The Utterly Wicked Truths About “Dark” Magic

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Lifestyle

The occult, by definition, boils down to an involvement in the supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, phenomena. In the sixteenth century, the term occult sciences was used to refer to astrology, alchemy, and natural magic. In the nineteenth century, occultism emerged in France and began to be associated with various esoteric groups therein connected to Éliphas Lévi and Papus, then in 1875, it was introduced into the English language by esotericist, Helena Blavatsky. During the twentieth century, the term was used to describe a wide range of different authors and their particular eccentricities—finally, during the twenty-first century, it is commonly used to describe a certain esotericism and the several different categories that it encompasses, including but not limited to spiritualism, theosophy, anthroposophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and New Age practices. Then again, to be fair, the occult has been used since the twentieth century to also reference a more broad category of supernatural, including the beliefs in vampires, fairies, UFOs, and parapsychology.

When it comes down to it though, what is most often thought of when the occult is considered? The occult is this unknowable magical thing that is mostly considered to have a nasty nature about it—but that’s not always the case, while the occult in the broadest sense it can be more than just witchcraft and esoteric cults; far be it for this witch to say what every other practitioner of the esoteric arts does in their own craft, I can only speak from my own experience.

What is Dark Magic?

There is a misconception about dark magic–even those that practice magic may believe that dark magic, some people refer to it as “black” magic, is always a malevolent thing–this isn’t even remotely true, although there are two sides to that coin. There are many practitioners of dark magic who don’t even appreciate the connotation that what they practice is inherently negative or malevolent at all. Here we refer to it as dark magic because it is the most recognizable way to refer to this type of magical practice, so what we really mean when we are discussing dark magic is any type of magic that is not regarding the free will, emotional, mental, or physical state of the recipient. Now you might be thinking that those parameters automatically make this magic negative or malevolent, but love spells, legal justice spells, and so much more fall under this umbrella, as it benefits the caster, but not necessarily the target. Curses, hexes, jinxes, and other negative forms of magic may also be–as an example, cursing an addict to no longer be able to stand the thought of drug use–that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, now is it? In this writer’s opinion, dark magic can be anything that the practitioner casts that they use an excess of emotion–something that mentally, emotionally, and physically drains them of any existing energy that they may possess.

This is especially true of curses, hexes, and other unsavory forms of magic … It has … to do with the emotion that fuels them: that raw, untamed emotion goes way beyond peel-me-off-the-ceiling anger and can only be termed as livid pissed. And livid pissed is exactly what we are by the time we get around to even consider such things. The old adage of adding fat to the fire doesn’t even begin to cover it when fueling magic with this sort of emotion. In fact, it’s more like adding a hefty dose of jet fuel to a hearth fire. There’s going to be more than a minor flare-up. There’s going to be an explosion to end all explosions. And anyone who thinks that a simple [magical] shield is going to deflect that sort of energy definitely has another thing coming.

Dorothy Morrison, Utterly Wicked: Hexes, Curses, and Other Unsavory Notions

Fallacies of Dark Magic

Dark Magic Practices
Photography by Eduardo Cano

Dark Magic, or as it is more often (and inappropriately) referred to as “black magic,” is not at all what it seems to be. There is an argument that there is no “color” in magic, but even within the practice, there are references to different colors of magic–black, grey, white, green, etc. ad nauseam. To be honest, if you’ve been a part of the witchcraft community for almost two decades, you’d find the use of color within magic as a tad bit pretentious. Those who practice the darker aspects of magic tend to refer to it as baneful magic–it’s honest and unpretentious and it says exactly what it means.

Whatever you’ve experienced, be cautious before you utter: someone cursed me! I cannot honestly tell you how many times I have heard this uttered from someone who was down on their luck–to be completely honest it is the most unlikely reason for someone having bad luck, sometimes bad things just happen. While it may be possible that a witch is pissed off enough to have cursed you, more often than not the best curse is someone’s conscience–that’s not a curse, it’s just your own ethical code telling you to take a look at what you’re doing to other people or, more likely, yourself.

Recount the related problems you’ve experienced to the present, and try to pinpoint the time they began … Then look for any semblance of reason for their occurrence … give some serious thought to what led you to … the conclusion that a hex had been tossed your way … look for reasonable explanations … Because if you can find plausible reasons for any of the … trials and tribulations connected to the time period, it could be that a curse may not be the culprit at all … It’s quite possible that you, yourself, are at fault.

Dorothy Morrison, Utterly Wicked: Hexes, Curses, and Other Unsavory Notions

Are you sure that I haven’t been cursed? Yes, we’re pretty sure, and mostly because this author has personally cursed someone before–cursing, crossing, or hexing someone is definitely not as easy as it seems. It takes energy that is derived from our personal emotional, mental, and physical reserves. Most of the time, even if we’re really angry at someone, we realize that the nasty person that we’re angry at isn’t worth the time and energy it takes to do any dark work. If you’re an awful person though, we might take the time and sacrifice the energy, but that’s a personal choice.

… Cursing someone takes an inordinate amount of energy. Your energy. Energy that you’ve stored for other things, like the simple business of everyday living. And cursing someone effectively is going to wipe out all your reserves. But even if that weren’t the case, it’s important to remember that you’re going to be transferring that energy to the person on the other end of your magic. So, there’s a good chance that you’re inadvertently going to pick up some of that person’s energy along the way too. Do you really want that nasty stuff on you? Probably not.

Dorothy Morrison, Utterly Wicked: Hexes, Curses, and Other Unsavory Notions

Another thing I have heard in my time of practicing witchcraft is that blood magic is evil magic. That is absolutely not true–blood magic is just more powerful and potent magic. If a witch is practicing blood magic that usually means they know what they’re doing. If we’re using our own blood it means it is going to affect us personally, if we’re using someone else’s blood it means that they are going to be personally affected.

You Can’t Get Cursed if You Don’t Believe is probably the most laughable thing I have ever heard in my life–because if it were true there wouldn’t be any instances of curses at all. If you found out that someone was cursing you and you decided that you just didn’t believe, it would be quite ineffective, right? Truly, if you don’t believe it curses, it actually is more effective to let the person know in some way that they have been cursed. There is nothing more effective than using someone’s imagination against them.

Dark Magic Among the Different Practices

There are so many different religions and secular occult practices that have darker leanings–while not all of the practitioners utilize the darker aspects of these religions or occult practices, they are still there and they are still very legitimate practices.

Voodoo, Hoodoo, Rootwork, Conjure, Appalachian Folk Magic, & Santeria

These are four different titles for some very similar practices–Voodoo, is perhaps the exception among the bunch, as it is based within a religious practice and the occult practices that are utilized are done so within the context of that religion. Hoodoo, rootwork, and folk magic are unique in the fact that they are not necessarily tied into a religion but can be practiced by anyone and everyone–so long as they have the proper knowledge to utilize the techniques that are a learned aspect of these decades-old traditions that are typically passed down through familial lines. While many of these occult practices exist solely in the southern United States, such as Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, etc.–there are also the folk magic practices that are known as Appalachian folk magic which occur throughout the Appalachian Mountains.

Voodoo, Vodou, and Vodun are the variations upon the spelling of the same practice–it really just depends upon where the religion is practiced. It’s a religion that practices a sort of folk magic, but differing from other types of folk magic, it is entirely tied into the Christian or Catholic faiths. Voodoo also ties in African folk magic, however, by adding in the veneration of spirits or loa. If you’re looking for a movie that most accurately depicts voodoo, even if it is a bit campy and over-the-top, take a moment to watch The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988). You’ll get the feel of voodoo without having to delve too deeply into it. If you’re looking to get revenge on someone, while we certainly don’t recommend jumping into something as complex as Voodoo and getting in over your head, crossing is what you’re after when it comes to the Voodoo religion. It usually utilizes personal objects or bodily fluids–that’s an entirely different topic on its own.

If you’re looking to make someone bend completely to your will, you’re probably thinking of Haitian zombification. Zombies are some of the darker aspects of the Voodoo religion–as a whole, the religion doesn’t typically approve of zombification, you can learn more about the practice in one of our older articles.

Voodoo Dolls and Doll Babies are always portrayed in a negative light in Voodoo, but that’s not entirely undeserved, it’s definitely not as alluring to think about making a voodoo doll out of love for someone. When we think of voodoo dolls we immediately think of that idealization of acting out your anger and frustrations out on your target. We definitely believe that they are worth investigating more thoroughly before anyone might utilize such a technique for revenge.

Within Hoodoo, Conjure, Rootwork, & Appalachian Folk Magic you’ll find a lot of diversity, but a surprising amount of similarities considering the different terms to refer to this type of practice. This practice is generally considered separate from any religious practice, but isn’t exempt from including it either. Hoodoo, conjure, and rootwork are primarily practiced in the Southern United States, as well as the Caribbean and some other regions. Appalachian Folk Magic is quite similar to the hoodoo, conjure, and rootwork practices, but this particular folk magic practice only naturally occurs in the Appalachian Mountains.

The religion of Santeria is quite complex–the beliefs are more difficult to follow because a lot of the details of the practice are hidden to those who are not inducted into the religion. It has a poor reputation due to the newspaper articles that deteriorate the image of Santeria as a whole.

Satanism and Daemonolatry

Satanism is one of the most misunderstood occult practices, but it is also an umbrella term that encompasses quite a few different practices and religions. The witchcraft that follows along with the different practices of Satanism are not at all like what they show in the movies, in fact, the practices are generally a surprisingly vanilla expression of magical practice.

Daemonolatry is more of a practice that is considered separate from satanic practices–it is a less religious practice and can be compared to hoodoo the same way that satanism can be compared to voodoo.

Witch giving sacrifice
Photography by Halanna Halila

Traditional Witchcraft

You don’t have to be any of the above mentioned practitioners in order to practice baneful magic–you can be of pretty much any magical background (except for, possibly, Wicca) and practice magic that is aimed to harm another person.

If you’re looking for more information on stuff like this, leave us a comment and let us know!

The White House Hauntings

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Featured Haunted Places

Every American knows about the White House and the role that it plays within our country and our government, also known as the Presidential Mansion, it is arguably one of the most iconic buildings in the entire nation. Surprisingly, despite its status within the nation, there are a great many people who are unaware of just how haunted the building and its grounds are. Considering the record of eye-witness accounts and what we would assume is their reliability, we found out just how much paranormal history this monument to American democracy has actually seen.

Spooky Misty White House

A Timeline of the Paranormal

White House History gives us a timeline for the account of lost souls and hauntings that this particular symbol of America and to be quite frank, there has been a lot of action surrounding the White House; after all, politics can divide families and close friends, they can incite rage and violent behavior, and they can even threaten the very security of the nation itself.

The War of 1812: The Unnamed British Soldier

There are still regular reports being made of an unnamed British Soldier who roams the White House grounds while holding a torch–it is said that his soldier perished upon the grounds during the War of 1812.

United States President Abraham Lincoln

United States President Abraham Lincoln

1860-1870’s The Death of Willie Lincoln

Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln had four sons, only one of whom–Robert Todd–survived to see adulthood; their son Edward passed away at the tender age of four and Willie, who fell ill during his father’s first presidential term, died of a fever. While grieving over her son Willie’s death, Mary Todd began to delve into her spiritual interests and started holding spirit circles and seances in the Red Room of the White House. During the height of the Civil War, spiritualistic practices became quite popular, due to so many families seeking comfort from the loss of their loved ones. At the behest of his wife, Abraham attended two of the sessions, but was not entirely satisfied with the results, and could be found weeping at Willie’s crypt for hours. The Lincoln’s third son, Tad, passed away at age eighteen after his father’s assassination. Their third son died after Abraham had already been assassinated. To this day, it is claimed that Abraham’s ghost still appears in the Lincoln Bedroom and the Yellow Oval Room. Some notable witnesses to his apparition were First Lady Grace Coolidge, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as well as Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands. As far as Willie? Well, the last time Willie’s spirit was witnessed was in the 1870s by the administration of the White House.

During the 1860’s Mary Todd Lincoln would reportedly hear the ghost of Andrew Jackson stomping and swearing, while he is otherwise said to be hanging out in his bed in the Queens Bedroom laughing heartily.

During Andrew Johnson’s presidency, he was reportedly visited multiple times by Anna Surratt who was there to beg for a pardon on her mother’s behalf, her mother was Mary Surratt, a conspirator for Lincoln’s assassination. Years after her death, her ghost can still be witnessed banging on the doors of the White House in desperation for a pardon for her mother.

1901-1904: Jeremiah Jerry Smith

Smith began working at the White House during the late 1860s during the Ulysses S. Grant administration, his career lasted around 35 years before he retired. His accounts of the ghosts of Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, and several of the first ladies were always a media go-to on slow news days.

1911: The Thing

An apparition that terrified the Taft administration and domestic staff in 1911, was one of an unidentified fifteen-year-old boy; even Major Archibald Butt, the military aid to President Taft acknowledged the ghost, saying it was, “a young boy about fourteen or fifteen years old … they say that the first knowledge one has of the presence of the Thing is a slight pressure on the shoulder, as if someone were leaning over your shoulder to see what you might be doing.” It was after this point that President Taft ordered Butt to make the White House staff aware that they would be fired if they ever repeated stories about the Thing.

Modern Sightings

These days the random apparition is still experienced by White House Staff and administration, though some administrations may be less forthcoming about these sightings. Thomas Jefferson, for example, is seen and heard playing his violin in the Yellow Oval Room, while Dolley Madison is said to protect the Rose Garden. John Tyler haunts the Blue Room where he proposed to Julia Gardner, his second wife. William Henry Harrison, the first president to die in the White House, haunts the attic and the smell of wet laundry and lavender are observed in the East Room where Abigail Adams hung laundry. David Burnes, the original owner of the land on which the Presidential Mansion now stands can be both seen and heard in the Yellow Oval Room.

The Witch Eunice Cole – Urban Legend

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore NA

Witchcraft isn’t exactly a new concept in New England. The Salem witch trials have been studied for centuries by scholars and scare-lovers alike, and many still visit the city to see the tombstones and experience the witchy vibes that inhabit the cobbled streets. But there is one New England witch in particular that you need to know about – and she didn’t reside in Salem, Massachusetts. Eunice Cole, also known as The Witch of Hampton or Goody Cole, was the only woman to be convicted of witchcraft in the state of New Hampshire. Three times, to be precise. 

Accusations of Witchcraft

Court Documents of accusations of witchcraft of Eunice Cole from 1673

Many assume that being accused of witchcraft in the late 1600’s was a death sentence – both in the literal and figurative sense due to loss of reputation. And while Eunice Cole certainly suffered a great deal after being accused for the first time in 1656, she fought hard for over a decade to clear her name and assert that she was not a witch. Technically, she succeeded. After multiple prison stints and a lengthy trial in 1673 where the jury reluctantly cleared her of all charges, Cole lived out the rest of her days in isolation until her passing in 1680. However, if the urban legends are true… she had far from a quiet death. 

The Legend of Eunice Cole

According to legends, the townspeople were quite frightened of Eunice Cole, and continued to call her “The Witch of Hampton” amongst themselves. Before they buried her, they are believed to have driven a wooden stake directly through her heart to prevent her from haunting them beyond the grave. She was a powerful woman who had escaped not one, but three punishments due to her supposed witchcraft… and the people of the town were willing to get violent to avoid her malevolent spirit. Did they succeed? The stories say no. 

A strange series of events began to take place not long after her death, and continued on for 300 years. The most notable was when a boat capsized after a sudden gust of wind, with everybody on board drowning – although they were not far from shore and easily could have swam to safety. With every unorthodox event that happened in Hampton over the next century, people began to blame Goody Cole and assume that she was taking revenge on them for the way she was treated. There are some, however, who believe Goody still gets a bad rap. 

The Town of Hampton

Hampton NH hotel post card from 1910

Eunice Cole has developed a cult following of supporters that resent the way she has become known as an evil force, insisting that she is purely a wronged soul that took the fall for other people’s prejudices. In 1938, for the 300th anniversary of the town of Hampton, a group of people organized to clear Cole’s name, forming “The Society in Hampton Beach for the Apprehension of Those Falsely Accusing Eunice (Goody) Cole of Having Familiarity With the Devil.” And while this was decades ago, the people of Hampton will still tell you all about Goody Cole and the mark she has made on the town in New Hampshire – for better or for worse. How many women formerly accused of witchcraft can say that they’ve had a doll modeled after them, which was then sold in local gift shops? Only Eunice Cole, the Witch of Hampton.

Sources:

http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/biog/bonfanti.htm

http://www.seacoastnh.com/goody-cole-accused-as-nh-witch/

Urban Legend – The Haunted Oxford Saloon – Snohomish, Washington

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Would you like a few ghost sightings with your burger? Only at the Oxford Saloon. This establishment has been standing in downtown Snohomish, Washington for over a century – starting out as a Dry Goods Store before transforming into a saloon for locals and travelers. The only issue? When these visitors aren’t enjoying live music, good food, and rounds of pool, they’re committing acts of violence and occasionally killing each other. Okay, maybe even more than occasionally – as there have been at least ten documented killings at The Oxford Saloon over the years. Any building over 100 years old is bound to have a little history, and here’s what you should know about one of the most haunted places in Washington.

Haunted Oxford Saloon Snohomish Washington

From the outside, The Oxford Saloon looks like your typical saloon and dive bar. But Henry, the ghost of the policeman who died from a stab wound after trying to break up a fight, would have to disagree. He’s one of the most famous paranormal residents of the bar, frequently seen in the women’s restroom, near the men’s card room, and at the bottom of the stairwell. He is a fairly mischievous entity – as many guests have reported being pinched or watched by his spirit. But all you need to do is confront him, and he’ll disappear! In fact, the main floor is generally pretty harmless when it comes to hauntings, as guests have reported seeing full-body apparitions and orbs in their photos – but the vibes stay positive and not exactly scary.

However, things get a bit darker when you head to the second bar of The Oxford Saloon. This is where a woman named Kathleen is said to have run a brothel, and many instances of violence and death occurred within the space. In fact, Kathleen herself was decapitated and murdered by a man while she was upstairs taking a bath… and that very same bathtub sits at The Oxford Saloon to this very day. Not creepy at all. Her ghost is seen as an older woman wearing a purple dress, along with one of her younger girls, Amelia – whose body was found dead in her bedroom closet. The third most popular ghost resident that you’ll find on the second floor? A tall man in a bowler hat – which gives us terrifying The Haunting of Hill House vibes.

There’s no denying that The Oxford Saloon is a fun and legendary hangout – and not just for humans.  Countless paranormal investigators have visited the spot, with many picking up EVPs that would send chills down anybody’s spine. They range from simple and cute, like the sound of a child laughing, to hearing a man’s voice repeating and mocking everything the female investigator said. Not cool. And while some establishments try to hide their haunted history, fearing that it may affect business…. Oxford is definitely not one of them. The staff will happily chat about the paranormal activity and spirits roaming the bar, and even has a feature on their website that lets you share your very own ghost experiences at The Oxford Saloon. It will likely stand for another 100 years, so next time you’re in Washington… don’t forget to stop by for a sandwich and a possible ghost encounter!

Urban Legend: Ghost Town of Lake Lanier

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Lake Lanier is the largest lake in the state of Georgia, boasting more than six hundred miles of shoreline that borders five different counties. It is itself a man-made lake, created to establish flood control as well as hydroelectric power and drinking water to much of the surrounding area. It provides many practical services, but it also provides a place for nautical excursions and summertime pleasures. Every summer millions of people flock to this massive body of water in North Georgia to enjoy boating, fishing, and time spent on the beach. But would so many carefree cavorters come if they knew of the deadly lore of the ghost town that (quite literally) lies beneath the surface?

Lanier County and Lanier Lake map in Georgia

The Ghost Town of Lake Lanier is a sprawling urban legend that concerns unmarked graves, displaced souls, hundreds of deaths, and vengeful spirits. Back before the lake was built, the area was home to a variety of businesses, churches, and homesteads. When the government decided to dam up the Chattahoochee River in the 1950s, thus creating the lake, they had to pay off and remove around 700 families.

Though the US Army Corps of Engineers removed many of the buildings in the area (though some built of stone and concrete still remain on the lakebed), they had a harder time when it came to the cemeteries scattered throughout the land. Try as they could when relocating the bodies, there was no way to account for every single soul buried in the soon-to-be-flooded region. By 1956 the lake was finally filled in.

And that’s when the deaths began.

Unnatural Encounters

Imagine a vast body of murky water, in the depths of which resides an abandoned ghost town of concrete skeletons, rusting ferries, countless debris from personal belongings, and even the grandstands of an auto-racing track known as Looper Speedway. Now imagine you’re going for a swim and you feel unknown hands grabbing at you from beneath the waves. Or, conversely, imagine you’re going for a dive and you feel body parts frozen in rigor mortis. As local longtime diver Buck Buchannon tells it, “You reach out into the dark and you feel an arm or a leg and it doesn’t move”. 

Dark water with hand coming out

In addition to these grave encounters, other apparitions have been sighted by lake goers throughout the decades. For some it’s giant catfish as big as station wagons. For others it’s a raft piloted at night by a cloaked figure who vanishes when you go for a better look. But the most detailed and famous story involves two women who drowned there in the fifties. 

The Lady of the Lake

Back in 1958, friends Delia Mae Parker Young and Susie Roberts were driving their Ford across Lanier Bridge over the lake when they suddenly veered off the edge into the water. Divers searched the area but could find no evidence of the women or their car. Then a year later a body was discovered, missing both hands and several toes, but it could not be properly identified. Finally, thirty-one years later in 1990, the Ford is discovered with the body of Susie Roberts still inside, leading most to assume the body discovered decades earlier belonged to Delia. 

Where the story really gets creepy is that for years people have claimed to see a lady walking the length of Lanier Bridge, dressed in blue and missing both hands. Not only would that sight be enough to scare the bravest away, but some have reported that the spector will accost them, using her maimed arms to try and drag them into the lake. Chilling stuff. 

Creepy bridge at night

Lake Lanier Now

Many who visit Lake Lanier would never suspect that such nefarious legends surround it. In fact, its popularity has only increased over the years, and it has become a number one destination in the state during the summer months. However, it is also a place with a checkered past. In addition to the alleged supernatural occurrences, there have been over six hundred people who have died in the lake since it was created. That high body count, much higher than any similar lake in the area, has only buoyed confidence from those who believe the area to be haunted. The truth of the matter is, there is an actual ghost town beneath Lake Lanier, and it’s a sobering fact that hundreds of bodies, both living and dead, were displaced in its creation. Sounds ripe for a haunting to us!

Sources

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/31/us/lake-lanier-urban-legends-trnd/index.html

https://www.southerngothicmedia.com/lake-lanier

https://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/issue-113-summer-2021/the-haunting-of-lake-lanier