West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Creepy Crawls" by Leon Marcelo

I thought now would be a great time to mention "Creepy Crawls:  A Horror Fiend's Travel Guide" by Leon Marcelo.  This is a really fun book for the road tripper who is also a fan of horror.  This book has given me some ideas for future trips.

The book is thick and packed with info.  Marcelo writes in a way that will remind you of the Crypt Keeper (which I thought was witty and appropriate).  You can read this one straight through or keep it around for reference. 

I can say that personally I have enjoyed visiting filming locations from my favorite films, like the original "Night of the Living Dead" and "Friday the 13th".  Most sites are easy to access and are in nice areas.  I mentioned Blairstown New Jersey earlier in this blog.  Not only does the town have a connection to horror movies, it is just a fun little town!

So, pick this one up before you hit the road again!

Fairyland Caverns- Lookout Mountain Georgia

The last time I mentioned Rock City, I didn't cover Fairyland Caverns at all!

If yo have never been there, it is like walking through a cave with nice neon gnome and fairytale dioramas set up here and there.

The displays are painted in neon, creating a cool black light effect.

This is an old attraction too, and I love knowing that I am looking at something that tourists decades ago also admired.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lookout Mountain

This postcard was sent through the mail, according to it's postmark in 1907!!!

Lookout Mountain from the Tennessee River in Chattanooga!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ashtabula, OH

The bottom postcard showing Ashtabula Ohio was sent exactly 100 years ago!

The top one is unused, showing the scene of the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster that happened in 1876!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blairstown, NJ Postcard

I think a lot of people who travel certain roads multiple times start to develop certain affections for random cities they pass through over and over.

I feel that way about Blairstown New Jersey. We stop there when we drive up to Maine.

As you probably know, I am a fan of horror films, and Blairstown appears a lot in the first Friday the 13th film. In fact, the main street in this postcard is in the first few minutes of the movie.

We stopped in Blairstown the first time because of its connection to a movie that frightened me mercilessly as a child, and they had a minor league baseball team near by! Well, that ball team is gone and the movie connection to us these days is not as big of a deal, but we still stop in Blairstown when we can!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lucifer Falls, Robert H. Treman State Park, NY

Lucifer Falls, 115 feet high is located in Robert H. Treman State Park, formerly Enfield Glen State Park. It was named in Mr. Treman's honor in recognition of his many years of service in the Finger Lakes State Parks Commission.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe Shrine- Richmond, VA

THE OLD STONE HOUSE AND ENCHANTED GARDEN-  The Edgar Allan Poe Shrine, Richmond, Va.  The Old Stone House- the oldest house in Richmond, erected about 1685, now a reliquary for material relating to the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe.

Carmichael's Bookstore- Louisville

I haven't mentioned Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville in sometime.

When I have been to the Carmichael's Bookstores, I always pick up some cool postcards.  They have a very nice selection of cards with vintage Louisville scenes on them.

On my most recent trip, I noticed a "free" section too!  I hit the Frankfort Avenue location and visited the store there.  They had a friendly, helpful crew and a great local selection.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baltimore Ghosts by Ed Okonowicz

I was looking for a good book about odd attractions in Baltimore before my Baltimore trip. To be perfectly honest, I have been staying away from books with words like "haunted" or "ghost" in the title recently. I love a good ghost story, but many books of this nature are pretty bland. Anyone can put a book together about ghosts and make up the the content. Not a whole lot of fact checking goes on with many of those books.
Well, I read up some on "Baltimore Ghosts" by Ed Okonowicz and it looked a bit more fact based than others. I decided to go ahead and pick it up!
This book has some interesting facts about the sites, and it is a good reference for people like me who like to just go check out weird places.
Okonowicz does a great job of interviewing people closely tied with the sites he mentions. He interviews tour guides, rangers and managers of sites relating to Edgar Allan Poe, Fort McHenry and other strange locations. Many sections include an "interesting facts" section.
The author obviously puts a lot more work in to this book than many authors of "ghost books" do. He doesn't give babbling stories of his own ghost hunting. He interviews people and gives facts. I tip my hat to Ed Okonowicz.

Marnie Cook- South Dakota Musician

I know I haven't blogged much about music lately.  I almost hate to admit the fact that I have become painfully critical about it.

I have been to several hundred concerts.  There was a period in my life when I would go to several a week.

I remember being in my teens and thinking that every single one I went to was amazing.  But then again, it didn't take a lot to impress me.

Life goes on and you go to a lot of shows.  After some time it takes more to be impressed.  I need to see talented musicians doing good original songs and quality covers.

I don't want to say that I have given up on music, but I have stopped going to see live music as much as I used to.  I have fallen asleep while seeing top 40 bands.  I have walked out on classic rock acts too intoxicated to remember their hits.  I have asked for my dollar back after less than average performances at open mic night.

OK, I may have exaggerated a bit.  Still, my experience with live music has not been what it used to be.

In fact, most of my good and positive live music moments have been accidental.  One night we went to Erie, PA for a minor league baseball game.  We got a room, and headed to the ballpark.  Rain came down quickly.  The game was called, and we found ourselves driving around looking for something to do.  We found a cool cafe and went in.

An amazing folkie named Kev Rowe was singing and playing.  We were blown away by his great songs.  I bought his CD and I now count him among my all time favorites, right up there with Jackson Browne, Cowboy Mouth and 10,000 Maniacs.

We had a very similar experience on our recent trip through South Dakota.

We had a room at the Alex Johnson in Rapid City for several nights in a row.  We had dinner at a local restaurant and as we left, I heard some perfect music coming from somewhere.  I assumed that a local bar or cafe was playing a new album from a new or local band.  I felt the need to find out where the music was coming from, and to see who the artist was.

It was late in Rapid City and if you have ever been there, you know that it is not exactly a busy city at night.  It didn't hit me that the music I was hearing might be live.

I said to my wife that I wanted to find out about the music we were hearing.  I said something along the lines of, "Hey, I want to find out what album we are hearing."

My wife looked around a corner and said, "thats a real person!"

The sound I was hearing was so clear, and perfectly in tune.  Rarely do you hear music with the vocals and the guitar right these days unless it has been created in a studio.  That's not high praise for new studio music, its a bit of a knock to todays undisciplined musicians.

So, from a distance we watched one singer on a small stage with her guitar.

After a song, we grabbed a seat and settled in.

The singer's name is Marnie Cook, and I now count her among my favorite musicians I mentioned above.

I hate to make comparisons but Marnie reminded me of Joni Mitchell, but with a less weathered voice.  Even I hate to compare anyone to Joni, but this is the most accurate comparison I can make.

I felt like her sets were custom made for me as she did honest versions of Jackson Browne, CS&N, and Kristen Hall songs.

Marnie was a humble performer, politely saying thank you after applause following each song.  Before she could leave the stage, I asked her if she had a CD (she did).  She did not plug her CD on stage or mention a tip jar.  She was obviously there to play for her love of music.

We went back to see Marnie again the next night.  She again played an amazing set.  I took notice of several original songs and I have been playing them non-stop since they are on her CD.  "Charms of an Easy Life" and "Not A Whisper" are two of my favorites right now.

Marnie keeps a very low profile and hasn't updated her sites in some time.  She is not exactly off the grid, but she is getting there.  Again, I think she is one of those great musicians that is out playing because they love to play.

I would love to see Marnie do some dates in say....  Kentucky but it looks like she only does shows in the Rapid City area.

Marnie Cook is a great performer especially live and I hope more people get to see her perform.  I also would love to hear a new CD she could easily pull of a great 2 CD live set!

PLEASE do yourself a favor and check out her tunes!  She is one of those great voices that deserves more attention.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

I read this one some time ago but I really enjoyed it.

The book talks about British explorer Percy Fawcett and his efforts to find the Lost City of Z in Brazil.

Not to give too much away, but Fawcett and his crew pretty much disappear during one of their searches in 1925.

There are lots of theories about what happened to him and many explorers who decades later are still looking for him.

Some adventurers disappeared decades later searching for him too.

In fact, the search for Fawcett has become more of an obsession for some than the search for Z.

Few clues have turned up about Fawcett. The only exception was the discovery of a ring that he was wearing when he went missing. There is debate about the last path he took, and the the exact location of one of his camps.

At the end of the book, the author has a bit of a revelation about the location of Z.

This would be a great book to read for the season if you are more interested in strange and unexplained mysteries than ghosts and goblins.

Carbondale, IL Longbranch Coffee House

   I went with my dad to the Longbranch Coffee House in Carbondale, Illinois recently.  We noticed that it was a "vegetarian cafe" and he asked me if that meant what he thought it meant.  I told him that it did.  he them mumbled a word that I won't print in this blog.
He ended up getting an omelet and a nice breakfast that he said he enjoyed a lot!  I had a great harvest wrap and some tortilla soup that was possibly the best I ever had!
The coffee was good too, and the service was great!
Carbondale is a neat little college area and we had a great time there in general!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Florida Moon

Just a nice old postcard.... No additional info on the back.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Talking to the Dead- Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism

I read this book some time ago, but I thought a review at this time of year would be appropriate.

This is a very nice book written about the lives of the Fox sisters. Maggie and Kate are the two more notable sisters, but they also had an older sister Leah.

The Fox sisters are known for their debatable ability to talk to the dead. They held seances and received messages from the dead relatives of living people at their seances, and from other figures (notably Benjamin Franklin).

The sisters perform during the mid to late 1800s and are observed, tested, and even examined by skeptics and believers. At this time, they were very influential in the spiritualism movement.

"Talking to the Dead" author Barbara Weiseberg gives an account of one seance where believers are thoroughly convinced that the sisters have communicated with spirits. Skeptics at the same seance are also convinced that they are watching a fraud.

At a young age, they claim to communicate with a man who was murdered and buried in their home through knocking sounds. People come from all around to witness the the sisters communicating. They take their show on the road. After some time, there is a confession of hoaxing- and later a retraction of the confession. After the death of the sisters, bones are found in the family home.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

World's Largest Coocoo Clock

I took these pictures several years ago at the Alpine Homestead Restaurant in Sugarcreek Ohio- home of the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock!

I have heard that it has been moved, and that they are doing some restoration work on it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Main Building, Transylvania University, Lexington, KY

This postcard was sent in 1946.

If you have taken the ghost walk in Lexington this place is one of the main stops!  Ask anyone you know from Transy- there is something hidden under the stairs!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Old Faithful Geyser at Sunrise

"Old Faithful Geyser at Sunrise, Yellowstone Park, erupts about every 66 minutes to a height, when the atmosphere is still, of one hundred and fifty feet. On frosty mornings the steam rises several hundred feet above the water column producing a magnificent spectacle."

This great card was sent from the park in 1966.

1976 Incident

 We are in October, which is a great month for talking about... well, things that are weird.
A few months back when the Pioneer Playhouse in Danville was in the middle of it's theater season, they did a performance of "High Strangeness" a play based on a supposed alien abduction in 1976.
The night I went to the performance Elizabeth Orndorff (who wrote the play) was there, along with Roger Compton, one of the actual people involved in the original case, AND a character in the play!
Those two did a Q & A during the intermission.  Roger mentioned that he let the theater use his actual hat from his navy days in the performance.
Elizabeth talked about meeting with Mona Stafford as she wrote the play.  Mona is the last living member of the 3 girls who claimed to be abducted in 1976.

Elizabeth mentioned some things that concerned Mona after the reported abduction.  She said that Mona was careful about getting together with the other girls involved, as they thought that their getting together might influence another abduction to happen.  Also, Mona seemed to have thoughts that she will be visited again.
it was interesting seeing this play in Danville, not too far from where the incident happened.  Also, the women involved all seemed credible from the reports.
Pioneer Playhouse did a good job with the performance, and with the history of the case.  They set up a case with articles about the abduction.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Old Faithfull postcard

The Incredible Grand Canyon- Cliffhangers and Curiosities

"The Incredible Grand Canyon  Cliffhangers and Curiosities From America's Greatest Canyon" is a fun and easy to read book covering interesting and unusual facts about the Canyon.  Then again, i guess I really didn't need to describe the book, as the title does a good job of that!

You can read this one in one setting.  It covers all of the interesting people, animals, legends, records, mysteries, and explorers associated with the Grand Canyon.

I enjoyed reading about mules transporting mail to one area.  I also enjoyed reading the story of Brighty the Burro.

If you are planning your first trip to the Canyon, this would be a great starting point to learn about it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Books: Niagara Falls Disasters- T.W. Kriner

"Journeys To The Brink of Doom" and "In The Mad Water" are two great books by author T.W. Kriner about strange events and tragedies that have occurred at Niagara Falls.

Kriner gets in to the fact that the Falls are beautiful, and how that many go there for a honeymoon, or vacation.  But the Falls are sad and tragic to others.  People have traveled here simply to go over the Falls in their last act of living.
The books are very well written and obviously go together.

The stories in the books are all memorable.  The one that stays with me the most involved the the two men in 1918 who realized their scow was about to go over the Falls.  They wedged their boat in a way that stopped it form moving and were noticed.  They spent hours on the boat hoping that it would not go over, as rescue attempts were made.  At the time they did not realize that the boat was very safely stuck there.  In fact, it is still there almost a century later.
There is a timeline of daredevil stunts that have happened at the falls too.

I assume most of the notable tragedies, accidents, stunts, and acts of heroism associated with Niagara Falls are covered in these two books.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser

There is a lot of information out there on the Gardner theft!

I was hoping that this book might be a nice complete reading about the heist, the suspects and all of the theories, but it is not. The crime happened over 20 years ago, and it seems that new developments and thoughts pop up all of the time.

This is a great place to start though.

If you are not familiar with the incident, some criminals dressed as cops went to the Gardner Museum late one night in 1990. They convinced a guard to let them inside. Once in, they tied up the two security guards, and take off with several priceless works of art.

Today, the estimated value of the works stolen is as high as $500 million and sometimes even $600 million.

Author Ulrich Boser tracks down various people involved in the case, including an independent detective who was once obsessed with the case, a shady antique dealer who claims knowledge of the theft, and he even identifies two people that he feels may be the actual thieves. One died and one is in jail for other crimes.

The author does trade a couple of phone calls with one of the guards who was on duty that night. That guard had put in his notice before the incident, and he is a bit elusive in general. The exchanges are strange to say the least.

If you go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum today, the places where the works once were are vacant. Ms. Gardner did not want her collection altered (no works were to be bought or sold in the collection) so much of the museum is unchanged.

Whenever any of the stolen works are recovered (and lets hope it does happen at some point) it will be an exciting time for the museum.

I guess, that's a big reason that this book seems a bit unfinished and incomplete. Hopefully, Boser can add an updated last chapter to his book. Still, until the mystery is solved, this is an exciting book about the case!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mammoth Cave

The top postcard reports-

This mummy of an Adena Indian miner was discovered in Mammoth Cave in 1935.  Radioactive Carbon 14 tests indicate that he lived 500 B. C. entering Mammoth Cave 2,375 years ago in search of gypsum.

The bottom one reads-

From this lofty stage of limestone, Edwin Booth recited from Hamlet to a group of cave visitors in 1872.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Edgar Cayce- Riverside Cemetery, Hopkinsville, KY.

We stopped at Riverside Cemetery to visit the grave of Edgar Cayce.

We noticed some other great looking markers.  Here are some photos!