April 29, 2012

How Much

A good friend posted, actually re-shared this over at G+. It's very true.

If I believe in you, I allow you in
If I trust you, I show you my pain
If I love you, I show you my weakness
If I respect you, I show you my views
Without one of these, how much do you think I give you?

It makes you think. 

Sometimes it takes a leap of faith in yourself to let others in. 

April 27, 2012

Goodbye Paradise

I've never been one for materialistic belongings. Mainly because that's not how I was raised. Growing up relatively poor,I never had a lot. So i did cherish what I had. However, always moving around from town to town, I would loose a lot of my stuff. And since we moved so much, I got to the point of not hanging on to anything. What little bit I did hang onto, I could put in a back pack.

About 4  years ago, I got back into BMX. It was a sport I did as a young kid into my early teens. Four years ago, I rebuilt the same bike I used to ride in competitions back home. Over the course of these last four years, I put about $900 into the bike. Mainly because, like collector cars, these bikes have become collectible items. And some original parts can be expensive. I've taken this bike on long rides, even pulled a few stunts on it, reminiscent of the old days. She was a sweet ride. It would coast forever, handled better then a lot of these new bikes. And it had a lot of character, unlike the bikes of today.

Well tonight, I let it go. I've never been sad over anything I've lost. Well, until tonight. But do to real world issues and money being tight, I sold it for $400.  I've put it up before, hoping it wouldn't sell. Never asking a lot for it. At most $500. But it never went. However, this time I wasn't as lucky.

Back as a kid, I had placed in the top three in a few competitions with my bike. But as I got older, I got into other things. I guess  As I got older and took on more responsibility that we do as adults, I wanted something from my childhood that reminded me of when I had little responsibility.  Something to where, for a few hours on a weekend, I could let go of my adultness and be a kid again.

So tonight, I say goodbye to Paradise. Yes I know, funny name. But even as a kid, it was something, that while riding and performing stunts, the world around me didn't matter. Maybe one day, somewhere in the future, I may get another. Maybe I won't.However it turns out, here's to you sweet girl. Make your new owner as happy as you did me!


April 19, 2012

We All Go Back

Call me crazy. But for the last week or so, on my way home from work or into work. Even when going out to dinner, i've been smelling the smells of the local carnival or fair.

As a kid, I couldn't wait for it to show up in town. The rides, the food, the games. And as i got older, I even worked a few on tear down night for some extra cash. Once I even worked a few state fairs and made good money.

But there's something about a carnival as we get older that sometimes, makes us remember our childhood, good or bad. We know the games are rigged for the most part, yet will drop a few bucks on a game or two. We might walk away with a prize, or we just walk away.

I think what i remember the most is those times when i was seeing someone, i would put in extra hours at work just to have money to take her.Most of the money would be blown on games or tickets. But at least we had fun together. As Tim McGRaw says in his song,

"I throwed out my shoulder, but I won her that teddy bear."

Maybe it was the fact I won at something where i was being already cheated as I stood up to the counter, or the fact that spent time and energy beyond the norm to please my better half, I always walked away with a smile.

It's been at least 9 years since i've been to a fair or carnival. Last one, was the last time I drove in the auto derby with my brother. And like the times as a teen, my soon to be better half walked away with a teddy bear won at a cheating game.

These smells i've been smelling, bring be back to these times. Times i sometimes miss. Though you're among a few hundred people, sometimes it's the closeness you get with your family and friends that is needed every once in awhile.

Maybe it's the sounds and lights that make your senses all tingly inside. But every once in awhile, we all go back.

April 10, 2012

Toad Hall PT III

Let's understand something about me as a person. I have many beliefs. Do I believe in ghosts and spirits, yes. The reason I say this, is I have seen way too much in my life since I was little. Now, I'm a man of science. I will try to find some scientific reason for something first. If I can't, then I will chalk it up to the unexplained. Maybe some where down the road, the explanation will show itself. But until then, I'll leave it as it is. But to date, nothing in the history of this story has made a scientific explanation. So, it still stands as unexplained.

 It was the week of my birthday in November. Also the week that bow hunting started. It was late that Thursday night. My mom and I were watching the nightly news and my little brother was upstairs sleeping. As we sat there in the living room, we had heard a small thump. Didn't think nothing of it, figured that my brother had rolled over and kicked the wall like he normally does. With in a few minutes, he had appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

 He stood there motionless for a few moments then walked over to our mom. He got on her lap and leaned in as to hug her. My thoughts were, he had some kind of dream that woke him. Like me, he was not one for comforting after a bad dream. He just wanted to be left alone, so this was a little strange. He proceeded to put his hands around her throat and started to choke her. At first I laughed. I was like what the fuck. Then it went to, me speaking his name a little louder. All the time, my mom was sitting there in shock. This lasted maybe 2 minutes. He looked over at me with a muddy glaze in his eyes. Stood up, went into the other room and we heard him use the toilet. As he came back into the living room, he paid no attention to us. Just walked by like we didn't exist and back upstairs.

My mom and I just stared at each other. What the hell just happened? Were we going to go through a poltergeist in the house? Granted, she had scolded him earlier that day, for what I can't recall now. Maybe he was just mad at her. But to choke her? To this day, he doesn't recall doing it, just our stories of it.

It was a full moon out that night too, so I chalked it up to the weird and unexplained. As we got ready for bed, I took the trash out. Normally, it was a pain to get to the burning barrel, but with the light of the moon, it was like a magical forest. As i put the lid back on the barrel and turned, I heard a rustling in the field behind me. The cows would still be there for another few weeks yet, so i thought nothing of it. It wasn't until I heard a low growl, that I turned.

There she stood. I will admit, that I for the first time I can remember, I  actually pissed myself. She was huge! I could reach out and touch her. Her muscles were well defined, and from the shinning of the moon, I would swear she used conditioner on her coat due to its glimmer. I was shaking. The only thoughts that really went through my mind were the ones of me being torn to shreds by some wild animal. It was violent.

We nearly stared each other down for what seemed like eternity. But it was only a few minutes. Now mind you, at the start of this chapter, I told you of my many beliefs. One of those beliefs is animal spirits. Mainly because the area I grew up in was part of the Seneca Indian Nation, but also, the studies I did, their beliefs in nature and animals also made a lot of sense to me.

Now, though I'm literally shaking my sneakers off, pissed myself, I cannot remove my gaze from her. I'm scared for my life. Yet at the same time, I know I'm going to be fine. Because if she would have wanted to attack, she would have as soon as I turned. Slowly, she turned and walked back up the field. Just before she fully disappeared into the darkness of the night, she stopped and turned back toward me. Just one last look. Then she was gone. That was the last time I would physically see her. Shaken, I turned and went into the house, only stopping a brief moment at the door when I heard a howl in the night air. I never made it to sleep that night. I laid in my bed, candles lit, staring intently at my ceiling. Trying to make heads or tails of what the hell was going on.

Now, let's fast forward to Spring. A lot of bad things had happened up to this point. The worst of them was, the landlord had told us he wanted to renovate part of the house. We moved out, for what was supposed to be just a few weeks, in which in turned into a permanent thing since he torched the house a week later and put in two new double wides. We had lived in that house for 12 years. The memories, all good and bad will always be remembered. Come to find out, he was loosing money on the farm and with only the house and a empty trailer down the way,  he needed money. Since the house was built in the mid 30's, it would have cost to much to really renovate, so he did the next best thing. The prick's still an alcoholic.

One afternoon, my friend had stopped up. We hadn't seen each other in months. Matter of fact, it was about a few weeks prior to my last encounter that I had seen him. So we began discussing the whole thing. All the way from the beginning to the end. Being bored, we both decided to go for a drive. We hit the local 7-11 and just kept driving. Just catching up on old times, not really paying attention to where we were, we had pulled up the road from Toad Hall. But we didn't get there the normal way. We hit so many back roads, That I tried to recall that drive a few times and ended up lost.

Suddenly, everything we had been talking about just didn't exist anymore. We just sat there in the car, staring at the house. The grass hadn't been cut in a long while, not like the last time I had been here. It was at that time, I had told him about Tara. Hell, that was the first time I had talked about it with anyone other then Tara. And it had been just about a year since our separation. 

The entire conversation, he never took his eyes off the house. I could see his eyes move up and down, left to right. But never once did he look to the back, at me or the the car that had passed by. He opened the door and stood there a second before heading toward the house. Prick didn't even shut the door and a grasshopper jumped in. Looks like we had a new mascot. I turned the car off and followed.

This time around, things were as calm, as they had been in the past. Well, barring the situation from Tara. At this time in my life, I was studying crystals and the so called healing powers they had. Mainly due to a injury sustained long ago, I was back to fighting my headaches again. So I was always wearing a clear, two inch crystal around my neck.

As we neared the door, a surprise waited for us. A fairly large toad was nailed to the door. Blood had run down and just blended in the with years of color decay. From the looks, it had been there awhile. For the skin was all dried, just a few shreds left on the skinny bones. The nail however, wasn't your normal galvanized long nail. It was more a square tack nail. Why I remember that detail, I have no idea. It just struck me as odd. And it was well rusty.

As we opened the door, we made out way around the corner and into the kitchen. Yet again, more surprises. More animal bones. All neatly piled on a make shift table int he center of the room. Maybe all the stories were true. Maybe some cult did use this place for rituals. Or maybe some twisted, demented person just came up here and set all this up just for us?

Normally, my friend is quite talkative. Always has been for the time I've known him. He's only this quiet when he's pissed or thinking. Since we got to this place, he hadn't said anything. As we looked around the kitchen for any other sings of people, I started to get a pain in my chest. Not like a heart pain from a heart attack, yes I know what that feels like. But a sharp stinging pain. As i grasped at my shirt, I remembered the crystal. As i pulled it out from under my shirt, I gasped. It was no longer clear, but it was solid black. So black, it wouldn't even reflect what light was coming through the glassless window in the kitchen. He reached over and ripped it from my neck and tossed it on the floor. I just looked at him. He had this look about him that I had never seen. Did he know something I didn't? If he did, he wasn't saying a word.

We made our way into the living room. Who ever it was that was here, had left more calling cards. What looked like ritualistic symbols covered the walls and floor. A few I knew. For back in JR High, I did a report on the occult and vampirism, after the teens in FL had gone on a killing spree. So I did a lot of studying and a lot more reading for this report, got an A+ on it and it's what saved my grades that year. Though the symbols looked familiar, I didn't know their meaning.

Around the corner and back up the stairs, where we had been once before. The only thing here other then a lot of dust and cobwebs was some tattered blankets. Like someone was using this place as shelter.  We checked the rooms upstairs for any signs of symbols, bones, anything we could find. Nothing.

We had even gone to the back of the house and looked out the windows. No water in the stream, no wild flowers and no butterflies. It literally looked like death and decay out there. Like a whole new world was waiting through the glassless portal. Finally, not finding anything, though I had no idea what we were looking for, we headed back down stairs.

Now, you recall me stating I believe in ghosts and spirits? Well, up to this point in my life, I've seen a lot of unexplained things. And what I was about to witness would take anything I had read, learned, studied or known and throw it out the window of my mind.

As we reached the last step and turned into the living room, we both stopped. The only way I can describe this, is exactly how it was. Sitting in the far corner of the room in a wooden rocking chair, facing us, was an elderly man. Maybe in his mid 50's. Long dirty and matted hair, matching beard and clothes that looked to be from the back woods of West Virginia. The only thing that kept him from being a member of ZZ Top was the fact he looked like he crawled out of some Tom Savini horror flick. His face weathered and beaten, his eyes sunk far enough into his skull, I couldn't see what color they were. and he was wearing an old cloth hat, like that of the Amish faith. The worst part about all of this, wasn't the fact that he was sitting there with an emotionless stare rocking, nor the fact he had a double barrel shot gun across his lap. Or was it the feeling of all the blood just left my body and the room became cooler. But the fact you could see through this guy. Yes he was translucent. You could see what was left of the torn wallpaper and board slats through him.

We couldn't move. I've never been so scared in my life. Regardless of what I've seen in the past, this took the cake. And it would hold that spot for at least a few years. The guy kept rocking. It was like he didn't know we were there. Well, at least until we started to move. We kept our backs against the wall and slowly side stepped toward the door to the kitchen. Now, there were three windows int he living room. One on the front of the house and two on the side, across from us. Shrubs and tree's blocked full view from seeing out, but you could see light dancing outside. I started to think, it was just a light trick. After all, it was that time of day, where the light is just right, that everything has that green hue and things appear as something that's not there. That was until as we reached the door and started to turn that the guy turned his head and looked at us. Fuck that! I'm not hanging around to find out what he wants.

We bolted from the house, knocked over the make shift table in the kitchen. He Bo Duked the car and no sooner was the car started and we had backed into the road did we see this guy again. I was frozen with fear. Now, I don't scare easy. Never have. But this whole situation was like a bad dream that I couldn't wake up from. And It seemed I was pulling in people I loved all around me.I was just waiting for Freddy Kruger to pop his beady ass head up on the side of the car.

The guy this time, was standing on the front porch roof. However, he wasn't dressed. He was naked. Still carrying his shot gun, He stood there like a soldier, staring out into space. It wasn't until he turned and looked at us, that feeling had returned to my body. Reverse, gas pedal to the floor, I was now a driver. Whipped that car around, fished tailed and kept shifting. It was only a five speed, but I was looking for sixth, to get me the hell out of there. I was so scared, I had forgot the road. As we passed the turn off to head to the stone cross, we went straight down the hill. Problem was, there was an elevation point. I loved my car. I really did. But I wasn't going back for the exhaust. We hit so hard after launching, it ripped from behind the converter. For a small four cylinder, the damn thing echoed like a dying cow in a valley.

That would be the last time I would ever step foot up there. To this day, my friend refuses to talk about that. If it gets brought up, he walks out of the room. We never said anything for the entire ride home. When we got back to my house, he didn't even come in. He jetted for his car and left. Never did see him for about a month.

It wasn't until a few years later when I had gotten the internet. High speed was starting to become the norm, so my dial up lasted maybe a month. By this time, I had forgotten all about that day.  I wanted that part of my mind erased. I had experienced a few other things since then. And one actually tops this. but there is no spirit, no wolf. But that for the next time.

One day in the dinner across from my apartment, an old high school friend and I were talking. And somehow Toad Hall had become the topic. Now, i didn't tell her of what happened. None of it. But what I had learned was that the a bunch of kids had kept going up there and finally the town, in which the house resided in got tired of it and they had the fire company burn it down. GOOD! That place was straight out of hell.

Anyway, the conversation with her, had peaked my interest, yet again. So that night, I started looking on the internet. Now, mind you, this was the turn of the century, so it's not like it is now. For the next couple of weeks, i had kept searching. Made a few visits to both the local library and the one in the next town. Even stopped by the town hall and searched public records. I had no idea what I was looking for, but I knew when I would find it, and I did.

Now, I cannot recall the names. As it's been a very long time. But the story goes like this. Back in the 50's, a man of Amish decent had married an Indian lady. He had been shunned by his community and moved up to where we were at. He built the house. That's where they had lived with their three children, until their deaths. In an old news article I found, apparently, something had happened, as it wasn't too clear. However, the guy killed his wife and kids then shot himself naked on the porch roof.

Now, I don't know of anyone who had lived in that house since then, but I can say we probably had our own Amityville in our own backyard. The more I thought about it during my research, the whole wolf incident ties in and makes some sense. Especially since this guys wife was Indian. What tribe, I don't know. As none of the research turned that up.

But what doesn't make sense, is her color. From all my research into dreams, the occult, etc, show that a white female wolf as "the spirit of the earth teacher, bringing strong family bonds and loyalty into your life." And why she showed herself only at certain times, I don't know. I guess, I never will.


April 9, 2012

Toad Hall PT II

If you didn't catch the first part of this story, check it out here. As you will understand what's happening in this segment.

So it had been a few years since we saw our fury friend. And it had been awhile since I went to the dilapidated house. At this time, I was on break from college. A five hour drive away in Pittsburgh. With me this time was my girlfriend. Such a sweet girl, but never innocent. Tara had an aura about her the first time I had met her. And we had been together 3 years to this point.

One Saturday we were sitting around the house, grey clouds in the sky and rain that didn't seem to want to stop. Not much to do where i'm from we played the NES for a good part of the day and sat on the porch and talked for the rest. It was during this period that we began to tell more of our "stories." And she always had some great ones. But this time around, I feel I got one up on her. You could tell she was highly interested.

The next day, bright sun, cool breeze, typical summer day for NY, we headed up the hill. It's about a 30 minute drive. Once you veer off the beaten path, it's nothing but oaks and pines and a road full of feet deep ruts. So unless you have a shitty beater of a car or a four wheel drive, it's not a trip i recommend taking.

Now, just a quick history between this lovely lady and myself. She's a trooper. She's solid, had little fear. She was sometimes more adventurous then me. There was one night in Pittsburgh, where her roommate, herself and me were walking home to my place and we came about 30 seconds from being jumped by some crazed freak strung out on what it he had access to. Trying to protect them, i positioned myself behind them and in front of this guy. All the time, squeezing her hand tighter and tighter the more the guy pissed me of. My military ring cutting her hand, I could feel the blood trickling down my fingers. If it wasn't for the "street walker" seeing all of this, who knows who would have ended up dead that night. Today this day, I've never been able to thank that lady for what she did. All this time Tara held it together. I was more afraid then she was.

We had stopped for about 20 minutes at the stone cross. Though we looked, so much brush had grown since my last trip, I couldn't find access to the cemetery for the area. We were both a little displeased. But things happen. Like any other day, the cool draft was flowing in the valley. Though due to the normal breeze, the valley breeze was a lot stronger today. And it had a strange smell with it, that I do not recall smelling before, or have since. Such an odd odor, that I can't even compare it to anything except sweet decay.

Slowly I pulled up into the drive. All the glass had been broken out of the windows since last time I was here. The lawn had been cut though. Which was odd, because the house, regardless of how much one would spend to fix it, is not habitable. One other thing I noticed about the newly kept grounds was a patch of white wild flowers that had never appeared before. Small and dainty, like new life was trying to be added to this place.

No signs of toads hanging on the door. No signs of anyone, however there was a gathering of butterflies in the back lawn to the side of the house, hovering above the creek. Though the wind was slightly strong, you could hear the water trickling over the rocks.As i watched the butterflies or a few minutes, as being an outdoor person, I hadn't recalled the last time I had seen so many in one place. And they all stayed with what seemed a three foot diameter. It was at this time, I had also noticed something else. No Tara. I mean, she didn't disappear. But she had gone silent. She wasn't one for over talking but we had been discussing a friend of hers and some issues she had gotten into.

I turned to find her standing in front of the door. About two feet away, she was still like a statue. Being behind her, all i could catch was the sun glistening off her dark silky hair. Her clothes swayed in the breeze but she didn't move. As I stood next to her, I glanced over. My stomach hit my throat then it disappeared. To this point in life, I had seen a lot of unexplainable things. But this?

Tara had gone pale white. She wasn't one for a sun tan, but her skin had gone the color of that of someone in a casket at a funeral. She was sweating. Well, not sweating, but her skin was very moist. Like it is when you're very ill. And her eyes had a glaze over them, like that I've not seen before. Almost like a muddy haziness. But what scared me the most was she was crying. Tears flowed down her cheeks to the corner of her mouth. All the time she was rock still. She wouldn't answer me. She just kept staring about waist high at the door. In the years we had been together, in the moments of fear and frustration we've had, not once had I ever seen her like this.

It took me a good five minutes to get her to come to and into the car. The whole time, she wouldn't take her eyes off the door. Finally in the car, the AC was blowing, I turned it toward her, hoping that the cool air would help. She looked at me with utter fear and muttered "Get me the hell out of here."

That night, she didn't sleep. She was a good sleeper. She could lay down and in about ten minutes, she would be sound off into dream world. but not tonight. And not the night after. She just laid there staring at the ceiling. No matter what I did, she wouldn't speak to me. I had the silent treatment for two days. She wouldn't warm up to me. She would even look at me. She even shrugged off my mom, which she never did. They were like best friends, plotting my demise all the time. What the hell happened up there at the house that did this to her?

Finally the day we were getting ready to head back to Pittsburgh, she started talking. She recalled everything, but she would not speak of what happened. Or at least what she may have saw. If I tried to bring it up, I got the silent treatment again.

So has I packed the things into the car, my mom and brother had come out. As they climbed into the back seat, Tara had turned her gaze toward the field behind the house. But I paid it not  a lot of attention. I was just piling our stuff in so we could get on the road.  As I put the car in reverse, my little brother gasped and called to me. He just said look at the tree. Now, there is a massive oak tree in the side lawn next to the drive. Maybe 150 years old at least. It was heavily damaged in the ice storm of 92'. But she stood there day after day in all her glory. I couldn't see anything. He said it again. This time Tara had pointed out toward the field. So I looked.

There she was. Sitting on her hind haunches, just like last time. A vision of pure snow in the middle of summer. Same spot as last time, same rigid stare. I put the car in park and got out. I recall a vague statement from my mother, but I cannot recall the exact words. I slowly lingered toward the fence, which at this time was electrified due to the cows being in the upper 40 of the field. I stopped  few feet short of the fence and locked eyes with our guest. Time seemed to stop. It was all like a dream. Everything around her dimmed and she was left all alone in the shadows of the tree, seemingly growing.

I heard the horn, and turned. My mom leaning over the seat, waving me to go. I turned and watched as she just stood. Slowly, she turned and headed up the hill toward the fence on the left side of the field. I watched as she gracefully jumped the fence at about the spot where the small hunting cabin in the woods was. Like she appeared, she was gone.

As i got to the front of the car, I looked at Tara. Her gaze still fixed on the field, I could see tears running down the right side of her face. Curiously, I glanced back at the field, no wolf. As i got in the car, i locked the doors and put the car in reverse again. But I hesitated. I turned around and looked at my brother. We both had a look of what you might say is confusion. We didn't speak, we didn't nod. But you could see what were thinking in our eyes. I pulled out of the drive.

It wasn't until maybe an hour outside of Pittsburgh that Tara had started to speak. She slept most of the way there. She was exhausted. She looked like she had been in a battle that aged her a few years.

To this day, though Tara and I are no longer together, we are friends. We call each other on the holidays and wish each other a happy birthday. However, in the last year together and the sixteen years since this had happened, not once has she told me what she saw at the house. Not once did we ever speak of it again. Maybe we never will.

And since that time, her and I had gone on other adventurous outings. Walking across a dilapidated train trestle about 200 feet up, going into abandoned buildings, even a few things I cannot put here. To her, it was like that time never existed.

This would not be the final time I would see my friend. And I would make one more trip to Toad Hall. A trip that I will never forget.

To Be Continued:


April 7, 2012

Toad Hall

Okay, so posting the last post about the missionary back home, and at the behest of a friend, I've decided to post this story as well. Again, based on an actual location and events, it's a story of weirdness.

Back in high school, i was always left out of the hangouts. But then, I was always one to be by myself as well. Sometime during my senior year in high school, I had heard about a place called Toad Hall.Now, before I get into this place, let me give you a quick background about where i grew up. IT SUCKS!

Kidding. it does suck, but like every other small town in America, it has it's history. And part of it's history is the fact that the the original town started up on a hill and it was wiped out, all but a few survivors by the Bubonic Plague. And at the spot in the woods, stands a stone cross. Now supposedly, under this cross are buried the local school teacher, the sheriff, the minister and local shop keeper. How true this is, I can't recall. As I vaguely remember reading the history in high school. The cemetery for the town in buried in the woods. But it's not your normal cemetery. This one is nothing more then a open mossy area where no tree's grow. You can step on the moss and like a sponge, it pops back up. It's very hard to find, because of all of the over growth that surrounds it.

Now this area sits on top of a large hill, just outside of the "current" town. And on this hill, it sits in a very shallow valley, maybe 40 feet across. On days when it's 98 out side and not a lick of breeze, you can always feel a cool draft in this valley by the cross. Yet 10' to either side, the draft stops.

So there is a quick background. And it's in this area, that this story takes place. As down the road and over a small hill is another dirt road. If you turn right on this road, maybe 5-600' up the road sit's, (well it used to anyway) Toad Hall. So what is this Toad Hall? It's nothing more then a small 2 story, abandoned house. So what makes it so special then? Actually, just like anything else in the real world, a lot of things make things special. So I will tell you what had happened to me up there.

The back story to Toad Hall is that it was a place where a group of Satanists gathered for their rituals. If I believed in all that, it could be possible. As this place is in the middle of no where, even GOD couldn't find it. But I don't, so. Apparently, every time kids would go up here to have parties, then next time around they would show up, there would be a fairly large toad nailed to the main door of the house. All the blood and guts running down the door from the  crucified creature. Hence the name Toad Hall.

Well, the first time I had gone up, I was with a cousin. He drove this shitty ass red pick up. We had pulled into the drive and made our way inside. Nothing really special about the place. Just an abandoned house. We stayed for maybe an hour, looking throughout the inside and outside grounds. Other then a funny looking stilt wall and a small 3' wide creek in the back lawn, nothing I could see impressed me.

It wasn't until the next time I had gone up with my cousin and a friend, when things turned weird. Our friend never seen this place before and wanted to so we took him up. Now, there has been a history of wolves in our area for years due to dear population. But never seen one up close. Until this day. We had arrived shortly before 5pm. Typical fall day for NY. We had parked the same shitty red pick up in the drive. The three of us had made our way inside. While in what used to be a kitchen, we had heard some scurrying around outside. Maybe a dog or something. We went upstairs looked at the garbage left behind by previous guests that wasn't there the last time we were there. Again, we heard the scurrying. Looked out the glass-less windows but saw nothing but a little water in the creek and nothing but woods.

By this time, it was probably a quarter to six. Realizing that there was nothing special with this place, other then a good party hangout on the weekends, my friend wanted to go. So we headed down the stairs back to the dilapidated living room. We all stopped short. For something out of the side window moved and caught our attention. We stood there for a few moments, not breathing, then left. Now, when you walkout of the main door off the kitchen to the drive, you have about a 60' walk to get to the vehicle, since the drive doesn't go all the way up to the house.

We were no more then maybe 20 feet out of the door when we heard a growl behind us. One thing to know about the three of us, first - were all hunters. Deer, bear, turkey, we belong in the outdoors. Second - were all sportsman. Football, basketball, wrestling. We are in shape. And finally, we don't scare to easy. I mean, ever have a black bear stand on it's rear legs in front of you after you shot it?, and still not piss or shit your pants?

Anyway, we had turned to gaze upon a wolf. However, this wasn't your run of the mill wolf let loose by the DEC to control animal population. This thing was at least 3 1/2' tall at the shoulders and was pure white. Minus the dark grey and brown from the dirt and mud. The eyes, normally grey on wolves, were of the brightest blue. Now, im not one to stand there and check out wild animals without a weapon in my hand. But I was in awe. And shaking in my sneakers. This wolf didn't make a move. Just showed us it's pearly whites and snarled. Slowly, we had backed away toward the truck. With in maybe 8 or so feet, we gunned it. Doors opened and closed before you could blink. And there she was. Perches on the hood of our trusty shitty red truck. Nose to window, saliva running out of her mouth. How do I know it was a she? Well, being that big, I didn't see a pair of nuts hanging from the underside, but I sure felt mine sitting in my throat.

My cousin started the truck with shaky hands, put it in reverse and gunned it. Thank god were all red necks, because that's what it took for us to get the hell out of there. As he made it to the dirt road, and he put it in drive, the creature took a swipe at us, but never followed. Later that night, back out our friends house, we had looked at the damage to the truck. Paw prints about the size of Andre the Giants fist dented the hood. And shredded metal over the passenger tire from the swipe. Looked like the reliable beast had lost a fight with a bear. I shit you not, this is all true. And it get's better.

Two days after Christmas that same year, only a few months later from our encounter, my cousin and friend were over to my house. Just the three of us, along with my little brother. Were all playing the NES when there was a loud thump on the front porch. Now, I lived in a two story house with an open front porch, but half enclosed back porch. I turned the light on, but didn't see anything. Ignored it and went back to Skate or Die.  A few moments later, we had all heard it again. We paused the game and listened. We heard what sounded like someone walking around outside. Again, porch light on, no one. My friend, being as nuts as he is, opened the door and stood on porch. He stood frozen. He motioned with this hand. On the porch were a half dozen, very large paw prints. About the size of a full grown bear.

Problem is, there were no known bears with in 50 miles of my house.  Not to say one or two didn't show up, unannounced. But they weren't bear paws. So we followed the trail of prints to the fence behind my house. About 200' up in the field stands a large lonesome tree, always hanging by itself. And in front of this tree sitting on it's haunches, our friendly neighborhood creature from the Abyss. She didn't move. Even as we got closer to the fence, she didn't move. She didn't even make a sound. Time seemed to stand still, but it had been about 10 minutes of a stare down. Finally she stood and walked up the hill and disappeared in to the woods.

We all looked at each other with blank stares. What the hell was going on?  We shrugged and went back inside. This would be the last time we would see our hellacious friend. At least for them.

To Be Continued:


History or Imagination

A friend of mine over at G+, Margaret O' Rourke, posted a couple of pictures from her daily run. It's what looks like a small typical Irish mansion or castle ground remnants.

This brought back some memories of a place back home in NY. Just above Hemlock Lake, there is a set of buildings that can be seen for at least 10 miles away. As a kid, I always thought it was a castle. You know how a kids imagination can be!

It wasn't until probably around 2000 when I made my first trip to actually find this place. A lot of dirt back roads, lot of wild life, etc. Once I did find it, I didn't stick around to much, as it was getting dark. But now i knew how to get there.

It wasn't until a few years later I returned with my then (now ex) fiance. Last thing I recall, I was told it was a Missionary. But at one time, it used to be part of a winery. However, some other stories, had stated it was a winery run by monks, so in fact it was a missionary. Regardless of what it was or is now, there's not a lot I have been able to find on it.

When I had pulled up in front of the sprawling buildings and got out, you had a sense of awe and yet hair raising creepiness around you. The sky was slightly overcast, a slight cool breeze shifted the falling leaves on the ground. I had parked right in front of the main building, and started walking up the sidewalk. At the first landing of two stairs, there was a banister on either side, with statues on them. But something struck me as very odd. The sound of concrete. I took a step back down and "stomped." It was hollow underneath. Took another step back, it was solid. I repeated my stomps up the two stairs and a few feet past. Basically, everything with in a five foot diameter of the landing was hollow underneath. But for what purpose? If you know me, at this point, my mind started created all sorts of wild tales.

As i started to take pictures, I saw someone move in one of the upper windows behind a curtain. Didn't pay it much attention at the time. Off to my right was a fairly large statue of stone. Weather worn, high grass around it's base, it looked like it came right out of one of Poe's tales. I needed pictures. So I snapped a few. That's when I had heard a woman's voice behind me. "What are you doing here?" I jumped a bit.

This lady looked like she had come out of one of Romero's horror flicks. Just not fully zombified yet. And her eyes seemed like they were trying to read my mind. I avoided eye contact. I told her I was a graphics student, and I had a project due, where I had to model some buildings in full 3D and since a kid, I always wanted to have a place like this. Basically half full of crock shit. Well, all except the last part.

She told me, they didn't want to be bothered and they didn't want any pictures taken. Now, this is where I started to get further creeped out.

First of all, who is "we?" It didn't look like anyone lived here for at least 10 years. Nothing in the windows except the one I saw someone move behind a few minutes ago. The grass hadn't been cut in months. In essence, all signs of life, apart from wildlife seemed to be all but existent at this place.

I advised her, and pleaded with her as I had learned in college, to at least give me about 30 minutes. And I promised I wouldn't go into the buildings. I just needed pictures of the outside. Finally she agreed. But, I was not to go behind the buildings. And this was something she stressed. Like there was some long forgotten ancient ritual "they" were doing back there that was for their eyes only.

So, i watched as this woman walked away. And i did notice a small limp. Upon a quick closer look, i noticed one show had a slightly larger sole then the other. Shrugged it off and went about taking pictures.

The darkness started to come in, and the bitch of a fiance at the time was getting creeped out. "I want to go." "I don't like it here." Argh....

We were at the far side of the left of the buildings when I spotted it. A small alcove of stones in a circular pattern. So I carefully made my way down the incline and stopped frozen. To my right was a stone archway, that led to a small 5x5 room dug out of the side of the hill. Engraved into a flat stone and set into the archway at the apex were the words, "Grotto of Life." Had no idea at the time what it was. But it sure as hell was creepy with all the vines covering it. Looked like "anything" could have walked through there in a heartbeat. I found a total of 4 of these. The only other one that I could read the sign on read, "Grotto of Pain." All the others were too overgrown with vines to get close to.

I soon hear that ladies voice again, asking what I was doing. We went through the whole spiel again, this time she advised it was time i left. It was actually getting dark. To the point, you could really no longer see the trail. So we left. But that woman, still gave me the creeps. As i opened the door to the truck i glanced up and saw someone standing yet again at the window. I couldn't get a clear idea if it was male or female, young or old. But it was someone.

So why this story? Well, I like history. Not school book history. But actual history i can touch.  Margret's photo's touched on this. The house in her pictures wasn't built yesterday. It's been there a very long time. And there has to be some history to it that isn't in public record.

Plus the fact I have an over active imagination, I like to think of what could have happened or gone on.

Here's a picture, not sure when it's dated of the missionary. Last I knew it was called Hemlock Lake Holistic Health Center.

And here is a overhead view via Google Maps of the grounds. The grotto's are in the little valley to the south of the buildings in the wooded area.

At one time, I even wrote a short, macabre story about this place using my imagination. Maybe one day, I'' get it posted.


April 5, 2012

Lucky One?

Someone over at G+ had posted something about bullying. About how physical bullying is more hurtful then the mental bullying. Though it was this persons opinion, I had to disagree.

Having been bullied most of my life, I had been through both the physical and the mental abuse. I was the nerdy pimply faced kid that everyone picked on. Always picked last on the playground. The one everyone thought they would catch some rare disease from if they touched me. And it wasn't just the guys, but the girls as well.

Not long into my Jr year of high school had I had enough and snapped. The rest, well, let's say it's history and it's why i detest violence, though i was beaten a lot.

But I remember one incident, that to this and everyday will stick in my mind. By this time i was a SR in high school. Had grown out the long hair. Matter of fact it was Afro sized! I started to hang out with more people, and started to finally be accepted for little bit of comfort offered. I even started dating girls. All the time I was thinking, why do they want to go out with me? all those years of mental abuse, the, "You'll always be a looser, your nothing" statements were always popping up. I always seemed to be on my guard all the time, never enjoying what was in front of me. Then "IT" happened.

I was dating a girl from our rival school. Due to growing up with everyone in my school since the beginning of grades, I knew all those girls. And all the rejections, ridicule, etc that had been bestowed upon me. So I never dated anyone from my school.

Anyway, This girl Brenda and I had been dating for about 3 1/2 months. We were always at each others house. Always together at the parties, etc. Then one day in school, (vocational school required by NY Law at the time), one of her friends came up and told me she no longer wanted to date me because she was back with her ex. Her friend went on to say, that she only dated me to make her ex jealous. And that she thought I was a total looser and she couldn't get the stench off.

Needless to say, I started to loose it. I had advised her friend to have both of them meet me back at my school afterwards so this could come out in the open from her. But they never showed. The next night after school, I was in my room when my brother had come up and said Brenda was outside with some people and wanted to speak with me. My mom, who was downstairs saw the look in my eye and already knew what had happened. Her only words were, "not in front of your brother." I heard her, but those words went in one ear and out the other.

By the time I had walked out of the door and halfway down the driveway, I was enraged. I wasn't seeing clearly, and everything was red tinged. I could hear my little brother yelling to me from the kitchen doorway, but I couldn't understand him. I didn't want to.

As i approached the car, she had rolled her window down and repeated everything her friend, who was sitting next to her, told me the day before. At this point I so wanted to rip her from her seat and tear her apart. But I've never layed a hand on a woman and I wasn't going to start. I do remember calming down. And I do remember asking them to nicely leave. At that point I felt someone bump into me and as I turned, it was my little brother. I knew nothing could be started now.

Well, that was the plan anyway. The last thing I remember was Brenda's boyfriend calling me a useless looser and laughing some smug ass laugh like you would see in some corner B movie. I snapped. Told him if he had anything to say, then to man up and say to my face. I saw the car door open and pushed my brother back. In the process he skinned his elbow on the gravel on the roadside and started to cry. After all he was only 7. The guy never made it out of the car on his own accord.

I'm not going to go into what happened. But I will say that assault charges were brought up. But someone got them dismissed. To this day, I do not know who.

So why did this history of violence come back to me after reading a post of bullying? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that mental bullying can be far more dangerous then just the physical aspect. But at the same time, it all depends on the individual as well. But it also reminded me so much of why I hated life at that time. And maybe that everyone was right, that I was useless. It was two nights later that I tried to take my life.

I was scared. I even screwed that up. I still have the scar on my wrist. And it reminds me every time I see it, that no matter how bad it gets, no matter what people say, their not worth it. Their not worth my time, my energy or my acknowledgement. They may still piss me off. But having been through what I've been through, the beach is warmer on the other side.

I have come along way since then. I've got a nice lady in my life. I have two wonderful nephews, what used to be an awesome job. But there are times, that my mind slips back and I can see these people yelling, punching and screaming at me. Then I open my eyes, look around and smile. I was one of the lucky ones. I have my battle scars. But they made me stronger. And made me the caring person I am today.



So, I've met a very special person. A person who has helped fill a void in my life, that has been there awhile. A voice of reason for me if you will. Especially in times that I needed it.

We have been a little off for awhile now. But today we had a very long conversation. Matter of fact, it was a very long two day conversation. We know where we stand with each other. We know a lot about each other. And hopefully, we can continue to grow with each other only as friends do.

This person also knows how much I care about our friendship, and it's not something I take lightly.

It's funny though. How you can go through life, meet new people, become friends, acquaintances and never really feel like you belonged. Or feel like the other person knows who you are. But ever once in awhile, someone does come along and you make that connection. And it's a connection that you hope stays for a very long time.

Just like growing old with your partner, you have to grow old with your friends. Just like your romance has it's ups and downs, so does friendship. But it's the true friendship that always comes back afterwards.

And I hope, that this person knows I will be here when it counts for a shoulder, an ear, a hug and a smile.

April 1, 2012

Second Time The Better?

So I've been contemplating re-opening my store. With the world of Google Plus out here, I think I have a better chance of selling stuff then I ever did in Facebook. It's two totally different worlds.

A lot of people, and I've lost count, say they like me work. they wish they had talent. And yet, I never sold much of anything.  Other then the occasional thing I would by myself.

So if i re-open this store, all the old stuff would go up. But I also have a lot of new stuff to be added. Prints, calendars, shirts, stickers, etc. I never expected to become rich off this. But at least make enough money to help fund my art needs.


Slowly But Surely

So, it's been a little while since I posted anything worth while, at least in my opinion.. Then again, no one follows this blog, so what I put here is for my outlet anyway.

A lot has been going on in my head. Sometimes, I seem to be having arguments with myself, and I'm loosing those. How that equates, I have no idea. But I'm not liking the feeling.

I've done some work for a friend on her blog and I'll help her get it set up here soon. I've decided using Google's Hangouts are going to be the best way to accomplish this, as there is a lot she will need to do. And since everyone tells me over and over I need to be a teacher, it'll be easier for me to read her facial expressions so I know when I can slap the yard stick on the desk!!, just kidding. It's just easier because I can share my desktop so she can see what she needs to do if she has issues.

A lot of changes have happened at work that have contributed to higher stress. The laying off of a lot of people, the new implementation of write ups and time taken out of your vacation time if you use personal time for anything, including a trip to take a dump. And all with no communication from the company. Which I didn't expect less because we are and have been a communications company that can't communicate. So I've gone from 1 write up because I left work early one night due to an emergency to having 6 this week alone, all because I'm having a slight issue going to the bathroom. Ah well. Resume's have been sent out, a few apps have been filled out. Matter of fact, I'll be doing a few more today.

Today is the first day of trout season back home. I haven't been fishing in years. When I moved to FL, bought new pole and reel because I wanted to try out the fishing here. Haven't been yet. How I miss the long wet mornings, walking and standing a long the banks of the creeks and rivers fishing. I remember when I was young, my mom let me skip this day of school. I would pack a tackle box of bait, food, a magazine and some TP and head out from sun up to sun down. More time then not, i didn't catch anything. But the whole point was to enjoy myself, the quiet. The occasional job jab with the older fisherman. My nephews are 4 and 3. Soon to be 5 and 4. So I'm thinking next year, I have to do what I can to get up there so my brother and I can take them out the first day like the both of us used to.

Since the niece has moved out, slowly but surely the house has become our own again. But it seems like our lives have not. I have started going to the gym three times a week. Well, except those days I still can't move from the previous work out. But slowly, I'm getting into shape again. Already dropped about 15lbs. Not like I was that over weight anyway. But according to certain statistics, at 6'3", 225 is over weight. So, if i can get down to about 180, I'll put weight back on to about 195 in the for of muscle. Nine years of doing an office job and not getting out takes it's toll on you.



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