Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

Pendle Hill Witch #10-

Pendle Hill Witch #10-

It  is  irrelevant  how I  ended up   staying  at  a  ritzy hotel in New Jersey  back in March of  1990.  Suffice it  to  say, I  was  sick with a  head  cold  and  was ordere  by a  doctor not  to fly  back to California.  My  first night on the East Coast  had been spent in a  chain motel without  incident.

So I  was  very  sick with a severe head cold, sore throat  and  fever when I  checked into  the Victorian era, ivy -covered stone building.   I was dizzy and fatigued  and  craved soup and sleep.

I  was sharing a  room with my  mother.   As  we  made our  way down  the corridor, I  noticed  the  Laura  Ashley  motif  covered  everything from  the walls  to  the  seat cushions  to the  comforters  on our  beds.   I  ordered   room service: duck  wonton  soup   and   lemon- lime  soda  for my  throat.  I took a hot  shower, put on my  pajamas  and  crawled into bed.  My mother  was  concerned, but let me  be.

In  the  darkness hours later, I  awoke to  find  an old  woman with long grey  hair  in an old fashioned  night gown  trying to smother me  with a pillow.  Behind her  were  four  other  women  dressed in similar nightgowns. The look in this woman’s  eyes  was frightening.  She  seemed possessed.   The  women behind her were chanting “kill her! Kill her!”  I  struggled  with the apparition and  screamed “NO! NO! NO! NO!”. I knew  my mother  was asleep in the  bed next to me, and  when I screamed “NO! ”  the third  time, she  turned on the light  and  rushed to my side .   I  pointed  and  said ”  there  was a woman in this  room  who  just tried to kill me!”   My mother shook her head and said  “No.  You were dreaming.  You  have a  fever and a head cold.”  I  responded ” I  know I am dealing with a  head cold, but  what I experienced was real.”

The  doctor  had explicitly  told my mother  I  was not  to fly  for another  four  days.    My step father  was coming to meet us  after attending a conference in Boston,  which  meant I  had  to  move  into my  own  room  down the hall.  I  was scared.  I  told my mother ” this hotel is haunted.”  She   laughed  at me.    My new  room in the  hotel was  decorated  exactly  like the  first  one;  patterns of   blue  peonies  and pink  carnations  were  everywhere.   My mother had told me  I  could order  room  service and watch cable  T.V.  News of the  tragic Happy land  Dance hall fire   in Brooklyn, which  killed  several  dozen  people,  was  splattered on all the  stations. I kept going  back to watching music  videos  to forget what had  happened the night  before.

Maybe it  had been a bad dream.  Tonight  would be better,  I  told myself.   I  turned off the  T.V. and  then the lights.  I  don’t know  how long  I had been  asleep  when I awoke to  find  yet  more women  with the  same night  gowns in my room. I  quickly  turned on the lights & the  T.V. Splashing  water on  my  face , I  realized  the  next few  ays were going to  be rough.   There  was  no way I was going to  be able  sleep without the lights on.

I  asked  someone  in the hotel   if the place  was haunted.  They  just  shrugged.  I vowed  that one day I would find out the truth.

Maybe I could  discover it  in Public Records, some kind of history of the building  before it was a hotel.   These  were the  days before  the Internet .  The  incident  never left my psyche.  Someday.  Someday.

Several  years later I  moved to the East Coast.  I was living in Philadelphia and was at a church rummage sale.   I noticed two older women  who appeared   to be in their  early seventies sitting  in a  corner of the room.  I went  over  and sat next to them.   They smiled and said hello. I asked them  where they lived.  They  mentioned the  town  where the hotel was located.  I asked them if  they  had heard  of the hotel.  They nodded.   I paused, unsure if  I  should tell them  the story.    But I  knew what  I  had experienced  had not been the result of a  feverish head cold or a common  nightmare.

I  expected  laughter to  erupt.  Instead the faces  of the  women had a look of  compassion and kindness.  “We  believe you” they said  in unison.  The hotel  had been a  residence for homeless and mentally ill women at the turn of the Century.   As they shared the history of the hotel,  I felt  myself go pale and my legs started  to  shake.

Several  years  later   I moved to  the  suburbs.  One of my neighbors  was fascinated  by the paranormal.  I  shared  my  story with her, and when I  mentioned  the hotel and  it’s  location, she  got very excited.  ” I have  a cousin who lives  in that town! I ‘m  going to call her right now and    find out  if she knows anything about this hotel.”

For  years I had tried to  do research on the hotel.  A  well -known  travel rating  site  didn’t mention the hotel being haunted , but it did mention  the lovely  rooms..  Ten minutes  after  my  neighbor left  to go home, she called me on the phone  ” I  just talked to my  cousin”, she  said. ” That  hotel is  VERY haunted.! It’s an open secret.  Everyone who lives in that town knows that.”

Since that time, I  occasionally  google the  hotel to see if  anyone has mentioned if  it is haunted.   No on has.  I toy with this idea of going  back  for  an overnight stay at the hotel.

A  few weeks ago, I  created a series of witch paintings   I dubbed  THE PENDLE HILL WITCHES.  The last  witch- witch number ten closely  resembles the  apparition who tried to smother  me with a  pillow.

Happy Halloween.























Shell Art by Alla BaksanskayaShell Art by Alla BaksanskayaWords of Wisdom to Drive By Read on »

A few weeks ago I saw the most riveting documentary ” MAN ON WIRE” about the French tightrope walker/ acrobat Phillipe Petit who constructed a wire between the Twin Towers ( World Trade Center) in the mid 70s right after they were completed . He had an overwhelming urge to walk between the two tower. The urge became an obsession. An obsession that even he thought was “impossible”. In my opinion, ” Man on Wire” is one of the most intense documentaries I have ever seen. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. To quote a friend ,” Definitely not boring!”. The documentary, sadly is no longer playing at my local theatre. I’m sure it will be available on DVD shortly.

While on the subject of men and wires, this past weekend I journeyed to the Perelman building- which opened last year across from the Philadelphia Art Museum . It was my first trip since it opened. Yes I am a slow mover. My main reason for going was to see Alexander ” Sandy” Calder’s jewelry exhibit. I keep using the word “stunning” but the collection of rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, tiaras etc. was so incredible, I wanted to run home and make jewelry ( I don’t make jewelry). His materials were simple- wire, brass, silver, stones, glass. Most of the collection was made for his wife, mother & friends. The way he could bend wire. I read at parties he would show up with wire and pliers and make sculptures for his friends.

Another ” MUST SEE” exhibit is the James Castle Retrospective which just opened up across the street at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. James Castle ( 1899- 1977) was a deaf mute self trained outsider artist who lived in Idaho. He made incredible black and white drawings primarily with soot and spit as well as constructed tiny books from found ephemera. His work is on the genius level. The exhibit is a ” MUST SEE” for EVERYONE ( whether you consider yourself an artist or not). After missing two different screenings of a documentary made about James Castle, his life and art, I was overjoyed to discover they are showing the film every hour inside the exhibit. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2009 and information about the James Castle Retrospective can be found on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website.

To digress now to some more of my favorite things about fall; specially fall on the East Coast. The leaves changing colors, the way the air smells- crisp with a smoky tinge, Caramel Apples- the really good kind that you make at home or buy at a high end candy shop. I love apples and fresh apple cider. Anything pumpkin; especially good pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes, hearty homemade soups. My favorite apple is Honey Crisp, handknit scarves and shawls. Fall colors in clothing. Sad to say on a recent trip to MACYS, every piece of clothing I looked at from inexpensive to expensive was Made in China. I looked at a sweater dress that was priced at $198- it had threads hanging off it; very poorly made. What happened to quality? This is yet another argument for me continuing to shop at Thrift stores and seek out D.I.Y. artist/designers/seamstresses. Thank God for eBAY. This is a great place to find handmade items. I have found wonderful people on eBAY who have made me wool winter hats, scarves, hand loomed sweaters, wool socks etc. I choose handmade any day.

Now that the cooler weather is setting in, I am switching my facial products around. I just adore Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL face cream and SKIN ETERNAL Face Serum. Natural skin products that don’t cost a fortune and really work ( for me), Drinking lots of spring water, at least 2 ounces of Aloe Vera Juice and being consistent with taking Womens Essential Oil Capsules.

And before I close this blog let me talk about films. I just HAPPY GO LUCKY ( in movie theatres now). A definite ” must see” film with Buddhist themes. I think Mike Leigh is a wonderful film director ( in a future blog I will write more about favorite films and film directors etc. ) THE VISITOR – which is out on DVD- another “must see” film. Buddhist ideals show up in this film too.

Since Halloween is approaching, I must confess I do have a weakness for horror films. I recently re-watched Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 film DON’T LOOK NOW with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Using the city of Venice ( Italy) as the backdrop, I really enjoyed the “psychic” aspect of this film. It is a terrific film that really holds up well 35 years later. I recommend it as ” must see” film.

Tashi Delek,