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

 

 

 

 

Necropolis Line

London has several transport links, but did you know that there was one that used to carry dead people and their mourners?

The London Necropolis Railway was opened in 1854 and carried coffins from the Waterloo station to Brookwood cemetery. There were separate hearse cars for Anglicans and Dissenters, and three classes of carriage for the living and the dead.

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A First Class corpse received a higher level of customer care and nicely decorated carriage. Trains ran straight into the cemetery grounds, there were two stations, each for different parts of the cemetery, North for Dissenters and South for Anglicans, adjacent to the corresponding chapels. The South Station was licensed and in addition for funeral parties, offered afternoon tea to visitors strolling in the cemetery, it also operated as a pub, which did much to reconcile the locals to the giant cemetery on their doorstep.

Brookwood received the dead from overcrowded London parishes, in a series of subdivisions, many of which resemble old-fashioned churchyards with their hedges and lynch-gates. As well as accomodating Anglicans and Dissenters, Brookwood was one of the first cemeteries in Britain to offer burial facilities to Muslims and Sikhs.

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The two stations in the cemetery were demolished during the 1960s and the ruins later caught fire. The tracks were long since lifted away to be melted or reused elsewhere. In London, the entrance building to the private station at 121 Westminster Bridge Road remains largely intact, but the name Necropolis Cemetery Station that was once inscribed is no longer there.

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I love living in London, so many unusual things to discover that make a weirdo like me very happy!

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

 

 

 

Serial killers, witches and more!

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Hey peeps! It’s been ages since my last post and I’m terribly sorry for that, but lately my life has become insane, in a positive way! October and November are going to be two wicked months, so I won’t be posting a lot. Great thing is that on November you’ll be able to see a huge news here on The Weirdo. Seriously, I can’t wait for it!

In the meantime I picked some interesting documentaries that I found on YouTube (who would have thought?!) for your eyes pleasure!

So, grab a cuppa or some pop corn and click on whatever link that might floats your boat!

Serial Killers – Profiling a Criminal Minds: https://youtu.be/-VRkcQD6K6A

A Very British Witchcraft: https://youtu.be/k2Pb_FQR0r0

Mental – A History of the Madhouse: https://youtu.be/oswUssXzFlY

Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home (just because I’m obsessed with the Victorian Era): https://youtu.be/Sy7iUoWi_-U

The Secret World Last Exorcism: https://youtu.be/sixItlJ9b0k

Origin of the Vampire: https://youtu.be/OdwR6sskHv0

Tarot Cards: https://youtu.be/LIqwpwZJlMo

These are going to keep you busy for a while.

Remember that on October there will be the usual Halloween countdown on The Weirdo Facebook page. I’m sure you don’t want to miss that! 🎃

Elle. x

 

Thule and Vril Society – Maria Orsic

Maria Orsic – WWII era Medium and leader of Vril , which was an offshoot of the Thule Gessellschaft Society in Nazi Germany. Her story is amazing, and sounds almost like a sci-fi story and has convincing documentation of its true existance. She dissapeared in March of 1945 and some say that she and others went to a Star system 68 light years away from ours.

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In the year 1919 Maria moved to München, to her boyfriend, who became later her fiancé. It is unknown whether they married or not, because they both disappeared in 1945.

In Munich Maria was in contact with the Thule Gesellschaft and soon she created her own circle together with Traute A. from Munich and several other friends: the “Alldeutsche Gesellschaft für Metaphysik”, official name of the Vril Gesellschaft. All of them were young ladies, which among other things were against the arising fashion of short hair-styles for women. Both Maria and Traute were beautiful ladies with very long hair; Maria was blond and Traute was brown-haired. They had long horse tails, a very uncommon hairstyle at that time. This became a disctinctive characteristic in all the women who integrated Vril which was maintained till May 1945. They believed that their long hair acted as cosmic antennae to receive alien communication from beyond. In public, however, they hardly ever exhibited the hair in horse tail style.

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Maria claimed to have received mediumistically transmissions in a secret German Templar script – a language unknown to her – containing technical data for the construction of a flying machine. Vril documents mention these telepathic messages had their origin in Aldebaran, a solar system 68 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. She had two piles of papers: one with the Templar script, the other with a legible writing. Maria suspected the second pile would be written in an ancient eastern language, it turned out that the apparently misterious language was actually ancient Summerian and hence the language of the ancient Babylonian culture founders. Sigrun, from the Vril gesellschaft helped translate the language and decipher the strange mental images of a circular flight machine.

Hess found unnerving to watch Maria Orsic’s eyeballs rolling back and showing only whites, and to see her slumping backward in her chair, mouth agape. A weird voice then identified itself as “the Sumi, dwellers of a distant world, which orbits the star Aldebaran in the constellation you call Taurus the Bull”, according to the voice, the Sumi were an humanoid race who had briefly colonized Earth 500 million years ago. The ruins of ancient Larsa, Shurrupak and Nippur in Iraq had been built by them. Those of them who survived the great flood of Ut-napishtim (the Deluge of Noah’s Ark) had become the ancestors of the Aryan race. While Maria was still in a trance, she scribbled several lines of bizarre looking marks, those marks turned out to be ancient Summerian characters, the language of the founders of the oldest Babylonian culture.

In December 1943 Maria attended, together with Sigrun, a meeting held by Vril at the seaside resort of Kolberg. The main purpose of the meeting was to deal with the “Aldebaran project”. The Vril mediums had received precise information regarding the habitable planets around the sun Aldebaran and they were willing to plan a trip there. This project was discussed again the 22nd January 1944 in a meeting between Hitler, Himmler, Dr. W. Schumann (scientist and professor in the Technical University of Munich) and Kunkel of the Vril Gesellschaft. It was decided that a Vril 7 “Jäger” would be sent through a dimension channel independent of the speed of light to Aldebaran. According to N. Ratthofer (writer), a first test flight in the dimension channel took place in late 1944. The test flight almost ended in disaster.

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Maria Orsic disappeared in 1945. The 11th of March of 1945 an internal document of the Vril Gesellschaft was sent to all its members; a letter written by Maria Orsic. The letter ends: “niemand bleibt hier” (noone is staying here). This was the last announcement from Vril, and since then noone heard again from Maria or the rest of members. It is speculated they escaped to Aldebaran…

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

Creepy tales

Giambattista Basile‘s tales feature dismemberments, rapes and killings. Far from being the magical, Disney-style fairy tales we imagine, his works inspired a stunning movie that I recently watched called “The Tale of Tales” (Il Racconto dei Racconti), directed by Matteo Garrone.

I remember as a kid to be an avid reader of fairytales, especially the ones by the Grimm brothers, but of course most of the books I used to own back then were a lot “sugarcoated” because the original versions of the most famous fairy-tales we know are NOT very suitable for children. I’m pretty sure that there’s a sort of moral at the end and scarying the hell out of kids might work to make them understand the “message”.

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Let’s start with The Little Mermaid (Hans Christian Andersen), Ariel and her lovely friends having fun underwater (okay, it does sound wrong!). Well, in the original version the little mermaid doesn’t even have a name nor a soul and this is the lesser evil. She falls in love with a charming prince from the human world so she goes to Ursula the Sea Witch so that she can turn her into a human, not only is she voiceless, every step on her feet causes her agony; the sea-witch describes it as “walking on knives.” All this for the prince she loves, who at the end marries another girl. As the little mermaid contemplates dying, her sisters pop out of the water, having traded their hair with the witch for a magical knife so that she can kill the prince but the mermaid throws the knife away and prepares to meet her fate. Her body dissolves into foam, but instead of ceasing to exist she’s rescued by the “daughters of the air,” who tell her that she’s now one of them and that, if she flies around the world doing good deeds for 300 years, she might get a soul after all. What a deal?!

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Now it’s time for Sleeping Beauty, the original version would have terrified even Maleficent! Consider some of the plot devices found in the original story of “Sleeping Beauty” in the days of our distant past: adultery, bigamy, murder, the rape of a comatose woman and even human cannibalism. The young woman is put to sleep because of a prophesy, rather than a curse. And it isn’t the kiss of a prince which wakes her up: the king seeing her asleep decides to rape her. After nine months she gives birth to two children (while she is still asleep). One of the children sucks her finger which removes the piece of flax that was keeping her asleep. She wakes up to find herself raped and the mother of two kids. The king comes back, and despite him having raped her, they end up falling in love. However, another big problem: the king is still married to someone else. His wife finds out and not only tries to have the twins killed, cooked, and fed to the king, but also tries to burn the princess at the stake. Luckily, she is unsuccessful. The king and the princess get married and live happily ever after (despite the fact that he raped her).

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In Charles Perrault’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, included in his 1697 collection Stories or Fairy Tales from Past Times: Tales of Mother Goose, there is no intrepid huntsman. Little Red simply strips naked, gets in bed, and then dies, eaten up by the big bad wolf, with no miraculous relief. In another version, she eats her own grandmother first, her flesh cooked up and her blood poured into a wine glass by our wolfish friend and another version has it that the young girl has sex with the wolf, who was a some sort of a werewolf.

Sometimes I wonder how different would Disneyland be if they stuck to the original endings, I’m pretty sure it would only be a place for some adults fun!

Elle. x