Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dead and Buried

As many of your know I have an obsession with dead bodies. Not in a weird creepy way, but in a fascinated with what happens to the body after we die kind of way. When I was first trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I had decided I wanted to be a Medical Examiner and conduct autopsies on people that had passed. The concept of figuring out how a person passed away, by opening them up, was something that made me light up inside. The problem with my dream - medical school and a medical rotation. I loved dead bodies, but I didn't want to work on alive bodies.

My next line of action became forensic anthropology since I was also fascinated by bones, how bodies decomposed, and how finding the remains of the dead. When I started out in my Undergrad degree I was actually a Forensic Science Major at Penn State. It became my goal at that time to work at the Body Farm. For those of you who don't know the Body Farm is a research facility at the University of Tennessee that studies the affects of decomposition in different environments. They have acres of fenced off land where they put dead bodies in difference elements such as buried under the ground, hanging from trees, submerged underwater, etc. They then document the stages of decomposition, the types of insects that populate the bodies, and how the elements affect the chemistry and look of the bodies. Some might think it to be disgusting and morbid but I find it fascinating. The problem with this dream - excessive courses in Chemistry and Physics.

My next line of action then was to go back even old and study bones of the ancients so I switched to basic Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology. What fueled this was my obsession with two different areas of the world and how bodies were preserved there. The first was the bogs in Scotland. I've shared with you all before the story of the "Bog Man" of Scotland who was an ancient man that was almost perfectly preserved in peat moss. He was so well preserved in fact that he was thought to be the missing man from a town over and his supposed killer was arrested. Once DNA results were run it was obvious that this was in fact not the same man; that's when further research was done in the bog. Many bodies were found dating back all the way to the 17th century. The composition of the peat moss acted as a barrier from the elements to almost completely preserve the bodies.

The other example of preservation from the ancient times that I love is Pompeii. Now my obsession with this actually stemmed from my love of geology and volcanoes which tends to go hand and hand with archeology so I was still in the same realm. When Mount Vesuvius erupted, ash fell in buckets all around the Pompeii area. When people died from smoke inhalation, burns, etc their bodies fell were covered with ash that acted just as the peat moss from the bogs and shielded the bodies (seen in the picture above). When archeologists found the bodies, they were mummified into the positions that they died in. Once again some find that morbid, I find it fascinating.

My next line of action in my quest to find that anthropological topic I loved was to work in a museum. At Penn State I helped design exhibits on evolution and that when I became obsessed with a even older kind of preservation: fossils. I learned all I could about the discoveries of hominid fossils and had way too much fun at times "playing" with the casts of homo floresiensis (of which more information has come out as of late that I'm planning to write about hopefully next week when I gather more info), homo habilis, homo ergaster, and more.

After I graduated I spent 5 months unemployed so I volunteered at a museum where one of my fellow collections committee workers was also obsessed with the dead. His obsession was with graves. So through him I got to learn about how the people of Laurel, Maryland (which was the historical society I worked for) buried their dead. I even got to go on a quest to find the missing grave site of a horse that had run on Laurel's Racetrack.

So for me, death isn't something that gross and disturbing. I'm of the belief that when I person is dead, their soul moves on leaving only their shell. We still remain respectful of that shell but it is also fascinating to figure out what happens to that shell after. The body does amazing things when it is alive and does equally amazing things when it's dead. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Do You Do?

That is a very loaded question indeed and it's one that I have been asked a lot lately. Looking deep into myself I have come up with the singular answer of: I am a writer. This is in fact a true statement and somewhat all encompassing but it leaves out many key parts to what I "do."

When answering a question like this you have to first evaluate what this question actually means. Does "do" reference a job where you get paid, or perhaps a job that you don't get paid, or even a hobby that you enjoy but don't consider it a job. If looking at that, well I "do" a lot. But as far as paid job(s) are concerned I would still classify myself as a writer. What I enjoy doing and what keeps me sane is a completely different story. So to answer the questions this is what Samantha Curtin does:

I am a Technical Writer who writes contract proposals; I am a fiction writer who writes horror novels and short stories; I am a blogger who utilizes an Anthropology degree to focus on anthropological topics; I am a techy who is going to Grad School for Geospatial Information Science (GIS) to achieve the goal of either becoming both a Geospatial Analyst or a GIS Subject Matter Expert Technical Writer; I am a jock: who works out almost everyday and is what keeps the insanity under control. 

So now I pose the question to you: "What do you do?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Quest for (Awkward) Social Encounters

Lately I've been thinking a lot of how people interact with each other in public. People in this case, meaning strangers and public meaning stores, public transportation, etc. Where I reside, in the DC metro area people are always so concerned with getting to their next destination, what they're going to make for dinner that night, beating traffic, etc, that they never take the time to notice people around them much less have a conversation with them.

Where I've noticed this as of late is at the checkout in stores. I am always thrilled when I have an animated checker who makes a funny comment about something I'm buying, or even just simply asking how my day is going. Me, being me, always happily strikes up a conversation and will chat with them literally about anything.

This happened the other day when I was in Target. It was the day after Black Friday and I asked the checker how crazy it was there on Black Friday. He started telling me about his experience (some negative, some positive) and as he talked to me the lady behind me started to tap her foot and clear her throat. I ignored it and continued to talk with the very pleasant checker. I LOVE when people like him are so animated and love their job. I see it all the time at other stores where employees drag there feet and barely say Hello to you.

Now I happen to be an extreme example of someone who interacts with strangers on a daily basis. It is completely normal for me to strike up a conversation with a random stranger for sometimes really no reason. This past weekend I was at Grant's high school reunion. Only about 75 people showed up (probably due to the Holidays) but I had a blast. Grant knew many of the people there, but not all of them. I though only knew two people, one who I had met while playing Frisbee with Grant and one that I knew online mostly through facebook. The other people, no clue. But heck I had to entertian myself while Grant caught up with his people. So I randomly went up to people and starting talking to them (I had wanted to go up to the group of cheerleaders crowding around a table and just start pretending that I went to school with them throwing out "Oh you don't remember me? I sat behind you in Math class" type of comments. Grant didn't want me to embarras him too much though so I refrained).

One girl had this really cool tattoo of a Voodoo doll so of course I went up and started talking to her about it. Turns out she was a girlfriend of a kid Grant went to school with so she didn't know anyone either. We started talking a lot and soon I even pulled her out onto the dance floor and had her dancing with us. That's another thing, all the "Popular" people were just standing around with their drinks where as the group of us (Grant included) were tearing it up on the dance floor, kicking off our shoes and dancing to Gagnam Style (yes at this point I had, had a couple of drinks). We had a great time and it didn't matter if we didn't know each other at all. At the end of the night I got big hugs and even a kiss on the cheek from one guy (since he was gay, Grant was cool with it). It just goes to show that beign uptight and thinking that you can't talk to strangers won't get you anywhere in life.

I'd rather be that awkward girl that goes up to random people, holds up check out lines in stores, and comments on people's unique attributes than someone who rushes through life not paying attention to those amazing people around her.

Image from

Monday, November 26, 2012

Connection Failed

There are many traits that I have inherited from my ancestors but the one that has been sticking out a lot lately is my stubbornness. This mainly come from my Norwegian heritage but some of my Irish heritage has to do with it as well. Lately I have been noticing it more and more and though it's not necessarily a bad thing I've been working on changing.

Yesterday I received the manuscript for Summer's Hollow back from my editor. To say there is some work to be done on it is an understatement. She loved the plot and the mythology behind it but she felt my characters were a little flat. Honestly this did sting a little but I got over it and read all her comments and suggestion. What she suggested is to sit down and write out "character sheets" for my two main characters. This is a wonderful idea and really a must for most writers. Problem is that is not my style at all.

How I write is I start with an idea and then, well I just start writing. I never know how it's going to end or what's going to happen along the way. I let my characters reveal themselves to the reader from their actions and dialogue with one another. It usually works but what I realized is it might only work for my short stories. With this full lenghted novel I think I got so caught up in getting the plot the way I wanted it and getting the message to come through that I left Rylie (the main character) kind of on the back burner. Then I came to a bit of an epiphany: I don't really like Rylie that much; I feel no connection to her.

Rylie is a character that actually is loosely based on me but she doesn't feel a part of me that way Emma does, or Aer does, or Penn and Doyle do. She is foreign to me; I feel as though I am watching her from far away rather than right next to her like my other characters. I want to fix that; I want to have that connection to her. Now the plot and the message I am tied to. It is that pychological notion that I have always wanted to create; something different than all the other horror novels out there. I have achieved that in this novel. What I haven't achieved is creating a character that my readers can fall in love with the way they fall in love with my other characters.

So my mission: to figure out just who Rylie Bradford is. I am putting away my stubborn ways of always using the same process and I am taking the advice from my Editor. This may even mean writing back stories for Rylie that are simply for me to discover her through her own words. What this means for you, my faithful followers is that the release date for Summer's Hollow is going to be pushed back. I'm shooting for February but honestly it could be much later than that. This book is my baby and I want my characters to be that as well. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Loss of Sanity

Hoards of pseudo-humanoids crowd into the narrow passageways. The stronger of the hoards trample and stamp out the runts. The victors claim their prizes while walking triumphantly out of the structure and back to their resting places. They reward themselves with hot beverages of sorts and delight over their spoils.

No, I am not describing the hunting and gathering people of Papua New Guinea; this is a description of what Black Friday has become in the United States. Thousands of shoppers ditch their families and trek to the stores to stand in absurdly long lines to get that marked down item. Now I'm guilty of loving the bargains but I, unlike many treat this excursion with poise and dignity.

Last year Grant and I did the whole wait in line at 12am so we could get the deals on the TVs. That was actually fun since it was great to see Grant proudly dragging his TVs around the store (one was for my parents by the way) as I walked like a zombie pushing the cart. This year we didn't really need anything but I ventured out this morning anyways to do some shopping for others.

My first mistake: no coffee. Why I decided to go "sober" to Black Friday shopping at the local mall is beyond me. Perhaps I was still drunk off of mashed potatoes and pie. I made it through but rushed to Starbucks afterwards to get my gingerbread latte (which mind you I think may be better than the pumpkin spice, blasphemous I know).

My second mistake: thinking people would be nice and courteous. One of the main reasons I went to JcPenny was to get a pair of boots for my mom to give me for Christmas. Needless to say I gave up after crowds of women were blocking the aisles as they rooted through boxes and left the carcases of shoe boxes on the ground. At one point I started to pick up boxes on the floor and put them back on the shelves in neat rows (which I got stares from).

My third mistake: getting my mom a large, heavy Christmas gift. Okay well not the gift itself because it is really awesome and I know she is going to love it. The problem was is was heavy, large, and extremely awkward to carry. I had to go down the escalator and across two parking lots with it to put it in the car. I completely consider that my work out for the day.

My realization: all the trouble that I went through to get a few good deals really wasn't worth my loss of sanity.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Many of These Things are Not Like the Other

There are a few words that I really can't stand that are thrown around a lot in society. These are words that shouldn't be used for various reasons. For me though the most heinous of all is the arrowhead since it is used in the scientific community as well.

The word itself doesn't bother me, as there are many true arrowheads that are found at archeological sites. What bothers me is that it is used for describing many different projectile points and sometimes just stone tools in general. There are many different forms of stone tools as follows:

  • Bi-faces: blade on both sides held in the hand and used for making things, killing animals and warfare (picture below)
  • Arrowheads: a head of an arrow made from stone and nothing more. As you can see in the picture about they are clearly made for fixing on the end of a wooden shaft.  
  • Spearpoints: a stone head for a spear used in battle and hunting
  • Other stone tools: some were very rudimentary and used for variety of things such as cutting meat, cloth, skin, plants, etc. 

Now keep in mind those are my definitions and are very general terms. I could probably right a whole book on each on of them (and it has been done by others) and how they are made. Stone tools have always fascinated me since they can tell so much about a society; this is especially true about early hominids.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Charity Round Up!

So we are heading into the Holiday season. There are many great causes that need your help if you have any money or items that you can spare. See the list below and message me if you're interested in helping out!

Mrs. B over at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom needs your help with her fundraiser to help kids who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you can give just a dollar (or more) you would be providing these kids with gifts that they otherwise wouldn't be receiving.

Radius has partnered with Shepherd's Table, a local shelter, to help those who are less fortunate than us. From October 22 – November 16th Radius will be participating in a Food and Clothing Drive through Shepherd’s Table.

Below are items taken from the organization’s wish list:
Food Items:
Margarine or butter
Salad dressing
Hot sauce (an item our guests love)
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Canned vegetables (large #10 cans)
Soup (cream-based or broth)
Sweet-N-Low or other sugar substitutes
Kitchen Items:
Aluminum foil (large industrial roll)
Saran Wrap
Paper Napkins
Industrial Can Openers
Tide Laundry Detergent (powder)
Metal Silverware (spoons and forks)
Clothing Closet Items:
Shepherd’s Table always accepts donations of new and gently used-clothing and shoes. Please donate seasonal items that will enhance the dignity of their clients.
Men’s Jackets
Children's Clothing
New Men’s and Women’s Socks
New Men’s Underwear (smaller sizes)
New Women’s Underwear (all sizes)
Shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving cream, toothpaste, and deodorant (travel-size bottles)
Resource Center Items:
Safety Razors
Administrative Items:
Paper (97 bright white)
Looking for a way to make a difference in people's lives? Well how about joining the Relay for Life team I just joined? It takes place on the University of Maryland on April 20, 2013 which means you have plenty of time to prepare and to meet the team goal of $1,500!

Thanks in advanced for all your help! 
- Sam 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Another One Bytes the Dust

Yes, I am very proud of myself for that pun; I am giggling at myself as I write to tell you: My first grad school class is over! Last night we had our final session where were went over some exercises and talked about our final projects. My professor even extended the final project deadline until this Sunday because of any problems people have been having with the storm. Any of you who know me though are aware that I'm an anti-procrastinator so I've had my final project done before the storm even happened.

After many times back and forth with the professor I finally ended up doing my project on: Using Geospatial Analysis can we determine the impact of future volcanoes? I was very happy with myself for coming up with that since it combined my love of geology, anthropology and of course GIS since this is a Spatial Analysis class. I used Mount St. Helens as my study area and the results came out pretty cool! (I will post the proposal document and the poster for  my project after I turn it in).

Last night Grant looked over it for me and was impressed and though that it looked great visually and made sense scientifically. It was cute, he was looking over my project and then I listened to the presentation that he is going to give to a group of High Schoolers this morning about his work with Nuclear Waste (of course I have to brag about him).

Tonight after I turn the project in and will have completed my first class of Grad School and I expect it will feel awesome! I have a bit of a break between this class and the next one (Programming and Scripting) so I will use that time to get a bunch of writing done, as well as take some trainings for work to hone my technical writing skills. 

Image Courtesy of:

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Thinning of the Veil (part 2)

Samhain has come and gone and this year it was a strange one to say the least. This year I didn't hand out candy or even wear a costume since I was so inundated with work. The hurricane messed up my plans for the night so instead I ended up spending it helping  my parents take pictures of their hurricane damage, eating fish chowder and playing cards with my grandparents, and reading over yet another contract proposal.

But I know that's not what you want to hear about. You want to hear about all the spirit encounters I've had since in the first part of this post I mentioned just how thin the veil was this year. Let's just say I had quite a few different visitors starting Monday night into yesterday.

The first spirit I encountered was my guardian spirit. She was with me through pretty much the entire day on Monday and into Tuesday. She knew that I was going to be alone during the hurricane and she was there to comfort me. Part of me was scared to death about coming in contact with another demonic spirit like last hurricane that hit but thankfully there were none this year. That demonic spirit seemed to be tied to that old house and that's it. Still, I could feel her next to me throughout the storm and every once in a while would feel her brush my hair back or put her hand on mine. This was all the comfort I needed to feel safe.

On Wednesday, the actual start of Halloween/Samhain, I didn't have much time to sit down and take in the spirit world that was walking among us. Usually I use my pendulum to contact spirits, do a tarot reading for myself, and meditate. With my schedule I didn't have a chance to do any of that. In the chaos of my week I seemed to bring a choatic/trikster spirit into my life. He was harmless but none the less annoying. It seemed every time I put something somewhere he would move it. This happened not only at the apartment, but at work and even in my car. Yesterday I was still moving things back around.

The most noticeable was he decided to hide the peacock figurines that we have on the table next to the couch. I looked everywhere for them and eventually found them sitting under my old computer that is inside a compartment in the table. I just laughed at him and told him to cut it out. The most frustrating though was when I finally had a chance to fully clean and organize the apartment (for the first time since Grant left for North Carolina, before he even went to India, three weeks ago) he decided it would be fun to move the things I was putting away back to the place they were before. Eventually, as I got organized he seemed to wane in his efforts. Around 8pm or so when I sat down to watch some TV I didn't feel his presence at all.

The last encounter that I had was when I was driving home from work yesterday. Traffic was horrendous on Rt. 29 as usual so I took that back road that I had mentioned to you guys before. Yes, this meant crossing that same bridge. Well at the bridge itself I didn't see anything, but as soon as a crossed it the air grew extremely heavy. As I drove up the hill all I could feel is eyes on me coming from either sides of the road. Even though I didn't see anything it felt as though there were dozens or more spirits lined up on either side of the road watching me as if I were a parade. I've never felt that many spirits at once before that were staring right at me.

That was pretty much it though, nothing too crazy happened which I think is mostly due to me being so busy this year. It was eventful to say the least but not in the usual way that Samhain is for me. I hope that each of you had a blessed day as well and if you have any stories that you would like to share from the day or at all feel free to do so!

And don't forget! My new short story series "Deal with the Devil" is now available on Amazon for download! It's only $0.99 and well worth the price!

Image from:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Introducing... Emma Carmichael

Today you have the unique opportunity to once again jump inside my twisted mind. Today you will meet my pride and joy: Emma. She is my favorite of all the characters I have written and in fact have written over 125 short stories about her.

Remember in the last post I talked about how sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing the real from the fiction? She is the main reason. She has become a part of my life that will never go away. My series of short stories chronicles her life from when she was in high school up to when she is in her 30s married with a son. Oh and did I mention? She kills monsters for a living.

Think of her as a Buffy-esque character but with a lot more attitude and a lot more issues. The basic premise of my series is: What would someone's life be like if they killed monsters/demons/ghosts for a living? It was something that the show Buffy adressed but in a more campy fun kind of way. My stories are anything but campy. They get at the truth behind what would be going on in someone's head who had this kind of a life.

So the result? We have a strong female character who has relationship, trust, and authority issues out the wazzo. The only thing she actually has a handle on in her life is killing all those evil things out there. And of course since this is my world, she happens to be a practicing witch who gains more and more knowledge of the craft throughout her life.

So... you ready to meet my beloved Emma? Then head on over to the Samhain's Sirens blog today to read one of the first short stories, "Out of the Norm" in the series! It is featured on today's blog along with some other fun crafts, treats and giveaways!

Image: Tsarevna Frog by Viktor Vasnetsov

Friday, October 19, 2012


Today as I was driving to work in the dark and rain (while sitting in traffic as usual) I started to think about why I write what I write. See I am a horror writer; I write about psychological tendency, gore, sex, mischief, violence and that grey area that people seem to skip over. Honestly I can't tell you when a switch flipped in my head to decide to write horror; it's just something I've always done.

Part of it comes from dealing with things in my life. Instead of facing them directly I take what I've experienced and blow it out of proportion with a horror story. This is what has kept me sane the past years. That being said I've realized I just have a twisted mind.

I like to visualize things and most of my stories start with a visual idea and I work out from there. For example, my short story series that I'm in the process of publishing now started off with me visualizing a scene of a vampire bearing down on a man in a motel bathtub and his blood staining the otherwise stark white porcelain. So yeah... I might be a little bit messed up in the head sometime but you know what? I'm completely okay with that.

The feeling to be able to create these stories, characters and scenarios is one that honestly I can't explain. I love taking these otherwise deranged concepts and turning them into my own work. Most times I find that I quickly fall in love with my characters and wish that they were real.

Yesterday after I was writing a particularly gruesome short story I decided I wanted to go running outside. In retrospect I shouldn't have jumped right into going in going out into the woods since it had a strange affect. There was a man walking through the woods with a cane who then suddenly picked it up and started walking regularly and even almost running.

For some reason I got it in  my head that he was going to come after me (completely irrational I know) so I took off running down the hill and up the other hill. I stopped once I was far enough away that I couldn't see him anymore and continued to jog back to my apartment. Turns out I ended up with a good work out from that. It's just an example of how sometimes I get so wrapped up in my stories that I lose sense of reality.

Basically what I'm trying to get at here is my stories are not for the faint of heart. My grandmother always jokes that she will gladly buy all my books but she will probably never read them since she can't handle horror. So just know that Dark Cell was the tamest out of all my writings. It was written for a class originally so it couldn't be too demented. My other stories though, especially my book Summer's Hollow,be ready to be disturbed, intrigued and fall in love with my characters right before I go all Whedon and kill them off (just kidding, or am I? mwuahaha).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Charity Round Up!

Okay guys, so I need your help on some things. See October is not only full of pumpkin lattes, hay rides, pumpkin picking and trick 'r treating; it also is when many charity organizations have events going on. This year I'm directly participating in two different events. One is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I will be participating in a 5k walk up in Hunt Valley, MD on Sunday. Our team is looking to meet our donation goal and aren't quite there yet. If you have ANYTHING you can donate please think about doing so! Follow the link below to our team's website:

The other event I'm participating in is for my work. We have partnered with Shepherd's Table, a local shelter, to help those who are less fortunate than us. From October 22 – November 16th Radius will be participating in a Food and Clothing Drive through Shepherd’s Table.

Below are items taken from the organization’s wish list:

Food Items:
Margarine or butter
Salad dressing
Hot sauce (an item our guests love)
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Canned vegetables (large #10 cans)
Soup (cream-based or broth)
Sweet-N-Low or other sugar substitutes

Kitchen Items:
Aluminum foil (large industrial roll)
Saran Wrap
Paper Napkins
Industrial Can Openers
Tide Laundry Detergent (powder)
Metal Silverware (spoons and forks)

Clothing Closet Items:
Shepherd’s Table always accepts donations of new and gently used-clothing and shoes. Please donate seasonal items that will enhance the dignity of their clients.

Men’s Jackets
Children's Clothing
New Men’s and Women’s Socks
New Men’s Underwear (smaller sizes)
New Women’s Underwear (all sizes)
Shampoo, conditioner, soap, shaving cream, toothpaste, and deodorant (travel-size bottles)

Resource Center Items:
Safety Razors

Administrative Items:
Paper (97 bright white)

If you have anything you would like to donate please message me or email me ( 

Thanks in advanced for everything!! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Call for Submissions

As I mentioned in my last post, the veil is becoming very thin and more and more people are experiencing the rise in spirit activity. If you, or anyone you know, has some cool experiences to share I'd love to post them on my blog!

You can email me at make sure you put in the subject line "Spirit Meetup" this way I know it won't fall through the cracks! Please submit all stories by Sunday October 28th!

Photo Courtesy of UC Santa Cruz's play "The Thinning Veil" (which I so wished I was able to see when I friend who goes to that school told me about it!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thinning of the Veil

It's that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and weird noises start to be heard from our apartment complex. No I am not referring to my incessant screaming during Redskins games or even my cat like screeches while singing along to Dr. Horrible tonight. I am referring to those noises and experiences that happen around this time of the year as the veil thins.

Like I have mentioned before, I am sensitive to spirits at all times of the year. It is not uncommon for me to walk into a haunted area and the entity there show itself to me (by sounds, touch or even the occasional apparition). During this time of the year that sensitivity is ultra heightened. This past week especially I have been feeling spirits everywhere I go.

In particular there have been two instances that stuck out in my head. The first was in the gym in my apartment complex. Now in the gym is isn't strange to feel like you're being watched. It is a very tall room that used to be a racquetball court. The outside wall is part glass so that people above in the club house can look down and the other part of the wall are mirrors. This causes people to feel like they're never alone. Add in the bulky equipment everywhere and it is easy to think that someone could mistake any of this for a spirit. This was not the case.

On Monday I had the day off so I was at the gym, on the elliptical, jamming out to the new Three Days album. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure. Thinking it was just my reflection in the mirror or my eyes playing tricks on me I kept on going. Suddenly a chill crept up through my hands and into the rest of my body. Now this gym, like I mentioned, used to be a racquetball court and any of you who have ever been in one know that they have no air flow and can get really hot and humid. There was no reason that I should be cold. 

Feeling that sensation that I was being watched I turned my head to the right to see a figure standing in front of one of the weight machines. It started off as just a black mass but then slowly formed into the apparition of a boy. He seemed to be about my age, in his early 20s, and he was wearing basketball short, a hoodie and sneakers. His hair was dark brown and his face oddly enough was almost tan. I stared at him for about 2 minutes and just as I went to say hi, he disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

That is to date the most clear of an apparition as I have ever seen. I did a little bit of research to see if there was anything in the area about a young man his age dying, but I wasn't able to find anything. I'm hoping this weekend when I have some free time I can do some more research.

The second instance happened last night. I was driving back from meeting my best friend for coffee. It was a nice, cool night and I had my windows down as I drove down the highway. Since it was such a nice night I decided to drive the back roads. There's one road that come to a one lane bridge where you have to look beyond the bridge before you cross to make sure no one is coming the other way.

As I came to a stop and was looking ahead the air grew a lot heavy and thicker. There was nothing coming the other way so I continued across the bridge and that's when I saw him. Standing in the middle of the road was a little boy (or what I assumed was one since it was dark and hard to see). I of course stopped the car, afraid I was going to hit him. As I stopped the car, he disappeared. I looked all around to see where he had gone, but there was no sight of him anywhere on the road, in the woods or up the driveways of the houses nearby.

I continued up the hill with my car but I kept feeling like something was staring at me from the backseat. Honestly felt like I was in a horror movie as something like this had never happened to me before. I don't get spooked easily but this definitely spooked me.

After I drove out of the woods and back onto a somewhat main road that feeling of being watched went away and the air seemed to go back to normal. Once again I want to investigate to see if I can find anything about that boy (or what I assumed was a boy).

So there you have it, some eerie experiences from this past week. I'm sure I'll have loads more as the veil gets thinner and thinner. If you want to learn even more about my past experiences make sure you read today and tomorrow Samhain's Sirens blog. You'll learn how it all started for me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


So I realized that I've been neglecting the "Bone" part of "Bones, Buried Treasures and Beliefs" so I thought I'd give you guys a round up of all fossil discoveries of the past couple of months. Some are ones that I have known about for a while and a couple I just heard about today. There's some pretty interesting finds, so check out the links for the full stories!

NASA Dinosaur: Spiny Nodosaur Footprints Found At Goddard Space Flight Center
August 21st -

Neanderthals May Have Worn Dark Feathers 
Sept. 19th -

Battle-bruised skeleton may be King Richard III
September 12th -

Archaeologists find lost tombs in Philippine Mountains
September 20th -

T.rex-size crocodiles ruled the ancient seas
September 28th

All That Remains: Fossil Finds (Slide Show)

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is Here!

So contrary to my last post about taking deep breaths, I ended up sick this weekend and am still recovering from that. Seems it might have been the combination of a sickness that has been going around, working like crazy and then to top it off going to my high school reunion on Saturday night. Anyways, things are good now and I'm back on track (again) from where I was before. Luckily I am able to do a lot of work from home so I was not to get too far behind on things.

That being said, I'm halfway through this first class for Grad School! I'm loving it even though it is time consuming and a lot of work at times. Still I love learning new things and delving into these assignments and projects. Our proposal for our final project is due soon and I'm playing around with ideas now. So far I'm thinking about showing how districting is done in Howard County for election purposes. With election day being the day before our final project is due I think it's very topical. Also Howard County is awesome and puts there GIS information online so I don't have to digitize that much data (and I also happen to live there).

So that's class... now onto the fun stuff! So as you guys know I have been talking about the amazing Samhain's Sirens and since today is October 1st the extravaganza has begun! Click either the text above or the button on the left side of my blog to visit our blog. We have some awesome giveaways, recipes, crafts, rituals, songs, blog posts and more! I've even lent my story telling skills to a couple of posts that I know you all will enjoy!

October happens to be my favorite month. First of all I love the weather; the leaves change color and start falling, the air become crisp and the nights and mornings are cool. Then of course there's football. Whether it's rooting for Penn State or the Redskins, I love donning my jersey over my jeans or leggings, grabbing some chilli and beer and planting down in front of the TV. It's also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a subject that is very dear to my heart since I have friends and family that have been touched by it. This year I have the opportunity of participating in a Walk for the Cure with Kallan and her lovely daughters, one of whom is organizing the whole thing. If you have any change to spare think about donating it to our team (message me for details)!

Last, of course there's Halloween/Samhain which is any of you know me, know that this is my favorite holiday! It is my favorite Holiday because it is a day where you can feel the magic in the air while pretending to be someone else. What I love is dressing up in elaborate (and somewhat obscure) costumes and playing as someone else for a night. It is what I do when I write so to be able to do it around other people is quite awesome. In my last post I even mentioned that this year I will be dressing up as the main character from my one short story series. I just ordered a sweet wig since she has much darker hair than I do. I think I might be way to excited to get to be her for the night.

So I ask you, what do you like most about October? Or what do you like best about your favorite month?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Deep Breaths...

So we have come to the end of week 4 of my first Grad School class and I am really liking it. We have lab assignment that are due every Tuesday and reading due for Monday's lecture every week as well. Those have been keeping me pretty much busy all the time and leave little room for pleasure reading and writing. It also leaves little room for a social life or even sleep. Still, I don't think I would trade it for the world.

In addition to that, I am working on my first full length contract proposal for work. I'm working closely with a subject matter expert to get all the technical stuff right (since I know next to nothing about IT Security) and I'm at the point now where I have the entire proposal template done. All I needs now is for him to get back to me with his technical write-ups and then I can put the entire thing together. It isn't due until Oct 16th, so we have some time (which in this business is a HUGE luxury).

On top of ALL of that I've been getting all my posts ready for the Samhain Sirens month long blog for October which starts this Monday. I felt a little bad that I turned in my posts late but my brain was just not functioning at all these past few days except when it came to school and work. Last night though I was on a roll and got all the posts done, most of my homework and a bunch of work as well (since I took a half day yesterday to get my passport stuff all taken care of). I even took a 45 minute break and went to the gym to de-stress.

One thing I've always had problems with is spreading myself too thin. I take on too much and then I get stressed and other things fall to the wayside. Two things that I love that I NEVER want to fall to the wayside are my writing and my working out. Both are what keep me sane. So I'm still on track for my book to come out at the end of November and I'm still working on Dark Cell pt. 2 (working title Dark Hall). I'm also going to release a collection of short stories from my series "Deal with the Devil" which chronicles the lives of a vampire "family." My costume for Samhain/Halloween is even going to be the main character from that. Haven't hashed out the details yet, but I'm shooting for the end of October for the release through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.

So yes, deep breaths, a couple work out breaks and a whole bunch of lists later, my sanity is back on track and I'm organized again!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I See Dead People

No really, I do! From a young age spirits of all ilks have been drawn to me; it's just something that I'm used to and has become part of my everyday life. Yesterday I struck up a conversation with a coworker about hauntings and the like. Through the course of the conversation it came up that I was a "sensitive" as many people put it, when it comes to spirits. He was shocked and replied that he would've never thought that from looking at me.

Here we go again... He meant nothing by this statement, he's a great guy who doesn't usually jump to conclusions like that so I let him slide. Looking back on it now though, what is one supposed to look like who sees and interacts with spirits? Am I supposed to be decked out in long flowy clothes, head scarf and an assortment of rings and necklaces?

This isn't the first time someone has said something like this to me. I've been told on many occasions that I look to "normal" to be "into those types of things." So I ask you, why must we always stereotype people? Why can't people just be, well, people? What makes up a person and sets them apart from others in their personality the interests that they have, etc. What they wear or what they look like shouldn't play a factor into that. On the flipside just because someone dresses a certain way does not mean that they have a certian personality.

What it comes down to is like I said in a prior post, I am who I am and part of that is the ability to interact with spirits. It's one part of me just like my hair color is one part of me or my religion is one part of me.

If you're interested to hear more about my spirit encounters stay tuned for an upcoming post as part of the Samhain Sirens blog!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Death After Life

Today while looking for interesting articles to tweet about for my company, I came across an interesting read on called "Hotels for the Dead: Mausoleums Reveal Spectral Light and Kitsch Decor". It's about a photographer by the name of John Faier who goes around to different Mausoleums and takes pictures of them. Most are from the 1950s and caught his eye because of the "saccharin and somber" quality of them.

These photos are hauntingly beautiful and caught my eye. They also made me start to think about how we dress up areas around death to make them more appealing. There's the example of these beautifully decorated mausoleums, putting flowers on the grave or even when we put nice clothes and make up on the bodies. This isn't a modern idea either. Societies have been dressing up both the bodies and the grave sites for centuries.

The greatest example of this would be the ancient Egyptians. They believed that you went into the afterlife how you were in the present life so the dead were dressed to the nines and put in lavish tombs.  The Mayans did the same thing with their burial mounds.

If you have a few minutes click on the link above and view the rest of the photos. You will not be disappointed.

Photo by John Faier

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Am Who I Am

I am Sam. I am a red headed, pale, freckled, blue eyed Irish American/Norwegian American woman. I am one of the nicest people you'll ever meet but if you cross me I can be a complete bitch. I am close with my family both blood and otherwise. I am the person that if you gain my trust I will go to bat for you as many times as you need it. I am the person that if you break my trust then you are black listed in my book.

I am a geek who also enjoys sports. I am a Penn Stater through and through and nothing anyone can say can deter me from that. I am also a Maryland Terrapin since that is where I attend Grad School. I am a techy who has an undergrad degree in Anthropology. I am a technical writer, novelist, short story writer and nonfiction writer.

I am a person who falls in love with the person not their gender, sex or ethnicity. I am in love with the best guy in the world. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a guy who treats me with the respect that I deserve. I am fortunate to be financially stable and almost loan free. I am lucky to have an amazing support system of friends and family who would do anything for me.

I used to have horrible crippling anxiety. I used to hate the way I looked. I used to let people walk all over me. I used to date a guy that cheated on me and then remained friends with him. I used to have friends that were never really my friends. I used to care a lot about what people thought of me and thus tried to please everyone. I used to think that I would be alone for the rest of my life.

I am a strong, independent woman who can take care of herself but also knows when to let other people take care of her. I am the person who when given a task will work their ass of to accomplish it. I am the happiest I've been in years.

I am Sam. I am who I am.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GEOG653: Spatial Analysis

Last night I attended my first class for my Masters Degree and despite me stressing like crazy in anticipation, it really wasn't as bad as I thought. Honestly I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I know what I can expect from this class. Yes it's going to be some work but the professor is awesome and my classmates seem to be eager to learn.

This first class that I am taking is called Spatial Analysis. To put it in terms hopefully you guys can understand better basically this class is all about how points, lines and polygons are related to each other on each layer of a map. Points can range anywhere from cities or towns to individual artifacts at a site, lines can be anything from boundaries of countries to sides of a house, and polygons can literally be anything. We then take these different shapes and show how they are related to each other. For example (which is one given in class) we can show how cities (points) are related to major roads (lines) in the state of Texas (polygon).

Our objective in this class is to ultimately create a final project using the skills that we learn about spatial analysis. Each week though we also will have a lab exercise that we will complete using the ArcMap software. The purpose of these are to both practice the concepts as well as show the professor that we know what we are doing (and consequently that we are paying attention during class).

For week one we don't have a lab, just an exercise that is optional. It's a little different this week since we only had one class last night from 5:00 - 8:30pm due to the Holiday. On a regular week we have lecture from 5:30 - 8:00pm on Mondays and lab section from 5:30 - 6:30pm on Tuesday. All of this is done from the computer. The picture to the left here is what I see when I am "in class." On the right is the webcam where I can view my professor or whoever has the floor at the time to speak. To the left is the lecture slides that explain what we are learning (this one is on Vector Analysis of Florida). At the bottom is the chat box where we can ask questions and interact with the other students. In addition we can click the hand icon at the bottom to "raise our hand" so that we may speak (with the headset that you are required to use for the class).     

This system is really great for people like me who work full time. We always have the option to go into the classroom if we want. This is helpful for both meeting the professor (who I have had the pleasure of meeting many times already) and any other students in the class. I do like the comfort of doing this from the couch in my apartment. I was able to slip on my yoga pants, enjoy and cup on coffee made by Grant and focus on learning taking notes (which I am obsessive about). \

Like I said above I know this class is going to be work, especially when it comes to the final project, but I am confident that I will do great in this class. I am excited to move forward with it and share with you guys my journey to getting my Masters Degree in Geospatial Information Science!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Time Has Come

Yes, I've had this song by The Chambers Brothers stuck in my head all day as I prepare to start my Grad School classes next week. For those of you who don't know I'm starting my Geospatial Information Science Program at the University of Maryland next Tuesday. GIS has been one of my passions for a while now and I am beyond lucky that my work is paying for part of my schooling.

This means that I will become a bit scarce on the internet (and in real life) in the coming 2.5 years as I juggle my full time job that is ramping up with part time Grad School. What this blog will probably turn into is a journey along with me through my Grad School activities and projects. Because of my interests most of the maps, databases, websites, etc that I will be creating through this program will be Anthropology related.

Along with that in the month of October I will be participating in a month long blog run by the Samhain Sirens. More details to come as we grow closer to that date but it's going to get pretty exciting on the blogosphere that month!

Also, some equally exciting news: my novel Summer's Hollow is officially going through the editing process right now by the immensely wonderful and talented Rosa Sophia! It will be finished with her edits by the end of October and then will go through the publishing process at Behind the Curtin Publications! I'm so happy that my baby that I have spent over 7 years of my life creating is finally going somewhere. Stay locked into my Facebook page and blog for news on a release date!  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Taboos of Death and Nudity

Recently I've been watching the show on National Geographic called Taboo. It's all about different people with strange obsessions, cultures, hobbies, etc. The two that have stood out to me the most was one on death and one on couples getting married in the nude. These are two taboos that are very much taboo in our society but were thought provoking to me.

If death is so taboo in our American society then why is it everywhere? We have TV shows, movies, video games and music that all glorify death in different ways. I mean for me death is a regular part of my everyday life. I write horror stories that have constant death in them, for my undergrad spent a great deal of time studying burials and dead bodies, and I see and talk to spirits pretty much everywhere I am. Weirdly enough though funerals make me extremely uncomfortable. This is all a weird paradox to me. So is death really taboo? Or are we supposed to think it's taboo since we are taught to fear death?

Nudity is something that is banned in many places in the United States. It is against the law to walk around naked displaying your "goods" for everyone to see. We are taught that our bodies are temples and that we are to keep them covered up and to be shown to only our significant other. This is another paradox since we have people in our society who parade around in extremely skimpy clothing.

There are many places around the world and even some in the U.S. that have nudist communities where people are simply naked. On the episode I just watched last night of Taboo this was the case. They talked to couples who went to Jamaica to participate in a group nude wedding ceremony. They all thought it was completely normal. One gentleman brought up a great point. He went on to talk about how clothing in our society (and in many others) denotes our place in society. When you strip away that label, everyone becomes equal and comfortable with each other. This concept is fascinating to me.

So whether it's death or nudity, I think these are two things that don't need to be taboo. We already see that in some places, among some people, they are not. I think we can learn from this.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Symbols

Many of you know that I love the concept of symbols. I use them all the time in both my writing and in everyday life. There's something really awesome about having one entity that stands for so many different things to different people.

What first comes to mind when talking about my personal symbols is all my jewelry. Those who know me know that I've never been one to wear a lot of jewelry. Honestly all those "He went to Jared" commercials make me sick. Instead all the jewelry that I wear are symbolic to me. I have four necklaces that I circulate. The one is a silver Celtic cross that my aunt brought me back from Ireland, another is a silver triquetra with a thistle and an amethyst stone that my dad got me from the Celtic Festival, the other a silver pentagram and last a silver turtle that Grant got for me at a seafood festival. In addition I have two rings that I wear. One is my claddagh ring that used to be my Aunt's and she gave it to me and the other is a simple silver, gold and diamond ring that my parents gave to me after I was confirmed (yes ironic I know, but it's still special to me). Most of my piercings that I have also have meanings to me (two I got in memory of my friend who was killed two years ago).

The other symbol that is very important to me is my totem. Many different cultures have totems, spirit animals, guides whatever you want to call them. Mine happens to be the turtle. Ever since I did a report in 2nd grade on the sea turtle, there was something about it that spoke to me. The turtle was never my favorite animal (that would be a penguin) but for some reason they intrigued. It was something about the hard shell exterior protecting the soft insides that seemed to pretty much describe me.

When Grant and I first started dating the first thing he ever gave me was a silver turtle necklace. He got it when he was playing with one of his bands at the Annapolis, MD seafood festival and he thought it would be perfect for me. Little did he know that this was actually my totem. Honestly it was at this moment that I knew that Grant was the one for me (see I can be sappy too sometimes... lol) that my totem was bringing us together.

Lately though I've been noticing another totem in my life, the spider. Now I kind of don't like spiders. They are one of those creatures that are pretty and awesome as long as they're outside and far away from me (even though for some reason Tarantulas don't bother me). Since Grant went to India a week ago though, spiders having been popping up everywhere. They're in our bathroom, living room and even one has made a giant web outside on our door frame.

The other day I was at the bank depositing some checks for work and there was a spider web on the screen in the drive through. When I went walking this morning there were many spider webs that I ended up walking through when walking along the path through the woods. This has led me to believe that maybe the spider is my other totem. It's weird for me to admit that since they do creep me out a lot but at the same time I find it comforting.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Christian School Chronicles

Let me preface the following stories by saying that there are many Christians who display the opposite behavior of the people in these stories. In fact I still go to my church that I attended for years simply because I love how open and inviting the people are there (and also to see my Grandparents who also go to the church). Most of my friends and family are actually Christian and I love them to death but there are a select few who are no longer in my life for the reasons that follow in these stories.
            Perhaps the best place to start off is my trek into kindergarten. I have always had a late birthday (November 10th) so when everyone else was starting to go to school I was only 4 (rather than the age of 5 which kids usually went into kindergarten). The thing is I have always been advanced for my age so my mom, instead of holding me back to Pre-K like many other parents did, my mom wanted to enroll me into kindergarten. What you have to realize is that living outside of DC some of the school’s aren’t the best so my mom decided it was right to send me to Private school.
            My mom is agnostic but she was baptized as a Lutheran like the rest of her family. She rarely attends church, believes that her religion and relationship with God is personal and is open to any other religious ideas yet she heard about this great Christian private school in the area. Right away she saw how great the academics were so she was hell bent on getting me into this school.
            Well low and behold they told us that I was too young and they would put me into Pre-K but not kindergarten. Needless to say my mom was pissed so she enrolled me in another private school (this time strictly a Lutheran run school). This school had horrible academics. We were learning things that the Pre-K students were learning at the other school.
            My mom (the stubborn and amazingly strong woman that she was) then went back to the original school and demanded that they test me for kindergarten. They did and on my 5th birthday I tested at the 1st grade level. So you better believe they let me in and even gave us a scholarship (since the school was quite expensive). And you better believe they loved having me there since their test scores went up.
            Throughout my elementary school years I wasn’t hit with much adversity but the Christian values were hammered into my skull. We studied the bible, catechisms, devotionals and other biblical texts along with the other basic studies and I really enjoyed the stories. I also enjoyed the weekly “chapels” that we would have where we would come together and sing and listening to people talk about their experiences with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
            It wasn’t until 4th grade that I started to question things because up until this point I was happy in this little bubble that my school had stuck me in. I vividly remember the conversation that started the fall of my faith in Christianity and more importantly so called “Christians.” We were all sitting in class, our desks in a U shape in the classroom; my teacher was in the middle.
            She started a discussion on different Christian sects and I was fascinated to learn about all the different protestant sects and how Martin Luther started the whole movement. I was even proud and raised my hand saying that I learned all about Martin Luther and his 95 thesis in Sunday school at my church. My teacher said how great that was so she started everyone else going around the room telling what sect they belonged to and if any had been in multiple. Thus the snowball started. My one friend started out saying she was raised Catholic but now was Baptist. Another friend stated that he used to be Catholic but his parents decided to switch to being Presbyterian. Three more friends in the class had similar stories. When it got to my turn I stated that my dad’s family was Catholic and I was baptized Lutheran but attended both services throughout my life. It got strange looks from both my teacher and my classmates but they moved on and finished all the students’ stories.
            My teacher then applauded the students who had moved on from Catholicism and stated that she had had a similar experience. It was at this point that I raised my hand and politely asked “Why is it so bad to be Catholic? It’s just another part of Christianity right?” My teacher went on to talk about all the horrible things that the Catholic Church had done over the years and how it was best to get as far away from Catholicism as possible including Lutheran, Episcopal and Methodist churches. This left my 9 year old mind confused and wanted a better explanation, one that I wasn’t going to get from this teacher.   
            That moment has always stuck in my head and honestly I have never gotten closure from this teacher on why she felt this way. I remember going home to my mom almost in tears not understanding why certain sects of Christianity were better than others. For years though I let it slide but fast forward to 7th Grade Bible class.
            Once again I can remember this moment like it was yesterday. This time we were in a circle shape with our desks with our Teacher in the middle. We were in a deep discussion about predestination and what it really meant. My teacher, who I usually adored, then went on to explain that some Christian sects didn’t believe in predestination and what was one of those sect? Well Lutheranism of course. So once again I raised my hand and told my teacher that I was in fact a Lutheran. He asked if I believed in predestination and I said no.
            Then one of my fellow classmates raised their hands and asked if that meant that I was going to hell. In the very meaning of circular logic my teacher informed the students that it was God’s choice of whether I was going to hell or heaven because it was already predestined. Shocked from the question of my classmate I kept quiet and didn’t press the subject. In my mind I thought of all I had been taught about not being judged and what not.
            From that point forward I was determined to read as much of the bible as possible and begin studying it extensively to find out everything I could. In the process of this I found I also was fascinated with other religions and began studying them as well. I became especially enthralled by Paganism, especially the Irish and Norwegian pantheons since my ancestors with from Ireland and Norway. I of course started sharing what I had learned any chance I could get in my classes including writing papers.
            In those next few years that I was at that Christian school I pissed off many a teacher and administrator with my incessant questions and subsequent obsession with all other religions. I was labeled the “rebel” who was way too interested in the occult and other “sinful ways of thinking.”
I then began to question all the past situations that I had written off as nothing but now were coming to light with my new eyes that I had found. We weren’t allowed to read Harry Potter or any other stories that had witchcraft in it, couldn’t watch movies that had any references to the occult and at one point weren’t even allowed to listen to the band Bewitched (No I am not making this up, incredulous I know). From that point on I used any opportunity to argue against these mandates. I was chastised for watching horror films cited that “We don’t serve a God of fear,” told I was going to hell because I believed it ghosts and was sent to the principal numerous times for showing similarities in Christianity and Paganism.

The third story that I remember so vividly came in 8th grade. I walked outside during recess in and to my surprise saw a bunch of elementary school students having a May Day celebration. They had made a may pole and were dancing around it holding their colored streamers and many of the girls had flowered crowns on their heads. At the sight of this I actually grew excited and thought that finally my sheltered school had embraced another culture and religion’s ritual. Oh was I ever wrong.

At the time I was right by one of the middle school teachers so, me being me, decided to say something about it. I proceeded to tell her that it was nice to see that the younger students were learning about other religions and their celebrations. At this comment the teacher stopped, looked right at me and asked me what I meant by that. I told her that I thought it was great they were learning about Beltane. She thought I was confused and started to go into that it was called May Day and that it was to celebrate the Virgin Mary. I then corrected her and started to tell her what I had learned from my Irish heritage. Went into how this celebration was around long before Christianity was even around (first stike) and how it was actually associated with many pagan holidays that took place around the time of the year (second strike).

Obviously this didn’t go over well at all and she insisted that I was mistaken and wanted to know where I had heard that. I very nonchalantly explained that I had many books at home that explained different pagan rituals especially Celtic ones. From there I was told I shouldn’t be reading about that and instead should be reading the bible or my devotional books. She went on a long rant about how I should study more about Christianity and understanding it and went on to talk about how there were plenty of books that explained what May Day was really about.

Still I didn’t let go that this wasn’t originally a Christian Holiday but she kept ignoring it and soon recess was over. From then on if I ever brought up that or any other holidays or rituals that were derived from Pagan holidays I was told to stop talking about it. Of course I would try to bring it up as many times as I could, even going so far as to write a papers about how most Christian Holidays were moved around to appease the Pagans (one which I was sent to the principal’s office for).

Now I wish I could say that my talking about this constantly made my teachers and classmates think differently about May Day and the other holidays but sadly it did not. They just ignored it, pretended that I was just spouting off crazy talk. That May Day incident was the breaking point when I realized that there were many Christians that were so judgmental and stuck in their ways and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be part of their “group anymore.

Needless to say after 9th grade I left that sheltered school and starting going to a public school. Not only was I able to write about other religions all I wanted but I got to take classes on Comparative Religions and Mythology. But even at the public school I was met with adversity. Take my Creative writing class for example. Many of my stories that I wrote for that class had occult undertones.

During one of our “sharing sessions” (ironically our desks in a circle) I read a story and was told by a fellow classmate that it was really well written but she didn’t like all the “morbid stuff” as she put it. To my surprise, before I could say anything, the guy sitting next to be chimed in that he loved the way I worked the occult into my story and the tone of it. This shut that girl up and I actually blushed since of course this was the guy I had a crush on.

After that class another one of my classmates came up to me in a computer lab and asked me if I was Wiccan. She said she noticed the Celtic cross I always wore around my neck and the themes of my stories. I told her that at this point I didn’t know what I was but I commended her on noticing both things. This experience showed me that everyone wasn’t completely horrible and that there were plenty of people out here in the “real world” that were open to new religions.

Of course though there were still the close minded people even out of the Christian school bubble like that girl in my creative writing class. Yet another vivid story came senior year in my Mythology class. My teacher (who was beyond amazing) introduced the material of the class on the first day and went over all the mythological texts that we would be studying. Then came the part that made my eyes twinkle and my smile to grow so wide it almost fell off my face; among those mythological texts we were studying was the Bible.

She had barely uttered the word when at least five people’s hands shot up. They all had the same thing to say. “The Bible isn’t myth.” My teacher very gracefully explained that we were here to study the explanations of creation, how the world works, etc. set down by the stories of different cultures. Still these students argued that that’s what real, thus not a myth. She then told them if they didn’t agree with her teaching of the Bible as a myth for the class then they were welcome to leave. Three people left the class and never came back. My faith in humanity had been restored and I realized that not everyone was out to get me. Finally I found a place that I belonged.