Journal

Author: Mason Winfield Created: Friday, February 26, 2010
Journal

 The nights are closing in around the days, and the northern world enters the year’s darkening quarter whose official prime is Halloween. I think a discussion of power-times–essentially power-points in the calendar year–would be more salient and spiritually uplifting than what I’m about to deliver, but I have already done that many a time. Those articles are in the archives of this website, and a 4,000 year old holiday doesn’t change that much since I posted them. Why don’t we talk about some of the psychic encounters that have been reported over the years on Haunted History Ghost Walks?

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Every few weeks I drop on out to South Wales, NY, for a couple early evening scotches with an old friend, my former headmaster at The Gow School, David W. Gow. We talk about the campus, its direction, and its personalities from before, during, and after the thirteen years I taught there. Almost never does the talk turn paranormal. But one of my favorite tales about a classic East Aurora site comes to us by way of these happy hour conversations and the memory of a cafeteria cook from before my time on campus. I think I can update this site again in mid-October with something more Halloweeny than this ragtag tale of a presumptive religious apparition at one of my favorite East Aurora pubs. But what isn’t Halloweeny about ghosts?

 

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 In the old days of the Colonial and plantation era South, the African American servants and slaves believed that a certain shade of blue had an effect on ghosts and negative spiritual influences. They called all such forces, “haints.”

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 After a ghost walk, I often fall into conversation with the attendees. To me it’s just friendly socializing and a bit of relaxing after two hours of remembering lines and focusing on deliveries. I pick up some great stories this way, though. One I heard recently got my antennae up. It was a story about a very young child having frequent, determined encounters with invisible little beings in his home.

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The Iroquois of New York are no supernatural snobs. When it comes to looking into the realm beyond this, they are ready adopters of any tools or techniques they fancy. Until recently it wasn't understood that some aspects of African American supernatural belief may have made their way into Iroquois tradition.

Remember the old Elvis song, "I'm the one, I'm the one..." The association of birth order–all that "seventh son" stuff–with a natural gift for magic may be no stranger than the observation that popular music could have brought ancient magic into Iroquois culture. See what you make of it. This tale is from "Iroquois Supernatural," the upcoming book (co-written with Michael Bastine), in print by September 2011.

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 The lights have been with us since the beginning of time, and they will be with us until the end of time. 
DuWayne Leslie Bowen

This is an excerpt from Iroquois Supernatural, by Mason Winfield and Michael Bastine, from Chapter 3, "The Witches' Torch." To be published in fall 2011.

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 It’s always thrilling for me to get to interview a credible witness to any psychic experience. This story from my Algonquin friend Michael Bastine is another reminiscence of his years with Mad Bear. I wish he had told me the story of this electrifying night even a month before he did, but I understand. He witnessed so many marvels in the old shaman’s company that it’s hard for him to know where to file them in his mind. They just keep coming out. As it is, this one has come in too late to appear in the book we are writing together, The Iroquois Supernatural. I may as well just tell it to you here.


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 Re the title: Disko is my six-month old, short-haired kitten, an energized smoke-and-cotton colored slinky with claws at both ends. Her name is short for Shodisko, the Seneca title for the Iroquois Trickster. Like an apport, she appeared on my back porch last August at one pound and an estimated six weeks old. And “fey” is a broad term meaning, among other things, “enchanted” and “otherworldly.” This is a dream I think I wouldn’t have remembered except for her.

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 The idea that a single month could seem cursed to any person or family is one thing. The chance that there could be any validity to it is another. See what you make of this apparent phenomenon from the Southern half of my family.

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 With the custom of the classic Christmas ghost story in mind, the research oufit Spirit Way Project launched a couple of storytelling sessions around the Winter Solstice 2010. On Thursday, December 16, Algonquin mystic and SWP co-founder Michael Bastine and I did our own storytelling tag-team, which by all accounts went well. The full squad session for Spirit Way Project founders and friends took place on Tuesday, December 21, 2010. This was a real power-night: a solstice in the wake of the Full Moon and a rare lunar eclipse. Added to its climatic and astronomical significance was its proximity to Christmas, a fortnight-long power-trail of spiritual influence and family karma. I would argue that, for Americans, this is the most powerful time of year. The formerly ominous Halloween has become sensational and festive; even for the non-religious, because of its family associations, Christmas is still relatively sacred.

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