Journal

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

  Legends of haunted bays, blighted islands and cursed regions have developed on each of the Great Lakes. The reader would be surprised to hear about the portable and vehicle ghosts: “Flying Dutchmen,” in other words, ghost ships. The two most famous–the Edmund Fitzgerald of Gordon Lightfoot’s 1975 ballad and French explorer LaSalle’s 1679 Griffon–are not associated with Lake Ontario, but a number of other reports are, and they may have roots in local history. In deference to my soon to be published book, Spirits of the Niagara Wine Trail, let’s revisit one of them. 


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 People who know me only from the winter of 2014 must think I write about nothing but death, moving, or cats. I wish the last few days could have slowed down, or spread their events thinner over a longer time. I hate having to write these little elegies, and so quickly, but I feel a sense of urgency with this one.


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 In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s recycle a couple accounts from my files. I'd have gotten to this before yesterday, but... Too much activity on the day I moved into my new home.

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 For Peter Christian Andersen, 1955-2014

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  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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