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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

Hope Diamond

Are diamonds a girl’s best friend? Maybe, maybe not if the diamond we are talking about is the Hope Diamond – a forty-five carat blue diamond that for more than a century supposedly bore a curse that brought death and misfortune to the people who owned it.

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Coming from the Golkonda mines in India, it was bought by the French merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. According to some Jean-Baptiste removed the diamond from the eye of a Hindu statue sparking the wrath of the gods, who cursed the stone and all those who owned it. Immediately after Tavernier went bankrupt and tried to rebuild his fortune starting from India, but never reached his destination because he died during the trip.

King Louis XIV bought the stone from Tavernier and had it recut in 1673. It was then known as “The Blue Diamond of the Crown” or the “French Blue”. King Louis died of gangrene and all of his legitimate children died in childhood, except for one. Nicholas Fouquet who worked for King Louis XIV, is said to have worn the diamond for some special occasion. Shortly thereafter, he fell out of favor with the king and was banished from France. The Louis changed this sentence to life imprisonment, so Fouquet spent 15 years in the fortress of Pignerol.

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The diamond was then donated to Marie Antoinette and… well, we all know what happened to her and her husband Louis XVIbeheaded during the French Revolution. Eventually the diamond was stolen along with other jewels and precious objects. It then passed into the hands of a jeweler who died of a heart attack as soon as the stone was stolen (according to other sources he died when he discovered that the thief was none other than his son). The son of the jeweler, the alleged perpetrator of the theft,  when he knew he was the cause of his father’s death committed suicide. His friend, who had found the diamond among the property left unattended, died after a short time. 

The gemstone quickly passed from hand to hand and reached London, the English nobleman Lord Francis Hope, VIII Duke of Newcastle, paid an exorbitant amount of money for the gem andbaptize” it with his name, but – if you want to give credit to the supposed curse did he regret it, almost immediately after having received the stone the relationship with his wife gone bad and the pair split up. The woman, Mary Yohe, an American actress and singer of musicals, fell into poverty, while the Lord Francis Hope hastened to get rid of the diamond.

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Evalyn Walsh McLean was a spoiled heiress who lived a charmed life… until she bought the diamond. She happily wore the diamond and there are stories that she would even affix the jewel to her dog’s collar and let him wander around the apartment with it. But wearing the Hope Diamond came at a steep price: first her mother-in-law died, her son died at the age of nine, her husband left her for another woman and later died in a mental hospital, her daughter died of a drug overdose at 25 and she eventually had to sell her newspaper ““ the Washington Post – and died owing huge debts. Evalyn’s surviving kids sold the diamond to Harry Winston. Nine years later, Winston mailed the gem to the Smithsonian for $2.44 in postage and $155 in insurance. The mailman who delivered the diamond to the Smithsonian, apparently had his leg crushed in a truck accident shortly thereafter. He also suffered a head injury in a separate accident.

The Hope Diamond is preserved at the Smithsonian Museum, kept on public display in a glass case. Today the sky-blue gem is worth a quarter of a billion dollars.

I wonder if even writing about the diamond can make you fall under the umbrella of the curse?

I HOPE you’ll be hearing from me again…

Elle. xx

Past lives and reincarnation.

I love writing. It’s something that I find highly satisfying, I’m not talking just about this blog. I love grab a pen and my notebook (not the computer) and let my thoughts drowning in a river of ink. Does that mean that I was a writer in a previous life? I often hear the fact that what you love to do in this life it is something that you’ve mastered in your past life. Another theory says that we are here to learn a lesson and this cycle continues until the soul has worked through all the lessons it set out to learn.

I’m starting to find the topic of reincarnation and past lives very interesting so I’ve decided to browse the web and sharing with you a couple of stories. If you don’t believe in reincarnation then what I’m going to write will definitely raise a few doubts.

Gus Taylor was 18 months old when he started to say that he was his own grandfather. Young children can be confused about their own identity and those of their family members, but this was different. His grandfather had died a year before Gus was born and the boy totally believed they were the same person. When shown some family photographs, Gus identified “Grandpa Augie” when he was four years old. Years before, Augie’s sister was murdered and her body was dumped in San Francisco Bay. No one in the family had ever spoken of this to Gus, and consequently, everyone was shocked when Gus started talking about his dead sister.

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At a very young age, James Leininger started to remember his life as a navy fighter pilot. He lost a lot of sleep and kept talking about flying planes, about the weapons, and the scary accident with his plane. James, who only watched kids’ programs on TV, showed his mother what a fighter plane drop tank was, and was able to check a plane over as a pilot would during a pre-flight check when he was just three years old. James started having nightmares about being shot down by a plane with a red sun on it, a Japanese plane. He talked about having dreams and memories of being Lieutenant James McCready Huston, a World War II fighter pilot from Pennsylvania who had been killed in Iwo Jima more than 50 years earlier. Later, James told his parents that he had flown a plane called the Corsair from a boat called the Natoma. When James’s father decided to do some research, he discovered that there had been a small escort carrier called the Natoma Bay, which had been in the Battle of Iwo Jima, and that there really had been a pilot called James Huston. His plane was hit in the engine by Japanese fire on March 3, 1945. According to Jim Tucker, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, Huston’s plane crashed exactly the way that young James Leininger had described.

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A three-year-old of the Druze ethnic group, a group of people for whom reincarnation is a core belief, told his elders that he knew what had happened to him in his past life: He was murdered. The boy, whose story was documented by Dr. Eli Lasch, was born with a long, red birthmark on his head. For the Druse birthmarks like these are an indication of death wounds, and children born with them are paid close attention to for anything they may remember of their past lives. Once this particular child turned three and could speak, he told his elders that he was killed by an axe blow to the head. He was led through villages to see if he could remember where he lived, until he came to one that seemed familiar to him. The child said he remembered both the first and last name of his killer with complete clarity.

“Suddenly the boy walked up to a man and said, “Aren’t you …?” The man answered yes. Then the boy said, “I used to be your neighbour. We had a fight and you killed me with an axe.” Eli told me how the man had suddenly gone white as a sheet. The three-year-old boy then said, “I even know where he buried my body.”

Afterward, the boy led his elders to a pile of stones, under which they found a body with an axe wound in its head. He also led them to the spot where the axe was buried, reportedly forcing his killer to confess the crime.

There are so many interesting stories to read, some of them completely ridiculous, but when you find stories like the ones that I’ve just found, it’s a bit difficult to remain 100% skeptical.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section. Do you believe in reincarnation? Do you ever feel nostalgic about a certain era? I’m feeling nostalgic for the Victorian Era although I know I was not present… Or was I?

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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