William Hope and the CREWE Circle

The Crewe Circle was a group of spirit photographers based in Crewe, England and led by William Hope, paranormal investigator and pioneer of the “spirit photography”.

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He first noticed his talent for photographing spirits when he was taking photos with a friend. One of the photo’s that Hope had taken showed an extra person behind his friend. It was claimed that it was his friends dead sister.

At first, the group worked in secret, scared of being suspected of witchcraft, but when an Archbishop joined the group, they made their work public. By 1922 William Hope moved to London and established himself as a professional medium. It was at this time that The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) became interested in him and his photo’s.

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Over the years the spirit photographs taken by the members of the CREWE circle have come under detailed examination and have been dismissed as fraudulent by many. Harry Price, sent by the Society for Psychical Research, claimed that Hope messed with the photo plates, but many of Hope’s supporter didn’t believe him.  One of the biggest supporter of William Hope and The Crewe Circle was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote The Case for Spirit Photography, in response to Price’s claims of fraud. Hope continued to practice, despite his exposure, until his death in 1933.

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Elle. xx

 

 

 

 

The Fox Sisters – Founders of Spiritualism

In March 1856 in Hydesville, not very far from New York a certain Sir Weckman used to live in house where unexplainable things used to happen, so he moved away.

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After six months the Fox family occupied the house and not very long after they moved in they started to hear strange noises and bangs. On March 31, 1858, one of the young daughters thought to imitate the weird noises snapping her fingers. After a while the Fox family proposed to the mysterious entity to count to four, then to eight and then to twelve. The entity accpeted and did what the family asked.

One night the Fox’s daughters were awakened by some very loud noises close to them, the girls sat on the bed, fearing and at the same time wanting to see a ghost. One of them, Kate, proposed to her sister Margaret to repeat the noise, so she snapped the fingers three times and with big surprise of both girls, they heard three snaps right in front of them. Kate woke the parents up and repeated the same thing in the presence of the mother. Once again the entity replied.

–  “Count to ten!” the mother ordered the invisible being. Immediately they heard the sound of a hand snapping ten times.

–  “Tell me how old is Kate.” The fingers snapped twelve times – “Are you a ghost?” Mrs. Fox asked. “If so knock twice for yes.” The invisible fingers snapped twice. The family decided to keep the secret.

The following night the family gathered in the girls’ bedroom and at 1 a.m. they heard the floor creaking and felt a freezing gust. For almost an hour a rather confusing conversation took place, the family was formulating some questions and the ghost replied through a method they agreed – a snap for yes and two snaps for no.

Mrs Fox asked: “If we invite a few neighbours will you keep reply to our question?”, one single snap was heard, so they called the authorities. There were those who accused Mrs. Fox of witchcraft and her daughters to be possessed by the devil. That night, the only curious incident was due to a woman  who saw a white horse flying in the sky, but inside the house everything was a lot different: at around 1 a.m. they heard three loud noises against the walls and the floor creaking and, once again, a cold icy gust.

“If you are a spirit reply with a knock!” a pastor screamed. A single knock was heard.

The event had some easily imaginable consequences. During the following nights the house was reached by a huge crowd, wanting to interrogate the ghost. The house became an attraction point as people went there from all over the region. The Methodist Church expelled the Fox Family and forbade his its followers to attend “people who had dealings with the Devil”.

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Nevertheless, a Quaker invented an special alphabet in which each letter corresponds to a certain number of knocks.It was then proposed to the ghost who accepted, so they found out its identity. He was the spirit of Charles Ryan, a 31 year-old pedlar who’s been murdered in 1832 and his body had been buried in the basement of the house, where then they found some human bones.

The Fox family ran away from Hydesville and from the ghost, in 1848 they found a new accommodation in Rochester, where their eldest daughter lives… but their troubles were not ended, since even the new home became the scene of fantastic events.

When the village knew about these phenomena, a huge crowd started to visit the house. In June they saw a whithish figure that disappeared in the air, something like a human hand touched the cheeks of those who were present.

After the huge success the Fox family proposed to some sèances in private homes, so that they could send their messages to the human beings, talking to them about the Afterlife and shwing the path of peace and happiness on Earth.These meetings were the firts sèances of modern times.

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The enthusiasm was so great that the small group of initiates decided to obey to the spirits organizing a large public meeting that took place on November the 14th, 1849 t the “Corinthian Hall” in Manchester, where hundreds of people gathered. This date marked the beginning of the Spiritualist Movement worldwide.

However, the spirits troubled by the confusion they caused, not always accomplished their promises and some them began to make deplorable jokes to confuse the initiates.

Elle. x

 

 

 

Haunted Dolls.

Here it is, as promised, a post completely dedicated to haunted dolls. So, if you suffer from pediophobia you may NOT enjoy this post (Sorry)!

A haunted doll is a handmade or manufactured doll or stuffed animal that is purported to be cursed or possessed in some way. The earliest report of a haunted doll goes back to Egypt where the enemies of Ramses III attempted to use wax images of his likeness to bring about his death.

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The Midnight Society #4: Casa Matusita

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The entire web is full of urban legends that tell of gruesome events taking place in abandoned homes. Homes surrounded by an halo of mystery by the testimonies of people who claim to have seen shadows behind the windows, hearing terrifying screams or worse, to have seen several ghosts wandering aimlessly along the corridors.

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The ghost who walks in the picture.

Here we are with another spooky story. It is quite old but I still find it fascinating, mainly because I have a “thing” for old pictures. Little fact about me: I find old photographs so interesting that I actually collect them!

I’m not 100% sure if this story is real or it is the nth urban legend, but I thought it would have been interesting to share it anyway.

1997. Rory O’Donoghue works at a photo lab in Cork, northwest of Ireland, between green fields, farming villages and industrial landscapes. Rory has a passion for photography so he decides to go it alone and taking over a photo lab that had been closed for years. During the renovation of the store Rory found an envelope with an old roll of film inside. There’s a date wtitten on the envelope “July ’65”. The film was used, so out of curiosity Rory develops itthe film contains a single photo. It is the picture of an old cottage, like the many other you can find in the irish coutryside.

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Anyway, Rory decides to print the negative and do an enlargement of the photograph. The photo wasn’t anything exceptional but its apparent normality had something magnetic. He then placed the picture in an envelope and returned back home.

But around midnight he noticed that something in the photograph is “different”. The picture is no longer the same as a human figure appeared in it. In complete disbelief of what happened runs to take his camera to take some snapshots of the strange effect

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After a few hours he noticed that the figure in the picture moved again assuming the feature of a woman dressed in black. Increasingly amazed, he continued to take snapshots all night. The human figure in the picture kept moving very slowly, stabilizing every hour.

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It’s been a really scary night for Rory, to the point of making him tell everything to his wife and to a few close family members, afraid of not being believed.

Only in 2007, the grandson of Rory D. who was on a trip in the countryside of Cork, next to a Medieval church and an abandoned cemetery saw a building that was somehow familiar. So he asked some questions around and learned that it had been the residence of a very noble family, the Brandville. The last male heir, as an infant, had mysteriously disappeared in the night of his crib. The mother committed suicide in that house while his father, mad, remained in the cottage until his death. The cottage is still there, in the countryside of Cork in a state of neglect and the picture is still in plain view hung on a wall of Rory’s house.

Elle. xx

Creepy Fact #7: Hairy Hands

Hairy hands is the name given to a ghost believed by some to be responsible for the high number of motor accidents on a stretch of road in Dartmoor. Many drivers have reported feeling a hand take hold of their steering wheel and forcing their vehicle off the road.

According to the story surrounding them, the Hairy Hands are a pair of disembodied hands that appear suddenly, grab at the steering wheel of a moving car or the handlebars of a motorcycle, and then force the victim off the road. In some cases the hands are described as being invisible. That’s the story that’s been repeated many times since the first incident in 1921, when a Dartmoor Prison guard was killed as his motorcycle went out of control and crashed.

This happend again when another motorcyclist were driven off the road at the same spot, this time the passenger saw a large hairy hand grab the handlebar and forcibly crash the bike. In one incident, in 1924, a woman camping on the moor with her husband reported seeing a hairy hand attempting to gain access to her caravan during the night, she reported that the hand retreated after she made the sign of the Cross.

Most variations of the legend of the Hairy Hands do not specify the origins of the hands or attribute to them any specific purpose, other than driving motorists off the road. A few local versions of the story attribute the hands to an unnamed man who died in an accident on the road, the ghost of a deceased Dartmoor Prison inmate or an evil spirit wandering the moor. Well, whatever it is be careful if you find yourself driving in that place.

Elle. x

The Midnight Society #3: Happy Birthday Ouija Board

midnightsocietyTime for some spooky vibes! This year the Ouija Board turned 125! This wooden board has come a very long way and is always under the spotlight thanks to movies, books, and other’s experiences. Invented in 1890 by Elijah Jefferson Bond as an innocent game, the Ouija Board became a divining tool during World War I.

This form of communication is very similiar to the automatic writing, both forms are very dangerous as they are uncontrolled and generally who use these channels are novices and unaware of the possible dangers that await.

Just as it happend to the Ravens family who “accidentally” summoned a demon into their living room. John Ravens, his wife Gloria and their two kids Lynda and Ronald gathered around the board for what they thought was going to be an evening of fun at their home in a Toronto, Canada suburb (I mean, why not playing Monopoly?!). “We were just playing around with it when suddenly the planchette that spells out answers began moving by itself,” says John. They were all scared, but then John and Gloria thought maybe one of the kids was up to tricks so they both started asking questions, and this spirit began communicating through the board and then asked if it could visit them. By this time, John was sure someone was playing a joke, and he said yes. Which, of course, was a big mistake!

That’s when the nightmare began. “The demon appeared within seconds,” says John. “It spun around the room overhead, laughing and cursing at us. It was surrounded by a ring of fire and the room became so hot, it was like an inferno from Hell.” The family describes the demon as red and black with scaly skin and horns. It also had giant bat wings. “Then it suddenly swooped down and attacked us,” recalls John. “It started biting each of us on the face and arms. We tried getting up and running for the door, but every time we did, the creature started clawing us. It was so fast, we couldn’t escape from it.”

Lynda and brother Ronald were picked up repeatedly and hurled across the room. As they lay helplessly on the floor, the creature pounded on their chests and heads. “It had hooves that dug into my children’s faces and skin, marking them badly,” says Gloria. The attack lasted for more than an hour before the horrifying demon vanished as quickly as it first appeared. The children were screaming and crying as John pulled them out of the house and drove to a nearby hospital, where they were treated for cuts and burns.

Generally several spirits will attempt to come through at the same time but the real danger lies when you ask for physical proof of their existence! You might say, “Well, if you’re really a spirit, then put out this light or move that object!” What you have just done is simple, you have “opened a doorway” and allowed them to enter into the physical world and future problems can and often do arise.

If you just type ‘ouija board experiences’ you’ll be able to read a lot of experiences, some of them are very frightening indeed. Of course, there could be a bit of scepticism, but as for me I do believe that there might be something (you can read a couple of ghost stories on this very blog as well –here– and –here-)

So… do you still think it is only a game??

Do you think/believe there might be an afterlife? Do you believe in ghosts? Or have you ever had a “paranormal experience”? Please let me know in the comments all your thoughts about this topic.

Elle. x

The Dybbuk Box

We’re still in the “haunted” field. I’ve noticed, with big surprise, a lot of views to one of my recent posts Haunted Paintings so I guess you might be interested in this kind of topic.

Probably you have already heard of the Dybbuk Box, a small wine cabinet believed to be haunted by a malevolent spirit. Back in the spotlight thanks to the movie The Possession (2012) produced by Sam Raimi, its history is inextricably linked to that of Havela, an old woman of Jewish origin who bought this haunted box in Spain.

Now, you might wonder, what’s a Dybbuk? A Dybbuk is a supernatural being linked to the Jewish tradition. The soul of a deceased who committed the most awful things during his/her life not to be worthy to enter the realm of the afterlife.

During September of 2001, Kevin Mannis attended an estate sale in Portland Oregon. The items liquidated at this sale were from the estate of a woman who had passed away at the age of 103. A grand-daughter of the woman told Kevin that her grandmother had been born in Poland where she grew up, married, raised a family, and lived until she was sent to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. She was the only member of her family who survived the camp. Her parents, brothers, a sister, husband, and two sons and a daughter were all killed. She survived the camp by escaping with some other prisoners and somehow making her way to Spain where she lived until the end of the war, he then was told that she acquired the small wine cabinet listed in Spain and it was one of only three items that she brought with her when she immigrated to the United States. The other two items were a steamer trunk, and a sewing box. Mannis offered to give the box back to the family but the granddaughter insisted that he take it away. “We don’t want it.” She said. She told him the box had been kept in her grandmother’s sewing room and was never opened because a dybbuk was said to live inside it.

Upon opening the box, Mannis wrote that he found that it contained two 1920s pennies, two lock of hair, a small piece of granite engraved with the Hebrew word “Shalom”, a small golden wine goblet, one dried rose bud and a candlestick with octopus legs. Kevin started to experience a series of horrific nightmares shared with other people while they were in possession of the box or when they stayed at his home while he had it. The box was a birthday gift for his mother who then suffered a stroke on the same day he gave her the box.

After these unfortunate events Kevin decided to put the box on eBay –here– you can see the original ad and everything he wrote about, all the story and all the spooky and chilling details. Iosif Neitzke was the “lucky” winner of the auction and as soon as he received the item, of course, he started to be the victim of some eerie events as well, claiming that the box caused lights to burn out in his house and hair loss. Jason Haxton, Director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri followed Neitzke’s blogs regarding the box and when he was ready to get rid of the box Neitzke sold it to Haxton

This is the book Jason Haxton wrote and stated that he subsequently developed serious health problems. Haxton consulted with Rabbis (Jewish religious leaders) to try to figure out a way to seal the dybbuk in the box again. Apparently successful, he took the freshly resealed box and hid it at a secret location, which he will not reveal.

This story is one of those head-scratching enigmas in the paranormal community and makes us wonder – are curses real? Can spirits get attached to inanimate objects (As we’ve seen –here-)? We can’t really find an answer to these questions but the only thing we know (if you believe) is that there is something, a more subtle line that divides our world from the afterlife. You better watch your back, you’ll never know what you might see.

Elle. x

Haunted Paintings.

There’s nothing that I love more than art and weird historical facts, so today I’m going to write about some paintings that are believed to be, somehow, cursed and that have some pretty “bizarre” background. Most of these paintings are very famous even because they were owned by actors or other Very Important People. This is going to be a long post, so sit tight, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Hands Resist Him” (Bill Stoneham, 1972) is known as the haunted eBay painting. It depicts a young boy and a female doll standing in front of a glass door against which many hands are pressed. According to the artist, the boy is based on a photograph of himself at age five, the doorway is a representation of the dividing line between the waking world and the world of fantasy and impossibilities, while the doll is a guide that will escort the boy through it.

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