Tag Archives: community

What Social Media Sandboxes Are You Playing In?

Recently I was inspired by Lorelle on WordPress, who in her post Bye-Bye Facebook: Changes in the World of Social Media, says that “you need to play in the sandbox where your audience plays.” Since creating Big Séance, I’ve been hesitant to play in too many social media sandboxes, but it is becoming clear that social media is once again beginning to change. Right now, your social media community options for finding me are limited to Facebook and Twitter (@BigSeance). Most of the community interaction and traffic to Big Séance tends to come from Facebook and search engines, and very rarely from Twitter.

 

Where are my readers and listeners playing the most? 

Please tell me where I need to build the next Big Séance community! 

 


Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead

In Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead, Christine Wicker packs her bags and takes a good honest look at the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale and the mediums that call the place home. She views every experience with an open and respectful, yet unapologetic and skeptical eye, which I appreciated… even if I felt a bit guilty for appreciating it. The reader gets to follow what ends up being a cast of fascinating characters, including guests, mediums, and other members of the community. She asks the questions many of us would probably want to ask, but wouldn’t, because we’d be afraid of being offensive. Christine covers the good, the bad, and the dysfunction of Lily Dale (even juicy gossip among mediums)! And even though she stubbornly refuses to have a spiritual experience, there’s evidence that she does, even if it’s just temporary. 

In the last five years or so, I’ve spent much of my time reading, experimenting, and researching all things “spirit communication”. After first reading about Lily Dale in a book about Spiritualism and the famous Fox Sisters, and after conversations with medium Lee Allen Howard and hearing about his trips to the famous Spiritualist camp, it has been a destination I’ve been very interested in learning about and possibly visiting. Also, six months ago I watched and reviewed No One Dies in Lily Dale, the HBO documentary. As I mentioned in the comments of a recent post about this book, I think I’m going to have to watch the documentary again after reading Christine’s take on it all. I’ll make it to Lily Dale one of these days, but in the meantime I feel like the experience of reading this book was the next best thing. 

Do you have any other recommendations on the topic of Lily Dale? Let me know in the comments below! 

(Speaking of taking my word for it, you may be interested in LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project.) 

 


A Pictorial Tour of Historic and Haunted Alton, Illinois (Part 2)

Greetings! Here is Part 2 of my pictorial tour of Alton, Illinois. Be sure to check out Part 1 for more sites and photos, as well as information on our day trip to Alton. 

 

Such a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.

Such a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.

 

Another view of the mighty Mississippi.

Another view of the mighty Mississippi.

 

The Piasa Masonic Lodge.

The old Piasa Masonic Lodge building.

 

 

The infamous, but not to be messed with (we had to take the pics while flying down the road) McPike Mansion.

The infamous, but not to be messed with (we had to take the pics while flying down the road) McPike Mansion.

 

The Piasa Bird.

The Piasa Bird.

 

 

The historic ruins of the Alton Military Prison walls.

The historic ruins of the Alton Military Prison walls.

 

 

 

 

You might also like: 

Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville, Missouri (Big Séance)

Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville, Missouri (Big Séance)

 

 

 

 

 


Yesterday’s Moment…

 

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. I was not feeling well, having come down with what everyone else has gotten at some point recently at our school. Because of there being a shortage of substitute teachers, I was forced to fight my way through the day at school. I was a bit of a whiner, making sure to warn the kids so they knew to be on their best behavior, and to let them know not to get too close to me.

In one of those stressful passing period moments that are all too common in my job, a student shared that they needed to talk to me in private. They shared with me something so brave and honest that I nearly cried right there. In the back of my mind I knew that this was one of those “moments”. One of those moments where you only have one chance to have the right response and really be there and present for the kid. I did my best. And when the discussion was over I suddenly didn’t have much to complain about.

I began my next class with probably more of a smile, reminding myself that you truly never know what’s going on with your students, especially in middle school, and especially when you see so many of them in your day. Moments like these, I reminded myself, are why I do what I do. It’s not the curriculum, not the testing, not the very short summers. I’m there for the kids. 

I began wondering if my “moment” of the day had been arranged in some master plan. Was I supposed to be there? What if I would have stayed home? Did i really help? 

Then it was time for lunch. I joined a group of teachers that I don’t usually eat with. Someone walked in and broke the news about the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 

Just about everyone has had their emotional Facebook or Twitter statement regarding yesterday’s events. Many of them asked the question “why?”, and some even questioned their faith. Many statements gave credit to evil or the Devil himself. As someone who has been very honest and open about the fact that I don’t believe there is a “Devil”, I couldn’t stop wondering why something like this would happen. Are disgusting, heart wrenching events like this truly in some master plan? Or is it just flawed humans bouncing around on the planet with free will? 

I can’t even begin to understand what is going on inside the hearts and minds of those Connecticut children and families involved in yesterday’s tragedy. And people are mourning all over the world, really. Talk about a “moment”.  

One thing is for sure. When someone asks me where I was when I found out about the events at Sandy Hook Elementary (and it’s already happened once), I’ll be able to tell them that I was at school, not feeling well, but yet learning a big lesson about empathy and compassion. 

 

 


From Pumpkins to Jack-O-Lanterns 2012…

My 2012 punkin’ head… I decided to go with a classic look this year.

 

Punkin’ heads on the porch… Joe’s punkin’ head is on the right. He always has to draw attention with his and be avant garde.

 

Meril’s traditional punkin’ head… He had a bit of help from Joe…

 

I just love capturing the sniff shots…

 

Our whole family of 2012 punkin’ heads…

 

 


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