriotic citizens crowded all available space and listened attentively to the proceedings. Jefferson expressed himself with great vigor; and John Adams, of Boston, spoke and with great strength. The Philadelphia printer, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, quiet and calm as usual, spoke his mind with well chosen words. The lower doors were locked and a guard was posted to prevent interruption.

According to Jefferson, it was late in the afternoon before the delegates gathered their courage to the sticking point. The talk was about axes, scaffolds, and the gibbet, when suddenly a strong, bold voice sounded..."Gibbet! They may stretch our necks on all the gibbets in the land; they may turn every rock into a scaffold; every tree into a gallows; every home into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die! They may pour our blood on a thousand scaffolds, and yet from every drop that dyes the axe a new champion of freedom will spring into birth! The British King may blot out the stars of God from the sky, but he cannot blot out His words written on that parchment there. The works of God may perish: His words never!

"The words of this declaration will live in the world long after our bones are dust. To the mechanic in his workshop they will speak hope: to the slave in the mines freedom: but to the coward kings, these words will speak in tones of warning they cannot choose but hear...

"Sign that parchment! Sign, if the next moment the gibbet's rope is about your neck! Sign, if the next minute this hall rings with the clash of falling axes! Sign, by all your hopes in life or death, as men, as husbands, as fathers, brothers, sign your names to the parchment, or be accursed forever! Sign, and not only for yourselves, but for all ages, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the bible of the rights of man forever.

"Nay, do not start and whisper with surprise! It is truth, your own hearts witness it: God proclaims it. Look at this strange band of exiles and outcasts, suddenly transformed into a people; a handful of men, weak in arms, but mighty in God-like faith; nay, look at your recent achievements, your Bunker Hill, your Lexington, and then tell me, if you can, that God has not given America to be free!

"It is not given to our poor human intellect to climb to the skies, and to pierce the Council of the Almighty One. But methinks I stand among the awful clouds which veil the brightness of Jehovah's throne.

"Methinks I see the recording Angel come trembling up to that throne and speak his dread message. 'Father, the old world is baptized in blood. Father, look with one glance of Thine eternal eye, and behold evermore that terrible sight, man trodden beneath the oppressor's feet, nations lost in blood, murder, and superstition, walking hand in hand over the graves of the victims, and not a single voice of hope to man!'

"He stands there, the Angel, trembling with the record of human guilt. But hark! The voice of God speaks from out the awful cloud: ‘Let there be light again! Tell my people, the poor and oppressed, to go out from the old world, from oppression and blood, and build My altar in the new.'

"As I live, my friends, I believe that to be His voice! Yes, were my soul trembling on the verge of eternity, were this hand freezing in death, were this voice choking in the last struggle, I would still, with the last impulse of that soul, with the last wave of that hand, with the last gasp of that voice, implore you to remember this truth--God has given America to be free!

"Yes, as I sank into the gloomy shadows of the grave, with my last faint whisper I would beg you to sign that parchment for the sake of those millions whose very breath is now hushed in intense expectation as they look up to you for the awful words: ‘You are free.'"


The unknown speaker fell exhausted into his seat. The delegates, carried away by his enthusiasm, rushed forward. John Hancock scarcely had time to pen his bold signature before the quill was grasped by another. It was done. (*NOTE: After finalizing the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as a printed broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The most famous version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is usually regarded as the Declaration of Independence, is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Although the wording of the Declaration was approved on July 4, the date of its signing has been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed. The original July 4 United States Declaration of Independence manuscript was lost while all other copies have been derived from this original document...Lon)

The delegates turned to express their gratitude to the unknown speaker for his eloquent words. He was not there.

Who was this strange man, who seemed to speak with a divine authority, whose solemn words gave courage to the doubters and sealed the destiny of the new nation?

Unfortunately, no one knows.

His name is not recorded; none of those present knew him; or if they did, not one acknowledged the acquaintance.

How he had entered into the locked and guarded room is not told, nor is there any record of the manner of his departure.

No one claimed to have seen him before, and there is no mention of him after this single episode. Only his imperishable speech bears witness to his presence.

There are many interesting implications in his words.

He speaks of the ‘rights of man,' although Thomas Paine's book by that name was not published until thirteen years later.

He mentions the all-seeing eye of God which was afterwards to appear on the reverse of the Great Seal of the new nation.

In all, there is much to indicate that the unknown speaker was one of the agents of the secret Order, guarding and directing the destiny of America.

Some time ago, an eastern publisher suggested to me that an interesting and important title for a book would be, One Hundred Thousand Years of Man's Unknown History. This publisher was a great reader of history; and it was his observation that nearly all great causes are furthered by mysterious and obscure persons who receive little or no credit for the part which they have played.

To write the history of these men would be to write the history of the Order of the Quest, the story of the unknown philosophers. Some, like Francis Bacon, come to high estate; but most of the unknowns work obscurely through other men, who gain the credit and the fame.

In an old book of rules used by the brothers of the secret orders, is the following: "Our brothers shall wear the dress and practice the customs of those nations to which they travel so that they shall not be conspicuous or convey any appearance that is different or unusual. Under no condition shall they reveal their true identity, or the work which they have come to accomplish; but shall accomplish all things secretly and without violating the laws or statutes of the countries in which they work."

Of those who did not ‘reveal their true identity', or the work which they came to accomplish, one is the mysterious Professor who inspired the design of our flag, and remains unknown and unnamed. And similarly, another is the unknown speaker whose words removed indecision about signing the Declaration of Independence; it is not known who he was, and the incident is preserved only in a rare old book, the very existence of which it is difficult to prove.

It is reasonably conceivable that in secrecy and anonymity well ordered aid has been given to the struggle for human equity and justice that has been America's destiny through the past into our present time. It is our duty and our privilege to contribute what we can to this Universal plan. It will go on, served by the unknowns, until the Platonic empire is established on the earth, and the towers of the new Atlantis rise from the ruins of a materialistic and selfish world. - 'The Secret Destiny of America' - Manly Palmer Hall - 1944

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Francis Bacon (1561–1626) was one of the leading figures in natural philosophy and in the field of scientific methodology in the period of transition from the Renaissance to the early modern era. As a lawyer, member of Parliament, and Queen's Counsel, Bacon wrote on questions of law, state and religion, as well as on contemporary politics; but he also published texts in which he speculated on possible conceptions of society, and he pondered questions of ethics even in his works on natural philosophy.

After his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge and Gray's Inn, London, Bacon did not take up a post at a university, but instead tried to start a political career. Although his efforts were not crowned with success during the era of Queen Elizabeth, under James I he rose to the highest political office, Lord Chancellor. Bacon's international fame and influence spread during his last years, when he was able to focus his energies exclusively on his philosophical work, and even more so after his death.

Throughout his life, Francis Bacon's fondest hope was the, creation of a Utopia across the Atlantic, the realization of his "New Atlantis" in the form of a society of free men, governed by sages and scientists, in which his Freemasonic and Rosicrucian principles would govern the social, political and economic life of the new nation. It was for this reason why, as Lord Chancellor, he took such an active interest in the colonization of America, and why he sent his son to Virginia as one of the early colonists. For it was in America, through the pen of Thomas Paine and the writings of Thomas Jefferson, as well as through the revolutionary activities of his many Rosicrucian-Freemasonic followers, most prominent among whom were George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, that he hoped to create a new nation dedicated to his political philosophy.

In his Secret Destiny of America, Manly Hall, Bacon's most understanding modern scholar, refers to the appearance in America, prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, of a mysterious Rosicrucian philosopher, a strict vegetarian who ate only foods that grew above the ground, who was a friend and teacher of Franklin and Washington and who seemed to have played an important role in the founding of the new republic. Why most historians failed to mention him is a puzzle, for that he existed is a certainty.

He was known as the "Professor." Together with Franklin and Washington, he was a member of the committee selected by the Continental Congress in 1775 to create a design for the American Flag. The design he made was accepted by the committee and given to Betsy Ross to execute into the first model.

A year later, on July 4, 1776, this mysterious stranger, whose name nobody knew, suddenly appeared in Independence Hall and delivered a stirring address to the fearful men there gathered, who were wondering whether they should risk their lives as traitors by affixing their names to the memorable document which Thomas Jefferson wrote and of whose ideals Francis Bacon, founder of Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, was the true originator. - 'Great Secret: Count St. Germain' - Raymond Bernard

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So who was 'The Professor'? Some say it was the spectre of Sir Francis Bacon. There was talk that the Count of St. Germain, the 18th-century adventurer/scientist/charlatan and mysterious gentleman who claimed to be centuries old, was the mystery man. His contemporaries referred to him as 'The Wonderman'. Manly Hall wrote:

"Many times the question has been asked: Was Francis Bacon's vision of the 'New Atlantis' a prophetic dream of the great civilization which was so soon to rise upon the soil of the New World? It cannot be doubted that the secret societies of. Europe conspired to establish upon the American continent 'a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal.' Two incidents in the early history of the United States evidence the influence of that Secret Body, which has so long guided the destinies of peoples and religions. By them nations are created as vehicles for the promulgation of ideals, and while nations are true to these ideals they survive; when they vary from them, they vanish like the Atlantis of old which had ceased to 'know the gods.'"

In Robert Allen Campbell's "Our Flag" he details an obscure, but most important, episode of American history...the designing of the Colonial flag of 1775. The account involves a mysterious man concerning whom no information is available other than that he was on familiar terms with both General Washington and Dr. Benjamin Franklin. The following description of him is taken from Campbell's treatise:

"Little seems to have been known concerning this old gentleman; and in the materials from which this account is compiled, his name is not even once mentioned, for he is uniformly spoken of or referred to as 'the Professor.' He was evidently far beyond his threescore and ten years; and he often referred to historical events of more than a century previous just as if he had been a living witness to their occurrence; still he was erect, vigorous and active—hale, hearty and clear-minded, as strong and energetic every way as in the prime of life. He was tall, of fine figure, perfectly easy, very dignified in his manners, being at once courteous, gracious and commanding. He was, for those times, and considering the customs of the Colonists, very peculiar in his method of living; for he ate no flesh, fowl or fish; he never used for food any 'green thing', any roots or anything unripe; he drank no liquor, wine or ale; but confined his diet to cereals and their products, fruits that were ripened on the stem in the sun, nuts, mild tea and the sweet of honey, sugar and molasses. [ Editor's note: The Comte de Saint Germain's same abstemious behavior regarding food was well documented in Europe.]

"He was well educated, highly cultivated, of extensive as well as varied information, and very studious. He spent considerable of his time in the patient and persistent scanning of a number of very rare old books and ancient manuscripts which he seemed to be deciphering, translating or rewriting. These books, and manuscripts, together with his own writings, he never showed to anyone; and he did not even mention them in his conversations with the family, except in the most casual way; and he always locked them up carefully in a large, old-fashioned, cubically shaped, iron-bound, heavy oaken chest, whenever he left his room, even for his meals. He took long and frequent walks alone, sat on the brows of the neighboring hills, or mused in the midst of the green and flower-gemmed meadows. He was fairly liberal — but in no way lavish — in spending his money, with which he was well supplied. He was a quiet, though a very genial and very interesting member of the family; and he was seemingly at home upon any and every topic coming up in conversation. He was, in short, one whom everyone would notice and respect, whom few would feel well acquainted with, and whom no one would presume to question concerning himself — as to whence he came, why he tarried or whither he journeyed."

"By something more than a mere coincidence, the committee appointed by the Colonial Congress to design a flag accepted an invitation to be guests, while at Cambridge, of the family with which the Professor was staying. It was here that General Washington joined them for the purpose of deciding upon a fitting emblem. By the signs that passed between them, it was evident that General Washington and Doctor Franklin recognized the Professor, and by unanimous approval, he was invited to become an active member of the committee. During the proceedings which followed, the Professor was treated with the most profound respect and all his suggestions immediately acted upon. He submitted a pattern which he considered symbolically appropriate for the new flag, and this was unhesitatingly accepted by the six other members of the committee, who voted that the arrangement suggested by the Professor be forthwith adopted. After the episode of the flag, the Professor quickly vanished; and nothing further is known concerning him." - 'Our Flag' (The Evolution of the Stars and Stripes) - Robert Allen Campbell - 1890

NOTE: The incident with the mysterious speaker is most likely true. Thomas Jefferson noted that there was loud applause during the speech by this stranger. Is it too hard to believe that one person stirred this discordant group of men into a sudden unified body that declared their independence from the British Crown? Was it possibly divine intervention...or, by chance, an emissary from an alternate universe? The grand experiment of representative democracy may have been induced by the words of a supernatural being. Lon

Sources:
- The Secret Destiny of AmericaOccultism Books)
- 'The Role of Kabbalah in the founding of the United States of America' - Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok - 1998
- Great Secret Count St Germain
- 'Washington and His Generals: or, Legends of the Revolution' - George Lippard - 1847
- 'Our Flag' (The Evolution of the Stars and Stripes) - Robert Allen Campbell - 1890
- plato.stanford.edu
- ascension-research.org


The Lost Keys of Freemasonry (Also Includes: Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians / Masonic Orders of Fraternity)Social Science Books)

The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy

Founding Fathers, Secret Societies: Freemasons, Illuminati, Rosicrucians, and the Decoding of the Great SealFreemasonry Books)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Poltergeist Communication


Several years ago, a reader asked me about poltergeists and if these entities had the ability to use audible communication. There were a few modern reports, but I wasn't sure if these were exaggerations produced by the witnesses. So I decided to look over some of the prominent historical cases and post a few that exhibit authenticity even though the commentary may be a bit folksy. I offer my opinion at the end of the post:

John Arnason, in his Icelandic Legends gives an account of "The Devil at Hjalta-stad" as written by the Sheriff Hans Wium in a letter to Bishop Haldorr Brynjolfsson in the autumn of 1750.

"The sheriff writes: “The Devil at Hjalta-stad was outspoken enough this past winter, although no one saw him. I, along with others, had the dishonour to hear him talking for nearly two days, during which he addressed myself and the minister, Sir Grim, with words the like of which ‘eye hath not seen nor ear heard.’ As soon as we reached the front of the house there was heard in the door an iron voice saying: ‘So Hans from Eyrar is come now, and wishes to talk with me, the ------ idiot.’ Compared with other names that he gave me this might be considered as flattering. When I inquired who it was that addressed me with such words, he answered in a fierce voice, ‘I was called Lucifer at first, but now I am called Devil and Enemy.’ He threw at us both stones and pieces of wood, as well as other things, and broke two windows in the minister’s room. He spoke so close to us that he seemed to be just at our side. There was an old woman there of the name of Opia, whom he called his wife, and a ‘heavenly blessed soul,’ and asked Sir Grim to marry them, with various remarks of this kind, which I will not recount."

“I have little liking to write about his ongoings, which were all disgraceful and shameful, in accordance with the nature of the actor. He repeated the ‘Pater Noster’ three times, answered questions from the Catechism and the Bible, said that the devils held service in hell, and told what texts and psalms they had for various occasions. He asked us to give him some of the food we had, and a drink of tea, etc. I asked the fellow whether God was good. He said, ‘Yes.’ Whether he was truthful. He answered, ‘Not one of his words can be doubted.’ Sir Grim asked him whether the devil was good-looking. He answered: ‘He is far better-looking than you, you ------ ugly snout!’ I asked him whether the devils agreed well with each other. He answered in a kind of sobbing voice: ‘It is painful to know that they never have peace.’ I bade him say something to me in German, and said to him Lass uns Teusc redre (sic), but he answered as if he had misunderstood me."

“When we went to bed in the evening he shouted fiercely in the middle of the floor, ‘On this night I shall snatch you off to hell, and you shall not rise up out of bed as you lay down.’ During the evening he wished the minister’s wife good-night. The minister and I continued to talk with him during the night; among other things we asked him what kind of weather it was outside. He answered: ‘It is cold, with a north wind.’ We asked if he was cold. He answered: ‘I think I am both hot and cold.’ I asked him loud he could shout. He said, ‘So loud that the roof would go off the house, and you all would fall into a dead faint.’ I told him to try it. He answered: ‘Do you think I am come to amuse you, you ------ idiot?’ I asked him to show us a little specimen. He said he would do so, and gave three shouts, the last of which was so fearful that I have never heard anything worse, and doubt whether I ever shall. Towards daybreak, after he had parted from us with the usual compliments, we fell asleep."

“Next morning he came in again, and began to waken up people; he named each one by name, not forgetting to add some nickname, and asking whether so-and-so was awake. When he saw they were all awake, he said he was going to play with the door now, and with that he threw the door off its hinges with a sudden jerk, and sent it far in upon the floor. The strangest thing was that when he threw anything it went down at once, and then went back to its place again, so it was evident that he either went inside it or moved about with it."

“The previous evening he challenged me twice to come out into the darkness to him, and this is an angry voice, saying that he would tear me limb from limb. I went out and told him to come on, but nothing happened. When I went back to my place and asked him why he had not fulfilled his promise, he said, ‘I had no orders for it from my master.’ He asked us whether we had ever heard the like before, and when we said ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘That is not true: the like has never been heard at any time.’ He had sung ‘The memory of Jesus’ after I arrived there, and talked frequently while the word of God was being read. He said that he did not mind this, but that he did not like the ‘Cross-school Psalms,’ and said it must have been a great idiot who composed them. This enemy came like a devil, departed as such, and behaved himself as such while he was present, nor would it befit any one but the devil to declare all that he said. At the same time it must be added that I am not quite convinced that it was a spirit, but my opinions on this I cannot give here for lack of time.”

In another literary work where the sheriff's letter is given with some variations and additions, an attempt is made to explain the story. The phenomena were said to have been caused by a young man who had learned ventriloquism abroad. Even if this art could have been practiced so successfully as to puzzle the sheriff and others, it could hardly have taken the door off its hinges and thrown it into the room.

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Donald Ban and the Bocan - Scotland: An 18th Century ‘Talking Poltergeist’ Case

A similar account titled "Donald Ban and the Bocan” by W. A. Craigie, M.A. was added to "Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution & Custom Being The Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society and Incorporating The Archaeological Review and The Folk-Lore Journal" in 1895 and later published in The Book of Dreams and Ghosts:

"It is fully a hundred years since there died in Lochaber a man named Donald Ban, sometimes called “the son of Angus,” but more frequently known as Donald Ban of the Bocan. This surname was derived from the troubles caused to him by a bocan—a goblin—many of whose doings are preserved in tradition."

"Donald drew his origin from the honourable house of Keppoch, and was the last of the hunters of Macvic-Ronald. His home was at Mounessee, and later at Inverlaire in Glenspean, and his wife belonged to the MacGregors of Rannoch. He went out with the Prince, and was present at the battle of Culloden. He fled from the field, and took refuge in a mountain shieling, having two guns with him, but only one of them was loaded. A company of soldiers came upon him there, and although Donald escaped by a back window, taking the empty gun with him by mistake, he was wounded in the leg by a shot from his pursuers. The soldiers took him then, and conveyed him to Inverness, where he was thrown into prison to await his trial. While he was in prison he had a dream; he saw himself sitting and drinking with Alastair MacCholla, and Donald MacRonald Vor. The latter was the man of whom it was said that he had two hearts; he was taken prisoner at Falkirk and executed at Carlisle. Donald was more fortunate than his friend, and was finally set free."

"It was after this that the bocan began to trouble him; and although Donald never revealed to any man the secret of who the bocan was (if indeed he knew it himself), yet there were some who professed to know that it was a “gillie” of Donald’s who was killed at Culloden. Their reason for believing this was that on one occasion the man in question had given away more to a poor neighbour than Donald was pleased to spare. Donald found fault with him, and in the quarrel that followed the man said, “I will be avenged for this, alive or dead.”

"It was on the hill that Donald first met with the bocan, but he soon came to closer quarters, and haunted the house in a most annoying fashion. He injured the members of the household, and destroyed all the food, being especially given to dirtying the butter (a thing quite superfluous, according to Captain Burt’s description of Highland butter). On one occasion a certain Ronald of Aberardair was a guest in Donald’s house, and Donald’s wife said, “Though I put butter on the table for you to-night, it will just be dirtied.” “I will go with you to the butter-keg,” said Ronald, “with my dirk in my hand, and hold my bonnet over the keg, and he will not dirty it this night.” So the two went together to fetch the butter, but it was dirtied just as usual."

"Things were worse during the night and they could get no sleep for the stones and clods that came flying about the house. “The bocan was throwing things out of the walls, and they would hear them rattling at the head of Donald’s bed.” The minister came (Mr. John Mor MacDougall was his name) and slept a night or two in the house, but the bocan kept away so long as he was there. Another visitor, Angus MacAlister Ban, whose grandson told the tale, had more experience of the bocan’s reality. “Something seized his two big toes, and he could not get free any more than if he had been caught by the smith’s tongs. It was the bocan, but he did nothing more to him.” Some of the clergy, too, as well as laymen of every rank, were witnesses to the pranks which the spirit carried on, but not even Donald himself ever saw him in any shape whatever. So famous did the affair become that Donald was nearly ruined by entertaining all the curious strangers who came to see the facts for themselves."

"In the end Donald resolved to change his abode, to see whether he could in that way escape from the visitations. He took all his possessions with him except a harrow, which was left beside the wall of the house, but before the party had gone far on the road the harrow was seen coming after them. “Stop, stop,” said Donald; “if the harrow is coming after us, we may just as well go back again.” The mystery of the harrow is not explained, but Donald did return to his home, and made no further attempt to escape from his troubles in this way."

"If the bocan had a spite at Donald, he was still worse disposed towards his wife, the MacGregor woman. On the night on which he last made his presence felt, he went on the roof of the house and cried, “Are you asleep, Donald Ban?” “Not just now,” said Donald. “Put out that long grey tether, the MacGregor wife,” said he. “I don’t think I’ll do that to-night,” said Donald. “Come out yourself, then,” said the bocan, “and leave your bonnet.” The good-wife, thinking that the bocan was outside and would not hear her, whispered in Donald’s ear as he was rising, “Won’t you ask him when the Prince will come?” The words, however, were hardly out of her mouth when the bocan answered her with, “Didn’t you get enough of him before, you grey tether?”

"Another account says that at this last visit of the bocan, he was saying that various other spirits were along with him. Donald’s wife said to her husband: “I should think that if they were along with him they would speak to us”; but the bocan answered, “They are no more able to speak than the sole of your foot.” He then summoned Donald outside as above. “I will come,” said Donald, “and thanks be to the Good Being that you have asked me.” Donald was taking his dirk with him as he went out, but the bocan said, “leave your dirk inside, Donald, and your knife as well.”

"Donald then went outside, and the bocan led him on through rivers and a birch-wood for about three miles, till they came to the river Fert. There the bocan pointed out to Donald a hole in which he had hidden some plough-irons while he was alive. Donald proceeded to take them out, and while doing so the two eyes of the bocan were causing him greater fear than anything else he ever heard or saw. When he had got the irons out of the hole, they went back to Mounessie together, and parted that night at the house of Donald Ban."

"The bocan was not the only inhabitant of the spirit-world that Donald Ban encountered during his lifetime. A cousin of his mother was said to have been carried off by the fairies, and one night Donald saw him among them, dancing away with all his might. Donald was also out hunting in the year of the great snow, and at nightfall he saw a man mounted on the back of a deer ascending a great rock. He heard the man saying, “Home, Donald Ban,” and fortunately he took the advice, for that night there fell eleven feet of snow in the very spot where he had intended to stay."

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The Bell Witch: An American Haunting

Tennessee is home to one of the most disturbing ghost stories of all time: The Bell Witch: An American Haunting which was one of the earliest American versions of a talking poltergeist. As with all traditional American folk stories there is modification and exploitation in the media. There are several books about the witch, but many Americans heard the story for the first time in the film An American Haunting, which was released several years ago and based on actual events. After reading the some of the original accounts of the haunting, I was surprised on how accurate and detailed the production was.

The Bell Witch is a story about John and Elizabeth Bell and their children, who lived in Adams in Robertson County in the early 1800s. Some of the original commentary from one of the children follows:

"Kate Bates was a member of our small community. One day, she and my father argued over a business deal. Over time, she became more and more displeased with my father, and legend has it that she cast a spell over my family, cursing us to be haunted for life.

"From then on, our family was visited by an apparition or ghost. She wasn't a friendly ghost, so we referred to her as a witch. She became known as the Bell Witch.

"At first, the Bell Witch couldn't speak, and she communicated in soft, whistlelike sounds. Gradually, her voice developed, and she felt free to communicate with us verbally. In the meantime, she was torturing our family. At night, my sister and I would lay in bed gripping our covers tightly because she would be pulling them off from the end of our bed.

"Occasionally, she would hit us or scratch us, and she wouldn't stop even when we cried. She teased and tormented everyone in my family except for my younger brother, John Bell Jr. She liked John and would protect him from harm and would harm those who were cruel to him.

"Eventually, the Bell Witch killed my father by poisoning him. She put black, poisonous liquid in his food. The curse of the Bell Witch continued for years, so my brothers, sisters and I were forced to leave home. Our friends and neighbors would often come and stay in our home to experience the haunting for themselves. We even had visitors from other cities who traveled to Adams just to see or hear the Bell Witch. My parents would feed and house our visitors, hoping that the visitors would experience the haunting, too.

"The people living in Adams were so tired of the Bell Witch and her trickery that they excommunicated her from the town and ordered her to live in a cave on the outside of the city, where she still lives today.

"If you are brave enough, you can go to Adams, Tenn., and visit the cave where the Bell Witch was sent to live. However, I want you to be very careful!

The Missing Headstone

The latest chapter of Middle Tennessee's famed Bell Witch story could be titled "The Tale of the Homesick Headstone."

It begins in 1860, when the 22-year-old great-granddaughter of John Bell died and was buried in the family cemetery, her rest undisturbed until the headstone disappeared about a century later.

It ends earlier this month, when the missing marker turned up in Nashville, upside down and broken in two.

"The stone was found in Madison," said Tim Henson, a local historian and curator of the Adams Museum in the Robertson County town. "It was used as a stepping stone in someone's yard for at least 41 years."

Now the marker is in its rightful place. Getting it there had its spooky moments, which seems fitting for a member of the family at the center of one of the South's most celebrated ghost stories.

In 1817, an angry spirit took up residence on the Bell farm in Adams, about an hour's drive northwest of Nashville. Some people identified her as Kate Batts, an eccentric woman who believed John Bell had cheated her in a land deal.

She tormented the family, slapping, pinching and pulling the children's hair. She sang hymns, preached and plagued their father, who fell into recurring bouts of illness until he died in December 1820, a terrible smell on his lips and a mysterious bottle of black liquid nearby.

The tale has been the subject of books and movies, including An American Haunting (2006). And townspeople and tourists say Kate still haunts today, throwing salad spoons and blue balls in the air.

The supernatural Bell mystique may extend to the headstone of Mary Allen Bell Coke, if the story its finder tells is any indication.

The marker had made its way to a trash bin in Madison, where a homeowner found it years ago and added it to the lawn.

"A contractor from Springfield, working on that house, brought it home," Henson said. The contractor, Janie Hudgens, was intrigued and went online to research the dead woman. That led to funeral director and Bell descendant Bob Bell in Springfield, who called Henson.

Hudgens said that after she and husband Sparky found the stone, she made it her mission to find out where it came from.

"I'm from Alabama, and we respect the dead there," Hudgens said.

"When we found the headstone, that bothered me. For three nights straight, I was on the computer till 3 or 4 in the morning looking for where the tombstone belonged."

The night before they were to give Henson the marker, they were in bed with the room dark when the screen came to life, static crossing its screen. Not long after she turned it off, "it came on again, and it was on the page about the Bell family."

Then there was the wind, which she said "blew the deadbolt-locked door open."

As she told Henson, "I think this stone wants to get home."

Henson recently took it to the cemetery and placed it on the grave, but that was just for a brief visit. It'll remain in storage until it can be safely and securely displayed.

"We just want to place it back in the Bell cemetery that it belongs in," he said. "We know within a foot or two where it's supposed to go. We want to put it back so that it can't be taken away again." - tennessean.com

Sources:
Icelandic Legends
stavacademy.co.uk
The Book of Dreams and Ghosts
wikio.com
munseys.com
Craigie, W.A. - "Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution, & Custom Being The Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society and Incorporating The Archaeological Review and The Folk-Lore Journal," Vol. VI.—1895
tennessean.com
The Bell Witch: An American Haunting


NOTE: These cases, in particular 'The Bell Witch' incident, were manifestations of self-created entities. The vast majority of poltergeist hauntings are actually an unconscious genesis by a living human. These entities do not 'talk'...though communication through writing and physical will have been well documented. For example, the movie Poltergeist depicted, for the most part, a severe haunting. The entity was not created by anyone in the family...but gained energy through the family's fear and anxiety. It was a very entertaining film, but most of it was simply conjecture. The San Pedro Poltergeist - Jackie Hernandez and the 'The Entity' Investigation - Culver City, CA - 1974 are good modern examples of poltergeist hauntings. The infamous Enfield Poltergeist case was most likely a possession where the victim somehow channeled an actual spiritual entity. Unfortunately, many Georgian and Victorian writers used 'poltergeist' as an incorrect descriptor for most hauntings...Lon
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