Journal

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

  That this bereaving stroke

Be sanctified to me

That my hard heart of stone be broke,
And from this world may flee.
“Death of a Mr. Job Hoisington,” by Elder Turner (1814)

 

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2012, 2013, and 2014 are 200th anniversary years for major events in the War of 1812. The war’s only sustained land fighting was on the Niagara, and the citizens on both sides of that river lived that war. It's especially important to commemorate it here. 

Every time the 200th anniversary of something of local significance comes up, I've written an article for the Buffalo magazine Artvoice. Someone who follows that worthy publication will develop a good understanding of the Niagara war by the time the three year cycle is over. I would guess that twenty of them have appeared by now. 

I have presumed those articles were getting enough exposure, but I realize that I should have been putting them on this website. A bit of me rebels against it, since they are straight history and nothing paranormal. But as always, the reader is free to read or not. I will put the whole cycle in at leisure. 

 

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Just so some of you can keep track of the witches in Seneca country... I'm recycling the ARTVOICE article of October 2013. 

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 The typical Spiritualist-style séance of today and days past presumes to contact spirits personal to those in attendance: “guardian angels,” departed loved ones, “spirit guides,” that sort of thing. Another, grander style, though, could be called channeling: thinking to speak directly for superhuman, even demi-godly beings who might be ascended human masters, the spirits of great prophets, or heavenly supernaturals. The direct words of these beings are presumed to come through human mediums, their goal no less than to raise humanity and even save the world. It’s almost unheard of for the first sort of spirit to become the second and the two disciplines to overlap in a single character - as seems to have been the case with the marvelous world-spirit Johnny King – in some senses a Buffalo native. (From Village Ghosts of Western New York, Part 1... © 2006)

 

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 I usually hold my fire on elegies till I at least read the obituary. I don’t want to break the story to a family member that their loved one has checked off the planet. But I was told yesterday that Pine Chief Warren Skye, Sr. (Wolf Clan) of the Tonawanda Seneca has gone to join his ancestors. As Michael Bastine put it, “Another elder leaves the earth.” 

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[There's an old adage that a dog knows the difference between being stepped on and being kicked. Having neither willfully kicked a dog nor ever been one, I would hardly know. I didn’t know until recently that this proverb might cover cats.]

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This is the concluding piece to the eighth chapter of Iroquois Supernatural, by Mason Winfield and Michael Bastine, published by Bear & Co./Inner Traditions International, 2011.

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At first I thought this was a simple dream, based on recent events and surface emotions. All its apparent messages were simple. I’d been reserving the winter for my literary inspirations, but took an unwilling timeout to focus on domestic and economic clutter. I’d cleaned out a cottage I’d lived in for sixteen years and handled old possessions in a crumbling basement. I like to ski. I used to race. Big deal. And the winter of such hope was spent writing about nothing but cats and cellars. Now I am not so sure there is a simple dream. I thank the intercession of a kitten named Fortnight, a wake-up call on a dark March morning, a handy night-table journal, and the eternal forces for all I remember of this shimmering dream.

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 Long drives and rain set me to summing years,

And one poured half that talk we could have had.

Your life summed back. My debt, sir, perseveres

Each page that shines you. Atque vale, Dad.

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My author-friend Jeff Durstewitz sent me a link to an obituary I was sad to read. This is a little memorial for Saratoga's original "Ghost-Man," David Pitkin (March 7, 1939-Feb. 13, 2013).

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