Haunted Bucket List – #1 Alabama

I’ve decided it would be fun to discuss the places I’d like to investigate across the United States if I had enough money (or enough guts) to actually get there.

The first place I’d like to visit is the Drish House in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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This plantation house was built in 1937on 450 acres of farmland by Dr. John R. Drish. He was a widower and married a local widow, Sarah. The two of them lived happily in the house until Dr. Drish succumbed to his chronic drinking and either fell down the stairs or jumped from a balcony, dying upon impact at the bottom of the stairs. Either way, he died, leaving Sarah as a widow again.

Dr. Drish’s funeral was a lavish affair, with every detail planned by his wife. In her grief, she became manic about her own death and wanted the exact same treatment as her husband had received at his funeral. She even kept the candles from his ceremony planning for them to be used at her own. But when she died seventeen years later, no one could find the candles. Since then, stories of paranormal activity have abounded.

The house went through many owners since Sarah’s death becoming a school, a warehouse and even a Sunday school building. It fell into disrepair and was added to the “Places in Peril” in 2006 but has since been restored. It is now used for parties, wedding and corporate events, though there are also opportunities to ghost hunt because Sarah’s spirit remains active in the house.

Most of the stories are about the third floor tower being on fire. People report the blaze but when the fire department arrives, there is no evidence of a fire in the building at all. (That is truly something I’d love to see!) Some people think it’s Sarah’s spirit causing the eerie lights because her family never used the candles. I wonder if maybe she’s trying to tell them where the candles are (hint, hint – the tower). I’m not an expert though.

This is a double whammy for me in being a historic southern plantation restored to its beauty, but also a haunted house. I’d love to spend a night up in the tower to see if Sarah would make an appearance.

 

 

Halloween Traditions Giveaway

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This post is hosted by MamatheFox for the Hocus Pocus Giveaway Hop. For more blog hops see mamathefox.com

Halloween Traditions

I’ve always loved Halloween. Even as a kid I remember the joy of picking my costumes (my favorite was always a witch or a ghost). I remember going to Haunted Houses and loving getting the pants scared off me! (Why is there always a dentist office though? My dentist is quite nice.) And getting free candy is always fun, no matter the age! I’m a firm believer that if they’re in costume and they come to my door, they get a treat – no questions asked.

But thinking about Halloween got me wondering – Why?

Why is there a holiday in the fall where we get to dress in costumes, go door to door for treats and try to scare everyone we see?

I’m glad you asked! Here are some of the answers to those questions–

THE HOLIDAY – Halloween was originally a Celtic celebration called Samhain (pronounced sow-win). It was one of the four quarterly fire festivals celebrated by the ancient Celts. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.  The Celts believed it was easier to pass between the world of the living and the world of the dead on Samhain. To hide from the ghosts and monsters coming from the land of the dead, they dressed in costumes and left out food to appease them – which not only explains the holiday but why we wear costumes as well!

THE WORD – The word Halloween actually has Christian roots, even though many of the traditions came from pagan celebrations. Hallow can be traced back to the Old English word halgian, which meant ‘to sanctify’ or even ‘holy person’ or ‘saint’ when used as a noun.

The een comes from the eve or the Scottish word even (meaning eve), which is often contracted to e’en or een. Since All Saints Day is November 1st, Saint’s Eve or Halloween is the night before. Makes sense actually, doesn’t it?

TRICK-OR-TREATING The origin of this tradition isn’t as clear as some other parts of the holiday. There are a lot of things that could have contributed to it – from the pagan bonfires with food left out for the dead to the Christian practice of celebrating All Souls Day where poor people would receive Soul Cakes in return for promising to pray for the departed family members of the rich. (So, then, who was praying for the poor?).

Around the 1920s the tricks became more popular with kids playing pranks on the people in their neighborhoods. (Reminds me of the movie Meet Me in St. Louis – if you haven’t seen it, great musical.) The pranks got out of hand during the Great Depression and people tried to change the tradition by having the kids go from house to house for little parties and haunted decorations in their basements instead. As the economy changed, so did the treats. Now the United States alone spends over two and a half billion dollars on candy for Halloween!

CARVING PUMPKINS – The Irish brought this tradition to America. They used to carve turnips and would place them out of ward off evil spirits. They didn’t have pumpkins in Ireland then but soon discovered the large orange gourd was far easier to carve.

If you’re interested in the history of the Jack O’Lantern, I found this really good story called The Tale of Stingy Jack at www.pumpkinnook.com/facts/jack.htm

HAUNTED HOUSES – There have been gruesome forms of entertainment and commercial horror attractions since the 19th century. During the Great Depression, people would decorate their basements with scary items as something for their kids to do instead of pranks. However, the Haunted House as an attraction can be attributed to none other than Walt Disney! When the Haunted Mansion (my favorite ride) opened in Disneyland on August 9, 1969, it sparked the craze and people like the Jaycees and the geniuses behind the 13th Floor Entertainment Group have taken it from there.

GIVEAWAY – Thanks for reading about theses Halloween traditions!!! If you’d like to enter to win a signed copy of First Contact, please reply below telling me about your favorite Halloween Tradition! Check back on November 1st to see who’s won!

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( http://www.MamatheFox.com and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.)

Have a safe and scary Halloween from Kat Green!

 

Click the blue frog below to see visit the other sites on the Hocus Pocus Giveaway Hop!!!

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Top Ten Reasons I love Fall

If you’re at all like me, you look forward to the temperature dropping and the leaves starting to change all year long. Don’t get me wrong, I love Summer. All the sunny days and the outdoor activities are the best. And Winter is fun for snuggles and hot chocolate. Even Spring is great with the rebirth of the Earth with flowers blooming and trees starting to bud, but there’s something about fall.

I decided to put together a list of my top ten favorite things about the fall. Let me know if you agree or if you can think of something else you love about this wonderful time of year!

 

10. Pumpkin spice…everything! Enough said!

9.  The colors! I can never decide what shade of leaves I like best. The bright red of the burning bushes, the oranges and yellows of the maples or when they partly change and it’s like a tie dye of green, yellow and orange. I love going on hikes to look at the scenery.

8. Slow Cooker recipes. I never want hot comfort food in the summer, but I love dragging out the Crock Pot and slow cooking when the weather gets cold. It also makes my day so much less hectic.

7. Apple and pumpkin picking.

6. Roasting marshmallows at the backyard fire. Yes, I know you can do this in the summer too, but there’s something about a cool Autumn night where you’re not sweating when you roast that marshmallow to a perfect golden brown. (Or burn it, like my kids do!)

5.  Spooky movies. I know I should say Horror movies, but I really like family movie night watching Hocus Pocus or the Halloweentown movies.

4. Sweater weather. It’s chilly but not cold. I can wear jeans and a sweater which covers a lot of the problem areas I can’t hide in the summer. Plus, it leads straight into….

3.  BOOTS! I love my boots. I don’t know why, but I love wearing boots.

2.  The crisp morning air. I love waking up and my nose is cold, but the rest of me is nice and warm snuggled under the blanket.

1.  HALLOWEEN!!!!! I have to say, this is probably the best day of the year. You can legally dress as someone or something else for fun. Sometimes you can even win money just for being creative. I’m already counting down the days….

Counterbalance by Kelly Moran

Can’t wait to meet Kelly at Madtown Author Daze!

The Unapologetic Book Addict

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Kelly Moran is our next Madtown Author! I first met her last year at the Badger State Author Event but didn’t get a chance to pick up one of her books. I seriously regret it now because Counterbalance was amazing and I wish I had gotten my hands on her books sooner! This book will be releasing on March 21st, so excited I got to review an advanced copy 🙂

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Add it to your Goodreads   Pre-order Counterbalance on Amazon

Book Description

She’s a beauty, but he’s just a geek.

The world might think billionaire Xavier Gaines has it all, but he’s got a big problem. His successful software company is about to sign a government contract that’ll land him smack in the glare of the public limelight, and his lifelong battle with social anxiety has marked him as a cold, uncaring bastard in the eyes of the press. To…

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