Month: April 2015

The Texan

I’ve honestly been avoiding the Civil War ghosts because I feel like I can’t do the history justice in the scope of this blog.

I am the woman who got very upset on Facebook this morning over people deciding that Norse women were warriors because of swords being present in burial sites, even with the lack of any further historical data to back up what the role of the swords were.

Point being, there are situations where I end up sort of digging at my face and moaning, but the historical record?! What does the historical record say?! Social media is enough to give a sociohistorian a stroke.

So at the risk of driving myself into a frenzy, the story of the Texan goes like this;

Sites of large scale death and tension are often the obvious location for hauntings, and there are few areas of the United States that can be identified that way as the battlefields of the American Civil War. One of the most ‘popular’, as in familiar, of those battlefields is Gettysberg.

The level of violence that occurred at Gettysberg means that stating the area, which is now a national park, is haunted is almost sort of ‘obvious’, as in, while I don’t necessarily ignore ghost stories that come out of the places we would assume to be haunted I’m almost more interested in the stories that come out of places that aren’t known for it. But the bare foot ghost, the ghost referred to as the Texan, also is woven into my own personal paranormal history; it is one of the first ghost stories I remember hearing as a child.

The ghost is always seen in a similar manner-tourists or tour guides will see a man, wearing a hat and barefoot, near the area of Plum Run stream. The tourists are sometimes actually lost or at least turned around but the guides are generally aware of their location. Regardless, the ghost will point and say ‘what you’re looking for is over there’. Sometimes he disappears then and sometimes he wanders off and is gone by the time the tourists will make it around the hill.

The clothes make him a member of the Texan militia, and that is pretty much the sum of his story. It’s a fairly short, but deeply ingrained, ghost story in a place that’s almost expected to be haunted.

10 National Parks and the Monsters and Ghosts Who Supposedly Live There

Ghost Encounters at Gettysburg

Half Crowns

A very selfie selfie

A very selfie selfie

When it comes to my veiling choices, I go for single scarf, fast wraps that are lightweight (I have a tendency towards tension headaches) and something that I can actually -wrap up without a mirror-.

I love the half crown for a number of reasons-it’s easy to put up, once you get a feel for the movement you can get it wrapped without a mirror in under a mirror, and it still has some visual interest to it. I also prefer it over a full crown because the tail gives it the visual movement of hair and makes it slightly less harsh.

halfcrown1Using an oblong scarf (over an undercap or not, volumizer or not, up to you) tie a half hitch so you have two unequal tails. Take the longer tail, and twist it tightly so you have a rope. Place the rope across your head where you want the crown to lay (do this in front of a mirror until you get a feel for the size of your head) and tuck the end of the tail under your scarf so it holds in place. Don’t try to tuck the entire tail in one place, just start tucking it along your scarf like you’re making a bed.

*Making equal tails and placing two ropes will give you a full crown.



2015 Canning List

From Pixabay

From Pixabay

It’s not so much that I’m behind on my canning so much as it is that I’m still working on eating through my canned hoard from the last couple of years (and I need to get a new burner for my stove).

I need more tomatoes. So many more tomatoes. I’ve resorted to buying store canned again. That can’t keep happening.

This is pretty much the same list as last year, just with less blueberries. I’m not sure what was up with my blueberry obsession last spring.

-Carrot Cake Jam


–different fruits as well as peaches

—-pineapple has been requested

apple pear jam

-apple sauce

-cyser style apples

-banana fridge jam

-dilly beans

-whole and crushed tomatoes

-dill pickles

-spiked oranges

-plum sauce

-pickled hot peppers

-bbq sauce

-apple butter

-peach butter

-peach pie jam

-cherry jam

-mint syrup

-preserved mint


-cider molasses

-pickled beets


-sweet pickles

-blackstrap strawberry jam


-strawberry mint syrup and jam

-fruit syrups

-hot sauce

-whole peaches and nectarines

It Follows

It is very, very rare for me to enjoy a movie as much as I did It Follows anymore.

It’s not just that I found the movie terrifying-in itself a very rare statement from me anymore, though that holds true as well. But the depth of this film, it reminds me of why I got into cultural studies and the sociology of horror in the first place.

The movie works in all the places that a horror film should work, and that is certainly solid enough praise as it is. Jay agrees to go on a date with Hugh, which turns out to be one of the worst decisions that she has made. She is drawn into a world where things are never as they seem, slowly pulling in her sister Kelly and childhood friends Paul, Yara, and Greg. The casting is beautiful, the acting is exceptionally strong, and the pacing is almost perfect. Even the jump scares work-and the enemy, with the way that it shifts, is freaky as all hell.

But the movie works on a much deeper level; I will say, however, that having a solid exposure to Hitchcock and pre-1980s European horror will do a viewer well here. Even the score, with its repetitive, metallic screeching is Hitchcock Nouveau. The film moves deeper than that, however, with the follower easily being the shadow self and the movie being seen as the liminal between childhood and adulthood, between the seen and the unseen, between past and future.

The entire movie is set in the liminal. It even factors into the dialogue; Yara waxes poetic about how her family wouldn’t let her past 8 Mile while she was a child and the boundary seemed so arbitrary. The pushing of boundaries is what this movie does so well-from the opening shot we have no clear sense of setting. Is this morning? Is this night? Why is our first character dressed in night clothes and blood red pumps? What season is this, even? Everything is green and yet Jay and Kelly are wandering around in sweaters.

This is arguably a very feminine (and yes, feminist) film, though as with all the best movies that are placed in those characterizations it’s not a slap in the face with either. You’re not going to walk away from this movie thinking about girl power, but that’s exactly what’s going on here-Jay is in fact finding her own power (it is only by facing that which she is running from that she will find her power; you could easily argue that Jay is running from herself with the way that the past is constantly pulled into the future, the constant repetition of dated furnishings, cars, and technologies, and the ambiguous seasonal setting).  The incessant use of water and mirrors (they’re in almost every scene, in some form), the heavy use of door imagery, and the way that we never once allowed to see her family other than in the faces of the follower and glimpses of her mother in mirrors  (again with the mirrors) are all suggestions of movement and breaks away from her past and a line between the world she knows and the ultimate unknown. The movie starts to toe the line with Jungian symbolism and it’s absolutely beautiful to watch unfold (I would normally comment that it’s probably not deliberate, but with mirrors, the color blue, and water showing up in almost every scene I’m not going to give that warning this time).

There is one other area that this film impressed me greatly (though it’s obvious that this movie has me on a roll and I kind of wish this movie came out a decade ago, I would have had a field day)-the way that it subverts the sexuality tropes within horror. Jay is sexual. Jay is openly sexual, and yet does not in fact die in the manner of the first girl. In fact, she is allowed to overcome the monster (which could be viewed as her own sexuality, actually). The first girl is only sexual by suggestion-though those blood red pumps could carry a deeper discussion of their own. Jay is also allowed to be beautiful without it becoming a hinge to the film; Kelly comments that ‘at least she’s nice’ when Yara points out Jay’s beauty. Yara’s relationship with her body is masculine in a way that is often not allowed on film. period-she eats, she drinks, she’s allowed bodily functions, in a lot of ways Yara is treated like a male character, and that is in itself worth noting. In fact -a lot- of the women in this movie are twisted in ways we’re not normally allowed to see. Jay is sexual, for example, but it’s not suggested that she’s being punished for being sexual; in fact, I would argue that this has one of the best discussions on assault and the healing therein that I’ve seen in genre in a very, very long time.

Obviously, this movie impressed me-but as I said at the beginning of the review, this is just an enjoyable film overall. It’s well worth a watch even without all the postmodern criticism.

[This movie flirts with enough symbolism and folkloric content that this review is going up on a Sunday.]

Lemon Lavender Soda Syrup

This year is still not being good to me for time. Hopefully I can get some kitchen time soon.

Horrific Knits

Lemon Lavender Soda Syrup(Photos via Morgue File)

I’m so in love with lemons right now. It snowed again this week, and while I know that lemons are technically a winter crop they taste like spring to me. If I can’t have the weather stabilize out, then I can eat something that tastes like spring.

If you can’t get Meyer lemons, or they’re pricey, normal lemons will work just as well. The recipe is easily adjustable to output and can be canned in small jars for 10 minutes in a water bath. I’ve been just storing mine in jars in the fridge. Syrups should hold for at least a month.

If you upsize the recipe, just remember to measure out your juice and add half as much water. I normally add a cup of sugar regardless of amount of juice.

Lemon Lavender Soda Syrup

1 pound Meyer lemons, juiced

1 cup white or raw…

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Michael Richan

288 pages

Kindle Edition/$2.99 at time of review


A confession-I have a horrible sense of time.

It’s almost like I don’t exist in the same time stream as other people. I have to check time tables all the time or I lose the stream for months. I have a pile of paperbacks that fell to the whims of this weird lack of time awareness, that I’m only now finally reading. I actually feel vaguely guilty about that.

Anyway, I have reviewed the River Series previously, and enjoyed all the earlier books (Eximere is book four). Eximere is no exception.

Steven and Roy are brought to a mansion with a group of associates who are also capable of entering and moving through the River. On this particular trip, the ghosts aren’t the central problem-though ghosts still factor in the central plot. Steven and Roy realize that this time, someone is out to harm them-and can attack them at the central point of their beings. Steven starts to come into his own gifts as he’s left to protect his father.

This book may be the darkest of the first four books, and runs slightly more to the surreal. It’s also the book that requires the most familiarity with the rest of the River series. However, I do fully recommend all the books.

The Chiles-Whitted Encounter

Horrific Knits


I don’t like aliens. I don’t like UFOs. I’m not a fan of other planets. I don’t really care about the Hubble Telescope. I’m not really a Trekkie (except for the Borg). I do however like weird history and I like cases of ‘we don’t know what’s going on but we know that you’re too credible to just be making stuff up’-especially when they come out eras that didn’t have the lure of social media involved.

The Chiles-Whitted Encounter is a situation where a UFO was spotted by two men who really would have known if they were looking at a meteor or a weather balloon. Named after the pilots involved, the encounter took place on July 24, 1948 over Mobile, Alabama. Clarence Chiles and John Whitted, both with military flying experience from World War II, were piloting the plane. They both witnessed a flying object that was described as…

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