A RESONATE THANKSGIVING

Photo: Dietmar Rabich

There’s something about this Thanksgiving that resonates deeply with the past. Back to the time of the first feast— And I’m not talking about images of a perfect family gathered around a spectacular roasted turkey, Norman Rockwell-like. After all, isn’t that how most Americans view the holiday? Quick, frenzied trips, across-country if necessary, to reacquaint with family, stuff ourselves, and hit the road home again. Year after year. It’s tradition. No, this year—it’s about…suffering.

Suffering is what binds us to the pilgrims who arrived EXACTLY 400 years ago. On Dec. 21, 1620, a landing party reached the site where the colony of Plymouth would be built. That first winter was tough and grim. Arriving so late in the year, only seven residences and four common houses (of the 19 planned structures) were built. Half of the 102 pilgrims perished in the first year, most in the first few months. Celebration of what we call the “First Thanksgiving” happened in October 1621 after almost a year of long, hard work. Only 53 pilgrims were left to attend the event. Those who remained probably took stock of the sacrifice and endurance it took to establish their small colony.

Thanksgiving 2020 is tied to the first part of the pilgrims’ experience here. One of hardship, loss, and grief. Already 260,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. By the time, we take our seats at the dining table, we’ll have to acknowledge that we’ve lost almost as many fellow citizens to the pandemic that has raged for ten months as died in combat during WWII (1941-1945). * (And they called them The Greatest Generation.) How does anyone wrap their mind around the kind of loss we’re experiencing now? Grief will join us this Thanksgiving even if we haven’t (yet) been touched by the pandemic. It lurks just under the surface. A certain uneasiness about the future. Where will we be next month? Who will be sick then? Who will be gone?

Some part of us knows we haven’t built our shelters or come through the long, dark winter. Like the pilgrims, we are just as vulnerable as they were stepping into a new world fraught with danger. The future will require people of character, strength, and vision. Capable of great sacrifice and great faith. May we find them and may they be us.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war).

5 Comments

Filed under Thanksgiving

THE FASHIONABLE GHOST

This is the time of year of ghosts, spooks, specters. Americans love a good ghost story, don’t we? I’ve always thought so. This week, I found a few statistics that surprised me. A Harris Poll (2013) found 43% of us believe in ghosts and 20% (according to the Pew Research Center) report an encounter with a ghost or presence. All I can say is really? That all? Actually, I suppose the number is quite high given the prevailing material paradigm.

When writing my ghost tale, I stuck to the notion of the white, insubstantial energy form portrayed in many traditional stories. Annika in Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds appeared this way but also took solid shape when Lydia time traveled back to the 17th century. My portrayal of a ghost had both wispy and life-like appearances. Not unlike stories that have come down to us from ghost lore. While many spirits have appeared in flimsy diaphanous, white apparel—some haven’t. Some have donned colorful clothing they’d be comfortable wearing in daily life. Specters fitted out in armor, monk’s robes, or silken gowns are common enough. Some of these appear solid and fully fleshed out. Real, in fact. There are reports of people shaking hands or trying to, with some of these ghosts. Naked ghosts are rarely reported, cultural propriety prevails even for those stuck between worlds.

As we approach Halloween and the veil thins, it’s good to keep an open mind. I’ve had a few experiences that leave me highly suspicious of our understanding of reality. One of those instances is highlighted in the dedication of Timeless Tulips, the others I’ll save for another occasion.

I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease.

When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost!

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

6 Comments

Filed under Books

A CHILL IN AMSTERDAM

The fascinating history of the rise and fall in the speculative tulip market during the seventeenth century provided the backdrop for my book, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds. The tale developed through daughter Annika’s eyes who grew up in a typical Dutch merchant class family. Annika lived during the Dutch Golden Age, a time of wealth, power, and opportunity. Even hundreds of years later, she would recognize Amsterdam’s canals, grand houses, and the Western Church. And perhaps, she might smile at the stories of others like herself who haunt the city.     

THE SPINHUIS (Spinning House)-Today this site is a fashionable hotel but back in 1597, convicted women were held here and forced to sew clothes. In one famous tale, a priest fell in love with a young girl jailed in the facility and when he was denied access to her, he committed suicide. The ghost of the priest is said to haunt one of the hotel rooms and hotel staff refuse to enter the room.

BLACK MATTHEW– In Amsterdam, there is a tale dating back to the thirteenth century of a sinister character called Black Matthew. This rogue and magician apparently made a pact with the devil. Ever since, he has haunted the streets threating locals and tourists alike. Beware being out alone on the streets at night. No area in the entire city is outside his evil reach!

SPOOKSTEEG (Ghost Alley)- This story involves the notorious ghost of Helene who murdered her sister to marry a sailor who had favored her sister. On her deathbed, Helene confessed to the husband who cursed her for the act. Helene’s ghost has been seen in dark corners of this part of the city, moaning and screaming.     

Should you like to explore more ghostly tales, I invite you to escape into the seventeenth century to visit Annika and see how she meets a modern-day American teenager named Lydia. Let the haunting begin! (Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds)

I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease.

When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost!

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

4 Comments

Filed under Halloween

HALLOWEEN- The Dark Rises

It’s the time of year when we allow the dark to approach. Halloween offers the opportunity to explore everything scary and otherwise forbidden. A necessary purge. I grew up in Upstate New York where in fall, the trees are turned into a mosaic of autumn colors and the air is ripe with the decay of leaves. Fires and furnaces keep out the chill. But not all of it. I’m my father’s fourth child. Born after his first wife shot herself in front of their three, small children. That shiver runs still.

The region of my birth is steeped in ghostly tales of early Dutch settlers, Revolutionary soldiers, and murders most foul. Washington Irving made his home just down the road and gifted us the Headless Horseman and the Catskill Witch. New York is home to many ghosts and many haunted places. A quick Google search will provide you with many articles of places to visit to make your Halloween spooky fun.

Washington Irving

Here are two places connected with my haunts (pun intended!!). The first is near where I grew up. The second dates to my college days.

Leeds, NY: Salisbury Manor- Known for its colonial architecture, this 1730s farmhouse was the scene of a brutal murder back in 1755. William Salisbury killed a servant girl by dragging her behind a horse when she attempted to flee his abusive treatment. Convicted of murder, Salisbury escaped justice by bribing the judge to suspend sentence until he turned 99. Anna’s ghost has been seen outside the manor. So has a large phantom horse. Screams and the thunder of hooves echo down the lane.  

Salisbury Manor (Photo: Robert Drake)

Loudonville, NY: Loudon Cottage- Clara Harris’ dress was stained by the blood of President Abraham Lincoln that terrible night in Ford’s Theatre. The grisly dress was stored in a closet in this cottage. One day, Clara saw Lincoln’s ghost in a rocking chair staring at the closet door. In 1883, Clara was murdered by her own husband, Henry Rathbone, who had tried to stop John Wilkes Booth after shooting Lincoln. There is an account by one historian of an instance when in 1900, President Lincoln in ghost form arrived to counsel Governor Gardiner of Massachusetts at the cottage. (The Town of Colonie: A Pictorial History, by Jean Olton)

Clara Harris

Don’t forget to check out my own ghost tale centered on the New York’s Dutch heritage. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease. When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost.

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

8 Comments

Filed under Halloween

THE GHOST STORY

IN LITERATURE

This time of year as the days grow short and the air crisp, Halloween lurks just around the corner, my thoughts turn to those creepy tales told before the fire. Ghosts figure in many of them and the traditional ghost story has a long history. Every culture produced oral and/or written stories of ghosts.

Among the earliest written examples, Homer’s Odyssey depicts a journey into the underworld where the hero finds ghosts of the dead. A haunted house was portrayed by Plautus, the Roman playwright in his work entitled, Mostellaria. The ghost bound in chains was perhaps first described by Pliny the Younger in another haunted place tale. The Roman writer, Seneca was also fond of using ghosts in his tragedies. These classical examples would start to set the stage for the development of ghost stories in our own culture and day.

In celebration of the deep roots of this tradition, I remind everyone of my own ghost tale offering. The e-book has been discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for all of October. The print copy is also available.  

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX

E- book available: https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS- A GHOST STORY

When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease. When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her. A vengeful ghost.

E-book: sale $2.99 https://amzn.to/2l7LhHP

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

MORE MIRACLE THAN BIRD

by Alice Miller

(Spoiler Alert)

The strange book title comes from the poem “Sailing to Byzantium” by WB Yeats. This historical fiction tale addresses the life of a young socialite. During WWI, Georgie Hyde-Lees breaks free from maternal control and arrives in London to nurse soldiers. Through her mother’s connections she meets WB Yeats, the famous poet many years her senior. Interested in the occult, Georgie enlists Yeats’ help in securing an invitation into the Order (The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). The author’s descriptions of a young woman trapped by conventional society’s rules and expectations are well drawn. Georgie falls for Yeats, but the reader remains hard pressed to understand the attraction Georgie exhibits. Certainly, he treats her poorly throughout their relationship. At the time of their meeting, WB struggles with his professional writing career faltering.   

Georgie

Presented with the option of another suitor, an officer who is her contemporary and a suitable match, Georgie sends him packing. Regardless that her mother and friends warn her that Yeats still loves a woman from his past (Maud Gonne), headstrong Georgie doggedly pursues Yeats. Yeats strings her along through his reconnection with Maud and then Maud’s daughter, Isesult.

Maud Gonne

Georgie’s stubbornness eventually pays off. Turned down by everyone else, Yeats finally marries Georgie. Neither are happy in the marriage but to keep Yeats’ attention (at least for a while), Georgie takes up automatic writing. Very keen to engage in all things esoteric, Yeats focuses just enough on his wife. That satisfies Georgie even though she knows she’s perpetrating a fraud. Eventually, Yeats’ poems benefit from the pursuit of the greater unknown.

WB & Georgie

Having read the reviews on Amazon after reading the book, most people agree the writing is exceptional, although the pacing suffers in a few places. The depiction of the period and societal constraints are interesting and well done. My biggest gripe is that the book is basically a very sad, one-sided romance. I had hoped for a journey into a mystical world of secret societies where Georgie actually had some PSI ability. At least on that level, she might have shared a connection with the older poet. Apparently not, she duped her husband for years if this fiction reflects reality.    

Click below to find my books.

https://amzn.to/33TcrTh

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Who are You?

Every day the Universe

   Asks you who you are—

You answer with what you think,

   what you do, what you say.

Leave a comment

Filed under Spiritual/Mysticism

CONTEST TIME!

Sept. 14, 2020:

CONTEST WINNER: Cornelia Weber! She will receive a print copy of INTO THE LAND OF SNOWS. Congrats Cornelia!!

Enter to win a free print copy of INTO THE LAND OF SNOWS.

What’s it about?

Glad you asked!!

A troubled, sixteen-year-old Blake travels to Base Camp on Mt. Everest to spend time with his physician father. When a deadly avalanche occurs, Dad is forced to rethink things and sends Blake off the mountain. Now accompanied by a Sherpa guide, and in possession of a mysterious camera, Blake undertakes a journey which will challenge everything he believes. In the magical Himalayas, he will be forever changed by what he experiences.

Interested?

Leave a comment below to enter. Blake is traveling in the Himalayas, where would you travel if anything was possible right now? I’ll draw one winner from all those who comment and mail the book to a US address. (Sorry everyone out of country. I’ll try an e-book contest later, so check back.) Contest closes Sept. 14, 2020, noon MT.

Click below to find my books.

https://amzn.to/33TcrTh

6 Comments

Filed under Books

GHOST TOWN!

I’m finishing a novel set in Colorado at the turn of the nineteenth century. Part of the tale includes my protagonist traveling to a high-altitude mining town. Research for the book allowed for an excursion into the Colorado mountains. Ghost towns are boom and bust towns related to the mining industry that flourish for a short time but then are abandoned. They are not particularly known for ghosts, but I’m sure a few linger…

The photos show some of what remains of St. Elmo today.

The town was founded in 1880 and originally named Forrest City. It was changed when several other towns also used that name causing confusion. One of the founding fathers happened to be reading a book titled St. Elmo and was inspired by the romantic tale. Gold and silver mining drew people to settle there.

At its height, St. Elmo had about 2000 residents (mostly male, typical of all mining endeavors). The town center included several hotels and saloons, a general store, a telegraph office, a newspaper office, a town hall, and a schoolhouse. No mention of a church nor the prostitution cribs (in some places like Cripple Creek, we know where the “Red Light District” was).

There were 150 mine claims in the area, but the majority of men worked at only four of the biggest mines. The largest and most productive was the gold mine called the Mary Murphy which operated until 1922 recovering $60 M through the years. A railroad ran through St. Elmo allowing the town access to supplies.

Although the Mary Murphy continued to be profitable many of the other claims failed. By the 1920s, the town had been in steady decline for years. By 1958, the place was a virtual ghost town although a few people still reside in the houses photographed.

Nowadays, most of St. Elmo is considered private property. You are allowed to photograph from a proscribed distance, but the buildings are not necessarily deserted like they are in some more remote ghost towns of the west. In fact, St. Elmo is considered to be one of the most accessible Colorado ghost towns (despite the long drive on unpaved road) because you can actually drive up to it. Many require hiking through remote parts of the state.     

So if you read about Tallulah visiting Teller City searching for her long-lost Ma, you’ll know I’m waving from St. Elmo!

14 Comments

Filed under travel

THETA HEALING (2010)

by Vianna Stibal

This is a book I’ve had sitting on my shelf for some years and only recently began reading. It offers insights into healing that seem to resonate with Reiki and with the work of Bruce Lipton (The Biology of Belief). It offers an intriguing underlying framework but while researching a few things, some alarm bells sounded as several lawsuits have surfaced involving the author and the practice. Since there are many books out on Stibal’s patented method of healing and many who offer these services in the US and abroad, I think it’s at least worth surveying the overall process to foster an understanding of what it is. All accounts of its efficacy are in the form of testimonials and one small study indicates practitioners couldn’t generate the theta state (*).

The Theta Healing technique involves a process by which the practitioner uses techniques to enter a deep, relaxed state of theta brain waves. Everyone passes through the theta state before we sleep so this shouldn’t be seen as exotic. People who practice meditation can achieve this but whether what the book describes is sufficient to eventually produce consistent results, again is open to question. But let’s assume with enough practice and understanding, it is. In this state, the practitioner is at a level Stibal calls the “Seventh Plane of Existence.” From here commands to the “Creator” can be made to change health and belief systems. Crucial to the healing is that the Practitioner witness the healing or the change in the belief system. Once this has been done, the healing is complete and energetic separation is made. This witnessing aspect is reminiscent of quantum mechanics where the wave function requires a witness.

Photo: Chris Hope

The Theta Healing technique can be used for physical or emotional healing and a large portion of the book is devoted to describing how beliefs can be changed or released. Beliefs can be held at four different levels and each needs to be addressed in order for the belief to be fully addressed.

     Core level- (held in the frontal lobe) beliefs instilled during childhood

     Genetic level- (stored around physical DNA) beliefs carried from ancestors or added in this life

     Historical level- (held in auric field) beliefs from past lives, deep genetic memory, or collective consciousness

     Soul level- (held at heart chakra and outward) beliefs encompassing all that the person is

Counseling as well as muscle testing methods are used to uncover beliefs that form negative programs and hold an individual back. Each belief needs the client’s permission for removal or change. All negative beliefs must be checked on all four levels. Practitioners can remove or change negative programs by accessing the theta state and using a command protocol similar to what was outlined above. Stibal repeatedly addresses ethical questions on respecting clients wishes and differences throughout the book.

Theta Healing is a complicated system where the practitioner takes on a lot of responsibility. Stibal has written many books that expand on the basic techniques. She teaches workshops around the country and abroad. There is probably a practitioner near you if you live near a major US city. The technique is available and it’s interesting. Whether or not it’s effective, is hard to say. To use the technique, I think a degree in counseling psychology would be minimum because it involves so much client interaction. Of course, more research on the method and into the theta state itself would be helpful.    

*https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/pseudoscience/thetahealingr-money-youll-spend-never-existed

REIKI DISTANCE HEALING TREATMENTS: I’d like to offer my services to readers of the blog. Anyone interested in receiving a Reiki distance treatment can contact me at: ellisnelson@gmx.com. I will provide additional information via email. To honor the exchange practice of Reiki, you will be asked to make a $25 donation to your favorite charity.      

To find my books, follow the link below.

https://amzn.to/33TcrTh

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Books