Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Theresa's Travels: The Museum of the Bizarre

It's been awhile since I've posted a Weird Wednesday blog and you can't get much weirder than the Museum of the Bizarre!

The Museum of the Bizarre, located in historic downtown Wilmington, N.C., was one of my favorite stops on our recent Wilmington/Carolina Beach trip.  For just a few bucks per person, my son, my boyfriend, and myself were able to spend an enjoyable hour or so perusing the oddities and other attractions that make up the Museum of the Bizarre.

I had first learned about the collection from Jacob the Carpetbagger, one of my all-time favorite YouTubers. Jacob posted a video about his travels to this unique Wilmington museum back in September of 2017...WELL before we decided to visit the area for vacation this summer.  However, when my boyfriend announced that he'd found us a great rental house in nearby Carolina Beach, I remembered the video and immediately put a stop at the Museum of the Bizarre on our itinerary!

Because I had enjoyed the video so much and knew this was a location I definitely wanted to check out, I didn't start reading the reviews from other visitors until after we had visited.  Don't get me wrong...the reviews aren't BAD, but a lot of people tended to focus on the size of the collection.  Admittedly, when we entered the museum, we were under the impression that there was going to be a lot we were disappointed when we realized that the entire collection was just in the big room as you walk in.

And although I would have LOVED to see many more strange and unusual artifacts, I still had an awesome time.  The collection of strange and bizarre items housed at the museum is from the personal collection of owner, Justin LaNasa. As the story goes, when LaNasa, a local tattoo artist, was about to get married, his future bride gently suggested that his collection of anatomical specimens, taxidermy animals, horror movie props, etc. should be housed somewhere outside their home.  At the suggestion of a friend who owned the former serpentarium next door (which is now unfortunately closed down), the Museum of the Bizarre was born.  It opened its doors in April of 2015.

I think when you take into consideration that the items are simply the collection of one enthusiastic collector, the lack of size isn't an issue.  Plus, what the collection lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality!  Obviously, I'm a weird chick.  My boyfriend is a little more mainstream than myself, but he still appreciates unique history and offbeat attractions.  My son simply just gets dragged to wherever the rest of us choose to go.  Yet, we all found things in the collection that were of interest to us!

We accidentally caught the cursed clown doll in the Photo Op spot of the stocks!

I was drawn to the more 'spooky' attractions.  Housed in the collection were plaster casts of Yeti and Bigfoot footprints.  There was an old Bozo the Clown doll with a sign warning visitors not to look it directly in the eye because it was cursed.  We saw a mummified Chupacabra hand and the signal lantern involved in the famous Maco Lights haunting.  There was even a Ouija Board owned by Houdini.  I also thought the signs posted throughout the museum noting that this was a haunted museum, so don't be surprised if you heard any weird noises, were pretty awesome.

Aaron is a huge fan of Houdini, so he too enjoyed the Ouija Board, as well as the specimen of Alexander Hamiliton's hair.  Other notable exhibits included a crystal skull, shrunken heads, a two-headed calf, tons of movie props, a Hand of Glory, a Freemason alter, and a variety of stuff in jars, lol.  There was also an extremely large 'Fiji Mermaid,' which allegedly was found at nearby Ft. Fisher.

My son, Luke, for some reason, got pretty freaked out while we were there.  Luckily, for an extra couple of dollars, he was able to explore the Hall of Mirrors exhibit (mirror maze) and also play unlimited games on the floor projector.  There was comfortable seating to wait in while Luke played, FREE ice pops, and a small gift shop where I picked up a sticker and some postcards.  Several of the exhibits were interactive, and even though photography of the collection was largely prohibited, there were a few photo op spots where you could take pictures.

I wish photography of the exhibits was allowed, because there was some really cool stuff in there that I would have loved to share with you all---but check out the video below to get an idea of what's there.  Overall, however, this was a really cool little spot in downtown Wilmington, N.C. There is so much to see and do in the Wilmington area, especially if you appreciate things supernatural and/or strange, and a stop to the Museum of the Bizarre makes a great part of any day trip to the city. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Faceless Ghosts

Photo Source
Today is Faceless Ghost Friday over on Theresa's Haunted History's Facebook!  Throughout the day, I'll be posting different spooky stories from throughout the tri-state featuring blank-visaged entities.  And, as promised, I thought I'd share some of my own ideas and theories behind this fascinating paranormal topic.

My inspiration for today's blog came from an awesome article by Ashley Hall of the Paranormal Guide.  Posted in 2013, Hall's article discusses several reasons behind the faceless ghost phenomena.  One theory (because, after all, this is a field of study that rarely makes it past the conjecture stage) that is proposed is that these faceless ghosts appear in such a manner because they have no identity---they have forgotten who they were in life.

This is the theory that most closely aligns with my personal beliefs on the subject because I tend to think that ghosts (in this case, meaning human entities that have died, but have not crossed over and come back) have the ability to manifest themselves to witnesses in a way that reflects how they feel or perceive themselves.

The idea of ghosts being able to manifest themselves this way is a handy theory that can help explain more than just the faceless ghost phenomenon.  It can explain why some ghosts are seen bloodied and battered---literally how they appeared at the time of their death.  It can explain why some ghosts appear 'normal,' or even younger than they did in real life.  It can also even explain why ghosts manifest wearing clothes.  If it can do all that, then it makes sense to me that the theory can also cause an entity who has no idea who they are to manifest as faceless.

Another theory that I don't think Hall covers is one that I have also come across several times during my research, although not directly linked to faceless ghosts.  Ghosts manifest in a variety of ways.  They can appear as full-bodied apparitions, partial-bodied apparitions, or even just a singular body part.  They can manifest as indistinguishable from a living person, as a misty cloud, or as a shadowy humanoid.  Again, with no real scientific evidence available from which to draw, all we can go on is conjecture.  But, what if a manifestation takes a certain amount of energy and/or skill to achieve?  A ghost may not have the energy or ability to fully manifest (or perhaps was interrupted during the process), resulting in missing pieces.  With individual facial features being fairly detailed, manifesting an actual face may be difficult.

Anyway, these are some random ramblings.  I hope I've made myself clear enough to understand, lol.  Go check out Hall's article on Faceless Ghosts, and then hop on over to Theresa's Haunted History Facebook page to let me know YOUR thoughts on these strange entities of the paranormal world.  Happy Haunting!


In Japan, there is a type of faceless ghost called the Nopperabo.  These classic yokai are generally seen as harmless pranksters who appear in human form, but then scare unsuspecting witnesses by wiping their face clean of any facial features, revealing a blank visage underneath. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Old Fashioned Fun

Remember that blog post where I shared how I tried to summon Satan as a small child?  This kinda reminded me of that!  I'm sure in some cult-like religion, children gathering to play marbles (with or without the pentagram) is sinful enough to warrant their depiction as little demons.  I mean, it if played a certain way, it IS the same as gambling! 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Ghost Hunter For Hire: A Friday Funny

If you're experiencing paranormal activity and need help, then Michael might be your guy!  If you own a farm and your goats run away one night, then Michael might also be your guy!  Just, give him a looks like he could really use the money, lol. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Carolina Beach: The Weirdest Beach in the World

Lifeguard Stand where faceless apparition in gray was seen
If you follow me on Facebook at Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State, you've probably seen me post about my recent vacation to Carolina Beach, North Carolina. We had a wonderful family beach vacation, yet still managed to cram in as much haunted fun as we could.  We had beach and boardwalk days, but then we also had ghost walk and museum days and just overall had a really fun time together.  One day in particular we combined our beach fun with our spooky fun....

It started with a Google search.  Although I had read several books about the hauntings around Wilmington and Pleasure Island, I hadn't taken much time to just peruse what the online community had to say about the Carolina Beach area specifically in terms of spooky happenings.  The first website that came up was Ghosts of America.  Now, this isn't necessarily a site I would recommend to a serious researcher, but I've found some pretty off-the-wall stuff posted on there for West Virginia, so I wasn't too surprised to read what someone had submitted for Carolina Beach.

Apparently there is a stretch of Carolina Beach located off the  800 block of Carolina Beach Avenue that sounds like it must be the most haunted beach in all of America, if not the world!  (LINK to original post) The person submitting the tale had witnessed or had heard about the following at this location:

*A full-bodied apparition wearing a gray hoodie, which flapped in the breeze, come up out of the surf and head towards the lifeguard stand before disappearing.

*A giant cigar-shaped UFO

*Seneca Guns---strange, unexplained booming noises that seemingly come from the ocean. These are heard throughout the Carolina Coast and I'll be dedicating a special blog post to them later on!

*A giant manta ray estimated to be the size of two pick-up trucks

*Waterspout and various dangerous riptides

*A large bale of marijuana covered in barnacles

*A Civil War era button marked with the word 'Liverpool'

Haunted beach's public parking lot, across from Kupboard Grocery
Pretty crazy, right! That's a lot of stuff to happen in one little stretch of beach, so I knew we had to go.  Our main access point to the beach was at the boardwalk, since it was near our rental house, restaurants, etc. But, this location was actually sort of a hidden gem.  We easily found the place the person from the ghost site was talking about.  When we got there, there was only a few public parking spots, but they were all empty. The walk to the beach was nearly level and we had the majority of it to ourselves.  Seriously, there were only about 3 other families there when we arrived.

Unfortunately for me (because I'm a weirdo) nothing weird happened during the 4+hours we were there. But, we actually had a pretty cool time. My son, Luke, enjoyed collecting shells, building sand castles, and testing himself on how deep he could go out into the surf without me freaking out.  I stayed where it was pretty shallow since the waters were kinda rough from all the recent storms we had, but I had a fun time.  And while I'd like to remember this stretch of beach as being 'that haunted beach we went to,' I'll remember it instead as the location where I got the worst sunburn of my life!

Luke playing in the haunted surf

Monday, August 6, 2018

Ghosts of Old Wilmington: Book Review

Title: Ghosts of Old Wilmington
Author: John Hirchak
Published by Haunted America, a Division of The History Press (6th printing: 2012)

Despite my already extensive collection of regional ghost books from the Carolina Coast area, during my vacation I just had to pick up another!  The selection I chose was, of course, Ghosts of Old Wilmington, by John Hirchak.

So, our second full day of vacation was another day full of morning thunderstorms and rain on and off throughout the afternoon. After braving the lake that had formed overnight in the parking area of our rental house, we decided that since we were getting a late start, we might as well go into Wilmington for a few hours. One of the locations that I was really excited to visit was The Black Cat Shoppe, which I learned later was actually owned by the author!  Anyway, among the souvenirs I picked up there was this book, and its probably my favorite thing I bought on our whole vacation.  I tore through it that night.

At 128 pages, it was naturally a pretty short read, but it was also well written and entertaining. I also had an added layer of excitement---driving around town a bit that day, I had seen some of the locations mentioned as being haunted AND I knew that I'd likely be seeing even more in a few days when we went on the Ghosts of Old Wilmington Ghost Walk (which will be another upcoming blog post!). That made the stories really come alive for me since I knew I either had been or would be standing right by these places discussed in the book.

The book, Ghosts of Old Wilmington, reminds me a LOT of Ghosts of Old Wilmington, the ghost tour...and for good reason.  John Hirchak and his family started the ghost walk.  The collected stories and even the way they are told are similar throughout both the tour and this book, meant as a companion piece to the tours...but there are differences.  Not all the stories in the book will be told on your tour and not all stories on the tour are found in this book---so definitely don't think one can replace the other. 

If you do find yourself with a copy of Ghosts of Wilmington, you'll read tales of Samuel Jocelyn, who was buried alive in a local church cemetery; Gallus Meg, a rough tavern owner who is still assuring men follow the rules of her establishment; a ghost that likes to leave dimes with significant dates on them as presents; and plenty of others. There is a good mix of history thrown in, but not to the point where it bogs down the spooky stories.  Most, if not all, the stories found in the book are made even more interesting because they are from locations that are either open to the public, or publicly accessible in some way.

Even if you don't plan on visiting Wilmington, I'd still suggest this book.  There are some pretty fascinating stories that run a little deeper than the normal "footsteps were heard" type of haunting that is so often written about.  Wilmington is a cool little city, full of history and strangeness, and this book is a fun representation of some of its citizens that refuse to leave their southern home. 


New spooky books from Wilmington/Carolina Beach Vacation

Aaron got me these Wilmington/Carolina Beach books for Mother's Day to get me excited for our upcoming vacation

I already owned quite a few books ghost books about North Carolina, including one on the ship, the USS North Carolina! 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Akaname, The Japanese Filth Licker

This infographic comes from the Association of Paranormal Study, and is a great little piece on a very interesting creature from Japanese folklore, the Akaname!

A couple of years ago, my son really got into Yokai Watch---a cute cartoon starring adorable characters depicting a variety of real Japanese ghosts and monsters, also known as Yokai.  As part of his summer study that year, we studied Japanese culture and REAL stories of yokai, which was perfect for me, because I got to read and learn about a ton of quite interesting (and sometimes spooky) creatures myself. However, I don't remember coming across the Akaname...

The name, Akaname, literally translates into filth licker. Akaname, sometimes depicted as being red in color, is said to sneak into old bathhouses and dilapidated homes at night with its super long tongue to lick the bathrooms clean of all the gross grime and yuck that tends to build up in such places. Its origins in popular culture can be traced back at least as far as Toriyama Sekien's 1776 publication, the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō ( aka, "The Illustrated Night Parade of a Hundred Demons" ).

Personally, I would LOVE to wake up to a perfectly clean bathroom, despite the nauseating idea that someone or something LICKED it that way.  However, the Japanese people were, on the whole, not so inclined. Seeing a yokai, any yokai, was generally considered to be a creepy experience. Added to that, cleanliness is extremely important in Japanese culture, and I'm sure it was a great dishonor to have a demonic creature have to come in and lick away your filth.  So, people would ensure that their bathing spaces were spic and span before they went to bed each evening.

Another interesting aspect of the akaname that I found was the idea that this creature focused less on literal filth (mildew, dirt, etc.) and more on the metaphor of filth as a moral impurity. In other words, keep your dirty thoughts and actions out of the bathroom, lol!

Source: Wikipedia---Akaname

*Want MORE Japanese Legends from Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State?  Check out this article on the Onamazu, the Earthquake-Causing-Giant-Catfish!*