Ghost Stories from London

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As we enter Halloween Week, I bring you Ghost Stories from London. The capital city of England, London boasts a long history that stretches back to Roman times.  That history includes its fair share of darker episodes and notorious people such as Jack the Ripper.

Some of London’s iconic structures such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace are famous for reasons that go beyond interesting architecture.

Grab a cup of hot tea and settle into your favorite chair while I tell you five stories from London’s spooky side.

Ghost Stories from London title meme

Ghost Stories from London

This magnificent city, that survived plagues, fires and bombings, stands today as one of the world’s greatest cities. For more than 2000 years it’s been a major settlement for the area and a powerful, influential center for arts, commerce, education and finance.

London’s population of almost 9 million people, as of 2019, makes it the 5th largest metropolitan area in the world. It also boasts a large unseen population of spirits and ghosts who wander the streets after dark or inhabit many of the historical buildings.

Ghost Stories from London Dungeons
I highly recommend The London Dungeon, a fun interactive way to learn more about the city’s dark side.

The Tower of London Ghosts

Numerous ghosts haunt the Tower of London. This complex began as a royal palace and eventually became known for its prison. Since 1067, the Tower has experienced many deaths, mostly by executions and the occasional murder.

Supernatural activity in the Tower includes strong, repugnant smells, temperature drops in rooms, mischievous poltergeists and even a death heralding bear!

Among the more famous ghosts are the murdered young princes, Anne Boleyn and the White Woman in the Castle Keep.

Young Princes

In 1483 two young princes, Edward and Richard, came to the Tower. Their father, King Edward IV died, technically making his son Edward the next King of England. At age 12, Edward was too young to rule so his uncle Richard III became Protector of the Throne.

Unfortunately, Edward never became king. The princes disappeared, believed murdered by their ambitious uncle. The murder was never officially solved, however the skeletal remains of two young boys were found buried in a stairwell 200 years later. They are thought to be the princes.

The shadowy figures of the two little lost boys appear often in the White Tower, holding hands as they drift from room to room.

Anne Boleyn

Anne, the 2nd wife of King Henry VIII, was imprisoned in the Tower in 1536, after failing to give the king a son. She was beheaded the same year. Her ghost is spotted in different parts of the Tower, inside buildings and also outside on the Tower Green where she was executed.

Visitors report seeing her headless torso pacing the Tower at night. She’s also seen in the Chapel of St Peter, where she is buried. A captain of the guard, patrolling the Tower at night, saw a flickering light in the chapel and investigated. Peering through the window, the astonished captain watched a procession of lords, ladies and knights in armor. A small woman appeared in the center of the festivities. He identified the woman as Anne Boleyn.

After a few minutes, the light faded and the procession of ghosts disappeared.

The White Woman in the Castle Keep

The White Tower, a the center of the Tower of London, is called the Keep. Amazingly, almost all keeps in England are haunted by a similar ghost…a woman wearing white or black robes.

In The Tower Keep, visitors catch a glimpse of a woman in white, from the corner of their eyes. They then report smelling a pungent, stale perfume. Some feel as if the room closes in around them while others say that chills run down their spines. In recent years, people feel taps on the shoulder. When they turn around, there’s nothing there except a wisp of white that disappears.

Ghost Stories from London Tower of London
Ghost Stories from London – many ghosts haunt the Tower of London

Buckingham Palace Ghosts

Buckingham Palace, the royal home of English monarchy, houses hundreds of people and a host of ghosts. The two most repeated stories involve a monk and the secretary of King Edward VII, who committed suicide in an office on the first floor.

The Ghost Monk

The palace is built on the site of a monastery. A monk died there, chained in his cell. The ghost of the monk appears frequently on the palace’s rear terrace, cloaked in his brown cowl. Others report hearing the rattling of chains and moans from the same terrace at night, when no one is out there.

The King’s Secretary

During King Edward VII’s reign, from 1901 to 1910, his private secretary Major John Gwynne was involved in a scandal. After divorcing his wife, the Major couldn’t handle the rumors that followed his decision. He ultimately shot himself in the head, in a first floor office.

Today staff and employees avoid that office. They report an uneasy feeling in the room. Some claim to hear a single gunshot coming from the empty office.

Ghost Stories from London Buckingham Palace
Ghost Stories from London – Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey Ghosts

Buckingham Palace isn’t the only place in London with the ghost of a monk. Westminster Abbey has one as well, along with the ghost of an unknown soldier.

Father Benedictus

For 500 years, a Benedictine Abbey occupied the site of the Westminster Abbey. Edward the Confessor rebuilt it and from 1066 on, the current abbey serves as the place for the coronations of England’s kings and queens.

Over the centuries, during many renovations and additions, the abbey’s floor level lowered. This might explain why the ghost haunting the abbey floats a few feet above the floor. Called Father Benedictus, this spirit is frequently seen bobbing about the cloisters in the early evening.

Father Benedictus appears so solid that visitors often have conversations with him. He once helped a lost couple find their way out of the abbey. And in 1900 he entertained a group of 25 people, who watched him drift around and then disappear into a wall. Two American visitors claim the spirit spoke very politely to them during a long conversation.

The Unknown Soldier

In the abbey is the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. It is a memorial to soldiers who died during WWI. On November 11, 1920, an unidentified soldier received a royal burial in soil brought in from the battlefields of France. He rests beneath a marble stone quarried in Belgium. When the abbey becomes quiet after dark, the soldier ghost materializes beside the tomb. He stands for several minutes, head bowed, and then slowly fades away.

Ghost Stories from London Westminster Abbey
Ghost Stories from London – Westminster Abbey

The Ghosts in London’s East End

London’s most notorious person, known as Jack the Ripper, terrorized the city in 1888. The serial killer was never caught nor was his identity confirmed. He killed at least five women, all prostitutes in the Whitechapel District in London’s East End.

With the ferocity of the killings, it’s not surprising that several locations and buildings near the murder sites are haunted. The ghosts of some of the victims stalk the streets where they died. However, the Ten Bells Pub is strongly linked to the Jack the Ripper story. Located at the corner of Commercial and Fournier Streets in Spitalfields in the East End of London, this pub is connected to two of Jack’s victims, Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly.

Annie, the second victim, was reportedly seen drinking in the pub shortly before her body was found around the corner. Her ghost appears, sitting in the exact same spot where she sipped her last drink before death. She’s also known to move pints of beer, break glasses and even steal from patrons.

And staff members working at the pub claim to see a ghostly older man dressed in Victorian clothing. They’ve encountered cold spots in the pub and experience feelings of uneasiness. Others who slept upstairs in the building heard footsteps in the hall and faint laugher, when no one else was present, or woke up to find the specter lying next to them in bed!

Ghost Stories from London Jack the Ripper
Ghost Stories from London – a moody street from our Jack the Ripper Tour.

London’s Most Haunted House

Claimed by many as London’s most haunted house, 50 Berkeley Square looks like a normal townhouse from the outside. However, stories of its hauntings became so prevalent that it sat empty for many years.

The ghosts of 50 Berkeley Square include a child wearing a kilt, a young woman who committed suicide and a man who went mad, locked in a room in the attic.

A Young Man Goes Mad

A couple of people occupied the house in its early days, without incident. But when Thomas Myers moved in, in 1859, a shift occurred. Thomas prepared the house for his soon to be bride, however days before the wedding, she jilted him. Despondent, Thomas moved into a room in the attic and did not leave the house again until his death. He supposedly went mad in his seclusion. Passersby saw him moving from room to room by candlelight, late in the night.

After he died, people walking by still saw the flickering candlelight, moving throughout the house.

People who lived in the house after Thomas experienced strange things in that attic room, including seeing a brown mist appear. Several died and at least one went insane.

A maid making up a bed in the attic room for a visiting man screamed in terror. Occupants of the house found her lying on the floor, muttering “Don’t let it touch me.” She died the next day. The visitor, a Captain Kentfield, arrived and decided to sleep in the room anyway. Thirty minutes after going to bed he screamed. The house owners heard a gunshot and found him lying dead on the floor, a horrible expression on his face.

Another man, Lord Lyttelton, spent the night in the attic room, armed with a shotgun. When an apparition approached him, he fired his gun. Although he heard something fall to the floor, he couldn’t find anything beyond cartridge shells.

Shapeless Creature

Another story is the tale of two sailors who, needing a place to sleep, broke into the abandoned house in 1887 and slept in the attic room. They woke to the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs. The door creaked open and a strange shapeless creature with a huge gaping mouth entered the room.

One terrified man squeezed past the apparition and ran for help. He returned with a police officer. They found the second sailor impaled on the iron fence, below a broken window in the attic room.

Other Ghosts

Another ghost associated with 50 Berkeley Square is that of a young woman who jumped from the attic room, after suffering abuse from an uncle. And the child in the kilt is thought to be a young girl killed in the house by a servant.

Eventually the house stood vacant and run down, for many years.

Maggs Bros, antique book dealers, purchased the property and occupy the ground floor. Although staff hear strange noises from the upper floors of the house, no one goes up to check. In fact, no one is allowed to go upstairs. A posted sign warns that the upper rooms are not to be used for any reason.

Ghost Stories from London 50 Berkeley Square
Ghost Stories from London – 50 Berkeley Square, London’s most haunted house.

One More Post in This Series

Next week, just before Halloween, I’ll share the last post in this series, tales from my own hometown. I’ll include a couple of personal stories as well.

Whether you believe in ghosts, or not, I hope you are enjoying this series of scary tales from some of the world’s most amazing cities.

And I’d love to read your ghost stories, in the comments below!

Check out the other posts in this series:

Ghost Stories from Dublin

Ghost Stories from Venice

And…Ghost Stories from Edinburgh

Ghost Stories from London group shot
Group photo in front of Buckingham Palace

Great Reads from Amazon:

 


 

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Movie Review Enola Holmes

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I’m grateful this year for streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video and CBS All Access. Thanks to them, I’m able to watch fresh films and series. Recently I enjoyed watching Enola Holmes, a very fresh film indeed with a connection to familiar characters.

Playful and clever, with mysteries to solve, the movie delights and offers important life lessons, especially for girls.

Check out my spoiler free movie review for Enola Holmes.

Movie Review Enola Holmes title meme

Enola Holmes Cast

This Netflix original movie stars Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter, Louis Partridge, Adeel Akhtar, Susan Wokoma and Fiona Shaw.

Harry Bradbeer directs the adventure crime drama. The film is based on the book “The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery” by Nancy Springer. There are currently six books in the series.

Enola Holmes carries a PG-13 rating, for mild violence and some intense scenes. The run time is 2 hours and 3 minutes.

Movie Review Enola Holmes lessons
Movie Review Enola Holmes – unconventional lessons…in the house

Enola Holmes

It’s 1884 in England and the world is changing. One who keenly recognizes this is Enola Holmes (Brown), the much younger sister of Sherlock (Cavill) and Mycroft (Claflin). Due to the huge age gap, Enola hardly knows her brothers and her father died long ago. Raised by an intelligent, forward thinking and rather eccentric mother, Enola benefits from an unconventional education at home.

Rather than the traditional lessons in embroidery and housekeeping, Enola studies science, literature, art and self defense. She shoots an arrow better than she cooks. And Enola and her mother Eudoria (Carter) play word games and create secret codes to communicate with using a homemade decipher dial. Throughout her childhood, Enola…which is the word “alone” spelled backwards…experiences a free and playful lifestyle.

Her world shifts on the morning of her 16th birthday when Enola wakes up and discovers her mother missing. Perplexed, Enola only finds a birthday box from Eudoria containing a booklet on flowers, pencils and cards. When a week passes with no word from her mother, Enola notifies her older brothers, who journey home.

Movie Review Enola Holmes with mother
Movie Review Enola Holmes – learning self defense
Movie Review Enola Holmes Sherlock and Mycroft
Movie Review Enola Holmes – Sherlock and Mycroft

The Holmes Brothers

Mycroft Holmes is a wealthy aristocrat, working for the government. And Sherlock has earned a reputation as a brilliant detective. It’s been many years since they’ve seen their baby sister. Mycroft is horrified by her disheveled appearance and the disarray at the house, Ferndell Hall.

Mycroft sends money to Eudoria each month, for a carriage and household staff and teachers for Enola, all of which are nonexistent. As Sherlock uses his analytical skills in the house, he realizes no foul play is involved. Eudoria left freely and apparently does not intend to come back. Why, the siblings do not know.

And what to do with their young sister? Enola cannot manage the estate alone.

Mycroft, who finds his sister annoying, plans to send her to a boarding school for what he considers much needed refinement. He is her guardian, after all.

Sherlock feels more sympathy for the girl and finds her interesting and clever. However, decisions for her future are not his to make.

Mycroft sends for Miss Harrison (Shaw), the strict head mistress of Miss Harrison’s Finishing School for Young Ladies. Although Enola begs to remain at home, Mycroft makes arrangements to send her to the school.

On her last night at home, Enola discovers an encrypted message in the birthday box from her mother. Following the clues she uncovers money that her mother left for her and a note: “Our future is up to you”. Dressing as a boy, Enola runs away, boarding a train for London.

Movie Review Enola Holmes with Sherlock
Movie Review Enola Holmes – brother and sister chat

The Missing Marquess

On the train, Enola meets a boy her age when he pops out of a large travel bag. He introduces himself as Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquis of Basilweather (Partridge). He too is running away, from a family who doesn’t understand him.

Enola wants nothing to do with the young viscount…until she hears him screaming for help. She finds a man trying to kill the boy. Enola fights off the attacker and together she and Tewkesbury leap from the train.

Walking toward London, the pair of teenagers share their stories. A friendship forms between them.

Reaching their destination, they go separate ways. Enola uses the money from her mother to buy fashionable clothing and rent a room in a boarding house. She takes on the disguise of a noblewoman while looking for her mother. Enola leaves secret messages in the newspapers, for her mother, and tracks down a correspondent Eudoria wrote to often, Ethel (Wokoma). Ethel tells Enola that Eudoria does not want to be found and that she has secret…and important…work to do.

Abandoning her search, Enola discovers that Tewkesbury’s life is in danger, as is her own. Throwing caution aside, Enola goes into detective mode, to unravel where the boy is hiding and why an assailant hunts for him.

Mycroft hires Detective Lestrade (Akhtar) to locate Enola, however Sherlock uses his own sleuthing skills to hunt for his clever and elusive sister. The game is afoot! Or in this multiple level mystery, the games are on. It’s a race to see who finds whom first…and who uncovers the deeper secrets.

Movie Review Enola Holmes with the marquess
Movie Review Enola Holmes – the young viscount
Movie Review Enola Holmes siblings
Movie Review Enola Holmes – siblings

My Thoughts on Enola Holmes

I thoroughly enjoyed this fun, well done film. Sherlock and Mycroft are familiar and recognizably in character however it is young Enola who dominates the story. Millie Bobby Brown, whose star is certainly rising since her role in Stranger Things, is amazing to watch as Enola.

This movie was in fact her idea. Millie and her sister Paige approached the author of the Enola Holmes series with the idea for the movie. As a result, Millie receives producer credits for the film. At age 16 she’s one of the youngest actresses to ever receive that distinction.

Enola Holmes is a powerful film for girls to watch. I love the relationship between the young detective and her mother and the unconventional way the girl was raised. And I like the growing relationship between Sherlock and his sister. Enola exhibits intelligence, resourcefulness, strength and character apart from her brothers. She knows what she wants to do…and she figures out how to do it, learning from mistakes as she goes. I laughed and smiled and teared up a few times.

Intending to recommend the movie to my almost 12 year old granddaughter, I discovered when I mentioned it that she’d already watched it. She loved it too. Aubrey enjoyed the mysteries and the clues and liked the young viscount’s friendship with Enola. I had fun discussing the movie with her. We both hope the other five books in the series become sequels to this first successful film. Enola Holmes leaves that possibility wide open.

Have you seen Enola Holmes yet, on Netflix? What did you think?

Movie Review Enola Holmes poster

Did you enjoy this movie review? You might also like these:

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Emma

Find the Enola Holmes Mystery Series on Amazon:

 


 

 

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Ghost Stories from Edinburgh

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Off to Edinburgh, Scotland for the third installment in the October Ghost Story Series. I decided to hold off for another week on my own hometown spooky tale.

Ah Edinburgh, my favorite city in the world. The capital of Scotland, this magical city offers much to enchant the visitor. With its charming cobblestone streets, medieval castle and historical stone buildings, Old Town delights while it hides a few secrets.

Check out these ghost stories from Edinburgh.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh title meme

Edinburgh’s Long History

This city, nicknamed Auld Reekie, possesses a long, colorful history full of acts of bravery and the macabre. A center for education, philosophy, arts, literature, science and engineering, Edinburgh typically attracts millions of visitors a year. In fact, it is the second most visited city in the UK, right behind London.

Ghost hunters considered it a hot spot for paranormal activity. That’s not surprising considering its history that spans thousands of years and the labyrinth of passageways and rooms hidden beneath the streets and bridges of Old Town. I find the energy of Edinburgh electrifying and interesting, rather than frightening or dark.

“Scotland incorporates magic so thoroughly into its everyday life that the official national animal is the unicorn and its capital city, Edinburgh, counts “being haunted” among its local industries.” Unknown

Check out these five tales. And as a three time visitor to Edinburgh, I’ll share a couple of my own ghostly encounters.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh unicorn
Magical Scotland claims the unicorn as its national animal so you know anything can happen here!

Greyfriars Kirkyard

This kirkyard, Scottish for churchyard or cemetery, is known to house a number of ghosts. Among the most famous, and on opposite ends of the scary spectrum, are Greyfriars Bobby and Bloody MacKenzie.

Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby is the small Skye Terrier dog that loyally remained at his owner’s grave, long after the man passed away. For 14 years the pup stayed nearby, surviving due to the kindness of the fine people of Edinburgh, until he too died and was buried in the kirkyard. Today visitors wandering in the kirkyard tell of hearing a small dog barking, near Bobby’s grave, when no dog is present. It seems that Bobby guards his owner’s resting place still.

Bloody MacKenzie

And then there is the more frightening ghost of the man called Bloody MacKenzie. A wealthy lord and lawyer, George MacKenzie punished thousands of Scots in the late 1600s, who refused to change their religion to the national one. It’s believed he’s personally responsible for more than 18,000 gruesome deaths, earning him the name Bloody MacKenzie.

MacKenzie rests in his mausoleum in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Or at least, he did until his tomb was disturbed by a homeless man who broke in late one night. The frightened man fell through the floor of the mausoleum, into a mass grave filled with plague victims from centuries before.

Since that night, MacKenzie prowls the graveyard. And although his mausoleum is closed to the public, ghost tours routinely take people inside. More than 450 people claim vicious attacks occurred, from an invisible assailant, while they were inside the building. Injuries include bruises, burns, scratches, lacerations and even broken bones. One woman passed out when unseen hands strangled her.

Others report hearing strange noises near the mausoleum or feeling nauseated as they walk by it. An exorcism was attempted at the mausoleum, in 2000, by minister Colin Grant. He claimed he felt the torment of hundreds of souls and the presence of evil. He left Greyfriars Kirkyard, distressed, and died a few weeks later of a heart attack.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh MacKenzie Mausoleum
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Bloody MacKenzie’s mausoleum

Grassmarket

Every medieval town used a square for public executions. This is true for Edinburgh as well. Nestled in the heart of Old Town, with fine views of nearby Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket’s history includes a dark side.

Hundreds of criminals and people accused of witchcraft died there, up until 1886.

As you might imagine, especially for those labeled as witches, many people were innocent of their supposed crimes. Women thought to practice witchcraft suffered sleep deprivation until they finally confessed to crimes they did not do. As a result, the punishment was hanging or worse, burning alive.

Those innocents now haunt the Grassmarket area, sighing and sobbing over their unjust deaths.

Additionally, the White Hart Inn, located in Grassmarket, is one of Edinburgh’s oldest, and most haunted pubs. Parts of the pub date back to 1516. Paranormal activity there includes accounts of hair pulling, bottle throwing and apparitions captured in photos. Staff often hear footsteps upstairs, after the bar closes, and ghost hunters recorded a voice in that space saying “help me”.

Pub visitors also report seeing a pair of detached legs walking about and a ghost that hovers in the center of the cellar.

Historically, the murdering duo Burke and Hare lured victims away from the pub and killed them nearby. And a prostitute died in the pub in the 1800s.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh Grassmarket
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Grassmarket

Haunted Tolbooth Tavern

On the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s Canongate area is home to one of the city’s iconic buildings, the Tolbooth. Dating back to 1591, tolls were collected here, from people traveling into the city.

The building housed an administrative center, courthouse and a prison before transforming into a pub in 1820.

Several ghosts, possibly the spirits of former prisoners, create havoc in the Tolbooth Tavern. Their antics include knocking pictures off the walls, flinging drinks from the tables and making banging and knocking noises.

Pub visitors report seeing ghosts dressed in old fashioned military uniforms. Historians speculate they are the departed spirits of jailer James Park and his assistant, who found themselves incarcerated in their own prison after helping prisoners escape.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh Canongate Tolbooth
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Tolbooth Tavern

Mary King’s Close

In Edinburgh, closes are narrow covered alleyways that branch off the Royal Mile. Mary King’s Close is named after a merchant burgess who resided on the close in the 17th century. Many people shared the close with Mary, packed into tall buildings. With no proper sewer system in the city, residents dumped waste into the streets, which attracted rats.

Those rats carried diseases such as the bubonic plague to the inhabitants, bringing death to Mary King’s Close. Legend says that the close was walled up, leaving the tenants to die horribly. In reality, the people were cared for as well as they could be, for those times. Many people died in the close, regardless of which story is true. The last occupant of Mary King’s Close moved out in 1902 and the area was sealed up.

The close lay abandoned and inaccessible for many years, buried beneath the Royal Exchange. Stories of hauntings began after workers reopened the area when they drilled down into the close accidently. The site is a popular tourist attraction today.

Annie’s Room

One of the most famous ghosts in the close is Annie. In 1992 a Japanese psychic picked up on feelings of hunger, sadness and pain inside a room. The psychic spoke to the ghost of a young girl named Annie, who claimed she was abandoned during the plague and died in the room. She said she couldn’t find her doll.

Feeling sad for Annie, the psychic purchased a new doll for the girl. Since that day, visitors from around the world honor Annie and try to make her happy by bringing her dolls, toys and jewelry. First responders such as police officers and firemen leave their badges as a sign of respect.

People that enter Annie’s Room report feeling inexplicable cold spots and claim a little hand grabs theirs.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh Mary Kings Close
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Mary King’s Close and Annie’s Room

Edinburgh Castle

High atop a volcanic rock, Edinburgh Castle perches majestically above the city. Surrounded by tall granite walls that shield 900 years of history, many ghosts supposedly haunt the castle grounds.

There’s the young piper who, two hundred years ago, set off to explore the castle’s hidden passageways that lead to the Royal Mile. He played his bagpipes so that people above ground knew his location. The music suddenly stopped and the boy disappeared without a trace. His body was never found but the haunting sounds of his bagpipe echo beneath the castle.

In the dungeons, a headless drummer boy wanders about. And a group of French soldiers, captured during the  Seven Years War, often make appearances in the dungeons as well.

Other activity includes shadowy figures walking around, sudden temperature drops and unseen hands tugging on shirt sleeves and trousers.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh castle
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – the castle

My Own Ghost Stories from Edinburgh

I visited Edinburgh in 2014, 2017 and 2019. On two of those three visits, I experienced my own supernatural encounters.

Haunted Vaults

In 2014, two of my cousins and I explored Edinburgh’s underground on the Haunted Vaults Tour. Experienced primarily in the dark, with only the guide’s lantern for illumination, the vaults are extremely creepy. After leaving one of the vaults, the tour guide stopped talking as we all heard a loud crash from the dark room we’d just left. We all crept back into the room where she shone her light around, looking for the source of the sound. Nothing appeared out of order and no explanation for the noise was discovered. As I stood in the deep shadows at the back of the room, I felt a small cold hand take my right one. Surprised I turned to look. No one stood next to me on my right. I continued to feel that hand holding mine until we left the next room.

Shadow Figure in the Apartment

And in 2019, my sister and I shared a cute renovated apartment for the duration of our stay in Edinburgh. The building, hundreds of years old, formerly housed offices.

We experienced several instances of electrical things turning off on their own but we shrugged them off. However, one night, after a long day of walking in the city, I struggled to fall asleep. Restlessness overtook me. I began to hear popping noises in the kitchen and then the dining area and finally the living room. For me, restlessness and popping sounds are signs that spirit is with me.

Peering into the dimly lit living room, through the bedroom door, I saw the dark figure of a man walk by. He headed toward the window on the far side of the room, then suddenly changed directions and walked to the bedroom door. As I watched, the shadowy figure stopped at the door and looked around before turning away and disappearing. We slept with a light on in the living room, after that, so I could see better if the shadow man returned. He didn’t appear again.

However, I woke up a couple of mornings later, with two small burns on my left forearm, that weren’t there when I went to bed. I have no explanation for how I received those burns.

Will I visit Edinburgh again? Absolutely! I love this city with all my heart and I’d happily stay in the same apartment. For me, the veil between this world and the spirit world is thin. That fact no longer stops me from exploring and experiencing the world.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh - burns
Unexplainable burns while in Edinburgh

More Ghost Stories

Check out these stories from Ireland and Italy:

Ghost Stories from Dublin

Ghost Stories from Venice

Do you have a ghost story to share? Add it to the comments below!

Ghosts Stories from Edinburgh group photo
Group photo in Greyfriars Kirkyard

 


 

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Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

Weeks away from the next major holiday, I did something I’ve never done before. I decorated for Halloween. While I always switch my front porch and house decor to fall in early September, I typically don’t add in Halloween decorations. That’s a bit surprising, since Halloween is big in my family and I even have a grandchild who shares her birthday with the holiday.

However, this year I received an add on box from Decocrated, full of cute Halloween pieces. What fun! I’m decorating for Halloween with Decocrated and loving the mix of holiday and fall decor.

Check out how I freshened up my home for Halloween.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated title meme

Decocrated Add On Boxes

Decocrated Curated Home is a home decor subscription box company. Their boxes ship out four times a year. Each box contains seven to eight curated seasonal items. Check out my fall box review.

I’ve now completed a full year of Decocrated boxes, as I started with the winter box last year. It’s like Christmas four times a year! I love receiving the boxes, which come right to my front door, and discovering what’s inside.

As a bonus, those who subscribe with a seasonal box or a yearly subscription have the opportunity to purchase add on boxes for $39.00. What a bargain! The Halloween box is my first add on and I love it. See how I included the fun pieces in my fall decor.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated small bookshelf
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – the small bookshelf

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated

I incorporated the Decocrated Halloween pieces in three areas of my home, expanding on the fall decor already there or swapping out items. Since I leave fall decorations up until right after Thanksgiving, I can either remove the Halloween pieces after the holiday or simply leave them up until I switch to Christmas in late November.

The Small Bookcase

I decorated the top of this small bookcase for fall, featuring pieces from Decocrated.  Leaving that shelf as is, I focused on decorating the rest of the bookcase, in a mix of fall and Halloween pieces.

On the second shelf I added the rustic wood and wire shelf, tucking in a tiny fall pillow, a pumpkin and the additional wooden sign from the Decocrated fall box. Greg attached two small screws to the back of the sign to act as hangers. A candle with a metal shade and a fabric pillow, all resting on a buffalo plaid cloth, complete shelf two.

I filled the third shelf with a cute fabric basket and a plump pillow. The basket, a gift from my grandchildren, holds pumpkins and a string of wooden beads. The pillow cover, with the words “I PUT A SPELL ON YOU”, comes from  the Decocrated Halloween box.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated spell
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – I Put a Spell on You pillow cover
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated tall bookshelf
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – tall bookcase

Tall Bookcase

Typically, this bookcase receives a makeover twice a year…for Christmas and after that holiday, an everyday look. I had fun decorating it for fall and Halloween, thanks to Decocrated!

Top Shelf

The top shelf shows off a collection of potion bottles from the Halloween box, partnered up with the teal and orange pumpkins from the fall box. On the other end, a wire cloche holds orange, gray and white mini pumpkins. The Halloween tabletop art is from the Halloween box. And the white jar candle and striped linen both came from Target.

I left the postcard art from Italy on the wall, after considering whether to remove it or not. I decided the postcard colors work well with the fall and Halloween decor.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated potions
These resin potion bottles are so cute!
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated boo
I love the small tabletop art. Boo!

Second Shelf

While the top shelf features a mix of fall colors, the second shelf uses typical Halloween colors of orange and black.

The black metal lanterns are my favorite items from the Halloween box. They look so pretty with tea light candles glowing from within. Plus they will work well during other seasons. I’m using a lot of black and white buffalo plaid for Christmas this year so these lanterns will stay out. The “haunted” sign comes from Michael’s while the black and orange linen is a bandana from Target. I used a small box beneath the cloth, as a riser for the large lantern.

On the other end of the shelf, the art print in the frame is from the fall box. I found the trio of cardboard books at Target and the small black vase is a Hobby Lobby find. The black key, a nod to my symbol for this year, is from Michael’s. I snipped off strands from a garland of orange beads to tuck into the vase.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated haunted
Love these metal lanterns!
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated art print
Double Double Toil and Trouble art print is from the fall box.

Third Shelf

A vintage looking teal tray holds an assortment of items, from a stack of Celtic books to cinnamon scented pods to fall candle holders. All of these items are from my stash of decor. I love how the Decocrated items easily mix with what I already own.

The black lantern on the other end is from the spring Decocrated box. That’s the other thing I appreciate. Decocrated items from different seasons mix together well. A stack of pumpkins rests on a fall candle ring in the lantern.

Not shown…the fourth shelf holds a shadow box with tickets and a print from a Dracula Ballet performance and candles in a long metal holder.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated 3rd shelf
A mix of items decorate the third shelf.

Dining Room Table

And for my feature spot, on the round dining room table, I swapped out fall decor for similar items with more of a Halloween feel.

The wooden crate, from the fall box, gets refreshed with white and black and white buffalo plaid mini pumpkins. Decorating tip: rather than fill the whole crate with pumpkins, I stuffed the bottom of the crate with wadded up plastic shopping bags, covered those with a black and white plaid cloth and THEN added the mini pumpkins.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated moon
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – wooden crate gets refreshed

I replaced the colorful felt garland around the black metal candle ring, also from the fall box, with a burlap and black and white fabric garland. White tapers went into the candle ring, replacing the orange ones from fall. The Hocus Pocus tabletop sign in the middle of the ring is from Target and it’s perfect!

The little photo holder gets a new double sided art print, from the Halloween box. One side says “It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus” while the other side says “Trick or Treat”. I like both sides, so I switch it around every few days.

The black and white table runner is from the fall box and the orange jar candle comes from Target.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated candle ring
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – candle ring from the fall box

I really love the black and white Halloween theme on the table. The photo holder, one side of the art print and the jar candle bring in pops of orange. With the lights off and candles lit, this whole vignette seems to glow in the dark.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated dining table decor
Dining room table vignette

Decocrated Subscription Boxes

Isn’t the Halloween decor fun? I loved mixing it in with the fall pieces for a fresh holiday look. Granddaughter Aubrey, my Halloween birthday girl, walked through my house over the weekend, looking at my decor. She gave it a thumbs up.

Would you like to receive these amazing boxes to your front door? You can!

The fall box AND the Halloween box are sold out, and no surprise. The quality is excellent and the items work well with all styles of decor. Each person can tell their own unique decorating story, with a little help from Decocrated.

The WINTER box is on sale NOW. And with the purchase of the winter box, or a yearly subscription, the Easter add on box becomes available. Don’t miss out!

Use this link, DECOCRATED, and type in my codes for a discount. Use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10 to save $10 off a seasonal box. OR use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE30 to get $30 off a yearly subscription. Then watch for an email about purchasing an add on box, if you want one.

I’ve received so much joy from this company’s subscription boxes. Opening up these boxes immediately fires up my creativity and my playful side happily takes over.

I look forward to creating with the winter and Christmas boxes.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated trick or treat
The dining room vignette with the Trick or Treat side of the art print.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Ghost Stories from Venice

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

In the second installment of the Ghost Stories from… series, we turn to beautiful Venice, Italy. This magical city, occupying a cluster of islands in the Venice Lagoon, captivates with its canals, history and charm. My daughter, grandson and I loved exploring this amazing city.

Haunting is another word that describes Venice. Like most cities, Venice has its dark side too. Wandering the narrow streets after sunset, especially when the fog rolls in, sends a chill down the spine that isn’t entirely caused by the weather.

The city’s long history is filled with stories of rebellions, conquests and death. It’s not surprising that energy lingers there. Check out these ghost stories from Venice, for a peek at the city’s mysterious side.

Ghost Stories from Venice title meme

Ghost Stories from Venice

Water is a great conductor of electricity and also of supernatural energy. Hauntings and water seem to go together. Whether from deep dark pools, rivers or even the moisture that accumulates within the walls of a house, water often amplifies ghostly activity. With its lagoon and 150 canals, water literally surrounds Venice and flows through it. And because the city is slowly sinking into the lagoon, many buildings and cathedrals have flooded subfloors and crypts.

No wonder Venice is not only one of the most uniquely beautiful cities in the world, but also one of the most haunted.

As you explore Venice, keep these locations and ghost stories in mind.

Ca’ Dario

Also known as Palazzo Dario, or Dario Palace, this house is also dubbed “the house that kills”.

Giovanni Dario, a local official, built the gothic palace on the Grand Canal in the late 1400s. After financial ruin and death, his daughter Marietta and her husband inherited the house. The husband died soon after, murdered, and Marietta committed suicide by throwing herself into the Grand Canal. Their son died a short time later in an ambush.

Over the centuries the palace continues to change hands. The owners have all been murdered, committed suicide, suffered horrible accidents or illnesses or experienced disastrous financial ruin.

Even leasing the palace comes with risks. In 2002 bass player John Entwistle died of a heart attack a week after renting the palace for a vacation.

A US company purchased Ca’ Dario in 2006, on behalf of a wealthy American woman. It’s currently undergoing renovations. Would you stay there? I would not!

Ghost Stories from Venice Ca Dario
Ghost Stories from Venice – Ca’ Dario, the house that kills.

Ghost of the Venice Bell Ringer

There once lived a man who rang the bells in the bell tower, or campanile, on St. Mark’s Square. Because he was quite tall, a Venetian scientist offered the bell ringer a large sum of money for his skeleton, after death.

Spurred on by greed, the tall man accepted the cash in exchange for giving his skeleton to the scientist. With this unexpected wealth, he promptly drank himself into an early grave.

After death, the bell ringer apparently regretted the deal he made. His ghost haunts Bressana Court where he begs visitors for money so that he can buy back his skeleton.

The actual skeleton of the man resides in Venice’s Natural History Museum. The skeleton shows that the man was indeed very tall. It is also said that the skeleton creeps out of the museum at night to ring the twelve bells of St. Mark’s Campanile.

Ghost Stories from Venice clock tower
Ghost Stories from Venice – the ghost of the bell ringer

The Bride Ghost of Venice

Those who walk Venice at night risk running into the ghost of a young bride.

Tosca, a beautiful but poor young woman from Treviso, was betrothed to a wealthy, older nobleman. However, she fell in love with a young hunter and the pair ran away to Venice. The jilted groom tracked down the couple and killed the hunter. He cut off Tosca’s ring finger, declaring that no man would wed her if he didn’t.

Tosca took her own life on September 22, 1379. Her ghost, wearing a wedding dress, wanders Venice after dark, searching for her missing finger.

Ghost Stories from Venice bell tower
Ghost Stories from Venice – watch for the Bride Ghost wandering Venice after dark

The Serpent of Punta della Dogana

Ghosts aren’t the only supernatural inhabitants of Venice. Punta della Dogana is the triangular shaped land mass jutting out between the Grand Canal and The Guidecca Canal.

Allegedly, a cousin of Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster inhabits the swirling waters just off the tip of Punta della Dogana. This beast’s body resembles a large, dark colored snake while the head looks horse-like.  It hides in a hollow beneath the land.

Fishermen swear that the sea serpent appears out of the dark waters on moonless nights, earning it the nickname “the black water monster”. One witness, in 1933, claims he saw the serpent rise above the surface to catch and eat a sea gull in a single gobble.

Ghost Stories from Venice grand canal
Ghost Stories from Venice – the domed buildings in this photo are on the Punta della Dogana

Poveglia Island

Known as one of the most haunted places in the world, Poveglia Island, located between Venice and Lido, originally served as a port. During the bubonic plaque, the small island became Venice’s dumping ground for dying and dead Venetians. Over the centuries, anytime an epidemic came along, the infected went to Poveglia. Most remained there until they died. The dead were buried in huge mass graves.

In 1922 Venice established an asylum on the island as a place to hide the city’s mentally ill and seriously ill citizens. Sadly, one of the asylum doctors performed cruel experiments on patients, in the island bell tower. He met his death by falling from that very tower. Some claim the ghosts of his victims pushed him. The story goes that he actually survived the fall, but a mist surrounded him and swallowed him up, finishing him off.

More than 160,000 deaths reportedly occurred on Poveglia, earning it the name of “the island of no return.” Visitors are no longer allowed on the island. Past visitors, including paranormal researchers, call it the final restless place of thousands of diseased and insane people who died there.

Ghost Stories from Venice Poveglia Island
Ghost Stories from Venice – Poveglia Island, one of the most haunted places in the world

October Ghost Story Series

You can check out last week’s Ghost Stories from Dublin, the first post in this month long series. Next week, watch for a local ghost tale from my own city. I’ll be checking out the famous Joplin Spook Light.

Have you ever had an ghostly encounter?

Share your stories in the comments below.

Ghost Stories from Venice
Ghost Stories from Venice

When in Venice, check out this walking ghost tour.

 


 

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Practicing Self Gratitude

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Gratitude is the quality of thankfulness and the readiness to show appreciation for kindness. Expressing gratitude on a daily basis can shift life in powerful ways. I know. I’ve experienced how life changing gratitude is.

About ten years ago, during the process of facing lifelong fears and moving beyond them, I recognized the role gratitude plays in raising quality of life. What I learned is just like there is a connection between loving oneself and loving others, there is a similar connection between expressing gratitude for self and feeling gratitude for other things.

We find it difficult to love others, unconditionally and without expectations, if we can’t love ourselves first. And equally difficult, feeling genuine gratitude for others and for life challenges us if we can’t feel gratitude first for who we are.

In fact, I’ve found that practicing self gratitude helps us to more easily love ourselves, raise our vibrational energy and then love and appreciate others.

Signs That Self Gratitude is Lacking

How do we know if self gratitude is an issue? We experience the following:

  • discouragement, frustration, anger
  • negative thoughts and emotions about ourselves and others
  • refusal to look into a mirror
  • dislike of being in photos
  • criticism of self
  • dislike or hate of self
  • putting self down or making negative jokes about self
  • difficulty coming up with anything to express gratitude for
  • criticism of others, especially when they remind us of ourselves

A common  gratitude practice involves listing things we feel thankful for. When the page remains blank because nothing comes to mind or only a few items make the list, then a deeper issue needs attention. It truly is hard to feel grateful for others or for blessings when we can’t summon gratitude for who we are and what we offer.

I discovered, while working through issues with fear, that the biggest fear I had was fully accepting and appreciating myself, gifts, quirks and all. Fear of shining as my true self kept me small, especially since I’d worked my whole life to keep parts of myself hidden away.

I found a natural progression of acceptance of self, gratitude for self and finally love for self. That inner work changed my life and created a different outer world. Creativity ramped up. Opportunities presented themselves. Doors opened.

Practicing Self Gratitude art
One of the results of practicing self gratitude is an increase in creativity. Book art that I created, about my journey.

Self Acceptance and Self Gratitude Go Together

It’s difficult to experience self gratitude before completely accepting self first. And look, that doesn’t mean we can’t change. In fact, I thrive brilliantly on that delicate tension between accepting who I am at this moment and constantly shifting and changing who I am as I grow.

Start with fully accepting who you are. Do a “this is me” list of all of your characteristics, your abilities and your gifts. Then add those quirky things about yourself that others may not understand. Finally add the things that you’ve been taught are too much or not enough. These are the characteristics that make you unique, even if others don’t appreciate them. And don’t forget physical characteristics…those you like and those you don’t.

My list included a wide array of qualities such as “loves people” and yet, equally true, “distrusts individuals”. And “loyal” and “stubborn” both made the list as did “tends to follow the rules” and “longs for freedom to make my own rules”. For me, the most difficult part of myself to appreciate was my intuitive side. I’m sensitive to energy, empathic, psychic and I experience those who have passed on. Yes, I know when dead people are around and my spider sense brings me all kinds of information that I don’t always want.

I came to accept and appreciate all aspects of myself. You can too. Go back through your list and genuinely accept everything about who you are…your appearance, your abilities, your strengths and your weaknesses. Tell yourself, “This is me. This is who I am.”

Practicing Self Gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a wonderful part of practicing self gratitude.

Discovering Self Gratitude

It may take days, weeks, months of work to fully accept yourself. However, it’s worth the effort and time. YOU are worth the effort and time. The healing that it brings to the heart is powerful. After living with a divided and fractured heart for so long, creating a whole heart felt unbelievably healthy. And, I found that I needed a whole heart…what I considered my “normal” side and my “weird side”…to fully live as the person I am meant to be. It’s that important.

Now go back through your extensive list and express gratitude for all those things about yourself that you accept. Start each sentence with “I am grateful for…” and fill in the blank. “I am grateful for…my courage to do hard things…my green eyes…my love of plants.”

If you get stuck on a characteristic, back up and remind yourself that “this is me” and go deeper into acceptance.

I could physically feel my heart changing as I practiced self gratitude for the first time. Tears came to my eyes and it felt like I could finally take a deep, deep breath.

At the time of this work, I’d suffered for more than ten years with constant pain due to sciatica. I especially struggled with my left leg. Accepting what was, at that time, and feeling gratitude and appreciation for all that leg did to walk and move in pain, helped. Eventually I discovered freedom from pain through a plant based lifestyle. However, I expressed gratitude often for my body and left leg, even through the most challenging times. Did that stop me from seeking healing? No. I could express gratitude for my wayward leg and still desire healing and make the changes that delivered it.

Practicing Self Gratitude quote

Practicing Self Gratitude

Practicing self gratitude is an ongoing journey. It’s not a do it once and you are done thing.

Include these self gratitude practices in your life:

  • begin the day with gratitude for self “I am grateful for my strength…the opportunity to work today…my creative ideas.”
  • express gratitude throughout the day
  • shift negative thoughts immediately and express gratitude. Turn “I am stupid!” into “I am grateful I realized that I made a mistake. I’ll change it.”
  • pause several times a day and simply say, “I am grateful.”
  • create a vision board, full of things about yourself that you feel grateful for
  • reward your accomplishments (not with food, please, unless it’s healthy) with something you enjoy and express gratitude for what you did
  • end the day with gratitude…write a gratitude list or speak your gratitudes aloud

Truly, practicing self gratitude transforms the life. And gratitude then flows outward to others, to all things, to life itself, to God. It becomes easier to appreciate others. Kindness from others is received and rejoiced over and passed on. Blessings multiply. And I’ve found that I can shift anxiety by finding things about the situation to express gratitude for.

My journey in practicing gratitude continues. I learn and grow through the experiences and find that my trust deepens. My gratitude extends to the Divine and throughout each day, during continual conversations with God, my simple prayer is “I am grateful.”

And, I am.

Practicing Self Gratitude cup of tea
I am grateful.

Posts About Fear

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Gratitude Journals from Amazon:

 


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

Ghost Stories from Dublin

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Beautiful Dublin is an enchanting and magical city.  The capital of Ireland, Dublin contains many historic buildings, including a 13th century castle and the stately St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191.

So it’s no surprise that the ancient city offers up more than a few ghost stories and haunted places. Some of those quaint stone buildings on cobblestone streets have darker stories to tell.

During the month of October, when spookiness abounds, I’m excited to present a series of Friday travel posts featuring ghost stories from five different countries. Read along each week, if you dare!

Ghost Stories from Dublin title meme

Bram Stoker

Besides being a city of haunts and ghosts, Dublin gave the world a master of horror, Bram Stoker. Best known for his 1897 gothic novel, Dracula, Stoker drew inspiration from a cemetery near his childhood home. A sickly child, Stoker spent hours on his own, wandering in Ballybough Cemetery. In this graveyard reserved for criminals and suicides, people drove wooden stakes through the victims’ hearts, to make sure they were dead and stayed that way. That grim custom became the origin for killing vampires in Stoker’s famous story.

Bram Stoker’s family owned a crypt in St. Michan’s Church and as a boy, Stoker often visited the below ground vault. Today it houses a collection of mummified bodies that fell out of their coffins as the wood disintegrated. As you might imagine, this vault beneath the church is labeled as haunted.

The next time you visit Dublin, check out these famous, spooky places.

Dublin Castle

This 13th century castle served for centuries as the headquarters for the British administration in Dublin. The castle was the center for invasions, battles, military strategies and countless persecutions. As a result, many people met untimely and often horrific deaths there.

During its early years, under King John of England, the heads of would be invaders were spiked upon the outer wall as a deterrent to enemies. The headless bodies rotted on the ground below. People claim to hear the moans and cries of the victims.

And in the dark dungeons many suffered torture and death for their crimes or their faith. Stories tell of convicted thief Roger de Fynglas and a poor widow who refused to renounce her faith, both left to starve within cells in the dungeon. De Fynglas’ spirit supposedly remains in his cell to this day. And the widow, whose own son imprisoned her, weeps in the dungeon, brokenhearted.

Ghost Stories from Dublin castle
Ghost Stories from Dublin – Dublin Castle

The Green Lady

Considered Dublin’s most famous ghost, the Green Lady haunts the grounds near St. Audoen’s Church, built in 1190. Many people claim to have seen the specter. She is believed to be Dorcas Kelly, executed as a witch for the murder of her unborn child.

The Sheriff of Dublin, Simon Luttrell, put her to death. He was a member of a secret occult group called the Hellfire Club, and supposedly fathered Kelly’s child. Allegedly, Kelly threatened to out Luttrell as a member of the club. The accused woman publicly burned to death at St. Stephen’s Green in 1746.

The Green Lady haunts the area near the bottom of the 40 steps leading to the church. She appears dressed all in green.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Audoens tower
Ghost Stories from Dublin – The Green Lady haunts St Audoen’s grounds. This is St Audeon’s tower.

Ghost Girl in the Shelbourne Hotel

On St. Stephen’s Green, the famous Shelbourne Hotel welcomes guests from around the world. However, one uninvited guest refuses to leave. Built in 1824, the elegant hotel replaced townhouses built along the edge of the Green.

A seven year old girl, Mary Masters, apparently died of cholera. She lived in one of those townhouses. Staff report seeing Mary in the basement while they do laundry or stock the wine cellar. Hotel guests share chilling tales of encountering the ghost girl in their rooms.

One recent guest, an actress working in Dublin on a film, reported a presence in her room, when she awoke in the dark. She heard a giggle and then felt an unexplained breeze across her body, followed by slamming doors. Not finding anyone in her room, she shared her story with staff the next morning and learned about Mary.

Other guests tell of a presence sitting on the bed, the sounds of a small girl crying and invisible touches on the cheek or arms.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Stephens Green
St Stephen’s Green is surrounded by haunted buildings, including the Shelbourne Hotel.

Rubrics Building, Trinity College

Trinity College houses some of Ireland’s precious historical artifacts. It’s also the site for a haunting.

Former college lecturer Edward Ford lived in the Rubrics Building on campus, in 1734. Considered an ill tempered man, he did not appreciate it when a group of rowdy students threw stones at his window. He sought to scatter the students by firing a pistol at them.

The students did disperse, however they sought revenge. The drunken young men returned to their rooms, picked up firearms of their own, and decided to teach Edward Ford a lesson. Although it’s thought they didn’t intend to kill Ford, they fired through his window, mortally wounding him.

Students and staff report seeing a sad man in a powdered wig and Georgian attire wandering around the Rubrics Building.

Ghost Stories from Dublin Trinity College
Ghost Stories from Dublin – Trinity College

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Jonathan Swift, known for his book “Gulliver’s Travels”, was appointed Dean of St. Patrick’s in 1713. He died October 19, 1743 and he’s buried beneath the floor. The cathedral displays Swift’s chair, table and bookcases and two of his death masks.

Swift supposedly haunts two areas, the cathedral itself and the deanery beside the church, where he lived until his death.

The story goes that any worshipper who dares to fall asleep during a sermon might wake up to find an angry Swift looming over him.

And tenants living in the deanery after Swift’s death, up to the present day, tell of sensing a benevolent presence in the house. Some have reported seeing the ghost of an older man slowly climb the stairs to the dean’s bedroom above. At least one later occupant of the house, feeling sure an intruder broke in when he saw the older man, searched the house thoroughly and found no one there.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Patricks Cathedral
Ghost Stories from Dublin – St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

There are many other haunts in Dublin and a wealth of ghost stories. These five are among the most famous. Currently, with COVID travel restrictions, most of the city’s ghost tours are temporarily closed. However, someday, perhaps by next October, visitors will once again walk the narrow streets of Dublin, seeking the paranormal…and finding it.

If you want to experience Dublin’s darker side, in a fun way, try the Gravedigger Ghost Tour.

Do you believe in ghosts? I do. I’ve experienced the supernatural since birth. I’d love to read your spooky stories in the comments below. And watch this space next week, where I’ll offer ghost stories from Italy.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Patricks clock tower
Ghost Stories from Dublin – St. Patrick’s clock tower.

More Tales from Ireland:

St. Stephen’s Green Dublin

Explore Dublin’s Temple Bar Area


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Fun British Phrases and What They Mean

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

One of the things I enjoy when I visit other countries is the accent of the locals.  The Scottish, Irish and British all speak English, and yet they sound very different from each other and from Americans.

Beyond their charming accents, it’s interesting to hear unique words, expressions and colloquialisms common to the region. I’m typically in a country for a day before I begin to understand the dialect enough to respond properly!

I have British kinsmen and friends. I spent three amazing days in London, England on a girls’ trip with family. And those wonderful British shows that I love are sprinkled with colorful language. Thanks to all of these sources, I’ve picked up a few common sayings.

Check out these fun British phrases and what they mean, before your next trip to England.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean title meme

British Words We Know

Most of us know a handful of British phrases, thanks to movies and television, and some even caught on in the US. The loo is the toilet…or as it’s more commonly called in the US, restroom or bathroom. In England a cookie goes by the name biscuit and chips are french fries while the British use the word crisps for chips. And when looking for the elevator in a building, call it the lift.

We use the British word cheers as a drinking toast but not often in place of goodbye or thank you. As we know, a flat is an apartment and a frock a girl’s dress. The word gobsmacked, meaning amazed, crossed the pond 40 years ago. President Obama apparently uses the word.

Mate, as in friend, roundabout, queue and knickers, all words originating from England, are fairly common in the US now too.

British Words and Phrases We May Not Know

See how many of these words and phrases you know!

Anorak

Although it’s more often used as a synonym for a raincoat, an anorak carries a different meaning  in slang.

The geeky person, with strong interests or expertise in a particular niche, is called an anorak. This might originate from the perceived uncool appearance of anorak coats and the people wearing them.

Bagsy

Calling bagsy is the equivalent of calling dibs on something, like riding in the front seat of the car. A kid might call bagsy on food from his friend’s lunch, that the friend isn’t going to eat.

Bender

Someone who goes on a spree of excessive drinking and mischief is on a bender. Benders may last more than 24 hours, so you might hear that someone is on a weekend bender or a three-day bender.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean London Dungeons
Fun British phrases and what they mean – we weren’t on a bender, however this is one of my favorite photos from London! My good natured mom isn’t sure what’s going on!

Bloody

This word, considered a mild curse word, pairs with practically any other word to demonstrate incredulity or anger. I’ve most commonly heard it paired with hell, as in “bloody hell”.

Bob’s Your Uncle

I love this comical phrase! It is the British equivalent to “there you go” or “voila”. The phrase accompanies a process that seems more difficult than it actually is. “Balance on the bicycle, start peddling, and Bob’s your uncle…you’re riding a bike.”

Brolly

Brolly is simply the abbreviated form of umbrella.

Builder’s Tea

A strongly brewed cup of English breakfast tea with milk is called builder’s tea.  It’s common courtesy to offer a builder working on a house builder’s tea, especially during cold weather. This practice most likely originated the phrase.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean Speedys
Fun British phrases and what they mean – Speedy’s in London. I wonder if you can get a builder’s tea there?

Chuffed

When someone feels joyful or pleased with an accomplishment, she is chuffed.

Curtain Twitcher

A nosy neighbor (neighbour in England), spying on what’s going on in her neighborhood from behind a curtained window, is called a curtain twitcher.

Faff or Faffing

To faff is to waste time doing very little. It comes from the 17th century word “faffle” meaning “to flap about in the wind.” If you are hanging out, not really doing anything, you are faffing about.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean tower bridge
Fun British phrases and what they mean – we did NOT do any faffing about while visiting London!

Innit

I’ve heard this phrase a lot. The abbreviation of “isn’t it”, people use innit to get agreement from someone OR to agree with something said. For example, “It’s cold today, innit?”. Or a person says, “It’s cold today” and another answers “Innit.”

Minging

Something unpleasant, unattractive or unappetizing is minging. The word comes from the Scottish slang word “ming”, meaning feces. “What is that you are eating? It’s minging.”

That’s Pants

When someone says “that’s pants” they aren’t referring to trousers. It means rubbish, trash or garbage.

Pea Souper

When fog covers London, especially a yellow or dark fog caused by air pollution, it’s a pea souper. This phrase originated in the 1200s due to the burning of coal, which contributed to heavy, dirty looking fog.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean ripper tour
Fun British phrases and what they mean – it was appropriately dreary on our Jack the Ripper Tour, but not quite a pea souper. We enjoyed this tour.

Poppycock

I think I first heard this British word as a child, while watching a movie. Poppycock comes from two Dutch words, “pap” which means soft and “kak” which translates to dung. It means nonsense or implies an untruth. When someone says “that’s poppycock”, they literally mean “that’s soft poo”.

Skew Whiff

Something that hangs crookedly or seems askew is skew whiff.

Skive

From the French word esquiver, meaning “to slink away”, skive is the act of avoiding work or school by faking an illness.

Sod’s Law

This British axiom means “If anything can go wrong, then it definitely will go wrong.” In the US we call it Murphy’s Law.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean station
Fun British phrases and what they mean – we didn’t experience Sod’s Law while on our trip, thankfully!

Spend a Penny

Another charming saying, spend a penny is the polite way for women to say they are going to the loo or toilet. The phrase originated in Victorian England when it cost a penny to open the lock on a public toilet for women. Men’s urinals were free.

Splash Out

This phrase means spending a significant amount of money on an event or an item.

Tickety Boo

Something satisfactory and in good order is tickety boo. The phrase may originate from the Hindu phrase, ṭhik hai, babu, which translates to “it’s alright sir”.

Wind Your Neck In

Americans might say “mind your own business”. The British say “wind your neck in”, meaning the same thing. This tells a person his opinion is not wanted or that the issue doesn’t concern him.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean London eye
Fun British phrases and what they mean – everything was tickety boo on this trip to London.

Did You Learn New Phrases?

Aren’t these words and phrases fun? Of course, there are many more. I intend to share unique fun phrases and what they mean from each of the countries I’ve visited. Watch for those posts.

I love adopting words, phrases and customs from other countries. One of my favorite practices, afternoon tea, came home with me from Scotland in 2014.

Do you have favorite phrases you enjoy, from countries you’ve visited? Share them in the comments!

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean London Bridge
An iconic view of Big Ben and London Bridge.

More Tales from England:

10 Things You May Not Know About Buckingham Palace

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London

Tower of London Ravens

 


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The Momentary

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This month’s Friday road trip took Greg, Ferni and me to NW Arkansas. An advantage to living in Joplin, Missouri is that Oklahoma and Kansas are literally minutes away and Arkansas lies 30 minutes to the south.

Thus far, my road trips include jaunts into Oklahoma and Arkansas plus a road trip in Missouri and a weekend getaway in Joplin. I’m looking at you now, Kansas! Next road trip I’ll find something to explore there.

Bentonville, Arkansas offers many fun attractions.  A new contemporary art museum/gathering place, The Momentary, drew our interest and curiosity this trip.

Come explore The Momentary with me and tour the fascinating Nick Cave exhibit, Until.

The Momentary title meme

The Momentary Museum

A former cheese factory, The Momentary repurposed the existing 63,000 square foot space to create a contemporary museum and social gathering place. The multidisciplinary building houses space for visual and performing arts, culinary experiences, festivals, artists in residence and more.

Architects left most of the building intact, minimizing the carbon footprint and the use of new materials while preserving a piece of Bentonville history.

Founded by the Walton Family, The Momentary’s mission is to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life.

Admission is free. The Momentary is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 7:00, closed Monday. During this time, masks that cover the nose and mouth are required at all times, while inside the building and on the grounds. Social distancing and the limitation of guests is in effect as well.

The Momentary boiler room
Original boiler room, inside The Momentary.

The building offers distinctive spaces.

Galleries

The large, open galleries and attached smaller rooms feature art and exhibits that change throughout the year. The current exhibit, Nick Cave’s Until, remains at The Momentary through January 3, 2021.

The Tower

The 70 foot tall Tower contains multiple mezzanines for visual arts, performances and social events. It’s capped by Tower Bar, a social space offering drinks, bar-type food and spectacular views.

Seating is currently limited to 40 guests and parties limited to 10 people.

Tower Bar hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00, Friday – Saturday 5:00 – midnight, closed Sunday – Monday.

The Momentary tower
The Tower

Rode House

In Rode House enjoy films, performances and gatherings in a customizable space with an adjustable floor system. The Rode Bar, located off of Rode House, offers patio seating for drinks and snacks.

Rode House hours, Wednesday – Thursday 5:00 – 9:00, Friday 4:00 – 11:00, Saturday 11:00 – 11:00, closed Sunday – Tuesday.

The Momentary courtyard
The Rode Bar with outdoor seating.

The Breakroom

Located in the original breakroom of the cheese factory, The Breakroom offers lunch and dinner in a space overlooking the galleries. Due to following COVID guidelines, The Breakroom is temporarily closed.

Onyx Coffee Lab

Located to the right of the main entrance, on the lower level, Onyx Coffee Lab provides a fun place to rest and grab a coffee and a snack. Sit inside or on the outdoor patio.

Hours, Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 7:00. Closed Monday.

Momentary Shop

The Momentary Shop offers prints and books by featured artists and wonderfully unique gifts.

Momentary Green

Outdoors Momentary Green provides room for activities, picnics, gatherings, music, art exhibits and special events.

The Momentary tent and sculptures
Momentary Green

 

Artist Nick Cave: Until

For Nick Cave, a dancer, fabric sculptor and performance artist based out of Chicago, Until is his largest, most ambitious project yet. The exhibit occupies 24,000 square feet of gallery space at The Momentary.

The title Until comes from the phrase, “innocent until proven guilty”. For some in the US, black men in particular, Nick explains that the words “guilty until proven innocent” ring more true. Until is the word that changes everything, the hinge into the unknown.

Nick’s new exhibit is, partly, a response to the killing of black men across the US.

He hopes that the immersive nature of his art invites the viewer to “step in”. Because once you step in, you are no longer an outside observer, you are implicated, involved.

Step into the different elements of the exhibit with me.

The Momentary wall art
The Momentary – art projected upon the walls and floor

Wind Ornament Forest

Walking into the Until Exhibit, the first large room features thousands of colorful spinners and pinwheels. Strung from ceiling to floor, the initial effect is dizzying, joyful and playful. A path winds through the forest of spinners that do indeed rotate, reflecting flashes light.

On closer inspection, I realize many of the spinners contain silhouettes of guns, bullets and targets. Those silhouettes powerfully change the whole feel of the room. The images within the twirling spinners brought to mind the words “moving targets”. It unsettled me and made me reflective, which is Nick’s intention I believe.

The Momentary pinwheels
The Momentary – the first room in the Until Exhibit, spinners and pinwheels
The Momentary Nick Cave Until
The Momentary – thousands of spinners fill the room. This is a small segment.

Crystal Cloud

Leaving the spinners, we enter a room divided into distinct areas.

I veer to the right, my attention captivated by the sparkling crystal cloud suspended above me. Thousands of crystals dangle from wires and chandeliers mounted on a cloud shaped structure.

As Nick worked on the spinners project, a question arose.

“Is there racism in heaven?”

The question birthed the crystal cloud. Beneath it, the chandeliers dazzle. Looking up through a large chandelier, I glimpsed a floor above, covered with found objects. Peering up reminds me of the song, “Holes in the Floor of Heaven”. The lyrics tell us that loved ones who pass on watch us and watch over us, through the holes in the floor of heaven.

Four yellow ladders give access to small platforms, which in turn offer views of heaven above the cloud. Nick collects found objects and heaven contains a wild assortment of ceramic birds and animals, gold statues, flowers, fruit, an old phonograph and, disturbing to me initially, those small lawn jockeys that used to be popular years ago. I never liked those statues.

They depict seated black boys holding out a lantern, a fishing pole or a ring through which horse reins could be tied. Nick rescues these statues, from flea markets and yard sales, and places dream catchers in their hands, symbolizing a new life where anything is possible.

We climb stairs to the mezzanine, to view the top of the cloud and other massive works of art better seen from above.

The Momentary crystal heaven
The Momentary – Crystal Cloud below
The Momentary - heaven
The Momentary – heaven above – Nick Cave Exhibit

Beaded Wall Art

After studying the top of the cloud, and allowing feelings to surface, I turn to examine the magnificent beaded wall art. Millions of glass and plastic beads, strung on netting, create waterfalls of color. These massive works of art boggle the mind, hanging in a three story space.

How long did it take to create these?

The security guard below told us to look for the hidden messages. They aren’t hard to find. On one wall hanging a peace sign and a happy face peer at us. On the other, the word POWER stands out.

Nick drew inspiration from graffiti marred cliffs he saw, as he traveled on the train from Penn Station in New York City. In that graffiti, words of hate caught his attention. Nick re-framed his experience, creating instead colorful art that offers hope and optimism.

The Momentary - hanging installation
The Momentary – beaded wall art
The Momentary inside hanging installation
Standing inside one of the wall hangings, looking up.

The Flow

The last room we visit contains a moving, visual work of art titled Flow Blow.

Fans on scaffolding continually blow shiny blue and silver mylar strands into the room, creating a soothing waterfall effect. The hum of the fans and the mesmerizing movement of the mylar strands work their magic.

Nick intends for this room to provide a peaceful environment to process thoughts and emotions. He hopes people walk away, back through the exhibit, changed by their experience.

The Momentary flow
The Momentary – Flow Blow

My Thoughts About Until

This is a unique and moving exhibit, by a talented artist.

I read that in 1992, Nick sat in a Chicago park, stunned by the news of the beating of Rodney King and the LA riots. Feeling vulnerable, as an African American man, and targeted, he gathered sticks off of the ground.

In his studio, he turned the sticks into his first soundsuit, a wearable sculpture with a defensive shell. Nick’s soundsuits effectively mask the entire body, erasing identity. This man’s art continues to provide a platform for civil discourse, debate, change and ultimately, hope.

I felt the contrast between the bright, colorful works of art and the deeper, sometimes darker messages they contain. I love that the exhibit is so large. It allows time to process images and feel the emotions as I slowly wander.

The mental image of Nick sitting on a park bench, wondering what might happen next, troubled me. I’ve never had a gun pointed at me. I’ve never been afraid that I am a target. The closest I can come to knowing that level of vulnerability and fear was when the EF5 tornado ripped through my Joplin neighborhood in 2011. Crouching in a closet, hearing the sounds of destruction around me, I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I didn’t know if I would survive.

That is a tiny fraction of what others feel, especially in the black community. And that hurts my heart.

Momentary

I deeply appreciate the art of Nick Cave. My heart stirred, I feel inspired to create change. I want to listen and learn and discover how I can be that change.

Momentary is defined as “lasting for a short time”. It’s the perfect name for a place that frequently changes what they offer. My time at The Momentary was brief however the impact is lasting. I look forward to more experiences there. And I look forward to seeing what continues to unfold in my life as a result of my visit.

The Momentary Ferni
Ferni’s photo, at The Momentary.

Learn more about Nick Cave HERE.

 


 

 

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Dancing on My Island

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Author and speaker Glennon Doyle inspired this post, with a chapter in her book Untamed. Titled “Islands”, the chapter provides much food for thought. I’ve re-read the chapter many times, underlined passages and sorted through my feelings  and reactions to it.

As this crazy year winds down, I’ve moved deeply into a space of inner knowing. Working in my garden one day, words drifted across my mind, in the form of an invitation. “Release your inner wild woman.” While that is another blog post for another day, part of releasing my inner wild woman, my inner wildness, connects to fully inhabiting my own space and occupying my own island.

I’m still exploring this terrain and learning. And as I gain clarity, I’m dancing over here, on my island. I’ve also danced around sharing this post for weeks. Yet every time I think, “Nah…I’ll share these thoughts later”, I receive a nudge that propels me forward.

Dancing on my island? Yes I am. And here is what that is all about.

Dancing on My Island title meme

On the Island

Glennon shares in her book that when she made the decision to divorce her husband and marry Abby, people had BIG feelings about her news. Some of those responses made her feel afraid, defensive, angry, exposed.

Abby created a metaphor to put the situation in perspective.

She asked Glennon to imagine their love as an island. On that island live Glennon, Abby and Glennon’s three kids from her previous marriage. Real love dwells there too.

She added that the island is surrounded by a moat, filled with alligators, and they will not lower the drawbridge for anyone carrying fear onto their island. On the island only love exists. Everything else stays on the other side. They are happy on their island. Let others scream hate or fear. They can’t hear it. There is too much music.

Creating My Island

That story, that metaphor, resonates deeply with me. There is so much noise in the world right now, so much hate, fear, anger and unkindness. People attack each other over beliefs. As an empath, I FEEL those swirling emotions. They hurt me, and not just emotionally. Fear, hate and anger stab me with sharp, jagged edges and create physical pain.

The idea of dwelling on an island, apart from all the negativity, appeals to me.

There I can connect to nature, to the Divine, to myself…and I can breathe, think, process all the feels and be fully myself.

No one is allowed into my sacred space, carrying fear, hate, anger, prejudice or unkindness with them. I won’t lower the drawbridge. And the moat surrounding my island is filled with jellyfish…beautiful, fascinating jellyfish…that deliver warning stings if anyone steps into the moat.

Dancing on My Island jellyfish
Dancing on my island, protected by jellyfish.

Island Dweller

So what does that look like, in reality, to live on such an island?

Of course, it’s a metaphor. I wish I owned an actual island to fly to when I needed time alone. I don’t.

The island represents my personal space, where I am my truest, most authentic self. I decide what enters that space…and what doesn’t.

I’ve already touched on what is NOT allowed on my island: fear, anger, worry, racism, hate, judgment, prejudice, bullying, negativity and unkindness. The list may grow, as needed.

What IS allowed: love, kindness, joy, acceptance, peace, curiosity, inspiration, connection, creativity, positivity, passion and hope. That list may grow, as desired.

I’m done explaining myself to people who don’t want to understand. As Glennon says, “Explaining is fear preparing its case and I am not on trial.” I’m not on trial either. The only way to convince someone that all is well in my world is to live my life and show that all is well in my world. Dancing, figuratively or in my living room, is an outward expression of my joyful living.

Only Love In…Only Love Out

There is a sign on the mainland, across from my island: Only Love In. And there is a sign on my island that faces me: Only Love Out. Those signs serve as reminders that I won’t drop the drawbridge for someone carrying lower energy emotions with them. I won’t allow them to get close to me.

And, I don’t want to head out into the world, from my sanctuary, carrying those lower energies either. I know how to deal with such energies and clear them out of my life. From love flows all the things I desire in my life and desire to offer to others.

When I’m engaging with the world, I intend to limit contact with fear, anger, hate and the other low energy vibes I don’t want in my space. This means I’m curating my social media feeds and quietly blocking or deleting people as needed. And it means I don’t engage in conversations that include racism, hate, fear or unkindness. I’ll remove myself.

I’m not burying my head in the sand on my island. I am very aware of what’s happening around me. I choose not to engage. Instead, I’ll listen and learn from those who are speaking truth, whether about change or life or the future. I’ll grow. My energy I send out in healing waves of love, joy and peace, to those who need it. I’ll use my voice to speak kindness, love and joy. And I’ll take actions to help others, walking alongside for a time, offering from my heart and resources.

I’m protecting myself and my space, fiercely. If others want to shout at me from across the moat, let them. I’m dancing on my island to my favorite tunes.

Dancing on My Island only love allowed
Dancing on my island – only love allowed

What Does Your Island Look Like?

Do you desire to protect your personal space?

What is allowed on your island and what isn’t? Make a list of what absolutely cannot come across the drawbridge, no matter who is carrying it. Decide who lives on your island with you. What an amazing way to love and protect the children in your life, when you will not allow fear to assault them and share space with them.

Read the chapter “Islands” in Untamed…and then start at the beginning and read the whole book. It’s life changing. At least, it is changing mine.

Release your inner wild woman…

I am doing so. And doing so, I am allowing the path ahead to be shaped by what I am discovering. In living life beyond the edges I’m finding out just how far out those edges go.

Dancing on My Island paradise
Dancing on my island is paradise for me.

Check out my review of Glennon’s book Love Warrior.

Purchase Untamed by clicking on the photo below:

 

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