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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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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