Which Witch??

By Caryl Clem:

From the earliest Greek and Roman myths and legends, servants to these gods and goddesses were witches of either gender. For example, Italy’s witch, Aradia, daughter of Diana the moon goddess and Lucifer, is sent to local people to teach magic to improve their lives against tyranny and poverty and crushing authority. She is beautiful and images of her show long hair, youthful facial features and flowing gowns.

Witches were the superwomen and super nannies before Christianity. Every king wanted his military power restored after a defeat, advice on spells to guide his path with competing powers, and a home based safeguard for his children for a few hundred years.

After seeing a picture of the Princess Anne of Denmark, King James of Scotland proposed.  King James VI spent time in Denmark with his new wife observing the witch hunts and witchcraft trials during a time when over 1,000 witches were burned. A Lutheran bishop, Peder Palladius, is accusing any woman who acts as a Catholic to be a witch.  King James and wife faced life threatening storms traveling home. He blamed his misfortune on witchcraft. He sought counsel and was advised to eliminate any witch who could be a threat to the community His own witch hunting and trials forced confessions by torture. He published James VI and I’s book on the subject of witchcraft, Daemonologie, published in 1597.

Germany and France were purging devil witches by the thousands.  According to Suzanne Lipscomb in her book on witches, one town in Germany was left with no woman. According to records, over 40,000 were executed.  The hysteria spreads overseas to America in New Salem, Massachusetts.  The trials suddenly cease when the name of the wife of a governor is given as a witch.

Since the late 1800’s, witch images are shown flying through the skies on brooms with wide brimmed hats. Again, witches represent mystery and magic.  Post cards and nursery tales show old woman with unpredictable powers to change lives. Several male authors have published guides explaining and disclosing spells and witchcraft magic such as Gerald Garner and Aleister Crowley.  A new era of witches is born going back to natural and lunar influences.  A religion based on harmony and doing no harm by witches is recognized in 1986 as WICCA.  Present WICCA is a nature based spiritual movement with both male and female witches spread through several sects.

The boiling cauldron with women in a peaked brimmed hat and a cat in the doorway were beer brewers, another form of liquid magic. To indicate when a brew was ready, broomsticks would be placed in the doorways of alehouses. Images of frothing cauldrons full of ready product and six-sided stars to indicate the quality of the brew also abounded. Lastly, out of manifest necessity, cats would be kept in the brew houses to protect the grains from mice.” Interesting that in Latino and African cultures, the woman made brews. Brew Witches made high spirits available here on earth.  A witch can be anybody who practices mind over matter.

Fannie May celebrates National Chocolate Day

In some form, I do eat chocolate everyday; truly my own passion that I will not give up. On October 28th, National Chocolate Day celebrates anything chocolate; which has been now recognized as one of Americans favorite flavors. Actually, the taste of chocolate has become a world favorite; the reason for a national holiday.  A wonderful treat; only a few days before Halloween!

And chocolate is good for your health since research has found that it may decrease blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline. Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidants. Therefore, the best way to celebrate National Chocolate Day is to purchase a premier box of fine chocolates made by Fannie May! Almost 100 years old, Fannie May continues to be known as the finest in gourmet chocolate as well as a Chicago icon.

Their first retail store opened in 1920 on LaSalle street in Chicago. In fact, for decades, Fannie May has always been a Chicago favorite to celebrate any holiday. Now, some of their best sellers will be coming soon on Amazon but still available in retail stores along with other customer favorites.

To celebrate this most delicious holiday next week, Fannie May will be holding an event featuring a variety of discounts and sampling for all to enjoy. Discounts include:·

40% off 1 lb of Colonial Assortments (A collection of Fannie May favorites including fresh nut clusters, crunchy toffee, luscious butter creams, Pixies, Trinidads, & more…)

  • 15% off Entire Purchase
  • BOGO– Hot Chocolate
  • MORE….

Fanny May is truly a premium chocolate expert, crafting superb chocolates with love and the very best ingredients. They make over 100 different confections and continue to develop delectable flavors for customers.

Quija Boards

When I was a pre-teen playing with my first board on the dining room table with friends, I would ask if I would marry and it always said yes. How right the board was! Would I have children, yes…true again. How many….I can remember four and I only have two. Trying to spell out what spirit was talking to us was always a difficult mess. We would get a letter or two but we were not quite bright enough to make a spiritual match from heaven. Would I be wealthy or rich? The planchett placed beneath our fingers would never say yes or no but sometimes good bye. Money in the bank today, I could claim,just enough, but for many, I am in rich in love, family, job and friends.

Sometimes, when the planchett was really moving across the board, we would get either scared and stopped playing or blame each other for pushing it in a desired direction. In some households, the game was not allowed because some religions felt it was demonic. My parents did not like the board…not sure how I had one…..friends may have brought their own game to play. It seemed to be used only for fun around Halloween or a sleep over. My own children were allowed to use a board during the Halloween season or a sleep over, but again, their group of friends got out of hand when it came to the movement of the planchett.

In 1886, the New York Daily Tribune reported on a new talking board being used in Ohio. It was 18 by 20 inches and featured the alphabet, numbers, and the words yes, no, good evening, and goodnight; the only other necessary object was a “little table three or four inches high … with four legs” that the spirits could use to identify letters. This table was called an Idometer and caused muscle movement or reflexes to move an object not a spirit visiting the household but the later thought took off in popularity.

In 1966, the Ouija boards were sold to Parker Brothers, which manufactured the modern boards as we know them today. In 1991, Parker Brothers was sold to Hasbro, which now holds all the Ouija rights and patents. Today, according to the Museum of Talking Boards  there is truly aa renaissance afoot. Hasbro, who currently owns Parker Brothers upped their game in 2008 by introducing a controversial pink version aimed at teen girls. Then in 2013, they stunned everyone by breaking tradition completely with a redesigned, much darker themed Ouija board equipped with a light up planchette that automatically illuminates hidden messages on the board.

Hollywood has jumped on the use of the board in movies and television. Ouija is a 2014 American supernatural horror film that was a huge success where young girls try to burn the board but it comes back to life.  Ouija: Origin of Evil came out in 2016; another American supernatural horror film. The film is a prequel to the 2014 film,grossing over $81 million.

Many talking board enthusiasts are creating public shows and events. While experts claim that there is nothing evil about the mystic board; many have assured customers  that it is just a game. I am, yet, to be convinced.

 

Chicagoland/Suburbs: More haunted theatres

The Biograph Theater, now known as the Victory Garden, was opened September 5, 1914. All 942 seats were on a single floor. This Lincoln Park neighborhood landmark is probably best known by Chicagoans as the place where John Dillinger was shot and killed on July 22, 1934 after attending a screening of “Manhattan Melodrama” starring Clark Gable. There are stories of people seeing a shadowy figure of a man running on the sidewalk, or heading for the alley. He runs, then falls and disappears, almost as if reenacting the shooting over and over again. Some feel that Dillinger was not shot but some believe it was a look alike. According to the Ghost Research Society, some people have even claimed to have photographed strange shadowy figures lurking in the alleyway, just steps from where Dillinger was killed.

Woodstock Opera HouseThe four story structure has been used for many years to host live performances of celebrities including launching the career of Orson Wells. The Woodstock Opera House, built in 1889, originally housed the library, city council, court, and fire department for the city of Woodstock, Illinois. The Opera House sat above on the second floor. According to Family Travel on a Budget, in the 1940s, Shelley Berman was working on scenery for a production. A loud noise in the seating area startled him. He scanned the room and noticed that several chairs in row DD were in the down position. He ran over to investigate, and when he arrived, all the seats were in their upright position. Berman shared his experience with other cast members, and a haunted legend was born. Many claim that the ghost is a young woman from the early 1900s that threw herself from the belfry of the opera house since she could not get a part and could not handle rejection.

Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford is an historic theater that opened on October 9th 1927; a grandiose movie palace and stage with a Barton Grand Theater pipe organ that hosted a number of celebrities and movies. With the support of the community, the theatre was re-stored in its original style in 2001. However, according to sources, paranormal groups have documented several ghosts at the theater, but the Van Matres, Louis St. Pierre, a manager, and Miss Kileen, a secretary, are the core spirits watching over the historic theater. Many have seen the ghost light, as they refer, during their visit. Besides attending events and shows at the theater, tours are available. Feel free to contact Coronado to plan your visit.

Rialto Square Theater opened in 1926 as an old vaudeville and movie palace in downtown Joliet. The grand space has been restored to its original beauty including an elegant rotunda and dome with amazing chandeliers throughout. The theatre is also home to a Barton Grand Theater pipe organ. Accidents have happened in the building including the balcony according to Haunted Houses who claim that staff and workmen have seen an apparition of a women floating around the theater. Apparentaly, she is more active after the the theater is closed to the public.  Visitors have also taken pictures and have seen strange figures in the photographs.

 

 

 

 

 

“Treat Your Boo” Event with Pet Costume Contest

Through the years, I have loved picking out Halloween yearly costumes for myself and my own children. Though, I never thought about dressing up the guinea pig we had for a short time and our cats. I assist in a kindergarten class and I wonder if they are going to dress up their favorite pets. Actually, we have a new kitten at home…she might look good in the lion costume. PetSmart is truly the place to share this Halloween holiday with your entire family. You can enjoy picking out ghoulish goodies, classic costumes, and spooky toys for your dog, cat or even your guinea pig.

Have you ever dressed up your guinea pig as a mermaid? What about serving your pets special Happy Halloween treats or have them hang out in their own haunted house? At PetSmart,the leading pet specialty retailer in North America, online and in stores, you will find a full range of costumes for small breeds plus large dog outfits. A variety of pet accessories are available that include different collars, bandannas, bows and hats as well as Halloween bedding.

Pet parents are invited to PetSmart stores nationwide for a “Treat Your Boo” event on Saturday, Oct. 26 from noon to 2 p.m. local time. Dogs will be able to learn tricks for treats, and pet parents can fill a treat bag for their pet, at PetSmart’s exclusive Trick or Treat stations. The party will feature a costume contest with awards for first, second and third place, plus a certificate for social media bragging rights.

To make those social media posts really shine, stores will offer photos with Chance the Mascot for pet parents to share with followers by tagging with #petsmartparties. For those who want to keep the pet Halloween party going, free yard signs will be available at the event letting neighbors know that dogs are invited to their homes to trick or treat on Halloween night.

And after asking a few in my kindergarten class if they were dressing up their pets, some said that their pets were going to be disguised as pumpkins. More pet parents and families are choosing costumes for their pets in celebration of Halloween as well as pets being included in birthdays, and all sorts of celebratory events.

What a perfect time right now to attend pet parades while sharing pet photos of this dress up event on social media. PetSmart truly enjoys helping pet families share their ultimate experiences of fun together.

How to save on all aspects of Halloween

Flipp App savings expert Lauren Gruetman provides tips on how to save on all aspects of Halloween. Below you’ll find her tips as well as a few local Chicago deals available now!
Savings Tips:Plan ahead to save big bucks on costumes. There are so many DIY costumes that you can make using items from Dollar Tree. I recommend using the Flipp App to search through the Dollar Tree circular to see what items are in their stores. You can easily make unicorn wings from a feather boa and fairy wings (both are found in the craft section). Use a dish towel and cut it up into a vest to make a cowboy vest. Think creatively around the items you can find there for inexpensive costumes.Candy is cheapest two weeks before Halloween as stores start putting them on sale. And check your local drug stores flyers for deals on Sundays, which is when new deals are sometimes released. You can also look at bulk stores like Costco and Sams Club, but steer away from the chocolate candy. Buy big packages of Airheads and Skittles for a cheaper price per oz.

*It’s possible to throw an epic party for under $40! Stick to the dollar stores for decorations and buy items that can be used from year to year. The days following Halloween are the best times to purchase large blow up items and other Halloween decor.

Watch for Fall Harvests. I find the cheapest pumpkins by driving around and purchasing them at local homes that have them out for sale. You will save a LOT of money and get a larger pumpkin for buying local.

The free Flipp app is available for IOS and Android. You can search weekly ads, coupons and navigate through your favorite stores. The app allows you to check out specific foods or browse a variety of retailers. Once you download the app and add your location, Flipp will locate the stores in your area and you can click on your favorite store to explore its best deals. You can tap a retailer, check out the coupons and load them to your loyalty cards. There are thousands of retailers available including Kroger, Walmart, Big Lots, CVS Pharmacy, Aldi’s, Family Dollar, Home Depot, Loews and Dicks Sporting Goods to name a few. You can even save money on your favorite and find deals at Petco.

Halloween Deals on Flipp in Chicago:
Candy:

Decor:

Costumes:

The Good Old Days: Halloween ghost stories

Back in the day without TV or the Internet, it was about talking, sharing and during the days of Halloween or camping outdoors, telling the best ghost stories. It was standing in front of a dark mirror with a candle at slumber parties….chanting I believe in Mary Worth. This ritual serves to summon the vengeful witch, Mary Worth. According to sources, Mary actually lived in Chicago on the old Wagon Road during the Civil War and it is said that she had kidnapped runaway slaves and chained them in her barn. Legend has it that she was burned at the stake. Some called her Bloody Mary and we summoned her many times at Halloween parties, but I never saw her.

Another famous story that can actually be documented over 200 years ago, is the Man with the Golden Arm. The Golden Arm is a folktale, a story appearing in multiple cultures but most most famously told by Mark Twain. The tale begins with a death or a recently deceased victim who has an artificial limb, usually an arm, made of gold. The victim has their limb stolen after their death, most often by a loved one or trusted one in greed. Then the victim comes back from the grave looking to get their golden limb back and scares the robber into giving back their arm. Where’s my golden arm????

My kids didn’t sit down and tell ghost stories unless they were camping out and they were bored. I got them with the golden arm story, though, and chased them around the house. Many learned telling stories during the series where a group of kids who gathered in the woods told ghost stories. This was performed on the 1990 – 1996 U.S. TV series “Are You Afraid of the Dark.” The series was a spooky anthology where a group of kids recounted ghost stories. I made a huge mistake back in the early 1990’s allowing my daughter to stay up with me to watch the original movie Night of the Living Dead. At that time, I was a sucker for the best horror stories in books and movies. She did have nightmares and still reminds me of this today.

According to child psychologists, it is ok for kids to be scared…..just a little. The following stories are some great examples to share.

The Lady with Emerald Ring actually is a story written in the late 1700’s and the woman dies but comes back to life.

The Scarecrow: A wonderful story about a young boy creating his own creepy scarecrow. Every year, his Dad puts out scarecrows in their fields because he thinks they’re effective in not only keeping the crows out, but evil spirits as well.  His Scarecrow changes during a storm.

Haunted is a great story about a ghosts who love to bake. Everyone in a small town in Arkansas knows this house is haunted. It was an old neglected house and sometimes would smell of bakery goods even though no one lived there. Sometimes they would hear the ghosts singing and dancing.

Ghosts of Flight 191

I remember the crash because on Friday afternoons/evenings I would head to my Mom’s home in Dolton. It was the Friday before Memorial Day in 1979. I was single, living in Waukegan and currently teaching at Warren Township HS. I was running late getting on the road and Tri State I-94 was backed up for miles so I ended up taking Route 41. I heard it on the radio and will never forget the picture in the news. The crash had killed all 258 passengers and 13 crew members on board; two more people on the ground. It was the worst aviation accident in U.S. history and remains so today.

It was a beautiful day when Flight 191 was scheduled to leave O Hare and land in Los Angeles with many literary figures on the DC 10. The plane was taking off and climbing from the runway when suddenly lost an engine, crashed in a field off of Touhy Avenue between DesPlaines and Elk Grove Village, bursting into a massive fireball. After weeks of investigation, they found there was a crack in the engines pylon due to the fact that American Airlines had removed the engine weeks before during maintenance procedures with a forklift as a single unit without approval of McDonnell Douglas, who always specified a different method. The fracture in the plane went unnoticed and kept getting worse and worse.

Months after the crash, residents near the area kept seeing bobbing lights like orbs over the field. Their was a mobile home park right near the crash site. According to American Haunting, residents claimed to hear knocking on windows and doors with nobody there. Dogs would bark constantly at the field and some would open their door to find a worried figure to say he had to get his luggage or make a connection. Another man was walking his dog and ran into a figure who smelled of gasoline looking for a phone.

On May 25, 2019, the 40th Anniversary Remembrance was held at the Memorial Wall and Garden. Actually, the wall is about two feet with bricks of the names of those who had died in the crash.  According to Chicago Magazine, it had taken more than 30 years for someone to come up with the idea, then two years of lobbying by an assistant principal and students in the 2010 sixth-grade class at Decatur Classical School in West Rogers Park to get the memorial approved. The assistant principal’s parents had been on the flight.

The Addams family: Through the decades

Morticia was my favorite Halloween costume and growing up in the 1960’s, the original series was just fun. Watching madly in love, Gomez, speaking in Italian, kissing his wife’s arm, was my first opportunity to watch true love between a wealthy monster couple. Far more realistic than the Munsters. Gomez and Morticia,along with their children, Pugsley and Wednesday, were human with crazy cousins and horrifying looking servants like Lurch. In 1964, a live-action television series, starring John Astin and Carolyn Jones, premiered on ABC , only airing for two seasons.

Subsequently, the series inspired a 1977 television film with the original cast. Another Addams Family movie was created in 1991;  American supernatural black comedy film based on the characters from the cartoon created by cartoonist Charles Addams and the 1964 TV series produced by David Levy. Directed by former cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld in his screen directing debut, the film stars Angelica Huston, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as Morticia Addams. In 1993, Adamms Family Values was another sequel film featuring many of the same cast members as in 1991. Both received nominations for Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Hugo Awards. The films inspired a second animated series (1992–1993) set in the same fictional universe but with Astin reprising his role as the voice of Gomez. It was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards, including one for Astin.  In 1998, the Adamms Family Reunion was launched. In 2010, The Adamms Family also become a Broadway musical.

Currently, an Adamms family video is creating a stir among millions of little ones. The video is sponsored by Go Noodle, a collection of videos for children recommended by child experts that engages movement and mindfulness; at home or at school. My current kindergarten class absolutely loves the Adamms family video and asks for it constantly; following the dance moves they see. That is where Wednesday and Pugsley dance to the same silly song as I did in front of the television set, snapping their fingers. My group really tries to snap along with them; some choose clapping instead but they do show me when they are successful snappers.

On October 11th, The Addams Family (2019) will be available; an upcoming American 3D computer-animated comedy horror film based on the comics of the same name by Charles Addams. The film is directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, and will star the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, and Allison Janney. Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley and Uncle Fester square off against a reality television show host.

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