Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for February, 2012

Ghosts – Believer or Skeptic

Caution Ghost Crossing! could easily be a sign encountered quite often by members of the Southeastern Ohio Paranormal Investigators.   And on a Saturday in February, ghost hunting appeared to be a very popular subject as the auditorium at the John McIntire Library in Zanesville, Ohio was packed with adults seeking to learn more about ghosts. While the curious were gathering, videos of ghost hunts were being shown to whet the appetite. Members of the S.E.O.P.I. were on hand to give information about the technical aspect of ghost hunting, historic research involved, as well as psychic and metaphysical connections.

Started four years ago, the S.E.O.P.I. has become a popular source for people who feel they have a ghost on  their property, and even for those wanting help getting their ghosts to move on. Tom Robson, lead investigator, said that while they continue to explore all possibilities, “There can’t be an expert in a field with no scientific evidence.” As a youngster, Tom had an experience with the paranormal as well as a deep interest in history. Now he has discovered how  the two seem to be closely connected. What started out to be just a part time hobby for him has nearly turned into a full time job.

The evidence that has been captured is 90% on audio and only 10% on video. There was a nice display of the instruments used to capture the sounds and pictures at the various haunted establishments. Some of their favorite instruments included: the Olympus digital audio recorder, Zoom H1 microphone, and Zoom H2, which was so powerful they said you could hear raindrops three rooms away.

For example, during an Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) session on the Triangular Field in Gettysburg, questions were asked of a spirit and there were many responses recorded that were easily understood.  Responses were short such as : “Right”, “OK”, or  “I know”. When leaving the field, the team said, “Blessings to all,” to which a voice answered, “Thank you.” The recording equipment produces some very interesting results.

Historian, Gary Felumlee, presented paranormal research tips, because knowing the time period you are dealing with could be vital for a successful communication. His goal is eventually to show by scientific means that the unusual activity is from the spirit world. Gary recently wrote about one of these historic paranormal experiences in a book entitled Public Spirits Of The Old Putnam District Of Zanesville Ohio.

An interesting observation that Gary pointed out was the fact that you need to introduce yourself to the ghost. That will make them more comfortable and more likely to stay in the vicinity and if you are lucky even answer your questions. So he suggested that you say something like, “My name is ***** and I’m here to learn about you.”

The metaphysical side of investigations was also covered with April Lovejoy explaining the world of crystals and meditation. Often team members wear particular crystals as protective devices from the spirits.  She actually had the entire audience practice five minutes of meditation to learn to focus their mind in one place.  This helps, too, when on a paranormal investigation as it permits the team a close connection to the place they are visiting.

Well know psychic, Ellen Bone, described an actual investigation where through psychic connection they were able to find the location of the spirit and release it from the residence. Ellen’s natural intuitive qualities were always encouraged by her family where psychic activities were accepted as part of the norm. She believes we are all connected, and does her work with honesty and kindness.

Evidence was shared through recordings, photos, and videos. It was surprising how many establishments in the area have had some paranormal activity. They presented information on several places where the S.E.O.P.I. team had been welcomed to investigate. These included many places right here in Ohio: Penny Court, Col. Taylor Bed & Breakfast, and Cambridge Performing Arts Centre in Cambridge; Zak’s Restaurant, Papa Chuck’s Pizza, Zanesville Community Theater, Stone Academy, and Schultz Mansion in Zanesville; Licking County Jail in Newark; and The Captain’s House in Dresden, just to name a few.

Door prizes, including gift certificates, tee shirts, books, and pictures were given out throughout the program. To make the prizes extra special, all were donated by businesses where paranormal activity has been a frequent occurrence.

What do you think? Have you encountered any ghostly experiences in your world? Time to decide: Believer or Skeptic!

Southeastern Ohio Paranormal Investigators are a select group of researchers from many walks of life. The group is based in Zanesville, Ohio and assists residents and businesses that encounter suspected paranormal activities.


Yabba Dabba Doo!

Flintstones… Meet the Flintstones,
They’re a modern stoneage family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They’re a page right out of history.

Let’s ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.

When you’re with the Flintstones,
have a yabba dabba doo time,
a dabba doo time,
we’ll have a gay old time

Couldn’t resist stopping for a visit with Fred and Barney at Flintstones’ Bedrock City Theme Park near Custer, South Dakota. The Flintstones was the first animated comedy show on primetime TV, starting in  1960.  For those of you not familiar with the show, Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their neighbors, Barney and Betty Rubble, lived in the prehistoric town of Bedrock.  Here they faced all those age old problems with work, family and leisure that we still experience today.

At Bedrock, you have a chance to actually drive and propel one of those famous Flintmobiles.  This pre-historic car was owned by Fred Flintstone when he worked at the stone quarry. It was made of a tree trunk and rolled along on rock wheels…no engine, just foot power!  They have several of these at Bedrock today so many can get a chance for a ride, or at least sit in one of the cars and get the feel of Stone Age living.

Stroll through the streets and reminisce as you walk past Fred and Barney’s houses just across the field from each other. Peek inside the Stone Age setting of Bedrock City Fire Hall,  Rocko Gas Station and Water Buffalo Lodge, where Fred and Barney liked to have a guys night out. All the buildings are painted with bright cartoon colors, and there are statues everywhere.

Since Bedrock is only thirty minutes from Mount Rushmore, it isn’t really surprising that they have their own mountain sculpture, Mount Rockmore. There are four faces here too: Fred Flintstone, friend Barney Rubble, the Flintstone’s pet Dino, and the founder of Bedrock, Mr Granitebilt.

Remember those days when Barney and Fred would stop at the Drive In on the way home from work?  When they put the loaded down tray of ribs on the side of the Flintmobile, it fell over on its side.  Now that’s a heavy meal! Stop by the Drive In Restaurant yourself  for a tasty treat of Brontoburgers, Dino Dogs, Chickasaurus sandwiches, or Rockbusters.

During the summer months, you will find a live Fred and Barney walking around Bedrock ready to shake your hand or have their picture taken with you.  Being part of a cartoon setting is great fun.

Bedrock City is a priceless piece of America along the route to the Grand Canyon. This is a great place for a family vacation as there are many places to explore in the area. Close by are the 1880 Train, Bear Country USA, and Rushmore Waterslide Park. You can stay at the Flintstone Campground in a cabin, tent, or your RV. For forty five years, Bedrock City has been giving enjoyment to old and young alike.

Spend your vacation in a cartoon and enjoy the wonderful world of Bedrock. Yabba Dabba Doo!

Bedrock City, South Dakota is located just off US Highway 16 west of Custer on Mt. Rushmore Road. Just watch for the Flintstones sign.

Hoping to Strike Gold in Venice

Everyone has their dreams, and the only thing that can keep you from fulfilling your dreams is you. David Turrill, faculty member at Muskingum University, found one special dream fulfilled on a recent trip abroad.

Quite often you don’t have to go as far from home as David did to find interesting and unusual activities. At the Muskingum University Library, each month they present Author Talks with campus and local authors describing their writing experiences. David’s talk centered around musical research in the archives of Bologna, Italy.

As conductor of the Muskingum University Wind Ensemble, Muskingum University Band, and Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds plus teacher of trumpet and music education, David Turrill breathes music most of his waking hours.  His special interest exists in the Baroque period from 1600-1750.  So when it came time to select a topic for his doctoral presentation, David decided to study Giovanni Battista Martini and his passion for the Baroque trumpet.

Starting at the Natural Trumpet Making Workshop in Indiana, David and other participants assembled, pounded, and polished their original Baroque Trumpet, synonymous with Natural Trumpet. David said this was not an easy task for him as he wasn’t really very good at working with his hands. By using a slide presentation at the library, he was able to explain the day to day process. When completed, those trumpets each had a slightly different sound depending on how they were pounded out, and also on who was playing them.

His relaxed manner had the audience laughing at his musical jokes and asking questions throughout.  He did play a selection on the Baroque Trumpet, which is very specialized and can only play in certain compositions. One of his students played a traditional trumpet to display differences. Since there are no valves on the Baroque trumpet, the mouthpiece is very special and there are bits to change keys.  David smilingly said, “Wrong notes are easier to come by!”

Many of the participants spent hours creating a glossy shine on their instruments, but David said he wanted his to look like it was played in the 1700’s so he didn’t spend time shining. Or maybe he wanted to explore other things?

Next stop, Germany, where he visited the Baroque Trumpet Shop featuring Egger trumpets, which David said were the Rolls-Royce of Trumpets.  This was just a short stop on his way to Bologna, Italy where he did his research on Martini, who was a composer of over 1500 works as well as a teacher and historian. The Martini Library at the Conservatory of Bologna was where David spent two to three hours a day looking at 280 year old manuscripts, and trying to figure out that age old question – What was the intent of the composer?

All through his research he was hoping to strike gold and find an undiscovered composition or interesting life story. But this was not to be.  However, David did feel that he struck gold when he arrived in Venice, which had been a dream spot to visit for several years. St Mark’s Basilica seemed to be one of his favorite stops. Sometimes when we dream of something, it never quite lives up to the dream. This time however, David said Venice was “beyond my wildest dreams.”

He does hope to write dissertations and journal articles in the future regarding his travel experience, as well as sharing his knowledge of the Baroque music period. This accomplished musician needs to keep on dreaming.

Muskingum Library is quite easy to access on the Muskingum University campus. From I-70 take Exit 169 OH 83 towards New Concord. At the traffic light turn right onto Main Street/ US 40. Turn left at the entrance gates to Muskingum University and follow the road to the top of the hill.  Turn left again and at the left end of the short street, you will find the library.  Parking is available for visitors either before you reach the library or at the side.

American History Shall March Along That Skyline

Six Grandfathers Mountain, now known as Mount Rushmore, was spiritual home to the Lakota Sioux Indians. Many of the Sioux were insulted by the building of the Memorial on their sacred land. Add to that the fact that the monument celebrates the Europeans, who killed so many of their tribesmen as well as appropriating their land, and it is no wonder there is still controversy between the Sioux and the US government today.

As far back at 1923, the people of the Black Hills region of South Dakota were searching for an idea to bring tourists to their part of the country. After seeing samples of carvings done by Gutzon Borglum, he was invited by historian Doane Robinson, The Father of Mount Rushmore, to the Black Hills so they could find an acceptable place for a large carving.  After dismissing the idea of using the Needles range, they settled on the granite faced Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota. The granite was relatively free of fractures, and it also faced southeast for more sun exposure. When the selection was made, sixty year old Borglum remarked, “American history shall march along that skyline.”

For one hour each evening, Mount Rushmore, The Presidents’ Mountain, is illuminated with steadily increasing lights that make this carving glow in brilliant splendor. The four presidential faces shown on this 1989 postcard are from left to right: George Washington, the father of our country; Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Constitution, and instrumental in the Louisiana Purchase; Theodore Roosevelt, champion of conservation; and Abraham Lincoln, leader during the Civil War.

Today we can see the results of Gutzon Borglum’s  guidance of approximately four hundred workers, including his son,  from 1927-1941.  The four sixty foot likenesses of the faces rest on 1,278 acres. Original plans were to sculpt them down to the waists, but that idea was cancelled due to insufficient funds. Upon his death, Gutzon’s son, Lincoln Borglum, was in charge of completing the project, but he basically left it as the monument appeared upon his father’s death.

Today you can visit the Lincoln Borglum Museum where a film provides an introduction to the memorial site plus historic exhibits.  Take a lunch break at Carvers’  Cafe where you might find on the menu tasty dishes such as Jeffersonian Gourmet Salad or Teddy’s Bison Chili. If you are lucky, you can sit at a table by the large wall of windows, which provides a great view of Mount Rushmore. The Sculptor’s Studio displays the unique plaster models used prior to sculpting on the mountain side, as well as the tools used while carving. A recent addition is the Native American Heritage Village devoted to Indian culture and the Indians’ place in local history.

For another close-up view of the mountain, take the scenic chairlift ride through the Ponderosa pines. Views are spectacular and there is a park at the summit as well as a small outdoor grille.  You must be careful getting on and off as the chairlift stops for no one.  You do get a unique view of the presidential faces as well as enjoying the feeling of flying up the mountainside on the chairlift. Coming down you can either return on the chairlift or descend on the Alpine Slide.  This new slide is 2000 feet long and you are able to control the speed downhill on a wheeled sled with brakes. So it is up to you!  Either take a slow and leisurely ride down, or get a rush of excitement.

On the side of the mountain behind the faces is an interesting tunnel called the Hall of Records. In 1998, they began construction of a vault there that would hold sixteen porcelain enamel panels.  On these panels are: text of The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, biographies of the four presidents, and a short history of the United States.  All this is being done to preserve our present history for future generations. At this time, the Hall of Records is not accessible to the public.

Here at Mount Rushmore, you and your family can have a great educational experience by learning about the Indian heritage as well as the significance of the four faces carved there. Leaving the park, there was an interesting view from the back road where it appeared that George Washington was keeping watch on everything with eyes eleven feet across. The pupils of each eye are made of granite so they appear to twinkle when the sun hits them.  Maybe that is the reason the eyes seem to follow you!  Join the nearly three million people who visit here each year to see the faces march along the skyline.

Mount Rushmore Memorial in western South Dakota can easily be reached off I-90 off Exit 57 to Highway 16, which goes to Keystone. At Keystone take Highway 244 to the Mount Rushmore entrance. 

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