Thursday, January 19, 2017

ONE MORE TIME, WITH FEELING



Just wanted to start with a little fun Sherlock to kick the year off right.
So, here we go. First off: an announcement!

Calling all Vendors, Psychics & Paranormal Groups Saturday, September 30, 2017  11 am to 6 pm 
ParaX presents:  Behind the Veil 2 
Psychic/Metaphysical/Paranormal Fair At the East Brunswick Elks Lodge 21Oakmont Avenue, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 
A day of fun for the public to kick off the fall season, filled with Psychic readers, unique merchandise, lectures, food, local artists and authors on the subject of ghosts, witches etc. Vendors & a helper receive free admission with their paid 6 foot space, chairs supplied, but you must provide your own (6 ft.) table.   Half price space if you are approved to be a lecturer. A raffle, just for Vendors! You will receive directions and a final flyer via, email. We will also provide the website and facebook links, so you can help us advertise. We look forward to having you! 

Yes, we are doing the expo again. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I will send you a form.

The end of last year was a total wreck for me. First, in October, I had to give my presentation to the Red-Headed League of New Jersey on "Arthur, Sherlock, and the Supernatural." I believe it went well. It was also the group's 40th anniversary. Here is a picture of the cake:



And here are some of the goodies that were given out (including the Sherlock protection pouches with the 221B house key. (Those were from me.)




And here I am, with a microphone threatening my personal space.


I was not feeling well that evening, and I look it. However, I received many kind remarks on the lecture, pouches, and free Fate Magazines provided by my publisher.

Next up was the Expo. Great vendors but low turn-out. We saw areas for improvement and are addressing them for the next go-round. Still rather ill, tension was made worse by friend Bob's sudden illness. (He was going to do a lot of my tote and carry for set-up.) He made the show, but my sister Diane really came through for me. She helped set up the night before, attended the show, and stuck around to help break it down. My Jeni, Keith, and other friends also pitched in. I also got to meet Bruce Tango, father of Dave and one of the folks from "Ghost Hunters".






Yup. No matter who you are, sooner or later you get to push the wheelchair. Mostly that fell to Bob or my sister, bless their hearts.

After that, I really fell ill to exhaustion, chills and fever,,, and I still had the holidays to sludge through. By the time New Year's Eve rolled around, I was whipped.  It has only been the last week or two that I've started to come alive.

I managed to finish an article I was doing on an investigation of White Hill Mansion, and get to posted off to my publisher.  It should either be in the next Fate issue, or posted on their web site (the jury is still out on that one.) Meanwhile, my article "Missing Mabel" - about the first dean of Douglass College - is in the current issue :



'Tis a mystery, this one...a spooky mystery!

Ellen and I also did a third cemetery crawl.  I'm falling behind on those, so allow me to share the first adventure in Newark, NJ.




Mount Pleasant cemetery reminded me a bit of  Green-wood cemetery in Brooklyn. I think that is primarily due to the ornate gate. Unlike Green-wood, there was no welcoming bathroom. At our age, Ellen and I LIKE welcoming bathrooms very much. Still, we persevered.                                                                                   





It had the typical  Victorian greco-roman designs. The tomb on the bottom looks like a cremation was being carried out, but it's only a cloud.                                                                                                

This is a tribute to a fireman. It was extremely tall, and very difficult to shoot.                                                                     

There is the occasional Celtic cross...







...and we have the typical urns, spheres, and pointy needles.  Ellen compares them to a part of the male anatomy...over and over... We also have a cut-off column on the left of the last shot. Life cut short, as it were.                                                                                            

    There is a nice, little receiving vault...                                             
                                        
as well as the individual graves of the wealthy. Ellen liked this grave in particular because, right next to this memorial...

...is the humble stone of Peter Rankin, "A Faithful Servant".  Touches the heart strings...poor Peter.                                                               
I was certain that we would be in a doubtful part of town. Newark doesn't have the best of reputations, but we were fine.  Actually, the biggest threat came to the bottom of Ellen's car. There were branches, disappearing pathways, ruts, bumps...the tombs were pretty but the general upkeep failed to impress.  If you decide to do a crawl there, rent a junker for the day.                                              

That's it for now. Next time I'll do the other Newark crawl, and a spell to rid yourself of the influences of unwanted people, so you can start the year with cleaner, happier energy.    

Be well...and avoid the plague running rampant in New Jersey!                                  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

KARMA IS A...WELL...YOU KNOW.


Well, the Autumnal Equinox is here. The balancing point of night and day comes with a whisper of Indian Summer heat, but soon the downward slope will claim our momentum.  I love this season, with its cool winds and colored leaves. I don't mind the darkness.  It makes me feel more alive.




But lately, I'm also starting to feel my mortality.  This year was full of health concerns, not just for me but also my friends.  I turned 62.  My friends are generally part of my generation.   Almost every one has had procedures, scares, risks...honestly, who expected this when we were in University? Hiking through the campus, walking downtown, caving with friends, who knew I'd be round, crippled, and nearly house bound 40 years later?  Plus, there are shadows looming overhead, hinting of more troubles to come.

So, in thinking over my history and how it intertwined with others, I decided that I would reach out to several individuals who left my life abruptly, and in a hurting manner. There was never a true parting, never an explanation, never a "Hail and Farewell".

 There are one or two that I no longer cared about, but I had several others in mind. I would find them, write them about how their actions wounded me, and then...let it go. I felt I needed this closure, and didn't want to take it to the grave no matter when I died. I no longer wanted these old injuries. Time to speak out, and be done.

The first one was simple. I knew where she was.  She was my oldest friend, and had lots of talent and potential. However, she had a way of making me feel small and unworthy. I would ask her to go somewhere for fun. She would say, "OK - unless something better comes along."  I give her points for honesty..and deduct them for being cruel. She told me, when we were adults, that when we were children, I would go walking through the neighborhood trying to find her, and she would hide with the neighborhood bully, mocking me.  Once, she even left me down a train embankment. I had weak legs and couldn't climb back out. She went home to dinner. I was stuck for hours.


She wanted to be a singer, but never put herself out there. She got drunk, she got high, and eventually spent time in a mental health facility.  She was widowed, and inherited money. When it was gone, she moved South to live with her retired parents. Last I heard, she joined a church. 




She never remarried, never developed a career, or even held a job for long.  So, there she sits in Mamas's house. 

When I thought about it, I decided she didn't need a letter.

Another gal was a close college friend. She dropped out of my life because a mutual pal decided she no longer wished to be associated with me. Apparently, she felt I had pushed her into our coven's Eldership.


 (And here I thought Wiccan students rebelled when you DIDN'T give them an Eldership!) So, our mutual friend decided to also cut ties. It was senseless, and painful. I wasn't forcing her to take sides.

 It has been decades, but I eventually found her on a popular website.  She had gone to University to be a writer.  




When that didn't work out, she took more mundane employment, got downsized, and is now out there, somewhere, without a job.  At 62, that's a rough row to hoe.

A younger, male student of mine was determined to be a country singer. He had the voice and the talent. He fell in love with a young woman who couldn't stand me. I'm not sure why. I'm no threat to anyone's claim on any man.  


He left my group by hanging a bag of borrowed books on my door handle, along with a "Dear Jane" letter. 

 Coward.

He called me about 7 years later because he thought we had "ended things badly",  whatever that meant.  He wanted to come see me.

"What about your wife? She won't like that."
  "She will have no say in MY business."
I waited a few beats. "I'm not your business."

He set up a time to come visit. I knew he would cancel. He did.

I looked him up, and found him on Facebook. Three kids, a job with some kind of media agency, same wife...and a face I could barely recognize.  No musical career.  No hint of the activities he use to love.  Hum.





Then there was the friend who had a job at a Space Agency.  She was bullied out of it, then lost her home.  I have no idea where she lives now, but she still has delusions of grandeur.  While she was employed, she blew her own trumpet and made sure everyone knew that - whatever we accomplished - she had achieved more.  Now, I see her picture from time to time popping up at certain conventions.





Finally, I found another old student. She left because she was angry I wouldn't tell her new boyfriend all about the Craft and our Tradition. I told her I simply couldn't; I took an oath. I didn't hear from her in years but -again - there she was on social media. She had two more children, lived with her mother until she died, and ended up homeless. Last I heard, she was sacking in at her daughter's place, trying to raise money on a "Go Fund Me" site.

I sat back.

I looked at this short string of lives.  Lives that had intersected with mine. Lives that had learned from me, and then abandoned me. People that I trusted, and loved, and cherished. Looking over their stories, I realized that they had created lives that led to remarkably similar places.  Almost all of them had homelessness issues, and  had given up on their talents and dreams. Their callus way of treating me was probably one situation in a string of situations which brought them where they are. It wasn't necessarily me, personally, that caused their behavior.  They probably used the same pattern when dealing with everyone.




I'm not happy that things turned out for them this way. Far from it. Maybe they are being taught wisdom by the Lords of Karma.   Maybe I'M being shown a lesson by the Lords of Karma. The last thing these folks need from me is a "tell all" letter about how they made me cry. What they did to me are just memories; what has happened to them all is real and present.

It's true, what they say: Never wish to exchange your troubles for those of another.  I've been blessed. I have a great family. I have wonderful friends. I have food, a roof over my head, and I'm warm in Winter. I've always wanted to be a writer, and I am one.  I always wanted to be a feature writer for Fate Magazine, and I am.  I've always wanted to teach English (I have) and bring the existence of the Craft to the attention of educators and the serious public (which I continue to do). I've worked hard to accomplish these things, but not everyone is fortunate enough to succeed. 

I have not done it alone. I have had the support, comfort, and love of those that I consider my family, and extended clan. 

I'm sending energy out to these one-time friends. Samhain season can be harsh on those in need. May they all make it through to next Beltane with Strength and Hope.





I decided to end this blog with a wonderful parody by the Hindi sisters and Hillywood.  They also did a marvelous "Hocus-Pocus" parody, and the best "Dr. Who" I've ever seen.  Check them out on YouTube!











May the Autumnal find you happy, healthy, and full of life, Lay your burdens down, and dance in the crisp joys of Harvest. Samhain will be here soon enough!

Next time: More cemetery crawls!









Friday, September 9, 2016

HERE SHE COMES AGAIN

Hello. Yes, I'm back. It's been a very rough Summer. Too many

things happened, some mentally, some physically.



I think I might have mentioned in the Spring that I had another

Cancer scare. An initial biopsy came back negative, but the doctor

wanted to take multiple samples. That would mean a day surgery,

where I could be tranquilized and “made comfortable”. Scheduling

the procedure was a nightmare. After MONTHS of playing hospital

tag, I was finally set to go. My sugar readings were high but, since

the surgery would only take 15 minutes, I was approved.


I got there, got prepped, the anesthesiologist came into the room 

and bumbled around a bit. Then, he turned on the juice...and I 

waited. I  realized I couldn't speak. I realized I couldn’t move. I 

realized I wasn't asleep! The procedure began, and the pain was 

immerse.  However, I couldn't communicate that to the doctor. It 

was noted on  the hospital report that I was groaning and – perhaps 

– the anesthesia was too light.

Really? Groaning wasn't a clue that something was amiss?


The doctor dashed after I “recovered”, and I never had a chance to

speak with her. Thankfully, the samples were negative. I merely

had scarring from the Cancer that would tear a bit and bleed. No

big...unless you've been on the business end of a bunch of punch

biopsies.



It took a while for me to recover. Then, one day, I hopped on my

knee walker and ended up dumped on the bathroom floor. From

metal fatigue, the rear wheel had sheered off, and my left knee 

ended up on top of all the littler gears and bolts that use to hold it to the frame.


Thank the gods for older, available, brothers. Jim came, got me off

the floor and into a wheelchair, then set about getting parts that

worked on my old war horse. It took another while for my knee to

recover.






Then, the other shoe dropped. One evening, I rolled up to the front

of the sofa. I happened to let go of the walker handle, and it did

what knee walkers are made to do. It rolled. I tried to grab the

handle, but I was already slipping off the cushion. I said to myself,

Well, the rug is only a foot below me. I'll just slid off, and use the

sofa to get to me feet again.” And so, I did. But I had no idea I was

in the middle of an injury “perfect storm”. As my left knee slid

downward, it came into contact with a flat, shiny, sharp wheel gear.

It acted like a pizza cutter, and dug into the flesh of my knee and

thigh to the bone.



I felt a lighting bolt of pain, but I got myself up and onto the sofa.

Watson was starring at the floor, then at me, then at the floor.

What?” I asked him...then looked down. The rug was red. The sofa

cover was red. My tunic was red.




I called my friend Bob, who called 911, and I ended up in Princeton

Plainsboro getting 20 stitches. I'll spare you the gruesome photos.

It's healing, but for weeks I couldn't bend the knee. No car rides, no

chair sitting, no blogs.






Then, it was Watson's turn. Poor baby had to have three teeth

removed. He was almost happy (it must have been a relief) and he

really loved the “joy juice”!



Then, there was my upcoming presentation to my Baker Street

Irrergulars scion group, as well as organizing Behind The Veil.

Here's the notice for my lecture. Anyone is welcome. It usually

costs $30 for dinner, the meeting, and the lecture. If you're

interested, give Steve a call or e-mail them for a registration form!


Mark your calendars for the next meeting of The Red-

Headed League of New Jersey!

We will gather once again at Madeline's in  

Bound Brook, NJ, on Friday, October 14, from 6:30-9:30

p.m.

Member Kat Clark will discuss "Sherlock, Arthur and the

Supernatural" -- a fitting topic for the Halloween season.

New member Mike Parker will present a challenging quiz on

"A Scandal in Bohemia."

No need to send a check yet.. the official notice and

reservation form will be sent in late August.

A special note: This meeting will celebrate the 40th

anniversary of The Red-Headed League of Jersey. Our BSI

scion society was founded November 1, 1976.

We look forward to seeing you in October!

Steve & Linda Morris

Co-Secretaries

The Red-Headed League of Jersey

RHLeagueNJ@aol.com

732.356.9560


And here is the flyer for our New Age Expo “Behind The Veil”. I'll

be vending, signing my books, and reading Tarot. We will have 32

unique vendors, and entry fee is only $7.00!






So, as you can see, a full plate. I still have to start work on my new

book, and I owe Fate Magazine 2 articles. Hopefully, after

November 5th, life can take on a semblance of normality. Sorry if

you felt abandoned. But, speaking of that, I have a bit of a writer's

rant to share.


Strangely enough, I would like to talk about abandonment issues.

No, not leaving children in toilets or dropping your kitty in a train

station and then high tailing it. I'm talking about creative process

abandonment.


We've all started projects and then crumpled and tossed. It part of

the envisioning and invention of a fiction. If the piece doesn't speak

to you any longer, you can let it rest for a while. You can also file it

in a dead end folder and walk away. Who knows? Maybe one day

you'll pick over its carcass for ideas or imagery for a new venture.

But what about when that creativity has a public aspect? You're 

doing a blog, a fan story, a continuing series. I've seen this happen

just recently with a blog that's near and dear to me. It was going

along smoothly for a few months, and then...crickets. A 

tumbleweed or two...the lonesome moan of a wind in empty places.  
It had a readership (at least, that's what I've been told), but 

suddenly the entries stopped. Simply stopped.

This has happened with some very cleaver fan stories on places like

Tumblr, Chapter by chapter, an excellent plot develops and

then...cricket...cricket.. Only once did I see a fan author post that

they were sorry, but the story was being abandoned due to lack of

ideas and time.


Bravo!


It's sad to have to turn your back on a lot of hard work, but very

mature to let readers know not to hold their breath. Professional

authors take note: No one can demand that you continue with a

story/website/blog but, if you put it out there to followers or a

readership, play fair. Don't get them involved and then discard them

along with your project. You'll turn a reader into a hostage; one 

who may never trust you again.



There were a few things I was able to do, once all my injuries

healed. With Ellen driving, I was able to go on three cemetery

crawls. The first was to Manalapan, NJ, and the Old Tennent

Church. This church and cemetery are said to be haunted. During

the Revolution, a soldier was sitting on a tombstone when a cannon

ball took off his leg and broke off the top of the stone. He was

brought inside the church and placed on a pew, where he died. It's

said you can still see the blood stain on the wood, Here is a picture

from Weird NJ of the stone and the pew.






It's also said to be haunted by “Cookie”, a gal who died while

waiting for her prom date. Humm. Haven't we all heard a bunch of

these stories? I think this one is prompted by the face that her

picture is on her stone. She's wearing a prom dress.

Here, then, are my photos of the cemetery – a beautiful spot not so

far away...














































I'll be sharing our other cemetery crawl photos soon.




That's it. Good to be back. As they say on the Sherlock Season 4


teaser:




Did you miss me?



p.s. Sorry for the funky format. New computer.

Monday, June 6, 2016

ATTENTION VENDORS!!!

Heads up, all ye vendors! Please take note of the notice below. There is a trinity of we gals bringing back New Jersey's paranormal expo.  Formerly "Para-X", the 2016 expo is now "Behind the Veil".  

The team behind the "veil" are:

Karen Timper: Founder of "New Jersey Ghost Organization", and author.

Lauren Curtis: "Talon Lady" featured in "Ripley's Believe it or Not", and "Oddities", artist, and photographer.

Kat Clark (me!) Elder of the Tuatha De Danann Irish Wiccan tradition, author, reader, and feature writer for "Fate Magazine"

Details are on the following flyer. If you don't vend, but wish yo be part of the fun, volunteers are also welcome to man ticket tables, help decorate, buggy-lug fetch and carry, and babysit tables when vendors/ readers need to take breaks.



  
Registration forms will begin mailing Monday June 13th.