Mittie Manning’s Tomb: one of Mississippi’s most unique tombs

Holly Springs is a small town that’s big on history, and boasts several homes from the past, as well as the historic Hill Crest Cemetery. Deemed literally “one of the finest historic cemeteries in north Mississippi”, it was established in 1845, but some graves date back to 1838, suggesting that the grounds served as a burial ground prior to its official creation. One of the most popular graves in the cemetery is that of Mittie Manning, the daughter of Van and Mary Manning. The Mannings were a regular family living…

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September 19th: Ahoy, maties! It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Ahoy there ye lily livered blaggards! Today It is the Talk Like A Pirate Day, and that means it’s time for pillaging and drinking rum! Pirates have been all the rage in recent years and out of that particular fascination came a completely insane and idea: that there should be a day dedicated to keeping the piratical language alive and, more importantly, the tradition of all things related to pirates. So Talk Like a Pirate Day was invented, and now it’s time to celebrate with all of the pirate talk…

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Lobster Ice Cream: disgusting or delicious?

In an era of limitless ice cream flavors, including charcoal black ice cream, gorgonzola ice cream, and unicorn ice cream, “Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium” is a must: the seaside institution, located in Bar Harbor, an island town that is home to beautiful Acadia National Park, Maine, has been serving vanilla scoops churned with real lobster meat since 1988. And, at the time, putting real seafood in ice cream was nothing short of extreme. According to company lore, the owners invented the flavor either to prove to a patron that…

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The Sluagh: Celtic spirits of the unforgiven dead

Celtic folklore has given us some of the darkest and most frightening stories in history including three-headed monsters, headless horsemen, famine-spreaders, and a variety of creepy spirits. One of the most fascinating are probably the Sluagh na marbh (host of the dead), or “Fairy Host”, spirits of the unforgiven or restless dead who soared the skies at night searching for humans to pick off, and especially the dying. Some believed them to be Fallen Angels, while others thought them the spirits of unbaptized children who had returned to earth to…

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A visit to the St. Simons Island Light, Georgia

St. Simons Island Light is a lighthouse on the southern tip of St. Simons Island, Georgia, United States. It guides ships into St. Simons Sound and warns of the many sandbars in the area. The original lighthouse, which was built in 1810, was a 23-m-tall early federal octagonal structure topped by a 3 m oil-burning lamp. However, during the American Civil War, U.S. military forces employed a Naval blockade of the coast, and an invasion by Union troops in 1862 forced Confederate soldiers to abandon the area. And the retreating…

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Piscatawaytown Burial Ground and the witch of Edison

New Jersey is steeped in urban legends and stories of the supernatural. There everybody has heard of the Jersey Devil, a creature with the head of a goat, the body of a deer, giant horns and wings. It is said that he was the 13th child of Mother Leeds back in 1735 and was born a demon through a curse. There have been a number of sightings of the Devil since then, one of them even being reported by the brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte. But there is a legend…

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Folklore and magic of crows and ravens

Both crows and ravens have appeared in a number of different mythologies throughout the ages. In some cases, these black-feathered birds are considered an omen of bad tidings, but in others, they may represent a message from the Divine. But, above all, they have long been synonym of doom and devastation as they destroy crops, devour corpses, act as emissaries for soothsayers and gods, and are closely linked to human fortunes. But not only, as they have long plagued farmers and gardeners by devouring their freshly planted seeds. An old…

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The month of September: holidays, curiosities and folklore

There are flowers enough in the summertime, More flowers than I can remember— But none with the purple, gold, and red That dye the flowers of September! —Mary Howitt (1799-1888) September, in Old England, was called Haervest-monath, literally Harvest Month, as a time to gather up the rest of the harvest and prepare for the winter months. The Anglo-Saxons called it Gerst monath (Barley month), because it was their time when they harvested barley to be made into their favourite drink – barley brew. September’s name comes from the Latin…

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Point Sur Lightstation: one of the oldest and most remote lighthouses in California

Point Sur Lightstation is a lighthouse at Point Sur, California, 135 miles (217 km) south of San Francisco, on the 110-meter-tall rock at the head of the point. The view there is breathtaking. The Lighthouse is perched up on a huge rock and surrounded by water on three sides, with shimmering views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s one of the oldest and most remote lighthouses in California, a beacon for ships navigating some of the most treacherous waters of the California coast. Already early navigators took note of the prominent…

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Grave of Midnight Mary: the final resting place of a New Haven urban legend

In life, she was known by the name Mary E. Hart, but today most people in New Haven, Connecticut, now know her simply as Midnight Mary. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, and her tombstone can be found at the back of the cemetery, on the path that parallels the iron wrought fence that separates the graveyard from Winthrop Avenue. As story goes, at 48 years old, Mary dropped to the floor one day at midnight. Believing her dead, her family had her buried at Evergreen Cemetery. However, one night…

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Sturgeon Moon: August’s full moon

As we already know, in ancient times, it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month rather than the solar year, which the 12 months in our modern calendar are based on. For millennia, people across Europe, as well as Native American tribes, named the months after features they associated with the Northern Hemisphere seasons, and many of these names are very similar or identical. Today, we use many of these ancient month names as Full Moon names. A common explanation is that Colonial Americans adopted…

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August 19: celebrate National Potato Day!

National Potato Day is today, August 19, so if you like spuds, this one’s for you! A bag of chips, french fries, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes are just some of the delicious things you can make with potatoes, little tubers that have played an important role in the history of the world and was even the primary food crop for an entire nation. Potato Day celebrates the tuber and all the things you can use it for. What’s your favorite potato treat? Potatoes were first cultivated by man in…

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Oregon’s Heceta Head Lighthouse and its stories

For more than a century Heceta Head Lighthouse has helped seagoers navigate the Pacific Ocean’s treacherous currents. Located 13 miles (21 km) north of Florence, and 13 miles (21 km) south of Yachats, it was built in 1894, and took many years to complete because it’s so high up (almost 62 meters above water). The 17 m-tall lighthouse shines a beam visible for 21 nautical miles (39 km; 24 mi), making it the strongest light on the Oregon Coast. Heceta Head is named after the Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta,…

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Theodore “Fodor” Glava: the vampire of Lafayette

For generations, vampires have been a fascinating part of folklore and literature, introducing a collection of iconic characters described as corpses supposed, in European folklore, to leave their graves at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth. Perhaps it’s not surprising that a grave with “born in Transylvania” etched on the stone would invite vampire comparisons, but the people of Lafayette, Colorado, have really gone all-out. Local legends say that a tree growing over the grave sprung from the stake…

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Celebrated International left-handers day on August 13!

International Left-Handers Day is today, August 13! It was started by the Left-Handers Club on 13th August 1992, when they launched International Left-Handers Day, an annual event when left-handers everywhere could celebrate their sinistrality and increased public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed. According to other sources, the day was first observed in 1976 Campbell, founder of Lefthanders International, Inc. But, in any case, this event is now celebrated worldwide, and in the U.K. alone there have been more than 20 regional events to mark the day…

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Why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky?

Ready for Friday the 13th? Well, depending on where you are, August 13, 2021, is considered a lucky (or unlucky) day. But why exactly is this day often associated with good or bad luck? What is the meaning of Friday the 13th and how did this superstition even begin? Friday the 13th occurs one to three times each year. For example, 2015 had a Friday the 13th in February, March, and November, while 2017 through 2020 had two Friday the 13ths each, and the years 2021 and 2022 will both…

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August 10: Happy National S’mores Day!

Graham crackers, melted chocolate and sticky toasted marshmallows, all in one little sandwich: S’mores are the one of the most popular North American treats, and it is estimated that over 90 million pounds of marshmallows are toasted over a fire there each year. It is also estimated that 50 percent of marshmallows bought during the summer are used for s’mores! Never tried them? Then S’mores Day is the perfect day to get started. And even for those people who have tried them, there is no reason to pass up the…

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Charlotte M. Sitton: the “The Crying Woman” of Adelaida Cemetery, California

Located west of Paso Robles, California, Adelaida is now over-ridden with wineries, but still rich in history and the strange. Originally, a mixture of mercury mines, farms, and ranches, it was first settled in 1859 by James Lynch, a sheep rancher. Pioneers flocked to the area due a perfect weather that seemed to make everything grow, and the population eventually reached a size of seven hundred scattered throughout the area amongst hills and valleys. The old trail to Mission San Miguel was opened in 1797 and used predominantly in the…

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August 3: National Watermelon Day

Mark Twain said: “When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” Well, this American literary hero understood the serious deliciousness of this fruit (or vegetable?), and, hopefully, after reading this article, you do, too. National Watermelon Day on August 3 recognizes the refreshing summertime fruit and, since it is 92% water, it is very satisfying in the summer heat. In fact, in the Kalahari desert (in Southern Africa), where they are called tsamma, watermelons are one of the main sources of water during the dry, hot season.…

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The Month of August: holidays, falling stars and folklore

“Summer declines and roses have grown rare, But cottage crofts are gay with hollyhocks, And in old garden walks you breathe an air Fragrant of pinks and August-smelling stocks.” —John Todhunter (1839-1916) Welcome August! What do we celebrate in this month? August is the time to reap what you’ve sown, quite literally even, as most summer vegetables are ready to be harvested. In fact for us it brings the best bounty of the season, including ripened tomatoes, melons and watermelons, sweet corn on the cob, and zucchini. Canning season is…

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Lammas: welcoming the harvest

We are in the middle of the dog days of summer, when the gardens are full of beautiful flowers, the fields are full of grain, and the harvest is approaching. The hot days of August are upon us, much of the earth is dry and parched, but we know that the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner. Corn has been planted, tended, harvested and consumed for millennia, and so it’s no wonder that there are myths about the magical properties of this grain.…

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The Spirit of the Grain Fields

Harvest is the most important time of the agricultural calendar. Not only in past, the fortunes of farms, families, and even entire communities were tied to its outcome. And thus, unsurprisingly, harvest has developed its variety of deities, traditions, and superstitions which are found in almost every farming culture worldwide. Ever since the first farmers planted their crops over 10,000 years ago, people have had an anxious wait for summer. Will there be enough hot weather to ripen the corn? Will an unlucky spell rot the grain in the fields?…

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Buck Moon: July’s Full Moon

A moon-flooded prairie; a straying Of leal-hearted lovers; a baying Of far away watching dogs; a dreaming Of brown-fisted farmers; a gleaming Of fireflies eddying nigh, — And that is July! James N. Matthews (1852–1910) As we already know, full Moon traditional names come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred and not only to the full Moon. July’s long and hot summer days are filled with the…

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July 15: the weather folklore of St. Swithin’s Day

What’s the weather doing outside your window today? July 15th is St. Swithin’s Day and, according to an ancient tradition, if it rains on this day, it will rain for the next 40 days. In short, the story began in the year 971, when the bones of St Swithin (who had died over 100 years before) were moved to a special shrine at Winchester Cathedral, and there was a terrific storm that lasted for 40 days. And People said that the saint in heaven was weeping because his bones had…

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The secret history of Closeburn Castle, one of the oldest continually inhabited houses in Scotland~

Closeburn Castle is a tower house and one of the oldest continually inhabited buildings in Scotland. It is located 1 km east of the village of Closeburn, in the historical county of Dumfriesshire. The lands were granted to the Kirkpatrick family back in 1232, with the likelihood that the ancient fortalice was built thereafter. The tower house was probably built in the late 14th century, although some sources give a date as early as 1180 or as late as 1420. In any case, everything about the building was designed for…

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The ancient origins of the Dog Days of Summer

According to popular folklore: “Dog Days bright and clear Indicate a happy year; But when accompanied by rain, For better times, our hopes are vain.” It sounds good…but what are the Dog Days of summer, exactly? And what do they have to do with dogs? The exact dates of the Dog Days can vary from source to source and probably they have changed over time. However, most sources agree that they occur in mid- to late summer, from July 3 to August 11. This is soon after the Summer Solstice…

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The Month of July: holidays, a Summer Triangle and folklore

Traditionally, July is the month that seems to be dedicated to freedom, independence, and celebrations of countries and culture. It is named after Roman dictator Julius Caesar (100 B.C.–44 B.C.), after his death. Julius Caesar made one of his greatest contribution to history: with the help of Sosigenes, he developed the Julian calendar, the precursor to the Gregorian calendar we use still today. Its celebrations iclude July 1, Canada Day, a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. In short, this federal statutory…

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July 1: It’s time to celebrate Canada Day!

Canada Day, in French Fête du Canada, is a federal statutory holiday celebrating Canadian Confederation. Originally called “Dominion Day”, the holiday commemorates the unification of the three North American British colonies, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which at the time consisted of Ontario and Quebec). Historically, it was on July 1, 1867 when the British North America Act formally joined the colonies, creating the unified, semi-independent Dominion of Canada and, basically, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain. The enactment of the British North America…

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Remembering Undercliff Sanatorium, Meriden

The state of Connecticut is home to many well-known abandoned mental hospitals. For decades, the Undercliff Sanatorium, a former state health facility, lied at the base of South Mountain, near Hubbard Park in Meriden. Even though it was shuttered, some claimed it was still in use….by the ghosts of former patients. It was originally opened in 1910 as the Meriden Sanatorium and, in 1918, became the first facility in the nation dedicated exclusively to treating children afflicted with tuberculosis but also measles, chickenpox, and smallpox. The name was changed to…

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Strawberry Moon: June’s full moon

As we already know, in ancient times, it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month rather than the solar year, which the 12 months in our modern calendar are based on. For millennia, people across Europe, as well as Native American tribes, named the months after features they associated with seasons. However, some years have 13 Full Moons, which makes one of them a so-called Blue Moon, as it doesn’t quite fit in with the traditional Full Moon naming system, even if this is not…

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