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(LAPLAND) #Christmas Story ….Celebrated on December 25 and is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature #AceHistoryDesk report

#AceHistoryReport – Dec.15: The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

#AceHistoryDesk says History of Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. December 25—Christmas Day—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.

Watch Christmas documentaries on HISTORY Vault

How Did Christmas Start?

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.

Christmas-Traditions-GettyImages-1072744106

The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.

In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Oden, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.

Saturnalia 

In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, enslaved people were given temporary freedom and treated as equals. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could participate in the holiday’s festivities.

Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra’s birthday was the most sacred day of the year.

Is Christmas Really the Day Jesus Was Born?

In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth (a fact Puritans later pointed out in order to deny the legitimacy of the celebration). Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. 

By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solsticefestivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated. By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today’s Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the “lord of misrule” and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.

When Christmas Was Cancelled

In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.

The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.

READ MORE: What Was Christmas Like for America’s Enslaved People?

Washington Irving Reinvents Christmas in America

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. Americans re-invented Christmas, and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia. But what about the 1800s piqued American interest in the holiday?

The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot. This catalyzed certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated in America.

In 1819, best-selling author Washington Irving wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. The sketches feature a squire who invited the peasants into his home for the holiday. In contrast to the problems faced in American society, the two groups mingled effortlessly. In Irving’s mind, Christmas should be a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status. Irving’s fictitious celebrants enjoyed “ancient customs,” including the crowning of a Lord of Misrule. Irving’s book, however, was not based on any holiday celebration he had attended—in fact, many historians say that Irving’s account actually “invented” tradition by implying that it described the true customs of the season.

READ MORE: How Christmas Was Celebrated in the 13 Colonies 

‘A Christmas Carol’

Also around this time, English author Charles Dickens created the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol. The story’s message-the importance of charity and good will towards all humankind-struck a powerful chord in the United States and England and showed members of Victorian society the benefits of celebrating the holiday.

The family was also becoming less disciplined and more sensitive to the emotional needs of children during the early 1800s. Christmas provided families with a day when they could lavish attention-and gifts-on their children without appearing to “spoil” them.

As Americans began to embrace Christmas as a perfect family holiday, old customs were unearthed. People looked toward recent immigrants and Catholic and Episcopalian churches to see how the day should be celebrated. In the next 100 years, Americans built a Christmas tradition all their own that included pieces of many other customs, including decorating trees, sending holiday cards and gift-giving.

Although most families quickly bought into the idea that they were celebrating Christmas how it had been done for centuries, Americans had really re-invented a holiday to fill the cultural needs of a growing nation.

Who Invented Santa Claus?

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back to a monk named St. Nicholas who was born in Turkey around 280 A.D.. St. Nicholas gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick, becoming known as the protector of children and sailors. 

St. Nicholas first entered American popular culture in the late 18th century in New York, when Dutch families gathered to honor the anniversary of the death of “Sint Nikolaas” (Dutch for Saint Nicholas), or “Sinter Klaas” for short. “Santa Claus” draws his name from this abbreviation. 

READ MORE: Santa Claus: Origins & Legends

Parish Sculpture Of Saint Nicholas At Castello Daviano 2

In 1822, Episcopal minister Clement Clarke Moore wrote a Christmas poem called “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” more popularly known today by it’s first line: “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” The poem depicted Santa Claus as a jolly man who flies from home to home on a sled driven by reindeer to deliver toys. 

The iconic version of Santa Claus as a jolly man in red with a white beard and a sack of toys was immortalized in 1881, when political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew on Moore’s poem to create the image of Old Saint Nick we know today.

Christmas Facts 

  • Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are about 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
  • In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous—a lot like today’s Mardi Gras parties.
  • When Christmas was cancelled: From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston, and law-breakers were fined five shillings.
  • Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.
  • The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.
  • Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.
  • The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.
  • Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
  • Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.

#AceHistoryDesk report …………Published: Dec.15: 2021:

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World History & Research Reports

#AceChristmasStory On How Father Christmas Found his Reindeer …#AceHistoryNews report

#AceHistoryDesk ……When I was a child, I could never have imagined Santa Claus without his reindeer. They were as much a part of his character as his bushy white beard, his red coat, or his sack of presents. After all, how else could he have got around if they hadn’t been there to pull his sleigh?

Illustration for Robert  L. May’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1949 © Getty Images.
Illustration for Robert L. May’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1949 © Getty Images.

Before going to bed on Christmas Eve, I’d take care to leave a carrot for Rudolph – and the next morning, I’d swear blind that I’d heard hooves clattering on the roof before I fell asleep. Little did I suspect how recently Santa had come by his reindeer – or how much their night-time sleigh ride owed to religious reform, migration and cultural exchange.

Saint Nick

Originally, Santa Claus had nothing to do with reindeer – or with Christmas. His story begins with St Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop of Myra, in modern Turkey. Although little is known about his life, the few hagiographical works which have come down to us all testify to his love of children and his generosity. According to Michael the Archimandrite, he was once told about a man who had lost all his money and was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters. Since this would have prevented them from getting married, they might have had to become prostitutes to support themselves. Naturally, St Nicholas was anxious to help, but did not want to shame them by giving alms openly. To avoid this, he crept up to their house late at night and threw a purse of gold through the window. When their astonished father found it the next morning, he immediately sought a husband for the eldest. The next night, St Nicholas did the same again. On the third night, however, the father stayed awake and caught St Nicholas in the act. Falling to his knees, he hailed the saint as his family’s saviour, only for St Nicholas to raise him to his feet and beg him not to tell a soul about the blessings he had received. 

Because of such acts of generosity, St Nicholas’ feast day (6 December) was later celebrated with the exchange of presents. In 12th-century France nuns are said to have left fruit, nuts and treats outside the houses of poor children. At around the same date, St Nicholas was also transformed into a magical bringer of gifts. Particularly in Dutch-speaking regions, ‘Sinterklass’ would sneak into poor peoples’ houses at night and leave a few coins or a little present in their shoes. 

For obvious reasons, he was portrayed as a bishop, with long, brightly coloured vestments, a mitre and a beard. He was also said to travel through the sky and to have an uncanny knack for remaining unseen. At times, St Nicholas was even associated with certain animals. In the Netherlands there was a tradition of leaving hay for his horses, in some parts of Germany he still rides a horse, in eastern France he keeps his presents in baskets carried by a donkey and in Italy he is often accompanied by a jovial ass. 

But of reindeer, there was no sign – and with good cause. Although they were once common throughout Europe, their habitat receded at the end of the last ice age, to the point that they were mostly confined to northern Scandinavia and the Ural mountains. Other than a few brief references in Aristotle, Theophrastus, Julius Caesar and Pliny, there is little written testimony before 1533, when Gustav I of Sweden sent a gift of ten reindeer to Albert I of Prussia – and absolutely nothing to connect them with a fourth-century bishop from Asia Minor.

Reform

The Reformation changed everything. Because of Martin Luther’s insistence that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man, most early Protestants rejected the Catholic cult of saints out of hand. Although they were happy to recognise that those who had led uncommonly holy lives should be held up as examples of Christian virtue, they refused to believe that anyone could intercede with God on another’s behalf and regarded the veneration of saints as a form of idolatry. Any form of worship or celebration that seemed to point towards the human instead of the divine was hence discouraged, if not actively forbidden.

This spelled trouble for St Nicholas. While he was seen as sufficiently virtuous to be included in the Lutheran liturgical calendar, the revelry with which his feast was traditionally celebrated was definitely suspect. No doubt it would have been easiest just to ban it, but Luther was shrewd enough to realise that gift-giving had become so central to the festive season that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to stamp it out. To overcome this problem, Luther simply transferred the practice to Christmas Day itself and focused attention on Christ, God’s original gift to mankind, instead. Although this did not necessarily stop people from celebrating the day in style, it did mean that, from then on, presents would be brought not by St Nicholas, but by the ‘Christkind’ or ‘Christkindl’ (‘Christ-child’) who was usually portrayed as a brightly arrayed infant, with wings and a halo.

Frontispiece for Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Old Father Christmas, 1686 © Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C.
Frontispiece for Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Old Father Christmas, 1686 © Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C.

Even in some Protestant areas, however, the legacy of St Nicholas lived on, albeit in a modified form. In England, a ‘Father Christmas’ figure was already well established by the reign of Elizabeth I. Clearly modelled after St Nicholas, he was held to embody the spirit of Christmas – and, as an engraving from Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Old Father Christmas (1686) suggests, was generally pictured as a burly man, with a heavy, fur-lined coat, a pointed, mitre-like hat and a beard. In some areas of Belgium and France ‘de Kerstman’ or ‘Père Noël’ came to play a similar role. But he still didn’t have any reindeer.

Migration

For many years, St Nicholas and ‘Father Christmas’ continued to exist as separate traditions. Though in some regions, such as Alsace and parts of the Netherlands, where Catholics and Protestants lived in close proximity, each figure had a certain role to play in festive celebrations and confessional divides generally ensured that they remained distinct. 

By the late 18th century, however, demographic changes on the other side of the world caused the two to coalesce. Following the War of Independence, the United States experienced a dramatic rise in immigration. Most of the new arrivals came from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands – and the majority were either Protestants or nonconformists. It is estimated that by 1780 more than a quarter of New York’s population traced their origins to the Low Countries, while New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania had large German-speaking minorities. After 1790 the influx slowed a little, due largely to the disruption of the Napoleonic Wars, but by the 1830s immigration had begun to rise again. Over the next two decades large numbers of Irish Catholics came. 

At first, different migrant groups all seem to have celebrated Christmas in their own way. Whereas some of the more austere nonconformists tended to shun overly ‘pagan’ celebrations, others – particularly the Dutch in New York – indulged in tremendous revelry, with lots of drunken fun and sexual delinquency. More importantly, where the tradition of gift-giving was preserved, there was no single figure who brought children their presents – and there was a marked lack of clarity over when he came. 

But in the melting pot of the early United States, Christmas traditions inevitably got mixed together. Practices and personalities gradually fused and long-separated ideas were recombined. Though much of this may have been unconscious, it may have been encouraged by efforts to contain some communities’ excesses. First, the Dutch ‘Sinterklass’ was ‘translated’ into English to give ‘Santa Claus’. This appeared for the first time in a report in the New York Gazette on 26 December 1773. Then, a few decades later, Santa Claus was identified with the English ‘spirit of Christmas’ and shorn of his association with the Dutch community’s fondness for raucous celebrations. At times, it is true, he still went by one of his old names or by mangled versions of a European analogue (e.g. Kris Kringle for Christkindl) but, in his attributes and manner, he was now recognisable as something close to the Santa we know today.

Illustration of Santa and his sleigh, from The Children’s Friend, New York, 1821 © Yale University Library.
Illustration of Santa and his sleigh, from The Children’s Friend, New York, 1821 © Yale University Library.

He seems to have made his debut in Knickerbocker’s History of New York (1809) by Washington Irving. A collection of satirical sketches, this portrayed him as a fat Dutchman, sporting ‘a low, broad-brimmed hat, a huge pair of Flemish trunk hose, and a long pipe’ and riding across the sky in a ‘wagon’ full of presents. But not until the publication of The Children’s Friend: A New Year’s Present to the Little Ones from Five to Twelve in New York in 1821 did a reindeer come into play. One of the poems in this curious little book began with the following, fateful verse:

Old SANTECLAUS with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night,
O’r chimney tops, and tracts of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you. 

What prompted the anonymous author to introduce a reindeer is a puzzle. One possibility is that it was simply down to the weather. Although there was always a chance of snow at Christmas, the previous decade had seen some of the coldest weather on record. On 24 December 1811, Noah Webster reported that more than a foot of snow had fallen in New Haven and in 1816 (the ‘Year without a Summer’), snow had even fallen in June. The winter of 1820-21 was especially harsh. In New York the Hudson froze over and the city was blanketed in heavy snow. Most ordinary forms of transport became impossible, but, as the local historian James Macauley later recalled, the ‘[s]leighing was pretty good’. While there is no record of reindeer being used to pull any sleighs in New York, anyone interested in Santa could have been forgiven for thinking of the animals that were used to pull them in stereotypically ‘snowy’ regions. Alaska would have been an obvious point of reference. Although it was not yet an American territory, the use of reindeer by indigenous peoples was already well known – and it would have been a small step to hitch them to Santa’s ride. 

Enter Rudolph 

The number of reindeer soon grew. On 23 December 1823, the poem ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’ (also known as ‘The Night Before Christmas’) appeared in the New York Sentinel. Later attributed to Clement Charles Moore, this described a chubby, if diminutive, St Nicholas riding across the sky on a sleigh pulled by eight ‘tiny reindeer’ called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem. Later, two more were added. In L. Frank Baum’s story, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus(1902), Santa’s companions were arranged into five pairs: Racer and Pacer, Fearless and Peerless, Flossie and Gossie, Ready and Steady, and Feckless and Speckless. 

At about this time, Santa Claus was re-exported back to Europe, where he gradually merged into the figures whose attributes he had been given. He also took his reindeer with him. But not until much later did Rudolph join his troupe. In 1939 Montgomery Ward department stores commissioned Robert L. May to write a story book which could be given to children visiting their branches over the Christmas period. In May’s tale, Rudolph was shunned by the other reindeer because of his bright red nose. But one year, when fog threatens the delivery of Christmas presents, Santa spots it glowing in the gloom and asks him to light the way as the troupe’s ninth member. Though initially intended as a local give-away, May’s story proved so popular that it later inspired a cartoon (1948), a song (1949) – and no end of films and books. 

Since then, Santa’s reindeer have been re-imagined countless times. They have been renamed, pared down, beefed up and altered in almost every way. But it is now impossible to think of Santa without them. And if you listen carefully this Christmas Eve, you might just hear them on your roof, too.

Alexander Lee is a fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance of Warwick University. His latest book, Machiavelli: His Life and Times, is now available in paperback: Thanks to History Archive

#AceHistoryDesk report ………..Published: Dec.13: 2021:

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ANALYSIS: When the Berlin Wall came down, many triumphantly declared that the West had won the Cold War and that its values would soon become universally accepted, pushing out the old systems that had dominated Eastern Europe for decades but many years on …….#AceNewsDesk report

This is our daily list of posts on that are shared across Twitter & Telegram and Shared here on mydaz.blog/

‘Todays selection of posts from across our publishing panel, Twitter & Telegram with Kindness & Love❤️’

#AceNewsDesk says however more than thirty years on and it is clear that Russians are in no hurry to emulate the liberal systems of countries like the US.

Nov.22, 2021: @AceDailyNews

One poll, released last month, revealed that nearly half of Russians say they don’t hold democratic values. Many Western pundits would quickly blame this on President Vladimir Putin, who they accuse of crushing their hopes for the country after the fall of communism, transforming it into a hybrid capitalist state.

But why are so many Russians skeptical of the West’s promises in the first place?There was indeed a honeymoon period immediately following the end of the Cold War when a <a href=”https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2017/0110/Twenty-years-ago-Russians-loved-the-US.-Where-did-it-all-go-wrong”>huge majority</a> of Russians viewed the US and its institutions favorably, and were open to the kind of democracy being touted from abroad.

It’s not well understood how Russians ended up becoming disillusioned to the point where many of them now <a href=”https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/03/russia-us-clinton-boris-yeltsin-elections-interference-trump/”>refer</a&gt; to democracy as “sh*tocracy.” The answer to the question requires one to take an unflinching look at the Russian experience of the 1990’s.<strong>Anarchy in the USSR</strong>Jack Matlock, the US ambassador to Russia during the Bush administration, <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Superpower-Illusions-Ideologies-America-Astray/dp/0300171412″>explained</a&gt; that after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the country was wracked by “runaway inflation that destroyed all savings, even worse shortages of essential goods than existed under communism, a sudden rise in crime and a government that, for several years was unable to pay even [its] miserable pensions on time.

Conditions resembled anarchy much more than life in a modern democracy.”This characterization is supported by many Russians as well as Americans who had on the ground experience in the country during the Yeltsin era, undercutting the sepia-tinged narrative put forward by many current western media commentators of a Russia that was a scrappy little democracy enjoying the miracles of the free market during the Yeltsin years, only to be destroyed by Putin.Sharon Tennison, founder of Center for Citizen Initiatives who has been conducting citizen diplomacy between the US and Russia, as well as supporting community and business projects in the country since 1983, recalled in a series of interviews with me what she saw occurring on her regular trips to Russia during the Yeltsin era.

According to Tennison, it was anything but democratic:“[I remember] a frigid night I came up from the metro to see a line of three or four tiny grannies, wrinkled faces, worn coats and scarves, each holding up a packet of cigarettes for sale….Ordinary people planted food on the sides of roads and lots … young oligarchs drove $100,000 vintage cars in the two capital cities, where elderly people were living in parks, and millions had died from hunger due to loss of their rubles in state banks.”<strong>When crime paid</strong>Life became so dangerous in Moscow that at one point in the early 90s, an official with the American Embassy persuaded Tennison to move out of the motel she was staying in and into the embassy quarters.

Andrei Sitov, a Russian journalist, recounted an incident in 1995 when he and his family were living in Moscow: “My daughter, on her way to walk the dog, discovered a dead body in the hallway of our high-rise…When I pointed out to my wife that the crime rate in New York City where we had been based before was still considerably higher, she retorted that in NYC one knew which neighborhoods to avoid and [which were] relatively safe; whereas in…

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Nov.22: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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Story Teller

Ghost story America ~

Dead Woman
The Dead Woman is a scary ghost story about a man who lives next door to a haunted house. It is supposedly a true story that happened to a man in Russia.
A few years ago, I rented a house in the countryside. My neighbours were a married couple named Lisa and Michael. They had two young children, a boy and a girl. They were a lovely, quiet family and pretty much kept to themselves.
One night, I was awakened by a blood-curdling scream. It sounded like it was coming from the house next door. I jumped out of bed, threw on my dressing gown and ran downstairs.
When I got to my front gate, two tiny figures came flying at me and almost knocked me off my feet. I realised it was the kids who lived next door, but I was stunned by their appearance. The boy was in his pyjamas, and the girl was in her nightie. Their faces were deathly pale, and they looked up at me with terror in their eyes.
Both kids held onto me and began to cry. Their mother came rushing towards us, and I could see she was terrified as well.
“What happened?” I asked. “I heard screams.”
“There’s someone in our house!” Lisa gasped, her voice shaking with fear. “I… I heard someone in the kitchen… I was too afraid to check… Then I heard someone climbing the stairs, and I heard the door to my children’s bedroom opening… Then I heard my daughter screaming. It was terrible! I immediately got the kids, and we ran out.”
“Did you see who it was?” I asked.
“No,” she replied. “The children ran out of the bedroom… I didn’t dare to check it… Please help us… We need to call the police.”
I looked at the children, still trembling with fear.
“Where’s their father?” I asked.
“He’s working the night shift,” Lisa said.
I told them to go into my house and call the police. She thanked me, took her children by the hand and ran to my house.
I decided to check out their house. The front door was standing open. It was dark and silent. All of a sudden, I felt a cold chill run down my spine. I had the strangest feeling that someone was watching me.
In the back of my mind, a little voice kept telling me, “It’s a trap!”
I don’t know what came over me, but at that moment, I was very scared—scared of the unknown. Afraid of what might be lurking inside the darkened house.
“Pull yourself together,” I muttered. “You’re not a child anymore.”
I started to walk up the garden path, but then I saw something that made me stop in my tracks.
Click! In one of the upstairs windows, the light suddenly came on.
The house was supposed to be empty. I looked up at the lighted window, but I didn’t see anything, just curtains blowing in the breeze.
“There’s something up there,” the little voice in my head whispered. “And it’s not afraid of being found. It wants you to find it.”
I tried to tell myself I was silly. How stupid was it for an adult man to be afraid to go into a house because he is afraid of ghosts!
“If it’s a thief,” I thought to myself, “then why would they switch on the lights?”
Click! The light turned off.
“What the hell?” I thought and took a few steps back.
I still did not see anything in the darkness, but I felt goosebumps rising on my skin.
Click! The light turned on again.
When I looked up at the window, my heart skipped a beat. There was a dark figure standing there. It was a woman. Her skin was taut and shrivelled, and her hair was long and unkempt. She looked like a corpse. She just stared down at me with her hollow, empty eye sockets, and she smiled a slow smile.
Click! The light went out.
I turned and ran back to my own house. When I got to my front door, I banged on it until the neighbour lady let me in. She looked at me with a mixture of fear and anxiety. My face was pale, and my eyes were so frightened that the children began to cry again.
“Water,” I panted. “I need water.”
Lisa grabbed a glass, filled it with water and handed it to me. I downed it in one gulp. My heart was pounding, and I had broken into a cold sweat. I was afraid that I had a heart attack.
“Did you call the police?” I asked, trying to pull myself together.
“They’re on their way,” she said. “Did you check the house?”
“Um… Let’s wait for the police,” I replied.
A few minutes later, the police finally arrived. They searched the house from top to bottom, but they didn’t find any thief. There was no one there at all.
The police questioned the neighbours, but nobody had seen or heard anything. When they asked me, I didn’t tell them what I had seen. What could I tell them? That I had seen a dead woman in the window, smiling an unearthly smile? Nobody would believe me.
The police eventually finished up their business and left to take care of more important things. Around 7 a.m., the woman’s husband came home. The children were glad to see him, and together, the family returned to their house. I tried not to look at their house, especially at the upstairs window.
After that crazy night, I began to have trouble sleeping. As soon as I closed my eyes, I would see the face of the dead woman.
Then, life seemed to get back to normal. The neighbours gradually managed to forget all about the incident, no one screamed during the night, and I didn’t see any dead bodies standing in windows. Everything seemed to be back on track, and life was good!
But one evening, about a month later, I heard someone knocking on my front door. The knock was loud and strong. They kept banging and banging as if they were going to break my door down. I looked through the peephole and saw that it was the neighbour lady, Lisa.
I opened the door and found her standing there, grinning at me.
“What happened?” I asked.
She didn’t reply. She just smiled and walked straight past me. She went into my house and turned left, into the living room. She left me standing on the doorstep, dumbfounded. That fixed smile on her face unnerved me. It was so creepy… almost inhuman… It made me shiver from head to toe.
It was dark outside, and no birds were singing. I was about to follow her inside when I heard voices coming from the house next door. When I glanced over the fence, I saw the neighbour children playing in the front yard.
Then, I froze. I could not believe what I was seeing. Lisa was there! She was standing there in her front yard, playing with the children.
I couldn’t move. It felt like my entire body was paralysed with fear. The little voice in my head was asking only one question: “If Lisa is over there, then who is in my living room?”
I didn’t stop to check. I immediately ran to the house next door and asked my neighbours to call the police. Two officers arrived and searched my house from top to bottom, but they didn’t find a living soul. How could they? The only person in my house was a dead woman.
The following day, I left the house, and I didn’t come back.
Now I live in a city where there are more live people and fewer dead. I heard that my former neighbours, Michael and Lisa, moved out soon after I left. I asked around, and one of my friends said that they moved because the mother and father of the family had gone insane.
“They’re such fools,” my friend laughed. “They thought that their house was haunted!”
I tried to laugh along with him, but I couldn’t even muster a smile.

Categories
KINDNESS WISDOM

Fanny Fineries ~

In an elegant frock, trimmed with beautiful lace, And hair nicely curled, hanging over her face, Young Fanny went out to the house of a friend, With a large little party the evening to spend. “Ah! how they will all be delighted, I guess, And stare with surprise at my handsome new dress!” Thus said the vain girl, and her little heartbeat, Impatient the happy young party to meet. But, alas! they were all too intent on their play To observe the fine clothes of this lady so gay, And thus all her trouble quite lost its design;­ For they saw she was proud but forgot she was fine. ‘Twas Lucy, though only in simple white-clad, (Nor trimmings, nor laces, nor jewels, she had,) Whose cheerful good-nature delighted them more Than Fanny and all the fine garments she wore. ‘Tis better to have a sweet smile on one’s face, Than to wear a fine frock with elegant lace, For the good-natured girl is loved best in the main, If her dress is but decent, though ever so plain. ~

Fanny @bestofnatureblog
Categories
Story Teller

A Poet I Once Meet ~

They say you can jinx a poem if you talk about it before it is done. If you let it out too early, they warn, your poem will fly away, and this time they are absolutely right. Take the night I mentioned to you I wanted to write about the madmen, as the newspapers so blithely call them, who attack art, not in reviews, but with breadknives and hammers in the quiet museums of Prague and Amsterdam. Actually, they are the real artists, you said, spinning the ice in your glass. The screwdriver is their brush. The real vandals are the restorers, you went on, slowly turning me upside-down, the ones in the white doctor’s smocks who close the wound in the landscape, and thus ruin the true art of the mad. I watched my poem fly down to the front of the bar and hover there until the next customer walked in– then I watched it fly out the open door into the night and sail away, I could only imagine, over the dark tenements of the city. All I had wished to say was that art was also short, as a razor can teach with a slash or two, that it only seems long compared to life, but that night, I drove home alone with nothing swinging in the cage of my heart except the faint hope that I might catch a glimpse of the thing in the fan of my headlights, maybe perched on a road sign or a street lamp, poor unwritten bird, its wings folded, staring down at me with tiny illuminated eyes. ~

Categories
KINDNESS WISDOM

The World needs to be healed ~

Declaring our intentions for a safer and kinder world is the obvious first step toward attaining those goals. Every journey begins with the first step of articulating the intention and then becoming the intention. We may not be able to change the world overnight, and there is no need for fantasies of creating a utopia, but have faith that we can make some difference in the lives of others. It is possible to advance together, and no matter how slight that advancement is, it will be a resounding triumph for humanity! What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? As Victor Hugo once wrote, “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come”. The time is each moment called now. Every life is precious. Let us subdue the ravages of the baser-self, and aspire to the higher calling of exalting joy through compassion, for that is the one true purpose of humanity. The change is as simple as changing your mind, and upon that intent, the course is set. Start with yourself, and focus on your desires. You cannot change another person’s mind or educate them; this they must do themselves. Your clear intention is what is important. The intention is the foundation of all inner and outer institutions of humanity. It is the basis of legal and judicial systems, all human contracts, and rests at the root of all innovation and progress.

Your intentions define you. People are more than just selfish response to stimuli. Many people have sacrificed themselves to fates that based on self-interest by possessing intentions to serve something greater in scope than the self. Thus, deterministic or divine, the intention is the seed-germ of all change and can defy all environments. According to many theologians, the judgment of “the intentions of our hearts” by God, upon our very soul, is predicated upon our innermost intentions. According to philosophers and now even scientists, the intention is the foundation of numerous quantum physical and metaphysical universal laws. Prayer, meditation, mantra, and affirmation are explicit forms of accessing the power of intention. In short, the intention is the only pathway to the future we will likely ever know. We can use this powerful intention.

Many people feel powerless. But one freedom that no influence, power, city, state, government, group, consequence or intimidation can reach to gird, is a free soul’s ability to think, and consequently react to the situations of life. The elemental root of our thoughts, the underlying structure upon which our complex ideals and knowledge stand, is our basic intention. Propagandists, research scientists and consumer psychologists work steadily to pry into the “black box” of free agency and thought, but thankfully free thought and the indomitable will of the individual have not yet been bridled or entirely broken, and we still have relatively free minds, if we so choose. As individuals, it may seem we are not able to control or change the world, but through our willful intentions we may at least escape the culpability of our complicit minds and hearts. When we oppose oppression, we lift our hands from the collective reins that empower such oppressions. We have the power to oppose, and therefore, not be a party to what we see as injustice, even if we belong to a collective that perpetuates the injustice. This is the liberating and defining power of intention. Through our intentions, a place no power can influence, we have the power to oppose. The terrible atrocities in the world require more from each of us than a regret-filled acknowledgment they exist; they require our most earnest intentions to be focused on their immediate eradication. To do this we must first have a conscious awareness that it must change. Once our clear intention is set, and we no longer “accept,” we will in time begin to see the change the collective will creates. The only true freedom we ALL possess are what we think, and our intentions govern what we think.

We all feel that we cannot change the world alone, but as free-thinking people, we can express our intentions to not live in a world where some humans have been reduced to nothing more than mere vessels of pain. We do not have to be victimized by the ugliness in the world any longer. An incubus of ignorance, fear, hunger, oppression and intolerance haunts large regions of the world, and we must have no delusions that we are immune. We must refuse to forget that we too are human, that we too are frail, that we all are subject to such miseries, and in time, we shall all be subject to frailty and suffering. But, we can take our power back, merely by acknowledging our power. Acknowledge that everything we have created in the world started as a tiny intention. We carry within us the enormity of possibility that gave birth to everything that has been made in the world. Let us now yearn for the possibility of building happiness in every heart. Let us now build inward a new world of hope, a world of limitless possibilities for the children of tomorrow, where each soul can reach the heights of their potential to love and to be loved.

We have the power to set our intentions for the betterment of our world. The very “least” among us has the enormous power to effect change through small acts of determination and will. We can each immediately liberate ourselves as victims in the world, through solidifying an intent to act; intent to forgive; intent to love; intent to be caring, polite and empathetic. Then, with that clear intention set into motion through the simplest first actions, we will begin to liberate ourselves from victimization, thereby creating an entirely new perspective and future. It all starts with how you look at the world, and forgiveness and love are integral to the process of healing. There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. The conflicts we have with the outside world are often conflicts we have within ourselves. If you do not like a certain behaviour in others, look within yourself to find the roots of what discomforts you. Every soul is beautiful and precious; is worthy of dignity and respect, and deserving of peace, joy and love. You will be a beautiful person, as long as you see the beauty in others. This is how you change everything. To have our needs met, to love, to be loved, to feel safe in this world and to each know our purpose, is a simple matter of creating those blessings for others. We have the power to choose these virtues, rather than choosing violence, rage, anger, revenge, greed and other base impulses of the lower self. We may know our true purpose in life, because we may choose our purpose in life. Our purpose is to be there for one another. Giving is the master key to success, in all applications of human life.

In each of us exists a gift that has blessed the world with hope time after time. Each person carries within their core the birthright of creative freedom, which, when organized and orchestrated, is the most awesome force on earth. It is a force that can send a human to the moon or send her voice around the world in an instant. It is a power that collectively has always, even after mistakes, re-centred, and inevitably fought for freedom and rights. It is that kernel of promise within each of us which we must harness and responsibly share. You begin by expressing your highest intentions and by declaring your purpose which will be — and is now at this very moment being fulfilled — to rise above any lethargy, and irrevocably declare that you too have true, heartfelt compassion and empathy for all who suffer. Through our intentions, we shall stand erect, defiant and without shame, and declare that “it is possible to make a difference”!

The most powerful tools of revolution through intention are humility and consciousness. Humility and full consciousness are inseparable. Once you become fully conscious and self-aware, or awake, you are immediately humble. Only unconscious people, and “sleep-walkers,” who do not know themselves and what they are can lack humility. True humility is greatness. Humility and greatness are not exclusive to one another but are fully compatible. Seek to be both great and good, through reclaiming your authenticity. The authentic human has the might of compassion and the creative power to do any manner of good. Humility is not weak. Not being great is a form of harsh arrogance, while being great is an act of true humility. It is pretentious to not be the great and marvellous being you were intended to be. It is supremely neglectful and insulting to the heart of creation to squander your divine birthright. It takes an act of absolute humility to accept the mantle of greatness, which was written into each of our destinies. All strength and greatness come from humility. We must all be humble enough to be great and to allow that greatness to carry us through hard times, to better days.

People are in desperate need of your belief in them, and your vision and will for betterment. Vast regions of the world are now human slaughterhouses, where deserving and once bright and hopeful eyes, now stare blankly toward the last hiding places deep within. Each of these worthy souls has been robbed by poverty, fear and grotesque apathy. They exist as former humans, who should be delightfully moving through the sacrosanct journey of life with dignity, but are instead reduced to mere vessels of pain; they exist each relentless moment as vessels of pure misery. Cynicism is one of the terrible obstacles to progress. Please lay down your cynicism, and believe in the transformational power of love. Dare to believe that a good thing is possible when you follow your heart. Your oath and intention are so powerful. Your declaration of will is the first step in a seemingly impossible journey. Now is the time for all humble, good-spirited servants, who believe that through love the world can be transformed into a sanctuary of abundance for all, to work together. The time has come. The beginning of all change starts with your intention the very moment you choose to no longer accept the “reality” you see before you. Do not underestimate the power in an individual’s commitment to harness the power of their intention, which is a way for all people to be powerful. Express your intentions now, and become the powerful change the world needs to be healed!

Categories
KINDNESS WISDOM

Wisdom ~

Sometimes you just have to give up on people to respect yourself, rather than keep accepting things and words that you don’t deserve.

Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.

Sometimes you have to give up on people. Everyone that is in your life is meant to be in your life, but not everyone is meant to stay there.

The saddest part about trying to help out somebody is coming to the realization they can’t be helped. Not everybody can be helped..Even if a person doesn’t give up on someone..if they don’t want the help, then let them fall.

Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing to do, but to hold it together when everyone expects you to fall apart, that is the true strength

People vanish, people? die. People laugh and people cry. Some give up, some will try. Some say hi, while some say bye

I know you have a million reasons to give up, but don’t you want to be able to say that you never did give up, years down the road?

Never give up on something, you truly believe in.

@bestofnatureblog
Categories
Story Teller

Stairs~

Black Shadow, I’ve got quite a spooky story here. Well bizarre to me anyway. It was about ten years ago, maybe even more than that, I don’t remember exactly, but I was pretty young. It was the day of my great nan’s funeral, and after it, we all went back to my other nan’s house for a gathering. At the time, I had a thing about earrings, rings, and I knew my nan had taken my great nan’s jewellery box to keep it safe, and because she knew I liked them, she said to me, you can go and choose a pair of earrings from your great nan’s jewellery box.

So I went upstairs into my nan’s room, and the jewellery box was on the bed, so I looked through and chose a pair of red rose studs. I loved them. As I closed the box, something caught my eye, and I turned my head and looked out the doorway and seen a tall black shadow walk out of the bathroom and down the stairs. I was terrified and ran back downstairs to my family and told them what happened. They believed me. My nan then said to me that she sees these black shadows all the time and always has done ever since she lived in the house. And I wasn’t the only one who saw the black cloud. My sister did when she used to stay at my nan’s and also my cousin has too. I will never forget that day. My nan still lives in that house! To this day, I hate going upstairs on my own, lol

Categories
Story Teller

Haunted House `

Actual Experience I was in my first year in college when my family decided to move to a new town. My sisters and I were pretty excited because the house was new. I always had this insomnia thing going on, so I usually fall asleep at dawn. Few nights passed, I always hear echoes on the wall, but no one was occupying the next unit yet. And things started to become strange. I always feel our bed shake around past 2 am almost 3. I share the bed/room with my sister, but she never thought it, so one time, while the bed was shaking, I just had to wake her up. She tried to compose herself and cursed whatever it was, and it stopped. But it didn’t stop there. My sister and I would always lock our bedroom because sometimes she stays up late with me, and my mom would nag about it because our dad comes home in the morning from work and doesn’t have to want to see us still asleep and not prepare for school. But we always wondered why we wake up with our zippers open when no one can even get in the room! And every time I took a shower, I always feel someone behind me. It would whisper things and call me out. So after a year, I decided to study and live with my grandma. I was somehow free from that creepy house. Then it constantly attacked my sister, and she has to experience all the things I experienced. When I left, nobody occupied that room ever again. I have two sisters, by the way, and four brothers. Pretty big family, right? But they had to sleep at parent’ room and abandon their rooms. My dad isn’t used to sleeping with lights on. But one night, when everyone sound asleep, somebody grabbed my sister’s foot, and she shouted so severely, causing everyone in the room a panic. And we never slept with lights off. Few years passed, sed and I got my own family. One time, we all got chicken pox, and I decided to spend a few weeks at home. One night, my sister and I slept in our old room. I noticed she was having a nightmare around 3 am. I woke her up, and she gasped for air. She said in her dream; everything was the same, our clothes that night our positions, but she noticed someone was lying behind her. A man with no face trying to do her from behind. So I advised that she take a few minutes before going back to sleep, but since we had a fever from our chicken pox, she fell asleep in just a few minutes. But within less than an hour from her sleep, she started murmuring, and I had to wake her up again. She said she saw a rooster at the window standing with only a few skins on its neck, holding its head while crowing. A few years back, an old neighbour outside the subdivision mentioned that a construction worker from the subdivision next to ours committed suicide from a tree that stood in our unit. And nobody claimed his body because rumour has it that he was not from this city and no one from his family heard about it immediately. But aside from this guy, a woman’s voice also bothers our youngest sister. Once, she was trying to get some pillows at our parent’s room when she heard an angry woman’s voice telling her, “Get out! Get out!”. She rushed downstairs and almost fell off the stairs. We thought we were the only ones experiencing it. But our neighbour across our house said that her eldest daughter saw a little girl run upstairs and decided to follow it. But when she searched the rooms nobody was there. When the three of us got married, we never felt and experienced anything paranormal again.