Friday, December 21, 2012

REPOST from 2009: 2012 and the Coming Apocalypse

Montanus was a former priest of Cybele. A recent convert to Christianity, he began his ministry as a prophet and mouthpiece for God during the late 2nd Century in the small village of Ardabau in Phrygia (Asia Minor-Modern Day Turkey).
He claimed that God came to him and filled Him with His Spirit, causing ecstatic utterances and prophecies. He gathered to himself two others who proclaimed to have the same gift, Maxamillia and Priscilla, and the two of them went about Asia Minor proclaiming that God Himself was speaking through them and the end of the world was nigh. As his message of Apocalypse spread across the world, Montanus commanded his followers to gather together in the city of Pepuza, which (according to his prophecies) would become the New Jerusalem after the global conflagration. His followers obeyed and came to him in this new city of hope and awaited the appointed time. But the end of the world did not happen. Some were dissapointed, but some still 'girded their loins' in determination and continued to believe in the prophecies of Montanus. Later the prophet would be condemned as a heretic for various bizarre teachings, the foremost being that he proclaimed to be God the Father Himself when he made his prophecies, and not just a prophet indwelt with the Spirit of God.

For us today in the early 21st century the dire mystery of the 2012 Apocalypse prediction looms menacingly. I will not go into any of the theory, I am sure most of the readers have heard of it and the multitude of substatiating 'facts' that surround this view that the world will end on December 21st 2012. You do not even have to do any research, you just have to watch the History Channel regularly to get the full rundown. Myan Calander interpretation, planetary and galaxy alignments, solar storms, climate change, economic disaster and an upcoming volitile Presidential election all seem to point to a very rough time is to come near the end of 2012.

It seems as if someone flushed an M80 firecracker down the cosmic toilet and we are all waiting for the big explosion.

Of course when there is fear with potential death and mayhem Hollywood can't but be drawn to the fire and produce an epic movie where all our previous fears pale to the technicolor global holocaust that assaults our eyes in a darkened movie theater. So this weekend as the epic opens we are also bombarded by various news monkeys who have just discovered that the world will end soon. Of course almost all of them do not take the source material for the movie seriously. But with most reports you do see an ominous tension.

I think it is because socially we feel like we are all teetering on the edge of the abyss, and are waiting for something to push us over.

Many are overwhelmingly pessimistic because of the dire straits they find themselves in. Be it economic trouble, environmental worries or social and political disdain, many find themselves gripped by a fear that the worst is yet to come. We are communally holding our breath and waiting for what we feel is inevitable, hoping that we are wrong.

So the end of the world is a natural conclusion, not just because of the substantiating evidence of the 2012 theory, but because of the global angst we all perceive.

But such is the human condition. Since the dawn of civilization mankind has been waiting for the dusk to overwhelm them in darkness.

A clay tablet dated at 2800BC was found that has the inscription "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common."Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts

Since then humanity has faced the coming apocalypse thousands of times, mostly fired by social or religious motivation. An incredible resource for those who wish to study the history of Doomsday is found on the website A Brief History of the Apocalypse, where you can view each failed prediction chronologically.

Armageddon for good or ill is hardwired into our human consciousness. Prognosticators and those who diligently follow are part of who we are as human beings. It is a means to find order out of the chaos that surrounds us. There will always be a coming apocalypse. And one day there will be an end of the world. How will we know which one is the real end? Christian Scripture can shed some light on that. In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 24 the Disciples ask Jesus how they will know when the end is near:

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them- “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.-the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:3b-4a;36;44b.

So safe to say from a Christian perspective is that whenever a 'prophet' or anyone else claims to know the exact date or time that the world is going to end, you can rest assured that that will not be the day or time. There might be incidents of trouble, disaster or tribulation. But such is life on the planet Earth. Looking at the dilemmas brewing worldwide, we may face unprecedented challenges for freedom, liberty and survival on a global scale in the years preceding and following 2012.

The Mayan calendar does stop in December 21 2012; but then it starts all over again.
It has a new beginning.

Like any situation we find ourselves in we can look at the end pessimistically, or in hope we can look at the new beginning with optimism and take advantage of a new opportunity.

Mankind grows and flourishes when faced with trouble, for it is a challenge to overcome which brings with it personal and communal character.
In the words of Captain James T. Kirk, "Man stagnates if he has no ambition...We were meant to fight our way through - struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way."

So whatever befalls us on Friday December 21, 2012- Saturday the 22nd will prove to be a most exciting day.

Until Next Time,
Pastor Swope

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Slenderman for Christmas

This Christmas give the gift your kids will remember, "Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact"!

The book has been in the top 50 in Folklore and Mythology on Amazon for the past 2 months, and the positive reviews keep pouring in! Get yours today and have it before Christmas!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Erie Pennsylvania's first recorded Haunted House

The first colonists to 
Erie Pennsylvania arrived in the mid 18thCentury, building a small town adjacent to the newly constructed French Fort Presque Isle. With wars and migrations soon to follow, English settlers would also arrive in the area by the end of that century and build a permanent settlement.

Since the time of those first settlers Erie’s history has been awash with folklore tales of mysterious places where the paranormal seems to manifest itself quite frequently. Be it cursed Indian burial grounds or old dwellings where spectral apparitions of the past startle the present owners; Erie has a rich history of unexplained phenomena.

However, it was not until the late 19thcentury did one of these locations rise to prominence in the imagination of the local populace to a point where it would become infamous. It was in name if not in fact Erie’s first haunted house. And few today have ever heard of it, since it was long ago lost to popular memory for those who encountered its horrors have long turned to dust. This lost Erie legend is the old Crowley Mansion of Harborcreek.

The house was located on the west side of Walbridge Road, less than a hundred yards south of East Lake Road. It was built by a member of East Erie’s first pioneer families, the Crowleys. Thomas Crowley, b. 1789, came to Erie in 1821 or 1822, as did his younger brother Michael. Thomas and his wife Ellen Ahern had several children in Ireland and several more in Pennsylvania, as late at 1836. Michael married a girl from a family from New York State and Canada. Michael's son Thomas was Erie police chief in the 1860s and 70s. The Crowley family very were wealthy and owned considerable property and built the brick mansion as their family homestead. Thomas's eldest son Bartholomew, 1813(4)-1897, lived with his growing family on the property. Beautifully manicured, the grounds of the mansion boasted a diverse orchard and lush gardens.

Tragedy struck 80 year old Bartholomew and his daughter in 1893 when a team of burglars broke in and pulled off a home invasion, pouring oil over him and lighting him afire and threatening to cut the rings off his daughter's fingers. The original report can be viewed in this copy of the November 3rd 1893 Buffalo Express here:

As time marched on and the Crowley family grew, the pioneers’ children moved on and the estate was purchased by another family. The ancient legend told by local residents was that not long after moving into the mansion the husband and wife began to fight often and began to despise one another. When typhoid fever began to break out in the community, the husband was gravely stricken. A skilled local doctor attended the man and soon he was on his way to a healthy recovery. One of the instructions given the wife was that the man was not to be fed any salty foods, for they could not only halt the recovery process, but they could actually prove to be fatal to her husband.

The story goes that this advice by the doctor gave the wife a ghoulish idea. She would rid herself of her loathsome husband by feeding him rich meals that contained large quantities of salt. Her unsuspecting husband ate the heavily seasoned meals with gusto every day. After one excessively salty dinner of corned beef the husband died just before midnight that very evening. From that day forward the ghost of the husband was said to manifest itself in the house just as the clock stuck midnight. Some of these were said to be extremely violent, one night a china cabinet in the main dining room where the husband often dined shook so violently that all the dishes inside were smashed to pieces. Oddly enough the glass housing of the cabinet was untouched. It was not long after this that the wife moved out of the house never to return.

Others lived in the house afterwards, but none of them stayed very long. Whether it was because of paranormal activity or just the ominous story itself that made the mansion abhorred none can say. But soon none wanted to live in the haunted house on Walbridge Road.

For over fifty years the mansion remained unoccupied and soon time took its toll on the building and it went into disrepair and eventual ruin. The beautiful orchards soon became overgrown with weeds and the trees withered and died. The once elegant mansion became an ominous and foreboding presence of desolation which lived up to its disturbing reputation. Children shunned the house and passers by would claim to see ethereal figures staring out at them from the mansions broken windows.

John G. Carney in his 1958 book “Tales of Old Erie” tells that in the years before the mansion was torn down the legends began to flourish once more. A new generation had used the building as a place to prove their bravery by trespassing its grounds and playing practical jokes on one another.

The land on which the mansion once stood is now an abandoned field, given over to weeds and wild overgrowth. There still is a sense of desolation and sadness to the area that one cannot quite explain. You can sense a sadness, a dreadful emptiness there that is somewhat otherworldly. Perhaps the long betrayed spirit of the murdered husband still abides there, mourning his betrayal at the hands of one who promised to love him forever.

Below is a google map of the area where the house once stood, directly across from the Fairfield Fire Department and Catering Hall.

Until next time,
Pastor Swope