Inspired Weekends #34


Inspired Weekends #34

–The first round of Fall Into the Holidays 2014 will be open Tuesday, September 23rd at 8 pm. All seasonal themed entries are welcomed-recipes, tutorials, crafts, or essays. All entries are pinned, and features will be Stumbled.

-Just as a matter of housekeeping, by linking up to Inspired Weekends you are allowing the use of 1 photo from your entry as a possible feature.

-Features are now shared on Stumbleupon

-This year’s Operation Autumn has started! You can make your own list or just follow along as I work my way through mine.

-All entries are pinned to the Inspired Weekends Pinterest board.

-You are also invited to join my new blogger group board- Make Me, Bake Me, Craft Me, Inspire Me. Please make sure to read the joining instructions!

-This is a free for all style link up-there are no rules! The only guideline is that each entry should be your own content-but feel free to link up round ups, link parties, giveaways, diy, recipes, tutorials, favorite entries from your archives, recipes, anything that you would like to share! -Feel free to share as many posts as you would like-

Featured Links

ColorfulConfettiKeys1Sparkle’s Confetti Keys

daffodil trioPaper Seedlings’ Daffodil Trio

Click on the button that looks like a blue frog at the bottom of the page to view the collection.

Please link to entries, and not your blog main page.

Click around the list and leave a few comments!

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The Faceless Woman of Beacontree Station

myths and memes 2014

Long, detailed stories certainly have their appeal. I can see why they’re popular.

But I have a thing for the stories that can be told in a paragraph-like, what’s going on here? Where did this come from? Is this an echo of something long past that made its way until now, like how Utah supposedly has banshees? These throw-away comments sometimes get to me more than the fully developed stories.

The faceless woman of Beacontree Station is one of those short stories that get to me. There is a legend of a blonde woman in a long white dress who walks through the Beacontree Station of the London Underground. If you manage to catch her attention, and she turns around, there’s just a blankness where her face is supposed to be. Legend claims she died in a train accident.

Faceless ghosts are actually pretty common, showing up through several different cultural mythologies. There’s something about a lack of a face that creeps out the human brain-maybe because of the lack of identifying features. This might be something that’s linked to an actual event, or it might be something linked to a deeper subconscious response. Who knows? Anyone have more information about this one?

Maybe I don’t want to know, after all. Maybe it would ruin the appeal.

*The station is sometimes reported as Becontree. Maybe someone can clear that up?

10 Ghosts of the London Underground

Ghosts of the London Underground

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Third Man Factor

myths and memes 2014

I don’t know if this fits into this month’s theme, but I like the idea of the thing so I’ll put it in anyway.

That’s the joy of blogging. You can get away with just sort of doing things.

The Third Man factor is the idea that during certain high stress (think extreme mountain climbing, extreme weather events, or terrorist activities such as 9/11) situations people will report being guided to safety or otherwise protected by an entity or spirit that only they can see or hear. The individual sometimes knows the gender of the being, and sometimes even can identify the person they’re with. Even if the person seems to be aware that the individual they are interacting with is imaginary-that imaginary being seems to have been capable of helping the individual avoid danger or find their way back to base camp.

This is an actual, recorded phenomena. Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton reported the factor, which places the factor at least as far back as the turn of the 20th century-and there seems to be no reason to assume that this is a modern effect. While it is most likely to be some form of psychological effect, it has inspired both works of fiction and modern metaphysical thought to wonder if people are interacting with ghosts, guardian angels, or other incorporeal but relatively sentient beings.

While Shackleton was one of the first to report the phenomena in relation to his extreme explorations, there have been modern reports of Third Man factor. The final survivor of the Twin Tower attacks on 9/11 claimed that he had an encounter with something that fits the factor. Ron DiFrancesco claims that something lead him by hand out of the burning building from the 84th floor-except that he was in fact alone the entire time. In many cases, the factor doesn’t prove physical aid so much as a feeling of comfort, support, or simple companionship-athletes who have reported the factor have claimed to attempt to feed their ‘companion’ only to discover that they are alone.

Interestingly, it’s not always a  ‘third man’-on some occasions it’s ‘third men‘. Charles Lindbergh reported the presence of multiple beings on the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927.

Third Man factor

Guardian Angels or the ‘Third Man factor’?

Third man theory of otherwordly encounters

Posted in history | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Simple Eats: Ziti Bake

simple eats ziti bake

Do you remember the time before you knew how to cook?

Do you remember when everything had to come from a box or a can, or it wouldn’t get eaten?

I learned to cook in grad school because I was going insane. I didn’t have the money to survive if I didn’t cook some of my own food (at one point I had $20 a week to cover everything-food, medical, travel, all of it). I was also so overworked that I had to have downtime but it had to be something I could justify taking time away from my thesis for-so cooking fit that bill.

But the thing is, you have to start somewhere. I think that some people are capable of jumping in with both feet and making complex dishes, the same way that some people are capable of knitting socks for their first project. Most of us have to make baby steps.

Here’s a basic pasta bake recipe that’s cheap, easy, and filling. It also makes a lot of food, so if you need to feed a crowd, this is a great way to do it.

Ziti Bake

1 jar tomato sauce-of your choice (if you feel really adventurous, making your own isn’t that much harder than buying it)

1-1 lb box of dry ziti

1 small container ricotta

1/2 block of mozarella cheese, sliced thinly

1/2 roma tomato, thinly sliced (optional)

Other supplies:


large pot

13×9 baking pan


large spoon

Preheat oven to 350

Fill your pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt if desired.

Once your water is boiled, add the entire box of pasta. Boil for six minutes, stirring occasionally.

While your pasta is boiling, coat the bottom of the pan with a little bit of sauce and some of your ricotta.

When the pasta has finished, strain and add to pan, making sure to spread it around the pan so it’s not one solid pasta block.

Cover with your remaining sauce and some of the ricotta. With your spoon, spread around so the top of the pasta is fully covered.

Place your sliced cheese on top, spaced evenly. Top with tomato slices if desired.

Cover pan with foil, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving.

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myths and memes 2014

Centralia is neither a myth nor is it particularly obscure (I’ve been there, or as close to there as you can get anyway). But I’m getting sick of having to explain that P.T. is the playable teaser for Silent Hills, and I haven’t gotten around to talking about Centralia yet, so here we go.

The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania is on fire. That in itself is not all that exciting; towns burn all the time and they don’t end up on a folklore blog. However, the fact that it’s the land under the streets that burning and that it has been burning since 1962.

Centralia, like many towns in that area of the state, was a mining town and the land underneath the town was full of old mining tunnels left over. The main mineral mined from the region was coal. While there is a disagreement about how exactly it happened, at some point in 1962 a fire managed to get into those coal tunnels and eventually spread-eating through the coal veins and whatever ore was left behind.

The fire is still burning. While the town officially no longer exists-the ground is exceptionally unstable at this point and the government has both reclaimed the land and the zip code has been revoked- there is a very small population of individuals that have been given permission to stay until their deaths, at which point the government of Pennsylvania will truly reclaim all the land and the town will cease to exist. Interestingly, the fire has spread to Byrnesville which is also abandoned now, but almost never discussed.

Why would I say that Silent Hills made me realize that I never blogged about Centralia? Because a great deal of modern horror popular culture has latched onto Centralia as a limial state, somewhere between the real world and the underworld. The appearance of Silent Hill (the town featured in the franchise of the same name) is heavily modeled on Centralia, and multiple other works of modern horror fiction have pulled from the town.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia, PA Mine Fire

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Why [Food] Prepping May Not Be As Out There As You Think

why food prepping may not be as out there as you think

I grew up in a household that was prepping before prepping was cool.

If you told my father he was a prepper, he probably wouldn’t know what you were talking about.

But that is in fact what my father was. I am the proto-hipster, my dad is the proto-prepper.

So the concept of prepping, that is, banking on [insert problematic situation here] here is going to come and you might want to prepare for it, isn’t unfamiliar to me at all. What I started doing last year was modding some of what I was reading online (as in, since I don’t own firearms and don’t have the ability to do so at this time, nor do I think I would anyway, the advice of fighting ammo money into my budget was tactfully ignored) and what I learned growing up (a stockpile of cereal is great, but where’s the paper goods like TP and garbage bags?) into my own mini-prepping plan.

Most of what I ended up with was a food schedule-and we are still eating off of some of that food, from prior to when Mid was out of work until now.

This is only talking about food and dry goods prepping. I’m definitely not the person to talk to about survival training, firearm safety, or any of the other dozens of physical prepping skills (I do like the Survival Mom network).

Basic Food Prepping-and Why You Might Want to Think About It

1. Why prep a food stash?

Don’t think things like the end of the world, the collapse of society, or the zombie invasion. I mean, you can if you want to, I’m not going to stop you. But there are much more mundane things that you need to be worried about-weather conditions, health problems, life events like deaths or births, a loss of income or complete unemployment. These are the types of things you should be thinking about, not necessarily how to get to higher ground against hoards of the undead, or even the grid failing. Think Mundania first, always Mundania.

2. Figure out what you can actually use

Don’t waste money on a ‘good sale’ if it’s not going to get eaten. If your family doesn’t use peanut butter, it’s just going to waste space, even if your store is giving it away.

3. Figure out how much space you have

This is actually a big one. If you have a huge rambling 2 kitchen farmhouse like the one I grew up in, you’re going to have a completely different plan than my shoe box apartment. The reason I have no canning material this summer? I’m out of food storage space.

4. Set up your food schedule

Yes, a food schedule. What are you going to buy and when are you going to buy it? What I normally do, when I set out to food prep, is assign a different item to each week-proteins week 1, baking supplies week 2, canned goods week 4, and so on.

5. Figure out how much you need to spend each week

And this is the big surprise, I think, for a lot of people-I normally prep with $5 a week. If I have an extra $5 in the budget, I spend that $5 on whatever that week’s theme is. So I might get $5 worth of dried or canned beans, or meat if I find a cheap package.

6. Figure out how you’re going to store it

This is different from how much space-this is how you’re going to use this space. Are you going to freeze stuff? Put stuff in storage buckets? Can it? Do you have the supplies needed? Don’t show up with 40 pounds of flour and nowhere to keep it.

7. Don’t forget about other physical needs

Like I said, I prep for Mundania, so things like winters like last year’s and unemployment. I’ve seen a lot of stuff on Facebook about how you can use family cloth and not worry about TP (which I mean, is true, I guess, if you can handle that). But unless I happen to be unemployed at the same time the grid falls, I’m more concerned with the former over the latter.

What I’m saying is this-try to have one of your weeks dedicated to dry goods like garbage bags, dish soap, laundry soap, toilet paper, other supplies you might need. Watch sales, hit dollar stores, coupon. I’ve found that other than proteins and meats, this the most expensive area for me, so don’t be surprised if your x dollars means that you’re taking awhile to build up a stash.

That said, I’m still working on my dish soap stash from this winter.

8. Make what you can

Cook what you can from scratch, and make as many of your cleaning products as you can get away with. Your budget will go that much further if you’re buying baking soda, flour, and vinegar instead of 409 and Oreos.

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The Glitchy Vending Machine

myths and memes 2014

I have to tell you, I love this story. LOVE.

Most people like paranormal media for stuff like ghosts, demonic possession, maybe the occasional faerie war making it rain blood in Newfoundland…me? I really like the ‘reality just tilted slightly’ stuff. The weird stuff that on one hand sounds like there should be a reasonable explanation-but on the other hand, what is that explanation?

One of my other favorite stories that I found on Reddit awhile back (I lost track of the link) said something to the effect of “I was peeling eggs. There were 12 eggs. I turned to the garbage, holding one of the dozen eggs-leaving 11 in the bowl. Still holding my egg I turned back to a bowl with 12 eggs.”

(There are more than a few possible explanations to the vending machine. Don’t burst my disbelief-suspending bubble.)

What exactly makes one battered vending machine in Seattle so special?

It seems to be effective bottomless.

There is a Coke machine near John Street in Seattle, Washington that sits outside a locksmith shop. The machine itself is odd-a vintage model from the 1970s with buttons that read ‘mystery’ instead of the normal drink names. The price is set at $.75 American.

Here’s where things get really weird, other than the exceptionally low sticker price:

-It’s still functioning perfectly though no one has ever done maintenance on the machine (supposedly)

-No one has ever seen anyone stock the machine.

-It vends completely random products, including very old or very new Coke products-and even non-Coke products.

-According to some sources, the mystery button isn’t even there all the time. The machine just puts it out when it wants to play, apparently.

-The machine is something of a landmark with people seeking it out like a tourist attraction.

This seems to be the some sort of bottomless soda machine, dispensing whatever it wants.

-It never seems to run out, which is pretty impressive for a machine that’s never stocked.

-Even Coke has gotten in on the deal, but won’t say whether or not this is some sort of Coke promotional machine.

The obvious answer here is that someone is stocking it with whatever they can get their hands on and doing so on off hours (like nights or early Sunday mornings). It may even be a test market machine if it’s spitting out new sodas. I have no answer for the sodas that Coke doesn’t seem to make anymore.

Buffalo needs a bottomless Coke machine. I’d even take a bottomless cup of Tim Horton’s dark roast iced coffee.

The Haunted Vending Machine in Seattle

Seattle’s “haunted vending machine” is creeping everyone out

Posted in folklore | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments