Monday, October 31, 2022

The Count of Saint Germain

 

An engraving of The Count of Saint Germain by Nicolas Thomas.

The Count of Saint Germain was born into a royal, European family. Researchers are unsure of many facts and truths about the Count of Saint Germain due to his story being told so many times and his mysterious way of life. Researchers estimate the Count of Saint Germain was born around the late 1600’s or the early 1700’s and then went on to live for many years to follow. According to the article “Who was the Count of Saint Germain” written by Shelly Barclay, the Count of Saint Germain displayed many talents throughout his many years of life including composing musical pieces, playing the violin, speaking multiple languages, and combining many small diamonds to make one large diamond. One talent of his that was controversial was his ability to stop his own aging. In his article titled “Saint-Germain: The Immortal Count,” Stephen Wagner states that many accounts from the Count’s vast range of years of life always have him appearing to be around forty-five years old. Due to his ability to live for what seemed like forever, researchers refer to the Count of Saint Germain as “the man who never dies.”

While he was living his years of life, the Count traveled to many different countries to visit royal Europeans during his time. The Count’s many talents grabbed the attention of both commonfolk and royal figures. Some of the most famous Europeans the Count visited throughout his travels in Europe were King Louis XV and Giacomo Girolamo Casanova (Wagner). These royals not only enjoyed the Count being around for his talents, but they were also intrigued by his charming personality. 

Due to the mysteriousness about the Count of Saint Germain and all the unknowns about his life, there are many different claims bystanders made about him. When it comes to his immortality, his ability to live forever, many bystanders claim that the Count of Saint Germain would “drink special tea frequently” and make comments about his age that seemed a little odd. He would reference things long before his time as if he was there, and he went around telling others that it was very possible for him to live more than one hundred years (Barclay). Some others claim that once the Count of Saint Germain did pass away, he came back from the dead and there were many more accounts of him. The Count was seen by others all the way up until the early 1970’s, still looking to be about forty-five years old, almost three hundred years old. 

Who really was the Count of Saint Germain? Is he still around today? Will we ever know the complete truth about him and his life?

Works Cited: 

Barclay, Shelly. “Who was the Count of Saint Germain?” June 25, 2010. Historic Mysteries. https://www.historicmysteries.com/saint-germain/.

Thomas, Nicolas. “Count of St Germain.” Wikimedia Commons, 1783, https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conde_de_Saint_Germain#/media/Archivo:Count_of_St_Germain.jpg. Accessed 20 Oct. 2022.  

Wagner, Stephen. “Saint-Germain: The Immortal Count.” December 29, 2018. Liveabout dotcom. https://www.liveabout.com/saint-germain-the-immortal-count-2594421

 

Links for further research:

New Editions, The Music of the Count of St. Germain: An Edition, http://ichriss.ccarh.org/Germain.pdf. This entry on the Count of Saint Germain by Ilias Chrissochoidis emphasizes the Count’s admiration from other historical figures during his time due to his well-known musical compositions and performances.


  The Count of Saint-Germain, http://davidpratt.info/st-germain1.htm. This entry on the Count of Saint Germain by David Pratt highlights the many events and acknowledgements of the Count of Saint Germain’s life due to his high praises from others, based on his many talents, possessions, accomplishments, or personality traits.


Count of St. Germain: The Man That Never Dies, https://owlcation.com/humanities/Count-of-St-Germain-That-Man-Never-Dies. This entry by Dean Traylor depicts the life of the Count of Saint Germain by explaining what both the commonfolk and royals of his time thought of him.


Boo Hags, Their Origins, and How to Avoid Them

Author: Nabal Blight


Most people have heard of vampires and witches, but have you heard of the infamous “boo hag?”  Boo hags are demonic creatures that exhibit both witch-like and vampire-like attributes.  Because they are skinless, boo hags steal the skin of human beings and wear it during the day as their own in order to pass undetected (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”).  Consequently, in daylight, boo hags cannot be distinguished from normal people.  However, at night, boo hags shed their stolen skin and fly through the night, preying on hapless human beings.  At night, boo hags appear as skinless, bloody human figures with exposed veins and muscles, wild hair, and glowing eyes, or else they are invisible, detectable only by the humid, foul odor they carry with them (“Boo Hags & Haint Blue”; “The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”).  During their nocturnal raids, boo hags slip into houses where they “ride” sleeping human beings, stealing their breath or life energy (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”).  If a boo hag’s victim awakes while their breath is being stolen, the boo hag will steal the person’s skin as their next outfit (“Boo Hags & Haint Blue”).  However, if the victim stays asleep, the boo hag usually leaves them alive, in which case the person will wake up in the morning exhausted, despite having slept all night, because their energy has been sapped by the boo hag (“Boo Hags & Haint Blue”). 


“The Terrifying Skinless Witches of The American Southeast” (James Troup) 

The belief in boo hags originates from the culture of the Gullah people, an African American ethnic group from the coastal regions of South Carolina.  Gullah beliefs are closely connected to Hoodoo and emphasize the existence of various types of spirits called “haints.”  According to these beliefs, human beings have a soul, which goes either to heaven or hell at death, and a spirit, which remains on the earth (Carman; “The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”).  If a person has lived a moral life, the spirit, or haint, they leave behind will be beneficent, whereas, if the person has lived an evil life, their haint will become a boo hag (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”). 

While they are powerful, terrifying, and crafty, boo hags do have certain weaknesses whereby they can be warded off or destroyed.  Gullah tradition maintains that boo hags cannot survive in daylight without a borrowed skin (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”).  Because of this, the best way to defeat a boo hag is to distract it while skinless until the sun comes up and destroys it.  Boo hags can be distracted by placing objects in their path that represent large numbers, because their compulsive nature will cause them to count the objects endlessly (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”).  For example, setting a broom or brush on a bedroom floor will divert the attention of an intruding boo hag from the room’s occupant to counting the bristles of the brush or broom (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”).  Other objects that can be used to distract boo hags are strainers or piles of rice or seeds (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”; Carman).  Boo hags are also susceptible to salt or pepper.  Strewing salt on a floor or filling a Hag’s abandoned skin with salt or pepper will sabotage the boo hag’s stolen skin, preventing the hag from reentering its skin (“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture”; Carman).  Another method is to hang empty blue glass bottles outside from a tree or frame, forming a “bottle tree.”  At night, boo hags enter the bottles and become trapped until the sun comes up and kills them inside (Parks).

Allegedly the most reliable way to deter boo hags and other evil spirits involves a special hue of blue paint, called “Haint Blue.” This specific color of blue paint originates from the South Carolina indigo dye industry of the 1700s, which depended on the slave labor of African Americans, especially the Gullah (Parks).

Indigo-colored Yarn from the Indigofera suffruticosa Plant (Judy Newland)


The Gullah were tasked with growing, harvesting, and processing the indigo plants to extract their rich blue dye, which was then exported from South Carolina to Britain.  After processing the dye, the Gullah would take the dregs of the dying vats and mix them with other ingredients to form a light aqua blue paint (Carman; Parks).  This light blue color came to be known as “Haint Blue.”  Gullah beliefs place a special significance on the color blue, and according to these beliefs, painting the exterior of a house in Haint Blue wards of evil spirits, including boo hags (Parks; Carman).  This is because boo hags are said to perceive the pale blue color either as water, which they cannot cross, or sky, which causes them to fly past the house (Parks; Carman).  Gullah traditions regarding haints and boo hags and the countermeasures that can be taken against them are still strong in certain regions of South Carolina.  As a result, many houses can still be seen along the South Carolina coast that have porches or window frames painted in Haint Blue.

Whether or not you believe in boo hags, these elusive and dangerous spirits and the Gullah beliefs regarding their behavior serve as a powerful lesson: one should not take everything at face value.  The next time you see the porch of a house painted blue or see bottles hanging from a tree, consider the possibility these things might not be intended as d├ęcor, and if you meet a stranger in the street, greet them politely and hurry on, because there might be more about them than is apparent. 

Works Cited:

“Boo Hags & Haint Blue: Vampires of the Lowcountry & the Paint that Stops Them.” Charleston Terrors, https://charlestonterrors.com/boo-hags-haint-blue-vampires-of-the-lowcountry-the-paint-that-stops-them/. Accessed 14 Oct. 2022.

Carman, Katie. “The Gullah Geechee Tradition of 'Haint Blue' Paint Keeps the Spirits Away.” HowStuffWorks, 27 May 2020, https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/haint-blue.htm. 

Newland, Judy. “Sea Island Indigo: Creating an American Indigo Culture.” ClothRoads: A Global Textile Market, 2018, https://i0.wp.com/assets-clothroads-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/02/Indigo-dyed-yarn.jpg?ssl=1. Accessed 19 Oct. 2022.

Parks, Shoshi. “What the Color ‘Haint Blue’ Means to the Descendants of Enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry.” Atlas Obscura, 14 Jan. 2020, https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-haint-blue-means-to-descendants-enslaved-africans. 

“The Boo Hags of Gullah Culture.” Scares and Haunts of Charleston, 22 Apr. 2012, https://scaresandhauntsofcharleston.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/the-boo-hags-of-gullah-culture/. 

Troup, James. “The Terrifying Skinless Witches of the American Southeast.” YouTube, uploaded by BuzzFeed Unsolved Network, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Klc8UMyvD4. Accessed 20 Oct. 2022.


Links for further research: 

“The Boo Hag: Georgia Witch Story.” The Moonlit Road, https://www.themoonlitroad.com/the-boo-hag/ This website by Veronica Byrd and Craig Dominey tells a story, both in written and audio form, about a man who accidently married a Boo Hag.  

“Boo Hags.” South, https://www.southmag.com/boo-hags/ This article by Sloane Frederick, a writer on Southern culture and cuisine, provides information from an interview with Lisa Prentiss regarding Boo Hags and other paranormal activity in Savannah, Georgia.  

“Gullah Culture: Gullah in Beaufort, Port Royal & the Sea Islands.” Visit Beaufort: Port Royal and Sea Islands, https://www.beaufortsc.org/things-to-do/gullah-culture/  This article provides information regarding the history and heritage of the Gullah people in South Carolina, from the slave trade to the present day.


The Most Haunted House in America

Author: Caitlyn Kennedy

In the mid-1800s, thousands of people travelled west for the California Gold Rush (nps.gov) . In 1852, at the heart of downtown San Diego, was a public execution site. Many people were hung for petty crimes including Jim Robinson (Yankee Jim). Despite the hangings, 4 years later, Thomas Whaley bought the property, designed, and built this two-story brick house. He moved in with his wife, Anna, and their three children. 


They soon opened a general store and commercial theater. Their youngest child, Thomas Jr. was just 18 months, contracted scarlet fever and passed away. This sad news followed by a fire in the general store area of their home, the family decided to move to San Francisco. They had 3 more children and Thomas invested in a stock, became financially stable, and moved back into their home to repair the damages. 

Violet Whaley, daughter of Thomas and Anna, got married in 1882. Her honeymoon was the worst time of her life when her husband abandoned her. “Reports say George was a con-artist and only married Violet for her money” (Terrell). Being severely depressed, Violet ended her own life in the home with her father’s gun. She left behind a very somber farewell letter and her grieving family moved out of the house. “People claim they have seen her crying in the outhouse, recreating the moment up until her death. Others have stated they have seen her on the second floor of the house where Violet would spend most of her time in solitude.” (Terrell)

The family moved out as Thomas’ health started to decline. They moved a couple blocks down the street. The house was empty for almost 2 decades. “It wasn't until 1909 that Thomas Whaley's son Francis took on the massive undertaking of restoring the Whaley homestead” (Bregara). The mother and her surviving children move back into the house, once more, to live out their lives. 

The house is now a museum operated by San Diego Save Our Heritage organization (SOHO). They offer day tours which are open to anyone. You can also reserve tickets for a Haunted Evening Tour and Whaley’s After-Hours Paranormal investigation. The tours consist of 40 minutes of walking through the house and possibly experience paranormal things. 

Image of People on Whaley House Tour grouped around a table
People on the evening  tour in the Whaley House

Many people who have gone on these tours have stories to tell about the haunted home. “Some visitors can hear the sound of a baby crying, little footfalls, and his innocent giggle” This is thought to be Thomas Jr. the baby that passed away. Reports also say that the mother’s lavender perfume can be smelt, and she has been seen in the parlor. A worker has said he smelt tobacco, as Thomas Sr. used to smoke. “We were looking over the bedrooms and trying to guess which family member slept there without looking at the pamphlet. Suddenly, I got hit with a massive wave of sadness and I just wanted to cry. It followed me around the second floor but stop once we went back downstairs. It was the strangest thing.” (Metreyeon) This is believed to be Violet Whaley. Many other accounts include seeing Thomas Sr. in a top hat at the head of the stairs, lights flickering and just feeling weird in general. A worker in the museum had a scary experience where he heard a woman whisper Why are you here? He was terrified so he ran out the house without setting the alarm. Even the family’s dog has been felt licking and brushing up on people’s legs. Some guest didn’t feel anything in the house but have checked the pictures that were taken and saw figures appear. 

It is no doubt that this house is terrifying with all the details of people experience. The Whaley house Museum is now a famous tourist attraction with history from almost 200 years ago. 

Works Cited

“Group of People at the Whaley House.” Photograph. “Whaley House Tour.”  Whaley House Museum, November 2021, https://www.whaleyhousesandiego.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/whaley-house-tour.jpg.

Katytayani, Josi “The Shocking Whaley House Mystery and Hauntings, Icy Tales, Updated 3 December 2020https://icytales.com/mystery-of-whaley-house/

Lollis, Sandra. “Whaley House Museum” SanDiego.org . 2012 https://www.sandiego.org/-/media/2573dd25c4ca473aa117cf89b4ca5e23.jpg

Metreyeon, Hedge. “The Whaley House Story – San Diego’s Scariest and Most Haunted Place” https://sandiegoexplorer.com/whaley-house-san-diego/, 26 August 2022.

Terrell, Kelly. “A Brief History of The Whaley House”, When You're Here (whenyourehere.com) , 8 Nov. 2020. https://whenyourehere.com/a-brief-history-of-the-whaley-house

US Ghost Adventures Contributor. “Haunted Whaley House” US Ghost Adventures. Accessed 17 October 2022. https://usghostadventures.com/haunted-stories/whaley-house/


Links for further research: 

“Whaley House: This San Diego Haunted House Museum Has a Dark Past” Velvet Tropes
This website has information of the history and the tour dates and prices, in case you’re interested to see the famous Whaley House. 

“The Whaley House in Old Town San Diego” Whaley House San Diego
This is a direct link to the Whaley House Museum where you can find the phone number, updated tour events and everything to know about the Whaley House. 

“The Whaley House” San Diego History Center 
This is a link to the San Diego History website that can tell you information about the history of San Diego and Thomas Whaley during this time.