Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memory Of A Hero ...

Sergeant Jacob F. Livesey 1980-2008:

A brave soldier, hilariously lovable little brother, caring and respectful son, and the best uncle—ever! Jake was (and still is) my youngest sibling. He died while serving in the military under suspicious circumstances. These circumstances were never fully divulged, but eventually there were arrests made. He died about five weeks before his fourth round of deployment. It took us over two weeks to finally have his body released for burial. His death was sudden, and inexplicable. It happened on base in Colorado, Fort Carson.
I hope in his peace he knows how much of a Hero he is to me, and that we miss him too much to express.
My favorite quote from Peter Pan is: "To die would be an awfully big adventure." Jacob has moved on to that next big adventure, and someday, perhaps, his family can join him.

This blog is to all the Hero's who have fallen, and to all those who are still fighting for our freedom, thank you doesn't express the gratitude I wish to convey, but you--the hero's--are in my heart and thoughts.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Myrtles Plantation Ghosts

Recently, I took a small excursion with my Mom to the world famous Myrtles Plantation. Myrtles’ claim to fame is "One of America’s Most Haunted Homes", and I was excited for the opportunity of perhaps being lucky enough to be honored with a glimpse of its ghostly denizens. 
Myrtles Plantation is located on US Hwy 61 just a little past St. Francisville, Louisiana. If you stop by the cute little town, be sure to have a cup-of-Joe at Birdman Coffee & Books, where art and birds fill the walls, and is the only place in town to get breakfast, other than the delicious breakfast you’re served if spending the night at the plantation. You might also want to pop into the Audubon State Historic Site.

Arriving around 4:30pm on a Sunday, I was disappointed we were not able to have dinner at the Carriage House Restaurant due to a wedding, and further disappointed we had to scramble to find somewhere to eat because we paid for the Mystery Tour at 6pm. We ended up going to a grocery store and buying the makings of baloney sandwiches, and sadly settled for beer with lime instead of my mint julep, which I planned on sipping while sitting on the massive porch in a wooden rocker.
The mystery tour was informative, but only one picture was allowed during the tour, and that picture was of the old mirror where many a supposed eerie face shows up. Or, as the tour guide claimed from the stairs she stood on and could be seen in the mirror, the tour guide is guaranteed to not show up in at least one of those mirror photos clicked hungrily by us tourists. Most of the camera’s were digital, and no one claimed the tour guide missing from their pics.

                After the tour, surprisingly most everyone cleared out, leaving me and my Mom to snap photos of the quickly retreating sun. The grounds of Myrtles are indeed peculiar feeling. Massive trees dot the plantation, and solemn statues peek from around bushes and gas-lamp poles. The courtyard is squared with laid bricks and metal patio furniture. A large fountain in the center of the courtyard spits water at the moon. Two raggety black cats and one tabby beg for handouts, and will be your friend for the rest of your stay if you oblige. A feature I found haunting was the gazebo on a small island surrounded by a moat. A long bridge takes you to the mini island, where an apparition of a woman is supposed to roam. We took our time exploring the landscape and snapping pictures we hoped would reveal the paranormal.
Inside, we headed to our room: The John W. Leake Room, where—if you are a Ghost Hunters fan—you’ll remember GH debunking the cigar smell. The room also sits over the old dining room, so listen for bumps in the night below! I have to add here that the room we stayed in was quite dirty, and for the price and world famous part—you would think the proprietors would keep it a little cleaner (the dust on the chairs was so thick they were turning into giant dust bunnies!). In bed, we set our clock to wake up at midnight in order to do a bit of ghost hunting ourselves. When it was time, we stepped out, but found that everyone who had booked a room decided to head out too! Needless to say, I didn’t find any ghosts … or, did I?
Breakfast was served in the quaint gift shop: coffee, juice, grits, ham, eggs, and a biscuit with pecan butter and jelly. It was a good time to meet the other ghost hunting enthusiasts and share our nightly stories. The married couple who stayed in the nursery and set out jelly beans didn’t seem to encounter anything except what sounded like a bass guitar. I promptly replied it must have been the ‘air guitar’ played by the ghosts—and my Mom added “They must have tired of the elevator music.”
                We decided to do one more round of snapshots, and then packed up for our next adventure at the ‘Afton Villa Gardens’, which is entirely a separate blog. Upon scanning my digital pics, nothing unusual seemed to show up, and again, I was feeling a smidge of disenchantment. However, on returning home, two unusual anomalies did in fact emerge.
                The first photo is at midnight in the trees at the front of the house, and shows some orbs. When I magnified the orbs, I noticed one had a face … now, I’m not into orbs, and personally I think they are almost always dust and bugs, but these were up high and kind of peculiarly bright, even in the dark. Maybe it’s only my brain trying to make some recognition sense, but, well, you can decide:

And here is the orb photo originally, but slightly lightened, as it was a very dark photo:

The next picture is the truly strange one. It was taken on our dusk stroll, and is of the gazebo and island. What I noticed was a strong whiteness on the island not far from the white of the gazebo, near the dark bushes. When I magnified it, I could clearly make out the image of a woman in a long dress and ruffled hat or bonnet. I circled it in black so it’s easier to see. I played around with the photo by saturation and darkening and stuff, and something is definitely there, but barely there. The photo I have posted is not messed with in any way except lightened a little to see the figure better (and of course the arrow and circle added so you know where to look):
And again, here is the full photo in its original without me brightening it for detail:

Perhaps the wispy occupants of the Myrtles Plantation were watching us all along …