Re-Blog: 5 Creepiest Of All Things Creepy


(Originally posted 10/10/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

October is the perfect month for all things creepy. If you want to channel your inner historian for a clever costume idea for upcoming festivities, how about these 5 little known creepy historical facts:


1. Hotelier H.H. Holmes who designed his delightful little inn for the express purpose of committing murder and mayhem among guests. He was responsible for murdering as many as 200 people (that we know of) through various dark arts, like chopping them up, toxic gas, and starvation.

 

2. Victorian era folks liked to take photos of loved ones. Um, after they were dead. With poses and props and all. Just like they were still alive. And memorializing babies and children were favorite subjects of this macabre practice. Weird.

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3. In 19th Century Canada, ladies drank a birth control tea, a beverage made from steeped beaver’s testicles. Yum.

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4. 14 years BEFORE the Titanic sank a book entitled The Wreck Of The Titan was written and published by Morgan Robertson. Guess what it was about? An unsinkable ship that hit an iceberg and…. sank. And most of the passengers died because… there weren’t enough lifeboats. Freaky.

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5. Every lover of art, history, etc. dreams of a pilgrimage to the Smithsonian Institute. But a visitor may get more than they bargain for. They might also experience the ghost of the founder of the Smithsonian, James Smithson, who is buried on the grounds and reported to haunt the museum. So intense are reports of hauntings by Smithson that in 1973 his remains and casket were inspected just to see if he was still in there.

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Image Credits:

Crime Viral

Daily Mail

Neatorama

Fantastic Fiction

Cotilleando

TripAdvisor

Find A Grave

Video Credit:

Forbidden Knowledge

Re-Blog: Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 6, Pt 2


(Originally posted 10/9/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

There were certain Harlem characters who were dangerous. It was good to know who.

Image Credit: Google Sites

Re-Blog: Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 6, Pt 1


(Originally posted 10/7/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Malcolm begins to gamble regularly while working at Small’s Paradise Bar in Harlem.

Image Credit: Weber Street Photography

Re-Blog: Let’s Talk To The Dead… Or Not


(Originally posted 10/5/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

When the gringa was growing up in a strict Southern Baptist household, Ouija boards were banned. The gringa should feel fortunate that my mother was more lenient than her parents. My mother grew up in an even stricter religious household where a deck of cards was considered to be just as Satanic as an Ouija board. But where did the Ouija board really come from? 


Did Satan design and deliver it to mortal man? Is the Ouija board a gateway to communicate with the dead? Does one risk demonic possession or an invitation for a ghostly haunting if a bit of fun is had with this device? Probably not.


The Ouija board was first marketed in America during the 1800s. But this was just a mordernized version of an ancient Chinese trinket that dates back to 1100AD. When early Americans became curious about communicating with the dead, a rash of mysticism arose. 


Hypnotists came on the scene but it was really the spiritualists that commanded the era. And certainly in capitalist America there was a cunning entrepreneur who realized that, although lacking in acting skills and unable to pass self off as a medium or psychic, it would be easy to head to the woodshop and craft a device that assists anyone in talking with the dead.


You heard the gringa right. The Ouija board as we know it today is nothing more than a clever capitalist’s Shark Tank dream come true of the 1800s. Designed after the many cultures who practiced supernatural “automatic writing” practices, rather than being the spawn of Satan, the Ouija board is the offspring of centuries of ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Medieval Europeans.


What the heck was going on in America to have good Christians begin to dabble in the black arts? After the Civil War ravaged families, there were plenty of heartbroken, lonely people, as well as guilt-ridden people, who were desperate to connect with dead loved ones. And dead loved ones were in abundance after a war that decimated the American population.


Actors and actresses turned spiritualists groomed their acting skills and added parlor tricks to their repertoires. Ghostly tapping on walls, levitating tables, and smoky emissions were the skills of spiritualists that earned them a loyal following and steady income. Some even enjoyed a celebrity status, like the Fox sisters of New York. So, if you wanted to get on the ghost-talking gravy train express but couldn’t act your way out of a paper bag, you equipped yourself with an Ouija board and held seances.


So, are Ouija boards imbued with magical powers? Certainly. They make money disappear quick as a wink. Happy Halloween season, my dear readers!

Source: The Vintage News

Image Credit: Cornucopia 3D

Video Credit: Crypticc

Re-Blog: Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 5’s Concl


(Originally posted 10/4/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Malcolm makes quite an impression when he goes home for a visit then gets a new railroad job.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Re-Blog: Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 5, Pt 4


(Originally posted 9/27/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Malcolm becomes intoxicated with Harlem.

Image Credit: Ernesto Ide

Re-Blog: Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 5, Pt 3


(Originally posted 9/23/2017 on Read With The Gringa.)

Malcolm experienced the most historical sites in Harlem before they made history.

Image Credit: Biography.com

Re-Blog: Do Space Aliens Use Aluminum?


(Originally posted 9/21/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

The famous 1947 Roswell incident of a supposed crashed alien spacecraft reported curious details. Rancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel described the debris he found as: large pieces of paper covered in what looked like tinfoil. The pieces were held together by small sticks. The salvaged piece of debris resembled a child’s homemade kite. Throughout a 200 yard area surrounding the silvery kite thing were pieces of gray rubber. More kite-like objects were found on the ranch, the largest about 3 feet across.

Another, more recent, discovery has researchers scratching their heads over a mysterious aluminum object. UFOlogists claim that it could be 250,000 years old. It was originally discovered in Romania during a 1973 excavation of the Mures River. 


Three strange objects were found buried about 33 feet. Archaeologists studied them and determined that two of the finds were fossils. They were bones belonging to a mammal that became extinct about 90,000 years ago.


The third, however, could only be man-made since it was a metallic object, not a raw metal ore. Testing revealed 12 different metals with aluminum making up about 90% of the manufactured object.


A Romanian laboratory claimed the object was about 250,000 years old. Other experts were in disbelief so another set of tests were performed in a laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. They confirmed that the object is, indeed, old, but not that old. Only 400-80,000 years old. But aluminum was first produced by modern man about 200 years ago.


This head scratcher centers on an object about 8 inches long, 5 inches wide and nearly 3 inches thick. It also has a circular depression and machined holes in the “arms”, suggesting hinging. This means the manufacturing process would have been very complex. So what the heck is it?

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UFOlogists say it is a fragment from a UFO. Of course. Historians claim that it is really a piece of WWII German aircraft. Considering the effective debunking that has cleared up the Roswell mystery, the gringa is inclined to agree with the historian.


The US Air Force eventually explained to the public what it was that Brazel found. It wasn’t the debris of a crashed UFO. It was the debris of weather radar targets. 


These targets were sent up to help target and tune ballistics of heavy gun and artillery. Regular weather balloons were acquisitioned from weather radar stations. The balloons were then customized to become targets, covered in aluminum so they would be easier to sight high in the sky.


In order for it to even be possible for aluminum debris from a crashed UFO to be found, aluminum would have to be a raw material on other planets. It would have to be mined. It would have to be processed. And it would have to be suitable for use on a spacecraft exposed to the extreme conditions of outer space: radiation, heat, cold, etc.


Aluminum is also found on Mercury, Venus and Mars. So it’s possible there are planets in the vastness of outer space that also have aluminum. We know that there are no aluminum mines and processing plants and spaceship manufacturing plants on Mercury, Venus and Mars. That would mean any UFO constructed of aluminum would have to originate outside our Solar System. Could aluminum handle such a rigorous test of its mettle (pardon the pun)?


Aluminum melts at 1,220.58 degrees Fahrenheit. It boils at 4,566 degrees Fahrenheit. Space shuttle re-entry has recorded surface temperatures of the craft as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, if these bits of aluminum had originated from a crashed UFO, they wouldn’t exist. They would have melted long before they ever reached the earth’s surface.


The final answer is then: No. Space aliens are not using aluminum in their space ships and crashing them on Earth and leaving behind an aluminum bread crumb trail. Case solved.



Sources: El Paso Times

The Vintage News

Live Science

Wikipedia

Image Credit: Pix Shark

Video Credit: Titus Rivas

Re-Blog: Secret Codes, Medieval Medicine & Witches


(Originally posted 9/19/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Who uses secret codes? Kids with secret hide-outs, spies, secret societies, lovers, criminals, etc. Was there a secret society during Medieval times who created a complex secret code, the size of a hefty novel, that has still not been cracked? Linguistics, cryptographic and translation experts say no. And the gringa wants to know why since they still haven’t “cracked the code” of a centuries old manuscript. How would they know what they don’t know?


The Voynich manuscript is really a book, like a huge paperback novel. Within those soft vellum covers are pages of astrological charts, 

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naked women bathing in mysterious green liquids, 

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and strange, unknown flora. 

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Describing all of these curiosities is a secret code that has yet to be solved. 


So what kind of information is being shared? Is it dangerous? Taboo? Subject to blackmail? Why would the author go to such trouble as to pen this tome in an unreadable language? Most authors know that it is publish or perish. To publish in a tongue that can never be known by the general public is the same as not publishing at all. What in the world is this book about? 


One literary expert suggests that, because of the illustrations of naked ladies taking baths, perhaps it was a health manual that challenged the medical trends of that era. The author might possibly have faced legal charges as serious as witchcraft for practicing questionable herbal remedies. Is that what is in the book? Recipes for herbal treatments of feminine ailments? 


This expert’s theory has been widely rejected by the literary community at large. A community, mind you, that has already committed much time and effort to decoding the manuscript. Is their reaction just sour grapes? Has Nicholas Gibbs, a professional researcher of history and war artist, hit upon the truth and spoiled their fun and shot at glory? 


In addition to his professional credentials he also has experience evaluating precious curiosities, having worked for the famed Christie’s auction house. But, even more compelling for the gringa, is his biological connection to his working theory. He is a descendant of one of England’s most famous ancient herbalists, Thomas Fromond. And it was the work of his famed ancestor that helped guide Gibbs in his theory.


So, despite the criticisms of his peers, and their claims that his theory is purely satire, their own findings actually seem to support the Gibbs’ theory. After much examination of the flora illustrations, astrological charts and naked ladies bathing depictions, Gibbs’ critics admit that these elements are health related.


These critics also accede that the Voynich manuscript is very similar to a medieval bathing guide, De Balneis Puteolanis. But their main point of criticism is his accomplishment where they otherwise failed. Gibbs actually decoded two lines of the manuscript. So what is the problem?


The critics claim that his translation into Latin is not grammatically correct. The gringa says, “Really?” I mean, dear reader, come on. When the gringa needs to keep on schedule, she might ask an English speaking friend, “What time is it?” If around Spanish speaking friends, the gringa would say, “Que hora es?” Guess what the literal translation of the Spanish is in English… What hour is. Which is NOT grammatically correct in English. So, the gringa doesn’t buy the grammatically incorrect translation complaint.


Then there’s the fact that the lines Gibbs decoded weren’t actually comprised of complete words. He was decoding characters that represented abbreviated words. Kind of like if the gringa used the “#” symbol to represent the “1/2 tbsp” abbreviation in my own secret code. The secret code was never intended to be grammatically correct. Come on, people. Stop being jealous because a rookie on the scene showed you up.


And what of the theory for why a ladies health manual would need to be written in a secret code to begin with? It is carbon-dated to a point of origin in Northern Italy around 1404-1438. What was going on that might make secret communications of controversial subjects necessary? Here are a few historical facts for perspective:


-During this time period there was no clear identity for physicians in Europe.

-When universities established medical studies during the Middle Ages, women were excluded.

-Women healers were forced to go underground to practice except when filling the role of midwife.

-Most women preferred to be attended by a trusted midwife for other feminine health issues, albeit secretly.

-Women training other women as healers had to be creatively covert in the materials used to pass along and preserve knowledge.

-Women healers caught practicing or teaching medicine were acting outside the law and subject to prosecution.

-Prosecution of a woman healer usually involved the woman being charged with the crime of witchcraft.

-The crime of witchcraft was a capital offense with a death sentence attached.


Understanding the environment in which the Voynich manuscript was crafted, the gringa is convinced that it is indeed, a ladies health guide. Despite bearing the surname of the Polish man who purchased the manuscript in 1912 after its discovery in an Italian monastery, the gringa believes the manuscript was most likely authored by a woman healer working outside the law. The code was the result of this female healer fearing for her life if caught. So vital was it for this woman healer to pass on her knowledge to another generation of female healers, she created a complex secret code that has puzzled linguistic experts for centuries. 


When you think about the witchcraft connection, the secret code for a ladies health manual makes perfect sense. Mystery solved. Thanks Gibbs.

Sources:

The Atlantic


Bushehr University of Medical Sciences


Image Credits:

Mitch Testone


Ellis Nelson


CthulhuTech


Daily Mail

Video Credit: The Science Channel

Re-Blog: Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 5, Pt 2


 

(Originally posted 9/18/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Malcolm quickly falls in love with Harlem’s culture and is ready to relocate.

Image Credit: Reddit