Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All Things are Possible at Paranormaland!

In these wee hours before Halloween I'd like to recommend a newish site that has many creepy and true tales of the paranormal. Sylvia or "Sly" has many personal as well as classic tales to relate, so sit back have some hot cocoa on these cold October nights and enjoy some true tales of high strangeness at PARANORMALAND.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Graveyard Tales:The Thing That Moves At Night

I was a gravedigger. A lot of people get much pride by having a jacket or shirt that splay those words upon it with casual recklessness but I was never too proud of the occupation.

It was a very dirty and disturbing occupation. With every worm that I smashed into the ground with our Dirt tamping machine I could not but think of the human flesh we sent to the nether regions below. The worms were pink mutilated flesh smashed into ground by no will of their own, such as we will all be. When you are in such a disturbing occupation you have no one to turn to but your coworkers to relay you stories of the strange and unusual.

Perhaps you do so to find sanctuary, to help you cope, to help you think you are not going insane. Needless to say I was told quite a few stories, two of which I related to you earlier this month.

For some reason the most startling stories center in the location of Mausoleums.

Our graveyard, Erie County Memorial Gardens has a Mausoleum in its 80 acre confines. It is the only protestant Mausoleum in Erie County. Many well to do protestant families are buried there in the simple T-shaped building.

In the late 90s one of the gravediggers was placing a body into one of the crypts. To do this you need a casket elevator- a simple device that raises the casket to the crypt level so the coffin can be slid into its niche. Since many crypts are at high levels the device is an essential tool for any Mausoleum. On any Mausoleum crypt the crude cement container is covered by more expensive stone such as granite or marble. They are taken off the reveal the open crypt. The superintendent and his helper were on the fourth level, about 30 feet off the ground putting an elderly woman into a double crypt. One side contained the remains of her husband that had died long ago. The funeral service itself was held inside the mausoleum since it also doubles as a chapel. When the crowd left the funeral director helped place the coffin on the elevator and then left.

They placed the elevator in position and raised the casket up. It was then that they noticed that they were not alone. It seemed as though someone had lingered to watch the burial internment itself take place. It was an old man in an old suit standing in the middle of the mausoleum. He stared at them intently. Now this in and of itself was not an unusual happening. Many times the family of the deceased will linger after the service to see their loved one laid into their final resting place. But they had not noticed the old man before when only the funeral director was in the building. But they just ignored it and proceeded with the entombment.

They placed the casket into the crypt and put the cement front piece onto it and finally sealed it with caulking. As they lowered the elevator to raise the granite facing for the tomb they noticed the man nodded at them. The supervisor waved back and nodded in response.

Then the old man faded into nothing.

He simply disappeared into the wall behind him.

The supervisor and the helper stood there frozen in fear as the elevator came to a screeching halt. They helper asked his boss what exactly they had just beheld. He had no idea. After a quick look around the building they still had no explanation. So they went back to work. Each taking one end they placed the heavy granite crypt front onto the elevator and raised it to the open hole that held the dead couple. They set it in place and as they closed it they had the fright of their life. The crypt plate had pictures of the husband and wife on either side where they were entombed. The husband and wife’s pictures were taken years ago when they had first purchased the crypt. The woman they had just buried looked much younger than the body they had seen at the service. But the husband looked very familiar. It was the man who had been watching them. There was no mistaking it. He was even in the same suit.

It seems that the spirit of the husband wanted to bear witness to their final unity for eternity.

Not all the stories that were related to me by various gravediggers were so touching or heartwarming.

Some were right out of horror movies.

In the late 1970s a cemetery near Pittsburgh had built a new Mausoleum. It had been promised for years and the salesmen eager to make a lucrative commission had pre-sold crypts long before they were available. So many makeshift cement above ground crypts were quickly built for those who had purchased mausoleum spaces and had passed on before they were built.

When the mausoleum was finished it was the job of the gravediggers to disinter the bodies and place them in their new crypts. It was a disgusting and dirty job, for many of the caskets leaked the liquefied remains of the deceased. To make matters worse for the gravediggers every body had to be physically identified by a mortician who had originally embalmed the victim and note clothing or jewelry to make sure the corpse in the casket was the person named on the make shift crypt.

The supervisor remembered each decaying face, for it was burned in his memory but one stood out. Most of the bodies had long since dried up and become desiccated. If any flesh was left was almost tanned leather hanging off the boney skeleton. Some looked as if they were made out of jello as the corpse had decomposed into a liquid goo. But one was odd.

When they opened the coffin of the old man it was like he had just been laid to rest. Except for one disturbing and obvious fact. He was covered with a furry grey-green fungus. All his flesh had been eaten by the fungus but it held the shape of his face so well it shocked the superintendent and the undertaker. Except for the odd color and the fleece like look of his skin he looked like he might just open his eyes or mouth at any moment.

They quickly got over the initial shock and noted that yes he was who he was suppose to be and put the coffin in the second level in the back of the newly constructed Mausoleum.

Monday morning when the maintenance crew came to open up the office they noticed the mausoleum door was open. As they near the open door they immediately knew something was wrong. Something was smeared on the glass door of the mausoleum, and as they looked inside one of the crypts was open.

And it was empty.

Fearing they had graverobbers they went to call the police, but as they rounded the corner to head back to the office they passed the old make shift cement crypts.

One was open and it held a casket.

It was the casket of the mold man, right back in the place he had been interned for the last five years. To be sure everything was all right and they did not have a grave robber playing a joke they opened up the coffin. The body was still there and the jewelry he wore was still intact. They called the police but there was nothing they could do but file a vandalism report. The body was placed back in the mausoleum.

After they sealed up the crypt again the staff noticed that the smear on the door was the same color as the mold that covered the man. Also disturbing there seemed to be small pieces of the stuff on the carpet that covered the floor from the crypt to the doorway. The body did not look molested at all, and the casket had shown no visible signs of forced opening, but it was still very disturbing.

Two weeks later it happened again. Everything was the same, the crypt was opened and the casket was found resting in its old spot. Even the smear and pieces of mold scattered here and there. But one thing was different this time. It had recently rained and the ground was soft. A single trail of footprints ran from the mausoleum to the make shift crypt.

And they were almost erased by the tracks left by the dragged coffin.

There were only a single set of tracks.

And it was then that they noticed the handles of the coffin were also smeared with the gray green mold.

It was if the mold man had somehow came out of the coffin and dragged it back to his original resting place.

But that was physically impossible.

Wasn’t it?

Nevertheless a close look at the corpse and the fallen mold made everyone present shiver. They were the same material.

Once again the body was laid to rest in the mausoleum, and the funeral director brought in a Catholic Clergyman to once again give Last Rites and a blessing on the tomb.

Mold man stayed put this time.

The maintenance crew always gave his crypt special attention.

They always feared that one morning they would find it open again, and see the evidence of mold man once again walking the earth.

When you work at a cemetery for any length of time and meet others who have lived the life of a gravedigger for years, you hear some strange and unexplained stories.

And you hope that you are not the next one to come in the next morning with fear in their eyes and tell the others, “You are not going to believe this but…”

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Terror of the Omega Men

Behind the College I attended in the 1980s, Nyack College, there lay a dark and desolate Mountain.

The Clausland Mountain loomed formidably over the Rockland county landscape, from its peak you could even see the skyscrapers of New York City some 18 miles distant.

There were frequent sightings of the unexplained on the twisting road that led up to the mountain and it was somehow connected to the stories of the Dark Specter which I chronicled in the entry “The Specters of Oom” earlier this year.

Somehow the Dark Specter was connected to the mountain.

In the Spring Semester of 1984 a group of college students had drove around the mountain after midnight and on the peak they came across a group of robed figures who blocked the way. They had a screaming girl with them. As the car slowed down the robed figures quickly tried to encircle it and as they approached the car with weapons the students stepped on the gas and burst through the encircling throng. They immediately came back to campus and notified security which contacted the local police. When the security detail with the police escort arrived at the scene there was nothing to see. A search of the local woods also failed to come up with any evidence to support the students claim. But they swore what they encountered was true. And what happened to the screaming girl? One shudders to think, for the area has rumors of ritualistic murders and the mountain was famous for being a dumping ground for bodies by New York City crime lords. In fact I had a good friend who was hiking on the trails one Saturday afternoon when he came upon a large filled garbage bag. It was lying in the middle of the trail and he tried to kick it to the side with his foot. Blood trickled out a small hole made by the force of the blow. Fearing the worst he made his way back to campus and called police to come investigate the strange bag. In it was a mutilated corpse. It had been put through a woodchipper and was just a huge rotting mess. Later it was revealed that the dead person had been a victim of “The Iceman” Richard Kuklinski.

Satanic and mobster offerings were not the only paranormal phenomena that manifested itself behind our small college on the Hudson river.

In the mid 1980s during the UFO flap of the Hudson Valley many people saw the V-shaped UFOs hovering over the mountain only to turn and go in another direction. A friend of mine related to me that in late 80s how on one dark summer night he was lying in the middle of our athletic field and meditating about the next school year when a gigantic black shape crawled across the sky and blackened out the stars. The ship was either so enormous that its expanse was beyond comprehension or it was a large ship that was for some reason flying low. Either way it left my friend very shaken. He was not one to be shaken easily. The fact that he is now a High School Principle in an urban setting justifies that assessment.

Strange things always happened around the Clausland mountains, and my College lay on the ridge.

One of the strangest things on the mountain was the former Camp Bluefields. During World War 1 it was used as a rifle range and a POW camp. Miles of underground tunnels litter the top of Clausland Mountain, dark and mysterious. Many call it ‘Tweed’ because it lies off the winding Tweed Boulevard. The tunnels would provide safe passage from one rifle range to another with only small slits every few yard to provide illumination. The fascility was abandoned after WW1 because many times stray bullets would hit homes in the local towns and even started fires.

Some of the tunnels are over a mile in length and even in the broad daylight you cannot see the other end. Rooms that were used as barracks, prisons and offices are located near almost every tunnel. In some of the larger rooms there is evidence of Satanic activity as pentagrams and odd hieroglyphs litter the aged cement walls. Fire pits are often found with pieces of bone and clothing. It is whispered that these are the remains of some of the ritualistic killings.

The tunnels are frightening to enter in the daytime but go in them at night is an intensely frightening experience. You can feel a disturbing presence throughout the area. It is as if something is watching you.

There are 4 entries about these tunnels and the terror that they inspire the intrepid explorer in the book “Weird New York” by Chris Gethard. The articles confirm the evil presence that most feel when they enter the dank darkness of the underground system. On page 20 of the book under the title “Not Just Evil, but also Dangerous” contributor Mark Miljko writes:

“The reason why the police don’t like to go in ‘there’ is because there was and still is a practicing satanic cult who use the Clausland Mountains for their satanic rituals. There have been many bodies found up there, most of whom have died in a sacrificial manner. The cult members are referred to as the Omega Men. Their names are the only ones scribbled down the farther tunnels and all around the opening of the first with threats and the like.

Anyway, I believe the one tunnel, the one where you have to crawl through a rotting tree to get in, has something very evil about it. A little way down that tunnel, there is something like a wormhole or portal. This is not something physical, but metaphysical. When you stand beside it, you can feel a wind blowing out of the side of the wall. There is no hole, nor is there a feasible scientific explanation…you can feel the presences pouring out from that spot.”

The Omega Men’s symbol was a double Greek Omega that is linked to form a rounded M. This symbol can be seen on almost every wall in the entire system. It is even located at great heights in the larger rooms with no visible means to have it painted there. It is like the Omega Men used some preternatural ability to scale the walls and place their mark for all to see.

There are other graffiti marks that adorn the walls of the complex, but the markings of the double Omega dominate every tunnel and building.

The Omega Men were well known to the students of our small Christian College. In fact many knew some of them personally.

I was actually the third person drafted into the ‘satanic cult’.

You see the Omega Men that have inspired so much dread and fear were in fact a few Christian College students who loved the outdoors and strange places. They were founded by a Security chief and two librarians. One of them is now a missionary.

And they attracted others who loved mystery and dared to venture out into the unexplained even if it was frightening and they were alone in the dark. One 'newer' member of the 'cult' is the now principle who saw the giant craft that flew over the Hudson that warm summer night long ago.

My friend Jon founded the group and as an Army Chaplain’s Assistant and chief of security he pushed himself to accomplish a lot of things others would not dare. That’s why the Omega Man’s symbol is near the rafters in rooms that have no support to reach those dizzying heights.

The Omega Men did love the cover of dark, and Jon would often lead his group out in the cover of darkness into the desolate forest of Clausland late in the evening.

Dressed in black they were almost unseen.


Because Clausland was a notorious place for evil, and unseen they could penetrate deep into the dark woods and confront the drug dealers, wanna be crime lords and the strange and bizarre cloaked figures that caused so much fear.

Did they ever confront the evil face to face? They were ghost hunting long before it has become the national obsession that it is today. They confronted things that in the dark abysmal darkness and came away with many stories. War stories like so many veterans, were only shared with those that went through the shared with them.

Otherwise no one would believe them.

To tell the truth though I never made the long night trips into the countryside to confront evil like my fellow Omega Men did.

I liked sleep.

Still do.

While they were investigating into the twilight hours I slept the night away.

I might have had a better GPA, but they have whole lot more stories to tell.

I hope they share with us.

Sometimes the story depends on the storytellers’ viewpoint.

Too many today the Omega Men were vile satanic worshipers.

But in reality they were a Security guard, two librarians, a future principle and a future minister.

How many other tales of high strangeness lost to history have been distorted to the point that the good has become the bad?

Were there strange and paranormal oddities that made themselves real in the Hudson Hills in the 1980s? I was a witness of many. Was there a strange cult in the Clausland Mountain during that time that still survives until the present day? From all I hear there is indeed some high strangeness happening there as there always seems to have been. The Omega Men were not a part of it, in fact they tried to fight it.

But sometimes the darkness seeps back into the deep corners of the world….

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Demon of the Forest Took Him Away

When the Fletchers came to Balangkayan in the Eastern Samar province of the Visayan Islands of the Philippines their hope was to carry on the work of the Missionaries that had come before them. For decades there had been a strong Missionary presence in the municipality and although there had been a lapse of staffing for about 4 years they eagerly settled down into the compound that was situated in the western outskirts of the city.

The beginning of a fruitful ministry was disrupted by a very unusual incident. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon in mid summer when some of the parishioners of the local church came to the Fletchers and called them to come to a small settlement in the interior for help. The settlement was nothing more than a group of houses build on common ground by an extended family. The night before a few men had come wandering into the settlement bloodied and battered. They were guerillas who had been hiding out in the western forests and had run into something horrendous that had attacked them and tore one of their fellow soldiers to shreds. It was a superhuman being of amazing strength and agility.
The locals called it a Hantu-Rimba, a demonic creature that lives in the forest.

But the familes that lived in the small settlement knew of the Hantu-Rimba all too well, for they swore he was once named Pharell. He was a hermit who lived many years in the western forest until the evil spirits of the woods had driven him mad and took possession of his body.

Pharell had lived in the city and worked at a local restaurant for many years. But the death of a child and an unfaithful wife left him without any ties to the city and in his despair he abandoned the company of men and took up the life of a loner who relished the solitude of the dark wet forest. Here he could hunt and feed off the land living in a crudely fashioned shack miles from the nearest human being. He would come to trade with the Licopit family in the settlement about three to four times a year. Pharell had found the remains of several World War Two aircraft and had salvaged them of their parts trading his recovered loot for cigarettes and alcohol.

But it seems that even though year after year Pharell brought bountiful harvests of salvaged equipment for the Licopit family to rake a profit over in the city of Balangkayan, in the last years they saw him Pharell brought less and less of the precious metals of the bygone era of the past World War Two. It seemed his sources had dried up, and in fact for a few years they did not see the old man at all. Some thought he had died in the woods, alone and in the privacy he so desperately sought after. But then he suddenly appeared once again. But this time he no longer brought to sell the rusting remains of a generation old piece of metal fabrication. This time he brought very old objects to sell and barter for in the Licopit settlements. They were almost indiscernible pieces of ancient rusted metal, but once cleaned they were amazingly intricate and delicate. Their precise purpose was lost to those who traded the cheap tobacco and alcohol with the old man. Some of the pieces disintegrated entirely as the purchasers tried to cleanse them of the eon old corrosion. But even though the pieces that he sold to them in these later times varied in their condition one thing was certain to the families of the settlement, the old man they once knew had changed.

And he had changed drastically.

He was always an odd sort, but the extreme behavior which he exhibited in public was both disturbing and alarming.

Not only had his hair gone completely white his eyes seemed to be coated with an odd fog of white as well.

The irises of his eyes were so milky white you would have sworn he had gone blind, but his perception of the things that surrounded him did not diminish. On the contrary they seemed to have increased in a preternatural way since the family had last encountered him.
When handed money he would not even have to look at it to know what value of currency he had been handed.

It was if his dull blank eyes were not for looking upon the mortal world any longer, but their strange aloofness betrayed he was staring at some odd and strange world which would make ordinary human’s sanity shatter like a thin plane of glass.

He cared less and less about his clothing until they had become rags and his skin had begun to bubble up in callous lesions from lack of adequate personal hygiene.

He truly had become a grotesque mirage of his former self.

His behavior had become increasingly disturbing as well.

He would rant and rave about the ones who ‘commanded him’ to ‘reveal the truth’. More often than naught he would then go off into an incomprehensible tirade of warnings and judgments upon the world and society in general.

Many thought him as insane old man.

Bit many elders of the clan saw the markings of the Hantu-Rimba upon him and warned others to stay away from him.

Soon old Pharell never came to visit the settlement again.

And they forgot about the old man and his crazy ways, until that summer day when the once proud guerillas wandered torn with gaping wound into the middle of the village.

They were scouting the area for food when a dark shape seemed to leap out of nowhere. Despite emptying every round of ammunition they had into the creature it did not cease to attack them.

It was half a man and half a ‘creature of the wood’ in so much as its limbs seemed to be coated with fungus and its nails more barbed thorns.

They did not see what exactly had happened to their comrade but they had heard his terrifying shrieks in the forest canopy. When they found him he was nothing but bloodied flesh and broken bone. They desperately made their way through the dense forest to the settlement of the Licopit families.

Truth be told, David Fletcher believed none of the superstition surrounding the tale that was told to him. He thought it was nothing but the attack of some mad hermit when the guerillas had encroached upon his secret hoard of precious artifacts. But he went with a group of Elders that day into the woods to confront that man that used to be Pharell, the man who was now nothing but a shadow. A soulless man now become a Hantu-Rimba.

It was not an easy nor a pleasant journey. It took two days before they finally found the old rough house of Pharell. And even then they found it had been long abandoned. There were still many parts of various military aircraft lying upon the floor as if to be categorized and sorted out. But the wear of the jungles humidity showed that the days of such hopeful bartering had long past. Vegetation reached out from the floor of the crude cabin to reclaim the precious minerals of the artifacts, merging them into the circle of life and death of the jungle itself.

They camped there that night in the dilapidated cabin of Pharell, and prayed for him in the murky blackness illuminated by a single propane lantern. They slept in a circle with one guarding the area.

It was about 2am when the thing attacked.

First came the stones hitting the roof of the cabin, raising everyone from their sleep.

Then came the ungodly howls in the darkness, as if coming from lungs that had not been formed on this Earth.

David Fletcher and the elders consecrated the ground and despite the ungodly wailing that increased endured the night unscathed.

The next morning they decided to venture out, however one of the Elders felt compelled to venture to the south. He felt a compulsion as directed by God to investigate a grove that lie a few miles in the south west. Although skeptical and a bit gun shy Mr. Fletcher and the other Elders trusted the man’s spiritual gifts and followed him.

Mid afternoon they came upon the grove of the elders vision.

It was a dark area covered in jungle growth, but there seemed to be some symmetry to the general lay out of the area. It was as if the canopy of foliage covered a secret hidden earthen work of unknown proportions. In the center there was a medium sized niche in the rock. The elder felt compelled to pray before it.

As they did so there seemed to be a shape forming in the darkness of the niche.

And two cold red eyes stared back at them.

An ungodly howl echoed through the woods.

But undaunted Reverend Fletcher and the Elders prayed and confined the spirit to the niche. Then they commanded it to leave.

In a furry of violent sounds and a wind that seemed to lift the rotten growth from the ground the evidence of a spiritual battle rattled the landscape. After a time the wind and the prayers settled down. The Elders went forth to the niche and immediately called to Rev. Fletcher.

In the niche covered in moldering age ravaged clothing was a skeleton. A grisly check of a wallet in the disintegrating pants showed that it was more than likely the skeleton of Pharell. Just a few yards away they found the mutilated body of the former guerilla.

Reverend Fletcher and the elders made an impromptu burial for the remains in a forest glade that day. They blessed the area and dedicated it to the Lord.

Although many years have passed they have yet to hear of any other attacks on individuals straying in the area, guerilla or other wise.

What happened in that deep rain forest? Did the hermit Pharell uncover a mystery that overtook him? Was he driven mad by the loss of his wife and son? Or did through unknown circumstances a Hantu-Rimba attach itself to the old man driving him mad?

We cannot know. The land on which Pharell is buried is now sacred, and its mysteries are long forgotten.

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Friday, October 10, 2008

Graveyard Tales: The Voices in the Walls

If you have read the blog you know I worked at a local graveyard here in Erie.

Having a small non denominational start up church and a para church outreach organization does not pay the bills, so I found work when I could.

I went to work at Erie County Memorial Gardens in the spring of 2000; it was originally a sales position but two reasons led me to move from sales to maintenance. 1) I am a stinky salesman. No not a body odor thing but an inability to close a sale when I know the people I am selling to cannot afford it. My moral compass does not allow me to take advantage of the poor to make a quick buck –shame that some mortgage lenders over the past years did not share the same compass I had or we might not be in the mess we are now-. And 2) The people in the maintenance department made more money than any salesman at the cemetery.

Long story short I left the sales department and started mowing lawns and burying the dead.

A lot of odd things happen in cemeteries.

When you work around it day in and day out you kind of get used to it.

Then again sometimes such unexplainable things happen that you could never get used to.

One of the head maintenance men was clearing snow from the sidewalks and offices early in the morning one day in the middle of January. It was still dark, but the freshly fallen snow illuminated the landscape in an eerie glow. The maintenance man decided to save gas and walk the quarter mile from the office building to start shoveling the snow around the mausoleum. Halfway there he saw a figure walking behind the building. From the size it looked like a child had just walked behind the mausoleum, but the worker could not be sure. It was a little odd but not entirely out of the ordinary that someone would take an early morning walk around the cemetery for exercise. But it was downright peculiar for someone to do it after a heavy snowstorm let alone with a child. So wearily he surveyed the grounds for any site of the child or parents who might be getting some brisk morning exercise.

But he saw no one as he neared the building.

He circled around to where he swore he saw the figure of the child, but there were no footprints in the snow.

As he looked up from the new snow he saw a face peering from around the corner on the other side of the building just 50 feet away from him. He could not make out features but he saw the rough shading of eyes, mouth and nose from the shadowy figure that was examining him. It was about three feet tall, the size of a young child.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” he shouted and started to make his way through the drifts to the curious face. But as soon as he started to move the head quickly disappeared from the corner. The maintenance man added some speed to his gait but when he arrived to the corner the child was gone. But as he looked down to see where the young one had ran to he once again saw no footprints.

Amazed and disturbed he threw his shovel into the ground and mumbled to himself. He was sure someone was playing a trick on him, but he was clueless as to who it could be. For all he knew he was alone in the 70 acre cemetery.

Alone except for that small child who could disappear without leaving any tracks in the snow.

He shrugged and made a mental note to drill the other members of the crew when they came in to see if any one of them was up to shenanigans. If it was a trick they would probably edge him on a while but then get their jollies at his expense. So trying to push aside the oddness of the event, he went about shoveling the snow.

That was when he heard the voices.

At first he thought it might be the wind. The mausoleum was out in an open field and sometimes the wind whipped around the building fiercely and made all sorts of odd noises. But after a while he knew it was not the wind. He heard the whispering voices even when the air was still. The whispering voices were barely audible but to his ears they were clearly distinct and individual voices. It was as if there were a large group of people gathered together in the mausoleum having a conversation. He silently moved around the sidewalk to try and get a location for the voices. They seemed very close but at varying distances. It was as if many people were having a whispered conversation from a distance. Then one of the voices seemed to be a little closer, and his heart almost stopped when he realized where they were coming from.

The voices were coming from inside the crypts in the mausoleum walls.

Frozen in fear he thought he was going insane so he slowly moved closer to the cold ice layered marble slab. The icy slabs concealed the cement crypts which made up the inner and outer walls of the building. As he put his ear to the freezing stone he heard a distinctive whispering voice say, “Shhh. He hears us!”

In an instant he dropped the shovel from his hands and ran to the office building. He never heard the voices again, but he vowed to never shovel the snow around the mausoleum in the dark ever again either.

However that was not the end of caretakers and others seeing shadow people in the early morning twilight on the cemetery grounds.

One morning I had come in early to get ready for a trip to a neighboring cemetery that needed some help because someone had called in sick. The sun was just about to rise and the supervisor and myself were sitting at a desk drinking some coffee and discussing current events when an elderly lady came into the office door.

She seemed quite distressed.

She was barely able to get inside and was hanging onto the front door as if it were a lifeline. She must have been in her early eighties and almost collapsed just as my supervisor caught her and helped her to a seat.

She had visited her deceased husband’s grave to put out a fresh flower arrangement before she went to an early morning breakfast appointment with some friends. She was sitting on a blanket and arranging the flowers in the vase as the morning sun was just rising. Sitting there and taking in the bright sunrise she saw a figure move to her right. It was a lady dressed in a long black shawl about 40 yards away from her on the other side of the garden where her husband was buried. She saw no distinct features but from the silhouette in the sunrise she could tell it was a woman with a lithe figure who was standing erect with her head tilted down to the grave which she was standing over. She wondered who she was, because she had not seen her before as she had walked back and forth from her car to bring the flowers and water to her husband’s graveside. In fact she was sure at that time she was the only one on the outside of the property.

She was considering these things as the sun rose over the treetops to the east and the rays of light began to filter into the garden with intensity. The figure seemed to fade a bit.

Then it slowly sunk into the ground.

It was as if the earth sucked up the silhouette of the woman and ate her.

We calmed the woman down and gave her some water. I went out to investigate and found her small blanket at the foot of the grave and the fresh flowers arranged in the vase just as she said. But I saw no other person on the grounds. A few minutes later my supervisor came out with the woman and we asked her where she saw the figure. I walked out to the opposite side where she gestured but saw nothing out of the ordinary. So I called to her to have me move where she thought she saw the figure vanish into the ground. When she had finished directing me I looked down. I was standing over the grave of a young teenage boy who had shot himself earlier during the year with his father’s gun. He had been an honor student with a bright future to look forward to. Then a random school drug search found a few ounces of cocaine in his locker. He was kicked out of school and faced serious charges. Instead of facing a bleak future he chose to take his own life.

But the family tragedy did not stop there. Within a few months the father had gunned down the boy’s mother and a coworker he had suspected her of cheating on him with. And then he put a bullet into his own head as well, just as his son had done just a few months previously.

The graves were all together. Father, mother and son slept together for eternity.

But according to the woman something had visited the son early in the morning’s twilight. Was it the mother? A figment of her imagination? Or just an illusion of the diffused lighting coming through the pine trees in the East? Or was it a dark entity that had influenced the family to commit such tragic and needlessly violent acts that still lurks at the gravesite?

I have no idea.

All I could do was pray that God would have mercy on their souls and grant them peace.

Even though once in a while I did come in early in the twilight morning to help out now and then, I never came into the graveyard at night. I was a bit afraid of what I might see.

Especially after another frightening story that was told to me by the retiring supervisor that morning. But I think I’ll save that story and another interesting incident for a post that I will make this Halloween.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bucks County Black Triangle UFO?

Interesting things are still happening in Bucks County, at least that is what I was told by the one who sent me this video recently.

It is a little choppy, but it certainly looks like a Black Triangle UFO that has been previously described in the area and which I commented on in the entry "UFO Flap Over Bucks County Pennsylvania" late this past Summer.

The only note to the location of the shooting was that it was between the Mall and the Delaware River and it is video from a cell phone.

Secret Government Aircraft?

Alien Spaceship?

Good Plastic Model on String?

You decide:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Darkness Which Dwells in the Ambulance Bay

Years ago, just after leaving the Christian and Missionary Alliance I worked for an ambulance company, Med-Stat Ambulance.

I was hired in the fall of 1995 as a midnight dispatcher and my duties were to watch over the sleeping crew and take any emergency calls that might come in during the graveyard shift.

I met a lot of interesting people at Med-Stat, but the most interesting beings that I met there you could not see. You see the building was haunted by multiple entities.

I was told about the hauntings on my first week by a paramedic named Mary. She was a young woman who was a sensitive and had multiple experiences with the beings that resided in the second story bunkhouse.

One night she was sleeping on the top bunk by the large front window of the bunkroom. At about 3 in the morning she awoke to a strange sound. She thought it was one of the crew talking to her but the sound seemed like it was muffled and came from the direction of the window inches from her head. As she turned over to look out the glass, she froze in terror. There hovering over 30 feet above the ground was a green mist which covered a vaguely humanoid form. It writhed and twisted in the middle of the air as if trying to take a more solid form. All the while the whispering grew louder, “Mary…Mary….” The voice whispering sounded like that of an elderly woman. It seemed to glow in a pulsating fashion as it came into form. When the face began to take shape it looked vaguely to Mary as that of a rotting corpse.

Her scream woke the whole bunkhouse.

After the ensuing chaos many tried to calm her down but she was hysterical and spent the rest of the night sleepless and sitting in a well lit room without any windows. Many ridiculed her but she stuck to her story despite the disbelief surrounding her.

A few weeks later during another midnight shift it happened again. This time she seemed to sense it. It was afar off and came wafting over the tall grass of the front lawn illuminated by the light of the crescent moon. This time it did not call her, she just felt the presence. She woke up again at 3 in the morning and looked out the big glass window that faced Route 19 in Waterford, Pennsylvania. It looked like just a green puff of smoke as it glided toward the building. As it neared the window it once again began to take shape. The arms turned from vague blurry ether to thin bony white appendages as they reached out to caress some unknown form in the shadows. The entity did in fact seem to be that of a woman, but not decayed as she previously had thought, instead the withered form that was materializing before her was that of an aged and decrepit old lady who had been wasted away by disease or old age. It came closer to the window and Mary lay there just as afraid as the weeks before but there was another emotion that began to overpower the fear: compassion. In the withered face of the specter that she saw before her she saw all of the elderly patients that she had cared for who were at the last stages of life. She did not recognize the face, for even though fully formed it seemed to phase in and out of existence. But she embodied it with all the sadness and loss that she had seen in her years tending to the elderly with renal failure who withered and wasted away into nothingness. Then the voices came again, but this time they were not so frightening, a hollow voice that seemed to be familiar, “Mary….Mary…” finally she decided to reply. With a hesitant half stutter she talked to the visage that came from the mist, “Y..yes?” she croaked out.

The entity faded into the mist and the green ectoplasmic cloud was scattered in the wind.

Mary was sure that this was a former patient whom she had cared for, but she could not specifically place the face or the voice. There had been many women whom she had tended to who passed while in her care. And it was no longer frightening, instead it was reassuring. She felt as if one of them had come through from the other side to just say thank you and to encourage her in her tireless duty.

However the green lady was not the only spectral being that Mary had encountered in that ambulance hall many years ago.

While taking her turn cleaning the ambulances late one evening after a very late hospital run she had an encounter that made her refuse to ever go down in the bay alone again. They had transported a bleeder from an accident scene to a local hospital. The person did not make it and the back of the ambulance was full of blood. She had the unluck of the draw and had to wear her hazmat gear and give the ambulance a thorough cleaning. She used a hose and swaths of cloth to mop up the remaining blood. There was a large red tub in which she threw the soiled cloths. Even though flushed with water the cloths were crimson with human body fluids, and almost near the end of the cleaning the bucket looked as if it were full of meat rather than soiled towels.

Then the towels moved.

Mary was just about to throw in the last one and give the ambulance a dousing of bleach when she saw what looked to be something alive in the blood filled bucket. The towels swelled and moved up and down as if something was inside trying to get out.

That was when the arm came out.

It pulled itself out of the bloodied rags and covered in goo the hand grabbed for the side of the bucket. The arm and hand was mangled with tissue and bone protruding from various cuts and gashes. It flung itself around wildly and Mary screamed frantically and threw the bleach bottle at the gory appendage. The bucket was knocked over and the soaked towels sprayed all over the cement floor of the bay. Within minutes the crew who had accompanied Mary had run down the long flight of stairs from the bunk room above to find her cowering in a corner of the ambulance. She was hysterical and it took a few minutes for her to even begin to tell them what she had seen. They went over to investigate the bucket but all they found were the soaked towels that she had placed inside. No arm, no hand, no living tissue-just blood soaked rags. She was taken upstairs and another crew member took over the job of sanitizing the ambulance. He and others complained that this was just a stunt to get away with not doing her share of the work. But to many it was clear that Mary did indeed see something. A few weeks later after doing some research she found out that in the late 1980s there was a bad motorcycle accident on the site. In fact one of the other paramedics at the company had been on site. The poor victim had been literally torn apart and his arms were severed from his body. Marie was sure that what she saw was a remnant of the accident victim that had somehow been evoked by the presence of the blood. She never saw it again, but then again she never cleaned an ambulance alone again either.

When she told me these stories I must confess that I thought she was a little crazy. At that time I had not had any firsthand experience with ghostly apparitions, although I had experienced demonic presences. But late one night an incident happened to me that blew away all such disbelief.

It was a normal midnight shift and I had settled down to read when at about 2am I heard someone walk up the long flight of steps that opened up to the door of the dispatch room. It was hard to not notice the heavy steps and they were a familiar sound whenever the crews came back from a run. But nobody was out, so I turned to see who was making an unexpected visit so late in the morning. But as the steps came to the door, the door did not open. Neither did I hear the sound of someone walking back down the steps, so I rose from my chair to investigate.

I opened the door.

No one was there.

Now the sounds were unmistakable, and since the stairway acted as a magnifier of every little sound that was made in there, it was nigh impossible that someone could have made their way down the stairs without so much as a sound. So I put it down as just a figment of my overactive imagination.

However a few moments after this incident I went to the lavatory down the hall to relieve myself. I shut the door behind me and as I approached the toilet the hand of the door began to turn and rattle. It was unmistakably moving. I quickly opened the door and again, there was nobody there. The crew room was next door, but everyone was asleep. And if it was a practical joke (which we were prone to do to each other) nobody came forward to gloat about it. Everyone was truly asleep.

The door handle had turned on its own.

To me I knew immediately I had just experienced a haunting. But the weirdest thing about it that struck me was the normality of it all. I was not frightened, or even scared in the least. It was just downright odd.

Med Stat Ambulance has long gone out of business. But that two story building with the large first floor garage still stand off of route 19 in Waterford Pennsylvania. And I am certain that whoever occupies the residence now has been visited by some uninvited guests.

I pray their nights are peaceful.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope

Friday, October 3, 2008

Calling all Spanish Speaking Paranormalists

I have recently been contacted by a producer for Don Francisco Presenta on Univision. Anyone of you who has a decent cable system or Dish Network should know Don Francisco as the host of Sabado Gigante it was a highly entertaining and popular Spanish language variety show.

The Don Francisco Presenta is looking for Spanish language people who have had an encounter with the unexplained or paranormal.

Hauntings, Angels, Demonic Possessions, UFO Sightings, Cryptozoological Enigmas and all things Fortean.

At this time they are looking for persons who speak Spanish for interviews on their unexplained encounters.

If you are a Spanish speaking person who has had a paranormal experience and can provide adequate proof send your story to: Don Francisco Presenta's Paranormal Interviews

with the subject header "My Paranormal Experience".

Thanks, hope you can help them out!

Pastor Swope

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Transformation of Brother Eli

It was a small meeting house deep in the woods, but the Baptists who met deep in the wooded Ozarks during the midst of the Great Depression were bond together not only by blood but by a strong sense of communal sharing and love.

They all eked out a meager existence in the midst of the financial chaos that had overwhelmed the country. They all had farms of one kind or another and supplied for the common good of all.

While nobody became rich, they all had enough to eat and be healthy, which was a precious thing to have in such precarious times.

Brother Eli owned a hog farm in a lonely and desolate holler at the edge of the community. Although it was many miles from his farm to the small meeting house, he was there every Sunday morning and evening as well as on the midweek Wednesday prayer service. He made sure to bring his family of 4 with him rain or shine and in sickness or good health. We never cared for church politics so he never held an office even though his parents were life long members of the board. He instead just became the resident church sexton, taking care of the building and its property with reverence and hard work. He spent hours cleaning the inside of the church and repairing the outside, often taking the cost for materials right from his own pocket. His 3 children ranged in age from 12 to 25 were happy and very respectful to their elders, Eli and his wife Emma had raised them with values and love. For the times the wooded hills and valleys surrounding their homestead seemed like an ideal place to raise the family, for it was far away from the financial stresses that had decimated the big cities.

But just a few weeks shy of his 50th birthday something happened to Brother Eli.

Some of his friends in the church said it all started when his hogs had uncovered something while digging a hole in their pen.

It was a blackened statue made out of burnt wood, but to those who Eli had let examine the odd artifact it seemed as hard as stone and had the appearance of being semi fossilized. The statue was that of a humanoid figure with an enlarged head and wide almond shaped eyes and no discernable mouth, ears or nose. It had ling thin arms that folded over its abdomen and held an object that appeared to be a scroll of some kind. Its likewise thin legs came together as one pillar and it could stand upright if you placed the statue on a flat surface. One of the oddest things about the small half foot high visage was the cryptic writing that ran down the back of the artifact. No one had any sort of a clue as to what language these odd characters represented, and when they showed it to the Pastor who was the only one who had an education beyond elementary school he thought it looked a bit like Hebrew. But he stated repeatedly that it was not Hebrew but some odd language that to him looked almost pictographic in nature.

Thinking it to be some odd Indian relic, Eli placed it on the mantle of his fireplace as a treasure to show off to any visitor.

Within a few days of uncovering the artifact Eli found half of his hogs dead when he went out to feed them one morning. There were no marks on the bodies, but blood was caked on the eyes and nose of each of the dead hogs as if there was some sort of internal hemorrhage that had caused the demise of the large animals. The remaining animals acted very strangely as well. They constantly ran the inside of the fence that enclosed the pen. Thinking that the animals were panicked by the death of the other livestock even though the corpses had been removed, Eli tried to herd the remaining hogs to another pen on the far side of his house.

As soon as he opened the pen to move one animal at a time, all of the hogs as one made for the exit and knocked down Eli and his two sons. Quickly they ran off into the woods as if being chased by some unseen predator.

It took nearly all of the next two days to find most of the hogs and drag them back into the reserve pen. A few they found dead in the woods just like the others that had been found in the pen a few days before. And in one instance they had one of the hogs become enraged and attack.. It was odd in that it was not the mindless attack of a cornered creature; rather Eli and his son swear the pig was actually stalking them in the thick undergrowth as they waded through the overgrown foliage. They heard it slowly lumber at the edge of the brush and saw its brownish back just barely peaking out of the top of the brambles.It was circling them like a large cat would circle its prey.

Alarmed and intrigued Eli and his son stood still and waited to see what the large pig would do next.

Suddenly it bolted through the thorny briers as if unfazed by the pain of the thick wooden needles that ripped into its flesh. Like a charging bull it ran straight for Eli, and luckily he had his shotgun ready and took aim at the hog’s head as it popped over the undergrowth. With a blast from his gun the beast came crashing down at their feet. Amazingly even with two rounds of buckshot lodged squarely in its head the mighty hog still tried to raise itself and attack. A quick reload and another two rounds of buckshot finally did the trick. The manic creature was finally dead. There was talk afterward that perhaps the creature was rabid, but Eli swore the hog had blood coming from its eyes and nostrils even before he killed it with the fatal shotgun blasts.

Although it was a great loss, all the dead animals were incinerated in a bonfire for fear of spreading whatever disease they carried. The remaining Hogs still exhibited odd behavior, but after a while everything seemed to settle down.

However three days after the hogs were cremated Eli’s wife was banging on the Pastor’s door in the middle of the night. There had been some sort of conflict and Eli had attacked his youngest son with an axe. No one had been hurt, but Eli’s behavior had become increasingly disturbed ever since the hog had attacked him that day. It had started with him muttering to himself, one night after everyone had gone to bed his wife found him standing by the fireplace staring at the small statue and mumbling gibberish. When she asked him what was wrong he turned around and hissed at her with clenched teeth and fists as if in a rage for some unknown reasons. After a few seconds the fog seemed to lift from his eyes and he seemed confused and wanted to know what he was doing up so late. She guided him back to bed but his sleep was very fitful and he seemed to have violent nightmares as he aggressively tossed and turned the rest of the evening.

All the next day he did not seem himself, he was constantly agitated and often yelled in rage at the slightest provocation when he usually took life in a very laid back manner. That night she again awoke in the middle of the night only to find him muttering to himself in front of the fireplace once again. That was when she made the connection with his behavior and the relic that was unearthed from the hog pen. Eli was not muttering in front of the fireplace, he was in fact chanting in some unknown tongue to the artifact. As she made her way to the side of the room she could see Eli’s intense stare as he focused on the odd idol, as well as his menacing scowl as his lips formed the hate laced alien words. It was then that he noticed her presence and he abruptly stopped. He turned calmly toward her and seeing the fear in her eyes he laughed a laugh that she was sure had not come from her husband, but rather some ungodly thing had twisted his vocal cords to produce a growling cackle than no mere human could have made. She ran upstairs and locked the bedroom door.

Them next day she talked with her sons and they too had noticed the odd behavior in their father. They were sure that the ebony idol that they had discovered held some sort of curse or evil power. A power that had possessed their beloved Eli. They took the idol and threw it in the fireplace, and as if on cue the front door smashed open in a violent shower of splinters and Eli came in throwing back the remains of the door with the head of the axe which he gripped tightly in his hands. He was screaming the unknown words now and with a powerful swing the aimed at his sons head with as he let loose a heavy blow. Luckily the young boy was quicker than the older man and he quickly ducked and rolled out of the way. Twice more he swung the axe and with that the entire family fled the house. The boys decided to stay and watch what his father would do next and the mother quickly made her way down the dirt path to the preacher’s house for spiritual help.

The pastor listened with grim amazement at the story and vowed to do anything he could, so they cranked up the ministers truck and made their way through the middle of the dark midnight to confront Eli.

A few miles away their hearts sank as they saw the glow of a large fire in the distance. And as they near the homestead they found their fears to be realized as they saw the old farm had gone up in flames and the light of the blaze was lighting the sky up for miles around.

As they pulled around the last bend before the farm they saw the fire had engulfed all the buildings. And lying by the side of the road highlighted by the blaze sat four shadowy figures, one of which was being tended to by the other three.

It was Eli and his sons. Eli had burns on his hands and face and was unconscious.

Illuminated by the destruction of everything they owned Eli’s wife ran to her incapacitated husband and fell at his side. Crying in a mournful wail she screamed into the heavens. As she cradled her husband the sons explained to the pastor that they saw their father try in vain to pull the artifact from the burning embers of the fireplace. As a result he started the fire that had now destroyed every building of the farm. As the flames started to lick up Eli’s arms, his sons ran in and knocked him out with a candle stick. The burning idol fell from his hands and as they pulled him from the house the blaze spread.

They all prayed together a quick prayer for Eli and lifted him into the preachers truck. Within an hour they arrived at a local hospital.

The burns were severe, but luckily there was no infection to complicate the recovery for the farmer. He did have a fractured skull from the blow to the head but it was not life threatening. By morning Eli woke up in the hospital and demanded to know what had happened. He had no memory of his rampage. In fact the last three days were a blur of shadowy memories. Although he had no symptoms of rabies, he was treated for the disease because of the odd behavior of both the livestock and himself. There were no animal remains left to dissect to prove that the incident was rabies related.

Eli fully recovered after a few months and he never had another manic incident. The farm was a complete loss, and the community did help them to rebuild. But they consecrated the ground before the first timber was set in place. No evidence of the dark idol was ever found in the burnt ruins, but they wanted to be safe. Even though the incident left physical and emotional scars his spiritual life blossomed. His family had endured a terrible spiritual darkness and his sons, who were not too spiritually concerned, dedicated their lives to God. His wife became a more devout believer in prayer, and Eli himself found a depth to his soul that he never experienced before. Before this incident he had held a ‘simple’ faith, but now he dwelt in a larger world and knew first hand the victory that God can do in a person’s heart and a family’s life, even though he might have to go through trying times beyond comprehension.

Now this is a story told to me by a minister who had once done charity work in the area that this incident supposedly happened. So although it is second (or third) hand account the tellers claimed that they were the descendants of Eli.

What was the dark petrified artifact? What was its origin? Did it invite a demonic force to the area? Or was it a fetish of evil that opened a doorway for the presence of malignant entities?

Or was it some sort of disease that had an affect on both the livestock and Eli? Perhaps merely the stress of losing so many hogs that made Eli temporarily insane?

Something transformed mild mannered Eli into a homicidal maniac.

Explain it as you will, to me it was something tied to that strange relic that had lay hidden in the ground for untold years.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope