Listening to the dead

October 30, 2009

Growing up I was a big fan of John Edwards,   a professional and very popular medium who claimed to talk to the dead.

 Edwards has his cynics  but there are also many apparent believers, as his live shows are consistently sold out around the world and his personal readings are booked years in advance.

 I like the idea of ghosts, of becoming something else when we die rather than simply disappearing forever.  And when I look around carefully, there is plenty of evidence that something more does exist.

Charles’ obituary on my wall upstairs is a good example.    That can’t be easily explained… and if I did the math and calculated the odds… how many local papers have been printed in the last 100 years (because though Charles’ obit was published in 1928, the papers on the wall up there date from 1908—and some of those are from Canada).   We’re talking crazy odds, inexplicable odds.

Lucy wants her story told, I don’t doubt it for a moment.  Too many strange coincidences have happened over the years for me to ever doubt it.  And so here I am.

 But what about other ghosts, other stories?

The story of Jack Ryan

BLOG.JackRyan.Confession.1

Jack Ryan's alleged double murder "confession"

Read the rest of this entry »


Funny courtroom quotes having nothing to do with history…

October 29, 2009

I received the following from a friend of mine and enjoyed so many I just had to share. 

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things
people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by
court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were
actually taking place.
>
> ATTORNEY:  What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
> WITNESS:     He said , ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
> ATTORNEY:  And why did that upset you?
> WITNESS:     My name is Susan!
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
> WITNESS:     Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Are you sexually active?
> WITNESS:     No , I just lie there.
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  This myasthenia gravis , does it affect your memory at all?
> WITNESS:     Yes.
> ATTORNEY:  And in what ways does it affect your memory?
> WITNESS:     I forget..
> ATTORNEY:  You forget?  Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
> ___________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
> WITNESS:     We both do.
> ATTORNEY:  Voodoo?
> WITNESS:     We do..
> ATTORNEY:  You do?
> WITNESS:     Yes , voodoo.
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Now doctor , isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep ,
he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
> WITNESS:  Did you actually pass the bar exam?
> ____________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  The youngest son , the 20-year-old , how old is he?
> WITNESS:      He’s 20 , much like your IQ.
> ___________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Were you present when your picture was taken?
> WITNESS:     Are you shitting me?
> _________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
> WITNESS:     Yes.
> ATTORNEY:  And what were you doing at that time?
> WITNESS:     Getting laid
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  She had three children , right?
> WITNESS:     Yes.
> ATTORNEY:  How many were boys?
> 0AWITNESS: None.
> ATTORNEY:   Were there any girls?
> WITNESS:      Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new
attorney?
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  How was your first marriage terminated?
> WITNESS:     By death..
> ATTORNEY:  And by whose death was it terminated?
> WITNESS:     Take a guess.
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Can you describe the individual?
> WITNESS:     He was about medium height and had a beard
> ATTORNEY:  Was this a male or a female?
> WITNESS:     Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.
> _____________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition
notice which I sent to your attorney?
> WITNESS:  No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
> ______________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead
people?
> WITNESS:     All of them.. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
> _________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  ALL your responses MUST be oral , OK? What school did you go to?
> WITNESS:     Oral…
> _________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
> WITNESS:     The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
> ATTORNEY:  And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
> WITNESS:     If not , he was by the time I finished.
> ____________________________________________
>
> ATTORNEY:  Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
> WITNESS:     Are you qualified to ask that question?
> ______________________________________
>
> And last:
>
> ATTORNEY:  Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
pulse?
> WITNESS:     No.
> ATTORNEY:  Did you check for blood pressure?
> WITNESS:     No.
> ATTORNEY:  Did you check for breathing?
> WITNESS:     No..
> ATTORNEY:  So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began
the autopsy?
> WITNESS:     No.
> ATTORNEY:  How can you be so sure, Doctor?
> WITNESS:     Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
> ATTORNEY:  I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
> WITNESS:     Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing
law.


1900 Census index provides lots of info

October 28, 2009

My friend Olmanriver recently let me know that the Humboldt County Historical Society  has an on-line  1900 census index .

The index was compiled by MARILYN KEACH MILOTA an amazing woman who has contributed all kinds of useful information to the county library (and apparently the historical society) to help folks find genealogy-related and general historical info.

The 1900 index consists of the person’s name, wife if any,month and year of birth, place of birth, relationship to head of household, township name and page number.

The index can make it easier to find someone, especially if you’re not quite sure where that person was living, but are pretty sure they were around here somewhere.

For example, I very quickly found David Stewart

David G., Jan 1860, Canada; Emma L., July 1868, Calif Mad River 133A

David used chalk to write his name on our upstairs ceiling when he still thought of himself as “Davie”.  Someone else kindly filled in Stewart (different handwriting) before covering Davie’s name with wall paper.

If I wanted, I could now go to the County Library and find the 1900 census, page 133 A and get more info about Davie.

Or, because I belong to Ancestry.com, I can use his name and township from the index to easily find the original census record…

1900C.Stewart.David

1900 Census, Mad River Township

Note:    If you find your family (or other person you’re researching) in the index and want a copy of the original census record, let me know (include all the info, please) and I’ll get it from Ancestry.com.   It may take me a while, but I’ll try to get to all requests.

I can also do more extensive genealogy research for a (very reasonable) fee.


Halloween in early Arcata?

October 27, 2009
Looking north up H Street, Arcata

Looking north up H Street, Arcata

It was only when I magnified this photo that I noticed the creepy masks in the window.

HSU.Collection.1999.07.0012

Fifty cents to cross a bay

October 26, 2009

 

Ferry, possibly crossing the Eel River

Ferry, possibly crossing the Eel River

In October of  1854, the county supervisors approved the petition by Heammon and Marvel to establish a ferry crossing Humboldt Bay.  The partners needed to pay the county $5 for the privilege, follow Section 16 of the Act  Concerning Public Ferries and Bridges and get a bond of $1,000.

The men were also required to have at least two boats, one large and one small, and at least two “hands”, meaning two men and literally four hands, I’m guessing.

As licensed ferrymen, they could charge foot passengers  fifty cents and could demand $2 for anyone wanting to cross the bay with a horse, mule, ox, cow, hog or other animal .

Anyone wanting to get from Eureka to Arcata was pretty much stuck taking the ferry, as there was no reliable trail and the wagon road that would eventually follow along Old Arcata Road wasn’t built yet.  The ferry dropped passengers off near the present location of Fairhaven, and they hoofed it (ha, ha), to Union/Arcata from there.

Read the rest of this entry »


Getting to work at Falk

October 23, 2009
Falk, about 1890

Falk, about 1890

 

I talked to Bill Rich yesterday, and the folks at HSU are getting ready to start digging at the historic town site of Falk.

In it’s heyday, Falk was a company mill town in the Elk River Valley with over 400 residents.   Unfortunately a drop in lumber demand in the late 1930s forced the mill’s closing and by the 1950s, the town was deserted (ish).  Squatters were living in the abandoned buildings and treasure seekers were looting the site.  These problems and concerns over legal liability prompted property owner Sierra Pacific Lumber Co to demolish the town in 1979.

In 1999, the Headwaters deal came through, and the  Bureau of Land Management took over the area. The BLM wants to use the townsite as an educational area with self-guided, and possibly guided,  tours.   Careful excavation of certain buildings and areas will  help folks learn more about how people lived in this isolated 19th century mill town and volunteers are welcome to help .

The crew will be working mostly Fridays and weekends so that they can get as many folks involved as possible and will focus on the dancehall and a small bachelor’s cabin site.

Call  Jamie Roscoe or Bill Rich at the HSU Cultural Resources Facility at (707)  826-5247  for more info or to sign up.  You can also call Dave Johnson, archaeologist at the Arcata BLM at (707) 825-2320 for more info.


Washing clothes has never been fun

October 22, 2009
Arcata Laundry 1881

Arcata Laundry 1881

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey,   folks dedicate a little more than 1/2 hour a day to household chores , including laundry.    Can you imagine how much longer it would be if we still used this?

Clothes "dryer"

Clothes "dryer"