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Vampire and Paranormal Museum

According to Atlas Obscura, there is a fascinating Vampire and Paranormal Museum in Pennsylvania:

Haunted lighthouseAn extraordinary collection of vampire-themed antiques lurks on the second floor of a store.

Tucked away in the same building as an antiques store in a small Pennsylvania town lies a shockingly large collection of antique vampire-killing sets.

Covering the walls are the standard tools of the vampire hunter: the stake, the crucifix, the holy water bottle. But the stakes are far more than pointy, wooden sticks. Believed to date back centuries, all the weapons have been beautifully decorated with a variety of religious and allegorical carvings. They are spectacular objets d’art from every corner of the world, including several personal collections from actors who played Dracula in films. One wooden “traveling vampire hunter kit,” from around 1870 was owned by actor Carlos Villarias, who portrayed the famous count in a Spanish language Dracula.

 

Edmondo Crimi, the owner of the museum, was an antiques dealer who traveled the world collecting these weird and wonderful objects for the past half century. Whether or not any of these weapons has killed a vampire of course remains unsubstantiated, but the mere existence of these historic pieces of craftsmanship speaks to the enduring power of vampire folklore.  

But it isn’t all vampire-related artifacts. There are also antique Ouija boards, statues of the archangel Michael, and a chair used for exorcisms in 19th-century Germany. If it’s odd, supernatural, and beautiful, they probably have one at this gem of a museum.

Know Before You Go

Admission is $15 and the museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.


A History of Ghosts in the Western World

GhostStarting today at 7pm New York Time! This three part online series explores how people have thought about ghosts through time in the Western world.

Here is the link to register.

Course Description

In this course, we'll trace the history of ghostly encounters reported across the Western world, both friendly and nefarious. We'll begin with ghosts from the classical world who haunted heroes like Gilgamesh and Odysseus, and look at the Biblical story of Saul and the Witch of Endor. We'll meet medieval necromancers, Victorian spiritualists, and finally, the modern ghost-hunter. By the end of our time together, you'll not only have a deep understanding of how cultures have conceived of the most common supernatural entity throughout history, but also ideas and suggestions for engaging in your own supernatural investigations. 

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes three total sessions, each lasting for 1 hour on three Mondays beginning January 22.

Session 1 (Monday, 1/22, 7–8:00 PM ET) | From Gilgamesh to the Victorians

We'll explore the earliest history of ghosts, including Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, and Biblical stories; cover medieval necromancers; and learn how the Victorians fell in love with the seance. 

Session 2 (Monday, 1/29, 7–8:00 PM ET) | Who You Gonna Call (in the 20th century)? 

We'll cover early scientific investigation of ghosts, including spirit photography and audio recording; the first great ghost-hunters; and ghosts in 20th-century literature and film.

Session 3 (Monday, 2/5, 7–8:00 PM ET) | Today's Ghosts

In our final session, we'll take an in-depth look at modern theories regarding spirits and ghost-hunting, including a close examination of equipment and the use of mediums and psychics.

Between Sessions

Students will be given recommended readings and materials that touch on the topics covered in class.

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

 


Word of the Day - Pythoness

PythonessI am always trying to improve my new age vocabulary and just found a new word - Pythoness!

A Pythoness is a woman who practices divination, a female soothsayer or conjuror of spirits. The word comes from the late 14c., phitonesse, Phitonissa, "woman with the power of soothsaying," from Old French phitonise (13c.) and Medieval Latin phitonissa, from Late Latin pythonissa, used in Vulgate of the Witch of Endor (I Samuel xxviii. 7), and often treated as her proper name. It is the female version of of pytho "familiar spirit;" which ultimately is connected with the title of the prophetess of the Delphic Oracle, Greek pythia hiereia, from Pythios, an epithet of Apollo, from Pythō, an older name of the region of Delphi (see python). 


How to Bring Good Luck into Your Home

IMG_0298_3Maybe you’re the type of person who knocks on wood to stop yourself from jinxing. Or you keep an amethyst crystal on your nightstand in hopes of absorbing anxiety to help you nod off. In one way or another, these behaviors are linked to capturing positive energy.

"Superstitions give one a sense of control in a complex, apparently impersonal, and largely unpredictable world," says Phillips Stevens, Ph.D., professor of Anthropology Emeritus, State University of New York at Buffalo and author of forthcoming book Rethinking the Anthropology of Magic and Witchcraft (Routledge). The idea that an action or an object can prevent something bad from happening is a type of magical thinking. When it comes to the home, certain cultural do's and don'ts are tied to the idea of universal order—balance and harmony, the yin and the yang. The inside of a home should be peaceful and comfortable, to counteract the potentially risky and unpredictable outside world. As a result, each culture has created rituals, ways that capture the transition and transformation from outside to inside.

Take the ubiquitous superstition: opening an umbrella inside. Everyone knows it’s bad luck, right? But why? Stevens explains that, since an umbrella is an object related to bad weather, bringing it inside is akin to inviting the storm in. Better leave it in the foyer, closed, until it's needed.

In addition to magic superstitions, there are also sign superstitions that believers interpret as messages from the universe, such as seeing a black cat cross one’s path. "Some prefer the term 'folk beliefs', as superstitions can be a pejorative term," says Tok Thompson, PhD, professor of anthropology and communications at University of Southern California in Los Angeles and author of Posthuman Folklore. "Some superstitions are later proven by science to be true, and then are no longer superstitions but scientific belief. Likewise, science can change its mind, and what is scientific belief at one point can become superstitious belief later. In general, superstitions are beliefs about the world, and about what causes what, that are not approved by science."

One of the reasons people still believe in superstitions today is habit and routine. Think of it this way, if you always get up on the same side of the bed and get coffee but one day you crawl out on the opposite side and skip your coffee, your day might feel a bit off. Or if your favorite team wins the playoffs when you're wearing a particular t-shirt, you might feel inclined to wear it again the next time they play. "Persistent behaviors give you a sense of control and that’s terrifically important when processing the world at large," Stevens continues. That's why if you do something out of turn and the day isn’t great, it can be attributed to the anomaly, especially one that is dubbed a taboo. "Superstitions are a part of folklore, and have been around for a long, long time. Way longer than writing," Thompson continues. "But they change, die out, and new ones emerge."

The bottom line in our view: Better safe than sorry! To keep your household running smoothly, read on for 11 things to try so that your house is full of good juju.

Make the most of mirrors

Keep hats off the bed

Bring in some horns

Give Ghosts something to read

Arrange flowers in odd numbers

Never put shoes on a table

Powerfully position your bed

Save the spiders

Sweep strategically

Don't dine in the dark

Clean the commode

 

https://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/home-makeovers/g44266174/11-ways-to-bring-good-luck-into-your-home/?fbclid=IwAR1XRDDINFFkhZUFbP9om5ORRuaSOTmzGE0WFIfnpIWik9bjgd7AhbLaR6c_aem_th_AV-jWwLCg-ELK2UGfVh-e1jkvNvk-Krrd7xgx9MUC1LIrB35aL0YhC2pHeaSX1Yt8zA&mibextid=Zxz2cZ

 


A Haunted Painting?

A Painting of a Crying Boy Was Blamed for a Series of Fires in the ’80s. The artwork, said UK tabloids at the time, was haunted.


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