Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Thankful For A Lot of Things But Thanksgiving Isn't One Of Them

I confess, I don’t really like Thanksgiving and I’m not sorry.

As far as holiday’s go, Thanksgiving isn’t all that. Halloween is about dressing up in a cool costume, going to parties and sharing candy. Oh, and let’s not forget the spookiness, which is awesome! Christmas is happy songs, cookies and gifts. Hello, YES! But Thanksgiving is…food, family and football which to me is the equivalent of indigestion, frustration and a snoozefest.

Thanksgiving is not, and never has been, a favorite of mine. Here’s why:

Forced thankfulness. Look, I’m already thankful for plenty of things. As a matter of fact, I keep a thankfulness journal in a document on my computer. In it, I record the things I’m thankful for because – in case you haven’t noticed – I have a tendency to be bitchy and complain-y. Forcing myself to look at the good things I have is necessary. Otherwise, I would spin off into even more frequent and dramatic depressive episodes.

So yes, I’m all for being grateful. At the sake of sounding corny, I try to be grateful every day of the year and not just when I’m sitting around the table with family and required to give a trite reason before I can eat.

The food. I really, really don’t like Thanksgiving food. If you looked at my plate, you’d see a small slice of turkey, which I most likely won’t eat, a couple dinner rolls and buttered corn. If the Thanksgiving meal consisted of pizza, spaghetti, chicken wings and shrimp scampi, I’d be all over that. But turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce…meh…I’ll pass. And let me ask you this: If that stuff is so good, how come we don’t eat it any other time of the year?

It’s too close to Christmas. Since we must do Thanksgiving, why not do it in June or August? Having to see extended family just month before you see them again for Christmas is a bit much in such a short period of time. Not because I don’t like spending time with them but because we because we go for a span of about 6 months of not seeing them in the middle of the year. Then there’s the way we must travel in treacherous weather two months in a row.

Family considerations aside, retailers have turned Thanksgiving into nothing more than a materialistic profit-generating shopping holiday, not a time to enjoy with your family and friends. If we separate it from Christmas, we can squash that bullshit and turn Thanksgiving back into the day it was meant to be.

Football. I cannot muster up even two figs of a fuck to give about football any time of the year, let alone on Thanksgiving.

The Colors. Maybe I’m being a tad nitpicky but the colors associated with Thanksgiving – orange, brown, gold and rust-- are ugly. Because they remind me of the Brady Bunch (anyone remember their orange kitchen countertop?) and all the other decorating trends of the early 1970s, I don’t want to deck my house out with them. I know plenty of people enjoy the beauty of fall leaves and gourds but give me some happy reds and basic navy’s please.

It’s sort of a lie. We all learned that heartwarming story in elementary school about the how the pilgrims and Native Americans sat down to a delicious harvest dinner…except that it’s not really true. No one ate turkey. Instead, they feasted on passengers pigeons stuffed with chunks of onions and herbs -- which is kind of gross – but they also ate lobster, clams and mussels. The actual meal didn’t take place in November, but in October and Squanto was a Wampanoag who was kidnapped, brought to Europe and then found his way back to the Americans to work as a translator. Poor Thanksgiving. The whole holiday is nothing more than a fairytale.

Shopping madness! By now, you all know where I stand on Black Thursday and Black Friday shopping. Honestly, everyone needs to seriously chill out with all the standing in line at 4 am to buy toys and electronics. Over the years, Thanksgiving has morphed into nothing but a day to stuff your face before beginning your shopping frenzy. The thing is, it’s supposed to be about family. Kind of sad to see a major holiday being co-opted by the retail industry.

I realize I’m probably in the minority with my Thanksgiving dislike, as everyone I know loves Thanksgiving with every ounce of their soul. But whatev. That’s just me. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

5 Real Life Rules Every Woman Should Know

Once I admitted to being a grown up, I realized there were two things that I didn’t like: (1) Being a grown up and (2) Not being a kid anymore.

30-some years later, none of that has changed. With kids and responsibilities and bills and dealing with other grown ups who act assholes, I am solidly of the opinion that some days, being an adult SUCKS.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when adulthood is wonderful. But during those times when my hatred for having to live a grown up life gurgles up, I use motivational quotes to get me through the day.

Here are my five favorites along with the pep talk I give myself and some Disney animation, just because I love Disney animation.


1) If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave. – Mo Williams

Breaking news from the No Shit Gazette: You have the power to change the things in your life that you don’t like. Sick of those 10 extra pounds? Diet them off. Battling depression? Find a therapist. Drinking too much? Join AA. Don’t know how to knit? Take a class. Face your fears and try something new.

Don't know where to start? Here's an idea: Stop sitting on the couch every night staring saucer eyed at the television and scratch out a few ideas.



2) How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than create it herself? – Anais Nin

Believe it or not, I grew up thinking a man was going to give me everything I wanted and needed. (Thank you 1970s parents who raised me with a 1950s husband-is-dominant-and-woman-is-submissive mentality.)  In my 20s I learned that attitude is a minefield. A big, BIG minefield – and at some point, it’s guaranteed to blow up.

Listen to me: Life isn't about finding your Prince and having a happy ending. It is up to you to get what you want. No man is going to give you everything you need or do everything you want or satisfy every one of your emotional whims. If you want something, get your butt out there and get it yourself. It may not be easy, it may almost break you and they’ll be plenty of times you’ll come close to losing hope, but damn it girl, you can do it!





3) No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

I always try to be nice to people because one of my favorite things is people who are nice to me. The problem is, there are some people who will always be assholes. The easiest way to remedy that is to not associate with assholes and not let their asshole behavior get you down. Unfortunately, even though you’re not actively associating with assholes, some will still come and find you.

You can give yourself a hole in your stomach worrying about those people or you can file them away under “Sometimes Life’s A Bitch.” Trust me, by your 40s, that file is going to be pretty thick.






4) Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass. – Maya Angelou

Going solely from my own personal experience and observation, this one is sooooooo true. Life – especially life as an adult – can be a hellfest. If you think playground annoyances end when you’re a grownup, you are wrong. So very sadly wrong.

If you want to survive in this world, here’s what you do: Make friends. Work hard. Be kind and honest. Find your voice and use it and stand up for yourself, your family and what you believe in -- respectfully, of course. There’s no need to lose your temper to the point where your pupils dilate and turn into little spirals. No one’s going to take you seriously or listen if you’re always running around like a screaming banshee.




5) Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt

I don’t have a lot of rules in my house for visitors. We’re pretty laid back and allow people who are staying with us to treat our home as their own. That means all the food in the fridge, the remote (if you can pry it out my husband’s hand), the couch and the special body spray in the bathroom are all yours for the using when you’re here. I usually only ask that you take your shoes off, because I have this thing about my carpets, but that’s pretty much all of it. Oh, that and, don’t waste my time with petty gossip.

Like seriously. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t give a rat’s ass about what the neighbor is doing or how so-and-so’s haircut looks like she shoved her head in a pencil sharpener so do not try to discuss that crap with me.

Remember, if you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, you shouldn’t be saying it behind their back. 





Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's All Make A Pledge to Not Shop on Black Thursday (AKA Thanksgiving)

I have never been a fan of Black Friday but now, more than ever, it makes me pissy. That’s because over the years Black Friday has turned into Black Thursday (aka Black Thanksgiving.)

As a child of the 1970s, I remember a time when stores closed not only on holidays but also on Sundays. It was a slower, simpler time. No one felt the urge to skip out of holiday dinners or lazy Sunday afternoons to shop and we all managed just fine.

I blame corporate America and all its corporate greed. Oh how I’d love to go back to the days of small towns and small family owned business. Except that small towns have pretty much dried up as a result of rampant corporate growth.

Speaking of rampant things, I’m also not a fan of the rampant materialism of the holiday season that’s being pushed by those same corporations. This year we have some retail stores open for the morning of Thanksgiving to nab early shoppers (I'm talking about you Kmart) while others (*ahem*, Macy’s) plan to open around 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day. So hey all you blue light special lovers, if you'd prefer to buy cheap crap on a day when you're supposed to be relaxing, enjoying the holiday with your family and reflecting on the year gone by, Kmart has your back.

Surely I am not the only one who thinks that is loathsome and goes against the whole idea of what this time of year is supposed to be about.

Of course there are some businesses and industries that require people to work on Thanksgiving – gas stations, police officers, fire fighters, healthcare workers to name a few. Restaurant workers are subject to working holidays too, which I think is one thousand times wrong, but some people do like to go out to eat on the holidays so I suppose I can tolerate that. These industries are essential to our well being an must be open on a holiday.

Do you need treatment in a hospital if you cut your finger open with a knife? Yes. Do you need fire trucks to spray your house down if a fall candle ignites your living room curtains and sets your house ablaze? Of course. Do you need gas for your car if you are driving 500 miles to see Aunt Helen? I suppose you do, although I hate to think of someone working at a gas station on a holiday but gas does fall under “essential.” But please answer this for me: Does anyone need ANYTHING Kmart and Macy’s sells so desperately to justify them being open on Thanksgiving? 

I’m going to go with no.

I just cannot grasp forcing minimum wage employees to work long hours on a major American holiday so selfish jerks can buy a cheap, big-screen TV or this years toy fad. Personally, I don’t think any deal is good enough to justify shopping on Thanksgiving. 

As for those early bird specials, let's just say that shoppers are being tricked into thinking Black Friday has the best deals of the season. It does not. Savvy shoppers know that the best deals crop up as the season continues. And those door busters some people wait all night for? They're nothing ore than a ploy to get people in the door. When the stores run out of the minimal number of those items they have in stock, the people who came out in the middle of the night for a certain item end up buying something else so their efforts weren't a complete wast of time. Have they forgotten that we have Amazon and the rest of the internet along with a crap ton of online sales and free shipping? 

I realize some people have their own Black Friday traditions and I don't begrudge them that. What I really dislike is the way Black Friday keeps happening earlier and earlier. At this rate, all stores - not just stupid Kmart -- will be open all day long on Thanksgiving in order to top the competition.

Wouldn’t it be a nice compromise to see the stores agree that opening at 7 or 8 am on Friday is just fine and refuse to do it any earlier? Of course it won’t happen as long as people make a point to shop on Thanksgiving Day, but this somewhat old-fashioned girl can dream. 

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

10 Stupid Things Our Kid Will Find In Our House After We Die

I’m not trying to be morbid but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how Bill and I are on the verge of a “new” lifestyle when he retires in so many years. This will be the time when we move someplace perpetually warm and spend our Golden Years beekeeping or making ceramics or learning how to tap dance or whatever other  silly hobby catches our attention.

And then at some point – hopefully decades from now – we’re going to die and it’s going to be up to our son to clean out our house. I’ve heard stories about people finding things from their childhood that they didn’t know their parents kept. (I’ve never heard of someone stumbling on a secret sex dungeon, but wouldn’t that be funny?)

We’re not hoarders – although someone called us that when I posted a picture on Facebook a few years ago that happened to show our garage and all the crap in it in the background. (Note to all: We have since cleaned that shit out, sold it in the neighborhood garage sale and spent the money on a new roof so THERE.)

But there still is some dumb stuff in our house. Stuff I don’t think twice about when I open a closet or drawer but stuff that might make other people wonder, “What were those two thinking?!” Things like:

My “back massager.” I was invited to a “toy” party and you know how those parties are. It’s not polite to leave without buying anything. I didn’t want to be rude. Besides, it's a back massager people!! Where are your minds??!!




Pens. I’m going to go on record and say I have never bought a pen in my life. Why? Because we travel a lot and they are always available in hotel rooms. Also because I have this unintentional habit of never returning a pen when I borrow one. Thanks to my pen fetish, there are hundreds of pens in our house. My child will never be without a pen again.




Thousands of dollars’ worth of hair products. When my hair looks bad, I feel bad. For that reason, I hoard hair products. You name it, I’ve got it…in abundance. One day Justin is going waste hours of his life cleaning out a closet full of shampoo, regular conditioner, deep conditioner, Moroccan oil, gel, mousse, hairspray, anti-humidity spray, heat protectant spray, boxed hair color, pomade, wax, styling cream and about 52,000 hair brushes of various sizes and shapes. Sorry kid. On the bright side, add the hair junk to the pens and think about how much money you'll be saving.




Stacks of receipts. I keep our receipts. All of them. One day my son will find them and say “What are these? And why would anyone need to remember that they bought a roll of Lifesavers at Disney World on this one day? Damn it mom!” Dad’s with you on that one, befuddled child.




A sex dungeon. I’m kidding.



A frillion pillow cases and a few stacks of fitted and flat sheets, none of which match. What kind of idiots manage to accumulate a ton of bedding that doesn’t match? These idiots. And here’s the bad news: You can’t even give them away. Enjoy your fourth trip to the dump.




A book on how to train for a marathon. “Hey, remember that time that Mom thought she was going to run a marathon even though she hates to run, has asthmatic fits and bitches about her feet hurting after 20 minutes on the treadmill? Ha! That was hilarious. We’ll add this to the Pile of Stupidity in the corner and burn it later.”




My memory box. By “memory box” I mean an old Whitman’s Sampler box full of jumbled mementos and miscellaneous junk. It will remind Justin that I was the sentimental, lazy type. A woman who liked to have keepsakes from the special times in her life so that she could toss them into a stinky old box in the basement. What a sweetheart I was.




A giant container of photographs. While I managed to take pictures of every aspect of Justin's life from birth to the present, I never bothered to do anything with them. You're all aware of my intense dislike of scrapbooking, right?




Okay, you’re turn. What kind of dumb junk would your kids find when they’re cleaning out your house?


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ghost Hunting at Hill View Manor: A Haunted Nursing Home

Hey Guys! Guess what time it is?? It’s time for the recap of Bill and Danielle’s annual Halloween ghost hunting adventure.

If you’re a regular reader you remember our visit to Nemacolin Castle in Brownsville PA in 2011 and our visit to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia in 2012. Last year we stayed at the Omni Shoreham, which is supposedly the most haunted hotel in Washington, DC but I didn’t write about it because the only thing that happened was that the bathroom door in our room had a tendency to open by itself, which could just be attributed to the sloping floor in an old hotel room. Booorrrrring! This year our visit was to Hill View Manor in New Castle. Hill View is an abandoned nursing home that is reportedly a hotbed of paranormal activity.

Before I get into the details of Hill view, let me tell you that the reason we do this stuff each year is to celebrate Halloween. I mean, what better way to get into the Halloween spirit than with a real ghost hunt! I've never had a problem ghost hunting because I'm such a skeptic. I do believe our loved ones who have passed on watch over us and maybe occasionally visit. But when it comes to actually seeing, hearing, feeling or otherwise sensing a ghost or spirit, I've always been on the fence. Sure it's possible but I haven't really seen any proof.

Even after touring Nemacolin and the Lunatic Asylum my skepticism remained unchanged. The nursery at Nemacolin definitely had a creep vibe and at the Lunatic Asylum there was a point when I thought something touched my butt, but in the back of my mind I've always thought it could have been my imagination playing tricks on me. When I walked out of both of those buildings, I was still a non-believer.

And then there was Hill View Manor…

First, a little background: Hill View opened in 1926 as a home for the poor, the aged and the mentally ill. Although the building was intended for adults, a few children reportedly lived there through the years. In the 1960s the building was converted to a nursing home and an addition in the 1970s turned it into a state-of-the-art facility. Due to financial constraints, Hill View closed in 2004. Today it sits empty except for an odd assortment of medical equipment, miscellaneous furniture and a basement room full of personal items which were left behind by patients (or "inmates" as they were called in the 1920s.)

On the outside Hill View resembles an old elementary school and doesn't appear scary.

Hill View's haunted status is possibly linked to the numerous natural deaths and suicides that took place on the property over the years. At least three residents are known to have committed suicide. Two of them were people who either jumped or fell to their death from the roof and one person either hung -- or was hung -- inside one of the bathrooms. It is estimated that about 10,000 people died in Hill View with many being buried in the cemetery behind the building. Because exact records weren't kept during the early years and because most patients who passed on were indigents, exact figures aren't available and most graves aren't marked.

Inside, the halls of Hill View are supposedly haunted by several colorful characters who died at the home. There’s Jeffrey, a young boy who has a room full of toys. Rumor is, anyone who sees Jeffrey dies soon afterwards. There’s also Mary Virginia, an elderly woman with a fondness for dolls and jewelry; and Jimmy Snaps, an elderly man who would charge a dollar to take your photo even though his camera had no film and several others.

On the day we visited, we were allowed a three hour tour of Hill View. The first 90 minutes consisted of our guides showing us around the building, helping us become familiar with the layout and giving us background info. We were told that reported activity includes voices, footsteps, doors slamming and miscellaneous items moving on their own. Dark images have been witnessed and photographed lurking in the halls and rooms. Shadows are seen throughout the building, sometimes peeking out of rooms and paranormal activity has been detected in the graveyard behind the building.

For the second 90 minutes they turned us loose on our own and allowed us to go wherever we wanted. The only places that were off limits were the roof and the old boiler room, with both being deemed too dangerous. We were allowed to explore the basement, which consisted of a pitch black hallway dotted with pitch black rooms. It was spooky as you would expect a pitch black basement in an old abandoned nursing home to be and we did have something happen down there that I'll tell you about later.

Surprisingly, it wasn't the basement that gave me the creeps. That distinction goes to the third floor, which once was home to men who were mentally ill or had recently been released from prison or were otherwise considered "bad."  While Bill and I were exploring there after our guides left, my first thought was, “Get me off this floor. NOW!” Maybe it was just the shock of suddenly being alone, maybe it was my mind replaying the ghost stories we had just been told or maybe it was the fact that the third floor just flat out had an ominous vibe. It's hard to describe unless you actually feel it but it really did make the hair on my arms stand up.

For fun, Bill and I brought some ghost hunting equipment. It was cheap stuff I bought that consisted of an EMF meter, a sensor sweep and an EVP detector.

An EMF meter is the tool that real ghost hunters swear by. It reads fluctuations in magnetic fields since ghosts supposedly cause an increase in magnetic fields. It looks like this:




When the needle is to the left on zero, it means No Ghosts. When it's to the right on 100 it means THERE'S A GHOST CLOSE! 

Our second tool was a Sensor Sweep. A Sensor Sweep "sweeps" the room. If it detects a ghost, a dot appears on the screen and the little gadget beeps. It looks like this:




An EVP detector is a device that supposedly allows ghosts to communicate with you. When a spirit chooses to talk, a word appears on the screen and a computer sounding voices says it for you. When I was trying out the EVP detector at home I'd turn it on and it would chatter at me all day but never with anything that made any sense. For example, at home I tested it when I was drinking iced tea. I said, "What am I drinking?" and it said, "Sergio." At that point I labeled it a Random Word Generator because it didn't seem to do much of anything else. Here's a picture:




Many people have debated whether or not this stuff actually works and I'm not going to delve into that because I honestly don't know if any of it is legitimate or not. Instead, I'll just tell you about our experiences using it.

Back at Hill View, there were about 10 people in our group. The average age was about 50 and there was an equal mix of men and women. There was one little boy who was at least 12. Besides him, there were no other children. The first part of our tour with our guides was pretty uneventful. We walked around the first floor, saw the chapel, the community room and the basement.

Things got a little livelier on the second floor when we were in the cafeteria getting lowdown on where the food lines where and where the tables were and I don't know what else. I stopped listening because something pulled my hair. At first, I thought my hair got caught in my jacket. Except that my hair wasn't in my jacket. And then it got pulled again. This wasn't a typical hair-pulling tug. It felt like something was picking out one or two hairs on the top of my head and then giving them a yank. This went on for about 5 minutes. While everyone else was standing in a group talking to the guide, I was in the back of the groups swatting at my head whispering "Stop it!" (I know. I know. It sounds ridiculous.) Finally Bill said, "What are you doing?"and I had to tell him, "Something is pulling my hair!"

The hair pulling wasn't scary. It was just different and kind of playful. Fortunately, it stopped when we moved on to the third floor and the guides left. Once they were gone, everyone split up and went exploring on their own. Bill and I wandered into the old surgery room, which was an extremely small room with marble walls and a drain on the floor. (Yuck!) I said out loud, "Is anyone here? Do you want to talk to us?" and the EVP detector/random word generator said, "Obama." 

Seriously??!! That's our first communication from a ghost?

We explored the third floor hallways and rooms. Bill felt nothing. I felt completely and totally creeped out, like we were being followed or watched. I didn't know if it was my imagination or not. At one point, when I REALLY felt as if something was right behind me I stopped and said to Bill, "Something is behind me. Stand behind me with the EMF meter." He did and guess what? The needle swung the whole way to the right. A GHOST WAS CLOSE!!

Jeffrey's Room

After we explored nearly every room and hallway we went down to the second floor. There we went first to Jeffrey's room. Jeffrey is said to be a young boy who lived and died in Hill View. People who have toured Hill View have left toys and pictures in his room for him to play with.




I picked up Jeffrey's teddy bear and said, "Jeffrey, I like your bear. What's his name?" and the EVP meter immediately said, "Matthew." Finally, an answer that made sense -- even if it was a coincidence. (Still the skeptic!)


When we took this picture we invited Jeffrey to show up in it too. As you can see, we got nothing but me, a bear and some toys.
I also asked if Jeffrey wanted us to stay in the room and talk to him and the EVP meter said, "Babysitter" although I'm not sure what that meant. Bill tried to talk to him about baseball (big surprise!) and he got nothing. Jeffery didn't seem to want to talk to him. I did get two more EVPs. They were "Sheldon" and "Hawaii", making me think we were back to random word generation and this EVP/ghost stuff was a bunch of BS.

We continued to move around the second floor playing a game with the EMF meter. I'd say, "I feel something behind me" when I actually did and Bill would run his meter by me and every single time the needle swung to the right. Once I tried to trick him. I lied and said, "Something is behind me" and when he checked, the needle didn't budge.

Hmmmmmmm. Maybe there might be something to this ghost stuff.

Room 138

Down on the first floor things got a little more exciting. In a bright room that looked into the parking lot in the front of the building, the needle on the EMF meter when off the chart when Bill stood in a corner of the room. Don't ask me why. Neither of us knows enough about this stuff to say. I will tell you this, it was the strangest thing. Like something was hiding in the corner watching us. It didn't feel scary. It just felt like we were being watched.

Next we went into Room 138. It was a small room with a closet and a bathroom that connected it to the next room. Bill walked in first. At the time he had his EMF meter on and I had the Sensor Sweep on. As I walked into the room past the closet, something grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the closet

I AM NOT KIDDING.

At the same time, the needle on Bill's EMF meter swung to the right and my Sensor Sweep STARTED BEEPING LIKE CRAZY while showing a dot on the screen right in a position that would mean something was right beside me.

It sounded like this: BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP!!!!

And I sounded like this: HOLY FUCKING SHIT!! 

For a few seconds, things seemed chaotic. I didn't scream but I did suck in a large amount of air and -- I'm almost ashamed to admit this -- started crying. The hair on my arms, the hair on my head, the hair all over my body was standing straight up.

Bill said, "What's happening?" and I said, "SOMETHING JUST GRABBED MY ARM!" and then I yelled, "DON'T TOUCH ME!" to whatever -- or whoever -- it was. Instantly all the beeping stopped, everything went completely silent and it felt like we were alone in the room.

I AM NOT KIDDING.

We stayed in Room 138 for about 5 or 10 more minutes. Bill walked into the room next door and I stayed there alone to prove to myself that I will not let this stuff scare me. That I am brave! That I can do this! Off to the basement!

The Basement

Let me tell you this, things in the basement got REALLY, REALLY weird, and it wasn't just nerves making it feel that way -- even though the walk to the basement was scary enough to give even the bravest person a heart attack. There's a yucky, dark, old staircase to go down, there's a long dark hallway, there are dozens of dark doorways and there are NO lights down there. As we were strolling down the basement hallway with only a tiny flashlight lighting the way, this is what my mind pictured lurking ahead of us:


Ha ha! Anyone remember that from Scooby Doo?

The room we were heading to was the furnace room. According to our guides, an old man named George once worked there. In life, George was a gruff former military man who loved the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was said his ghost still hung around the furnace room where he worked for so many years. People on previous tours left Steelers mementos for George and there is a little Steelers shrine in the boiler room for him to enjoy.


 

It's also been said that George dislikes Browns fans and on one occasion, smacked a Cleveland fan in the head. If you know me, you know I am not a Steeler fan (although not necessarily a Browns fan either). I did not, however, confess that while I was in the boiler room. I already had my hair pulled and been dragged to a closet, I wasn't up for a smack in the head too.

There were about six people from the group in the boiler room and they decided to do a test test to see if George was present. The lights were out and the room was completely black except for a flashlight that one of the other people on our tour placed on the floor. As a group, we asked George to make himself known and shut off the flashlight. Nothing happened. We asked again. Nothing happened. We asked a third time. Nothing happened. The forth time we asked a little more firmly, adding, "If you're a true Steeler fan, shut off that flashlight." Guess what? The flashlight got dimmer. And dimmer. And dimmer. And dimmer. It kept getting dimmer until it was almost out and we were all sitting in nearly complete darkness -- until it switched back on. FOR REAL! 

It was another "Oh my fucking God!" moment. One of the people in our group captured it all on video. Does this mean the ghost of George was there or does it mean someone had a wonky flashlight with batteries that just happened to grow weak at that exact moment -- and then turn back on? I'll let you form your own opinion. 

We put the lights on in the room and explored a little more. For a few seconds, there  was a very cold spot in the room and everyone who had EMF devices picked up the same readings at the same time.

Bill checking things out in the furnace room.
Although we tried to talk more with George, there was no other contact other than a hand on my thigh that made it tingle. This didn't scare me because I wasn't actually moved anywhere and because once a ghost supposedly touches you, you're all "Oh, here we go with that again" the next time it happens. Okay, no. Not really. It's creepy every time it happens. And it happened again. After we left the furnace room and walked down that creepy-ass hall to the creepy-ass steps, my sensor sweep started beeping and I felt a hand on my shoulder. Of course no one was there -- no one we could see, anyway. This time I said in a very firm voice, "Stop touching me!!" and it did. The beeping stopped and whatever it was just went away.

Mary Virginia and Angelo

Back upstairs we checked out Mary Virginia's room. Mary Virginia was a older woman who lived in Hill View for several years. She had a fondness for trinkets, makeup, stuffed animals and jewelry. We found nothing happening in her room but here's a picture:




We also investigated a bathroom where a man name Angelo either hung himself or was hung by someone else. Either way, Angelo died in that bathroom, but he wasn't there on the day we visited.


 
Angelo's Bathroom

The Chapel and Community Room

We spent some time in the chapel where the sensor sweep beeped repeatedly and the EMF told us there were GHOSTS IN THE ROOM! but at that point we needed a little rest and just sat there in the chairs and let them swirl around us. (If that is what they were doing. We don't know for sure.) Nothing showed up in any pictures we took of the chapel. 




There was no activity in the community room. An old organ was said to play by itself but it was silent when we were there. The room itself reminded me of the church basement where I had Brownie meetings in the early 1970s! Check it out:



Lastly, we had a little ghostly session in this room on the second floor:



We called this room The Black Shadow Room because there was some freaky-ass black shadow/mist hanging out in that doorway you see in the back of the room. Let me add that there was no reason for this particular shadow/black mist thing to be there. Oh, and it wasn't actually a shadow of anything because the room was empty.

Bill and I were walking around in there keeping our distance from the shadow/mist when the one kid in the group came bounding in saying "Guys! Watch what happens when I walk to the back of this room." This kid was basically fearless because he was walking towards the big black shadow. The further back he walked the further right the needle on his EMF detector moved.

Not to be outdone by a 12 year old, Bill got into the action, walking to the back of the room with his EMF detector. When both he and Little Mr. Fearless walked to the back of the room, their meters went up. When they walked to the front of the room their meters went down to the normal level. And then that black thing moved to a corner of the room. OF COURSE Bill and that kid rushed over there and trapped it in the corner. I waited in the hall with that kid's mother until those two were done messing around with that thing because I wanted no parts of that.

The Embalming Room

Other interesting things we noticed on our exploration of Hill View was gray hair clippings still in one of the sinks in the beauty salon along with bottles of old shampoo, a container of old perm rods and other old beauty supplies still sitting on the counter. Looking at those was being in a time warp. Very eerie indeed!

We also visited the embalming room where one of the men in our group layed down on the embalming table and then jumped up, saying something pinched his finger!


The embalming table in the Embalming Room. The stain on the floor to the right of the table was the. drain, which has since been sealed.
That's right, there was an arm and a leg sticking out of the ground...
After our three hours were over, everyone on the tour met in the lobby of the building and discuss what they had seen, heard and felt and compared pictures and videos. One guy, who was filming in the furnace room, played his video back and at one point, something clearly walked in front of his camera on film -- something that no one saw when we were in the room. BOO!

Overall, it was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It definitely got us in the Halloween spirit and definitely makes you wonder if and why some people remain Earthbound after they die. Despite the hair pulling, the arm grabbing, the hand on my leg and the funky black mist, I'm still skeptical. Or maybe I just don't want to believe. I don't know.

To end this post, I'lI show you a picture of a door I took. It was a door that sat at the end of a super spooky hallway that NO ONE had the guts to walk down. It just felt weird and scary and wrong. I'll leave it to you decide what you see in the window on the left side. Is it a reflection? A face? A tall man with his right arm outstretched? Or nothing at all?





Bye Bye Hill View! It was fun!




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