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CREATING YOUR ANTAGONIST

The Art of Chaos created a wonderfully written post on writing your antagonist. I encourage all new writers to check it out by clicking the link provided.

https://www.scribophile.com/academy/a-character-anatomy-seven-places-where-character-meets-story

Happy Writing!

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An Island and a Saddistic Doctor

If you are like me, and the hopes of visiting a real life haunted house, or haunted town, go to Savannah, Ga or even Charleston, SC. I for one, even if it weren’t abandoned, or forbidden, would not go to Poveglia. It is actually up for auction the last I heard, may have even been sold by now.

Either way, makes for a great story, so grab your coffee, curl up in your favorite chair and enjoy.

Poveglia is a cursed and mysterios island, where strange historical events have shaped its reputation as the darkest place of the Venice Lagoon and labeled this island the most haunted in the world.

Poveglia had been a thriving and populated island, however with the outbreak of the war of Chioggiain 1378-the fourth and last conflict between Genoa and Venice- its inhabitants were moved to the island of Giudecca. From that very moment this island remained deserted for three hundred years.

Since 1645, it was then employed as an outpost to control the transit of ships in the lagoon with aim of protecting Venice. Proveglia’s darkest moments will date back to more recent years, when due to the 1700 Black Death, the island became a lazaretto (an open-air cemetary), where quarantined people-even those with the slightest signs of sickness were sent to die.

I ask you, what if they had done this to us when COVID hit?

But to continue…Bodies were left on the island’s streets to decompose. Then they were burnt and their ashes were thrown in mass graves. It is said that more than 160,000 people died in agony during the bubonic plague. Today, strata of bone can be found beneath the surface, which is made up of 60% of human ashes.

Historical reconstructions were done, and during that time, in that period, the island was also the scene of the execution of criminals, who were usually killed by drowning. But believe me, this isn’t the scariest part of the story, at least not for me.

In 1922, the buildings hosted a home for the elderly. The furniture still present today witnesses that the building was actually an asylum. From the moment a person was diagnosed with a mental illness and taken to Poveglia, there was no possibility of redemption or rehabilitation. (What does that say for you or me? Those we love?) The only aim of the new use of the island was to isolate these people, and separate them from society. It’s important to remember, in the past, any uncommon way of thinking and behavior different from the socio-cultural norms of the time, was considered mental disorders. Anyone could be identified as mentally ill and locked up.

Local legend has it that the patients of Poveglia asylum reported that they saw strange shadows-probably belonging to the ghosts of the plague victims- and that they could not sleep at night because of the wails of the suffering spirits. Of coarse, the doctors did not believe them. Patients were subjected to tortures, sometimes death. It is believed that a sadistic doctor did evil experiments on them, even performed labotomies, as he believed that this cruel practice was a great way to treat and cure mental illness. This procedure was incredibly wicked and painful, as the doctor used hammers, chisels and drills without anesthesia or any concern for sanitation.

Because of the doctor’s practices, he was tormented by the ghosts who drove him crazy to the point where he jumped (or was thrown) from the clock tower that stands out on the lagoon. The legend tells that he did not die from the fall, but that he was chocked before by a mysterious fog. In some silent and calm nights you can still hear the bell tolling across the bay, despite being removed years ago.

I hope you enjoyed this post and urge you to comment, like, subscribe, or just follow my blog.

Support your fellow writers. Through eachothers support we become better writers.

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An Ice Cream Truck Abduction

Eleven year old Mikelle Biggs had been waiting for the ice cream truck with her younger sister, Kimber. Like most young children, Kimber had grown cold and lost her patience, and decided to go home. Upon arriving home, her mother had immedately sent her back out to tell Mikelle to come home too.

Kimber, in total, had only been gone 90 seconds, but in that short window of time, Mikelle was abducted. The rear wheel of the bike that Mikelle had been riding, still spinning, left behind. A neighbor with a criminal past had caught the eye of investigators, but not having enough evidence to charge him, they had to leave him alone. Less than a year later, this neighbor attacked and nearly murdered a nearby neighbor.

Is it possible he is the one responsible or Mikelle’s abduction or is it possible there is someone else who played a role in this and has eluded the authorities for more than twenty years?

Mikelle Biggs disapppeared on January 2, 1999. A tip in her disappearance was published on March 19, 2018.

A dollar bill in Wisconsin was the latest tip received that the Mesa detectives were investigating in Mikelle Biggs disappearance. The dollar bill was reported to the police on March 14, 2018 in Neenah, a town 9 miles southeast of Appleton.

There was a message written along the edges of the 2009 bill:

“My name is Mikel (sic) Biggs kidnapped From Mesa AZ I’m Alive.”

The note appeared to have been written in a child’s handwritting. Mikelle’s name was spelled wrong and “s” in “is” almost sits on its side while the “kel in the name is written in cursive. The Neenah Police Investigator Adam Streubel examined the bill and questioned the authenticity. He had noted that Mikelle’s first name was misspelled and suspected that it could have been just a senseless joke.

The detectives have said that they don’t dismiss any evidence that they find and that they follow up on any and all leads but that they don’t believe that this message was written by Mikelle. One of the lead detectives, Jerry Gissel, said evidence that that they found during their initial investigation showed that Mikelle was running away from somebody.

“It wasn’t somebody that she knew or wanted to be with. She dropped the bike, she was running toward home, she dropped quarters, and it was swift. And somebody grabbed her and, I believe, abducted her in a car and drove away with her,” Gisselll stated in an 2009 interview with ABC News.

Mikelle’s family believe her to be deceased and on the fifth anniversary of her disappearance they held a funeral for her with an empty casket. The family still believes that Dee Blalock, a convicted sex offender, who lived just two blocks away, and had spent the entire night in their garage, but are still suspicious of him, is responsible for her abduction. Blalock is currently serving a fifteen-and-a-half -year sentence in an Arizona prison for charges unrelated to Mikelle’s case.

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A Trafficked Child’s Account

Voices of the Present and the Future would like to bring to attention the human trafficking industry on this last day of Mental Awareness Month.

There have been millions of women, men and children around the world who have been and who continue to be subjected to forced labor, domestic servitude, or the sex trade at the hands of these human traffickers. It’s a form of modern-day slavery, the inhumane practice of human trafficking that takes place here in the United States as well.

Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes investigated by ICE. In it’s worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. They are forced into  prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude to repay debts-often incurred during entry into the United States.

One story from a child who was trafficked:

“I was 17 around when I met ‘Robert’. It started off with me and my friend meeting him for social purposes. It just went on for about nine months and we were living in different hotels the entire time and I don’t even remember how many men there were. I was a runaway and wasn’t living anywhere stable, so since I was underage most of the time, I sort of needed him in order to get hotels and move around.

I had already been a prostitute since I was 15 and I think I just didn’t even know what was right or wrong and how I should be treated. Towards the end, he held me against my will in a hostage situation and forced me to prostitute and took all the money and just beat me severely.

The last time I saw him, he was just beating me until he was absolutely tired. I was covered in bruises, my face was completely disfigured and it’s causing me issue with my back to this day because of the way he was beating me and torturing me. That was probably the worst. There was a client in the room and he was having issue with something I couldn’t do because I was all beat up. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to do anything. He wanted his money back. When Robert and him were talking I ran out of the room and somehow was able to run faster than him.

I didn’t tell anyone. I kept it to myself until I got a call from the FBI that he’d been arrested for something else and asked would I talk. Having to go face everything and realize how serious everything was. For the longest time I didn’t even think it was that serious.

At the trial, it felt empowering to look at him the entire time. I’m sure it drove him crazy. He can never touch me but he had to look at me and listen and it made me feel good.

I had to learn that if I don’t at least have some kind of love and value for myself, no one ever will. My advice to other girls would be to let people help you.”

Empower yourself and help empower other writers, leave comments, follow, subscribe or just hit the like button. If you have a similar story to share we would love to hear it. Let us know what you have to say here at Voices, past, present,and future.

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Mental Awareness Month

Good Morning friends. It’s been a few days for me, but now that the holiday weekend has now come to an end, graduations have come and gone (pre-K and First Grade for me), the graduation parties, the holiday barbeque’s, we can now fully dive back in to work. I devoted some long deserved time to my reading, so that I can return some books to the library on time, and worked on my short story course. I wasn’t fully off duty.

If you’re anything like me, your house is never television free. Somewhere there is always a TV on. As Stephen King say, “Television is on of the worst things you can have as a writer.” For me, THIS IS SO TRUE!

I was also trying to work out some of the kinks in my first draft. Where I want to take this character, what situation I would like to put this character in, and does this character really need to be in the book? Reworking the outline persay.

As the month of Mental Awareness comes to a close, I look back on some of my past articles/posts and I urge those of you who struggle with anything to seek help, be it a friend you can confide in, a pastor (preacher/ any religious person whom you trust), a family member, a spouse, or doctor. Don’t cheat yourself out of the life you deserve and the happiness you deserve.

Take a moment and love yourself today. Support your friends and fellow writers.

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A Glance at a Moment in Time

Voices of the past, present, and future brings to you some some of the events impacting our world.

To start us off, I for one just learned while exploring Space.com, that an asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building  will be barreling toward Earth on May 27th. The asteroid will zoom safely past Earth at 47, 200 mph, so fear not my friends.

In honor of my grandson, a giant ‘dragon of death’ with a 30-foot wingspan was unearthed in Argentina. Officially called a Thanotosdrakon, it is the largest pterosaur ever found in South America. My grandson, who knows every dinosaur, and everything about them, and he is only five, was thrilled to learn this new fact which I found in livescience.com.

According to bloodydisgusting.com and The Losers’ Club Podcast, ‘Rose Red’ marked the end of Stephen King’ Miniseries Boom.  According to King, Rose Red  had began a life as a potential dream collaboration between him and Steven spielberg, who wanted to make a haunted house movie that echoed Shirlie Jackson’s iconic The Haunting of Hill House. King, who was an avowed fan of Jackson’s masterpiece, had ran with the idea but also wove in the legend of the Winchester Mystery House. Due to creative differences between King and Spielberg, the project was was plagued and eventually shelved.

If we go back to August 11, 2021, we were supposed to be invaded by aliens, a person claiming to be a “real time traveler” had reported. He stated he was from the year 2714 in a TIKTOK video. He also stated “There will be a very large meteor shower that lasts for two weeks, it will be seen in the northern hemisphere, containing the Nozic message. One of the meteors will seem different than all the others, that is because it is a ship landing on Earth, starting preparations for the first Nozic War.”

And on to more recent events…. A 57-year-old cold case involving the brutal sexual assault and murder of a 9-year-old girl was solved using genetic genealogy in Pennsylvania. Marise Ann Chiverella was killed on March 18, 1964. She had been taking canned goods to a church on her way to school but never returned back to her home. Her murder now solved as of February 10, 2022. May she rest in peace.

Thank you for traveling with Voices, past, present, and future.

Don’t forget to support your fellow writers!

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CHARACTER IN A WORD

I read a great post this morning while having my morning coffee that I thought was a great example for all of my new writer friends who needed insight into the world of character building.

THE ART OF CHAOS

Life is chaos. Learn to balance it and you can ride the tide.

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Chaos Cast – Protagonist 2022-21

 / WARREN TODE

This is a randomized tarot writing prompt for character creation. The purpose here is to help flesh out a cast of characters to use in the Chaos Pen Challenges, or elsewhere. For this series, we’ll be focused on making protagonists.

The spread that I’ll be using for this prompt series was inspired by the article, A Character Anatomy: Seven Places Where Character Meets Story. Rather than rehashing all of that, I encourage you to read it since it’s well written and explains the concepts we’ll be exploring better than I could.


This is what the Character Anatomy Spread looks like:


1. Role

This is the character’s public identity. Examine the card and its keywords to consider what your character’s identity is, how it can drive a story and either help, hinder, or distract them in getting what they need.

Ten of Cups

  • HARMONY
  • FULFILLED
  • AGREEABLE
  • CONGRUITY

2. Agency

This is the character’s capacity to achieve in life. What are your character’s strengths, weaknesses, skill sets, and abilities?

Six of Swords

  • TRANSITIONS
  • CRESTFALLEN
  • TRAVELER
  • DISTRUST

3. Attitude

This is the expression of your character’s Self. How do they present themselves to others? How do they tend to interact with the world around them?

Two of Wands

  • PREPARATION
  • BRAVE
  • PLANNER
  • CONQUEST

4. Need

What does your character need? In other words, what drives them to take risks or even reach forward in their life?

Judgement

  • REBIRTH
  • AWAKENED
  • REDEEMER
  • SELF-DECEPTION

5. Interior

What story does your character believe in their mind about themselves and the world around them? It’s perfectly fine for your character to operate on a false belief.

Wheel of Fortune

  • KARMA
  • DESTINED
  • OPPORTUNIST
  • FATALISM

6. Passion

A passion is something that we either believe in or love strong enough that we are willing to suffer and make sacrifices for it. Whether it’s a healthy passion or not, what is your character willing to suffer or make sacrifices for?

The Chariot

  • WILL POWER
  • DRIVEN
  • AMBITIOUS
  • INSENSITIVE

7. Backstory

Why is your character like this? What is the major event or memory that scripts the Interior of your character and thus shapes the rest of who and what they are?

Knight of Pentacles

  • STEWARD OF THE BODY
  • PRODUCTIVE
  • DEDICATED
  • UNWAVERING

Now that you have notes on each part, examine and assess them as a whole. Imagine what kind of person this is. Make edits as necessary until the nature of this character makes sense to you. Flesh out the details. Once you have all that, decide what they look like and what their name is. You may even try writing a brief scene to get a feel of what they’re like on the page. Keep this character on file for later use.


~ Celtic Dragon Tarot by D.J. Conway (Author), Lisa Hunt (Illustrator) © 1999
~ Credit for 3D model and assets used in this rendered image can be found here.

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A SCANDALOUS AFFAIR

Voices of the past brings to you one of the greatest True love stories in history. It is intertwined in the professional success and personal tragedy surrounding Mary Godwin Shelley and Percy Shelley’s Aldulterous Affair.

While we all love to indulge in a juicy love story from time to time, this one provides a bit more than that, all from our history.

Mary Godwin, only a teenager, daughter of the famous proto-feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, eloped with A VERY MARRIED PEOT, Perscy Shelly. They left England to escape all the scandal, traveling Europ together.

Percy Shelly’s PREGNANT wife, devastated that her husband abandoned her, committed suicide in 1816. Percy and Mary had no regard for Harriet, Percy’s wife, and they married. Not that it mattered to Mary, she had already been calling herself, “Mrs. Shelly” before the title had become vacant.

With such a scandalous beginning, fate would be delivered to Percy and Mary Shelly through success and tragedy. Their union had scandalized England causing them to live abroad for the rest of their lives. They had multiple children, but only one would survive to adulthood.

Percy’s progressive politics and unique style would negatively affect his career while Mary would find success with her groundbreaking nove, Fankenstein….

Six years after marrying, in 1822, Percy will drown in a boating accident in Italy. A devastated Mary, along with her son, would return back to England, and forge a successful literary career for almost thirty years before she died in 1851.

INTERESTING FACT: It is said that Mary Shelley kept her dead husband’s heart in her desk for 30 years.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and as always, support your fellow writers. Leave comments, hit the like button, or if you are inclined to do so, PLEASE follow me, for more interesting stories such as this one.

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EXCITING NEWS

Hello my faithful followers and future ones! I want to provide you an update on my future book “Small Town Facade”. If you have not yet had the chance to go into my pages and check it out, now is the TIME! I will be providing you updated chapters and they are doosies!

There is more than just a kidnapping going on in this town my friends! AND…..Someone else will go missing!

Don’t cheat yourself out of a great read, especially on these rainy days, mother nature is providing us to get caught up on our reading.

I look forward to reading your comments and also listening to your input on what you think should happen. THIS IS a first draft.. and you WILL find many mistakes.

As a beginning writer, we all look to our fellow writers for insight and communication, and advice on how to make ourselves better writers.

Support your fellow writers. And look for those NEW chapters later today!

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A Monument of Love

Voices of the past would like to share with you one of the world’s greatest love stories.

It a great love begain in 1612, when Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess, married Shah Jehan, also known as Prince Khurram. The Prince would ascend to the throne in 1628 and become the 5th Mughal emporer. You will soon learn why this love story is so important to our past as you continue reading.

The queen’s real name was Arjumand Banu. In keeping with the traditions of the Mughals, important women of the royal family were given another name when they married. Mumtaz was the Princes’ second wife but she was considered his ultimate love match. By all accounts, she and the emporer were soul mates. Mumtaz accompanied him throughout all of his travels and his military expeditions, and she was his most trusted political advisor.

As with any legendary love story, tragedy would lurk in their future. Mumtaz would die giving birth to their 14th child. This had affected the emporer so badly that his black hair turned snow white in just a matter of months. He was overcome with grief, and had vowed to keep his beloved wife’s memory alive forever.

The emporer had decided to build her a monument of eternal love. Mumtaz had endeared herself to the people with her kindness, and the emporer’s subjects were inspired to help build the monument.

BECAUSE OF THE LOVE OF ONE MAN FOR HIS WIFE WE NOW HAVE WHAT IS NOW KNOWN AS THE TAJ MAHL.

Thank you for joining me for an inspiring love story to help you enjoy your Sunday.

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Just One Cup

I answered CBKCreative.com post # 283 and I wanted to share it with you.

The prompt was: A mom wakes up and makes a cup of coffee, then spends all day trying to drink it.

I padded along the cold, wooden, floor into the kitchem and put a pod into my Kureg machine. Eyes still blurry, I went into the kids room, and rustled the little one’s awake. Once I was sure, or at least I thought I was, I turned on some cartoons and began to make their breakfast. Forgetting that my coffee had brewed, piping hot, steam traveling up and around the machine, I went once again to gather the little one’s for a hot meal before school.

As they gather at the table, wiping away what is left of the sandman’s mysteries and begin picking at their food, the way little one’s do, the telephone rings. Meanwhile, my coffee becomes mildly warm, the steam dissipating, and has yet to be sweetened with cream and sugar the way that I like it.

I answer the phone and listen to a friend who is in desperate need of a favor, as I begin to pack lunches and shush the little one’s , urging the kids to stop bickering, and please finish up and go get ready for school. I passively agree to my friend’s request in an urgent need to see that the children are moving about. My coffee sitting there, chilling, long forgotten. The caramel color of ideas but a mere dream.

While I’m checking that little teeth have been brushed, and styling little heads, I look into the mirror only to find that I, myself, am still a shamble. I sit the kids on the couch and dare them to move, running to my room to change. I put on a pair of shorts, a T-shirt, and pull my hair back. I brush my teeth and run out of the room grabbing my keys, rushing the kids to the car.

When I look back, making sure I turned off the stove, I see that little cup of heaven still sitting there, and a tear falls down my face as I turn, shutting and locking the door behind me.

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An Unmarked Grave

Voices of the Present and Future has recently been reading about the 751 unmarked graves found at the site of a former residential school in Saskatchewan. If you haven’t been following the news, please continue reading this post as this discovery just comes weeks after the remains of 215 children were found at a similar residential school in British Columbia.

A statement was given by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. He said he was “terribly saddened” by the discovery in Saskatchewan. He also said it was “a shameful reminder of the systematic racism, descrimination, and injustice that indigenous peoples have faced.”

Between the years of 1863 and 1998, there were more than 150,000 indigenous children that were taken from their families and placed in these schools throughout Canada. Often, these children were not allowed to speak their language or to practice their culture. Many being abused and mistreated.

A former residential school student, Florence Sparvier, spoke at a press conference stating, ” They made us believe we didn’t have souls. They were putting us down as people, so we learned to not like who we were.”

A commission that was launched in 2008 to document the impacts of this system, found that large numbers of indigenous children never returned to their home communities. The practice amounted to cultural genocide. In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized for the system, although this does not bring back the lives that were lost or to quote the words used, “the souls” that were lost.

Chief Delorme said there may have once been markers for the graves but the Roman Catholic Church, which oversaw the cemetary, may have removed them. It is not yet determined if all of these unmarked graves are those of children.

There was an estimated 6,000 children who died while attending these schools. The students were often housed in poorly built, poorly heated, and unsanitary facilities. There was also physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the school authorities which led other children to run away.

I urge you to take a moment of silence for the lives of those lost and prayers that identities will be provided for the unmarked graves that have been found.

Thank you for following Voices of the Present and Future today.

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THE ART FORM OF SHORT STORIES

Voices of the Present dares to bring you a little something different to the table today. I am working on a short story course and I thought (by chance) some of you may just benefit from the course as well.

“A novel is a daily labor of love over a period of years. A novel is job. But a story can be like a mad, lovely visitor, with whom you spend a rather exciting weekend.”

-Lorrie Moore

In writing a short story, you can be bolder, wilder, than you might dare be with a novel where you’re buckled in for the long hual. The brevity of the form of short stories allows for experimentation. You can write lots of short stories, and try lots of different things.

Some authors are famous mainly for their short stories. They include: Alice Munro, Flannery O’Conner, Charles Baxter, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, Mary Robison, John Cheever, and Kelly Link. This is only to name a few.

If you are like me, and are interested in publishing your fiction, short stories may be a good way to start. There are many literary magazines that publish short stories. There is a searchable directory here: https://www.pw.org/literarty_magazines

Publishing our short stories in magazines may allow us to build a trach record as a professional author that can also attract the attention of literary agents.

I CAN ONLY ADVISE YOU AS I AM BEING ADVISED IN MY COURSE.

WRITING PROCESS:

As we sit down to write the first draft of our story, it states that it is probably not helpful to think too much about story-writing technique.

The teaches advised not to worry about coming up with a great beginning or writing nice sentences. We will deal with all of that later, during the revision stage.

Our first draft is for generating raw material. To turn off the analytical, judging part of our brains and tap into our imaginations. To try to lose ourselves in the daydream of the story.

I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME AS I WORK THROUGH THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT, AS I HAVE GIVEN IT TO YOU FOR FREE.

ASSIGNMENT:

We are to throw a problem at a character and see what happens.

STEP 1: Choose a name for your character. Then, imagine some more details about this person, such as:

  • age
  • profession
  • physical description
  • positive personality traits
  • negative personality traits

STEP 2: Come up with three ideas for problems the character might face.

EXAMPLES:

  • lost cat
  • inappropriate feelings for his mother-in-law
  • ghost haunting her attic

STEP 3: Choose one of the problem ideas, and make it as specific as possible. (If your idea is aready specific, you can skip this step)

EXAMPLES:

  • If the problem is low self-esteem a more specific version might be: “wants to ask out the barrista at his local coffee house, but can’t believe any woman would ever be interested in him.”
  • If the problem is money trouble, a more specific version might be: “lost her job, needs rent money in one week to avoid eviction.”

STEP 4: How might your character react to the problem? Come up with three ideas.

STEP 5: Now, pick one of the ideas from step 4. The character is doing it. Take a few minutes to imagine the scene. Play it like a movie in your head.

STEP 6: Now, you’re going to write one sentence about something in the scene you just imagined. This sentence should either describe a physical action, or else it should be a line of dialogue.

STEP 7: The sentence you wrote for step 6 is going to be the first line of a story. It’s okay if it comes from the middle or the end of a scene! Use it as your starting point, and see what happens.

I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME IN THIS PROCESS AND COME UP WITH IDEAS TOGETHER. WE CAN LEARN THIS PROCESS TOGETHER.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST AND WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE WORKING THROUGH THESE LESSONS WITH ME LEAVE A COMMENT.

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Statistically Speaking

Voices of the present and the future wants to offer you a little insight into the statistics of serial killers. According to research (via Discover; and Radford University’s Mike Aamodt), there are fewer serial killers on the prowl since the dawn of the new century. If we look at the 1980’s we were at a high point with almost 770, that we know of, that we operating across the U.S. during the decade. That number dropped during the 1990’s and yet again in the 2000’s, and by 2016, there had been only about 100 that had popped up in the prior decade. So, this has to be some good news for some of you who may suffer from regular nightmares that may involve being stalked or attacked by a serial killer. You can rest at ease, at least a little.

I want to offer you a few theories that police have put out there that may explain just what may be going on. It involves things like the advances in investigative methods and forensic science, a higher chance of getting caught, and being linked definintively to more crimes, there is stricter sentencing. There are also factors like cell phones and an increased connectivity between parents and children that make picking out victims a little more difficult these days. It is possible that our young kids and teens who have the potential to grow up to become serial killers are instead seeking help they need first.

We can’t say there aren’t any serial killers out there, because ther are, as well as new ones popping up. In addition to the ones who have managed to elude police and capture for a long time.

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHO A FEW OF THEM ARE:

WE HAVE THE I-70 KILLER, who between April 8 and May 7, 1992, shot and killed six people along the stretch of I-70. There were striking similarities between these victims. Five of them were women and the police believe the sixth was mistaken for woman when the killer saw his long pony tail. All were brunettes, and all were employees at stores just off the highway. They were also all killed with a .22 caliber bullet. There had been no sexual assault, no major thefts, and witnesses were able to give a description of a man seen entering the stores before the murders. The spring of 2022 marks the 30-year anniversary of the still-unsolved murders.

WE ALSO HAVE THE EASTBOUND STRANGLER. On November 20, 2006, the bodies of four women had been beaten and neatly discarded behind the Golden Key Motel in a Subur outside of Atlantic City. The women had been fully clothed, except for their shoes and socks, and they had been positioned face down in a line behind the motel. They all had been strangled. This killer is still out there and a $25,000 reward has been issued for information leading to the killers arrest.

WE MOVE ON TO THE WEST MESA MURDERS. These murders stated back in 2001, when women started going missing more often than usual. Almost a decade late, on February 2, 2009, a woman came across a human bone, leading to a crime scene no one could imagine. Eleven victims of the “West Mesa Bone Collector” wouldn’t be identified for another 11 years. Eleven women and one child were found and identified. The West Mesa Bone Collector’s idenity still remains a mystery and the investigation is still ongoing. There is a $100,000 reward being offered for information about the killer.

There are many more as you will soon learn if you continue reading my blog. I urg you to follow the conversation and subscribe or leave a comment. Thank you to all my followers!

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TIME TRAVEL

In this post I wanted to change it up a bit and pose a bit of a different question. This post is dedicated to Voices of the Future.

Is Time Travel Possible?

Science says that time travel is possible, but probably not in the way you’re thinking. What do I mean? Let me explain!

The short answer is yes, time travel is possible. You are doing it right now. Hurting into the future at the impressive rate of one second per second. You are pretty much always moving through time at the same speed, whether you are watching TV, watching paint dry, or wishing you had more hours to visit with a friend from out of town.

BUT this isn’t the kind of time travel that has captivated countless science fiction writers, or spurred a genre so extensive that Wikipedia lists over 400 titles of “Movies about TIme Travel”.

Althoug many people are fascinated by the idea of changing the past or seeing the future before it’s due, no person has ever demonstrated the kind of back-and-forth time travel seen in science fiction, or proposed a method of sending a person through significant periods of time that wouldn’t destroy them on the way.

“The best evidence we that time travel is not possible, and never will be, is that we have not been invaded by hordes of tourists from the future.”

Stephen Hawking- Books ‘Black Holes and Baby Universes’

Time is an illusion that moves relative to an observer. An observer traveling near the spead of light will experience time, with all its aftereffects (boredom, aging, etc.) much more slowly than an observer at rest.

Albert Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity

This theory is why astronaut Scott Kelly aged ever so slightly less over the course of a year in orbit than his twin brother who stayed on Earth.

There are other theories out there but for the most part time travel remains the domain of an ever-growing array of science fiction books, movies, television shows, comics, video games and more.

SO, I ASK YOU…DO YOU THINK TIME TRAVEL WILL EVER BE POSSIBLE?

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STRUGGLES

Ok guys, I had a week long full of family struggles. I’m sure you all have been through the same. We are a community and we should support one another and not forget to reach out and be there. I found a short story I wanted to share with you.

THE BUTTERFLY

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Until it suddenly stoppeeed making progress and looked like it was stuck.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, although it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man didn’t think anything of it and say there waiting for the wings to enlarge to support the butterfly. But that didn’t happen. The butterfly spent the rest of its life unable to fly, crawling around with tiny wings and a swollen body.

Despite the kind heart of the man, he didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small opening; were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings to prepare itself for flying once it was out of the cocoon.

MORAL:

Our struggles in life develop our strengths. Without struggles, we never grow and never get stronger.

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HANNIBAL THE CANNIBAL

Hello my inquiring minds! Today I have for you a pretty interesting case. It involves a man named Robert Maudsley, an English serial killer. He killed four people, with three of those killings taking place in prison after he received a life sentence for murder.

If this sounds right up your alley and if you want to learn how he earned the nickname Hannibal the Cannibal continue reading….

Robert Maudsley was one of 12 children, born in Speke, Liverpool. He spent his early years in a Catholic orphanage in Crosby. His parents came and got him at the age of eight when he was then subject to routine physical abuse until social services eventually removed him from his parents care. He had later stated that as a child he was raped. Such early abuse had left deep psychological scars.

In the late 1960’s, when Maulsley was a teenager, he was a sex worker in London using his his income to support his drug addiction. After several suicide attempts, he was forced to seek psychiatric help. During one of these conversations with the doctors, he claimed to hear voices telling him to kill his parents. he is quoted as saying, “If I had killed my parents in 1970, none of these people would have died.”

MURDERS:

A man named John Farrell had picked up Maudsley in 1974, in Wood Green, London. Farrell picked up Maudsley for sex and showed him pictures of children he had sexually abused. Maudsley garrotted Farrell (form or strangulation by wire or metal). He then surrendered himself to the police, saying that he needed psychiatric care. Maudsley was found unfit to stand trial and was sent to Broadmoor Hospital.

In 1977 Maudsley and another resident, David Cheeseman, locked themselves in a cell with a third patient named David Francis who was a convicted child molester. Mauldsley and David Cheeseman tortured David Francis to death over a period of nine hours. After this incident, Mauldsley was convicted of manslaughter and sent to Wakefield Prison. He had disliked the transfer and made it clear he had wanted to return to Broadmoor. Maudsley was later sentenced to life imprisonment with recommendation that he never be released.

NOW in my opinion, this man told them he needed psychiatric care. WHY on earth didn’t they keep him in a locked psychiatric facility under careful watch? Get this man the help he needed?

In 1978 Maudsley would kill two more fellow prisoners at Wakefield Prison in just one day. His first victim would be Salney Darwood, who was convicted of the manslaughter of his wife. Maudsley had invited Darwood into his cell, he then garrotted and stabbed him before hiding his body under his bed. He then tried to lure other prisoners into his cell, but they refused. He then prowled the wing hunting for a second victim, eventually cornering and stabbing a prisoner, William Roberts, to death, by hacking at Robert’s skull with a makeshift dagger and struck his head against the wall multiple times. Maudsley would then calmly walk into the wing office, place the dagger on the table and tell the officer that the next roll call would be two short.

In 1983, Maudsley was deemed too dangerous for a normal cell. The prison authorities built a two-cell unit in the basement of Wakefield Prison. Due to his history of violence, when he was outside of his cell he was escorted by at least four prison officers.

NOW ON TO WHY “HANNIBAL the CANNIBAL” : Initials reports had falsely stated that he ate part of the brain of one of the men he killed in prison, which earned him the nickname among the British press and “The Brain Eater” amongst other prisoners. However, the Press Complaints Commission records that national newspapers were subsequently advised that the allegations were utrue, according to the autopsy report.

PLEASE JOIN ME NEXT TIME AND FEEL FREE TO LEAVE COMMENTS AND SUBSCRIBE.

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Why Was He Released?

As it so often goes for me, life happens and I had to put my blog and my book on hold. We had a family emergency; one of our little grandbabies had to go into the hospital and stay for a few days and that left me being momma, which I haven’t been to little kids in a long time. They are attention seekers, and when I tried to get some work done, it was Mimi, look at me.

I am back now, and the grandbabies are all fine and well; so, Voices, past, present, and future is going to bring to you the story of the most prolific serial killer, Samuel Little.

I ask you to PLEASE JOIN ME as we dive into his early life:

Born June 7, 1940, to a mother, he claimed, was a prostitute, in Reynolds, Georgia. Soon after his birth, his family moved to Lorain, Ohio, where he was mainly raised by his grandmother. Little had problems with discipline and achievement, and by his own account, he began having sexual fantasies about strangling women when he was just a child. He remembers this starting in kindergarten when he saw his teacher touch her neck; as a teenager, he collected true crime magazines depicting women being choked.

Little was convicted of breaking and entering into property in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1956, and was then held in an institution for juveninile offenders. He then moved to Florida to live with his mother in the late 1960’s, and by his own accounts, stated he worked at various times as a cemetary worker and an ambulance attendant. He then said he “began traveling more widely and had more run-ins with the law”, being arrested in eight states for crimes that included: driving under the influence, fraud, shoplifting, solicitation, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and rape. Little claimed that he took up boxing during his time in prison, referring to himself as a former prizefighter.

As you continue to read, see if you agree with me, that there is something wrong with the amount of times this man was arrested and only sentenced to a couple years and then released to only do something more dangerous and haneous to someone else and then then as you read the judicial system will fail again. He should have been sentenced to some kind of psychiatric treatment early on during his earlier incarcerations, but I know they didn’t do that then.

In 1961, Little was incarcerated for three years for breaking into a furniture store in Lorain and released in 1964. By 1975, Little had been arrested 26 times in 11 states for crimes includng theft, assault, attempted rape, fraud, and attacks on government officials.

In 1982, He was arrested in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and charged with MURDER of a 22-year old woman who had gone missing in September of that year. A grand jury had declined to indict him for her murder, however, while he was under investigaton, he was extradicted to Florida and tried for the murder of a 26-year old woman whose body was found in September 1982. A prosecution witness identified Little as a person who had spent time with the woman on the night before her disappearance, but due to mistrust of the witness’s testimony, Little was acquitted in January 1984.

Little then moved to California where he stayed in the vacinity of San Diego. In October 1984, he was arrested yet again, for kidnapping, beating, and strangling a 22-year-old woman who survived. One month later, Little was found, by police, in the back seat of his car, with an unconscious woman, also beaten and strangled, in the same location as the attempted murder. Little only served two and a half years in prison for both crimes.

I hope it’s not just me but something is wrong with that sentencing because:

In February 1987, Little immediately moved to Los Angeles and committed at least to additional murders when he was released.

Little was again arrested on September 5 2012 at a homeless shelter in Louisville Kentucky, and then extradicted to California to face a narcotics charge. Authorities used DNA testing and established that he was involved in the murders of three women. All three women were killed and later found on the streets of Los Angeles. Little was extradicted to Los Angeles where he was charged on January 7, 2013. A few months later, the police said Little was being investigated for the involvement in three dozen murders that were committed in the 1980’s, which until then had been undisclosed. The murder case in Mississippi, due to the connection, was reopened.. In total, Little was tested for the involvement in 93 murders of women committed in many of our United Stated.

I wish that after three strikes, the judicial system would have seen that this man was a problem and was going to get worse. Many lives could have been saved.

Little was found guilty on September 25, 2014 and before his death was serving a life sentence at the California State Prison, Los Angeles County. He later confessed to many more murders in hopes of a transfer.

I hope that you enjoyed my return article and will join me next time. Please support my blog and others by joining the conversation.

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Bayou Strangler

Good Morning my fellow followers and subscribers. If you are a first time visitor, I Thank You for taking time out of your day for visiting.

Voices, Past, Present, and Future is taking a look at the Bayou Strangler. Despite the number of victims of this serial killer, her received little publicity outside of the state of Louisiana because it took place shortly after Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history.

Born January 9, 1964 to two poor laborers; the youngest of two children. Ronald Joseph Dominique lived in Thibodaux, Louisiana, in a trailor park, located on the outskirts of the city. Because of the family financial circumstances, he lived out his childhood and adolescence in poverty but still managed to graduate high school in 1983. He studied Computer Science at Nicholls State University, but quickly lost interest and dropped out in the mid 1980’s.

As we dive into Ronald Dominique’s psyche when he was younger we will find that he was known for his melancholic temperament, a lack of communication skills and a weight of problems. These couples with his low self-esteem and poor heath made him a target for bullying. He sand in the school choir but despite this he was still considered an unpopular social outcast since he didn’t play sports, didn’t do drugs or drink alcohol. Shortly before he left school, he discovered he was gay, and visited a local gay bar several times. Several of his classmateshad seen him there and this resulted in harrassmen, and he vehemently denied these accusations of being homosexual.

FIST OFFENSES:

JUNE 12,1985, Dominique was arrested on charges of sexual harrassment via telephone. He had to pay a $75 fine.

Because of his lack of education, he was forced to engage in low-skilled labor for many years, and struggled to hold down jobs due to his disciplinary issues. He was unwilling to keep a job for a long period of time, so he survived by living off relatives and other people’s income, mainly his mother and older sister, living with each of them for a period of time.

MAY 1994, he was arrested for drunk driving, but again was only charged a fine for these offenses.

AUGUST 25, 1996, Dominque was arrested when a young, partially naked, youth male, jumped out of the window of Dominique’s sister’s home window, where Dominique was living at the time. This young male told a neighbor that Dominique had raped and attempted to kill him. Bail was set at $100,000, but when the case was transferred to the court, the prosecutors were unable to locate the young male or establish his identity which eventually resulted in the case’s dismissal in November of that year.

FEBRUARY 10, 2002, Dominique was arrested again for assaulting a woman in Terrebonne Parish during a Mardi Gras Festival. He claimed that the woman had hit a baby stroller in one of the parking lots due to her dangerous driving, after which he had began an argument with her, demanding an apology. After she apologized, he punched her in the face. He was charged, but the case was again dropped, after an agreement of reconcilliation was reached between him and the woman.

Due to various circumstances, Dominique was often looked down upon even by the local gay community. He used to frequent the gay bars, spending most of his time there, often dressing as singer Patti LaBelle, whom he was a great fan of.

MURDERS:

Most victims tended to be teenagers and men between 16 and 46, not all of them being homosexual. Most of them were African American. He would often meet them during his walks oves in his pick up truck, as well as in gay bars, luring them with offers of alcohol, drugs, housing, or group sex with his supposed girlfriend. After convincing them, he would lure them to his trailer where he would overpower them, bind them, and rape them. When he was finished with them, he strangled them to death, loaded them in the back of his truck and dumped them in a remote rural area in one of six nearby parishes.

I could continue with the details of each murder, while I find it gruesome in nature, I don’t feel the need to do that. What I do want to tell you is that this man killed AT LEAST 23 men and boys in the state of Louisiana between the years of 1997 and 2006. On September 23, 2008, THANKFULLY, Dominique was found guilty an sentenced to several terms of life imprisonment without parole for his crimes. Following his conviction, the FBI stated that Dominique was the most significant serial homicide case in the country over the past decades in terms of both death toll and duration.

Thank You for joining me! Join me next time on our journey through the past, present, and future!

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Was Divorce the Real Issue?

Voices, past, present, and future is going to take you into the life of Robert William Fisher. As I dive into the Most Wanted List, I am finding that more and more of these fugitives used to be or were part of the military or some version of the government. It brings up the question, in mind alone or maybe yours as well, that something happens in the mind of these people during their time in service that makes it hard, unusually hard, to cope with a normal life’s pressures. That their only recourse to troubles is what they were trained to do, elliminate the problem.

Robert William Fisher served in the United States Navy and then later worked as a firefighter and then in the medical field. For someone with this caliber of background it is hard to imagine the crimes he has committed against those he professed to love so much.

Fisher married Mary Fisher in 1987, and then they had two children, Bobby and Brittney. It is said they had a difficult family life. Fisher was described as being cruel and controlling towards his family, and on many occasions, he was reported as exhibiting disturbing and violent behavior. It is known that he was unfaithful to his wife at least once during their marriage. What is believed is that his own parents had divorced when he was 15, and that this was what had played the role in the difficulties that Fisher would later experience in his life.

On April 10, 2001 the Fisher family home exploded. Inside were Fisher’s wife and two children. Their throats had been slit and Mary had been shot in the back of her head. Robert Fisher and his wife’s car were missing. Fisher was named the one and only suspect in his family’s murders. Mary’s car would be discovered on April 20, in a forest near Payson, Arizona. On June 29, 2002 Robert Fisher would be named the 475th by the FBI on the Ten Most Wanted list and on November 3, 2021 he would be removed from this list, although he still remains a wanted fugitive.

As we take a look into Robert Fisher’s early life and what is believed to have played a part in the change in his psche to cause such haneous acts against his family, we find that his parents divorce may have been the trigger. For most, in the beginning a divorce is traumatic for children, but for Fisher, it had a lasting effect.

Robert Fisher was born April 13, 1961, in Brooklyn, New York to William Fisher, a banker, and mother Jan Howell. He has two sisters. His parents divorced in 1976, when he was 15, and after this , he and his sisters went to live with their father in Arizona. According to friends and relatives, the divorce had been turbulent and had a long-lasting effect on Fisher. He and his sisters attended Sahuaro High School in Tucson, Arizona, and Fisher’s friends from high school stated that he was “very bitter” about the divorce.

While Fisher worked at the Mayo Clinic Hospital, close to the time of the murders, he had reportedly spoke with co-workers about this parents’ separation, and confided in an associate that his life would have been different had his mother, Jan, not left the family.

Before the murders, Fisher had enlisted in the United States Navy and attempted to become part of the SEALS, but he was nont successful. He is said to be an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and fisherman. (again with the dating profile) Fisher later would become a firefighter in California, but later be forced to retire due to a back injury. Fisher would then move his family to Arizona and embark on a career in the medical field, where he worked as a surgical catheter technician, and respiratory therapist. He had been a surgical technician at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale at the time of these murders.

Fisher would marry, Mary Cooper in 1987, and be described as a cruel and distant control freak toward his family. He and his wife would often fight about sex and money, (typical of marriage problems). Mary would take a job, and told friends this was a “security fund”. It was said that Fisher at one point had taken a garden hose, turned it on Mary because he perceived her to have spoken out of turn. Fisher had been embarrassed by his son’s lack of enthusiasm for hunting and fishing, and had once tried to teach Bobby and Brittany how to swim by throwing them off of a boat. Fisher’s hunting partner, Sandy Gillespie said, “They were crying, and Brittany was screaming, anad he pulled them back in the boat and he said, ‘Now there, how’s that?”

Robert Fisher would not allow his the walls of the house to be painted anything other than white, and only a small number of pictures would be allowed on the walls. Mary’s friend, Kimberly Sue Davidson, had told the police, “Several times Mary had special things, like quilts, she was not allowed to hang them up. She had to store them in the closet. And then he would continually tell her, isn’t it time you got rid of this stuff?”

Fisher tried to hold on to an image as a devoted family man, although Mary’s mother, Ginny Cooper, told the investigators theat, “Fisher didn’t socialize often with family because of a fear of getting too close to people and losing them.” Fisher’s own mother, Jan, stated that she was a “yes-sir” wife who did not stand up to Fisher’s father. She had also stated that she had seen similar dynamics early on in Fisher’s marriage to Mary and that she did speak about her concerns. A close friend of Fisher’s stated that his family, Mary and the kids, bore a striking resemblance to that of his childhood.

I think back to some things that happened in my childhood. We all have something that resembles a traumatic event. I am thankful that I didn’t take the things my mother imposed on me as a young child and do those things to my own children. I took what I had been through and chose not to let my own children ever live a life like I had to live. While my memories are still very vivid and cause depression at time, I broke that cycle. I only wish Fisher had done the same and spared the lives of his family and just walked away.

What bothers me is that friends and family had noticed Fisher exhibiting disturbing behavior when he was a young adult. He had been an outdoorsman and hunter and friends noticed his behavior on hunting trips and other outdoor activities. In one case, after he had killed and Elk, Fisher began smearing its blood on his face. On at least one occasion, Fisher had sneaked up behind a family that was picnicking and emptied his gun in the air.

The acts of this one man do not stop here. Fisher, in contrast to Mary, had been an active participant in the Scottsdale Baptist Church men’s ministry, but began to withdraw from the activities just a few months before the murders. In 1998, he had gone to the senior pastor for marital counseling. He had told co-workers of a one-night affair with a prostitute he met while at a massage parlor, fretting that Mary would find out that this was the cause of a urinary tract infection that had left him ill for several days in December of 2000. Some of his friends stated that in 1998, he spoke of committing suicide because he despaired over the condition of his marriage. Wade Rencsok, a former neighbor, stated, “They screamed constantly. Everyone heard it. You could hear it in the house next door, and you never really heard him scream, which is kind of weird. I mean, he had a way about him, but you never heard him scream. You always hheard his wife screaming, things like, ‘ You’re worthless. I could have done better than you. We should get a divorce.”

According to psychologists, an intense fear of loss is not unusual among individuals who were traumatized by divorce in adolescence. Mary had told several friends that she was going to divorce Fisher in the weeks before the murders. Fisher had told a hunting companion that he was renewing his commitment to his faith and his marriage because he “could not live without his family”, possibly hinting that he would consider suicide over divorce.

Investigators theorized that Fisher murdered his family because he felt threatened by Mary’s intention to divorce him, and did not want Brittney and Bobby to go through what he did as a child.

While I could continue with the theories about his possible suicide or the possibility that he used his hunting and survival skills to live in the woods for a time after the murders, I would rather turn attention to the fact that we all know someone with a disturbing mental condition or someone who struggles with depression. While I feel that if I had gotten treatment for depression as a child and dealt with my traumatic events, I could have been a more social person earlier on in life and succeeded just a bit more than I have now.

I urge you, help your friends, your family, to seek help if they are in need. Help the children of your community to overcome and be who they should be and who they can be.

If you enjoyed this story and want to read more, hit the like button, subscribe, or follow me. I urge you to leave comments and continue the conversation with me.

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Is That My Neighbor?

Voices, past, present, and future continues its deep dive into some of the most horrifying criminals at large who just so happen to have made it to the FBI’s most wanted list. JOIN ME!

Let’s take a look at William Bradford Bishop Jr., a former United States Foreign Service officer who is a fugitive from justice since he ALLEGEDLY killed his wife, mother, and his three sons in 1976. On April 10, 2014, he was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. At the age of 81, on June 27, 2018 he would be removed from this list, making room for another dangerous fugitive, although, Bishop is still being activiely pursued by the FBI.

If we were to look into the Psychology of Bishop, at first glance we would find no triggers for his behavior that other middle class families also endure. The Washington Post, in 1977, published an article that stated, ” There was no evidence of infidelity, or financial or job related problems.” Bishop had been passed over for a promotion, but there was no history of work-related issues. This just happened to be the first glitch in the storybook tale. His career had caused him some marital tension. Being unhappy at his desk job, and interested in another foreign posting, caused his wife, Annette to be reluctant, as she was just starting her study of Art at the University of Maryland. This was despite Bishop’s desire for her to remain a stay-at-home mom.

Sources had agreed that the Bishop’s had experienced some financial difficulties, but there had been some disagreement as to the severity of it. The Post reported in 1986, that the issues were “mild” and “familiar to most upwardly mobile families.” An FBI Criminal Profiler described them as “Nothing terribly unusual for people in their thirties living in that kind of neighborhood.” Bethesda Magazine, 2013, reported that the IRS had been auditing the family’s taxes due to some financial troubles, though the existence of the audit has not been confirmed by the IRS or the FBI.

The profile that the FBI put together of Bishop was that: he is an avid outdoorsman, who enjoys camping and hiking, the report also states that he has a pilot’s license from when he was stationed in Africa. He enjoys riding motorcycles and working out on weekly basis. (Sounds like your average dating profile until you look into his psyche)

At the time leading to the murders, he was afflicted with both depression and insomnia, taking Serax for these conditions. (I’m not familiar with the medication, but I think we all suffer from these conditions from time to time). He is fond of dogs, and enjoys a Scotch Whiskey from time to time, along with spicy fooods and peanuts. (I guess they have to go into depth when putting together a profile to catch their criminal) The profile also listed that he has a vertical scar on his lower back from surgery, a cleft chin, and a facial mole on his left cheek. (The FBI left no small detail undiscovered)

At the time he vanished, the FBI believed he had his father’s Smith & Wesson M&P .38 Special Revolver, (it also lists the serial number C981967), along with his Yale class ring. He may have taken his diplomatic passport with him, his being the only one missing at the time the murders were discovered. Bishop had approximately one week of advance time before the authorities began too look for him. They suggested he could have traveled on this diplomatic passport. A FBI Special Agent, Steve Vogt, stated in 2014 that neither Bishop’s wallet nor passport have ever been found. They also speculated Bishop may have had intelligence training in the 1960’s, which could have helped him evade detection in 1976. (The amount of training military, special forces, intelligence agencies, etc. receive, scares me to the level that they can evade and get away with crimes and acts of violence against humanity)

There have been numerous sightings of Bishop since 1976. Some have been in various European countries, including Italy, Belgium, England, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. They have three most credible sightings that were noted by the United States Marshals Service:

  • A Swedish woman, in 1978, stated that she had collaborated with Bishop while on a business trip in Ethiopia. She reported she had spotted him twice in a public park in Stockholm during a span of one week. She also stated, she was “absolutely certain” the man was Bishop. She said she did not contact the police, because at the time she had not realized yet, that he was wanted for murder in the U.S.
  • Sometimes our features are so distinct that they cannot be denied, which in January of 1979 is what happened. A former State Departmen colleague reportedly saw him in a restroom in Sorrento, Italy. The colleague stated that when he greeted Bishop, a bearded man, eye-to-eye, asking: “Hey, you’re Brad Bishop, aren’t you?” the man responded in a distinct American accent, “Oh no”, and then fled.
  • Again on September 19,1994, a neighbor who had known Bishop and his family in Bethesda, while she was on a platform on a Basil train on vacation, had spotted him from only a few feet away. She described him as “well groomed” and also stated that he was getting into a car.

In 2010, the authorities had believed that Bishop was living in Switzerland, Italy or elswhwer in Europe, or possibly even California. They believed he may have even worked as a teacher or became involved in criminal activities.. The autorities also revealed that before the murders Bishop had been corresponding with a federal prison inmate, Albert Kenneth Bankson, who was in the United Stated Penitentiary, in Marion, Illinois. Why or How is still unknown. Bankston died in 1983, ten years before law enforcement discovered his connection to Bishop.

In 2014, the authorities stated that Bishop was probably living in plain sight in the U.S. and was avoiding discovery by avoidin arrest. Being arrested would enable the law enforcement to run his fingerprints and catch him.

In March 2021, a woman who had been adopted came forward claiming that she found out through a DNA testing service, Bishop was her biological father. The FBI confirmed she was indeed his biological daughter.

Why are these cases so important and why do I bring them to you? It’s because these murderers, fugitives, criminals, with extensive backgrounds and training, walk among us. They look and act just like anyone we see in the store, could even be our neighbors. While we go about our days, the deaths of Bishop’s family still goes without justice for their lives taken.

I ask you that if you enjoy these stories, please feel free to leave comments, hit the like button, and even subscribe to see more stories like this one, and others to come.

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A Child Army

Voices, Past, Present, and Future would like to take you on a deep dive into the Most Wanted Fugitive list. While some are too evil and dumb or just plain greedy to get away with their crimes against humanity, others have managed to vanish and evade capture for years.

Let’s take a look at Joseph Kony for instance. Despite the short documenary done on him in 2012, he is still out there. Kony is a sadistic Ugandan Warlord who not only forced children into his guerrilla war against the Ugandan Government, he was also known for chopping off their limbs to maintain discipline.

Koni was born into a middle class family. Both parents farmers. He dropped out of school at a young age and formed the Lord’s Resistance Army in 1987. Koni declared a military offensive in Uganda that was aimed at overthrowing the Ugandan government to establish a theoretic state based on the dominion theology. Because of his terror activities, he was banished from Uganda and shifted his attention to South Sudan. Koni described himself as a freedom fighter, struggling for a Christian Uganda.

Koni, being one of Africa’s most notorious warlords, is currently one of the MOST wanted African militants.

For a man seeking and claiming to be a freedom fighter, I don’t know how he could explain the accusations against him as being Christian at all.

Koni has been accused of ordering the abduction of children to become child soldiers and sex slaves. Approximately 66,000 children became his soldiers, and 2 million people were displaced internally from 1996 to 2009 by his forces.

Koni was indicted in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but managed to evade capture. In 2013, there were reports that he was no longer in good health. In April of 2017, he was still at large but his forces was reportedly down to approximately 100 soldiers, from the estimated high of 3,000. The hunt for Koni ended believing he was no longer a significant security risk to Uganda.

Dominic Ongwen had served as a key member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and was one of Koni’s senior aids in the organization. He had been kidnapped by Koni as a child and became a soldier in the LRA. He rose through the organization’s heirarchy. He finally surrendered himself in January 2015, which became a major blow to Koni’s group. A spokesperson for the Ugandan Army stated that, ” this puts the LRA in the mostvulnerable position” and that, “It is only Koni left standing”.

In February 2021, Ongwen was convicted by the International Criminal Court of 61 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

For me, until reading about Koni, I didn’t know this was going on. I’m not one who stays glued to the news channel and knows eveything that is happening in other countries. But, hopefully, through this post and other posts in the future, it will shine a light on things that other people are having to go through children especially.

I watch my new grandbaby in her little swing, smiling in her sleep and it saddens me that other children around the world are forced to fight and endure such crimes against them.

If you enjoyed this post, and would like to see others like this, hit the like button, leave a comment, or share with others.

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Is It a Phenomenon?

As I check in with what CNN is reporting about when it comes to world news, I learned about the mysterious Korean “Ghost Ships” found in Japan.

The Japanese say these boats have been washing up for years, the problem being, they are full of dead bodies. There are clues to suggest that they are North Korea fishermen, but that isn’t certain. These boats had been entering Japanese waters for five weeks at the time of the report. The key question authorities are asking is: Who are they (the dead bodies)? and Where did they come from?

  • The Japanese Coast Guard claims that this has been happening for years, yet there is only data supporting this for the last five years.
  • In 2011, 57 bodies were found
  • In 2012, 47 bodies
  • In 2013, 80 bodies had washed up, or were found floating at sea.
  • In 2014, 65 bodies
  • And the count as of 2015 was 34 and growing.

The total for those five years was 283 boats, although the Coast Guard hadn’t disclosed how many bodies were on board. A Coast Guard spokesman for CNN stated, “We think they possibly met with an accident due to the weather, but we can’t confirm as the conditions of dead bodies were bad.”

For me, to claim the weather is at fault for all of these dead bodies is too far fetched. Is it possible that these people were attempted defectors of fishermen who just strayed too far from land?

How long these bodies had been at sea is unclear to the Coast Guard, but at the time of reporting in 2015, the second of the most recent boats that had been found, appeared to have been one to two weeks post-death. In November of 2015, some of the ten bodies that were found on three boats could have been there for up to three months.

Is it possible that all these boats are fishing boats? That this isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s just the first time situations such as this have been noticed?

October to February is the key fishing season for Squid, Sandfish, and King Crab off of the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong Un has been promoting the fisheries, and this could explain why there are more fishing boats that are going out. The North Korean boats are reported to perform poorly, with bad engines, which risks lives to go out farther to catch more, sometimes drifting causing the fishermen to starve to death.

Whether there is more to the phenomenon of these boasts arriving with dead bodies aboard or if it’s just coincidence of where the fishermen are drifting out in order to catch more fish, we may never know. Analysts have stated that the victims are likely to be from North Korean fishermen, and fishing nets were found aboard some of the boats. Kim Jong Un had been pushing for his subjects to increase their catch.

This story may not be one that catches your eye, but for me, the idea that so many boats are washing ashore with dead bodies aboard and the Coast Guard knows nothing about why or what may have possibly happened to these people is startling and puzzling to me to say the least. Is it that Kim Jong Un pressured the increase of the catch so much that they were willing to lose their lives for it? Upon Kim Jong Un visiting a fishery station he was reported as saying, “It is spectacular to see the pickling tanks and freezing storehouses full of fishes.” He repeatedly expressed his pleasure over the fact that the station had caught thousands of tons of fishes in only a few days, and had called on the station to set a high goal for remarkably increasing the yearly output of fish in a short span of time.

The Japanese police are investigating, but North Korea has yet to comment on the ships. Is there more to this story? I believe so.

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The Forgotten Ones

While doing some research for my book, I came across a small town murder, much like in the story I am writing, (Check it out in my pages section: Upcoming Book).  I would like to share this story with you now, as no voice should go left unheard.

With a population of just about 400, in a small town called Montverde, Florida,  a community where the residents felt safe to leave their doors unlocked, is rocked.

On April 8th, 1980 Georgia Jane Crews left her family home around 8:30 pm to walk to the convenience store, which was only about a mile from her home. She had planned on getting some snacks for  a film she was planning to watch that night. Before Georgia left, she told her brother Toni, that she would be back shortly.

An hour passes and Toni becomes concerned that Georgia hasn’t returned yet. His first thought is that she had just gone to a friend’s house to watch the movie instead. But, after calling around, he would learn that no one had heard from her, causing him to start searching the neighborhood.

Parents, Mike and Linda, had been out setting up trotlines on Lake Minnehaha, as Mike was a commercial fisherman. When they returned home, they found Toni in a panic as well as a few of the neighbors helping to search for Georgia. The idea or mere thought that something bad had happened to her was completely out of the question. Many believed she was just somewhere close by. Another hour will pass before Linda calls the police.

Let me remind you that this is a small town of only about 400 people, so when I tell you that there was only one part-time police officer at Montverde, do not let it come as a shock to you.

When the police offier realizes the severity of the situation, he calls for help from the surrounding counties. By the end of that night, there were several officers from three different police departments, sniffer dogs (K9), and a helicopter all involved in the search for Georgia.

The K9 had been able to  pick up on Georgia’s scent leading away from her house and then down a dirt road that went in the direction of the convenience store. Georgia had liked to walk baraefoot, and the police had found small bare-footprints at places along the road, giving them hope that they were heading in the right direction. Only after a short distance on the dirt road would the dogs lose Georgia’s scent as well as the footprints. At this point, the investigators believed she had gotten into a car; willingly or by force, it was unknown.

Night would grow longer and the sky would get darker. It was at this point that Georgia’s family realized something was wrong. Georgia had been scared of the dark, and would not have waked anywhere alone at night in the dark. It was certain that Georgia would not have run away from home. Just as she had told her brother Toni where she was going, she always informed someone of where she was going and always asked for permission if she was leaving their garden.

Midnight would strike. Over 100 residents alonside police were searching for Georgia. Police were also conducting door-to-door interviews, trying to gain some idea of what happened to Georgia. Lake Florentine would be searched by divers the following day. Police  would follow up on sighting of several suspicious and unfamiliar cars that had been reported, none linking to Goergia’s disappearance. The FBI would enter the search a few days later, confirming the theory that Georgia had walked down the dirt road and then got into a vehicle by using tracking dogs. A helicopter was also used to search the area using heat sensing technology, but nothing would be found.

On April 10th, the Lake County Sheriff’s department, Georgia’s grandmother, and the Montverde police chief would receive a phone call from an anonymous caller, claiming that Georgia was dead. The caller would refuse to give any further information, and the police would be unable to track the call.

Six days after this phone call was received, they would find little Georgia’s body in Fern Park, Seminole County, by a family of four. The decomposition of her body would make it difficult for a visual identification, but through the efforts of the medical examiner and a bone spur on one of her feet, an identification would be made as well as the fact that Georgia was still wearing the clothes she was last seen in. She was found lying on her back, one leg tucked behind her back, a single stab woound in the back, the possibility that she was strangled also hasn’t been ruled out. Luckily there was no sign of sexual assault. This poor girl has been through enough.

Several clues were left behind by the killer, one such clue being that of a homemade metal cross necklace. Georgia’s family had never seen the necklace before which would lead the police to only one other possibility, it belonged to the killer. Several anonymous phone calls were made to the police, thought to be from the same person who told them that Georgia was dead. He had statedthat he knew who the killer was, but became nervous and mumbled things about their own safety, before hanging up. The police held a public press conference urging anyone with information to come forward and that their identity would remain secret. They urged the unknown caller to call them again and share any information, but the caller never called again.

Little Georgia’s voice can no longer be heard again, but through my website I bring her voice and her story to light. It could be through this necklace that was left on her body that they may find the killer. . The necklace had been made from two pieces of silver, that had been drilled and then welded together, before being attached to a silver chain.

Little Georgia’s life ended before she was given a chance to make her mark on the world. I wanted to give her voice a chance here on Voices, past, present, and future.

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BOULDERS

I offer you another tale to start your day with a moral at the end.

THE OBSTACLE IN OUR PATH (OPPORTUNITY)

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the King’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many people loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the boulder out of the way.

A peasant then came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the boulder out of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.

The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

MORAL: Every obstacle we come across in life gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances and while the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity, and willingness to get things done.

What will you do today? Will there be a boulder standing in front of you that you will move with all your might? Will your pen ly on the table today, or will you busy it with your creativity and inspire the world today?

What is the biggest obastacle you face today? Is it yourself or is it others? Let us know in the comments. No one likes to feel alone and through your words, maybe you can impact someone today.

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To Jump or Not

In a day and age, where there is war, there are rising prices, there is isolation due to the Coronavirus, and we all have our eyes glued to social media; In a time when our mental health is being challenged I offer you this:

THE GROUP OF FROGS (ENCOURAGEMENT)

As a group of frogs was traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, the told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them. However the two frogs decided to ignore whatthe others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit. Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said,

“Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

I offer you the moral of this story:

People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It might just be the difference between life and death.

Encourage those around you to fight for their life. To embrace that which gives them light and hope. As a community it is our job to lift those who otherwise may give up and let defeat and death take hold.

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A Pebble of a Choice

We all want to drive traffic to our sites, so we read all the advice on how to do this that we can find. Yet it say that if we don’t have the right niche this will not happen, no matter how great your site is. I have been at this for months, thought that I was doing well, and then I got sick with a flare up, and had to restart again. The experts say, write about what fascinates you, something you could write about everyday, whether you had one follower or not.

My goal has been to bring to you stories to inspire your creativity. A conversation waiting to happen. Today, I bring to you a short story with a moral at the end.

THINKING OUT OF THE BOX (CREATIVE THINKING)

In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter. He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed. However, the catch was that he would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter. Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.

The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.

Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked out two pebbles. Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he’d picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.

The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:

  1. Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
  2. Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
  3. Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.

She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it, accidentally dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She then said to the loan-shark:

“Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”

The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.

Now to the moral of the story; Why I chose to tell you this story.

It’s always possible to overcome a tough situation through thinking out of the box, and not giving in to the only options you think you have to pick from.

I can or could offer you a list of how to’s, but that’s not what I do. I present you a story. I shine a light on the creative aspect of your brain, and give you a character, or a setting. I tell you stories of the past, the present, and future, and challenge you to create.

I ask you to subscribe, I ask you to follow, I ask you to share, and I ask you to comment on how I can better provide you with the things you need to inspire and create.

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When Castles Speak

If you are looking for a most sinister place in which to set your story, why not choose that of Moosham Castle. It is considered one of the most haunted castles as well as the administrative center of the Zauberarjackl witch trials and the site for werewolf hunts in the 1800’s.

Although no traces of the earlier structure remain, Moosham Castle is believed to have been built on the foundations of a Roman castrum fortress.

If we travel back from 1675 and 1690, the administrative center was responsible for all: trial, sentencing, and execution during the Salzburg witch trial. 139 people were killed during this time. A horrific number of 39 children between the ages of 10 and 14 were accused and executed for witchcraft. This is where 53 teenagers also met a bloody end to their life.

As we look for stories to tell, they ly everywhere. All we need to do is look. An unusually large number of those killed were male (113). The records named every single victim. They youngest, a boy named Hannerl. He had just turned 10. The eldest was Margarethe Reinberg, 80 years old.

The methods of execution were brutal, even for this time period. The sadistic authorities preferred a process of slow torture. Only when an individual was close to death would they be offered the small mercy of a hanging or decapitation. Children were made an example of. They would chop their hands off and mark their chests with a burning iron, then kept alive and paraded in front of the locals as a warning.

As we look into our stories of the past, it is inevitable that we should hear the Voices of the Past, echoing their stories back to us.

During the late 18th century Moosham Castle would experience another troubling period after the witch trials had ended. Reports of deer and cattle were being found dead on the castle grounds. Bloodthirsty locals would immediately jump to the conclusion that in their minds seemed “logical” , that werewolves were at the castle. The residents of Moosham would be rounded up and murdered for their nocturnal predilections leaving Moosham abandoned for several decades afterwad.

Moosham Castle has made a name for itself especially for believers of the supernatural looking for the castle’s many ghosts. It is rumored that the many screams of witch trial victims can be heard at night, as well as werewolves who apparently still prowl the grounds .

There are other tales and legends to be told of Moosham Castle. One such being that of a bailiff named Anton. He ruled Moosham Castle in the mid 1900’s. Nicknamed Schorgen-Toni, known for his cruelty. He had taken pleasure in torturing his prisoners in the most horrible ways and had even mistreated his own parents. His behavior was well known throught the region, but he was never punished for his crimes. The locals had started to believe that he had sold his soul to the devil.

As the story continues, one night a storm swept over the land. He had made his final round in the dungeon, enjoying seeing the wounds and pain he had inflicted during that day. Once he was satisfied he went to his apartments. He heard this storm and an uncomfortable thought popped into his mind. Needing to shake the feeling from him, he takes a drink and settles into his chair. In the meantime, a carriage drawn by four shiny, black horses came closer to the castle’s gate. The gates open for this unknown guest as if done by magic. The carriage stops in the castle’s courtyard and a figure dressed in black gets out. The bailiff, Toni, nearly dozed off, suddenly hears a knock at the door. Toni opens the door and the figure in black is there. The stranger speaks to him. Toni begins to plead, knowing this day would come eventually, but he was not ready to face his fate. The dark figure is ruthless. It dragged Toni along in his carriage and took him down to Hell, for eternity.

Throughout the years Moosham Castle has been open to the public and many reports of paranormal incidents have been claimed. Some people feel as if they are being watched, touched even, especially in the torture chamber. Others feel as if they are being breathed on. A strange white mist and shadow figures have been seen in the corridors. During EVP sessions, dismbodied voices have been heard and a dark presence is often felt in Toni’s room where doors tend to open and close on their own. Other claims have been of people hearing footsteps, but once they turn around, nothing is there.

While these stories are creepy, they are still one’s that should be told. As we look for that one detail that could make or break our story, the tale in which we choose to write, it may be here, in the depths of these places and voices speaking out.

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A Chilling Castle

If we continue with our travels into the dark abyss of haunted casstles, we will come acrosss Chillingham Castle, which serves the word chilling quite eloquently, given it has quite the chilling past.

This castle is steeped in history. It was a 12th century stronghold which became a fully fortfied castle in 1344. Chillingham Castle occupied a strategic position durin Northumberland’s bloody border feuds. It was often under attack and often basked in the patronage of Royal visitors, a tradition that still remains to this day.

Chillingham Castle has some of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the country. The poet, Longfellow begins an apt description of the castle with the following verse:

"All houses in which men have lived and died are haunted houses: Through the open doors the harmless phantoms on their errands glide, with feet that make no sounds upon the floors."

THE WHITE PANTRY GHOST

A space called “The Inner Pantry” is occupied with a frail figure in white, who still appears. This is the room in which the silver was stored and a footman who was employed to sleep here and guard it. As history would have it, the footman had turned in to sleep one night when this lady in white attacked him. She was very pale and had begged him for water. The footman, thinking it was one of the castle guests, turned to obey. The footman remembered that he had been locked in this room, and that no visitors could have entered. This same pale figure is still seen today, and it is thought that the longing for water suggests poisoning.

For the writer within you, this would make for a great story, as with little information, the setting is ideal, the white ghost, could be a man or woman, and if our imaginations incline us, we could turn this into a love story gone wrong, one poisoning the other.

THE GHOST IN THE CHAMBER

This ghost is one that is unseen, it is merely felt as as “Impalable impression on the air”, the poet Tennyson says. In this chamber there is a sense of something unseen, yet distinctly moving. It could be as little as a chill, or as intense as something dark, and a creepy sensation. It could also be that of an oppressive atmosphere.

An extract from a recent visitor said, “I felt this hand on my arm. It was a most friendly feeling and I believe, someone was trying to guide me to see something.” Now whether it was the chamber in which this sensation was felt, it is unknown. But, I personally am not letting anyone, that I cannot see, lead me anywhere.

If we take this one room and try to write a story that surrounds just what could have taken place in the Chamber, what would your story be? Where does your imagination take you? What could this ghost have been leading the visitor towards? What was there the presence wanted to be seen?

VOICES IN THE CHAPEL

The Chapel is beside the Great Hall. If we were to travel inside we may hear the voices of two men who are often heard here. We may not be able to understand the words, and if a serious attempt is made to do so, the voices will cease.

GHOSTS IN THE COURTYARD

If we travel into the courtyard, moonlight casting shadows of battlements across worn flagstone, it is not impossible to see the shades and shadows come to life here.

The most famous of these ghosts is the “Blue (or radiant) boy” who according to the owners, used to haunt the Pink Room in the castle. He is a childish wraith whose heart rendering cries of either fear of pain echo through the corridors upon the stroke of midnight. In the past, it was said that the cries always seemed to emanate from a spot near where a passage is cut through the 10-foot thick wall into the adjoining tower. As the cries fade, a bright halo of ligh would appear, and the figure of the young boy, dressed in blue, would approach those sleeping in the room.

As the story goes, the bones of a child, surrounded by decaying fragments of blue cloth, were found behind the wall. His bones were given a Christian burial, and the “Radiant Boy” was seen no more, that is until Sir Humphrey began renting the room. There are guests who complain of a blue light flash that shoots our of the wall in the dead of night.

THE walls of this castle are full of stories that could immediately fill the pages of a book if the right story teller were to grab hold and write their tales.

Take Lady Berkeley for instance. She was the wife of Lord Grey, who ran off with her sister, Lady Henrietta. Lady Berkeley was left abandoned at the castel , with only her baby daughter for company. It is said that sometimes the rustle of her dress is heard as her invisible revenant sweeps along the rambling corridors in search for her husband, leaving a cold chill in her ghostly wake.

If you are so inclined, the author Richard Jones, tells these stories in his book Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland. You can purchase it on Amazon. And I remind you I am an Amazon affiliate. I will earn a commission from the sale if you so choose to buy it. It could possibly be the book you need to read for inspiration to write your next best seller.

I hope you enjoyed these haunting tales and return for more.

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Contest Acceptability

I missed the deadline for the last Reedsy writing contest due to the flu but this week is inspired by Earth Day. I wonder if the type of writing that I do would be considered in a contest of this origin?

Prompts are:

  • Set your story in the woods or on a campground.
  • Write about a character who loves cloud gazing.
  • Start or end your story with a person buying a house plant
  • Write about a trip to see a natural siht that’s usually only ever seen in photos.
  • Write a story involving a friendship between two different species.

When stories are dedicated to Earth Day, would the judges only be inclined to review stories that restore the Earth and inspire others to change the Earth?

Is it acceptable to write within your own genre?

Would your story be considered in this contest?

Let me know what you think in the comments. Short stories are a great way to expand on witing abilities and if stuck in the currrent story you are working on, it’s a great way to rechannel yoursef.

Which prompt would you choose?

What would be your inspiration for your story?

Let’s continue the conversation. I want to know what you have to say.

Happy writing!

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Leap Castle

As the flu ravages my home and everyone in it; as it takes my back and my knees and my arms, and creates an undescribable ache; as it takes my head and composes a solo on the drums; I have had time to thing creatively, form thoughts, look at many of your posts, and let intrigue and fascination at what you have to say, fill me as I lay in the bed with books to read, my notebook for my ideas, and my computer, tablet, and phone, in case my fever breaks and work can yet resume.

I want continue to bring to you stories of places around the world in which many of our settings and characters may generate from for the stories we choose to write. As a new writer, I look for inspiration where ever it may choose to be found.

Let’s travel to Leap Castle, Ireland. It is said that this castle alone has seen more gruesome deaths than a Game of Throne’s wedding has. Legend has it that within the O’Carroll clan, one brother plunged a sword into another, a priest, as he was holding mass in the castle’s chapel. The O’Carroll clan had a fondess for poisoning dinner guests. The room in which the brother, (the priest), died is now called “The Bloody Chapel”, and it is said that the priest haunts the church at night.

Please don’t think that the horror ends there. During the early 1900’s, the castle was undergoing renovations when workmen found a secret dungeon within The Bloody Chapel where so many human skeletons were found. They filled three cartloads when they were haulded away.

I ask you, what could you create from this? On the creativity level of your psyche, what stories can you imagine putting on paper? What art can you paint or draw? What poem rings true in your ears? What masterpiece lies in the wake?

Let’s continue… This dungeon was designed so that prisoners would fall through a trap door, have their lungs punctured by wooded spikes on the ground, and die a slow, horrific death within earshot of the sinister clan members above.

THE ELEMENTAL- is one of the most interesting spirits that reside at Leap Castle. The origin or exact nature of the Elemental is unknwn but there are many theories that have circulated over the years. An early belief is that the Elemental was put there by druids long before the castle was built. Its purpose was to protect the sacred site used for initiations and druid magic.

Another theory is that is was placed there by an invading force to burn the castle from the inside. The person thought to be responsible: Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare. He was a renowned magic practitioner and had attempted to take over the castle on several occasions.

As we dive deeper, local myths say that the Elemental is the spirit of an ancient O’Carroll who died in the castle from Leprocy. It is believed that this is the reasoning for the decomposing facial featured and the apalling stench that accompanies the presence of the spirit.

Other hauntings within the castle: A Red Lady; her ghost is reported to walk the halls holding a dagger. There were two little girls, Charlotte and Emily, they would run up and down the spiral staircase. Emily died after she fell from the battlements on the top of the castle’s tower and Charlotte can still be seen running around after her sister, calling her name.

On a Sunday, this isn’t quite the story that should be told, but in our creative minds, what if we were to take the two girls and turn this story into a haunting of the love of one sister for another? We could take any part of the history of Leap Castle and turn it into what ever we choose it to be. Maybe it’s the dilerium of my fever or just the mere hopes that you will join me in conversation of a creative aspect, that would create such a story as this.

Join me in the conversation and help others create. Have a wonderful Sunday.

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Dundas Castle

When we imagine places, settings, and scenes, even characters for our characters, sometimes we need to drive down into the unknown, the eerie, and the abandoned places around the world to find just that one piece that’s missing from our story.

Join me as I take you into the Dundas Castle. It was built in the 1900’s. The owner died before it had been completed and his wife was rumored to have been locked away in one of the upper rooms of the Dundas Castle, until she was sent to a sanitarium (mental institution).

There are rumors and myths that this castle is haunted by the spirit of Josephine Dundas. One of the most mysterious claims, and maybe one of the most outrageous claims, is that one of the ponds around Dundas Castle turns blood red during full moons.

Looking like it had escaped fro the pages of a dark and grim fairy tale, this castle sits high on a dark hillside. It is complete with Gothic windows, turrets, towers, steep parapeted roofs, crumbling walls, and a courtyard that is overgrown with trees and shrubs. The Dundas castle has been a landmark and source of stories, both real and romanticized for almost 100 years.

The locals know and identify this castle as Craig-e-Clair. Almost a thousand acres of land surround this castle. The castle was built by Bradford L. Gilbert in the late 1880’s, he was a noted architect in New York City.

Originally Gilbert had built an estate that was known as “Beaverkill Lodge” on this property. It was the hamlet of the Craig-e-Clair. Gilberts’ wife was a native of Ireland and had chosen the name because the Catskill scenery had reminded her of hoome. The name translates as “Beautiful Mountainside”, named after an Irish fishing village. Wurts-Dundas purchased the land and buildings in 1907.

Wurts-Dundas was as many wealthy men of his time were, and wanted a mountain hideaway for his family and friends. So, in 1907, he purchased 964 acres of forestland with a view of the “Beaverkill”. This land had been a fishing retreat complete with a “Swiss” style country house. Wurts was not satisfied with the existing structure, so he set out to build the finest mansion he could that would incorporate the wooden country house. It is thought that his inspiration for this castle came from late nineteenth-century interpretations of medieval European castles that were constructed in Scotland.

One of the rumors that circulate about Josephine Wurts-Dundas , and please mind you that although it is a fun and entertaining tale to tell, there is no actual evidence for this tale, is that there was a section of the castle in which Josephine was kept a virtual prisoner because of her mental state. Another likely tale was that there were no inside doorknobs, so as to keep her in. Anther is that there were fingernail scratches in the woodwork, all in her effort to escape.

If you are in need of inspiration for a story to write this makes one heck of one indeed. Travel with me again as I tell of other mysterious abandoned places, stories yet to be told.

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THE END

As I was adding to the short story I published here to my site yesterday, I was looking for advice, and trying to find a suitable ending before I submit today. I had to remind myself what a final ending should do for my readers

  • The story ending forms a readers’ final impression of what they have read.
  • An effective ending seals the readers’ satisfaction with my piece.
  • It leaves them thinking and maybe talking about it long after they have finished reading.
  • The story ending can either be happy or sad; it can leave the reader uplifted or pensive, even heartbroken. BUT it has to feel right!

I understand there are no black and white rules to follow, but there are a few helpful guidelines to help us write endings that will make our readers want to come back for more.

  • Make sure our conflict in the story is a problem that the main character has to solve.

Ex. Cinderella wants to go to the ball, but her stepmother wants to keep her scrubbing floors at home.

Ex. Rosa loves John, but John loves Amy.

Our reader keeps reading to find out if the character will solve the problem.

Ex. Will Rosa make John fall in love with her? OR Will John marry Amy?

Our original story conflict gives readers a reason to turn the pages. At the end, the reader expects a payoff! Our story has raised a question, and the reader deserves an answer.

As you write your story, keep this in mind. You are working towards giving your reader a PAYOFF, answer their question.

THE END!

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Creativity

As a creative first time writer I don’t know exactly all the tools that are required to become a better writer or how to become more productive. What I do know is that the first thing that comes to mind is if I set a schedule or pressure myself to become more productive, my creative side decides it would rather be painting or drawing something. The pressure of trying to be more productive, short circuits  my writing mojo. It’s better if I don’t throw myself  at a project the way wrestlers do when they are battling eachother in the ring. If I do I end up creating page, after page, after page, (you get the drift), of nothing but dissatisfying material that I will probably never even use.

For me, if I’m under a deadline, I work hard to not still be writing two days before that deadline. Speed often generates a lower quality work that will need more rigorous editing, which in turn will eat up the time I thought I had gained.

A quote I recently read:

The hardest time to face is being alone with yourself. It is when you confront a storm of questions in your mind. Remember, it has a power that very few people can handle.

As a creative writer, time to myself generates all kinds of ideas that go into my book idea folder, or a scene that gets jotted down in my notebook I am using for that particular story. It is where some of your most creative inspirations can come from, if you apply the theory to write what you know.

Another quote I read:

If you really want to live up to your potential, you have to stop people pleasing and start setting some goals that scare the daylight out of you.

Writing scares the daylights out me. What if I’m not good enough? What if I do get published and no one reads it? These questions scare me because these questions are what holds me back from doing what I love.

The best advice I can offer anyone in the same boat as myself is, to just write. Let your creativity flow through your fingers and telll the story that you want to read. The more that you are true to yourself, the less you have to worry about whether your story is good enough.

Put yourself out there and let others read what you write and let a writing community give you advice that you can either take or not. You have no idea where, if you are ever stuck, that this community may help you have a break through.

Happy writing today!

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Story of a Lifetime

I want to share with you, as the name of my site presents itself, a short story I have been working on, in hopes of entering a contest.

I had walked for hours, listening to the shuffle of shoes across the asphalt, the horns of vehicles, thinking this would be enough to nudge the traffic into more than a mere halt. I watched as the sidewalk became cluttered with people, appearing as if they were talking to themselves, as they pushed past one another, shoulders touching, yet no acknowledgment that they had made physical contact with someone. I could smell cinnamon and vanilla as I passed the bakery. My eyes closed as I let the smell envelop my senses. The sound of chewing and slurping seemed to echo down the streets. On almost every corner I could see a food cart; a man yelling, “Get your hot dogs!, Hot dogs!, Get your hot dogs!”

I passed the subway entrance, the sound of the train’s brakes screetching, the whirring of the wheels sliding to a halt, as it entered the station, pierced my ears. I listened for anything that I hadn’t heard before, that would drive my thoughts into the place I needed them to be. I couldn’t get the words to form in my head. I couldn’t see the setting of where it should be. The mundanness of my life wouldn’t let me see past the everyday. I had a deadline to meet and I had already pushed for a few more months to put something on paper. I had entered the dead zone.

I walked into the library, mere glances from behind their books. Each table covered in books, opened to a designated page. I assumed I wasn’t the only one who needed to get something on paper in time. The librarian, an old man, one who I hadn’t seen before, watched me from over his glasses that were resting across the bridge of his nose. He nodded at me as I walked in front of the checkout desk. I nodded in return, a polite, nonverbal, hello in return.

I walked over to the fiction section, pulled a book I had read many times from the shelf and settled into an armchair, in the corner, where I could observe everything, every noise. A round table full of magazines separated me from the chair on the other side of it, unoccupied.

The swift turn of worn, overused pages; the scratching of lead across paper. I had been familiar with these sounds. My notebook left behind in my apartment, unable to record my thoughts. The man, once behind the counter, staring from over his glasses, was now occupying the chair opposite me, and I hadn’t even noticed.

This man, librarian for the day I presumed, with freckles that cradled the outside edges of his eyes, leaned forward and handed me a folded piece of paper. He sat back in the chair and crossed one leg over the other, intertwining his fingers together, resting his hands over his knee, sat and just looked at me.

I unfolded the paper. Inside were the index numbers for a book. I looked up at him, “What’s this?”

“It’s what you came her for.”

Puzzled, I asked, “How do you know what I came here for?”

“It’s what we all come here for when we don’t know exactly what it is we are looking for.”

This odd, little man, let out a chuckle, rose from his chair, and left me sitting there with my thoughts, and the questions that begged to be asked. I had nothing to lose. I walked to the shelf that kept the book I was intending to look for. Inside the cover of the book was this man’s picture. He was an author of several books I noticed as I scanned the shelf for his name. When I looked down and read the inside jacket of the book, I noticed this man had been deceased for many years.

I walked to the edge of the isle and looked in the direction of the desk. A young woman had replaced this man, I was sure had been there. I walked to the desk, not wanting to sound crazy, but asked anyway, “Where is the old man that was here before?”

She turned around and scanned the area around her, “Sir, I am the only one here today.”

I checked out the book and left the library. He had indeed given me what I was looking for, the story of a lifetime.

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Procrastination

Procrastination is about the internal belief that now isn’t the time and that later will be better. There are many versions of this belief but let’s be real, they all end up in the same place.

I for one, as a writer, try a lot of strategies that many say will help me finish my book, but actually have hurt my progress.

Disaster #1: Trying to force myself to write with more willpower.

Disaster #2 Learning about writing instead of actually writing.

Disaster #3: Thinking that I need to get away, a retreat, escape my normal life, in order to write.

Disaster #4: Waiting to write later, when it’s easier.

Disaster #5: Quitting

Inspiration may be what we are lacking! Changing our mindset into that of a positive one instead of a negative one.

  • I may not feel ready, but I am.
  • I may not want to do this hard thing, but I will get started.
  • I may not beieve I can, but I will anyway.

Create a reason why NOW is the best time to write and not LATER. We need a reason why now is the best time, and set ourselves an attainable goal.

The psychological idea is to trick our minds into believing we can do this.

We have to remind ourself that every writer, the best of the best, has faced procrastination before. How long? That I can’t answer. I do know that procrastination won’t stop us.

There is an easy calculation process that we may use to help make writing that 80,000 word novel seem less daunting.

Step 1: Let’s pick a final deadline to finish our book.

Step 2: Calculate our weekly writing goal. Ex. Your weekly word count is the number of words you’ll need to write each week in order to finish by our deadline.

80,000 x 14.5 weeks= 5500 words per week, or little more than 1000 words per weekday.

Step 3: Put our writing goal on the calendar and stick to it.

If you would like to add to any of these tips, let us know here in my site, by leaving a comment. Share your writing strategies with others.

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A Tragedy, and for What?

As I get ready to welcome a new baby girl into my life tomorrow, it upset me when I read a news article that came out of Forest City, Queens. The body of a mother was found inside a duffle bag half a mile from her home.

According to police sources, Orsolya Gaal had received a haunting message, by the suspect, after her death. The message was intended for her husband, “Your whole family is next.” The message sent to her husband, accused her of sending him to jail and in turn threatened to kill the entire family if he called the police.

Sources had told PIX11 News that it had happened while the husband and one of the sons were away. Gaal had apparently told her youngest son that she was going to watch a show, instead, met up with another man. At some point, it is believed that this man killed her in the basement of her home, placed her inside this duffle bag and dumped it. Her body was found near Forest Park. They do have surveillance footage that captures someone appearing to drag a duffle bag on the street hours before. A trail of blood led police to her home.

The thought of these haneous acts going on around the world and so many countless people losing their lives, for reasons that are unknown. Take the war, where countless women an children have been targeted. To prove what point? That someone is more supreme than you are? That the wrong word, the wrong movement can end your life, and for what? Who wins in the end?

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Lost Golden City

One of the greatest finds by archaeologists is the 3,000 year old city that was lost to the sands of Egypt. It was unearthed within weeks of an excavation that started in September 2020.

This city dates back to the rein of Amenhotep III. He was one of Egypts most powerful pharaoh’s who ruled from 1391 to 1353. “The discovery of this lost city is the second most important archaeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun,” says Betsy Brian, a professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, US. Tutankhamun’s, almost intact tomb, was discovered in the Valley of the Kings by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.

This great find revealed a lage number of valuables such as, jewelry, colored pottery, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks bearing seals of Amenhotep III. This city is believed to have been founded by Amenhotep III, one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers. These precious artifacts were found on the site, near Valley of the Kings.

What these archaeologists have unearthed is the site of a large city in good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and rooms filled with tools of daily use. Several months after the dig started, several areas, (neighborhoods) have been uncovered; bakery, administrative district, and a residential area. They believe that through further archaeological work, they can expect to uncover tombs filled with treasures.

Egypt carried the remains of their country’s ancient rulers through Cairo in a historic procession. They seek to promote its ancient heritage to revive their tourism sector. It has been flagged after years of political disturbance and disruption that was caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. In this lavish spectacle, 22 mummies, 18 kings and four queens, were seen. They were transported from the neo-classical Egyptian Museum to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization only 5km away. Among the mummies transferred to the new resting place was Amenhotep III and his wife, Queen Tiye.

A team working at Alexandria’s Taposiris Magna Temple, discovered 16 burias, in rock-cut tombs, that were popular during the Greek and Roman eras. Inside these tombs were poorly-preserved mummies with golden tongues. It is thought that the dead were given gold foil amulets, shaped like tongues so that they may speak before the court of the god Osiris n the afterlife. Osiris was, by the Egyptians, believed to be the lord of the underworld and judge of the dead.

The cartonnage around one of the mummy’s heads, was the gilded decorations that depicted a crown, horns, and a cobra snake. On the chest, the decorations depicted a necklace from which hung the head of a falcon, which is the symbol of the god Horus. Also found, is what appears to be the funeral of a masked woman, eight golden flakes of a golden wreath and eight marble masks that date back to the Greek and Roman eras. The antiquities ministry said that a number of coins bearing the name and portrait of Queen Cleopatra VII had previosly been found inside this temple. After the death of Cleopatra VII, Egypt had fallen under Roman domination.

This Lost City of Gold is a remarkable find by archaeologists and I for one, felt it needed to be shared with the world, as it may give us a further insight into the unknown, the unexplainable, and the once forgotten people who formed history today.

Thank you for joining me.

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A Door into Evermoor

An interview with the author of this YA Fantatsy book, while being enthralled in the world he created, also provided insight. I too had no one that inspired me outside of Stephen King. It was just a passion I held within myself much like Kent Wayne, author of A Door into Evermore.

During my interview I asked questiions that would not only dive into his psyche when writing and creating this world, but also things that like myself, would help when we didn’t take those creative classes like everyone else, it was just within us to write.

Kent Wayne’s story for A Door into Evermoor, Vol. 1 of the Unbound Realm, as he stated, “Comes from my younger self’s desire to avoid adulting”. His character Jon, is in a somewhat similar situation. Kent stated that he had purposefully created him as a well-off, first-worlder, that was a blank slate in terms of being a person.

The simplest thing for this character to do is finish college, get a job, get married, etc., etc. This man has nothing to complain about, but he can’t articulate why he isn’t content, all he can do is complain about his prospects because they don’t bring him joy.

How many of us have ever felt this way?I for one have. So Kent Wayne created a world in which this character has a chance meeting with a military recruiter. For lack of a better phrase, this recruiter turns out to be a supernatural entity, that is also a protagonist in some of Wayne’s other books. This is where Jon will entera fantasy world where he is told he is the chosen one. Inside this book there are wonderous creatures and cultures. Despite the fact that this character is blown away by all its novely, he is still trying to escape responsibility and the problems in the fantasy world, which mirrors the ones on Earth.

Wayne states that this is why he called the realm, Evermoor. It is a play on words as in, “More of the same”.

I enjoyed what he had to say as far as the philosophical aspect. He based his series on the concept of the Eternal Realm. In a speech by Alan Watts, he puts forth the premise of “What would you do if you had the power within one night to dream a lifetime as you wished?

Wayne’s idea for this book is credited toward Kings’ book, Drawing of the Three, specifically where the character Roland drinks Pepsi and is blown away by the sweetness of the soda. The other credit is to Alan Watts’ speech and question he posed.

Waayne states, ” Much like how a lot of cool stuff reslults from Roland’s (Stephen King’s character in the Drawing of the Three), interactions with Earth. I wanted to describe the wonders Job feels when he encounters the magic of Evermoor. When takes the inhabitants of Evermoor back with him to Earth. I wanted to channel the same thing, only in reverse.”

Not understanding psychology well enough to understand how motives become follow-on-actions,or how to turn a premise into a story, he had dabbled in writing in his teens and his early twenties. In his thirties he took a deep dive into his writing.

I absolutely love this man’s honesty. He states, ” What drives me each day is I’m not afraid to suck. My first drafts are clunky, filled with unnecessary repitition, and painful to read. All I’m looking for in the first draft is what triggers a sense of excitement or potential from me. Later, during the editing processs, I edit to death, around thirty drafts or so, and cut more than half of my original manuscript. I refine that potential and excitement into what I think will be enjoyable to other people.”

Wayne says that once he started studying himself more, writers block was the opposite for him. He promotes these questions:

  • Why am I motivated to do the things I do?
  • How do I see a problem through from start to finish, and why”?
  • What did each step symbolize for me?

Wayne states that, “Those would be good places to start, in my opinion, if you want to vanquish writer’s block. ” Wayne asks, ” Why do characters see themselves the way they do, and how do I express that in a series of events? Then amp it up as much as possible; use your imagination to push that expression right up to theedge of absurdity, but don’t cross over, unless you’re a comedian.”

I dove into Kent Wayne’s own psych amd asked him about music and where his ideas for his characters came from. Here is what he had to say:

“I usually listen to cheerful, poppy music, even when I’m writing horrible stuff. like giant cyborgs pulling spinal vertebrea out from the little kids…….. (Apex in Echo 4). Taylor Swift, K-Pop, nineties soft rock…”

“My ideas for characters come from different angles. A lot of the time, I need to express certain philosophies or viewpoint to contrast with others. I try to build characters around these viewpoints, and try to sneak in a flavor into everything they do- into what they say, their history, and, of course, their behavior.”

Much like myself, Wayne stated that he had attended writing circles, but felt they were generally negative. It was a place where others judge each others’ writing- strictly against their own writing standards.

I enjoyed the writing advice he had to offer: ” As a writer, I would pay attention to rythm. Most of the other stuff-structure, psychology, etc- is covered in classed or texts. Rythm is probably the most fluid elemnt in writing, since it changes with culture and time…By rythm, I mean the cadence of words, much like the rhythm in dance or music. You want to use repetition to draw the reader in, but not too much , unless you’re trying to make a deliberate point with it. “

Kent Wayne uses the word “and” as an example. He says that the word flattens the rhythm.

He compares rhythm with chapters in a book. He doesn’t like it when he is reading a book, it’s fast paced, and it abruptly switches to a slow-paced scene. It throws things off for him. He says that this is why he edits his stories over and over. He suggest paying attention to rhythm, because it draws your reader in on a subconscious level.

Kent Wayne says his upcoming books will be volumes 2 and 3 of the Unbound Realm. I urge you to purchase his book” Door into Evermoor” on Amazon or wherever your purchase your books.

As an Amazon affilliat I am going to provide you with the link to purchase his book.

Thank you for following Voices, past, present, and future.

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Vanishing Submarines

Questions still linger over a bizarre series of Cold War incidents involving four submarines that all vanished in the early months of 1968. What is it about these submarines that makes it so hard to solve what happened to them?

The Scorpion, a nuclear-powered submarine had just undergone weapons testing and type training at her port in Norfolk, Virginia only weeks earlier, but not without incident. There had bee an electrical fire that had erupted in one of the submarine’s escape hatches, it also experienced a Freon leak in its refrigeration systems. It is said that this might have contributed to the Scorpion observing a depth limitation of no more than 500 feet that following February.

Throughout the Cold War years, it was not uncommon for US and Soviet vessels to routinely observe one another, the Scorpion had been no exception to this as she made her departure from Rota. The US was aware that Soviet hunter-killer submarines were monitoring traffic exiting from the Naval base, and part of the detail the Scorpion was assigned involved observation of Soviet activity in the Atlantic.

The Scorpion had successfully detected and surveyed a Soviet Echo II-class submarine, along with an accompanying guided missile destroyer. Afterwards, the Scorpion had headed back on a northbound course toward Norfolk, (supposedly).

A US Naval communications station located at Nea Makri, Greece had began receiving an unusual amount of radio traffic from the Scorpion on May 20, 1967. The Scorpion had not been able to reach their most recent departure point and had made several attempts to dispatch radio traffic for more than 24 hours. A final radio dispatch on May 21 indicated that the Scorpion was pursuing a Soviet submarine and research group, with the aim of initiating “surveillance of the Soviets”, according to the last message.

Now only a week later, American newspapers had reported that the Scorpion had failed to return to Norfolk by its expected arrival date. The Navy had worried that an onboard failure, because of the electrical problems the ship had experienced the previous year, might have occurred, and prompted an initial search effort that would prove to be unsuccessful. The USS Scorpion was declared “presumed lost” in early June of 1968.

The Scorpion was only one of four submarines that had gone missing in 1968.

There have been theories about what could have happened to the Scorpion.

  • A Hydrogen Explosion- this was the proximal cause for the loss and was assessed and analyzed. It was determined by this analysis that the leading theory for the loss was a result of a hydrogen build-up due to changes in the ventilation line-up while proceeding to periscope depth. This is consistent with two small explosions aboard the Scorpion, only a half-second apart, that were picked up by hydrophones.
  • The classified version of the US Navy’s court of inquiries report, finally released in 1993, listed accidents involving the Mark 37 Torpedo as 3 of the most probable causes for the loss of the Submarine, which included a hot-running torpedo, an accidentally or deliberately launched weapon, or that inadvertent activation of a torpedo by stray voltage.
  • A later theory was that a torpedo may have exploded in the tube , which could have been caused by an uncontrollable fire in the torpedo room. The Mark 46 silver-zinc battery used in the Mark 37 torpedo had a tendency to overheat, and in extreme cases could cause fire that was strong enough to cause a low-order detonation of the warhead. If the detonation had occured, it might have opened the boat’s large torpedo- loading hatch and caused the Scorpion to flood and sink.
  • The submarine could have been destroyed by a “hot-running torpedo”. Other subs in that fleet had replaced their defective torpedo batteries, but the Navy had wanted the Scorpion to complete its mission first. If the Scorpion had fired a defective topedo, it could have sought out a target and turned back to strike the sub that had launched it.

While all of these theories are plausible, might I just reiterate that the Scorpion had been en route to gather intelligence on a Soviet naval group conducting operations in the Atlantic. While the mission for which the submarine was diverted from their original course back to her home port is a matter of record, its detail still remain classified.

There is evidence that points toward involvement by the KGB spy ring led by John Anthony Walker Jr., who was in the heart of the U.S Navy’s communications. It could have known that the Scorpion submarine was coming to investigate the Soviet flotilla. There is a theory that suggests that both navies agreed to hide the truth about both USS Scorpion and K-129 incidents.

While results of the US Navy’ various investigations into the loss of the Scorpion remain inconclusive, if we take the information that we do know, I can only find two theories that make possble sense: the faulty battery and the fact that this submarine was investigating the Soviets at the time of their demise. I can only leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions as to what might have happened to these 99 crew members aboard the submarine that no one has answers for.

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The Oak Island Mysteries

In the off-chance that you haven’t been watching the Oak Island Mystery TV series, here is a little background into the mysteries behind the island.

Oak Island Mystery refers to the stories of buried treasures and unexplained objects that are found on or near Oak Island in Nova Scotia.

A number of attempts have been made to locate these treasures and artifacts. Many theories about the artifacts on the island range from pirate treasures to Shakespearean manuscripts, possibly th Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant, the Grail and the Ark having been buried there by the Knights Templar.

This should peak your interest, so travel with me now into the depths of the Oak Island Mystery.

Various items over the years have surfaced, and some of which have been carbon-dated and found to be hundreds of years old. Now although these items are considered treasures in their own right, no significant main treasure site has ever been found. The original dig site, in an unknow location, was dug by early explorers and is known as “The Mone Pit”. “The Curse” is said to have originated more than a century ago and it states that seven men will die in the search for the treasure before it is found. To date, six men have died in efforts to find this treasure. An account was written in 1862. The Onslow Company excavated 80-90 feet. Afterward the pit flooded with seawater up to the 33-foot level…..attempts to remove this water was unsuccessful.

Treasure hunters later claimed that coconut fibers were discovered beneath the surface of a beach in 1851, known as Smith’s Cove. This led to a theory that the beach had been converted into a siphon, feeding the seawater into the pit through a man-made tunnel.

A STONE WITH ALLEGED MARKINGS

A stone was found 90 feet below the surface, and was said to have been inscribed with “mysterious markings”. An article claimed that the stone was held by the Smith family. A treasure hunter George Cook, claimed that Smith built the stone into his chimney in 1824 and said that he was shown the stone by Smith in the chimney around 1850. At that time Cook said, “There were some crude cut letters, figures or characters upon it. I cannont recollect which but they appear as if they had been scraped out by a blunt instrumen, raher than cut with a sharp one.” In 1864, Cook had made inquiries and discovered that the chimney had been enclosed in wood and surrounded by a staircase making the stone no longer visible. One researcher who read the cipher on the stone said the scratchings on the stone transcribe as, “Forty feet below, two million pound lie buried”.

Many theories have come about in regards to “the money pit”. The most fanciful of all is that the pit held a pirate treasure buried by Captain Kidd. Kidd and Henry Avery were reported as having took treasure together, and Oak Island was their community bank. Another theory involved Edward Teach (Blackbeard) who said that he buried his treasure, “where none but Satan and myself can find it.”

There is also an unproven story alleging that Marie Antoinett’s jewels, all missing except for specimens in museum collections, may have been hidden on the island when she reportedly instructed her maid to flee with her jewels.

If you are one interested in buried treasures, it may be worth looking at the television series, where it claims that the islands secrets are revealed.

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THE FAIRYTALE OF THE FAROE ISLANDS

Travel with me, will you into the middle of the North Atlantic where there lies a small archipelago of islands.

No matter where you are in the Faroe Islands which are battered by rain, wind, and sea, the ocean is never further than 3 miles away. A perfect setting for wild adventures, the Faroe Islands has waterfalls that cascade off cliff-tops into the rough seas, tunnels are bored into the mountainsides, there are eerie abandoned villages, and remote lighthouses.

It is not uncommon for one island to experience rain, another to experience snow, and a third brilliant blue skies, making the weather the Faroese’s favorite talking point. It’s anyones guess what the weather will bring, but it is all a part of the magic here.

If we head to Eioi, we will see Resin and Kellington. They are two giant stone stacks, that according to legend, were once a giant and his witch wife who were sent to steal the Faroe Islands and bring them back to Iceland. They had decided to tie a rope around a mountain called Eioiskollur and pull the islands towards their home country. Being so preoccupied with their task, they forgot to hide at sunrise, (they could only roam at night) and the first rays of the sun turned them to stone. Ever since, they have sat facing westward towards Iceland, longing to return home.

Traveling to into the islands of the world and experiencing the magic and the unlimited imaginations they create is ever so mystifying for many of us. Thank you for traveling with me on this journey and please stay tuned for more mysteries of the unforgettable, unbelievable, and many of the forgotten around the wold.

I ask that you subscribe, like and leave comments on the articles you read here within my site. It better helps me create and tell you the stories you want to read most.

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Island of the Dolls

In order to tell you the story of an island that is covered with decaying old dolls that are strung up in trees, I must begin with the dark origin behind it all. La Isla de las Munecas (The Island of the Dolls) is intimately intertwined with the story of Don Julian Santana Barrera.

Don Julian Santana Barrera was a native of Xochimilco, a borough of Mexico City. He left his wife and family in the mid-20th century to sequester himself on an island on Teshuilo Lake. It had become clear that he was not of sound mind. Soon after relocating, he discovered on the shores of his island, the body of a young girl who had drowned in the lake. Shortly after, a doll came floating down the canals. This changed the course of his life and the shape of the island for years to come.

In order to appease the spirit of the deceased girl, being alone on the island, he took the doll and hung it from a tree. In his eyes, he believed himself to be the caretaker of the island. He felt one doll was not enough, so for the next 50 years he would scrounge for dolls in the trash and from the canals and hang them from the many trees on the island. Some of these dolls were hung whole, others were is a state of disrepair-headless, torso-less, or taken apart in other ways.

Santana Barrera’s family did not believe his actions could have come from a man with a healthy grasp on reality. His family did not believe he had ever found this little girl. It was presumed that he had made it up. He devoted the rest of his life to this little girl he believed to be real. For him, even the end of his life had clear ties to the story of the drowned child.

He passed away in 2001; his body discovered in the canal, in the suspected way he had always said he’d seen the little girl. Tourist began flocking to the island to pay tribute, bringing dolls of their own. To this very day, people honor Barrera and the little girl by hanging dolls up in tribute, (whether his story was ever true or not).

For me, seeing a bunch of dolls may be exciting to see, just because of the story behind it, but I think I will look from a distance.

Thank you for traveling with me to the Island of the Dolls, as we experienced the legend behind the island and how it came to be. Don’t forget to subscribe, hit the like button, or just follow me to learn more about the intriguing mysteries around the world.

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Haunted History Behind The Stanley Hotel

Do you dare step into the halls of the Stanley Hotel, much the same as writer Stephen King had done when he found the inspiration for his book, “The Shining”?

As the story goes, in the fall of 1974, writer Stephen King and his wife had stopped for the night at an old hotel overlooking the city. When King arrived, he learned that the hotel was closing for the winter and would only have a skeleton crew that would remain.

The couple decided to stay and  was checked into Room 217, the Presidential Suite, they were the only paying guests left at the hotel. The Stanley Hotel had fallen on hard times and was a ghost of its former, Edwardian-era self.

That night, King had a nightmare. He saw his young son being chased down the hotel’s long, empty corridors by a predatory, possessed fire hose. (Now if that were me, it would have probably been enough to drive me out of there, but not King.) He woke in a drenched sweat and stepped onto the balcony to smoke a cigarette. With his incredible imagination at work, by the time he had stubbed the cigarette out, he had worked out the bones of what would become his third novel and first best-seller.

The Stanley Hotel had earned its reputation as a paranormal nerve center long before King ever arrived and stayed at the hotel. As in politics, paranormal pursuits follows the same idea, that fear is all about what you choose to pay attention to.

Since his death in 1940, in the years that follow, the apparition of Mr. Stanley is reported as appearing to guests checking in at the reception desk, and some claims hold that the phantom of his late wife, Flora Stanley who was a young pianist, can sometimes be heard playing the piano in the empty music room.

Some spots are more spiritually active than others, including the century-old lodge and concert hall, guests have reported strange occurances. There have been shadowy figures, eerie laughter, flickering lights and item that move about on their own.

The Stanley Hotel has seen its fair share of trauma. In the 1920’s , a gas leak led to an explosion in Room 217 that destroyed the second floor above the main dining hall. It nearly killed a chambermaid, Elizabeth Wilson. She did however, recover and return to her job until the age of 90, when she died at her home in Estes Park. It wasn’t long after that, the hotel began receiving reports of a spectral chambermaid hovering and walking through closed doors in the rebuilt guest quarters.

There have been unmarried couples that complained of an invisible force wedging them apart as they slept, and single men have been woke to find their bags had been packed and left outside the door.

The hotels most requested room is of coarse Room 217, the one where King stayed over 40 years ago. It’s a space that allegedly drove Jim Carrey to flee in the middle of the night when he was on location filming 1994’s “Dumb and Dumber”.

The true ghost central in The Stanley, and the most notoriously active is two floors up. When King visited, he supposedly had the run of the empty hotel and wandered up there. It was a wide-open attic stretching from dormer to far dormer, dimly lit, and filled with sheet-draped furniture. Today this space holds 25 guest rooms.

No matter where you go, there is inspiration and it is up to you what you do with that experience. If you follow in the footsteps of Stephen King, it could be what sets you apart from all others.

Thank you for taking this journey with Voices, past, present, and future into the depths of The Stanley Hotel. Don’t forget to subscribe for more unbelievable stories that can take you into a journey to create your next best creation.

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The Mysteries of The Banff Springs Hotel

With the passage of time a well as people, ghost stories have emerged about the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, which make this hotel and its historical mysteries a great tale to tell.

Join me as we visit the mysteries behind The Lost Room, Sam the Bellman, The Dancing Bride, and Room 873.

THE SECRET ROOM

A big error occurred from the contractor during the construction of the original wooden hotel. A room was built with no windows or doors. This fact wasn’t even shared with the hotel owner. Not until a fire in 1926 did they finally discover this room. Since, apparitions are often seen roaming the halls outside of this room.

ROOM 873

Reportedly the scene of a tragic murder of a family, its door has since been bricked up and made to look like the rest of the wall in the hallway. Apparitions, possibly the family members, have been reported being seen outside of this room.

THE BURNING BRIDE

As the stories suggest, a woman dressed in her wedding gown lost her life on the staircase. Candles had been placed on the staircase when the bride was walking. Her dress suddenly catches fire and in a panic she trips and falls down the stairs, dying from a broken neck. She is reported by the guests as being seen dressed in her wedding gown dancing in the ballroom. Some witnesses claim to see the flames from her dress as she dances. Others have reported seeing her on the staircase. The staff has reported hearing strange noises coming from the bridal suite when it is vacant.

THE BELLMAN

The most popular of these ghosts is Sam Macauley who was a bellman at the hotel in the 60’s and 70’s. There is not much known about how or where Sam Macouley died, but his ghost is said to haunt the hotel even to this day. He appears in his 1960’s uniform helping guests get into locked rooms, turn on the lights, or even help them with their luggage. The 9th floor is where he is witnessed the most. In an attempt to converse with Sam or tip him, he vanishes.

Apparitions of other ghosts have been reported as well, although less popular than the ones above.

Staff and guests have reported seeing a bartender who often informs the guests that they have had too much to drink and it’s best if they go to bed.

Even more spectacular is the apparition of a headless man playing the bagpipes!

The Banff Springs Hotel has been welcoming guests for over 125 years. It is known as The Castle of the Rockies. Many guest, famous and royal have walked its halls and if you plan to visit you may see guests of another kind still haunting its halls.

Thank you for touring the mysteries within the halls of the Banff Springs Hotel with Voices, past, present, and future.

Please subscribe to Voices, past, present, and future to get more incredible stories that are unforgettable, unheard of, and some of the forgotten ones.

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Reflections

I sometimes forget that Sundays should be a day of reflection. If you are like me, the love for what we do drives us to produce and punch the keys for the people who take the time from their day to read what we have to say.

I recently went to the library and checked out everything I could find on how to write a book or social media marketing just because in my minds eye I have to get it right.

The fact that you took time from your day, means I must be doing something right. I bought Stephen Kings book: On Writing, one for him being my favorite author, and two it was highly recommended as a must read for new authors.

I provided you with a snippett of my childhood, One Girls life of Hell. If you haven’t read it, please take the time to do so today. I thought I had gotten past certain things in my past and that sharing it with my readers would be an easy feat for me. I proved myself wrong.

The losses in my life make me ever so grateful for those who are in my life today. I try not to linger on the past and what it did to me in my younger days. I try to reflect and remind myself that things are put on you for a reason and no matter how hard they may seem at the time, suppose it is in preparation for the things to come and who you could potentially be if you use your circumstances in the appropriate way.

I am trying my hand at a short story contest this week, one to improve my writing and two, if I win, it would definitely boost my self esteem when it comes to my abilities as a writer.

I enjoy bringing to you the articles of the unknown, unseen, unforgettable, and sometimes the forgotten. It brings to light the events that have shaped our world and a view into a life of possibilities. People should never be forgotten, and by providing you with their, however traumatic story it may be, it keeps their memory alive and if the right person sees a story it could shine the light on new evidence to solve an otherwise unsolvable case.

Reflect today on what you accomplished for the week, set your goals for what you will accomplish for the coming week. Thank your friends and family for whatever support they provided you in making it through the week.

Again I remind you, I am an Amazon affiliate. I do make a commission off products that you purchase through my site, and I appreciate you clicking on the link in my site and supporting my blog and purchasing products. I am going to provide the link to purchase Stephen Kings book, On Writing.

Voices, past, present, and future thanks you for reading my morning of reflection.

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Is there life under Antartica’s Ice?

Scientists claim that there is!

The discovery was made around 2700 feet below the ice by the WISSARD project. It showcases the fact that there are massive wetlands underneath the ice of Western Antartica that COULD house life unseen anywhere else on this planet.

Not alot is known about this, but many believe that this could indicate that the HOLLOW EARTH THEORY is fundamental after all . It could showcase the fact that aliens do live underneath our planet’s surface after all.

This frozen southern continent can look flat and featureless when you look from above, but beneath the ice pack, there is an ancient continent, that is as textured as any other. It turns out this texture can be very important for predicting how and when ice will flow and which regions of ice are the most vulnerable in a warming world.

Is it possible that after they drill down into the wetlands, that they could come across other life forms, aliens, reptilians, or even humans that have opposed society’s norm and created their own civilization right under our nose?

The places left unexplored around the world and the history that this may provide us reminds us there could still be remarkable finds out there.

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ONE GIRLS LIFE OF HELL (PART 3)

I didn’t want to leave those of you following this story hanging. I found it hard to continue after my last post. No matter how old you get things in your past are still hard to deal with at times. I wanted to show those of you out there, that there are others, with trauma, in all corners of the world.

I loved my mother, many ask why, others can’t seem to understand. She was all that I had. She wasn’t as hard on me as she was my siblings. There were times we would be hungry at night, and because my punishment wouldn’t be as harsh, I would sneak into the kitchen at night and get us something to eat. I would try to put things back the way they were so that she wouldn’t knowl, but she had a way about her. She knew.

I remember getting sick on some kind of pinwheel hamburger helper one night. My mother had planned to take us out to the pool where we lived that night, but because I just couldn’t stomach the food, she made me stay at home and lay down, while she took my siblings swimming that night.

I could hate her if I chose to, but why? I am who I am because of her and what I went through all those years ago. I am the best mother I know how to be because I choose not to follow in her footsteps. I choose not to let my trauma dictate who I am or who I choose to be.

I write because it’s an outlet for me. I love telling stories because I love how reading takes me to another place, another time, and often at exactly the time that I need to be taken away….

I won contests as a child for my writing and it was always a dream of mine. Through other traums endured even after my parents passed, I didn’t fullfill my dreams and although many may say I’m not qualified to be a writer, I’d like to beg to differ.

Don’t let trauma hold you back from who you are or who you want to be. Use it to fuel you in the moments to come. Decide to be better than the trauma that set out to tear you down.

Thank you for following me while I chose just to tell a portion of my life of hell.

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Doomsday Vault

Voices, past, present, and future would like for you to travel with us into THE DOOMSDAY VAULT. On an island above the Arctic Circle between Norway and the North Pole, deep in the bowels of an icy mountain, lies a resource of vital importance for the future of humankind.

It’s not coal, oil or precious minerals as you would suspect, but rather it’s seeds from more than 930,000 varieties of food crops. Millions of these tiny brown specks are stored in the Global Seed Vault.

It is essentially a huge safety deposit box that holds the world’s largest collection of agricultural biodiversity. Brian Lainoff, the lead partnership coordinator of the Crop Trust says, ” Inside this building is 13,000 years of agriultural history”.

The Global Seed Vault, dubbed the “Doomsday Vault”, conjures up an image of a reserve of seeds for use in case of an apocalyptic event or a global catastophe. If you read my post on Nostradamus and his predictions for the future, https://voicespastpresentandfuture.com/2022/03/23/he-said-what/, this vault of seeds may indeed come in handy.

Regardless of what predictions have said, it is the much smaller, localized destruction and threats facing gene banks all over the world, that the vault was designed to protect against.

Marie Haga, executive director of the Crop Trust stated, “There are big and small doomsdays going on around the world everyday. Genetic Materi is being lost all over the globe.”

It was precisely for its remoteness that Svalbard was chosen as the location of the vault. Bente Naeverdal, a property manager who oversees the day-to-day operations of the vault, stated “It is away from the places on earth where you have war and terror, everything maybe you are afraid of in other places. It is situated in a safe place.”

The only neighbor to this vault is a similar repository buried away from the dangers of the world: The Arctic World Archive. It aims to preserve data for the world’s governments and private institutions.

The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) is a global agricultural-research organization that had been based in Syria. It was forced to flee its headquarters, just outside of Aleppo, because of the Civil War. The organization evacuated its international staff in 2012, but some Syrian researchers stayed behind to rescue equipment and even animals.

As the fighting intensified, they were forced to leave behind their gene bank, one of the world’s most valuable collection of seeds, containing some of the oldest varieties of wheat and barley. ICARDA re-established its headquarters in Morocco and Lebanon, and restarted the gene bank in 2015, using seeds from the Svalbard-vault, which was the first ever withdrawal there.

Taken from their icy slumber and woken up, the seeds were planted in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and in Morocco. The offspring of these seeds were carefully collected and processed and then returned to the vault. In late February, ICARDA returned the varieties of seeds it had taken out. Lainoff explains, “These seeds have come full circle”.

Gene banks in Afghanistan and Iraq have been destroyed, along with them genetic material that wasn’t backed up in Svalbard. It is not just armed conflict that threatens these valuable resources. Some have been hit with natural disasters, like the Philippine national gene bank, that was damaged by flooding from a typhoon and then later a fire.

A lack of resources is probably the biggest threat facing the world’s gene banks. Many lack the resources to properly store or protect the seeds they hold. In an age of heightened geopolitical tensions and uncertainty, the Svalbard vault is an unusual and hopeful exercise in international cooperation for the good of humankind. Any country or organization can send seeds to it, and there are no restrictions because of politics or the requirements of diplomacy.

For me, I understand that preserving these seeds in the case of an apocalyptic disaster, but I have a real problem with the countries around the world and its peoples starving and the commercials that advertise their struggles, asking for money donations when there are seed vaults out there that could help these people in crisis. As well as the fact that the seeds these plants produce can be reharvested and placed back into the vaults.

The “What If” scenario doesn’t sit well with me when there are so many out there that could use it now, while there is time to reharvest the seeds and put them back.

Voices, past, present, and future appreciates you traveling with us. Let us know what you think by posting comments in the comment section. Also, feel free to share and repost this article.

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