Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Celtic New Year

Samhain (October 31 and November 1)
A Little History: Hallowe'en as we know it technically starts at sundown Oct 31 and is celebrated through Nov 1. Samhain (Sa-wen) was the day that the Ancient Celts celebrated their fallen dead and commemorated the occasion with huge bonfires. It was also the Celtic New Year and the end of Harvest. Celtic tradition has survived in Ireland to this day and it was the Irish who brought Hallowe'en with them to America in the 1800s. The Church recognizes this time as All Hallow's Eve/All Saints' Day today or All Souls' Day, similar to the Ancient Festival (where saints are remembered). Samhain is also the Irish month of November  It was the day the Irish Hero Cú Chulainn road into battle.. Reference the "Cattle Raid of Cooley" or "Táin Bó Cúailnge" in Irish Mythology.

The Supernatural World
I do believe that there is a side of nature we don't see but yet exists.  I do believe in ghosts and supernatural activity.  This is also to say that I believe the existence of God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  There is a world beneath our physical touch and senses that exists.  Sometimes, that invisible world interacts with our own physical world.
I have even witnessed some strange, supernatural events in life.  There was one that I encountered and shared with a friend of mine one night.  In January 1986, I had a friend over at my house in Maple Heights OH.  He was spending the night.  I think we were going to one of my Dad's Hamfests the next day and my friend wanted to go to one.  We both witnessed a supernatural event one night.
A little backstory on this first: My Aunt was a Science Teacher at an elementary school, so each year on my birthday or Christmas, she would give gifts that were science projects.  One year, she got me a Gyroscope.  Basically, it's just a device very similar to a "spinning top."  The way you used the Gyroscope was you wound it up with string and pulled it.  It would spin, creating a centrifugal force, keeping it up.  Noticeably, when I'd release the string, it would make a loud, grinding sound on the floor.  Ok, do you see where I'm going with this now?  Hehe.
On the night my friend spent the night, I had the gyroscope setting on the back of my dresser (against the back wall). We were talking quietly.  Suddenly, we BOTH heard that gyroscope slide across the dresser to the front, fall on the floor, and we both saw it SPIN in front of us!  We both heard it grinding on the floor like someone releasing the string on it (no the string was not wound up in it beforehand)!  We freaked out, but layed there QUIETLY!  My Dad heard it through the floor and came upstairs!  "What was that noise?" He said.  We were so dumbfounded that we didn't know how to respond.  We didn't sleep that night!
I remember before we moved into that house that the one kid who was my age living there at the time said he witnessed strange stuff in that house.  At the time, I was skeptical.  "Yeah, right!  You just don't want us to move in."  That was what I told him.  He insisted though.  He said weird sounds could be heard in the bathroom, the shower would drip uncontrollably anytime someone sat on the pot, seeing weird things.  Other than odd stories of launching fireworks out my bedroom window and setting the room on fire, I thought he was joking.  I was in 6th grade at the time of this Gyroscope Haunting, so I truly believed at that time even there was a world that's not visible to our 5 senses.
Weird and Haunted Tour of Chicago
On October 26, I went Downtown Chicago for the "Weird and Haunted Tour."  Chicago has a very haunted past.  The tour was shared with other Singles.  We all met up at Clark and Ontario Street to catch the busses that would take us around Chicago.  On the tour, we learned about Chicago's haunted and sordid past with Gangsters and Ghosts.  Here are some of the places that were visited.  Colleen was our tour guide and we stopped the bus on various sites of actual hauntings.  She is an actual Ghost Chaser and if you have Facebook, you can "like" the Weird and Haunted Chicago page where people can post supernatural events.

Hard Rock Cafe Chicago
  • Chicago River and the sinking of the SS Eastland (between Clark Street and LaSalle Street).  After the RMS Titanic sank in 1912, this changed some laws with lifeboats on liners.  The SS Eastland was a “top heavy” ship and when laws changed for lifeboats, this made the SS Eastland far more top heavy than it already was.  In July 1915, the SS Eastland had a large passenger crew on its decks.  Well the story goes that when the passengers moved to the starboard side of the ship, the ship’s crew activated the “port-side water ballasts” to compensate the weight of the passengers on the right side of the ship.  Well, the passengers then moved to the port-side of the ship.  With the “water ballasts” already compensating the weight on the right side, the unbalance caused the ship to turn on its side between Clark Street and LaSalle Street.  The ship foundered there, and the passengers trapped inside the hull drowned.  People have reported seeing the ghosts of the passengers appear on the Chicago River, and people have also reported hearing screams and ragtime music playing.  Harpo Studios (Oprah Winfrey Show) was converted into a morgue to service the tragedy.  That building is also reported to be haunted with the ghosts from the sinking.

Chicago River at Wacker Drive.  LaSalle Street Bascule Bridge.

Chicago River at Wacker Drive.  Clark Street.Bascule Bridge.

I believe I spotted an apparition in this picture:

Two apparitions on the water or just merely light reflection of the rippling in the water?  The one on the right doesn't follow a pattern of rippling in the water.

I also took a video:

  • Death Alley and the Fire of the Iroquois Theater (N. Dearborn and Randolph).  On December 30, 1903, a deadly fire broke out in this theater.  The theater was built ill-appropriately to accommodate the fire.  It had doors that opened “in” instead of “out” and the building was incomplete with fire-escapes.  During the performance of the musical of Drury Lane, the fire erupted as a fireball.  The theater was packed, and when the fire happened, some of the levels were locked off, so the only other “exits” would be the doors leading outside to Alley behind the theater.  The building did not have fire escapes, so as people walked out of the doors, they fell to their deaths.  People today have reported seeing apparitions in the alley and even one account where someone saw stomach acid burned into the street and smelling it.  During some performances of Wicked, some people have witnessed apparitions during some of the scenes.

I also took this video:

Death Alley

  • Room 441 at the Congress Plaza Hotel (Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway).  The Room which inspired Stephen Kings’s, Room 1408, has its origin here.  Congress Plaza Hotel was built in 1893 and hosted some of Chicago’s vilest of gangsters, including the murderer H.H. Holmes (Herman Mudget) and gangster, Al Capone.  Security is most often called to Room 441 where the most supernatural occurrences happen.  Guests have reported seeing a shadowy outline of a woman in the room.  This room is not available for guests, only by special request.  Before the advent of Remote Control for TVs, there have been incidents on one floor where guests report their TVs changing channels automatically.  There is one room in the hotel that is “screwed shut” from the outside because of how haunted it is.

Congress Plaza Hotel
  • Lincoln Park and Neighborhood.  Remember Poltergeist?  “You only moved the headstones!  You left the bodies, didn’t you?”  Well, the same is true for the Lincoln Park Neighborhood.  After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, there were several areas of land converted into graveyards.  One of those areas was Lincoln Park.  Today, it remains to be one of the most haunted neighborhoods in the area. Also, the tour guide mentioned that the John Hancock (used in Poltergeist III) is not reported to be actually haunted. 
  • St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (2122 N. Clark Street).  On the night of February 14, 1929, five members of the North Side Gang were lined up against the wall of a garage and shot.  The murders were done by Al Capone.  Today, that garage is torn down but the hauntings of that night are re-enacted and people have reported seeing apparitions in this area.  Some claims also have that dogs bark wildly in this area, because the death of one of the gang members.  John May, one of the members shot, had a German Shepherd named Highball.  The dog was chained to May’s truck that night and the dog began barking and howling loudly as he saw his master being shot. 

2122 N. Clark Street, the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
  • John Dillinger dead or alive and Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Avenue). There is a haunted alley near this theater in which the apparition of Jimmy Lawrence is often seen re-enacting his death.  Jimmy Lawrence was a look a like of the famed John Dillinger, who was highly hunted on J. Edgar Hoover’s hotlist in the FBI.  Well the FBI wrongly shot Jimmy Lawrence near this theater, confusing him with the actual John Dillinger.  Jimmy Lawrence was courting a mutual lady of John Dillinger that day, Polly Hamilton.
  • Our Lady of the Underpass (Kennedy Expressway overpass at Fullerton).  In April 2005, an apparent miracle took place where Fullerton Avenue burrows under the Kennedy Expressway. An image of the Virgin Mary emerged on the cracked concrete.  Some people believe it was just a stain on the wall. To others it was a miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary.  It was dubbed “Our Lady of the Underpass” for its location on Fullerton Avenue under the Kennedy Expressway.
  • The Massacre near Fort Dearborn (not on the tour).  This was not on the tour, but I walked over to S. Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive where Fort Dearborn stood in 1812.  When the Native Indians sided with the British against America before the War of 1812, Fort Dearborn was being evacuated.  Militia, townspeople (men, woman and children) were being led by Charles Heald to Fort Wayne IN.  On August 15, 1812, the Potawanomi Indians, who allied themselves with Britain, seized and massacred the people while they were en route  to Fort Wayne.  The massacre also known as the Massacre at Fort Dearborn only lasted 15 minutes.  Americans were killed by the Indians.  Today there is a monument at Prairie Street and 12th Street where the massacre is said to have happened.  Many people today have witnessed seeing apparitions of the people murdered there by the Indians, re-enacting their deaths.  Fort Dearborn was burnt to the ground by the Indians.
Fort Dearborn

S. Michigan Avenue and E. Wacker Drive.  Location of Fort Dearborn in 1812.

A view of where Fort Dearborn would have stood in 1812.  Picture taken from Wabash Bascule Bridge.

The tour ended after the buses returned to Hard Rock Café in on Ontario Street. It was interesting to learn some history involved with the city even the haunted part.  The Singles met up at Fado Irish Pub after the event for small talk, talk of the tour and for fun! This was officially my first Venture Around event.

Part I of Weird and Haunted Tour of Chicago
Part II of Weird and Haunted Chicago Tour


Gotcha!  No, John is not an actual haunted building.  Carol Ann does not have a ghost here.
Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant
Always remember this:
Ephesians 1:3
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Ephesians 6:12

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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My Life starts at the Chicago Water Tower!
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