All posts tagged: travel

Where Life is a Fairy Tale

The world is sprinkled with real, fairy tale towns. Here’s some eye candy for your Monday morning… Share this link on Facebook>>> 1)Alsace, France. It’s hard to choose just one town in the Grimm’s fairy tale world of France, Germany, and Switzerland. But Alsace and Zermatt (below) seemed reasonable choices. 2) Zermatt, Switzerland. 3) Iceland – anywhere. With its bay of icebergs and tumbled lava fields thick with green moss, it was hard to choose just one photo to represent the “fairyness” of Iceland. JRR Tolkein used it as a setting for Middle Earth. Need I say more? At any rate, I decided to stick with my “built by man” theme. 4) Tallinn, Estonia. I was a Peace Corps volunteer here in the nineties, and this medieval Hanseatic city with its turrets and winding streets is spectacular. 5) Mont Saint Michel, France. Better travel writers than I have penned odes to this magical island rising off the coast of north-west France. 6) Tbilisi, Georgia (the country, not the US state). Tbilisi’s old town was funky, crooked, …

paranormal joshua tree

Mystical Joshua Tree

So the Joshua Trees aren’t inspiring enough for you? Or perhaps they’re inspiring more than you expected? Fear not, you can leave the park and find some epic mysticism in the nearby California desert. Here are five sites you can easily enjoy in a day from Joshua Tree. Share this on Facebook>>> 1. The Giant Rock, Landers, CA. It’s a big rock in the desert — roughly seven stories high. But oh, what a story it has to tell. The indigenous tribes considered the rock sacred for thousands of years, and only shamans and tribal elders were allowed within three miles of it. Later, in the 1930s, a German miner named Frank Critzer built his home beneath it. Authorities grew suspicious of the radio antenna he’d placed atop the rock, and raided the site. Unfortunately, Critzer stored mining explosives at his home. They were allegedly triggered by a tear gas canister fired into his home, and Critzer was killed. Later, authorities learned that the man was not a German spy, just an odd duck who liked his privacy. But the man had been good …

The Legend of Devil’s Tower

Guest post by Dena Garson, author of Your Wild Heart. Last year I was asked to write a book in the new Black Hills Wolves series from Decadent Publishing. The series is centered around a wolf shifter pack that controls the Black Hills. To prepare for my book, I researched not only the geographic area but also the history, myths and legends of the people who live there. Share this on Facebook>>> The Black Hills of South Dakota have a somewhat rocky history. The area is considered sacred land by the Lakota/Sioux and was the site of the “last major Indian War on the Great Plains – the Black Hills War (1876-1877).” Several famous battles were fought there including the Battle of Rosebud, Battle of the Little Bighorn, the Dull Knife Fight, and the Battle of Slim Buttes. One of the most recognizable features of the area is Devils Tower, a large mass of igneous rock. Many people know it from the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” A popular Native American legend of …

gateway to hell

7 Gateways to Hell

How to reach the underworld? The Dallol sulfur fields in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression may be one gateway. At least, the locals think so, and it doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination to see why they call it “the Devil’s Seat.” Share this on Facebook>>> But this depression of bubbling acid doesn’t lead you to a benign, Hades-ruled underworld. It’s hellish. And while I don’t normally go for photo-essays on this blog, the spectacular nature of this supposed gateway to hell made me bend the rules. If diving through pools of sulfuric acid aren’t your preferred method for a cathonic journey, you can check out some of these other reputed underworld gateways: Fengdu, China: Believed to be a way-station on the road to the afterlife, Fengdu became known as the Ghost City during the Eastern Han Dynasty. Later, a spectacular temple was erected there, depicting life in hell. Mount Hekla, Iceland: Another active volcano, Mount Hekla began to be known as a gateway to hell after a particularly ferocious eruption in the 12th century. Hieropolis, …

Magical Mt. Shasta

Magical Mt. Shasta

The darkness is absolute. Steam and burning herbs scald my nostrils, choke my throat. I’m not actually claustrophobic, but panic sends my heart into a canter, and I remind myself the tent opening is only four feet to my left. I’m in a sweat lodge near Mt. Shasta. It’s the Day of the Dead, and for a moment, in that burning pitch, it seems I’ve descended to the underworld. A native American woman brushes the hot stones with dried grasses, and sparks glow, fly, vanish, plunging us in darkness again. Though I grew up in California, I’d never explored Shasta. I arrived the day before Halloween battling my first real case of writer’s block and with the intention to sit in a remote cabin in the woods until the words came. I also figured it would be an opportunity to channel my inner Agent Mulder and explore the mountain’s paranormal mysteries. Halloween at Mt. Shasta was both a good and bad idea. Good because Shasta is one of the few places in California you can …

Ghost Walk: Washington, DC

Ghost Walk: Washington DC Disclaimer: If you decide to walk this path, be smart, be safe, and don’t do this at night by yourself.  And a lot of these places are private residences, so don’t try to do any ghost hunting there.  This is an exterior only, daylight tour! Washington, DC China Town to the White House Time: 90 – 120 minutes. Terrain: Flat as a pancake. 1) Mary Surratt’s Boarding House 604 H Street NW Metro: Chinatown Station Story:  John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators used this boarding house as a base to plot President Lincoln’s assassination.  The owner of the home, Mary Surratt, was executed for her role in the conspiracy, though she maintained her innocence until the end.  She was the first woman executed by the federal government. Manifestation:  Sobs, creaking floorboards, whispers, footsteps, and mumbling.  Mary Surratt’s apparition has also been sighted at the house. Next: Proceed west down H Street.  At 13th Avenue, continue straight – the street will dead end on New York Avenue.  Veer left on New York, which dead ends on Pennsylvania Avenue, a pedestrian street. Proceed …

paranormal salem

Ghost Walk: Salem, MA

I did this tour during the day and it was a lovely walk through old Salem.  Standard disclaimers apply – not all of these buildings are open to the public and in all things, be safe. 1) Ye Olde Pepper Companie Address: 122 Derby Street. Fuel up for your tour at the oldest candy company in the United States, located right across the street from the House of the Seven Gables.  Nothing haunted here that I know of, but it’s America’s oldest candy company so…  I had to include it. Continue down Derby Street past the tourist entrance to the House of the Seven Gables, and make a right on Turner. Go to the end of the road and sit on the stone bench there, where you can see the coal black House of the Seven Gables. 2) House of the Seven Gables (Turner-Ingersoll Mansion) Address: 115 Derby Street Story: Something about this house sends shivers up your spine – is it the ominous charcoal colored paint? The crooked timbers? Built in 1668 by sea …