12/25/09  #552
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In This Yule-Time Issue We Bring You Such Stories As:
- Santa Claus: The Real Man Behind the Myth -
- Parents of Dead Boy Say He Has Miraculous Powers -
- OAHSPE And the Remarkable Mr. Newbrough -
AND: The Lost Tradition of Christmas Ghost Stories

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


Gypsy Witch Book Of Old Pennsylvania Dutch Pow-Wows And Hexes


Over 200 Remedies Handed Down From Generation To Generation

For centuries, people have been using the Holy Scripture to induce magickal principles. Some of this has come down to us in the magickal practices called Pow-Wows. The majority of these ancient techniques have been handed down from generation to generation mostly by word of mouth. Many have no idea that other practitioners of the ancient art even exist. The rise of evangelical Christianity has forced many Pow-Wow adepts to go underground, or even give up practicing altogether.

Pow-Wow first came to the United States when German settlers began arriving in the late 17th century, settling in Pennsylvania. Two distinct groups of German immigrants came to Pennsylvania. The Fancy Germans, or Lutherans, and the Plain or Pietist Germans. The Pietist Germans included members of the Mennonite, Amish, Dunker, and Brethren denominations.

Native Americans were present, at least initially, when the Germans arrived and the term Pow-Wow was possibly derived from the early settlers' observations of Indian Pow-Wows. The word may also be a derivative of the word "power" or may come from the Native American Pow-Wow definition meaning "he who dreams."

Pow-Wowing includes charms and incantations dating from the Middle Ages plus elements borrowed from the Jewish Cabala and Christian Bible. Pow-wowing generally focuses on healing minor health problems, the protection of livestock, success in love, and the casting or removing of hexes. For over 200 years, Pow-Wowers have considered themselves to be staunch Christians endowed with supernatural powers to both heal and harm. Using Pow-Wow can be simple or highly complicated and involves the recital of benedictions, Psalms and selected Biblical verses for magickal purposes according to Jewish and Christian magical traditions.


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Santa Claus: The Real Man Behind the Myth

Like America itself, the jolly figure we call Santa Claus is a melting pot of cultures, blending elements of folklore with the fantastical.

Santa Claus the man is actually loosely rooted in fact, though he hasn't always looked the way he does today, having evolved from a gift-giving Catholic saint who lived during the third century.

The Protestant Reformation and the emigration of European traditions to America morphed that pious figure into the red-suited character that is now one of the most famous images in the world, complete with his iconic army of elves and a magical transportation system.

St. Nicholas the Generous

Ol' St. Nick wasn't always the rotund, bearded fellow you see gracing Christmas cards. The historical St. Nicholas was the revered Bishop of Myra, a Roman town in what is now Turkey. Born around the year 270 A.D., historians believe, Nicholas became bishop as a young man.

Nicholas was dedicated to helping the poor throughout his life, famously (and anonymously) paying for the dowries of impoverished girls. His reputation as a secret gift-giver around town grew with time, and he became known especially for depositing coins or treats in the shoes of children who would place them out for that very purpose, sometimes in exchange for carrots or hay left for his horses. Nicholas is traditionally depicted wearing a red bishop's cloak, and was often helped by a small orphan boy, according to some legends.

Canonized after his death, St. Nicholas was named as the patron saint of children, sailors and all of Greece, among others. He remained a popular figure of worship through the Middle Ages, with elaborate feasts held each year on the date of his death – Dec. 6 – and small gifts given to children, usually in their shoes, in his honor.

Dutch revival

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, when the veneration of Catholic saints was suppressed in many regions of Europe, saw a drop in the popularity of St. Nicholas.

Only in The Netherlands was the celebration of St. Nicholas kept alive in the form of Sinterklaas, a kindly figure who traveled from house to house on the evening of Dec. 5, leaving treats or presents in children's shoes in exchange for a snack for his horses, according to folklore.

In the Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas wore red bishop's robes, had elfin assistants, and rode his horses over rooftops before slipping down the chimney to deliver the gifts.

Coming to America

Sinterklaas came to America with the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries, and it was in the new colonies that he really evolved.

The anglicizing of the name – from Sinterklaas to Santa Claus – happened by 1773, when the latter was referenced for the first time, in a New York City newspaper. Santa's waistline expanded in 1809 with the publication of author Washington Irving's book "A History of New York," in which the big man is described as portly and smoking a pipe instead of as a lanky bishop.

In an 1822 poem entitled "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" – more commonly called "Twas the Night Before Christmas" – by Clement Moore, Santa is further imagined with a magic sleigh powered by reindeer, a sack full of toys, and a round stomach, "like a bowl full of jelly."

By the late 1800s, most depictions of Santa Claus followed this imagery, but the final cog in the Claus legend was provided by Coca-Cola ad illustrator Haddon Sundblom, whose 1930s red-suited Santa, complete with white-fur trim and leather boots, became the iconic standard recognizable today.

Source: Live Science


Parents of Dead Boy Say He Has Miraculous Powers

A Sydney, Australia couple believes their son - "hand-picked by God" - could be Australia's first male saint.

Mike Tannous died three years ago but a mysterious oil that weeps from the walls of his bedroom has been hailed by his parents, George and Lina, as having helped heal dozens of people, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The oil started to appear in the Guildford home just weeks after the 17-year-old died in a car accident in September 2006.

"Mike is a messenger between us and God. He has healed so many people," Mrs Tannous said.

Extensive scientific testing of the oil has failed to identify exactly what it is but that has not stopped hundreds praying at the home.

The Tannous' push for sainthood for their son emerged as Mary MacKillop fever swept the nation.

Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell suggested yesterday crusader for convicts Caroline Chisholm and Sydney's first Archbishop John Bede Polding to be considered as "would-be saints" after Mother MacKillop's canonisation.

But Mr Tannous said the next saint would be his son, and the family was documenting his healing powers.

"Our boy is a saint. This is him talking to us, talking to other people," he said.

Last year a woman who lived near the Tannous' house was told by doctors she could not have the third child she desperately wanted.

"She came here and prayed . . . one month later she came with a box of chocolates and said 'Guess what, I am pregnant'," Mike's aunt Susan Sawan said.

Since Pope Benedict XVI confirmed Mother MacKillop's second miracle, scores of people have flocked to the Tannous' house.

And the oil has continued to weep, now appearing on almost every wall of the three-bedroom house, as well as on framed photos of Mike and other religious icons.

"Over the weekend we had people everywhere, we even had to close the street . . . they want to experience a miracle," Mr Tannous said.

As word of the alleged healing powers inside the house have spread, people have travelled from overseas and interstate.

Siblings Pauline and Paul Matti came from Melbourne.

"That is the first miracle I've seen in my life," an excited Pauline said as she left the house. "It feels like I've been touched by something."

Each day the doors to the Tannous' "miracle house" are open, but the family does not take donations, instead just seeing people's reaction to what they see inside.

To sceptics and non-believers, the family's response is simple: "Come and see for yourself."

Cardinal Pell said, while there were no "saints in waiting", Chisholm and Polding were worthy.

Chisholm was instrumental in helping female convicts in Sydney in the 19th century, while Polding was Sydney's first Archbishop.

"Cardinal Pell said he could easily see those two people worthy of being put forward," a spokeswoman said.

As part of the canonisation process, parishioners in the diocese where the person died have to nominate them to the local bishop.

But the wheels could already be in motion. During last year's World Youth Day celebrations, a group of pilgrims from Northampton in England - where Chisholm died - followed her trail in Australia as part of their documentation of her life.

"There is obviously a groundswell from the parishioners, who must then go to their bishop," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Mother MacKillop is being credited with playing a part in the successful separation of conjoined Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna, who were last night due to spend their first night at home.

The girls' carer Moira Kelly said she believed her prayers to Mother MacKillop helped with the surgery.

"Mary MacKillop has certainly, I believe, played a big role in this," Ms Kelly said.

Source: The Daily Telegraph


OAHSPE And the Remarkable Mr. Newbrough

A brief article on OAHSPE: Raymond A. Palmer Tribute Edition
by Sean Casteel

What is OAHSPE? The answer to that question is a complicated one. For starters, it is a book by a man named John Ballou Newbrough, who claims it is a New Bible. It is also an extremely long and complex mixture of religious history and prophecy that has at times the feel of science fiction as it grapples faithfully with ancient scripture while at the same time adding a whole new mythology of creation and the ethics God requires of his Chosen People today. There are those who claim it is the most arch kind of blasphemy and must be thoroughly denounced so that no one is taken captive by its enthralling yet "demonic" rewriting of some of the Biblical stories as we know them.

Let us begin with the story of OAHSPE’s "sort of" author, John Ballou Newbrough. An entry from the "Occultism and Parapsychology Encyclopedia" is posted on a website called Answers.com and gives the reader an excellent history of Newbrough and his controversial take on the ultimate spiritual truths of God as handed down to mankind through the ages.

Newbrough was born near Springfield, Ohio, on June 5, 1828, the son of a schoolteacher. He was educated in the local schoolhouse and devoted much time to self-education as well. He attended the Cincinnati Medical College and practiced both medicine and dentistry. In 1949, he migrated to California and was fortunate to be there for the great Gold Rush of that historic year. He married a woman named Rachel Turnbull and the couple moved to New York where Newbrough resumed his medical and dental practice. Around this time he began to devote himself to the emerging Spiritualist movement and became a trustee of the New York Spiritualist Assocation. His Spiritualist interests were not shared by his wife and may have contributed to their eventual divorce.

It is claimed that Newbrough had remarkable psychic gifts. He could allegedly paint in total darkness with both hands at once. He was also able to close his eyes and read printed pages of any book in any library as well as to bring back recollections of astral travels or projections. He was even said to be able to lift weights of as much as a ton without apparent effort while under the control of certain spirits.

But Newbrough grew bored with the standard forms of contact with the spirits and wanted to engage them in gathering more important metaphysical information. Thus he set in motion the events that resulted in "OAHSPE: A Kosmon Bible in the Words of Jehovah and His Angel Ambassadors."

He told the story of what had happened in a letter to the editor of a publication called "The Banner of Light." Dated January 21, 1883, the letter said, "I was crying for the light of Heaven. I did not desire communication for friends or relatives or information about earthly things; I wished to learn something about the spirit world, what the angels did, how they traveled, and the general plan of the universe. I was directed to get a typewriter which writes by keys, like a piano. This I did, and I applied myself industriously to learn it, but with only indifferent success. For two years more the angels propounded me with questions relative to heaven and earth, which no mortal could answer very intelligently."

One morning the die was cast for real. A light struck the backs of both of Newbrough’s hands and led him to his typewriter for fifteen minutes of a vigorous pounding of the keys. Though he had never mastered the art of typing on his own, suddenly he was serving as a channel for a very competent typist. He was told not to read what he was typing, and, fearful of losing his spiritual connection to his source, he obeyed that order reverently. The basic pattern repeated itself morning after morning.

He spoke little to the people around him about the typewriter channeling process or perhaps more accurately "automatic writing." One morning he looked out the window and saw that the light animating his hands extended out his window and up into the heavens. Three pairs of hands materialized physically over his head, and a female angel stood behind him with her hands on his shoulders.

"For 50 weeks," Newbrough’s letter continued, "this continued, every morning, half an hour or so before sunrise, and then it ceased. I was told to read and publish the book, "OAHSPE." The peculiar drawings in "OAHSPE" were made with pencil in the same way."

Newbrough claimed that the book came from the higher heavens and was "directed and looked over by God, the creator’s chief representative in the heavens of this earth." A group formed around Newbrough’s revelations and in 1883 they named themselves the "Faithists of the Seed of Abraham," a term that came from the book. They moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where they established Shalam, a community founded to carry out the "OAHSPE" injunction to care for foundlings and orphans.

Newbrough married a second time, choosing a woman from among the Faithist community. By 1891, a residential home had been erected capable of housing 50 disadvantaged children, but an outbreak of influenza devastated the area and Newbrough was stricken and died. His associate Andrew Howland continued the community for a time, but it quickly disintegrated.

But the book that inspired the Faithist movement lives on. While it has been published in many different ways and forms, the most recent republication of note is the new Raymond A. Palmer Tribute Edition from Inner Light Publications, a massive effort spearheaded by publisher Timothy Green Beckley. Not only is the original text of "OAHSPE" beautifully rendered (it is more than 1,200 pages long!) but also included are the complete pencil drawings that Newbourgh did as well as the original color paintings of the Prophets that Newbrough channeled in his darkened office. Some editions may boast of leather book jackets and fancier binding, but there is no other edition in the world that has all the color paintings reproduced in their Technicolor glory.

As to why it is called the Raymond A. Palmer Tribute Edition, Beckley offers his explanation in a short introduction.

"Raymond A. Palmer," Beckley writes, "was a true pioneer, one of the most important individuals in the field of esoterica and arcane knowledge of the last 100 years. He was the editor of Amazing Stories, a futuristic ‘sci-fi’ magazine published in the mid-1940s which presented the fantastic stories of Richard Shaver and his subterranean worlds. Palmer was also one of the founders of Fate Magazine and later started his own publishing empire with such titles as Mystic, Search, Forum and Space World.

"He also issued reprints of hard to find works," Beckley continued. "For a while, he possessed the only copy of a first edition of "OAHSPE" and issued 2000 copies in a private edition even at a financial loss just to get the word out about this amazing book, which was one of his all time favorites."

Palmer was an early mentor to Beckley, helping the young fledgling paranormal journalist establish his first toeholds in the publishing business, so it is with much affection that Beckley next presents Palmer’s own short essay on "OAHSPE," and why the late editor and publisher thought it was such a significant piece of work. Palmer waxes ecstatic over Newbrough’s melding of science with religious mythology and the profound use of new words and spiritual languages employed to express the history and meaning of Creation and the gods and angels who inhabit it. The title "OAHSPE" itself is one of those newly revealed words and translates as "Sky, earth and spirit. The all; the sum of corporeal and spiritual knowledge as at present."

Palmer writes, "If you should happen to have a mystical streak in your makeup "OAHSPE" ought to prove a goldmine of interest to you. The subject of religion, as related to history (OAHSPE’s history) is an intriguing one. If you have any ideas about life after death, about ‘heaven’ or ‘hell,’ here is a book that has as much claim to greatness as does Milton’s "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained."

"And finally, to the philosopher, here is another ‘complete’ picture of things as they might really be," Palmer goes on. "Or, as might better be said, as close to reality as any concept can be. Reality is that elusive thing which is impossible to reach. We conceive of no ultimate reality, of no ultimate Creator, of no ultimate truth – and in that sense, "OAHSPE" will be as eminently acceptable to the philosopher as any philosophy yet devised; and who can say to what degree it is ‘reality approached’?"

Perhaps we should catch our breath a little and look at some of the claims made for "OAHSPE." A new and more relevant Bible? A mystical work equal to the classics of Milton, and perhaps we should throw in Dante for good measure?

While this reviewer has read only a small part of the more than 1,200 pages of "OAHSPE," some definite impressions did take shape. Like all "inspired" scripture, there is a living energy to the words on the printed page. It reminded me of a few lines from Bob Dylan, from his 1975 song "Tangled Up In Blue," which go like this: "And every one of those words rang true and glowed like burning coal, Pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul."

Again, that sounds like high praise indeed, right? Just what is it about "OAHSPE" that produces this kind of positive yet extreme reaction? Perhaps it strikes such resonant chords within us because it is what it claims to be, the words of Jehovah and his multitudes of angels and servants as given to a 19th century dentist who had been a clairvoyant and clairaudient since childhood and eventually attained to his destiny as a true prophet.

"OAHSPE" is perhaps too lengthy and complex to approach as reading for pleasure, but it will most likely reward the reader who devotes reasonable and patient time and energy to it. It fleshes out ideas and events only briefly touched on in the Bible. For example, Revelation 12:7 says, "Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought." "OAHSPE" does more than briefly mention that heavenly war, it gives a blow by blow account of it. It’s the kind of passages that Ray Palmer said had science fiction overtones, with the various gods of the earth fighting it out in the skies above us mere mortals. It should also be noted that "OAHSPE" includes the first known reference to a "starship," which is especially significant in view of the fact that the book was published in 1882, many decades before the term became commonplace. Even total skeptics must admit that there is still a kind of prescience at work there.

As stated at the beginning of this review, there are a few websites that denounce "OAHSPE" as blasphemy. Perhaps if Newbrough had not made such vaunted claims for it, calling it a "New Bible," he would not have drawn such virulent criticism. Whenever you write anything that has to do with your personal religious beliefs, you will inevitably create controversy and discord. Nevertheless, it is a testimony to his devout faith in his otherworldly sources that he took that kind of risk and called it a New Bible, as he was instructed to do.

In any case, "OAHSPE" still functions as a kind of 19th century "Theory of Everything," an ambitious effort to explain the entire universe both seen and unseen. As Palmer so rightly points out, while it cannot be called the complete truth of Creation, which we as mortals are not capable of knowing anyway, it still manages to make as close an approach to that probable truth as anything written in the post-Biblical era.

(To order your own copy of OAHSPE, please visit the Conspiracy Journal Bookshop)

[If you enjoyed this article, please visit Sean Casteel’s "UFO Journalist" website at www.seancasteel.com]

Source: UFO Digest


Russian Bank Robber Hypnotized Tellers

Bank robbers have threatened tellers with knives, shot their way into banks and tunnelled up into vaults. But one woman in southern Russia chose a more peaceful method: Police say Galina Korzhova hypnotised a bank teller into handing over tens of thousands of dollars in what is believed to be just one in a series of daring, if non-violent, bank robberies.

Galina Korzhova was arrested, said Anton Kornoukhov, a spokesman for police in the southern city of Volgograd, on suspicion of hypnotising a bank teller in the nearby town of Volzhky into giving her more than $80,000. She is suspected of having robbed up to 30 additional banks in what Russian media have called a "grand tour" around the country.

“She met the woman on the street, saying that she would remove curses and help cure sick relatives,” said Kornoukhov in a telephone interview.

Korzhova is accused of telling the bank employee, whose name has not been released, to put the money into a plastic bag and meet her outside the state bank Sberbank, on Communist Street in the small town. There, the case goes, the teller gave Korzhova the money.

The robber took off with 30,000 euros, $20,000 and the rest in rubles for a total of 2.6 million rubles or $81,000, police said.

The teller only realised what she had done a couple of hours later and told her bosses at the bank what had happened.

Strangely enough there is a well-known tale of a Sberbank teller being hypnotised on longtime Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s orders. Wolfgang Messing was a German Jew who escaped to the Soviet Union from the Nazi Germany after he predicted Adolf Hitler's regime would collapse. Messing was said to be Stalin’s personal psychic and claimed that he hypnotised a teller to hand over 100,000 rubles as an experiment on Stalin’s orders. The Soviet secret police later gave the money back — the teller had a heart attack when he heard how he had been tricked.

Police say that Korzhova is a "tsiganka," or Roma. Police, who are often criticized for racial profiling, say this type of crime is most often perpetrated by Roma who are traditionally involved in fortune telling and are often seen begging in Russia.

The Roma, or Gypsies, are nomadic people who live throughout Europe. Human rights groups say they are severely discriminated against in Russia and that police routinely assume their guilt and harass them.

Russian police say that hypnotism is not widespread but is not uncommon. It is usually limited to street crimes and does not reach the level of bank robbery.

In 2003, Yulia Shestakovich, an Olympic synchronised swimmer, said she was hypnotized on the streets of Moscow, after which she took two strange women to her flat and handed over cash and jewelry worth $19,000.

Shestakovich said at the time that she had no memory of what happened — a woman asked her the time and she woke up two hours later.

Another victim said that she was told that if she gave away all her money then a curse would be lifted from her.

“It happens a lot,” said Yevgeny Vishenkov, a former police investigator and deputy head of the Agency of Journalistic Investigations, saying he saw hypnotism used when he was working as a policeman in St. Petersburg in the 1980s. It happened “not only in Soviet times but before 1917,” in Czarist Russia, he said.

One of his colleagues was even hypnotised, recalled Vishenkov, after he arrested a man for possessing hashish.

After leaving his colleague to interrogate the subject, Vishenkov returned to find the suspect leaving after hypnotising the younger policeman, who had given back the hash and let him go. Vishenkov promptly arrested the man again and found the marijuana in his sock.

“We at first thought that he had bribed his way out but he had no money and he had hypnotised [the officer] by telling stories and singing songs,” said Vishenkov.

But Vyshenkov said he had one surefire method to keep himself from being hypnotised: “I tell them to shut their mouth.”

Source: Global Post


The Lost Tradition of Christmas Ghost Stories

Ghost stories at Christmas, seems out of place or is it? We have enjoyed the classic, The Christmas Carol, and Tim Burton's The Nightmare before Christmas? In Celtic times, there were spirits ghost, and mystical beings that were associated with the fire festival.

The Winter Solstice, Alban Arthuan, or better known as Yuletime Season is a time of death and rebirth of Nature and our souls. It is said the Old Sun dies at dusk of December 21st. and when the Sun of the New Year is born at the dawn of December 22. The New Sun is thought to rejuvenate the aura of the Earth. It is like a mystical cleansing to the spirits and the souls of the dead.

Samhain is considered the most haunted time of the year in the Celtic calendar; Yule is the second. Haunting starts on December 6th to December 20th. The spirits are more active as they wait for the rebirth of the Sun’s powers.

This haunting is not the same as during Samhain, where the veil is thinned so that the dead can walk among us. The spirits of Yule are connected with the mystical and the psychic logic of the Solstice Season. However, one can be visited from their ancestors, relatives, spirit guides or their soul friends (anamchara).

A Yuletide story called the Sluagh-Sídehe of Brug na Bóinne. It translates people of the mound or barrow where the dead have been buried. All sídehe in the Celtic mythology and traditions are haunted. It is said that they are the gateway for the souls and spirits of the dead. It is also a gateway for living mortals so that they can pass back and forth to each world.

On the other side the sídehe is the Otherworld or the Land of the Youth, the Isle of the Blessed. This is where the living soul continues the quest for wisdom. The people of the Sídhe are the Faeryfolk. They live forever beyond the sídhe in the ráths, which are submerged roundhouses or Faery fortresses, which are their magical castles in the Otherworld.

The custom of the Yule Log also seems to be a dying trend. It used to be a large log, cut from ones own land or a neighbor’s, which was supposed to burn all twelve days of Christmas. While relaxing before the burning log, it was customary for people to gather around and tell ghost stories. Further proof of the existence of the tradition can be found by listening to the popular Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. In it you can hear the phrase “there’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.”

Of course this being Conspiracy Journal, we have some true Christmas ghost stories to tell. The following weird tale took place in Liverpool, England in the early 1990s, and it has never been explained. It all started in one foggy December evening in 1991.

On the evening of Friday, December 20th, 1991, at 7 pm, the Edwards family of Dovecot decided to go and do a bit of late Christmas shopping in Liverpool city centre. Mr Edwards drove his wife and four kids to town in his old Volvo estate, and as usual, finding a place to park proved to be a real pain. Mr Edwards drove about, searching desperately for a parking space as his three sons and daughter gazed at the spectacular Christmas lights and decorations lining the streets. The youngest of the Edwards children was Abbey, who was only six years old. She loved Christmas, and for days she had been pestering her mum and dad to take her to see the big fir tree covered with coloured lights in Church Street.

As Abbey's dad was grumbling about finding a place to park the Volvo, her Mum suddenly pointed to a secluded side-street called Bold Place, which runs from Berry Street, past the back of St Luke's Church, up to Roscoe Street.

"You're a genius." Mr Edwards complimented his wife and he turned left and drove up the poorly-lit cobbled road, which was on a bit of an incline. As soon as the car was parked up, the kids eagerly jumped out the vehicle and all four of them started asking their parents what they were getting for Christmas. Meanwhile, an icy fog rolled down the street.

Mr Edwards checked the doors of the car were locked then had a quick discussion with his wife about where they were going to first. He wanted to go to a shop in Bold Street to buy his father a cardigan, but Mrs Edwards insisted upon going to Dixons first to buy a CD player for her sister. Then the children started arguing too; they wanted to go to various toy stores first. Mr Edwards shouted, "Awright, will you all just shut up!"

The family were about to walk off when Mr Edwards suddenly noticed something - and his heart skipped a beat. With a look of dread he glanced about Bold Place and muttered, "Where's Abbey?"

Everyone looked around. Mr Edwards anxiously looked through the windows of the car, but his little daughter wasn't there. "Where's she gone?" Mrs Edwards asked with a tremble in her voice. The three boys looked about, but the street was empty.

Then they all heard a faint voice scream out in the distance. "Daddy!" The voice sounded like Abbey, and it came from the top of Bold Place, towards Roscoe Street. The Edwards family rushed up the cobbled road with the father leading the way. "Abbey!" Mr Edwards shouted, "Where are you?"

The gates at the back of St Lukes were open, and Mr Edwards surmised that his daughter had wandered into the precincts of the old church. He hurried into the grounds followed closely by his wife and their sons, and once again they all heard Abbey cry out for her father. But the little girl was nowhere to be seen, and the fog was getting thicker by the minute.

Mr Edwards didn't want to alarm his wife and kids, but he wondered if some perverted lunatic had grabbed his daughter and taken her into the ruins of the old church. He handed his wife the car keys and told her to go and bring the torch from the vehicle. She did this and Mr Edwards climbed up onto the ledge of a church window and shone the flashlight into the deserted church ruins. The interior was deserted with nothing but rubble scattered about. Mr Edwards knew that the church of St Luke had been gutted by an incendiary bomb in World War Two during the Blitz. Only the shell of the building survived, and the church had been left that way as a reminder of the war. And yet it sounded as if Abbey's voice had come from inside the church.

As Mrs Edwards helped her husband down from the window, she said, "Listen!"

It was the faint eerie sounds of a church organ, and it seemed to be emanating from the church.

Mr Edwards said, "Sound can play funny tricks at night. Come on, let's go to the police."

Mrs Edwards started to cry, but her husband said, "It'll be all right. We'll find her love. She can't have gone far."

The family went to the police station in Hope Street and told the desk sergeant about their lost daughter. The sergeant alerted all the patrol cars in the area, and told officers on the city centre beat to be on the lookout for the girl. The Edwards family then rushed back to Bold Place to resume their search for the girl. They searched the grounds of St Lukes once again, and after twenty minutes, they were about to return to their car, when something happened which continues to puzzle the Edwards family to this day. A tall man wearing a top hat and a long black coat came out of the grounds of St Lukes and walking with him was little Abbey, holding his hand.

When Abbey saw her mum and dad she ran to them and started to cry as her father picked her up. The sinister man in black looked like something out of the Victorian age. He had long bushy sideburns, a pallid face, and staring ink-black eyes. He stood outside the gates of the church, and in a creepy low voice, the outdated-looking stranger said, "Please accept my sincere apology for any distress caused."

He then turned and walked silently back towards the rear of the church ruins.

Mrs Edwards grabbed Abbey from her husband and said, "Are you all right? Where have you been?"

Abbey just said, "I'm fine mummy."

Mr Edwards was furious, and he shouted after the man, "Oi! Who are you? What's your game eh?"

Then a police patrol car came tearing down the road, and Mr Edwards told the officers in the vehicle about the stranger who had returned his daughter. Three police officers bolted from the car and rushed into the grounds of the church wielding their batons.

But the police found no one. The grounds were empty. More police turned up and the grounds were searched again with powerful torches, but the place was deserted. However, several police officers also heard the faint strains of a church organ playing nearby somewhere, but they never determined just where the strange music was coming from.

One of the policemen asked little Abbey where she had been, and the child gave a strange account. She said an old woman in a shawl had grabbed her hand and dragged her into the church, where a mass was being held. In the church, there were many people dressed in old-fashioned clothes. The women wore big hats, and the men were all dressed in black. Abbey had screamed for her father, but the old woman had put her hand over the girl's mouth to silence her. Sometime later, a tall man came into the church and pulled Abbey from the old woman's clutches. He had been the man who had taken Abbey back to her parents.

The intrigued policeman continued to interrogate the child, and he asked her if the man had spoken to her about the strange incident. Abbey shook her head, then said, "The man said he had been a long time dead, that's all."

A cold shudder ran up everyone's spine when they heard the child's reply. Since that strange incident, the Edwards family refuse to go anywhere near St Luke's Church, especially during the Christmas period...

(This story reproduced with permission from Tom Slemen)

Another ghostly tale comes from Alle G: Around Christmas time, 2001, I had a few weird experiences involving a spirit that must still live in our house. One of the past owners, a lady, died in our house. Around Christmas time, I felt the presence more and a lot stronger than I usually did.

One night, I decided to draw whatever my hand felt like drawing. I drew a bottle with ribbons exploding out of it, then a yacht... then it felt like someone was moving my hand for me. My hand drew a circular shape that at first looked like a peach. My hand lifted and dropped and made a mark inside the circle. My hand lifted again and dropped and it made a weird curve. My hand drew another dot. I regained full control over my hand again and I looked at what I had a drawn: a weird smiley face.

I told my mum about it and she said to try it again the next night, and so I did. I was painting some landscapes in water colours when I felt the presence again. My mum had said that she thought her name was Faye, so that name was stuck in my mind.

I asked, "What is your name?" and I let my hand be controlled. I wrote what looked like the name Faye. I asked what the last name was. I wrote something that looked like "Edith." This was all confusing. I asked why it was here, and the reply looked like "I'm lost." I asked why it was here with me, and the reply looked kind of like "crussby," but was still very hard to read. I asked, "What?" and the answer cleared up a bit, but still not a real word. I asked again, and the final reply came what looked like "crusty." I am still puzzled, but the spirit may have meant the house was crusty since it is falling to bits in some areas.

Later on, my mum confirmed that the lady's name was Edith. This freaked me out big time, and I still felt the presence strongly for a while until a few days after Christmas.

Bonnie O. tells about a Christmas phone call from heaven when her mother passed away three years ago: We were very close and I miss her daily. Last Christmas evening, I went to bed and woke up to the phone ringing. I answered it and a voice that was very familiar to me said, "Hello there." It was my mother's voice. The line had a static noise and it sounded to cut in and out. I said, "This can't be you, mom. You're dead." She said, "Oh, come on now." She sounded a bit agitated, and then we were cut off. My 16-year-old daughter was sleeping in the next room and also heard the phone ring that night. I know it was my mother's voice: she has a Norwegian accent and it was her!

Happy Holidays from your friends at Conspiracy Journal!

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Conspiracy Journal - Issue 552 12/25/09
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