Tuesday Open Thread ~ Spooky Spector Special


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“Tis the night—the night
Of the grave's delight,
And the warlocks are at their play;
Ye think that without,
The wild winds shout,
But no, it is they—it is they!”
~ Arthur Cleveland Coxe, Halloween: A Romaunt
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I’ve always enjoyed a good ghost story. Especially haunted houses. I mean what could be more scary than ghosts roaming the hallways and rooms of the place where you and your family sleep? How about the “real-life" story of the old LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans? A haunted house that has such a creepy story, the American Horror Story used the LaLaurie Mansion as a spooky backdrop for one of their storylines.

Built in 1831 for Marie Delphine LaLaurie and her third husband, the French-native Dr. Louis LaLaurie, Madame Delphine became forever known as the notorious mistress who chained and tortured her slaves in the basement. Today her cruel behavior might be described as a result of an unknown mental affliction, but at that time, witchcraft was rumored to be responsible for the abuse she inflicted on both her slaves and her own daughters, along with the “mysterious” deaths of her two previous husbands.

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When a fire in 1834 set the LaLaurie Mansion ablaze, revealing the shocking living conditions of her slaves who were being starved and beaten, Madame Delphine and her family fled New Orleans where they eventually settled down in Spain. Soon after the fire, the New Orleans press seized onto the story detailing the horrors inside that house while depicting Madame Delphine as a wicked sorceress who practiced the dark art of voodoo.

Two centuries later, the iconic Mansion remains a part of New Orleans lurid past, where the spirits of the slaves who lived there endlessly roam. At one time the house was converted into an all-girls school where students often reported experiencing bizarre and random physical assaults. When a development company transformed the house into upscale apartments, tenants complained of the same kind paranormal activity the students had experienced, in addition to the suspicious death of a gentleman who had ties to the original family. Today, the LaLaurie Mansion still stands as a source of curiosity and reports of paranormal activity.

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Another source of ghost stories are the battlefields of some of our bloodiest conflicts. Unlike houses though, there’s nothing ordinary about battlefields. Anyone who has stood on the ridge overlooking the field of Pickett’s charge will tell you that. Ghostly or otherwise, Gettysburg is a place with a lot of powerful stories.

The battle at Devil's Den is one of those places. Lying at an angle between Plum Run and a small tributary branch, Devil’s Den is less than 100 feet below Little Round Top. With boulders over 20 feet high in places and a narrow marshy foot path below, there was good reason it was known as the Slaughter Pen. Of the 8,000 soldiers engaged in that battle on July 2, 1863, Confederate General John Bell Hood and Union General David Bell Birney’s collectively sustained almost 2,600 in casualties. Afterwards the bodies of soldiers were strewn among the boulders covering the entire area in that confined space.

A creek running between Little Round Top and Devil’s Den ran red with blood and became known as Bloody Run. When the heavy rains flooded the creek on July 3, 1863, wounded men unlucky enough to have not been taken to the hospital drowned where they lay. The following morning, medics found hogs all over the field in Devil’s Den eating the faces and limbs off of the soldiers left there overnight.

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Perhaps because of the events that took place there, Devil’s Den has had its share of reports from people who have seen ghostly soldiers roaming across the battlefield. A frequent sighting is that of a disheveled man, barefoot and wearing shabby clothes and a floppy hat, who gives directions to tourists looking to get to Devil’s Den. He points over in that direction and says, “That’s the place you’re looking for”. Another sighting is of a Union Soldier who stands at attention beside a cannon holding the reigns to horse that isn’t there. But not all sightings are of soldiers, some people have reported seeing a women dressed in mourning who kneels on the ground digging through the dirt looking for something. While I don’t know a lot about paranormal activity, having been on the field at Gettysburg myself imagining the horror that the soldiers experienced there, I understand why their spirits might still be there.

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Ingredients

One 5-ounce box small ball-shaped chocolates, such as malted milk balls
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of fine salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 small tube white cake decorating gel

Instructions

  1. Position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Separate the chocolate candy balls into larger and smaller balls. The larger balls will make up the spider bodies and the smaller balls the heads.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Cream the sugar and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add the peanut butter and mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on medium until incorporated, then turn the speed down to low again and add the rest of the flour mixture. Beat on medium until incorporated.
  4. Roll the dough by hand into 1-inch balls, place about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cookies are light golden brown and have spread to about 2 inches wide, about 16 minutes. The cookies are done when they smell very peanut buttery and the tops feel dry and slightly firm when pressed with fingers.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from the heat and let cool briefly so that it is slightly thickened but still pipe-able.
  6. When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Immediately push 2 chocolate candies directly into each hot cookie, putting a smaller chocolate ball toward the edge of the cookie and a larger chocolate ball directly behind it in the center of the cookie.
  7. When the melted chocolate has thickened slightly, put it into a plastic bag and cut a small hole in the corner to create a piping bag. Pipe 8 legs on each cookie, starting from the point where the 2 chocolate candies meet. Pipe the front 4 legs so that they curve up toward the head and the back 4 legs so that they curve backward beyond the body. Reserve the remaining chocolate in the piping bag for the pupils of the eyes.
  8. To make eyes, pipe two 1/4-inch circles on the "heads" of each spider with the cake decorating gel. Pipe a tiny dot of the reserved melted chocolate in the center of each to make the pupils.

Cook’s Note: When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)

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Well, that about wraps things up for this week's edition.
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What’s on your mind today?
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Comments

Outlaws

Willie and Johnny (American Outlaws)

yeehaw

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Anja Geitz's picture

@QMS

A bit late responding, had a REALLY busy morning. Thanks for the tunes and stay away from those riders in sky Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Lily O Lady's picture

as a child. I remember my parents pointing out the names to different areas. I remember scrambling over rocks at Devil’s Den, but I don’t remember any ghosts.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Anja Geitz's picture

@Lily O Lady

I have to confess I never thought of those boulders in Devil's Den quite that way, but it makes sense to want to climb them if you're a kid.

I went as an adult and hired a private tour guide to take me through the park. On horseback! As a history major who studied the Civil War, I really gave him a run for his money. And you know something? He loved it! He took me to out of the way places in the park you don't usually see, with stories to match. Although I think my favorite stories were the ones about visitors who seemed a little confused about their history. LOL!!! People can be pretty unintentionally funny.

Thanks for sharing your story. It's both strange and sweet to think of children playing in that place.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

We have snow. I'm so happy to have the moisture, but it's snow. Oh, well. My last one at this house - hopefully.

Enjoy your day! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

Anja Geitz's picture

@Raggedy Ann

The temperature dropped so quickly here, I was in agony all day yesterday with sinus problems and dizziness. The winds whipped through here last night something fierce. Which always happens AFTER the gardeners come to clean the place up, right?

Hope you are managing the transition as well as you can. Big changes like this can be both unsettling and gifts in unexpected way. Let's hope it's the latter

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Lookout's picture

Henry Wells, a former slave who was freed at the conclusion of the Civil War, was accused of arson when the Pickens County Courthouse burnt to the ground on November 16, 1876. As the story goes, Henry fled to the attic of the courthouse while he was escaping the mob that was out to lynch him. As they continued their search, Henry peered out the famous window. He yelled to the crowd below, “I am innocent. If you kill me, I am going to haunt you for the rest of your lives!” At that very moment, lightning struck the window and the image of Henry’s face was etched into the glass.

The mob finally made their way into the courthouse and forced Henry to go outside. They then lynched him. Today, the face in the window remains as a reminder of that eventful night. It’s been washed time and time again, but it won’t go away. Henry Wells warned the people he would haunt them forever if they killed him and it’s evident that he’s keeping his word.

https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/alabama/ghost-in-window-al/

Here's Katherine Tucker Windham's telling...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EebG_tf1U7I (8 min)

I went to the Jonesborough , TN national storytelling festival several decades ago. At night they take horse and wagons up to the graveyard and tell ghost stories... Quite chilling.

At camp we finally prohibited them cause the little kids would cry, wet the bed, and be terrified all night.

Have a nice Halloween, All saints day, and day of the dead!
https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/day-of-the-dead

And remember to limit your sugar...it is bad for us.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Anja Geitz's picture

@Lookout

But then, most Southerners do, don't they?

Thanks for the ghost stories Lookout!!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

stuff here, but, HEY! it's spider mating season. In particular, tarantulas, which may be found out roaming around looking for mates. Some places, like Mount Diablo State Park in the East Bay are literally covered with them even to the point of tying up traffic due to the numbers walking on or across the road. The males only get one chance at this, when mating season arrives they begin to die, and must get out and do the deed as often as they can, without getting zombified and later eaten alive by Tarantula Hawks, before they kick it. Meanwhile, the ladies are simply stealth hunting from their lair, waiting for anything to come by close enugh for them to attack and eat it, including Mr. Tarantula. Beats ghost stories any day.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

@enhydra lutris

at the ready. Ewwww!!!

*shudder*

They are definitely the weirdest looking creatures on earth. Good thing their counterparts don't mind. Weird story, dude Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

magiamma's picture

just sent the spider cookie recipe to my grandson. very nice.

Here is it is cold. Very cold. For here that is. No rain in sight. I am repairing the yard now after the installation of the bioswale. Whatamess. Good problem to have. No complaints.

I am avoiding the news until after the election. It only serves to make-a me crae crae. Cannot tolerate anymore sympathetic nervous system input.

Hope all is well at your end of the left coast. Be well.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@magiamma
night, sufficient for the heater to kick in. Supposed to get up to the eighties during the day, however.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

@magiamma

I will be making them for a friend of mine who has children. Well teenagers, but I think they'll get a kick out of it anyway.

Glad you liked them Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

RantingRooster's picture

Only in Texas...

From the DallasObserver

Local artist Steven Novak finds himself comfortably at the "horrifying" end of the scale, as his East Dallas neighbors and the Dallas Police Department will surely attest.

“I’ve always been up to hijinks like flying ghosts or 7-foot tall snow sculptures of myself, so if I was gonna do Halloween, it was obvious that it should be hyperreal," Novak says. "No lights, fog machine, or camp … something that would really freak people out walking by in the dark. So I whipped up some dummies and slung 20 gallons of blood all over.”

Here's a couple of images from article. Crazy
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Happy Halloween Drinks

Speaking of spooky stories, have any of you heard about The Lady of the Lake, at White Rock lake in Dallas?
From WhiteRockLake.Org

A woman named Anne Clark wrote the account of the Lady of the Lake legend published in 1943. “The Ghost of White Rock,” was included in the Texas Folklore Society’s publication, “Backwoods to Border.” In this accounting, a young couple parked on the shore of White Rock Lake. When they switched their headlights on, they saw a woman in white coming toward them. A young girl dressed in a sheer, wet, white dress. She spoke in a faltering voice.

I‘m sorry to intrude, and I would not under any other circumstances, but I must find a way home immediately. My boat overturned. The others are safe. But I must get home.

She climbed into the rumble seat, saying that she did not wish to get the young lady wet. She gave them an address in Oak Cliff. When they asked her for directions, they turned around only to find their rumble seat empty and wet. The couple went to the address she gave them. A sad man met them at the door. The man told them:

“This is a very strange thing. You are the third couple who has come to me with this story. Three weeks ago, while sailing on White Rock Lake, my daughter drowned.”

Drinks

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C99, my refuge from an insane world.

Anja Geitz's picture

@RantingRooster

Hilarious quotes from the article. Man, artists can really cause a stir, can't they?

“It was raining a lot and washing the blood away so I indefatigably ‘watered’ the bodies every morning for a while to the dismay of early dog walkers and joggers saying as they passed ‘Watering the bodies!’”

“Neighbors told me cop cars were in front of my house a lot during the day," he says. "I was only home twice to receive them. They told me they thought it was cool and that they were only there because they were required to reply to complaints from the sergeant.”

Novak continues, while laughing, “They were in formation at the door and when I opened it they asked me if it was all mine. I asked, ‘You mean the blood and the bodies? Yeah, that’s me."

“Honestly, though, I think I could’ve used more," Novak says. "[My plans] were way worse on paper. Next year though!”

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier