Sunday, February 22, 2009

Louisiana Ghost Story

I was reading a blog that I follow and found this story. I hope Tudor-Virgil Constantin doesn't mind that I borrowed it!


This happened about a month ago just outside of Cocodrie, a little town in the bayou country of Louisiana , and while it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it's real.

This out of state traveler was on the side of the road, hitchhiking on a real dark night in the middle of a thunderstorm. Time passed slowly and no cars went by.

It was raining so hard he could hardly see his hand in front of his face. Suddenly he saw a car moving slowly, approaching and appearing ghostlike in the rain It slowly and silently crept toward him and stopped.

Wanting a ride real bad the guy jumped in the car and closed the door; only then did he realize that there was nobody behind the wheel, and no sound of an engine to be heard over the rain. Again the car crept slowly forward and the guy was terrified, too scared to think of jumping out and running.

The guy saw that the car was approaching a sharp curve and, still too scared to jump out, he started to pray and begging for his life; he was sure the ghost car would go off the road and in the bayou and he would surely drown! But just before the curve a shadowy figure appeared at the driver's window and a hand reached in and turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend. Then, just as silently, the hand disappeared through the window and the hitchhiker was alone again!

Paralyzed with fear, the guy watched the hand reappear every time they reached a curve. Finally the guy, scared to near death, had all he could take and jumped out of the car and ran to town.

Wet and in shock, he went into a bar and voice quavering, ordered two shots of whiskey, then told everybody about his supernatural experience.

A silence enveloped and everybody got goose bumps when they realized the guy was telling the truth (and not just some drunk).

About half an hour later two guys walked into the bar and one says to the other,

"Look Boudreaux, ders dat idiot that rode in our car when we wuz pushin it in the rain."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

I'm not really superstitious and don't worry at all about black cats, walking under ladders, broken mirrors or Friday the 13th. But I found this article today and thought it was quite interesting - I hope you do too.

13 Facts About Friday the 13th

By LiveScience Staff

If you fear Friday the 13th, then batten down the hatches. This week's unlucky day is the first of three this year.

The next Friday the 13th comes in March, followed by Nov. 13. Such a triple whammy comes around only every 11 years, said Thomas Fernsler, a math specialist at the University of Delaware who has studied the number 13 for more than 20 years.

By the numbers

Here are 13 more facts about the infamous day, courtesy of Fernsler and some of our own research:

1. The British Navy is said to have built a ship named Friday the 13th, or the HMS Friday, which on its maiden voyage left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again. As LiveScience readers pointed out, however, this story seems to be a legend. The Royal Navy Museum states on its web site that this story, which has been told before, is a hoax. "There has never been a Royal Navy ship named HMS Friday – or after any other day of the week for that matter," the museum states.

2. The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on Apr. 11, 1970. The sum of the date's digits (4-11-70) is 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0 = 13). And the explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13 (not a Friday). The crew did make it back to Earth safely, however.

3. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor.

4. Fear of Friday the 13th — one of the most popular myths in science — is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

5. Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Despite being a superb quarterback (some call him one of the best ever), he got to the Super Bowl just once, in 1985, and was trounced 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana (who wore No. 16 and won all four Super Bowls he played in).

6. Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.

7. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.

8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

9. Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

10. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. "It was bad luck," Twain later told the friend. "They only had food for 12."

11. Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number, though his experience didn't support such faith. He arrived in Normandy, France on Friday, Dec. 13, 1918, for peace talks, only to return with a treaty he couldn't get Congress to sign. (The ship's crew wanted to dock the next day due to superstitions, Fernsler said.) He toured the United States to rally support for the treaty, and while traveling, suffered a near-fatal stroke.

12. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number — 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

13. The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle's head, 13 war arrows in the eagle's claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch. So far there's been no evidence tying these long-ago design decisions to the present economic situation.


Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th, also known as Friday 13 or Friday the thirteenth, has been considered as a day of bad luck in various countries for many years. However, contrary to popular belief that Friday 13 is an unlucky day, it is actually regarded as a lucky day by some people and in some cultures.

friday 13

Black cats are often associated with Friday the 13th.

The number of times Friday 13 occurs in the Gregorian calendar varies each year, from once a year to three times a year. Friday 13 occurs three times in 2009 – on February 13, March 13 and November 13. Friday 13 occurs only once in 2010 – August 13.

What do people do?

Many parties, some with themes similar to Halloween, are celebrated on Friday 13 around the world. Some charities and fundraising organizations use Friday 13 to hold functions and events to help raise funds for their causes. Other events may include wine tasting nights, art exhibitions, music evenings and dance nights.

Friday 13 is a big celebration at Port Dover in Ontario, Canada. It is a day for motorcyclists to gather and it happens every Friday 13. The event attracts large crowds who gather at the town each year and is supported by PD13, a nonprofit organization that coordinates Friday the 13th events in Port Dover.

For those born on Friday 13, it is their lucky day according to myth. Some people win large amounts of money through the lottery or buy lucky lottery tickets on Friday 13. According to, one British couple bought their winning ticket on Friday 13 shortly after a mirror at their home fell off the living room wall and smashed. The lucky couple won $17 million.

Public Life

Friday 13, as an event, is not a public holiday and public life is not affected.


The fear of Friday the 13th, also known as paraskevidekatriaphobia, does not derive from scientific explanation. It stems from mythology, superstition, old wives’ tales and stories of tragedy that are connected to this day. It is unclear as to where superstitions surrounding the day originated from. Some say that the concept of Friday 13 being an unlucky day is linked with events that occurred in the Christian Bible, and they interpret that these events occurred on a Friday. Examples include the great flood during the time of Noah, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple, and the day Jesus Christ died.

The superstition surrounding Friday 13 could also be linked to Norse mythology. According to legend, 12 gods were at a banquet at Valhalla when Loki, the god of mischief who was not invited, turned up, bringing the total number of guests to 13. He was responsible for the chaos that led to the death of one of the gods so all the gods grieved. The name Friday was also derived from a Norse deity, known either as Frigg or Freya, who appeared before a group of 12 witches and gave one of them her cats, which comprised 13 in the group after that.

The events that occurred on October 13, 1307, which was on a Friday according to the Gregorian calendar (although the Gregorian calendar was not introduced until 1582) is also said to be linked to the Friday 13 superstition. It was a day when officers of King Philip IV of France arrested masses of Templar knights for heresy, blasphemy and other activities. It is believed that hundreds of Templars were tortured or executed by burning at the stake despite popular belief that none of the charges were proven.

The fear of Friday 13 continues in many places around the world. According to Dr Donald Dossey, author and founder of the Stress Management Center/Phobia Institute, up to 21 million Americans fear Friday the 13th. He also said much money would be lost in business because people refused to shop, travel or take risks on this day. Moreover, symptoms of this fear range from mild anxiety and a nagging sense of doom to full-blown panic attacks. Friday 13 in August is considered unluckier than any other Friday 13 in Brazil, especially as agosto (so spelt) rhymes with desgosto (sorrow).

It is easy to blame Friday 13 for unfortunate events but this day was not always believed to be unlucky in history and in some cultures. The ancient Egyptians thought the number 13 was lucky because they believed that the 13th stage of life was related to the afterlife. After the decline of the ancient Egyptian civilization the number 13 was still associated with death but in a fearful manner. However, Friday is seen as the holiest day of the week in the Islamic world. It is set aside for communal worship where Muslims attend the Mosque. For people living in countries of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Iraq, Friday is regarded as a day of rest.


Some people believe that the number 13 and black cats, which are associated with Friday 13, are symbols of femininity. Friday the 13th has been commercialized by Hollywood movies such as American cult horror film “Friday the 13th” and its sequels. An image of a hockey mask is often associated with the film. The movie was renamed to Tuesday the 13th ("Martes 13") in many Spanish speaking countries because the day of bad luck falls on Tuesday 13 instead of Friday 13, although some countries retain the original title in Spanish ("Viernes 13").

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1st Annual Valentine Cookie Night

For the past two Christmases Thomas and I have gotten together with friends (Chris, Diane and John) to make cookies. Both times we have had a lot of fun. (1st Annual Cookie Night Photos and 2nd Annual Cookie Night Post and Photos) We usually make an evening of it - dinner and wine and then making the cookies. The most fun comes with the decorating. Now I can't say that these are the best decorated or fanciest cookies around but I can say that they are made with lots of friendship, love and fun. So when Chris emailed us about getting together to make cookies for Valentines how could we resist.

We had pizza and salad for dinner with wine, of course! And then the baking and decorating ensued. Chris had the dough already made and in the refrigerator to chill. He also had a variety of cookie cutters and decorations to add to the cookies. John and I rolled out the dough and did most of the cutting. Chris and Diane did the actual baking. Chris also mixed up all the icing - making white, red, pink and purple. Once all the cookies were baked we transferred them to the table and began to decorate - Thomas even got involved in the process (if you read the post for 2nd Annual Cookie Night you will see that he avoided the cookies all together that night). We figured that we had close to 100 cookies. There is no way any of us would eat all that - so some will be distributed to a shelter, some will be handed out to John's customers at work and some will just be given to friends and family.

It seems that we have started a tradition - so far we have had two Christmas Cookie Nights, one Easter Egg Decorating Night and now Valentine Cookie Night - what fun. Diane says next we will have the 2nd Annual Easter Egg Decorating Night. I can't wait.