Monthly Archives: March 2014

Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home: New Friends!

 

As I was preparing to leave for the Belvoir Winery T.A.P.S. event last weekend, I was a bit anxious, mainly because I was going alone and without any members of my team or family. I’m not hugely social in public situations, particularly if I don’t know anyone. What kind of people would be there? Experienced paranormal investigators? Wannabe investigators? Syfy fans? Giant nerds? How much equipment do I bring for the overnight investigation? Will I be embarrassed by pulling out some of this equipment?  Well this paranormal event had the usual “characters” (You know what I’m talking about, right?), but for the most part what I found were people who were there just to have fun… and, of course, many of them were excited to meet the para-celebs, just as I was. I arrived on that first day pretty early. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there, and I wanted to be able to take plenty of photos. The first person that I began a conversation with was a friendly woman named Laurie. We talked quite a bit while she waited for her friends to arrive. It turns out we had a bit in common. Then later I met Andi. She had come to the previous T.A.P.S. event last fall and so I asked her quite a few questions. She and I both had a camera around our necks and later found each other roaming the grounds for great shots. 

 

The Laurie Group!

As I was touring the grounds, I met another friendly face who made me feel right at home. Her name was Jaime, and she later introduced me to her whole crew, including Ian, Jeanette, Sharon, Karen, and Kim (and other names that I’m unfortunately forgetting). She invited me to sit with their gang later in the day for dinner. I did just that. Out of a few hundred people at this event, Sharon pulled some magic and was able to get our table called for dinner first! It was catered by Hy-Vee and was wonderful (and the twice baked potatoes were to die for). While gabbing with these new friends in the buffet line, I broke the salad tongs with my amazing strength. It was in this buffet line that I learned we had a cool little connection. Most of these folks were either from or lived in Laurie, Missouri, a tiny town around the Lake of the Ozarks–the same town where my parents recently purchased a lake lot. I even blogged about the mysterious Cup Tree in Laurie just last year. How cool is that?! We had a lot of laughs and I enjoyed their company! It was like fate brought us together–paranerds for an evening.

The next evening they divided us up into groups for the investigation. Fortunately, Sharon and Kim were in my group. I’ll save those experiences for another post.

 

More to Come

By the way, if any of you recall me freaking out recently on the Big Séance Facebook page, all is not lost. My aging Sony NightShot camcorders managed to make it through the Belvoir investigation, including moments with Amy Bruni, Adam Berry, and Britt Griffith (Britt even used my spirit box!!!). However, I was bummed and angry when both of these camcorders died in the same evening, leaving all of those wonderful moments stuck on the tapes. Fortunately, a friend of mine converts tapes to DVD (tape2dvd.org, facebook.com/stpeterstape2dvd) and so I look forward to being able to show you some cool footage soon! Also, I plan on sharing some of my thoughts and notes from Britt’s paranormal technology lecture.

 

Other recent Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home posts:  

The Photos (Big Séance)

The Photos (Big Séance)

I’m Baaaaaaaaaack! (Big Séance)

I’m Baaaaaaaaaack! (Big Séance)

 


Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home, Liberty, Missouri: The Photos

Introducing the artsy-fartsy photos from my weekend at Belvoir Winery, formerly the Odd Fellows Home, in Liberty, Missouri. These photos can also be found on my Flickr page

Belvoir Winery, a former orphanage, hospital, nursing home, and school, was featured on Season 9, Episode 10 of SYFY’s Ghost Hunters, and titled “Vintage Spirits”. For more information about Belvoir Winery and its history, visit their site at BelvoirWinery.com.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Might Also Like:

I’m Baaaaaaaaaack! (Big Séance)

My Favorite Historic Architectural Styles: A Field Trip (Big Séance)

15 Reasons to Befriend a Paranormal Nerd Today! (Big Séance)

 

 


I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!

 

I’m back from the greatest and most eventful spring break I’ve had in years… and maybe ever! But I’ve been itching to get back to this computer, since I’ve never had such a long absence from this blog! I have so much to share with you, including TONS of photos and stories from my T.A.P.S. and Chip Coffey weekend at Belvoir Winery  in Liberty, Missouri… but I feel I should share chronologically. Plus, I just now got back home and must now return to a busy real life tomorrow, and I have much to go through in order to work up some Belvoir posts. I’m so excited though, because I have plenty to share, including meeting more para-celebs and some great new friends! Also, perhaps some video clips from our large group investigation from Saturday night! So stay tuned…

 

 

THE PARANORMAL PORTION OF THIS POST

So here’s a little update. I wrote the first part of this post yesterday and intended to publish it last night. I’ve been recovering from a cold and some kind of a bug since returning from Cancun. Suddenly in the middle of this post, I began getting chills that within an hour became more intense than I’ve ever experienced. It was horrible. I stood in a hot shower for a ridiculous amount of time, and when I forced myself to get out, I curled up in blankets on the bed. I couldn’t get warm enough. As I began to shiver myself to sleep, I either straight up hallucinated or dreamed that I had physically jumped inside my iPhone (not easy for a fat man) and was cruising through my Facebook feed. So… very… bizarre. I ultimately ended up sleeping for a few hours and woke up at bedtime, of course. Was I visited by the ghost of Montezuma? Did Trixie at Imos add some fairy dust to my pizza? (Oh you KNOW I’m totally going to put “fairy” and “faery” in the tags to this post now.)  I really don’t know, and I’m feeling much better today, but I stayed home from school to be sure (after several late night hours of creating substitute teacher plans, of course). One thing is certain, last night was not fun. 

 

THIS CONCLUDES THE PARANORMAL PORTION OF TODAY’S PROGRAMMING

For now, though it’s not very paranormal, I wanted to share a few photos from our spectacular trip to Cancun, Mexico! For the rest of my artsy-fartsy Cancun photos, feel free to visit my Flickr page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might also like:

Greetings from the Smoky Mountains! (Big Séance)

Two Smoky Mountain Cemeteries (Big Séance)

 

 


You Love Gay People? That’s great. Prove it.

On a day where I had to hand my four-legged son off to my parents (if you know me, you know that was rough), and a day where I’m packing and preparing to take my first international trip for vacation tomorrow (Cancun), and on a day where I can’t stop thinking about that damn mysterious missing plane (!!!! ???), I couldn’t think of a great way to let my readers know that I’ll be absent for a few weeks.

Then I read a great blog post by one of my favorites. It’s a topic that I’m so passionate about… and I just decided that I’m passing it along, paranormal or not. Although, I would argue that this post would fit quite well under the topic of “spiritual”. Maybe? I dunno. The good news is, I’m in charge here. 🙂 Anyway, this is probably only the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve re-blogged. Please enjoy, and if you feel so inclined, please pass it along.

When we return from Cancun I’ll immediately take off for the TAPS and Chip Coffey at Belvoir Winery event. I’m so excited to report back after both of those experiences! And yes… I’ll keep my eyes open for paranormal activity in Mexico.

Peace, everyone! Spring is coming!!

Susan Cottrell & FreedHearts

fairlady“When conservative Christians find out I’m gay, they almost all say the same thing: ‘I know gay people think Christians hate them, but I don’t. I love gay people. I may not agree with them, but I love them.'”

(Today’s post is from Justin Lee, Author of “Torn”, and the Executive Director of The Gay Christian Network.)

You’d be surprised how often I hear this. Christians are constantly telling me how much they love me.

If they treat me disapprovingly, it’s because they “love the sinner and hate the sin.”

If they preach at me, they’re “speaking the truth in love.”

If they distance themselves from me, it’s because they’re showing “tough love.”

Yet they wonder why gay people don’t feel very loved.

It reminds me of a scene from the 1960s musical film My Fair Lady. Eliza Doolittle, a poor flower girl, has worked hard to overcome her…

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Teens and Psychic Abilities: Are there concerns?

 

My readers know that I’m a fan of good books written by psychics/mediums. Right now I’m in the middle of The Gift: Understand and Develop Your Psychic Abilities by Echo Bodine, which was a book that Chip Coffey suggested to an audience member when I saw him this last fall. 

In her book, Echo includes a section called “A Special Note to Teenagers”, where she talks about how teens should probably not be encouraged to develop their psychic abilities or gifts, because of how challenging being a teenager can be already. According to her inner voice, this isn’t a good idea because it would just be too much for them.   

Keep in mind that this book was written ten years ago, and that Bodine isn’t suggesting we not be supportive of teens and their psychic abilities or gifts… just that they shouldn’t be encouraged to develop these gifts further… I guess. Even so, I was shocked by what she was suggesting.

So I’ll just put it out there. I disagree completely. As a middle school teacher for twelve years now, I’ve seen students overcome so many obstacles, and prove that they’re wise beyond their years. I’ve also seen that, in general, we have much to learn from most young people. Who are we to decide to hold them back from developing the exceptional gifts that they may have been given?  

 

I’m interested in your thoughts on this. What do you think? 

 

You might also like:

Children who have spirit friends (Big Séance)

Children who have spirit friends (Big Séance)

Was it a Ghost? A Sliver of a Very Early Memory. (Big Séance)

Was it a Ghost? A Sliver of a Very Early Memory. (Big Séance)

Yesterday's Moment (Big Séance)

Yesterday’s Moment (Big Séance)

 


My Favorite Historic Architectural Styles: A Field Trip

Would you like to see what a music teacher does on a snow day when he has a lot on his mind and puts important things off to the last minute when he really shouldn’t because there’s a musical to direct this week? You would?! Oh goody! Follow me through my crazy labyrinth of net surfing today! 

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

A home in Lexington, Missouri. Photo courtesy of midwesternmantra.com

So whether I’m watching a television show or just out on the road, sometimes I find a home and get obsessed with the overall look of it. I then get sucked into Googling the structure or the style (if I know what it is). Most of the time the place ends up being from the same Victorian time period that I’d love to be able to visit in a time machine! It could be that I grew up in a historical civil war battle town with lots of Victorian and antebellum homes and buildings.

 

The Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, Missouri.

Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, MO, completed in 1849

I always decide that one day I’ll live in an old home just like what I saw… then I remind myself of how very OCD I tend to be. I’m not sure I could live in a home with decades or centuries of other people’s “funk”, and so I devise a plan of recreating a historically accurate wing of a future brand new home. I’m not entirely sure my beau would want to move into this strangely bi-century home, but I’ll continue to dream.  Until now I haven’t really pictured the outside. Hmmm… maybe it looks like Meet Me in St. Louis on one side and modern suburbia on the other? 

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Here’s an example of things that get me started:

It was featured on an episode of This Old House a few weeks ago, where they work on refurbishing an Italianate house. The Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine, was built in Victorian Villa style between 1858 and 1860. If you just Google the place, you’ll see some amazing interior photos.

 

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

Interior of the Victoria Mansion, Portland, Maine

 

Or how about the Woodruff-Fontaine House, a French Victorian mansion that was built in 1870 in Memphis, Tennessee. I saw this one on a recent episode of Ghost Hunters

 

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

Woodruff-Fontaine House, Memphis, Tennessee

 

Is it the mansard roof?

Sometimes I think I’m just drawn to a home with a beautiful (or creepy) mansard roof. “Mansard Roof”–that’s another fun one to Google! You can also check out this article, The Heyday of Mansard Roofs from the New York Times. 

Speaking of mansard roofs! Here’s one that caught my attention a year ago on a road trip with my buddy Matt. The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri.

 

The Bourbon Hotel in Bourbon, Missouri

 

A famous big city version of a mansard roof belongs to the Grand Hotel in New York City, built in Second Empire Style in 1868.  

 

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

The Grand Hotel (on the left) in New York City

 

We interrupt this exciting program on mansard roofs to bring you this important Public Service Announcement! 

Public Service Announcement! I decided to head downstairs to take a break from my web-surfing field trip. I highly discourage you from missing the bottom four steps on the way down! Uuugh! After a check to make sure all of my appendages still worked, and as I picked ice melt out of my hair from landing next to the front door where we’ve been tracking winter in on our shoes, I decided dinner sounded good.

 

 

Program on mansard roofs still in progress…

So now I’m back. I’m fed. I’m sore… but a pain pill and a healthy dose of ibuprofen should take care of things. 

Where were we? That’s right… the beautiful Grand Hotel! Looking that one up reminded me of another NYC landmark–The Dakota Building in Manhattan, which was featured, through external shots, in the movie Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The interior shots, though filmed on a sound stage, were apparently modeled after The Dakota as well. It was built between 1880 and 1884, and according to Wikipedia, “The building’s high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a North German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic townhall. Nevertheless, its layout and floor plan betray a strong influence of French architectural trends in housing design that had become known in New York in the 1870s.”

 

The Dakota Building in Manhattan.

The Dakota Building in Manhattan

 

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78.

A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78

 

Could the Psycho house possibly be the most famous mansard roof?? Here’s the painting “House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper, which was apparently used as inspiration for the Psycho house.

 

 

"House by the Railroad" by Edward Hopper

“House by the Railroad” by Edward Hopper

 

What’s that? You’re tired? Oh alright. I suppose I’ve held you captive long enough. I’ll let you off the bus.

Till the next field trip.

 

You Might Also Like: 

15 Reasons to Befriend a Paranormal Nerd Today! (Big Séance)

A Song of Spirits (My 300th Post!) (Big Séance)

 

 

 

 

 


Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

 

More Recent Cemetery Posts: 

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls - Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff (Big Séance)

Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff (Big Séance)

Another Visit to Gumbo (Big Séance)

Another Visit to Gumbo (Big Séance)

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

 

 


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