Jennifer Page: A talented traditional and digital artist, Jennifer is perhaps better known as an actress in an extremely popular film series in the tabletop gaming world. This led to her becoming the official video spokesperson for several companies, including Microsoft Casual Games, and for many successful Kickstarter campaigns. She co-hosted the 2014 ENnie Awards and has been a VIP Guest at several game conventions. Off camera, Jennifer is a Social Media Manager and Visual Designer.
Maxwell Holechek: With a background in film production and theater, Maxwell utilized both during his 25 year tech industry tenure – most notably as Creative Director of the award-winning Nancy Drew adventure games. He has since returned to his roots, contracting and consulting as a writer, producer, director, and talent/spokesperson for podcasts and other emerging media.
About the Podcast: Retreat to the Gothic parlour with Maxwell and Jennifer! There, be enthralled by spooky and fantastic tales of weird history, strange science, and the paranormal. Drawn from their curated collection and choice listener submissions, your Ambassadors of Odd craft an enchanting and smartly polished, weekly podcast with high production value and low chit-chat. Each episode delights the mind and stirs the senses. They’ve been expecting you. Have a seat by the fire. Welcome to Odd Tonic….
Odd Tonic is a weekly paranormal podcast with a variety of topics discussed per episode. Examples of past topics include: Sleep paralysis, the science of ESP, timeslips, spirit possession, and obviously cursed objects.
Season One launched in March of 2019 and each episode is between 35 and 55 minutes in length. Odd Tonic is currently free to listen to and is mainly supported through listeners via Patreon, as well as Maxwell andJennifer’s personal funds. A merchandise line is on the way.
Also in development are plans for additional Odd Tonic episodes for premium subscribers and a richly developed online destination to support the podcast’s creative social community. Odd Tonic takes its subject matter and storytelling seriously, but in a warm, inviting, and playful tone. Maxwell and Jennifer’s obvious passion for and delight of their topics is contagious. Themes include the startling aspects of the Unknown and Unexplainable, but focusing on the story’s human aspect. After all, these events were experienced by someone. If you are a fan of Lore, Castle Rock, or Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and enjoy the company of two funny, smitten hosts whose macabre romance is a bit reminiscent of The Addams Family, you may enjoy Odd Tonic.
Mystic Moon Cafe Radio hosts bring a variety of guests to talk about paranormal phenomenon, cryptozoology, ghost hunting, favorite authors on many topics – fiction, conspiracy theory, and fact, featured music artists, and more!
Join us on December 18th as we speak with Jefferson Davis – No, not THAT Jefferson Davis… This one is an author, historian, paranormal investigator, world traveler, and more!
Tune in at 7:00 pm Pacific, 9:00 pm Central, 10:00 pm Eastern!
About Jeff Davis
Jeff Davis has lived in the Peculiar World for most of his life. As a boy, he decided to become an archaeologist and investigate the odd and unusual after watching the original Mummy movie with Boris Karloff.
For many years, Jeff worked in the woods of Pacific Northwest’s Cascade Mountains, the home of Bigfoot. Jeff has encountered many peculiar things while traveling around the world, visiting England, Italy, Bosnia, South Korea, Japan, and Southwest Asia.
Jeff has written, edited, or contributed to over a dozen books, including military history and the paranormal. Some of his books include Weird Washington and Weird Oregon. He has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM, Haunted History, Ghost Adventures, and The Dead Files.
Jeff Davis was born in Vancouver, Washington and grew up in the Army, so to speak. Jeff’s father was stationed at the Vancouver Barracks and Jeff grew up playing in and around the barracks. This led to his interest in a military career. This competed with his other interests, ghosts, mythology, and archaeology, which began when he spent many evenings watching old horror movies, such as the original Mummy with Boris Karloff.
Ghosts and Critters Career
Jeff was interested in the paranormal since childhood, but because of job and military commitments, was limited to short investigations and research projects. However, in the late 1990s, during a lull in work and military assignments, Jeff published his first book, Ghosts and Strange Critters of the Pacific Northwest. He wrote this book, and his later manuscripts with a focus on the historical context of hauntings, the who, what, where, and WHY a location might be haunted. Because of his anthropology background, and a natural suspicion of the government, Jeff was also interested in mysteries and conspiracy theories, strange animals, and forgotten facts. He included those in his books as well.
Jeff has written, edited, or contributed to over a dozen books on military history, and the paranormal. Some of these books include, Weird Washington, Weird Oregon, A Haunted Tour Guide to the Pacific Northwest, Ghosts, Critters and Sacred Place of Washington and Oregon, Volumes I – III, and many others. He has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM; and, the History Channel series, Haunted History. Jeff has also been a four-time guest expert on the Travel Channel show, The Dead Files, and two-time guest on Ghost Adventures.
Television Show Appearances
Haunted History was a UFA/Cafe Productions series exploring the supernatural. The American version of the show also debuted in 1998 (as a special) with the same premise of exploring the world to investigate the “haunted history” of reportedly haunted locations. Jeff was the historical consultant and witness for the episode, Northwest.
Haunted History: [Pacific] Northwest, Season 2, Episode 3, air date 2 March 2001.
White Eagle Saloon (Tavern), Albina, Portland, Oregon
Manresa Castle Hotel, Port Townsend, Washington
The Underground, Seattle, Washington
Vancouver Barracks, Vancouver, Washington
Heceta Head Lighthouse, Heceta House Bed & Breakfast, Yachats, Oregon
The Dead Files is an American paranormal television series that premiered on September 23, 2011 on Travel Channel. The program features psychic medium, Amy Allan, and former NYPD homicide detective, Steve DiSchiavi, as they investigate locations that are reported to be haunted.
The Dead Files Episodes
Final Curtain Call: Season 2, Episode 5, air date 18 May 2012. Amy and Steve travel to Vancouver, Washington to investigate reports of frightening paranormal activity at the historic Victorian-era Slocum House Theater, which was the oldest community theater in the area. Amy discovers secrets hiding in the dark corners that include the spirits of children and the ghost of Laura Slocum inhabits the theater, especially when children visitors are present. Jeff was a historic witness/consultant for this episode.
House of Mirrors: Season 6, Episode 3, air date 9 May 2015. Amy and Steve head to Oregon when a man calls desperate for help due to bizarre activity in his home, his partner and son are also victims of the more malevolent activity that occurs in the home. Steve’s research details the past events that had occurred on the land where the property currently sits and Amy’s walk involves sinister entities referred to as “Tricksters” whom seem to have a diabolical purpose for the residents. Jeff was a historic expert for this episode.
The Whispering: Season 7, Episode 12, air date 18 June 2016. Steve and Amy investigate a woman’s claims that the activity in her Concrete, WA, home will kill her. Steve unearths the genocide of a local Indian tribe, while Amy encounters a powerful energy barrier constructed by the dead. Jeff was a historic expert for this episode.
While the Children Sleep: Season 8, Episode 7, air date 5 August 2017. A mother claims malicious paranormal activity is directed at her children and elderly mother. Steve learns of a deadly explosion that killed nearly a dozen people, and Amy encounters a vengeful murder victim. Jeff was a historic expert for this episode.
Ghost Adventures is an American television series about the paranormal that premiered on October 17, 2008, on Travel Channel. Produced by MY-Tupelo Entertainment, the program follows ghost hunters (Zak Bagans, Nick Groff (until season 10), and Aaron Goodwin) as they investigate locations that are reported to be haunted. The show is introduced and narrated by Zak Bagans.
Ghost Adventures Episodes
During Season 16, on all four Saturdays of October, 2018, the Ghost Adventures show aired a four-part mini series filmed in and around Astoria, Oregon. Behind the scenes, Jeff helped located venues and witnesses for each episode. He appeared in two of the episodes as a historic consultant.
Graveyard of the Pacific: Commander’s House: Located in Warrenton, Oregon, aired 20 October 2018. Zak and the crew continue their investigation of the Graveyard of the Pacific at a former military installation near Astoria, Oregon, that’s haunted by a tragic past and home to an aggressive entity.
Graveyard of the Pacific: Cape Disappointment: Located in Ilwaco, Washington, aired 27 October 2018. Zak and the crew conclude their investigation of the Graveyard of the Pacific with a visit to Washington State, where they explore a lighthouse that bore witness to some of the most tragic shipwrecks on the Pacific Coast.
While still in high school, Jeff joined the US Army Reserves and spent 32 years in the US Army and Army Reserves. He started off as a private in the infantry and went on to serve three years on active duty. He spent 18 months in Italy, where he helped guard nuclear weapons and the other 18 months at Ft. Lewis, WA, where he served with the 9th Infantry Division. While there, his less pleasant job was as the gunner of a 90mm recoilless rifle. After his three-year hitch, Jeff went to college, went through ROTC, and received a commission along with his Bachelor’s degree.
Jeff ‘branched’ military intelligence and served with several units in the National Guard and Army Reserves. He went on overseas training missions to Japan and Korea, and eventually was mobilized and sent to Bosnia. In Bosnia, he served as a Civil Affairs officer. His most worthwhile duty was organizing a troop of soldiers who volunteered to put on puppet shows for Bosnian orphans in their off-duty hours.
After Bosnia, Jeff received assignments as a military historian. After September 11th, he was mobilized twice as a military historian. He spent most of this time in Southwest Asia and Florida. His duties included conducting interviews with Special Operations forces and writing reports on their actions. After his mobilizations, Jeff became historian for the 104th Division, of the Army Reserves, and unofficial army historian for the Vancouver Barracks. He eventually retired with the rank of Major after 32 years of military service.
Archaeology and Historic Preservation Career
Jeff received a BS in Anthropology from Portland State University, in Portland, Oregon. Between Army and Army Reserve work, Jeff worked for several years as an archaeologist. He worked at the Mt. St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt. Hood National Forest, Umatilla National Forest, and Boise National Forest.
In the 1990s, Jeff lived in England for nearly a year while he studied archaeology at the University of Sheffield. He eventually received a MA in Archaeology and Prehistory, after completing his thesis on the Vikings in Greenland.
Following his several mobilizations during the global war on terrorism, Jeff did not return to archaeology as a full-time job. Instead, he concentrated on the military history and heritage of the Vancouver Barracks and the Pacific Northwest. He and others formed the Vancouver Barracks Military Association (VBMA). Jeff combines his love of military history, the Vancouver Barracks, and the paranormal by giving regular Spirit Tours of the Vancouver Barracks.
Books on the Paranormal
Ghosts and Strange Critters of Washington and Oregon, Norseman Ventures Publishing
Ghosts Critters and Sacred Places of Washington and Oregon I (Revised) Norseman Ventures Publishing
Ghosts Critters and Sacred Places of Washington and Oregon II Norseman Ventures Publishing
Ghosts Critters and Sacred Places of Washington and Oregon III Norseman Ventures Publishing
Haunted Tour Guide to the Pacific Northwest, with Janine Davis (Revised) Norseman Ventures Publishing
Portland Rose City Ghosts Volume I Norseman Ventures Publishing
Vancouver USA Ghosts, Volume I Norseman Ventures Publishing
Weird England, Sterling Publishing. Jeff contributed two stories to this book.
Weird Hauntings, I contributed three stories to this book.
Weird Oregon, Sterling Publishing. Jeff co-authored this book, which mixes the unique history of Oregon State with its oddities, and significant people places and things.
Weird Washington, Sterling Publishing. Jeff wrote nine (9) of the 12 chapters in this book, of true stories of the odd, unusual, and unique heritage of Washington State. I focused on many places with archaeological and historic appeal. The Washington State Librarian recommended it for educators teaching introductory classes in Washington State History.
Archaeology and History Books
1995, A Macrobotanical Analysis of the Remains from the Middens of the Norse Greenland Farm Complex of Sandnes (v51) Unpublished master’s thesis, submitted to the University of Sheffield, UK. This document was a mix of historic research using translated documents, archaeological reports, as well as laboratory analysis to try to find what happened to the Norse settlers who disappeared from Greenland in the Middle Ages
1995, Nothing in Hell…The Story of the 104th Division Timberwolves in World War II. Unpublished manuscript, submitted to the Commander, 104th Division, Vancouver Barracks, WA, January 1996.
2011, History of the 75th Division 1943 – 2012 (Revised). Jeff was the principal author of several chapters detailing the history of this US Army unit, and edited chapters from the previous edition.
2014, Custer’s Other Brother-in-Law, the Fred Calhoun Log Book. (Editor) This is a copy of a 19th century book kept by Lieutenant Frederick Calhoun. He was stationed at the Vancouver Barracks for several years. It includes a bio of Calhoun, and overview of his life and times.
(In progress)- Custer’s Niece, the Household Account Book of Emma Reed Calhoun. This book is an annotated copy 19th century account book kept by Mrs. Frederick Calhoun. She was G. A. Custer’s niece, and married Calhoun after the Battle of Little Bighorn. She and her husband were stationed at the Vancouver Barracks for several years. It includes an overview of her life and in what was the western frontier.
This Thanksgiving Eve, we thought we’d keep it light, fun and simple as so many will be gearing up for a delightful, or not, family and/or friends celebration, with the following day being a maelstrom of frantic shoppers looking for ‘the deal of the century’.
Horror maven Kim Douthit has agreed to join in the shenanigans and talk about some of her favorite holiday horror movies and chime in on our hosts’ lists as well..
So please join us in either of the chat areas and possibly engage in a game of ‘stump the horror experts’ too. It promises to be a ghastly good time!
A few of the movies that will probably be talked about:
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
A young boy named Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his friend Juuso (Ilmari Järvenpää) think a secret mountain drilling project near their home in northern Finland has uncovered the tomb of Santa Claus. However, this a monstrous, evil Santa, much unlike the cheery St. Nick of legend.
As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder), begin to receive anonymous, lascivious phone calls. Initially, Barb eggs the caller on, but stops when he responds threateningly. Soon, Barb’s friend Claire (Lynne Griffin) goes missing from the sorority house, and a local adolescent girl is murdered, leading the girls to suspect a serial killer is on the loose. But no one realizes just how near the culprit is.
Note: The film has a 2006 remake and a re-imagining for 2019.
A Christmas Horror Story
Not even Santa Claus is safe from the evil that descends on Bailey Downs, a small town that is suddenly plagued with malevolent spirits, zombie elves and Krampus — the anti-Santa Claus.
These are just a few that will be covered. Join us for a more complete guide!
On this episode, our hosts will be talking with Kyle J. Macias – Film Maker, and Seth Michael – Psychic Medium, about The Hat Man. Kyle recently released a documentary “The Hat Man: Documented Cases of Pure Evil”, so we will pick his brain on the subject and talk about the Documentary.
Seth Michael will give us his take on The Hat Man from a Medium’s perspective, as he has encountered more than one such entity.
History and Folklore Of Shadow Creatures and Hat Man
A number of religions, legends, and belief systems describe shadowy spiritual beings or supernatural entities such as shades of the underworld, and various shadowy creatures have long been a staple of folklore and ghost stories.
The Hat Man typically appears at night, dressed in a long, black trench coat, a black three-piece suit, and a black hat – either a fedora, top hat, or cowboy hat. Witnesses say the Hat Man’s eyes glow red and occasionally he checks a gold pocket watch chained to his belt. He is described as being at least six feet tall, though usually his stature reaches between seven to 10 feet.
About Kyle J Masias: Kyle J. Macias is an aspiring filmmaker specializing in narrative films and documentary films alike. He’s an avid researcher and paranormal aficionado covering a wide range of subjects, such as; the occult, entity contact and unknown realms.
“The Hat Man: Documented Cases of Pure Evil”, is his first documentary feature, covering the subject of shadow people, specifically focusing in on the distinct figure, the internet and eyewitnesses have dubbed ‘The Hat Man’.
Kyle J. Macias delved into the subject of ‘shadow people’ back in 2008, when he learned that his own family has had experiences with the “Hat Man”.
Throughout the duration of making this film, it came to Kyle’s attention that the ‘Hat Man’, is not just a figure seen in sleep paralysis or nightmares. The eyewitnesses are adamant that they also see him in waking life. Manifesting under street lamps, in the back of passenger seats, in the corner of the room, on the side of the road, peaking around corners and in some cases physical attack. Is the Hat Man hiding in the darkest places of our subconscious? Or is he crossing over to our physical existence? It may be both…
Our good friend Seth Michael is a natural born psychic/medium with over 28 years of experience giving formal readings. In addition to his work doing private and larger group readings, he co-founded a paranormal team called White Light Paranormal Insight where he is a Medium and the Director of Spiritual Resolves. Seth also co-hosted a web radio show called, Into the Light with Seth Michael and Teresa Kleve on Blog talk radio, and is an instructor for Awaken-Yourself Psychic/Medium Workshops. Seth Michael’s passion and intent is to assist others in reaching their higher-self and honing in on their own individual strengths. Seth Michael is also the primary focus of the, “All Around Us,” documentary currently in production. Whether the topics are about life issues, spiritual path direction or connecting with passed loved ones or animals, Seth Michael’s life mission is to help others, bring comfort, and hope. *Your reading is strictly private and confidential.
On this episode of Wendy’s Magickal Studies, I will be talking about the gorgeous Harvest Moon as well as the Pagan Mabon/Harvest Home/Autumnal Equinox due to my Eclectic guest not feeling up to doing a talk at this time. Wishing her more good days!
Player will go to the show as soon as we go ‘Live’
Now, I’m no expert in any of these things, but I know what I enjoy. Research and Learning are at the top of my list. I will be delving into one aspect of Magic, Witchcraft, Folklore, Myth and/or Legend in each article. So, if you are so inclined, join me on this journey of discovery!
Eclectic Witch: A witch that embraces all types of magic and magical traditions, refusing to be pinned down to one type of magical practice.
The Spiritual Meaning Of The 2019 Harvest Moon Is About Releasing Yourself From The Past This is the season that starts a slow, patient process of death after a vibrant and burgeoning summer. However, this death is not the end. It’s about shedding skin, letting go, and cleansing yourself from deep within so you can prepare for a swift rebirth. The veil is thinning and the spiritual meaning of the 2019 Harvest Moon will help you dig into your heart and discover what truly lies there.
Taking place on Sept. 14 at 12:32 a.m. ET (Friday the 13th, for most of the United States), the Harvest Moon always happens nearest to the autumn equinox. According to TimeAndDate.com, this full moon marked the moment your ancient ancestors collected their crops and began storing them away for the impending winter. Spiritually speaking, the Harvest Moon is all about taking stock of your emotional and physical well-being, helping you come to terms with the results of the decisions you’ve made so far. After that, it’s about understanding what you could have done differently, forgive yourself for your mistakes, and decide that you’ll learn from them. Source: https://www.elitedaily.com/p/the-spiritual-meaning-of-the-2019-harvest-moon-is-about-releasing-yourself-from-the-past-18749391
Mabon Autumn Equinox, 2nd Harvest, Falls Between September 21 – 23
Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year’s crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.
Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter’s Night, which is the Norse New Year.
At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection. Source: https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/mabon.htm
Despite the bad publicity generated by Thomas Tryon’s
novel, Harvest Home is the pleasantest of holidays. Admittedly, it does involve
the concept of sacrifice, but one that is symbolic only. The sacrifice is that
of the spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Occurring one quarter of the year
after Midsummer, Harvest Home represents midautumn, autumn’s height. It is also
the autumnal equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and
a Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Recently, some Pagan groups have begun
calling the holiday by the Welsh name ‘Mabon’, although there seems little
historical justification for doing so.
Technically, an equinox is an astronomical point and, due to
the fact that our leap-year cycle causes dates to slip and then snap back into
place, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The autumnal
equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey
southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up
until Harvest Home, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from
dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. Astrologers know this as
the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Scales (an appropriate
symbol of a balanced day and night).
However, since most European peasants were not accomplished
at calculating the exact date of the equinox, they celebrated the event on a
fixed calendar date, September 25, a holiday the medieval church Christianized
under the name of “Michaelmas”, the feast of the archangel Michael. (One
wonders if, at some point, the Roman Catholic Church contemplated assigning the
four quarter days of the year to the four archangels, just as they assigned the
four cross-quarter days to the four Gospel writers. Further evidence for this
may be seen in the fact that there was a brief flirtation with calling the
vernal equinox “Gabrielmas”, ostensibly to commemorate the archangel Gabriel’s
announcement to Mary on Lady Day.)
Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their
days from sundown to sundown, so the September 25 festivities actually begin on
the previous sundown (our September 24). Although our Pagan ancestors probably
celebrated Harvest Home on September 25, modern Witches and Pagans, with their
desktop computers for making finer calculations, seem to prefer the actual
equinox point, beginning the celebration on its eve.
Mythically, this is the day of the year when the God of
Light is defeated by his twin and alter ego, the God of Darkness. It is the
time of the year when night conquers day. And as I have recently shown in my
seasonal reconstruction of the Welsh myth of Blodeuwedd, the autumnal equinox
is the only day of the whole year when Llew (light) is vulnerable and it is
possible to defeat him. Llew now stands on the Balance (Libra/ autumnal
equinox), with one foot on the Cauldron (Cancer/summer solstice) and his other
foot on the Goat (Capricorn/winter solstice). Thus he is betrayed by
Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio).
Two things are now likely to occur mythically, in rapid
succession. Having defeated Llew, Goronwy (darkness) now takes over Llew’s
functions, both as lover to Blodeuwedd, the Goddess, and as king of our own
world. Although Goronwy, the Horned King, now sits on Llew’s throne and begins
his rule immediately, his formal coronation will not be for another six weeks,
occurring at Samhain (Halloween) or the beginning of winter, when he becomes
the Winter Lord, the Dark King, Lord of Misrule. Goronwy’s other function has
more immediate results, however. He mates with the Virgin Goddess, and
Blodeuwedd conceives, and will give birth—nine months later (at the summer
solstice)—to Goronwy’s son, who is really another incarnation of himself, the
Llew’s sacrificial death at Harvest Home also identifies
him with John Barleycorn, spirit of the fields. Thus, Llew represents not only
the sun’s power, but also the sun’s life trapped and crystallized in the corn.
Often this corn spirit was believed to reside most especially in the last sheaf
or shock harvested, which was dressed in fine clothes, or woven into a
wicker-like man-shaped form. This effigy was then cut and carried from the field,
and usually burned, amidst much rejoicing. So one may see Blodeuwedd and
Goronwy in a new guise, not as conspirators who murder their king, but as
kindly farmers who harvest the crop that they had planted and so lovingly cared
for. And yet, anyone who knows the old ballad of John Barleycorn knows that we
have not heard the last of him.
They let him stand till midsummer’s day,
Till he looked both pale and wan,
And little Sir John’s grown a long, long beard
And so become a man….
Incidentally, this annual mock sacrifice of a large
wickerwork figure (representing the vegetation spirit) may have been the origin
of the misconception that Druids made human sacrifices. This charge was first
made by Julius Caesar (who may not have had the most unbiased of motives), and
has been restated many times since. However, as has often been pointed out, the
only historians besides Caesar who make this accusation are those who have read
Caesar. And, in fact, upon reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars closely, one discovers
that Caesar never claims to have actually witnessed such a sacrifice. Nor does
he claim to have talked to anyone else who did. In fact, there is not one
single eyewitness account of a human sacrifice performed by Druids in all of
Nor is there any archaeological evidence to support the
charge. If, for example, human sacrifices had been performed at the same ritual
sites year after year, there would be physical traces. Yet there is not a
scrap. Nor is there any native tradition or history that lends support. In
fact, insular tradition seems to point in the opposite direction. The Druid’s
reverence for life was so strict that they refused to lift a sword to defend
themselves when massacred by Roman soldiers on the Isle of Mona. Irish brehon
laws forbade a Druid to touch a weapon, and any soul rash enough to unsheathe a
sword in the presence of a Druid would be executed for such an outrage!
Weston, in her brilliant study of the Four Hallows of British myth, “From
Ritual to Romance”, points out that British folk tradition is, however,
full of mock sacrifices. In the case of the wicker man, such figures were
referred to in very personified terms, dressed in clothes, addressed by name,
etc. In such a religious ritual drama, everybody played along.
They’ve hired men with scythes so sharp,
To cut him off at the knee,
They’ve rolled him and tied him by the waist
Serving him most barbarously….
In the medieval miracle-play tradition of the “Rise Up,
Jock” variety (performed by troupes of mummers at all the village fairs), a
young harlequin-like king always underwent a mock sacrificial death. But
invariably, the traditional cast of characters included a mysterious “Doctor”
who had learned many secrets while “traveling in foreign lands”. The Doctor
reaches into his bag of tricks, plies some magical cure, and presto! the young
king rises up hale and whole again, to the cheers of the crowd. As Weston so
sensibly points out, if the young king were actually killed, he couldn’t very
well rise up again, which is the whole point of the ritual drama! It is an
enactment of the death and resurrection of the vegetation spirit. And what
better time to perform it than at the end of the harvest season!
In the rhythm of the year, Harvest Home marks a time of
rest after hard work. The crops are gathered in, and winter is still a month
and a half away! Although the nights are getting cooler, the days are still
warm, and there is something magical in the sunlight, for it seems silvery and
indirect. As we pursue our gentle hobbies of making corn dollies (those tiny
vegetation spirits) and wheat weaving, our attention is suddenly arrested by
the sound of baying from the skies (the “Hounds of Annwn” passing?), as lines
of geese cut silhouettes across a harvest moon. And we move closer to the
hearth, the longer evening hours giving us time to catch up on our reading,
munching on popcorn balls and caramel apples and sipping home-brewed mead or
ale. What a wonderful time Harvest Home is! And how lucky we are to live in a
part of the country where the season’s changes are so dramatic and majestic!
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl–
And he’s brandy in the glass,
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last.
Legend of John Barleycorn
English folklore, John Barleycorn is a character who represents the crop of
barley harvested each autumn. Equally as important, he symbolizes the wonderful
drinks which can be made from barley — beer and whiskey — and their effects. In
the traditional folksong, John Barleycorn, the character of John Barleycorn
endures all kinds of indignities, most of which correspond to the cyclic nature
of planting, growing, harvesting, and then death.
written versions of the song date back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, there
is evidence that it was sung for years before that. There are a number of
different versions, but the most well-known one is the Robert Burns version, in
which John Barleycorn is portrayed as an almost Christ-like figure, suffering
greatly before finally dying so that others may live.
Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer cites John Barleycorn as proof that there was
once a Pagan cult in England that worshipped a god of vegetation, who was
sacrificed in order to bring fertility to the fields. This ties into the
related story of the Wicker Man, who is burned in effigy. Ultimately, the
character of John Barleycorn is a metaphor for the spirit of grain, grown
healthy and hale during the summer, chopped down and slaughtered in his prime,
and then processed into beer and whiskey so he can live once more.
in glass and barley
lyrics to the Robert Burns version of the song are as follows:
was three kings into the east,
three kings both great and high,
and they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn must die.
took a plough and plough’d him down,
put clods upon his head,
and they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.
the cheerful Spring came kindly on’
and show’rs began to fall.
John Barleycorn got up again,
and sore surprised them all.
sultry suns of Summer came,
and he grew thick and strong;
his head well arm’d wi’ pointed spears,
that no one should him wrong.
sober Autumn enter’d mild,
when he grew wan and pale;
his bendin’ joints and drooping head
show’d he began to fail.
colour sicken’d more and more,
and he faded into age;
and then his enemies began
to show their deadly rage.
took a weapon, long and sharp,
and cut him by the knee;
they ty’d him fast upon a cart,
like a rogue for forgerie.
laid him down upon his back,
and cudgell’d him full sore.
they hung him up before the storm,
and turn’d him o’er and o’er.
filled up a darksome pit
with water to the brim,
they heav’d in John Barleycorn.
There, let him sink or swim!
laid him upon the floor,
to work him farther woe;
and still, as signs of life appear’d,
they toss’d him to and fro.
wasted o’er a scorching flame
the marrow of his bones;
but a miller us’d him worst of all,
for he crush’d him between two stones.
they hae taen his very hero blood
and drank it round and round;
and still the more and more they drank,
their joy did more abound.
Barleycorn was a hero bold,
of noble enterprise;
for if you do but taste his blood,
’twill make your courage rise.
make a man forget his woe;
’twill heighten all his joy;
’twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
tho the tear were in her eye.
let us toast John Barleycorn,
each man a glass in hand;
and may his great posterity
ne’er fail in old Scotland!
Mystic Moon Cafe Radio hosts bring a variety of guests to talk about paranormal phenomenon, cryptozoology, ghost hunting, favorite authors on many topics – fiction, conspiracy theory, and fact, featured music artists, and more!