It has long been believed that men have cornered the market on torture and brutality; historical figures such as Vlad the Impaler and the Marquis de Sade dispensing their own brands of punishment. The list of barbaric males goes on and on, but there are some ladies that could put their opposite sex to shame. One such woman was Elizabeth Bathory, whose torture and murder of her female servants branded her as, quite possibly, the world’s first female serial killer.
Elizabeth was born in August 1560, into one of the richest and most powerful families in Hungary, a family that had more than its fair share of scandalous members, including an uncle who was believed to be a worshipper of Satan, a bi-sexual aunt, Klara, with a penchant for torturing servants, and a brother, Stephan, who was prone to bouts of heavy drinking and lecherous acts. That, combined with the witness of a gyspy being sewn into a horse and left for dead at a very young age, may have played a part in the vile lady she was to later become.
At the tender age of 15, Elizabeth married Ferenc Nadasdy, a union though to have been arranged by both families as a political power move. Nadasdy was besotted with his young bride though, and as a wedding gift, he presented her with Csejte castle, and as he was often away at battle, Elizabeth was left with the task of disciplining the servants, a job she attacked with unbridled glee.
Among the punishments doled out were, beating with a heavy club, sticking pins into the lips, flesh, and under the fingernails, and, probably most brutal of all, taking the girls outside, laying them in the snow and pouring cold water on them until they froze to death. It is believed that Elizabeth had some help when it came to carrying out these acts, in the shape of her manservant Ficszko, Helena Jo, who helped look after the Bathory children, Dorka, and washerwoman Katarina. In the early 1600’s, Elizabeth befriended a woman named Anna Darvulia who was believed to have been both a lover and teacher of new torture techniques.
After the death of her husband in 1604, and the passing of Darvulia a few years later, Elizabeth’s levels of depravity and torture reached their peak. Not content to punishing her sevants, she picked young women from the surrounding area, as well as some supplied by her aunt Karla, and performed barbaric acts of cruelty and sexual abuse upon them. The blood flowed freely and legend says that Elizabeth would bathe in the crimson offal in an attempt to keep her beauty, an act that led to her receiving the moniker of the blood countess.
It is believed that Elizabeth and her gang of accomplices were involved in the murder of more than 650 young women during their reign of terror. That ended in 1610, when Gyorgy Thurzo was dispatched to investigate the alleged crimes, and collect evidence that would lead to arrest and trial. Thurzo and his men went to Cjeste Castle in December of that year and discovered one dead girl and another dying. The arrests were made, and the trial set for January, 1611; Helena, Dorka and Ficszko were sentenced to death by burning, the two women having their fingers cut off, and the manservant beheaded, before they were cast into the flames.
Elizabeth was never convicted, but was condemned to a single, walled-in room in her castle where she lived out the remainder of her days, passing in 1614 at the age of 54. The legend of the blood countess has continued to grow over the years, with the total body count and the blood bathing being brought into question, but what cannot be questioned is that Elizabeth Bathory may go down in history as the most brutally sadistic woman to have ever lived.
Night before last, the woman whom resides somewhere in the reassess of my home gave me a wake up call. She has woken me up several times now, calling my name or making loud noises near me while I sleep.
About 4:30 Friday morning I heard my name, thinking I was merely dreaming I just rolled over ignoring the woman’s voice. A few seconds later, she called me again, “Get up, hurry, Amanda get up!” she exclaimed directly into my ear. I swung around looking but saw nothing, however I heard the dogs out side barking and whimpering. I ran out to find my two beloved pups fighting, my husky Karra had my lab Sandy pinned to the ground face in the dirt, much like an elementary school brawl. Apparently, Karra had found herself a tasty rabbit that she caught and the lab wanted her to share!
Normally I do not leave my dogs outside over night, but with the heat it was cooler outside than it was in, so I opted to let them relax in the cooler air. Well that was a mistake, however this isn’t the first time that my ghost, this woman had called me for something. A few times it was nothing but mischief, once or twice I adverted disaster by finding my older son had snuck down and was up to no good. She is my angel, the sweeter side to the two entities that live in my home. The other, a man whom seems to be a bit distraught about us being there, but has been calm for sometime now but sometimes causes trouble.
After breaking up the fight and cleaned up the mess I simply thanked her before returning to bed. I do not know the reason as to why she is still here, but I sleep much easier knowing while my eyes are closed she is looking over us!
Some of the scariest locations in the world are thosehaunted houses in which both visitors and inhabitants have scary experiences. It is said that these locations are populated by spirits form other worlds and souls of the deceased who lived there before or who were familiar to the haunted places.
The supernatural events occurring in such homes are considered to be caused by some terrible events in the past of the residence, like suicide, violent death, murder or deadly accidents. Statistics made in some countries showed that around 30% of the people believed in spirits and ghosts as well as in their presence in so-called haunted homes.
Technological advancements have reached a point in which it allows these homes to be monitored, so with the help of some utensils and special measuring devices one can determine whether there are energies, auras and paranormal energies or not. Most of the “paranormal events” are considered however to be physical or meteorological effects or anomalies of the magnetic and natural fields. Many TV shows presenting ghost hunters in search of some haunted homes can be seen on several channels, presenting such tools used to establish whether ghosts actually exist there.
Ghosts and the apparently supernatural events in the homes need to be declared in case the particular home is sold or rented, as it seems that such phenomena can lead to a drop in the value of the property. The American courts of justice faced some trials in which the accusers motivated their actions through the fact that the bought property was haunted. The haunted homes which are put up for sale should not be hidden from the public apparently, as the initial owner may be accused later of fraud, as strange as it may be.
Haunted homes and literature
Both in the past and in the present, those properties with the fame of being haunted attract the interest of the paranormal enthusiasts. There are also a lot of examples in the literature, in which the residences of the characters were haunted by ghosts, spirits and unexplainable events. Gothic and horror fiction are the perfect homes to hide haunted homes, as they are the perfect setting for the frightening events to take place later.
Since Antiquity, there have been horror stories involving residences haunted by spirits. Pliny the Younger and Plautus are just are just two of the Roman authors to have written about haunted homes, while some stories from the “1001 nights” present similar characteristics. Horror fiction reached a high level however starting with the 18th century and continuing until now, with Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James and Stephen King being among the best known authors, their works being filled by spirits and terrible supernatural events.
Among the best known books filled with images of haunted homes we can count The Castle in Otranto (Horace Walpole), The Fall of the House of Usher (Edgar Allan Poe), House of Hell (Richard Wateson), The Shining (Stephen King) and The Woman in Black (Susan Hill).
Both the scary stories and the horror literature inspired the movie directors to create numerous movies and series in which haunted homes are the perfect location for the development of the script of the story. Horror movies have become a cult, among the ones creating this phenomenon counting: The Haunted House, Poltergeist, Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, The Shining, 13 ghosts, Casper, Rose Red, The orphanage, Paranormal activity and The Grudge.
Causes of the haunted homes
Among the so-called unexplainable phenomena seen in haunted homes there are some quite easy to explain as well. Some of the people living in weird homes may be intoxicated with carbon monoxide, which makes them see strange apparitions as dizziness and hallucinations are among the main symptoms. Also, older residences may have deteriorated floors which make terrifying cracking noises. The points of sudden freeze which seem to be unexplainable can be just a result of poorly-made windows, while changes of temperature between day and night can cause the expansion and the contraction of the walls of the house, which leads again to strange noises and the subjective perception of temperature.
The scientific explanation behind the existence of some haunted homes is quite simple. It is said that apparitions, points of sudden coldness and the sensation of invisible touch are just anomalies perceived by people due to the variations of the electro-magnetic field of the brain. The variations of the geo and electro-magnetic fields can cause certain effects on the rights side of the brain. Thus, people perceive these variations as strange phenomena, hallucinations, the sensation of cold, stings or touches. The left side of the body becomes thus more sensitive and “produces” these new illusions.
The best known haunted homes
Among the best known locations in which paranormal phenomena are believed to exist we can count the Bran Castle in Romania, or the Huniade Castle, some complaints existing here related to apparitions, spirits and unexplained phenomena. The Cismigiu Hotel in Bucharest is also on the list, as the ghost of a young woman who died in a broken elevator is said to appear here.
In Canada, a construction in the old Montreal is said to have behind a long history which involves the French and the English. The construction in the 17th century was almost demolished at a certain point and became in the 2000s a block of homes. It is said that two silhouettes are seen here frequently , one of a woman and one of a man, both dressed like in the 19th century. It is said that the feminine ghost is Marie Louise, being heard and felt between the 3rd and 4th floors. Voices and even entire conversations can be perceived by the entire block while some residents complain about the ghosts not letting them sleep, visiting them at night. Small anomalies were perceived in this location, many being even caught on camera.
The Beechworth Asylum in Victoria, Australia is a location known to the ghost hunters. It is said that the spirits of some patients who deceased while the hospital was still functioning still exist here. This location appeared in numerous documentaries and televised series.
In the Amiidaji Temple in Japan it is said that the spirits of the old samurais still exist. This temple is one of the best known haunted locations, legends being attributed to it. In the same manner, the Aokigahara forest at the base of the Fuji Mountain is a location considered to be haunted by the spirits of those who chose to kill themselves here.
In the United States of America there are a lot of locations and residences considered to be haunted. Homes, mansions, former slave plantations, theaters and hotels, all these buildings hide secrets and mysteries, being feared by many tourists. Some cities are even based on the famous haunted places in order to make profit. The Madame Tussaud’s Museum in Las Vegas, Pemberton Hall (the first boarding school dedicated to women), the Capitol building in New York, the University of Ohio. The State Penitentiary in West Virginia and King Opera House in Arkansas are just a few of the locations in which spirits and supernatural activities are said to exist.
Among the best known haunted homes we can count the ones in Great Britain. The Arundell Castle in Sussex has 4 ghosts of some known noble people who lived long time ago. The Lodge Castle in Ludlow hosts the ghost of a young woman dressed in a dress like the ones worn hundreds of years ago, in the era of the Tudors, considered to be Catherine of Aragon. Raynham Hall is the place where the Brown Lady is seen often, a feminine figure wearing a dress colored like coffee. Temple Newsam is the best known haunted home in Yorkshire.
It is said that the ghost of Mary Ingram can be seen here, or the one of Jane Grey. The Windsor Castle is however the most famous haunted place in Great Britain. And it is not haunted by anyone, but by the ghost of Queen Elizabeth I. It is said that Anne Boleyn can also be seen often in this castle, scaring the visitors with her screams.
Be they legitimate or not, these haunted homes gained their reputation as scary locations all over the world. Many of them are studied, becoming the settings of several shows in which the ghost hunters are trying to find spirits. Tricksters are also part of the story, as they do their best to create their own “haunted homes”, making profit and becoming famous. It was not yet established completely whether supernatural events are actually caused by something beyond us or are simple distorted perceptions of the human brain. Many believe however that such haunted locations are real and spirits have returned to the places they lived in for various reasons.
Last night was party time for the spirits in my home. I haven’t gotten to that story here yet so I will give you little info, I presently have two spirits in my home. A male and a female. The man is much more aggressive when he wants to be, he makes sure his presence is known, as for the woman, she is relatively quiet most of the time.
Well last night she decided to wake me yet again. I was sound asleep comfy in my bed to hear a woman’s voice call out. She said simply
“Amanda, time to wake up.” Her voice was soft and soothing.
I woke up and looked around and nothing, the room was quiet and dark, I looked at the clock, three thirty am. I whispered to her, shhh you’re two and a half hours early.
I rolled over onto my side, annoyed but still semi calm. Just as I started to drift off to sleep once I heard a slam come from the kitchen. I got up annoyed to check on the dog, whom I found cowering under the table. I searched through the house for anything left askew or what may have caused the bang I heard, I found nothing. I called out to my friends once more, “Enough is enough I have to work tomorrow.”
Well they continued to have fun, the T.V. turned on and off repeatedly, and a few other noises, but I drifted back to sleep not to be awoken again until the alarm went off…
I am sure many of you are aware of the AMC TV series The Walking Dead, the show airs the second half of the second season on 2-12-2012 at 9Pm. How many of you are looking forward to it?
In the very beginning I saw the trailers and thought to myself just another stupid TV series, however after I purchased the first series in error (believing it was a movie) I became hooked! Zombies are one of my favorite monsters of all time, next to vampires of course. The original/ultimate zombie was conceived in 1818 by the writer, Mary Shelley in a story about a doctor who created life and was horrified by what he had made. The true story line actually came to her in a dream. It took two years to write and the book was actually published anonymously, it wasn’t until the second edition was published that you actually see her name.
It was a contest between colleges that brought about the first zombie story in the world and some of our well known monsters today. Since then mankind has toyed with the idea of corpse reanimation and it’s possible outcomes. My all time favorite movies were written by George Romero.
So my question to you is thus, do zombies or the thought of such beings, mindless beings that look like your friends and family with the only purpose of devouring human flesh, actually scare you and why?
Are you excited about the upcoming show?
George was kind of like Casper the friendly ghost. He flushed toilets in the middle of the night, opened cabinets and left us wondering who was walking around in the middle of the night when no one was home. He even made sure some of us were awake when we over slept, but I am jumping the gun here aren’t I? Let me fill in the time between Heampstead and now.
After living on Washington Street I had thought I had seen it all. The Victorian woman that I played with on a daily basis, the dark man that plagued my dreams for a few years and the few shapely mists that floated around the apartment building, but as I had said, I have accrued many stories in my life.
After the murder happened it really sank into my father’s head that Hempstead was no place to live. So he found us a nice ranch style house in Hicksville. The house was unique, when you first walked in you were in a large living room, there was a narrow path way that had four little steps that lead to the upstairs bedrooms midway through on the right, straight ahead was the kitchen and to the left was the dining room. The second floor held three bedrooms, to the far right was my parents, center was my brothers, he was only two when we moved in and to the far left was my room. The only other room on that floor was the bathroom, that was right next to mine. Pretty much sounds like a normal house right, well lets walk down to the basement, a fully finished room with a large stone fireplace on the right from the stairway, to the left was a built in bar and a very small bathroom that only housed a sink and a toilet, just off the the stairway was a door, when I opened it I found yet another stairwell, two basements in this house. When you descended there was one large room and two smaller rooms on the right, one housed the boiler, the other was empty. Now that you have the lay out of the house you will better understand just what happens and where every one was.
When we moved in we were all pretty excited, a nice big house with a huge back yard, it was the best thing that could have happened to us. So much different than the small one bedroom apartment we had just came from. We unpacked and decorated our rooms and prepared for our new lives here. Little did we know there was an extra person living with us.
The activity started immediately, the first night I was awoken to the toilet flushing. At first I thought nothing of it, I figured that maybe one of my parents had woken up. I took note of the time which was three am exactly. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
The next morning my alarm clock went off and I was hesitant to start my first day of school. The day progressed as it normally would, I went to school, dragged through my classed and boarded the bus to come home. When I arrived I walked in to see all the kitchen cabinets opened, I proceeded to close them then went to my room to listen to some music. After some time I became hungry and went to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat, all the cabinets were open again. I knew right off the bat what was going on. I called out to the empty house, telling the ghost that I wasn’t going to get scared of him, half jokingly told him to pick on my mother. From that day on the cabinets only opened when my mother was working in the kitchen.
That night again the toilet flushed at exactly three am. I decided to get up, annoyed that I was woken up yet again, but found everyone to be sleeping. I rolled my eyes knowing who the culprit was and climbed back into bed. I went to school the next day and told a friend of mine what had happened. She had the idea of bringing the Ouija board to my house that weekend to see if we could make contact with him. The remainder of the week progressed pretty much quiet, the toilet flushed every night right on cue and the cabinets held a mind of their own. My mother believed that there was a spirit behind the cabinets, however my father did not believe my tales of the supernatural.
Friday night was finally here, my friend Michelle came with the board, we decided to sit in the basement where it was quiet, both our hands on the oracle as we asked it questions, what unnerved me was that I heard the answers in my head. First they were simple yes and no questions, are you a ghost?… yes it went to, do you want to hurt us…. no it hovered over, then she asked what his name was. Now mind you I could see the board clearly, we took notes as to the letters it spelled out, G.O.R.G… Then I heard the argument in my head, he was having trouble seeing the board and I feel he was trying to use me for guidance. I remember getting angry, and yelling out “Where the hell is the God dammed E?” Well of course now Michelle thought for sure I was pushing the eye making the whole thing up, but it wasn’t me, it was George using me. I remember pulling my hands off the oracle and they were cold, and actually sore. Well none the less I knew it was him, and he had used me to operate the oracle. This was the first time that a spirit had used me for anything. I was actually excited about it.
A few days passed and nothing other than the toilet flushing on cue really occurred. My Aunt and Uncle moved into the basement, limiting my time there. As soon as they did things began to happened to them as well. In the third week my dad was at work, my mom was downstairs with my aunt and uncle and my brother and I were sleeping upstairs. The three of them heard someone walking around on the first floor of the house. My mom thought at first that it was my father, but he was working the late night shift and wouldn’t be in till morning. My uncle went upstairs to check it out thinking maybe my brother or I were up roaming the house. He checked on us first finding us sound asleep, he then searched the remainder of the house, all the doors were locked and no one was there. He came back downstairs to report to my aunt and my mom that indeed George was on the prowl.
The cabinets opening became a daily ordeal, my mother would close them and he would open them all right back up. She had gotten to a point where if she were cooking she would just leave them all alone. The toilet flushed every night at three am, like clock work. I tried to talk George out of relieving his ectoplasm so late at night so I could sleep, but he ignored my pleas, footsteps were heard when no one was home, and all this just became a part of our daily routine. If something went missing, we just blamed George.
One morning we had all gotten up and went about our usual routines and left the house, my brother and I went to school, my parents went to work, my aunt took my baby cousin to the doctor, and my uncle was alone in the house. He was sitting in the basement on the sofa watching T.V. when he fell asleep. Sometime later on, he heard a man’s voice call out to him.
“Bill get up, you’re going to be late for work.”
He murmured his thank you before realizing that he was alone in the house and nearly barrelled his way through the door. Now he didn’t believe our nonsense about ghosts or George for that matter. Well this was the turning point for him, he realized everything that was going on was in fact a ghost.
When we all convened for dinner that night, my uncle told us all what happened. We couldn’t help but give him a big fat helping of I told you so’s. He couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t believe that George was real, and helped him out none the less.
The day’s passed on and little more really went on, the foot steps were normal, and so was the rest of his behavior. A few weeks later, my aunt and my mother were sitting on the sofa in our living room chatting when they heard a large bang come from upstairs. Both women jumped wondering what had happened, my mother went upstairs to check things out. She looked from room to room only to find that nothing was askew in anyway. She told George to knock it off and went back down stairs to my aunt.
They went to the lower basement portion of the house still talking, my aunt proceeded to tell my mother, “That’s it, if one more thing happens I’m outta here!” To which George turned on my aunt’s broken clock radio, that mind you it was not plugged in nor did it have a battery back up source what so ever. My aunt freaked out while my mother laughed at her, “See Sally, even the ghosts don’t like you.” She laughed at my aunt. Well my aunt was furious, but it wasn’t long before her and my uncle found a new place to live.
Time went on, my parents ended up getting a divorce, George had stopped his nonsense for a while, I guess he understood what was going on. My mother moved out taking my brother and I stayed with my father. I began to revolt as teenagers do and George just remained quiet.
My father was working late one night and I decided to throw a party at the house. Well I guess George knew better, when things began to get a little out of hand he decided to scare everyone off, things flew off the shelves, doors opened and slammed shut, the whole house practically shook from his energy. Scared stiff all my friends ran for the hills and refused to come back.
Again the house remained quiet. My father and I moved, the owner of the house decided to sell. we didn’t have a choice. I left George reluctantly, staring back at the house as we drove away. To this day I still drive down Peachtree lane hoping the house is up for sale again, wondering what ever happened to my good ghostly friend named George.