Sam-wHain...and the Day of the Dead
New! Creatures of Modern Halloween
Their true origins.
Real witches, warlocks, and wizards of history!
Table of Contents
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of the word "Halloween"
of Halloween (Sam-Whain)
the Day of the Dead
Traditions (like trick-or-treating)
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Halloween Creatures and their true origins
[This is non-fiction].
Vampires (the truth
Werewolves (the truth
Famous Hauntings Around the
< Just click on the haunted
house to the left.
are a TLDR person, then this section is for you. I've got short
to all your questions about Halloween. Just click on the
Stories. [Click on the Ghost]
Etymology & Meaning of the word
"Hallow" is short for
and it means holy.
is short for "evening".
Hence, "Halloween" means: "holy
If Halloween is a HOLY
evening, why do so many people think that Halloween is the night
of the Devil? I don't know, except maybe because of Hollywood. In reality, Halloween has nothing to do with the
Devil. The concept of a Devil is a Judaeo-Christian concept.
Halloween actually stems from an Irish Celtic Holy Night called Sam-whain
[pronounced: Sahm-wane]. It means "summer wanes".
[sam = sum(mer), whain =
History of Halloween
(and the Day of the Dead)
(my source: Encyclopedia
Here's a ppt to show your class. Just click on this link to download.
Would you call these
These are erected in front of entryways to Korean
cities, towns, villages, and estates in order to ward off evil spirits.
Statues of lions and dragons are placed in front
of Buddhist temples to ward off evil spirits (as seen above in the photo,
by my son, 2013).
These adorn cathedrals to ward off evil spirits.
your answer is, "No," then neither should you call this thing
Because jack-o-lanterns were made and placed in front of people's homes to
ward off evil spirits.
There was a group of people living on what is now known as
Ireland (and the British Isles),
called Celts. The religious leaders of the Celts were called Druids.
On the last day of the Celtic calendar, which is on October 31
(by the Roman
Gregorian calendar); after sundown, it
was believed that Hel (who is Loki's daughter and gatekeeper of the Underworld) opened
the gates of the Underworld and let all the spirits of the dead roam the land of
the living (but only for that one night every year).
It was believed that MOST of the spirits
of the deceased were harmless; however, some of the spirits of the
deceased were considered to be wicked or might have been enemies of the family. So, in order for the living to protect
themselves from the wicked spirits, the Celts made scary lanterns out of a kind
of radish called a "turnip," and hung the 'jack-o-lanterns'
in front of their houses to
scare away all wicked spirits.
Source: (one of the encyclopedias, I don't remember which one).
For their deceased
loved-ones, it was traditional to leave a fruit basket out on the porch
(especially apples and pomegranates).
weren't any pumpkins in Ireland back in ancient times. People turned turnips into
jack-o-lanterns, and hung them around the outside of their dwellings to
scare away wicked spirits.
in America, people use pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns, because they
are much bigger and easier to carve. Pumpkins were introduced by
the indigenous peoples of the USA.
Source of information: Encyclopedia Britannica
and History Channel
When Christianity came to the British
Isles in 432 A.D., the Catholics
tried to change such pagan practices, and they initiated a three-day holiday
which consists of three days. They were:
(1) "All-Saints' Eve (on the night of October 31st);
(2) "All Saints' Day," on November 1st ; and...
"All Souls' Day" on November 2nd.
Later, Mexico changed
"All_Hallowed_Tide" into "Day of the Dead" (Dia de los
Muertos), which is celebrated on the same, exact days.
The Mexican version of the
European Holidays (All-Hallowed-Tide) is mixed with local traditions that are
said to come from ancient Aztec traditions as far back as 3,000 years ago.
When the Irish settlers
came to the U.S.A., they brought with them their traditions of Samhain and
changed the name to "All Hallow's Eve," which later was
shortened to "Halloween." And, the American Aborigines
introduced pumpkins to the settlers, which became very handy in making
So, what happened to
Halloween (or Samhain) in Ireland and the other parts of the British empire???
Well, it kind of became
overshadowed by "Guy Fawke's Day," which is celebrated on November
Halloween is coming back,
though, probably due to American and Hollywood's influence.
[ Back to top ]
Other Halloween traditions include:
(1) Wearing scary masks
The Celts wore scary masks
if they had to leave their houses on Halloween, to scare away would-be molesting
Since no one still believes
that evil spirits roam the earth, children dress up in costumes, both cute
and scary, and go from door to door soliciting tricks or treats from their
neighbors. The custom of "trick-or-treating" seems to be a
fairly modern custom. It seems to have started in the United States in 1950's.
Apparently, it was started by parents wanting to stop the Halloween
pranks. (Source: History Channel)
It is very similar to the Christmas
tradition of "wassailing," where people get together in a small group
and go from house to house singing Christmas carols, and hope to get some treats
for their singing.
1. Bobbing for Apples
|- a big bucket full of water
- as many apples as there are contestants
- a stop watch
- a score sheet/board
- writing implement
||Put all the apples in the bucket. The apple
should float. If it doesn't float, get another apple.
The first contestant must try to grab the apple with his/her
teeth and stand up straight with the apple securely lodged in
his/her mouth. The contestant may not use his/her hands.
Someone should use the stop watch to time the contestant.
Then, the next contestant tries. The contestant with the
quickest time wins.
2. Pin the Tail on the Donkey
(or Pin the Nose on the Jack-o-lantern)
||- a big paper donkey
- a paper donkey tail
- a blind fold
- a writing implement
|- a big paper
jack-o-lantern w/o nose
- a paper nose
- a blind fold
- a writing implement
paper donkey with a separate
tail. Stick the
tailless donkey to the wall or board. Put the blind fold
one the first contestant. Put the donkey tail in his/her
hand. Spin the contestant three times. Send the
contestant in the direction of the tailless donkey. The
contestant must place the donkey tail as close to it's
original position as possible. Mark the chosen spot with
a pen or other writing implement. Then contestant number
two tries. The closest contestant wins.
||Make a paper
jack-o-lantern with a separate nose. Stick the nose-less
jack-o-lantern to the wall or board. Put the blind fold
one the first contestant. Put the nose in his/her
hand. Spin the contestant three times. Send the
contestant in the direction of the nose-less jack-o-lantern. The
contestant must place the nose as close to it's
original position as possible. Mark the chosen spot with
a pen or other writing implement. Then contestant number
two tries. Repeat as many times as there are
contestants. The closest contestant wins.
3. Scariest Mask Contest
|- lots of paper
- lots of coloring implements
||Have all contestants draw and color the scariest
mask they can imagine. Then have them cut the eyes out.
Then have them tape the mask to their faces. When
everyone is finished. Have the contestants vote for the
scariest mask. The winner gets the most votes, of
4. Pumpkin Carving Contest
|- one pumpkin for each team or contestant
- one knife for each team of contestant
- lots of old newspapers
- two big pots
||Each contestant or team gets one pumpkin, and
one knife. Each team must spread out newspapers under
their work area. Then, they must cut open the top of the
pumpkin and take out all the seeds and put the seeds in one of
the pots. Then they must try to carve out the scariest
face they can imagine in the side of the pumpkin. The
chucks of pumpkin must be put into the other pot. Then
the contestants vote for the scariest jack-o-lantern. The seed can be cleaned, roasted and eaten.
chunks can be used to make pumpkin pie or pumpkin porridge.
of Halloween; and their TRUE origins)
Halloween (then called Samwhain) was all about people protecting
themselves from evil spirits. when Hel (Loki's daughter) opened
the gates of the Underworld on the last night of the Celtic
year. It was a bit scary.
time, more and more scary things got incorporated into
Halloween. Eventually, all things scary became associated
with Halloween, most especially vampires, werewolves, witches,
I'm not fond of the idea that Halloween has become a melting pot
of different cultures all into one, let me cover those other
creatures that are now associated with Halloween.
from Clipart Library.
word vampire comes from the Hungarian language, because that's
where vampires were first discovered (in written history).
[Interestingly, the Bible does forbid the eating of blood (so
vampires probably go wayyyyyyy back), but the Bible doesn't have
a name for people who eat blood.]
"modern" times, the first mention of vampires was in
Hungary in 1732. From, there, the phenomenon spread to
Bulgaria, which is now part of Germany. Then, the word
"vampire" became a part of the German language.
And eventually, all of Europe became aware of vampires and
incorporated the word into their languages. But, these
vampires didn't just drink blood, they drank blood directly from
a living human body.
interesting side-note is that in England, there have been
reports of the "Undead" since 1196. The
"Undead" were very similar to vampires. They
only came out at night, they were blood-thirsty, and were blamed
for the the spread of plague and disease in the middle
ages. By the late 1700s, the "Undead" became
associated with vampires.
Online Etymology Dictionary. See "vampire".
Dracula was a real person. Dracula means
"Dragon" and the family took the word
"Dracula" as their surname because they were members
of the 'Order of the Dragon'.
Online Etymology Dictionary. See "Dracula".
Dracula a vampire? No. He was from Romania.
And, he was a blood-thirsty warrior, but he was not a
vampire. He only became associated with vampires is
because of the fictional tale by Bram Stoker in 1897.
vampires real ? I don't know. But, blood-drinkers
definitely still exist. If vampires do exist, Dracula is
not one of them.
from Clipart Library.
& Other Werebeasts
and other werebeasts are human shapeshifters. Werewolves
are humans that can change into wolves. A common
misconception is that they only change involuntarily on the
night of a full moon. Actually, they can change whenever
they want. The misconception probably came because people
could see the werewolves on nights with a full moon.
implied above, there are a plethora of werebeasts. Some
common ones, other than werewolves, are: werecoyotes,
werebears, wererats, weredogs, and werebats.
(Interestingly, werebats became associated with vampires,
because certain bats suck the blood of their prey).
Arabian Lore, there is a Qutrub, which literally means
"Wolf-man". It has been associated with the
Jinn, some saying that they are Jinn, but I don't think that's
the case. My source, Bill
Schnoebelen, has first-hand knowledge of how these things
work. According to his research and experience, people can
make deals with the Jinn to become werewolves. (But at
what cost, you must ask. Your soul?)
have information from a Navajo native, that skinwalkers do
really exist. Most are werecoyotes, but some can change
into any animal at will. They get this power from evil
spirits. It is a taboo subject for the Navajo, and it is
rarely spoken of. I'm very fortunate to be allowed this
information. In the Navajo tribe, becoming a skinwalker is
a very ignominious thing.
In northern Nigeria,
there is a group of people called the Kanuri. They believe
in werehyenas called, Bultungin, which translates into "I change myself into a hyena"
exist. It is believed that one or two of the villages in the region was populated entirely by
werehyenas at one time. Source: Wikipedia
(West African Religion).
from Clipart Library.
Warlocks, and Wizards
are mentioned in the Bible, so the dark arts have probably been
around since time immemorial. In fact, the first
"witch" (my word for her) was probably Adam's first
wife, Lilith. [Lilith is not in the canonical Bible; but
she is part of Hebrew Lore]. She did not like to be told
what to do by Adam, so she divorced him and became a demoness
(what I call a witch) who among other things would steal the
children of Adam and Eve.
witch of Endor is probably the most famous witch mentioned in
the Bible, and she was, among other things, a necromancer (one
who summons the dead to gain information).
course, there are good witches, but most witches are involved in
the dark arts (dark magic).
are some of the most famous witches in history:
|King Saul sought her
out to summon up and communicate with the recently
deceased prophet Samuel. She was a necromancer
(one who summons and communicates with the dead).
|Mid-9th century B.C.
|While not called a
witch in the Bible, she was the high priestess of Baal
(a pagan god) and Asherah (a pagan goddess). In my
opinion, she was probably one of the most evil women in
human history. The Bible is very clear about her
Baal was a storm god (god of
the weather), and Asherah was the goddess of
fertility. Put those two together and you have a
recipe for plentiful crops and a productive society.
But, why was Jezebel so
evil? Well, in addition to being the high
priestess of pagan worship (which allegedly
involved great licentiousness), she was the wife of King
Ahab, and she wielded both great political authority and
great religious authority in all the kingdom. She
used her power to kill, steal, rob, and commit a
multitude of whoredoms. (Parenthetically,
the Bible was not clear and what kind of
whoredoms; these could have been merely drawing
people away from the true God.)
There is a mention in the Bible
of the Baal-worshippers offering their children as
sacrifices to their god. This was in the eighth
century B.C., under King Ahaz. So, it is likely
that Jezebel also offered children to her gods.
So, let's sum up. Jezebel
worshipped false gods, sacrificed children, and engaged
in all sorts of immorality. That sounds like a
witch in my book.
|11th century B.C. -
4th century B.C.
|There were many
Sibyls. They were considered "oracles"
of the gods. They were never called
"witches", but that's what they were.
They would achieve trancelike states (probably with the
help of some narcotic) and utter prophecies. These
prophecies were written down on leaves.
|Late 5th century
A.D. or Early 6th century A.D.
|Morgan Le Fay was
the half sister of the legendary King Arthur Pendragon.
She was said to have great powers of healing.
|Early 1500's A.D.
|Mother Shipton was a
suspected witch (as was her mother). She had
clairvoyant powers and correctly prophesied many future
events, including some that are yet to come to
pass. Read more here.
|Honestly, I wasn't
even going to mention this one, because I don't believe
that any of those women (or men) accused were actually
witches/warlocks. It was a "witch hunt"
(pun intended) and innocent people got hurt and/or
killed. Over 200 people were investigated, thirty
were convicted, and 19 put to death by hanging. It
was shameful part of Massachusetts' history.
|Voodoo is originally
from Africa. The word means "spirit
deity" (but is most likely a demon posing as a
deity). Marie Laveau was very famous in Louisiana
for her work as a Voodoo priestess, an herbalist, a
nurse, and a midwife. Voodoo involves a lot of
animal sacrifice, potion-making, and communicating with
spiritual entities (which I call demons). That's a
|Madame Blavatsky (as
she's called) started the Theosophical Society in 1875
and wrote a popular book entitled "The Secret
Doctrine," which is popular reading for occultists
around the world. She was heavily into the
paranormal, such as: séances, channeling,
and mediumship; And, was said to get a lot
of her information from such sources. Therefore,
in my book, she was a witch. She was not a bad
person, but I question some of her information, because
it is not from reliable sources.
She is credited with heavily
influencing the New Age movement that started in the
||Wicca started as a
grassroots movement in England in the mid 1900's,
becoming very popular in the 1960s. Sometimes it
is called, "The Craft" (as in...
"witchcraft"); but its not necessarily
bad. There's a lot of connection with and
reverence for Mother Nature. One thing I like is
that they understand that whatever intentions you put
out there towards another person, comes back on you
three times stronger. So, at least they understand
the law of karma; and so they tend to stay away from bad
spells, potions, etc.
Sources: The Holy Bible,
Wikipedia, Google A.I., and other sources that I cannot remember
(I read a lot).
Jezebel info comes from the Bible and Jewish
Asherah info also comes from the Bible and Jewish
Warlocks or Wizards in History:
||In the Bible, King
Solomon lost favor in God's eyes because he followed
after the gods of his wives. In Arabic lore, King
Solomon is written to have had power over the
Jinn. King Solomon may have been a warlock.
|5th-6th Century A.D.
definitely a warlock or wizard. And, he tutored
Morgan Le Fay. Merlin and Morgan were real people,
but not much is known about them. Most of what you
see in the movies is conjecture.
||Nostradamus was into
just about everything occult: astrology,
apothecary (chemistry + herbalism), and seership, but
how he got his information is quite the mystery.
He wasn't a bad person, and therefore I would not
classify him as a warlock. I would classify him as
a wizard, which is a very educated person in the occult.
of the Golden Dawn
||3 guys broke away
from the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.) and
started their own occult society called the "Golden
Dawn". Each was called "Grand
Magus" (magus = magician).
||Was a member of the
Golden Dawn, but then he started his own occult
society/religion (called "Thelema") on his own
property aside the Loch Ness. His religion stemmed
from Egyptian occult, and involved channeling
information from the dead by both he and his wife.
(This is called necromancy). Therefore, he and his
wife were warlock and witch.
The motto (allegedly channeled)
is "Do as thou wilt."
||Founder of the
Church of Satan (in the U.S.A.) in 1966.
Definitely a warlock. He has been called,
"The most evil man in history," and "The
Sources: Wikipedia mostly.
Information on King Solomon comes from the Bible and various
Arabic texts (translated into English, of course).
from Clipart Library.
Hauntings of History,
Places Around the World
elucidate all of the haunted places around the world would be impossible.
So, I'll just focus on the famous ones of the historical record. [and
perhaps a few from modern times].
Please come back next week or next year to see if I've added more stories of haunted
history or haunted places.
||Name / Location
||Most of the
knowledge we have about ancient Sumeria (on this topic) comes from the
study of their burial sites and clay tablets.
It is clear that the people of ancient Sumeria
believed in an afterlife. Their habit of burying people with beloved
items and even with pets suggests that the people thought that they could
"take it with them".
Also, the writings are clear that people believed
that if they did not placate the dead, with offerings and proper burials,
and such, that they might escape the Underworld and come back to haunt
This believe could not exist if there weren't any
This information comes from a wonderful article
written by Joshua J. Mark, entitled, "Ghosts
in Ancient Mesopotamia". 2022.
Tree of Life
Painting in Tomb of Sennedjem
of a haunting in ancient Egypt comes from a letter that was was found at
the burial site of an Egyptian woman. Apparently it was a common
practice to write letters to the deceased and leave the letters at the
The man who wrote the letter was haunted by his
deceased wife, and he did not understand why. He wrote a letter
expounding upon all the nice things he did for her, and in the end he
actually accused her of not knowing what is good and what is bad.
(Because the man clearly thinks that he did good by her). But,
honestly, I think that the man misunderstood her intentions. Perhaps
she came back to thank him for all he did.
To read all the details of this story and another
story from ancient Egypt, see the fantastic article by Joshua J. Mark,
in Ancient Egypt". 2016.
Note: the other story deals with a ghost
that was troubled because his tomb had deteriorated due to neglect and
nobody knew where it was, and could not visit, and he would not be
remembered. I just thought that was interesting.
My review of Henry Justice Ford's artwork
(pictured to the right):
I am completely spellbound (pun intended) by this artwork. I am an
artist myself and I am so amazed by the quality, and how the artist made
the ghost look translucent. I just had to add this picture to my
site. I absolutely adore this picture.
Athens House, Greece
The artwork (above) Credit:
"Athenodorus Confronts The Specter" by Henry Justice Ford, 1913.
|I found this
story on several sites but the most detailed version can be found on thecollector.com.
In the interest of time, I will summarize.
This story comes from a Roman Lawyer and prolific
letter-writer named Pliny the Younger. He wrote a letter elucidating a
cheap real estate deal. And, why was the house cheap? Because
it was haunted. The previous owners complained of the sound of
rattling chains all through the house at night, and they couldn't sleep,
partly from the noise and partly from being so scared.
A shrewd philosopher named Athenodorus, learned
of the sale on the house and why it was so cheap. And, he bought it,
knowing full well that it was haunted. On his first night staying at
the house, he heard the rattling of chains, the sound of which got closer
and closer. But he was not afraid. When the sound stopped,
Athenodorus looked over and saw a specter of an old man in chains who bid
him follow. He followed the ghost out to the garden, and then the
ghost disappeared. Athenodorus marked the spot where the ghost had
disappeared, and the next day he called the authorities, who dug at the
spot and found the skeleton of a man in chains.
They gave the man a proper burial; and he never
haunted the house ever again. This story, besides elucidating the
way to find cheap real estate, also served to confirm the prevalent belief
in Rome and Greece that the spirits of the deceased cannot rest until they
receive a proper burial.
Picture is from the movie "The
I'm not suggesting anyone see that movie. It is a scary horror movie
and I don't watch horror movies. Never seen it and I don't want to
see it. But, this is a photo of a girl ghost which matches the story
to the right.
|One of the
most famous haunting stories that comes from ancient China is that of the
spirit of a little girl.
The little girl haunted the house of four
brothers, living together. Eventually, the four brothers had enough
of this little girl, and hatched a plan to get rid of her. So, they
captured her one night (and don't ask me how you capture a ghost; but I'd
sure like to know how they did it). They put her into a bag and
threw her down a well.
The next night she was back with the bag in
hand. So, they put her back into the bag, tied a rock to it, and
threw it into a nearby river.
The next night she was back. So, they
stuffed her into a hollow log, and capped both ends, and sent it down the
The next night she appeared to them and thanked
them for a proper burial. And, she never bothered them again.
This information comes from a fantastic article
by Emily Mark, entitled, "Ghosts
in Ancient China". 2016.
Ao = Blue
Ki = Tree
gaHara = Meadow
literally means "Blue Tree Meadow", but in English circles it is
more commonly known as "Suicide Forest". The reason for
the nickname, is because legend has it that people go there to commit
suicide. The Japanese people won't go in there. But, some
Westerners did. One story that I read said that the author went into
the forest and heard a loud scream. Upon investigating, the author
could not find the source of the scream.
Fall River State Forest, Massachusetts
the Bermuda Triangle, the Bridgewater Triangle is a hotspot of paranormal
phenomena. Some the things reported are:
- giant dogs (dire wolves?)
- orbs of light
- thunderbirds (pterosaurs?)
- giant snakes
- and Satan worship
forest in Transylvania, Romania
Baciu means kiss.
Source: Google Translate.
So, together they would mean: "Warrior's Kiss".
And, the story goes that a shepherd (nobody gives the date), named Hoia
(which means warrior) [and nobody explains why he was named warrior]
kissed his wife goodbye, and then took his flock of 200 sheep into the
forest and was never seen or heard from again. The forest is named
In 1968, a military man and photographer
named Emil Barnea took a photograph of a UFO near the forest. When,
he published it, he lost his job and was called a fraud.
Another story tells of a young girl who
went into the forest and emerged five years later, the same age as when
she left, and wearing the same clothes.
Finally, there are reports of a circular
clearing in the middle of the forest, where nothing grows, and hasn't
grown for all long as records have been kept. Some think that it is
a portal to another dimension.
update this every year. Come back next year for more! )
Celtic People of Ireland
long answer is that Halloween is a hodge-podge of cultures, traditions,
and lore. But, the original tradition came from Ireland with the
holiday called "Sam-whain" which means: "Summer
Halloween of the Devil?
is what you make of it. If you make it to be the day of the Devil, then
it is the day of the Devil. If you make it to be a day of spirits
roaming the Earth, then it is a day of spirits roaming the Earth.
If you make it to be a day of dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating, then
it is a day of dressing up in costumes and going
trick-or-treating. Honestly, it's all what you make of it.
It's your day. Make it fun. Halloween was created
for you, not for the Devil.
is Halloween on October 31st?
that's the last day of the Celtic year,
(Loki's daughter) let the spirits of the Underworld out for that one
night to roam the Earth. While this might seem like a benign thing,
the Underworld had both good and bad spirits in it. So, what if a
bad spirit can to your house? Well, the ancients of Ireland had a
solution for this problem; they would make scary jack-o-lanterns out of
turnips and hang them on their porches to scary away and would-be
The use of pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns didn't happen until the
European settling of America, where they were introduced to pumpkins by
the indigenous tribes.
is it called "Halloween"?
it is a literal holy day (holiday). Halloween means "Hallowed
(Samwhain) was a holy day in the Celtic religion. It had nothing
to do with the Devil, because in their religion there was no
Devil. There was Nidhog, but he stayed in Niflheim. And,
there were evil spirits, but those were the diembodied souls of the
dead. Both evil spirits AND good spirits came out on Halloween
do we go trick-or-treating on Halloween night?
parents in the U.S. wanted something fun for their children to do
(instead of doing pranks).
trick-or-treating you had youngsters going around on Halloween doing
pranks on people, which were messy, destructive, and annoying. In
the 1950s there was a grass-roots movement to stop this criminal
behavior. And, trick-or-treating was born.
do people think that Halloween is the night of everything evil?
(AKA: Movie-makers), make scary movies, because there is a market
for scary movies. And, since Halloween was already scary with all
the evil spirits roaming the Earth, why not add to the scariness by
adding other scary creatures, such as vampires, werewolves, and
witches? I'm not fond of how Halloween has been mutilated by the
introduction of scary things that were never supposed to be a part of
Halloween; but it is what it is.
know that some people have been drinking blood since time immemorial (as
it is condemned in the Bible). I also know that there are some
people who would like to be vampires. But, do they really
exist? I really cannot say. I do have one first-hand report
that there are some secret covens of people trying to become vampires
(and they are getting help from demons to do so); but are they
succeeding? I don't know.
Are other werebeasts real?
have a first-hand account from a Navajo native who told me about
skinwalkers. They do exist. They make deals with demons to
be able to shapeshift into animals. Mostly they shapeshift into
coyotes, but can also shapeshift into birds.
Sounds like a cool power to have, but
I guarantee you that its not. For instance, maybe you could change into
an animal at will, but will you ever be able to change back into a
human???? (Ever thought about that?)
witches, warlocks, and wizards real?
my section on real witches and real warlocks/wizards above.
Leon's Ghost Stories
(These are true stories)
The Haunted Toilets of Magna, Utah
(a true ghost story by Leon)
It was 2018, in Utah, U.S.A. I was a 5th-grade teacher at a small charter school in a small town, called Magna, Utah. The word ‘magna’ is Latin for “great”, which is an oxymoron, because the town neither was great nor ever became great. Magna was first settled in 1868 as a mining town (still is a mining town to this day). But, it wasn’t called Magna back then; it was called Pleasant Green. Later, they changed the name to Magna, because it was thought that the town would grow to become a great city. It never did become a great city, though, despite continued mining operations for over 150 years.
Magna, Utah is located a mile south of the Great Salt Lake, just at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains, where the mines are located. Oquirrh is a Ute word which mean tree stump or log, which is funny, because no trees grow on those mountains. Rumor has it that the Mormon pioneers chopped them all down, but I find that very hard to believe. What I find more believable is that the mountains in that area have neither
the necessary elevation, nor the necessary precipitation for trees to thrive there.
Magna is a small town, ridden with low-income families and unfortunately several drug dealers running meth-amphetamine labs out of their homes. Gangs and Cartel live in the area as well. The school where I worked was on the outskirts of the eastern part of town, surrounded by acres of private farms and grazeland. In fact, the owner of the land adjacent to the school had some horses and two lamas in his field.
Long before the modern-day flush-toilet was invented, even before
Magna was a town, the Utes lived and hunted there. And, before the Utes, the Fremont Indians lived and hunted there. As I have come to learn from visiting Fremont Indian State Park, the term “Fremont Indian” is just an umbrella term for all the people that lived in Utah more than 2,000 years ago. Evidence of the Fremont Indians lies in a cave just west of town inside the Oquirrh Mountains, facing the Great Salt Lake. Today, the cave is referred to as Deadman Cave (or Dead Man’s Cave), because allegedly a man committed suicide there in 1913. Archaeologists from the University of Utah have been to the cave twice to do excavations and found bones and artifacts that carbon-date to between 9,500 years ago to 10,000 years ago. Legend has it that the spirit of the man who committed suicide in the cave—a miner—still roams around the town of Magna at night. My student and her mother literally drove their car right though him one night. Scared the ever-living daylights out of them. So, is that really a legend if we have a modern-day witness? You decide. And, he’s not the only apparition in town. The Empress Theater, built in 1916 as a place of entertainment for the miners, now has a burlesque girl ghost, who still puts on shows from time to time. But, haunted toilets??? Really? Yes! Read on, my friend.
Again, it was 2018, and I used to come into the school on the weekends to do lesson prep, clean up my classroom, decorate my classroom, and get it ready for the upcoming week. I was always the only person there. It was very quiet, except for the weather. One could hear the weather outside, and the building creaking from time to time. To another person, it might seem spooky. Not to me. I quite enjoyed the quiet and the weather, even the creaking. I liked being alone, without any distractions (and I get distracted easily). However, I was soon to realize that I was not alone in that building after all.
Why wasn’t it spooky to me? Well, because I’m a praying man. I prayed every day. I prayed every day for myself, my family, and my school. To be honest, I had had the sneaky suspicion that my students were being plagued by depressing spirits, which were keeping them from achieving academically. I prayed every day that there would be angels surrounding the entire school grounds, keeping out every wicked spirit, and that our school would be a safe haven.
Well, one weekend evening, I was working in my classroom with the door open to get fresh air in the classroom. I was the only person in the building, or so I thought, when all of a sudden, the toilet flushed in the restroom down the hall. Now, if
I were teaching a classroom full of children, I would not have been able to hear it, but it is amazing how much you can hear, when you are the only person in the building. The outside doors stayed locked at all times, and one could only enter the building by fob or by being buzzed in. All of the teachers had fobs, so naturally I thought that one of the other teachers had come to get some work done as well. I immediately went to the classroom door and yelled out, “Who’s there?” No answer. Then, I went the boys’ room and checked. There was no one in there. Then, I stood outside the girls’ room and said, “Is anybody in there?” No answer. I walked around the whole school. Saw no one. Finally, I checked the parking lot. Mine was the only car in the lot. Okay, at that point I was a little freaked out. But, I dismissed it as a malfunctioning toilet and went back to work.
Then, it happened again. Only this time it was a toilet at the other end of the hall. I went through the exact same routine in order to confirm that no one else was in the building. At that point, I was thinking that some invisible entity was trying to get my attention. Because during the normal school day, the toilet did not automatically flush randomly. They had sensors and only flushed when a person triggered the sensor. Something was triggering the sensors on the toilets and trying to get my attention. I wasn’t scared, but I was confused. What could the entity be trying to tell me? I think I even said out loud, “What are you trying to tell me?” After several minutes of ruminating on that query, I finally gave up trying to figure it out.
From then on, every weekend, when I went to work, toilets would randomly flush throughout the building. Now, keep in mind that one malfunctioning toilet is one thing, but multiple malfunctioning toilets is statistically so astronomically out of the range of possibility that it is incongruous to think of that as a viable option. Clearly, I was not alone in that building on the weekends. And, keep in mind that while I was working, I was working with love in my heart. I wanted to prepare the best lessons for my students. I wanted the best decorations in my classroom. I wanted the best educational environment to stimulate my students natural curiosity and learning, and to have the best possible configuration of desks and desk assignments to optimize the learning environment. I didn’t have to be there. No one else was. I did it out of love in my heart for all of my students. And, whoever the invisible entity was, trying to get my attention, must have been allowed to enter by the sentinel of angels surrounding our school. So, it must have been friend.
Eventually, it came to the point that as soon as I would enter the building on the weekends, a toilet would flush, and I would say, “Hi,” out loud. No more random flushing. One toilet would flush when I came in, and I would say, “Hi.” By the way, I would say, “Goodbye,” when I left, but no toilet flushed when I left. Only when I came in.
I told a few people about my experience with the flushing toilets, and one person said that the school had been built on ancient Ute burial grounds. I can’t verify that. Personally, I think that it was my guardian angel just letting me know that he/she was there, looking after me.
What do you think? Contact me.
Dead Man’s Cave:
Barlow's Travel Blog
The Empress Theater:
Story of Us
Magna Ghost Stories:
The Ghost Miner
Background information: The mines in the Oquirrh Mountains, just west of Magna, Utah have changed ownership many times over the past two centuries. At the time of this story, the mines were owned by Kennecott. They are currently owned by Rio Tinto.
All Dressed in White, and Walking Through a Wall
in Las Vegas
(a true ghost story, by Leon)
a baker and doughnut-maker in 1993. I started out as a baker, baking pies
for the casinos in Las Vegas in 1993. Then, my boss decided to expand into
doughnut-making. Baking was done during the day and the pies were frozen,
but doughnut-making was done during the graveyard shift, so that the doughnuts
were fresh in the morning. I was trained to be the sole doughnut-maker,
working graveyard shift, all alone in the huge warehouse bakery.
wasn't scary. I didn't mind being alone. What bothered me was the
daunting task of making a hundred doughnuts of all kinds to perfection before
the sun rose. It felt like spinning straw into gold in a single
night. A lot of responsibility was placed upon my shoulders, and I wasn't
up to the task, even though I said I was.
I was working all alone one night. In fact, it was my first night alone in
the warehouse-bakery. I was getting all my equipment ready, and someone or
something kept knocking them off the table. I put the mixing bowl on the
table, and it was knocked onto the floor. I put the utensils on the table,
and they'd be knocked off onto the floor. At that point, I got super
pissed off. I yelled, "Stop it!" I was pissed off because
I was working on a deadline and now I had to wash the bowl and the
utensils. Whoever was messing with me was putting me behind schedule.
Finally, I calmed down and got to work mixing up the dough. Out of the
corner of my eye, I saw a man all dressed in white walk across the floor and
through the wall. It was the last time I ever worked there during
Cemetery Ghost on the Radio
Salt Lake City
(a true ghost story by Leon)
was 2017 and my son was too old to go trick-or-treating, and yet I wanted to do
something special for him on Halloween. We decided to visit some haunted
spots in Salt Lake City on Halloween night. I did some research and we
found that the two most famously haunted spots in Salt Lake City are: (1) the
Rio Grande Train Depot (now a historical landmark) and (2) the Salt Lake City
According to the stories, sometimes a young lady dressed in a purple dress can
be seen in the windows at night. Legend has it that she died trying to
retrieve an engagement ring that had fallen onto the tracks. Mostly she's
been seen in the lady's restroom. We went to the depot first, hoping for a
glimpse of her through the windows, but the windows were all boarded up, or had
curtains closed, so we couldn't see anything. However, we were not
entirely disappointed. As we were walking around in front of the depot, a
truck horn sounded. No one was inside the truck--at least no one
visible. I walked right up to the truck and looked in the window. No
one was in that truck.
we went to the Salt Lake City cemetery. We parked the car and walked
around the cemetery. Saw nothing but gravestones. But, when we got
back into the car and I turned on the ignition, the radio went from normal radio
to static. Then, we heard some people talking (nothing intelligible), then
some really old music started playing, like from the 40's or 50's. I did
not recognize the song. My son and I just looked at each other with
incredulity in our eyes. After about thirty seconds, the radio went back
to normal. We were freaked out, and we called it a night.
(a true ghost story by Leon)
A Dead Sparrow on My
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
[FOREWORD: You may be
wondering what a Mongolian Ovoo has to do with a dead sparrow. Well, read
this recount and find out!]
I went to sleep last Friday night, I lay on the bed thinking about what my next
article would be about.
When I awoke, I went out on my balcony to water my plants.
There was a dead baby Eurasian tree sparrow lying on my balcony.
I freaked out! I
thought, “Oh, my heavens!
What kind of omen is this?”
am I superstitious?
Yes! I am superstitious.
I’ve always been superstitious.
When I was young, I used to make up my own superstitions.
For instance, I used to think that if I locked my bicycle in a certain
spot, I’d have a good day at school.
When someone took my spot and I was forced to lock my bike in another
location, I was sure to have a bad day.
I stood there, mesmerized by the matter at hand, I wondered what a dead bird on
one’s balcony portends.
I just had to know.
I called my friend, Markus.
He’s a Mongolian American.
I figured he’d know.
I asked, “What does it mean when someone finds a dead bird on their
balcony in Mongolia?”
He replied, “It means the bird died on your balcony.”
He was no help. So,
I immediately sat at my laptop and began to search the web for answers.
I searched all day long.
I found nothing related to my predicament.
However, herein below is what I did find.
the West, there is a superstition that if a bird flies into one’s home, there
will be a death of a loved one.
that bullet! In
Mongolia, apparently the belief is that if one comes upon a dead animal, one
should spit three times and say, “I didn’t kill you.”
This is to avoid retribution from the spirit of the deceased animal.
to say, I was a bit relieved that there wasn’t any bad omen associated with a
dead bird. However,
I couldn’t help but feel uneasy about it.
Questions plagued my mind.
Why me? Why
now? Why on my
once said that there is no such thing as a mere coincidence.
I mean sure, the baby bird probably fell out of a nest on the roof of my
Did some evil spirit push it out of the nest?
Was it a message from the spirit world?
How was I to take it?
So, that night, after putting my son to bed, I went out on the balcony
and said, “I didn’t kill you,” but I didn’t spit three times.
I didn’t spit at all.
That’s just nasty.
next morning, I went out on my balcony again.
There on the telephone wires, no more than two meters away from me,
practically eye to eye were two adult tree sparrows yelling at me.
I said, “I didn’t do it!
It was probably that lady two floors up who flicks vodka into the air.”
Then, a third sparrow flew right up to my balcony and gave me a severe
I said, “I didn’t do it!”
I know what you are thinking.
You are thinking, “Leon, you are crazy!
You talk to birds?
Are you serious?”
last thing I needed was a replay of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.
But, seriously, I believe that you can talk to animals, and they will in
most cases understand your general intentions.
I must digress and tell you about the lady two floors up.
I’ve seen her late at night in our apartment parking lot flicking some
kind of liquid into the air in all four cardinal directions.
She spooned the liquid, which looked like a milk tea, out of her cup high
into the air. Clearly,
she was performing some kind of shamanistic ritual, but I didn’t know why.
Did she want rain from the sky?
From my research about Mongolian shamanism, I learned that in the past
Mongolians asked their shamans for rain, but now, they generally ask for money.
Sometimes Mongolian shamans will tell their clients to give offerings of
milk tea or vodka to the spirits, in return for favors.
Perhaps that was the reason.
Perhaps she needed money.
ha!” I thought. However,
I was a bit dismayed to go out on my balcony one sunny afternoon only to get a
vodka shower. You
see my balcony is the lowest one and jets out a bit farther than the others
above me. I
looked up to see what was causing my shower.
It was that old lady again flicking a clear liquid into the sky from her
fact, I didn’t know what kind of liquid it was.
It could have been anything.
I’ve read that sometimes the shamans will tell their clients who are
plagued by evil spirits to bathe in vodka and then throw it out the window to
get rid of the evil spirit.
For all I know I was being showered with dirty bath vodka.
Maybe it worked, though.
Maybe the evil spirit left her home and entered the baby sparrow, and
then it tried to fly away, but its wings weren’t fully developed.
Or just maybe, the old lady flicked the vodka a little bit too high and
it got into the nest, intoxicating one of the little chicks, which then
accidentally fell out of the nest.
let’s get back to my story.
After I convinced the adult sparrows that “…it wasn’t me”, they
left me alone. It
became clear that I couldn’t just leave the little bird on my balcony.
I decided that it was time to bury the felled foul, whom we
affectionately named “Sparrie”.
I put the lifeless little thing into a cardboard coffin and I said,
“Let’s go bury Sparrie.”
My son and I went out into the field next to our apartment building, dug
a grave with a spoon, and buried the bird, coffin and all.
Then, we erected an ovoo, or rock monument, on top of the grave and a
headstone out of piece of polished granite we found lying in the field.
We said a little prayer that went something like this, “Dear God,
please accept the spirit of our little sparrow friend, whom we’ve named
Sparrie, into your heavenly abode.
now, I think we have appeased the spirits.
Whatever happens next, I’m not going to spit three times.
That’s just nasty.
AND, NOW: THE REST OF THE STORY:
(Updated much later; but you've got to
read what happened next...
because it will figuratively blow your mind!)
an ovoo, pictured above, is a very sacred thing in Mongolian
tradition. If one should happen upon one, one is supposed to (doesn't have
to; but may if they want to) pick up a rock that is NOT part of the existing
ovoo, walk around the ovoo three times, carrying the rock and saying a prayer.
Then, one places the rock on the ovoo. This is akin to our Western
tradition of adding a coin to a wishing well. Just as it is extremely
taboo to remove coins from a wishing well, it is extremely taboo to remove
stones/rocks from an ovoo.
after we had buried Sparrie and erected the miniature ovoo on top of the grave,
and said our little prayer, we retired to the apartment wherein we resided.
As we were going about our daily routines, my son experienced an odd event,
which he relayed to me. He told me that when he looked in the mirror in
the living room, which was facing the balcony, he saw a Mongolian-looking woman
standing on our balcony. When he immediately turned around to look at the
balcony, she was no longer there. When asked what she was wearing, he said
that she was wearing an ancient outfit with feathers all over it.
personally, believe that it was the spirit of the sparrow coming to thank us for
what we had done for her. I also, personally, believe that she tarried
with us for the duration of our time in Mongolia as our guardian angel.
There were many "close calls" for my son and me while living in
Mongolia, but we were always propitiously protected.
note: It is NOT a Mongolian tradition to erect on ovoo on top of a grave.
But, I wanted to do something special for Sparrie. I also wanted to teach
my son to respect all creatures (dead or alive), even respect the spirit of a
picayune tree sparrow.
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Leon's Other Links
Pictures of REAL
to get rid of ghosts)
to know if it is a good ghost or a bad ghost
If you want something REALLY scary,
about the End-of-the-World Prophecies