Do you know how your local bat colony is doing? Many across the country are dying from White Nose Syndrome and no one knows what to do.
A mold that gives hibernating bats fuzzy, white noses turns out to be a previously unknown form of cold-loving fungus. And it may be a cold-blooded killer too.
…White-nose syndrome, described only in the last two years, strikes its victims during their winter hibernation. Bats cuddled along the walls of caves or mines develop a white fuzz on their noses and wings, grow gaunt and then die.
…Hibernation sites struck by the syndrome lose 80 to 100 percent of their bats on average, Moore says. Northeastern bats hunt insects, including some pests, she says, so a sudden bat deficit “could be a huge problem.” – ScienceNews
Every neighborhood has one. A house the kids are certain is haunted. Where I grew up, it was the monastery on top of the hill, only we didn’t realize at the time that it was a religious place. We just thought it was spooky.
…People have always loved a good ghost story, especially when it comes to haunted houses. And there are untold numbers of places supposedly occupied by spooks and specters or that were the site of acts so heinous that houses themselves have become part of the folklore.
..But in the spirit of Halloween, here’s a look at some of the country’s spookiest haunts:
Winchester Mystery House ..One account has it that Sarah was told by a medium to build a house for herself and to never stop construction or she would die. Another account has it that she believed the only way she could repent for the thousands of people killed by her family’s rifles was to keep building. Either way, she built and then built some more, from 1884, when she purchased the house under construction, until her death 38 years later.The place started out as a six-bedroom house. But Sarah turned it into a eerie mansion with 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, 47 fireplaces and 1,257 windows.
Grant-Humphreys Mansion…Built by Colorado’s third governor, James Grant, this Denver house at 770 Pennsylvania St. lays claim to five ghosts, including that of Albert Humphreys, a subsequent owner who died of a suspicious shooting accident on the third floor, according to HauntedHouse.com.
The others are said to be disrupted souls from the old cemetery that lies beneath what is now Cheesman Park. They’ve been flying about since 1873, when the cemetery was closed and the city hired an incompetent undertaker to move some graves. Showing little respect for the unearthed dead, he broke up bodies to fit them into small boxes, mixing up parts as he worked.
Whaley House...Few houses in San Diego are as historically important as this one, or as haunted. It made the list of the Travel Channel’s most haunted destinations. Every day, visitors from throughout the world tour the place in the city’s Old Town section, and numerous manifestations have been reported since the house reopened as a museum in 1960.
Reed House...This Asheville, N.C., house was built in 1892 by Samuel Reed. Although Reed was a lawyer for tycoon George Vanderbilt, his life was “full of loss,” according to the local paranormal society. Five of his children died young. Then his wife passed away, and he followed her into the great beyond six months later.
The house was abandoned for a time, and then was purchased in 1973 and turned into a bed and breakfast. Now, it is known as the Biltmore Village Inn, a place where the sound of heavy boots can sometimes be heard, or a spectral game of pool takes place. Bedroom doors open and close by themselves, and the lights sometimes go on and off for no reason.
Franklin Castle.…There are ghosts aplenty at Cleveland’s Franklin Castle, which is known as Ohio’s most haunted house. And no wonder: Among other things, a pile of baby skeletons was discovered in a small room at the rear of the house, the victim of some inept doctor, according to Forgotten Ohio.com, and a group of Nazis was gunned down in a political dispute. Today, babies can still be heard crying, the German Socialists’ conversation continues.
…that it is mid-October, and we haven’t posted a single cemetery image! Not one! Zero! Zip! Nada! Bupkus!
So I thought I’d remedy the situation with this pic, taken by a kayaker who paddled around Puerto Rico this summer. Never met the guy, but I read his blog every now and then, and I loved the image when I found it in his Flickr set of Old San Juan. (Click on the photo to see the full set… All of his sets related to the trip are here.)
(I’ve got another good cemetery photo lurking in the wings, but I’ve been too scattered lately to get around to it. Real Soon Now, I promise.)
Artist Ray Keim specializes in CGI and animations for education videos and publications for medical professionals, graphics and animations for “edutainment” titles, as well as work on architectural , and theatrical concepts (check out the model here). He’s worked as a model set builder/designer for broadcast television shows and news programs. He is also a self-described fan of the macabre (don’t miss his free desktop images to download – I want to live in them).
He has obviously put countless hours and boundless love and talent into creating 3-D online models of the Haunted Mansions at the Walt Disney theme parks across the globe. If you haven’t checked out his site, Haunted Dimensions, you really should.
Haunted Vampire: I well remember visiting the Haunted Mansion in Disney World in 1976 when I was 12. My favorite part, actually, was the queue and the facade of the building. I wanted to live there. Would you want to live there?
Ray Keim:My first visit to the haunted mansions (both Disney World and Disneyland) was in 1986, when I was 23. When I finally visited the mansions, I wanted one of my own! Especially the Liberty Square mansion at the Magic Kingdom. That is the primary reason why I designed my paper model kit of the Liberty Square mansion. So to answer the question of wanting to live there, I wouldn’t want to live in the attraction specifically, but I would LOVE to live in a real, livable recreation of the Liberty Square mansion!
Haunted Vampire: Which is your favorite Disney Haunted Mansion?
Ray Keim: The mansion in Orlando was the first one I saw first hand, so Liberty Square is “my” mansion.
Haunted Vampire: You’ve done work for Universal’s theme park. Could you
describe what you did there?
Ray Keim: I am a seasonal member of the Entertainment Art and Design team for Universal Studios, Orlando and Islands of Adventure. This past summer I was knee deep in the blood and gore of Universal, Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights events. My primary job was designing graphics for the official Universal Halloween Horror Nights web site, but I also designed event banners, created props and displays for the Halloween Horror Nights VIP Museum, and even created a 3D animation which was used as part of the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” stage show. I also designed paper model kits of two of the haunted house facades from the event, “Psychoscareapy” and “ScreamHouse”, which can be downloaded for free from the HHN site, printed and constructed at home. As an added bonus I had a short cameo in the HHN online promotional video “Share the Scare”, in which a gnarly old lady, known as “The Storyteller” pulled out my tongue with a pair of pliers! Yes, it’s an awesome job! I’m looking forward to my return in the spring!
Haunted Vampire: What other horror-related projects have you been involved with?
Ray Keim: My hobby (and some say my “obsession”) is my web site Haunted Dimensions, which is dedicated to the Disney Haunted Mansion Attractions. Haunted Dimensions started out as a small showcase for some of my 3D illustrations of the California and Orlando mansions, but it has
become widely known for my free paper model kits of the mansions, crypts, tombstones and other objects from the possessed manors. The site also has projects such as how to create a sugar cookie “gingerbread” Phantom Manor, carving pumpkins, and even a few photo journals of some of the ghostly places I have visited. such as the Lizzie Borden House, and the cemeteries of the Boston area.
Haunted Vampire: If after your death you existed as a ghost, where would
you haunt and what would you do to scare people?
Ray Keim: Just like in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, I would want the ability to remind people that we’re all in this together, and you only have one chance to make a positive mark on humanity. I would never want to scare good hearted people, but watch out mean and brutal people!