Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shops of New Hope, Pennsylvania

The small town of New Hope isn't only full of history, but also some eccentric stores. The type of places you would expect to visit in the East Village of Manhattan, not a rural town. After all it's not everyday you see neon pentagrams lighting up a shop window, or encounter an LSD pharmacy sign inviting you in. But those are just a few of the shops you'll encounter in this quaint town.

At Mystical Thymes you can get everything you would need to be a good witch or sorcerer. The store focuses mainly on those who practice Wicca or Pagan beliefs. At Nearby Gypsy Heaven, you can have your palm read while keeping up on the latest in occult news.

God Save the Queens is an independently owned punk store, featuring clothing and music your not gonna find in your local big box Hot Topic store. The whole idea of punk is the D.I.Y. attitude, they understand that here while sharing a smile with their happy customers.

One of my favorite stores to visit in New Hope is Love Saves the Day, even though they charge $ .20 to enter, it's worth every penny. This store uses all available space and is sure to have something to please everyone. Whether you're searching for the perfect vintage outfit, an old imported B side record, an out of print cult film, or just searching for oddities this place is sure to have it. And if you find something you like, which I'm sure you will, they'll gladly refund your $ .20 back to you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Outta the Way's Ghost Tour at Bube's Hotel & Catacombs

Standing out front of Bube's brewery in Mt. Joy last Friday night, we were sharing ghost stories. Not knowing that what we were about to encounter would be surely included in any future ghost stories we were to share. As we entered and met our tour guide, we learned a bit of the history behind the brewery and the spirits that inhabits it. There is no shortage of ghost stories here. Spirits playing tricks on waiters and waitresses. Turning chairs that were placed on the bar back onto their feet, glasses falling for no reason, and spirits conversing with the staff. "Is anyone here sensitive to spirits" our guide boldly asks, more than a dozen hands shoot up. This was gonna be an interesting night!

The group descended down a long set of wooden stairs into the darkness of the brewery's catacombs. A feeling of excitement rushed over me. With it's limestone slabbed walls, and caverns of natural spring water these stone walls could be a vortex to all the spirits in the town of Mt. Joy. Unfortunately not much was sensed in these dark hollows, by myself or by many others. Instead of being discouraged we were humored with the tales of the town drunk who would roam through the nearby caves in a drunken, naked stupor.

Slowly we all climbed back up the creaky steps and followed our guide into the old hotel. Immediately upon entering into the hotel a sense of unease was felt by many, including myself. Many on the tour felt a nearby presence and also smelled one. As we moseyed throughout the large hotel it always seemed as if the spirits were one step ahead of us, escaping down a narrow hallway as we would enter a room. Spirits of young children were felt near a bathroom, a guest seemed to feel these children met a gruesome fate. I personally felt that not all these spirits were appreciative of us paying them a visit.

After reviewing and uploading photos I noticed many orbs in the pictures. Orbs can be explained, we were a large group and the place is rather old, so dust could most likely be a culprit. But some things I cannot explain. Why were some guests freezing cold in the same room other guests were burning up with heat? What was that pungent smell that was following around the tail end of the group? And what was that sinister presence that nearly all the group felt upon entering into the hotel? Guess you'll have to take the tour yourself and come up with your own answers.

For more information on "Outta the Way" group tours visit our website.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Haunted VanSant Covered Bridge

Hidden on the back roads of Bucks county, Pennsylvania sits a seemingly pleasant covered bridge. Truth is the VanSant covered bridge is thought to be one of the most haunted spots in the commonwealth. Many paranormal investigators have spent late evenings here gathering data. Throughout the bridge cold spots have been felt, cries heard, and apparitions spotted. So why all the paranormal activity?

Many urban legends haunt this bridge. It's said a man murdered a woman and her child on the bridge and now she haunts the area mourning the loss of her child. Others think it's the murderer who's still hanging around, literally. There have been reports of groups seeing an apparition hanging by a noose from the rafters. It was thought the murderer was subsequently hung here for his heinous crime.

Other local legend's say the woman drowned her children herself, after giving birth at a young age and out of wedlock. This particular legend is fairly common folklore for many rural covered bridges. Earning them the nickname "cry-baby bridges," this is due to the fact it's said you can hear baby's cries as you pass over the bridge.

The bridge is also very close to Washington's Crossing, which played a major role in the Revolutionary War, though many men perished in this area due to influenza and other illnesses. So is it the spirit of a murdered woman folks see, and the cries of her children they hear? Or maybe a criminal who was hung here for his past crimes, or perhaps it's the spirit of a fallen soldier crying out his last gasps of life vowing to never be forgotten.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hemp's Histroy in Pennsylvania

Since this week is being celebrated as hemp history week. I thought I'd share a little history about this often misunderstood plant. And how it played a role in our nation's birth and an even bigger role to the residents of Pennsylvania.

Hemp is often confused with marijuana. Both are forms of the plant cannabis sativa. But what separates the two is their intoxicating effect. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana which makes it's users intoxicated. Most marijuana contains 10-15 % THC, whereas hemp's THC content is about .01 -.03 %. Essentially rendering it useless as a drug. They are also grown in two completely different ways, and cannot be grown together.

Hemp has been used for 1000's of years. Fibers from hemp have been found in pottery dating back over 7,000 years. For more than a century in the United States folks lit their lamps and clothed themselves with hemp. Our own forefathers were fans of hemp. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson cultivated the plant on their farms. Ben Franklin started the first American paper mill which exclusively used hemp. Even the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper.

In the state of Pennsylvania, particularly the farming communities of York and Lancaster counties hemp was very big business. Due to their proximity to the Susquehanna river these two counties became the epicenter for hemp growing in Pennsylvania. Every township in Lancaster grew hemp, particularly Hempfield Township. Between 1720 and 1870 there were more than 100 mills in Lancaster county that processed hemp fiber. That fiber was used to help cover many Conestoga wagons, which were built in the small town of Conestoga, Pennsylvania.

With a big movement toward becoming more environmentally friendly, many are standing up for the re-legalization of hemp. It offers great alternatives to petroleum, plastic, cotton, and pulp wood. The folks at the Landis Valley Museum are helping to raise awareness. They have several hemp stones placed on their property, and are also in plans to develop an exhibit on the historical uses of hemp in the county. They feel the re-growing of hemp will help also with struggling farmers and boost tourism in the area, and I can't help but to agree with them 100%.

If you're interested in learning more about hemp I recommend the book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Logan Inn & Haunted Room 6 New Hope, Pennsylvania

New Hope, Pennsylvania is thought by many paranormal investigators to be the most haunted town in America. But there's one room in the town even the bravest fear. At the historic Logan Inn room 6 holds much mystique and intrigue. The room is haunted by a former innkeeper who lost the inn due to an outstanding debt. The woman who's thought to haunt the inn is forever remembered with her portrait, which hangs right outside of room 6. But many remember her more for paying them visits in the dead of night.

Guests who have spent the night in the notorious room 6 have reported smells of lavender, which was a favorite perfume of the former owner. Other nighttime visitors have noticed cold spots, hand prints on walls, and have seen phantom reflections in mirrors. Other overnighters haven't quite made it till dawn. For there are far more tales of those running out in the middle of the night, preferring to not spend another evening in the fabled room 6 of the Logan Inn.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pennsylvania's 9/11 Memorial

September 11, 2001 is a day that will surely not be forgotten by anyone. The events of that day helped unite a country that was tearing itself apart. All communities gathered together and vowed to "Never Forget."

The good folks of Yardley, Pennsylvania had a memorial built so we would all remember. The Garden of Reflection Memorial bears the names of all 2,973 killed on that horrific early autumn day. The memorial incorporates pieces of steel from the twin towers in New York City. It takes you on a journey of tragedy and grief to feelings of hope and peace. The flag that is displayed at the memorial has flown over all three crash sites.

The more interesting fact about this memorial is it's location. It was decided upon after finding a tattered American flag in the brush of an undeveloped park. This worn flag must have been a reminder to the folks of Yardley who vowed to "Never Forget."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Haunted Town of New Hope, Pennsylvania

The small town of New Hope, Pennsylvania in Bucks county is rich in history, which in return leads to ghost tales. The fact is the town is thought to be the most haunted in America. Numerous ghost sightings have been spotted around town. Perhaps they're attributed to a young man who was killed while hitch-hiking. His spirit has been seen late at night wandering the streets still looking for a ride.

There's even tales of one of the towns most famous artist still roaming around near his home on Mechanic street. He's also been spotted along the canal towpath. Though there's an even more famous ghost thought to haunt this area. Aaron Burr, the one time Vice- President, who was indicted on murder charges. He hid out in the town of New Hope shortly after his infamous duel with Alexander Hamilton. His spirit has been seen along the side streets and several taverns in the area.

Men aren't the only ones haunting this small town. The Inn at Phillips Mill has had reports of seeing a woman dressed in Victorian garb roaming the stairways and hallways. And at the now closed Odette's restaurant there are tales of a woman who was murdered here. Throughout the restaurant there were unexplainable cold spots and ghostly voices heard, and even the aroma of perfume constantly permeating around. Leaving few to wander if there's any doubt that this town is one of the most haunted in America.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Haunted and Historic in Bucks County Pennsylvania

In the May zine of Outta the Way we'll take you on a historic and haunted trip through Bucks county, Pennsylvania. We'll take you on a tour through historic Washington's crossing, on the banks of the Delaware river. Learn all about the significance of the town and what it was like before a famed General put it on the map.

We'll take a stroll through a covered bridge shrouded in mystery and despair. Tales of hangings and drownings surround the bridge. Maybe you'll hear the screams of children as you pass through, or perhaps see glimpses of a hangman's noose dangling from the rafters above.

We'll even stop into a haunted inn, where you can spend the evening if your so brave enough. If you're susceptible enough you may catch the faint smell of lavender from a previous owner, who's been dead for over 100 years. You may even be paid a visit in the middle of the night from a brave, fallen Revolutionary war hero. Don't say you weren't warned. Now get outta the way 'cause we're going Outta the Way!