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Welcome! I invite you to join me on this journey we call Life. It's crazy, fun, silly, sad, happy, loony, dull, exciting and everything inbetween

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Now Here's a Note That Inspires!

I just saw this one and it brought tears to my eyes! The other "ugly" note has been circulating all day but this one is just wonderful! This  young man did a wonderful thing! Read about his good deed


I hope he is blessed beyond measure for going out of his way to give hope and encouragement to another person!

Have you ever had a stranger do something helpful or unexpected for you?

Body Shaming Kids On Halloween?

A Fargo North Dakota woman is making headlines with a letter she intends to hand out instead of candy to kids visiting her house for Halloween.....
Here's a news item about it. Below is the letter:


My thoughts are she has stepped out of bounds on this one. I doubt she is a doctor so it's not her place to "diagnose" anyone. She's doing all the things we try to teach our kids NOT to do.. judge others based on appearance, bullying, making presumptions..... There are kids with medical issues or problems they were born with. They have no control is situations like that. Getting a letter handed to them telling them they are fat, is certain to put their self esteem right in the toilet. It's people like this that lead kids to eating disorders and worse. It's really none of her business to tell others how to raise their kids.  Another thing that bothers me about this letter is it is written like she is addressing the adults, but it is the KIDS that she will be handing to when they come to her door.
Woman needs to just keep her letters to herself and leave of the porch light on Halloween.

What do you think about her handing out this letter to kids? 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Yarn Pumpkin Craft

Yarn Pumpkin
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Supplies


Yarn
Round Balloon
Plastic Wrap
white glue
Black Foam, Felt or wood pieces for face (optional)
water
Bowl
Paper or foam plate
newspaper
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Directions

*I made a yellow one first until I could get to the store for some orange yarn
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 Blow up the balloon to the size you like and tie it off. Wrap plastic wrap around the balloon. I wrapped a piece straight around the balloon from one side of the tied off  stem to the other, then wrapped a second piece the same way, leaving the stem sticking out to hold onto and hang the balloon to dry.


Pour the white glue into the bowl and add a small amount of water to thin it just a bit. Don't add to much or the yarn won't stiffen as well. You may want to lay out some newspaper on your workspace to catch any drips or spatters. You can use a paper or foam plate to set the balloon on as you wrap the yarn so it doesn't get dirty from the newspaper. I used a plastic bag.
I pulled the yarn directly from the skein, putting several yards into the glue at once, then pulled it between my thumb and forefinger as I wrapped the balloon. When I used the yarn that was in the glue, I would pull out several more yards and put it in the glue. I just repeated this until the balloon was covered to my satisfaction.

Once you have the balloon wrapped as much as you like, find a place to clip and hang it to dry. For the yellow one, I clipped it to an outdoor chair. It was too cold the next day when I did the orange one so I used a kitchen clip and a flyswatter :) I put the clip over the loop of the flyswatter handle and clipped the balloon stem. I laid the flyswatter on a chair and put some stuff on the swatter end to weight it and hold it still. This suspended the balloon so it wasn't touching anything. I put a bowl on the floor under the suspended balloon to catch any glue run off. It will take several hours for it to dry completely. 
Once dry, use scissors to snip the balloon just below the knot at the tie off. I used a pencil to poke the plastic as the balloon deflated and once it was all loose from the yarn, I found one of the larger holes and began to SLOWLY pull it out. Use your fingers to twist the plastic wrap to make it smaller as you pull it out, being careful not to pull on the yarn to hard.
Once you have the plastic and balloon out, you can use any number of materials to decorate it. Felt, cardstock, colored tape, painted wood pieces, yarn. I wanted to use felt to make the face, but didn't have any black on hand so I used some black duct tape instead. I then inserted a battery operated tea light to light my pumpkin up!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Sensing Spirits and Other Strange Occurrences

Have you ever visited a haunted place or seen something you couldn't really explain? Ever experienced a spooky moment? My husband's Grandmother had visions of a spooky nature. She often would dream or see something shortly before someone died. She was once washing dishes and looked out the window above her sink and saw a ghostly white coffin float by. The next day a family member passed away. In another instance, she woke one night to see Harry, our dear friend and my husband's step-father sitting in the chair in the corner of her bedroom. She said it was as if he were really there and she could see him clear as day. He too passed away within a day or so of this "visit". There are stories of her having such visions over the course of her life. My mother-in-law (Moma) was very distraught of the loss of Harry. We all were. It wasn't wholly unexpected since Harry's health was poor and he had been on dialysis for some time, but our thoughts had been preoccupied with preparations for Christmas and he died on Christmas Eve Day. Moma's grief was deep and I think she felt lost, like she didn't know what to do next. She told me she sometime's felt his presence. One day she said was in her room and as often happened when she thought of Harry, she began to cry. Within a few moments, she felt his presence again, but this time it was in a very real physical sense, even though she couldn't see anyone there. Suddenly there was movement and she watched as an indention appeared at the end of the bed. It was the shape of someone sitting down! She felt a peace come over her and felt Harry telling her everything was okay and that she would be okay too. 
Even before Harry died we had some spooky moments. Between all of us we were maintaining three different houses: Moma's house, Harry's house (It is called the Castle) and a house he had built (the Bluff House). His intention had been to sell the Castle and live in the Bluff House. He did move to the Bluff House for a short time but he truly loved the Castle and went back. My sister-in law (J) and her fiance (H) moved into the Bluff House, while hubby and I lived in Moma's house and she and Harry lived in the Castle. Our lives were so intertwined at the time that each of us had keys to all the houses. I could walk into the door of "our" place and be able to tell at the moment the door opened that someone had been there and could usually sense who had been there. J and H lived in the spookiest of the three houses. J was in college and H worked a full time job and there were many times she came home and there would be water rings on the counter in the kitchen. Now the Bluff house was called that because it was built on a bluff over looking the lake. It had HUGE windows and sliding glass doors on that side of the house and the sun shone in those windows from the afternoon until nightfall. Water on the counter didn't just stay there. It dried faster than you could get something to wipe it up. At first J thought maybe one of us had stopped by while she was at class, but when she mentioned it to us, we had not been there. She started noticing things being moved. The laundry detergent would be missing from the shelf and she would find it in the washer or dryer, with the doors/lid closed. The water rings continued to appear on the counter. Sometime later we found out that two women had been murdered and thrown from the bridge that could be seen from the lake view side of the house. It was spooky! There was further development of the subdivision, more houses built and the Bluff House was sold. J was pretty relieved to be out of there! 
I remember once when I was a kid, being at a slumber party with a bunch of other girls and walking by a mirror and seeing the image of a lady in a long white gown and looking behind me to see who it was. There was nothing. When I looked in the mirror again, it was gone. I thought nothing of it until later after the girl's parents were asleep and several of the girls started wanting to play "scary games" and tell stories... they told some ghost stories then we played a game called Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board. Then someone wanted to play Bloody Mary. I had never heard of these type games, but up until then we had been having fun. As they proceeded with Bloody Mary a few of them started saying they could see a lady in a white gown. I did not see her during the game but it freaked me out a bit. Sometime later I was at the house of one of my friends who had been at the party. I went to use the restroom and I saw the lady again. Just a glimpse, then she was gone again. When I went back to her room I told her what I had seen and she got very scared. She said we hadn't "put her away" after bringing her out. I just shrugged. I don't recall having seen that image since.
One last spooky incident.... one night as hubby's Grandma and Grandpa were sleeping, Grandpa was startled awake, He lay there a moment and decided to get up to use the bathroom. As soon as he stood up from the edge of the bed, lightning came through the window, struck the mattress right where he had been laying and left a cross shaped tear/rip in the sheet!
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What spooky things have you seen or felt? Have you ever seen a ghost? What strange occurrence has left you speechless and unable to explain? What is your favorite ghost story?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

REVIEW: Ozeri Precision Digital Bath Scale






I received the Ozeri Precision Bath Scale through my participation at Tomoson and the timing couldn't have been better. We haven't had a working scale in quite a while. I must say the feel of it is very impressive.


 I was a little skeptical at first because this thing is thin compared to typical bath scales and the box said it was for up to 400 pounds! 
I opened the box, slipped in the included lithium battery and turned it back over and set it on the floor. Stepped on it once and Boom! It auto-calibrated and was ready to go. What could be easier?



The LCD is very easy to read and the reading comes up very quickly. There is no tapping required and you get an immediate reading. There is a button to change the weight measurement pounds, kilograms and British Stones. It measures in 0.02 increments so you get a high precision reading. The flat surface is another welcome feature. I never liked standing on scales that had a sloped type surface. It caused my feet to roll to the outside while trying to weigh so I didn't feel like I was getting accurate readings. This scale has an over-sized platform that is easy to stand on. It automatically turns off after 10 seconds to conserve the battery life.



Another bonus is the price. This is an awesome scale for the regular price of $30, but when at the time of this post it is on sale on Amazon for just $14.95! For just about the first time in my life I LIKE a scale! Not excited about the readings ..... YET, but now with such a great product, that gives precise readings, I'm finding the motivation to change that. I'm extremely pleased with this scale and know it will last us a good long time.

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DISCLAIMER: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless,  the views expressed here are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

My Mother-in-law

I hear people crack jokes about their in laws and while I see the humor I can't really relate. Same goes for hateful or snide comments. I understand it. I just can't relate very well to any of it. You see, I have a Mother-in-law that I get along with, love dearly and like to think of as my friend. She is a rock for those of us around her. I have been with her son since he and I were teenagers, so we've been through a lot together. Don't get me wrong, we've had our tough moments too, but somehow it all worked out and over the years our relationship has grown. Knowing as much of her history as I do, I know parts of the long, winding and at times, very rough rough road she has had to travel. She has lived through and dealt with things I can only barely imagine and instead of giving up or giving in, she pushed forward. Instead of worrying about revenge against those who had done her wrong, she trusted in her faith and instead chose to "turn the other cheek". I have watched her continually give selflessly to everyone around her. She has always been there for us "kids" and is the best Granny you could ever hope for. I know I could never repay all she has given to me and all she has taught me. So when I saw this Samsung Women of Steel contest I HAD to nominate her! Please take a moment and visit the Contest Page and cast a vote for her. I can't thank you enough for helping me! She deserves it more than I can express with mere words!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Disney Movie Rewards Members - New Points!

Disney Movie RewardsAre you a Disney Movie Rewards member? You can currently grab 25  FREE Points! Just head on over to the DMR site and login to your account. After doing so, enter the codes APPLE, URSULA, MUFASA, JAFAR, and GHOST to score your points.

Enter and submit them one at a time for 5 points each, a total of 25 free points! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe - The Black Cat

The Black Cat

by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1845)

FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not -- and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified -- have tortured -- have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror -- to many they will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place -- some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and, in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagaciousto an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point -- and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe: The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum

by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1850)


I WAS sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence -- the dread sentence of death -- was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution -- perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill wheel. This only for a brief period; for presently I heard no more. Yet, for a while, I saw; but with how terrible an exaggeration! I saw the lips of the black-robed judges. They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words -- and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness -- of immoveable resolution -- of stern contempt of human torture. I saw that the decrees of what to me was Fate, were still issuing from those lips. I saw them writhe with a deadly locution. I saw them fashion the syllables of my name; and I shuddered because no sound succeeded. I saw, too, for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment. And then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white and slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help. And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared swallowed up in a mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then silence, and stillness, night were the universe.

I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was lost. What of it there remained I will not attempt to define, or even to describe; yet all was not lost. In the deepest slumber -- no! In delirium -- no! In a swoon -- no! In death -- no! even in the grave all is not lost. Else there is no immortality for man. Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed. In the return to life from the swoon there are two stages; first, that of the sense of mental or spiritual; secondly, that of the sense of physical, existence. It seems probable that if, upon reaching the second stage, we could recall the impressions of the first, we should find these impressions eloquent in memories of the gulf beyond. And that gulf is -- what? How at least shall we distinguish its shadows from those of the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage, are not, at will, recalled, yet, after long interval, do they not come unbidden, while we marvel whence they come? He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower -- is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention.

Amid frequent and thoughtful endeavors to remember; amid earnest struggles to regather some token of the state of seeming nothingness into which my soul had lapsed, there have been moments when I have dreamed of success; there have been brief, very brief periods when I have conjured up remembrances which the lucid reason of a later epoch assures me could have had reference only to that condition of seeming unconsciousness. These shadows of memory tell, indistinctly, of tall figures that lifted and bore me in silence down -- down -- still down -- till a hideous dizziness oppressed me at the mere idea of the interminableness of the descent. They tell also of a vague horror at my heart, on account of that heart's unnatural stillness. Then comes a sense of sudden motionlessness throughout all things; as if those who bore me (a ghastly train!) had outrun, in their descent, the limits of the limitless, and paused from the wearisomeness of their toil. After this I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then all is madness -- the madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.

Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound -- the tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then again sound, and motion, and touch -- a tingling sensation pervading my frame. Then the mere consciousness of existence, without thought -- a condition which lasted long. Then, very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state. Then a strong desire to lapse into insensibility. Then a rushing revival of soul and a successful effort to move. And now a full memory of the trial, of the judges, of the sable draperies, of the sentence, of the sickness, of the swoon. Then entire forgetfulness of all that followed; of all that a later day and much earnestness of endeavor have enabled me vaguely to recall.

So far, I had not opened my eyes. I felt that I lay upon my back, unbound. I reached out my hand, and it fell heavily upon something damp and hard. There I suffered it to remain for many minutes, while I strove to imagine where and what I could be. I longed, yet dared not to employ my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see. At length, with a wild desperation at heart, I quickly unclosed my eyes. My worst thoughts, then, were confirmed. The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. I struggled for breath. The intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle me. The atmosphere was intolerably close. I still lay quietly, and made effort to exercise my reason. I brought to mind the inquisitorial proceedings, and attempted from that point to deduce my real condition. The sentence had passed; and it appeared to me that a very long interval of time had since elapsed. Yet not for a moment did I suppose myself actually dead. Such a supposition, notwithstanding what we read in fiction, is altogether inconsistent with real existence; -- but where and in what state was I? The condemned to death, I knew, perished usually at the autos-da-fe, and one of these had been held on the very night of the day of my trial. Had I been remanded to my dungeon, to await the next sacrifice, which would not take place for many months? This I at once saw could not be. Victims had been in immediate demand. Moreover, my dungeon, as well as all the condemned cells at Toledo, had stone floors, and light was not altogether excluded.

A fearful idea now suddenly drove the blood in torrents upon my heart, and for a brief period, I once more relapsed into insensibility. Upon recovering, I at once started to my feet, trembling convulsively in every fibre. I thrust my arms wildly above and around me in all directions. I felt nothing; yet dreaded to move a step, lest I should be impeded by the walls of a tomb. Perspiration burst from every pore, and stood in cold big beads upon my forehead. The agony of suspense grew at length intolerable, and I cautiously moved forward, with my arms extended, and my eyes straining from their sockets, in the hope of catching some faint ray of light. I proceeded for many paces; but still all was blackness and vacancy. I breathed more freely. It seemed evident that mine was not, at least, the most hideous of fates.

And now, as I still continued to step cautiously onward, there came thronging upon my recollection a thousand vague rumors of the horrors of Toledo. Of the dungeons there had been strange things narrated -- fables I had always deemed them -- but yet strange, and too ghastly to repeat, save in a whisper. Was I left to perish of starvation in this subterranean world of darkness; or what fate, perhaps even more fearful, awaited me? That the result would be death, and a death of more than customary bitterness, I knew too well the character of my judges to doubt. The mode and the hour were all that occupied or distracted me.

My outstretched hands at length encountered some solid obstruction. It was a wall, seemingly of stone masonry -- very smooth, slimy, and cold. I followed it up; stepping with all the careful distrust with which certain antique narratives had inspired me. This process, however, afforded me no means of ascertaining the dimensions of my dungeon; as I might make its circuit, and return to the point whence I set out, without being aware of the fact; so perfectly uniform seemed the wall. I therefore sought the knife which had been in my pocket, when led into the inquisitorial chamber; but it was gone; my clothes had been exchanged for a wrapper of coarse serge. I had thought of forcing the blade in some minute crevice of the masonry, so as to identify my point of departure. The difficulty, nevertheless, was but trivial; although, in the disorder of my fancy, it seemed at first insuperable. I tore a part of the hem from the robe and placed the fragment at full length, and at right angles to the wall. In groping my way around the prison, I could not fail to encounter this rag upon completing the circuit. So, at least I thought: but I had not counted upon the extent of the dungeon, or upon my own weakness. The ground was moist and slippery. I staggered onward for some time, when I stumbled and fell. My excessive fatigue induced me to remain prostrate; and sleep soon overtook me as I lay.

Upon awaking, and stretching forth an arm, I found beside me a loaf and a pitcher with water. I was too much exhausted to reflect upon this circumstance, but ate and drank with avidity. Shortly afterward, I resumed my tour around the prison, and with much toil came at last upon the fragment of the serge. Up to the period when I fell I had counted fifty-two paces, and upon resuming my walk, I had counted forty-eight more; -- when I arrived at the rag. There were in all, then, a hundred paces; and, admitting two paces to the yard, I presumed the dungeon to be fifty yards in circuit. I had met, however, with many angles in the wall, and thus I could form no guess at the shape of the vault; for vault I could not help supposing it to be.

I had little object -- certainly no hope these researches; but a vague curiosity prompted me to continue them. Quitting the wall, I resolved to cross the area of the enclosure. At first I proceeded with extreme caution, for the floor, although seemingly of solid material, was treacherous with slime. At length, however, I took courage, and did not hesitate to step firmly; endeavoring to cross in as direct a line as possible. I had advanced some ten or twelve paces in this manner, when the remnant of the torn hem of my robe became entangled between my legs. I stepped on it, and fell violently on my face.

In the confusion attending my fall, I did not immediately apprehend a somewhat startling circumstance, which yet, in a few seconds afterward, and while I still lay prostrate, arrested my attention. It was this -- my chin rested upon the floor of the prison, but my lips and the upper portion of my head, although seemingly at a less elevation than the chin, touched nothing. At the same time my forehead seemed bathed in a clammy vapor, and the peculiar smell of decayed fungus arose to my nostrils. I put forward my arm, and shuddered to find that I had fallen at the very brink of a circular pit, whose extent, of course, I had no means of ascertaining at the moment. Groping about the masonry just below the margin, I succeeded in dislodging a small fragment, and let it fall into the abyss. For many seconds I hearkened to its reverberations as it dashed against the sides of the chasm in its descent; at length there was a sullen plunge into water, succeeded by loud echoes. At the same moment there came a sound resembling the quick opening, and as rapid closing of a door overhead, while a faint gleam of light flashed suddenly through the gloom, and as suddenly faded away.

I saw clearly the doom which had been prepared for me, and congratulated myself upon the timely accident by which I had escaped. Another step before my fall, and the world had seen me no more. And the death just avoided, was of that very character which I had regarded as fabulous and frivolous in the tales respecting the Inquisition. To the victims of its tyranny, there was the choice of death with its direst physical agonies, or death with its most hideous moral horrors. I had been reserved for the latter. By long suffering my nerves had been unstrung, until I trembled at the sound of my own voice, and had become in every respect a fitting subject for the species of torture which awaited me.

Shaking in every limb, I groped my way back to the wall; resolving there to perish rather than risk the terrors of the wells, of which my imagination now pictured many in various positions about the dungeon. In other conditions of mind I might have had courage to end my misery at once by a plunge into one of these abysses; but now I was the veriest of cowards. Neither could I forget what I had read of these pits -- that the sudden extinction of life formed no part of their most horrible plan.

Agitation of spirit kept me awake for many long hours; but at length I again slumbered. Upon arousing, I found by my side, as before, a loaf and a pitcher of water. A burning thirst consumed me, and I emptied the vessel at a draught. It must have been drugged; for scarcely had I drunk, before I became irresistibly drowsy. A deep sleep fell upon me -- a sleep like that of death. How long it lasted of course, I know not; but when, once again, I unclosed my eyes, the objects around me were visible. By a wild sulphurous lustre, the origin of which I could not at first determine, I was enabled to see the extent and aspect of the prison.

In its size I had been greatly mistaken. The whole circuit of its walls did not exceed twenty-five yards. For some minutes this fact occasioned me a world of vain trouble; vain indeed! for what could be of less importance, under the terrible circumstances which environed me, then the mere dimensions of my dungeon? But my soul took a wild interest in trifles, and I busied myself in endeavors to account for the error I had committed in my measurement. The truth at length flashed upon me. In my first attempt at exploration I had counted fifty-two paces, up to the period when I fell; I must then have been within a pace or two of the fragment of serge; in fact, I had nearly performed the circuit of the vault. I then slept, and upon awaking, I must have returned upon my steps -- thus supposing the circuit nearly double what it actually was. My confusion of mind prevented me from observing that I began my tour with the wall to the left, and ended it with the wall to the right.

I had been deceived, too, in respect to the shape of the enclosure. In feeling my way I had found many angles, and thus deduced an idea of great irregularity; so potent is the effect of total darkness upon one arousing from lethargy or sleep! The angles were simply those of a few slight depressions, or niches, at odd intervals. The general shape of the prison was square. What I had taken for masonry seemed now to be iron, or some other metal, in huge plates, whose sutures or joints occasioned the depression. The entire surface of this metallic enclosure was rudely daubed in all the hideous and repulsive devices to which thecharnel superstition of the monks has given rise. The figures of fiends in aspects of menace, with skeleton forms, and other more really fearful images, overspread and disfigured the walls. I observed that the outlines of these monstrosities were sufficiently distinct, but that the colors seemed faded and blurred, as if from the effects of a damp atmosphere. I now noticed the floor, too, which was of stone. In the centre yawned the circular pit from whose jaws I had escaped; but it was the only one in the dungeon.

All this I saw indistinctly and by much effort: for my personal condition had been greatly changed during slumber. I now lay upon my back, and at full length, on a species of low framework of wood. To this I was securely bound by a long strap resembling a surcingle. It passed in many convolutions about my limbs and body, leaving at liberty only my head, and my left arm to such extent that I could, by dint of much exertion, supply myself with food from an earthen dish which lay by my side on the floor. I saw, to my horror, that the pitcher had been removed. I say to my horror; for I was consumed with intolerable thirst. This thirst it appeared to be the design of my persecutors to stimulate: for the food in the dish was meat pungently seasoned.

Looking upward, I surveyed the ceiling of my prison. It was some thirty or forty feet overhead, and constructed much as the side walls. In one of its panels a very singular figure riveted my whole attention. It was the painted figure of Time as he is commonly represented, save that, in lieu of a scythe, he held what, at a casual glance, I supposed to be the pictured image of a huge pendulum such as we see on antique clocks. There was something, however, in the appearance of this machine which caused me to regard it more attentively. While I gazed directly upward at it (for its position was immediately over my own) I fancied that I saw it in motion. In an instant afterward the fancy was confirmed. Its sweep was brief, and of course slow. I watched it for some minutes, somewhat in fear, but more in wonder. Wearied at length with observing its dull movement, I turned my eyes upon the other objects in the cell.

A slight noise attracted my notice, and, looking to the floor, I saw several enormous rats traversing it. They had issued from the well, which lay just within view to my right. Even then, while I gazed, they came up in troops, hurriedly, with ravenous eyes, allured by the scent of the meat. From this it required much effort and attention to scare them away.

It might have been half an hour, perhaps even an hour, (for in cast my I could take but imperfect note of time) before I again cast my eyes upward. What I then saw confounded and amazed me. The sweep of the pendulum had increased in extent by nearly a yard. As a natural consequence, its velocity was also much greater. But what mainly disturbed me was the idea that had perceptibly descended. I now observed -- with what horror it is needless to say -- that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. Like a razor also, it seemed massy and heavy, tapering from the edge into a solid and broad structure above. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed as it swung through the air.

I could no longer doubt the doom prepared for me by monkish ingenuity in torture. My cognizance of the pit had become known to the inquisitorial agents -- the pit whose horrors had been destined for so bold a recusant as myself -- the pit, typical of hell, and regarded by rumor as the Ultima Thule of all their punishments. The plunge into this pit I had avoided by the merest of accidents, I knew that surprise, or entrapment into torment, formed an important portion of all the grotesquerie of these dungeon deaths. Having failed to fall, it was no part of the demon plan to hurl me into the abyss; and thus (there being no alternative) a different and a milder destruction awaited me. Milder! I half smiled in my agony as I thought of such application of such a term.

What boots it to tell of the long, long hours of horror more than mortal, during which I counted the rushing vibrations of the steel! Inch by inch -- line by line -- with a descent only appreciable at intervals that seemed ages -- down and still down it came! Days passed -- it might have been that many days passed -- ere it swept so closely over me as to fan me with its acrid breath. The odor of the sharp steel forced itself into my nostrils. I prayed -- I wearied heaven with my prayer for its more speedy descent. I grew frantically mad, and struggled to force myself upward against the sweep of the fearful scimitar. And then I fell suddenly calm, and lay smiling at the glittering death, as a child at some rarebauble.

There was another interval of utter insensibility; it was brief; for, upon again lapsing into life there had been no perceptible descent in the pendulum. But it might have been long; for I knew there were demons who took note of my swoon, and who could have arrested the vibration at pleasure. Upon my recovery, too, I felt very -- oh, inexpressibly sick and weak, as if through long inanition. Even amid the agonies of that period, the human nature craved food. With painful effort I outstretched my left arm as far as my bonds permitted, and took possession of the small remnant which had been spared me by the rats. As I put a portion of it within my lips, there rushed to my mind a half formed thought of joy -- of hope. Yet what business had I with hope? It was, as I say, a half formed thought -- man has many such which are never completed. I felt that it was of joy -- of hope; but felt also that it had perished in its formation. In vain I struggled to perfect -- to regain it. Long suffering had nearly annihilated all my ordinary powers of mind. I was an imbecile -- an idiot.

The vibration of the pendulum was at right angles to my length. I saw that the crescent was designed to cross the region of the heart. It would fray the serge of my robe -- it would return and repeat its operations -- again -- and again. Notwithstanding terrifically wide sweep (some thirty feet or more) and the hissing vigor of its descent, sufficient tosunder these very walls of iron, still the fraying of my robe would be all that, for several minutes, it would accomplish. And at this thought I paused. I dared not go farther than this reflection. I dwelt upon it with a pertinacity of attention -- as if, in so dwelling, I could arrest here the descent of the steel. I forced myself to ponder upon the sound of the crescent as it should pass across the garment -- upon the peculiar thrilling sensation which the friction of cloth produces on the nerves. I pondered upon all this frivolity until my teeth were on edge.

Down -- steadily down it crept. I took a frenzied pleasure in contrasting its downward with its lateral velocity. To the right -- to the left -- far and wide -- with the shriek of a damned spirit; to my heart with the stealthy pace of the tiger! I alternately laughed and howled as the one or the other idea grew predominant.

Down -- certainly, relentlessly down! It vibrated within three inches of my bosom! I struggled violently, furiously, to free my left arm. This was free only from the elbow to the hand. I could reach the latter, from the platter beside me, to my mouth, with great effort, but no farther. Could I have broken the fastenings above the elbow, I would have seized and attempted to arrest the pendulum. I might as well have attempted to arrest an avalanche!

Down -- still unceasingly -- still inevitably down! I gasped and struggled at each vibration. I shrunk convulsively at its every sweep. My eyes followed its outward or upward whirls with the eagerness of the most unmeaning despair; they closed themselves spasmodically at the descent, although death would have been a relief, oh! how unspeakable! Still I quivered in every nerve to think how slight a sinking of the machinery would precipitate that keen, glistening axe upon my bosom. It was hope that prompted the nerve to quiver -- the frame to shrink. It was hope -- the hope that triumphs on the rack -- that whispers to the death-condemned even in the dungeons of the Inquisition.

I saw that some ten or twelve vibrations would bring the steel in actual contact with my robe, and with this observation there suddenly came over my spirit all the keen, collected calmness of despair. For the first time during many hours -- or perhaps days -- I thought. It now occurred to me that the bandage, or surcingle, which enveloped me, was unique. I was tied by no separate cord. The first stroke of the razorlike crescent athwart any portion of the band, would so detach it that it might be unwound from my person by means of my left hand. But how fearful, in that case, the proximity of the steel! The result of the slightest struggle how deadly! Was it likely, moreover, that the minions of the torturer had not foreseen and provided for this possibility! Was it probable that the bandage crossed my bosom in the track of the pendulum? Dreading to find my faint, and, as it seemed, in last hope frustrated, I so far elevated my head as to obtain a distinct view of my breast. Thesurcingle enveloped my limbs and body close in all directions -- save in the path of the destroying crescent.

Scarcely had I dropped my head back into its original position, when there flashed upon my mind what I cannot better describe than as the unformed half of that idea of deliverance to which I have previously alluded, and of which a moiety only floated indeterminately through my brain when I raised food to my burning lips. The whole thought was now present -- feeble, scarcely sane, scarcely definite, -- but still entire. I proceeded at once, with the nervous energy of despair, to attempt its execution.

For many hours the immediate vicinity of the low framework upon which I lay, had been literally swarming with rats. They were wild, bold, ravenous; their red eyes glaring upon me as if they waited but for motionlessness on my part to make me their prey. "To what food," I thought, "have they been accustomed in the well?"

They had devoured, in spite of all my efforts to prevent them, all but a small remnant of the contents of the dish. I had fallen into an habitual see-saw, or wave of the hand about the platter: and, at length, the unconscious uniformity of the movement deprived it of effect. In their voracity the vermin frequently fastened their sharp fangs in my fingers. With the particles of the oily and spicy viand which now remained, I thoroughly rubbed the bandage wherever I could reach it; then, raising my hand from the floor, I lay breathlessly still.

At first the ravenous animals were startled and terrified at the change -- at the cessation of movement. They shrank alarmedly back; many sought the well. But this was only for a moment. I had not counted in vain upon their voracity. Observing that I remained without motion, one or two of the boldest leaped upon the frame-work, and smelt at thesurcingle. This seemed the signal for a general rush. Forth from the well they hurried in fresh troops. They clung to the wood -- they overran it, and leaped in hundreds upon my person. The measured movement of the pendulum disturbed them not at all. Avoiding its strokes they busied themselves with the anointed bandage. They pressed -- they swarmed upon me in ever accumulating heaps. They writhed upon my throat; their cold lips sought my own; I was half stifled by their thronging pressure; disgust, for which the world has no name, swelled my bosom, and chilled, with a heavy clamminess, my heart. Yet one minute, and I felt that the struggle would be over. Plainly I perceived the loosening of the bandage. I knew that in more than one place it must be already severed. With a more than human resolution I lay still.

Nor had I erred in my calculations -- nor had I endured in vain. I at length felt that I was free. The surcingle hung in ribands from my body. But the stroke of the pendulum already pressed upon my bosom. It had divided the serge of the robe. It had cut through the linen beneath. Twice again it swung, and a sharp sense of pain shot through every nerve. But the moment of escape had arrived. At a wave of my hand my deliverers hurried tumultuously away. With a steady movement -- cautious, sidelong, shrinking, and slow -- I slid from the embrace of the bandage and beyond the reach of the scimitar. For the moment, at least, I was free.

Free! -- and in the grasp of the Inquisition! I had scarcely stepped from my wooden bed of horror upon the stone floor of the prison, when the motion of the hellish machine ceased and I beheld it drawn up, by some invisible force, through the ceiling. This was a lesson which I took desperately to heart. My every motion was undoubtedly watched. Free! -- I had but escaped death in one form of agony, to be delivered unto worse than death in some other. With that thought I rolled my eves nervously around on the barriers of iron that hemmed me in. Something unusual -- some change which, at first, I could not appreciate distinctly -- it was obvious, had taken place in the apartment. For many minutes of a dreamy and trembling abstraction, I busied myself in vain, unconnected conjecture. During this period, I became aware, for the first time, of the origin of the sulphurous light which illumined the cell. It proceeded from a fissure, about half an inch in width, extending entirely around the prison at the base of the walls, which thus appeared, and were, completely separated from the floor. I endeavored, but of course in vain, to look through the aperture.

As I arose from the attempt, the mystery of the alteration in the chamber broke at once upon my understanding. I have observed that, although the outlines of the figures upon the walls were sufficiently distinct, yet the colors seemed blurred and indefinite. These colors had now assumed, and were momentarily assuming, a startling and most intense brilliancy, that gave to the spectral and fiendish portraitures an aspect that might have thrilled even firmer nerves than my own. Demon eyes, of a wild and ghastly vivacity, glared upon me in a thousand directions, where none had been visible before, and gleamed with the lurid lustre of a fire that I could not force my imagination to regard as unreal.

Unreal! -- Even while I breathed there came to my nostrils the breath of the vapour of heated iron! A suffocating odour pervaded the prison! A deeper glow settled each moment in the eyes that glared at my agonies! A richer tint of crimson diffused itself over the pictured horrors of blood. I panted! I gasped for breath! There could be no doubt of the design of my tormentors -- oh! most unrelenting! oh! most demoniac of men! I shrank from the glowing metal to the centre of the cell. Amid the thought of the fiery destruction that impended, the idea of the coolness of the well came over my soul like balm. I rushed to its deadly brink. I threw my straining vision below. The glare from the enkindled roof illumined its inmost recesses. Yet, for a wild moment, did my spirit refuse to comprehend the meaning of what I saw. At length it forced -- it wrestled its way into my soul -- it burned itself in upon my shuddering reason. -- Oh! for a voice to speak! -- oh! horror! -- oh! any horror but this! With a shriek, I rushed from the margin, and buried my face in my hands -- weeping bitterly.

The heat rapidly increased, and once again I looked up, shuddering as with a fit of the ague. There had been a second change in the cell -- and now the change was obviously in the form. As before, it was in vain that I, at first, endeavoured to appreciate or understand what was taking place. But not long was I left in doubt. The Inquisitorial vengeance had been hurried by my two-fold escape, and there was to be no more dallying with the King of Terrors. The room had been square. I saw that two of its iron angles were now acute -- two, consequently, obtuse. The fearful difference quickly increased with a low rumbling or moaning sound. In an instant the apartment had shifted its form into that of a lozenge. But the alteration stopped not here-I neither hoped nor desired it to stop. I could have clasped the red walls to my bosom as a garment of eternal peace. "Death," I said, "any death but that of the pit!" Fool! might I have not known that into the pit it was the object of the burning iron to urge me? Could I resist its glow? or, if even that, could I withstand its pressure And now, flatter and flatter grew the lozenge, with a rapidity that left me no time for contemplation. Its centre, and of course, its greatest width, came just over the yawning gulf. I shrank back -- but the closing walls pressed me resistlessly onward. At length for my seared and writhing body there was no longer an inch of foothold on the firm floor of the prison. I struggled no more, but the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair. I felt that I tottered upon the brink -- I averted my eyes --

There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of many trumpets! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies. 
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Spooky and Haunted Places Around the World

There are many places around the world that some consider to be haunted and people have claimed to have seen, heard and felt things out of the ordinary. Some are right out your back door and others are in the far flung corners of the world. In no particular order, here are some cool and interesting places that are said to be haunted. I gotta say, I would love to visit some of these!


Tower-Of-London

The Tower of London is actually a collection of buildings and towers.  The White Tower was the first, commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1078. throughout history more towers and buildings were added by more rulers so now there are about 20 towers and a mix of buildings. Having once been a prison, there were hundreds of executions carried out there. The executed include famous figures in history such as Ann Boleyn, wife of Henry the VIII, who had her beheaded after he tired of her and had moved on to a new conquest, Sir Walter Raleigh and Lady Salisbury. Others with criminal tendencies, political activists and petty criminals also found themselves imprisoned and tortured here.




Several former Presidents are said to haunt the White House. President Harrison has reportedly been heard rummaging through the attic. President Andrew Jackson is thought to haunt his bedroom. President Lincoln is the most frequently seen or felt. Some of those reporting sightings include First Ladies, guests and even Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. A few First Ladies have been seen as well. Abigail Adams is one.




Edinburgh Castle has been called the most haunted place in Scotland and even the world. A battleground of countless deaths. Fallen soldiers, French prisoners, colonial prisoners and even a dog wanders through the castle cemetery. Sighting have also included a phantom piper and a headless drummer.  





Out of necessity, New Orleans' dead are interred in fantastic above ground mausoleums. Of these St Louis Cemetery Number One is considered the most haunted cemetery in the world. Cries, moaning, voices, apparitions and more have been heard coming from the tombs. One of the most famous is the Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveau. Her life is a swirl of rumor and lore, but it accepted as truth that she lived to be 100 while maintaining the body of a sensuous and beautiful young woman. from the time of her death in 1881 her apparition has been seen. The frequency of sightings have not decreased even in modern times. People still seek out advice and help and leave her offerings. There are many haunted places in the area such as The Sultan's Palace, The Beauregard-Keyes House and the Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carr. 



The Catacombs - Paris, France - Skeletons
Photo by Jeff Belanger
What is more horrific in our modern thinking than human bones being used as construction material? The Catacombs are an underground ossuary  that holds the remains of about six million people. It is built in a section the remnants of the renovated tunnels and caverns that were Paris' stone mines. It was begun as a remedy to overflowing cemeteries and for sanitation issues. Here is an article by Jeff Belanger about his visit and tour of the catacombs.



Sloss_Furnaces


Sloss Furnaces is known today for the Fright Furnace event that is held every year beginning in late September through October, but it has a long history. Begun in 1882 by Col. James Sloss, until 1971, Sloss Furnaces transformed coal and iron into the materials used to build the skyscrapers of New York to the automobiles be made in Detroit. It was a tough and dangerous job for the men that worked there though. Many lives were lost, and many more were injured and disabled by accidents. One of the well told tales is of James Wormwood. Wormwood was a foreman in the early 1900's. He forced the men under him take dangerous risks in order to speed production to impress his supervisors. In 1906 Wormwood inexplicably lost his footing at the top of the biggest furnace known as "Big Alice" and fell into the pot of melted ore. His body was instantly melted. Since he had never before stepped foot on the top of the furnaces in all his years of employment, it was rumored that the workers had exacted their own revenge for the years of abuses, but none was ever charged. There are many other incidents that have been reported over the years and continue to be reported from people visiting the site.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania




The battle at Gettysburg saw the most casualties during the Civil War. Besides the battlefield itself, there many places in the area that have had reports of haunting or paranormal experiences.  The Ghost Train is the only tour that takes visitors over the actual battlefield and many report cigar smoke and apparitions of soldiers near the tracks. Other places with ghostly appearances, smells and sounds include Gettysburg College, Cashtown Inn, The Daniel Lady Farm, Devil's Den, Cemetery Hill, The Jenny Wade House & Museum and the Farnsworth House Inn. Read about more tales of Haunted Gettysburg


The Winchester Mystery House




Located in San Jose, California, the Winchester home is an odd masterpiece. Construction on the unfinished farmhouse was begun by Sarah L. Winchester in 1884 and continued non-stop until her death 38 years later. Sarah was the widow of William Winchester, the manufacturer of the repeating rifle. They were rich and happy, rubbing elbows with the society elite. In 1866, their infant daughter died and 15 years later Mr. Winchester died as well. In her grief, Sarah sought help from a spiritualist know as the Boston Medium. She told Sarah there were many, many angry spirits of people that had been killed by Winchester rifles and that these spirits had caused the deaths of her daughter and husband and she might be their next victim. However, the medium also told Sarah she could appease these spirits by moving West and building a great house for them. So she did! As the house grew and grew, Sarah reportedly never slept in the same room two nights in a row to confuse the spirits. It has been said that she consulted with the spirits nightly for guidance on her construction plans. The house is famous for the stairway to nowhere. At the time of her death, the house had grown to include 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms and 6 kitchens.  



Moundsville Penitentiary, Moundville, West Virginia



The Moundsville Penitentiary is an imposing Gothic structure that opened in 1886 and closed in 1995. In it's more than 100 years of operation, Moundsville was America's most violent penitentiary. Prisoners were executed by hanging or electric chair. There was severe over-crowding and at times 3 men shared a 5 x 7 cell. The crowding led to fights and riots in which prisoners and guards were killed. Reported activity includes hearing footsteps, voices, screams, crying, pleading and even laughing. Banging sounds and light anomalies have also been reported. 


 Savannah, Georgia



Savannah, Georgia has a rich history as well as an apparently active after-life crowd. There are many places and building that are said to be haunted. If you've seen the movie "Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil", you know the story of Jim Williams. He lived in the Mercer House (pictured above) and murdered Danny Hansford there in 1981. Some have said they saw the house lit up and heard voices of revelers just like the extravagant Christmas parties Jim used to throw. Another locations featured in the movie is Bonaventure Cemetery. Packs of wild dogs can be heard but not seen running through the cemetery. At the grave of Gracie Watson, a female crying can be heard and the statue marking her grave has appeared to cry tears that resemble blood. The Bird Girl statue that was featured in the movie and on the cover of the book of the same name, was located in Bonaventure until 1997, when it was moved to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah.



The William Kehoe Historic Inn (pictured below)was a huge four-story home where William and Annie Kehoe raised their many children. Visitors have reported hearing children laughing and playing in the hallways. Apparitions of William, Annie and children have been seen in various parts of the house as well.
savannah-haunted-house
The Williams Kehoe House
The Olde Pink House (pictured below) is a home-turned-restaurant in Savannah. Construction on the house was begun in 1771 by James Habersham Jr., but he didn't finish it until 1789. War interrupted and the British soldiers took up residence in the home. 85 years later, General Sherman's generals also holed up there. The main structure was built using red brick and covered in white plaster, but James was horrified to find the red from the brick would bleed through and turn the white plaster pink! The only solution was to repaint the plaster white whenever the red bled through. Finally in 1920 a woman owner painted it pink once and for all and it has remained that way since. Patrons and visitors have reported hearing voices of children, seeing James Habersham as well as an unidentified woman crying on the second floor. There was a time when there were slaves at the home and slave children have been seen and heard in the basement bar area. 
savannah-haunted-house

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There were many many places I read about. Way more than I could include here! There are LOTS of haunted prisons, insane asylums, cemeteries and places all over the world. Do you have a house or place in your area that is said to be haunted? Have you ever experienced something spooky? 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe - The Tell-Tale Heart

Here's another Poe tale that is horrifying and fascinating to me. :)
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The Tell-Tale Heart

by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1850)

TRUE! -- nervous -- very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses -- not destroyed -- not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily -- how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees -- very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it --oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly --very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! --would a madman have been so wise as this? And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously --oh, so cautiously --cautiously (for the hinges creaked) --I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights --every night just at midnight --but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers --of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back --but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out --"Who's there?"

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening; --just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief --oh, no! --it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself --"It is nothing but the wind in the chimney --it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp." Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain.All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel --although he neither saw nor heard --to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little --a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it --you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily --until, at length a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open --wide, wide open --and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness --all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over acuteness of the senses? --now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! --do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by a neighbor! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye -- not even his --could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out --no stain of any kind --no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all --ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock --still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, --for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbor during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled, --for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search --search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: --it continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness --until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I now grew very pale; --but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased --and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound --much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath -- and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly --more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violentgesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men -- but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed --I raved --I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder --louder --louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror! --this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! --and now --again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder! --

"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! --here, here! --it is the beating of his hideous heart!"
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