“I…. Am…. A Man!”

Joseph Carey Merrick, a.k.a. “The Elephant Man”.

On August 5,1862, Joseph Carey Merrick (who was often incorrectly referred to as John Merrick) was born in Leicester, England. His parents were Joseph Rockley Merrick and Mary Jane Merrick. During his early years in life, Joseph Carey began to suffer from extreme facial and body deformities. He appeared to have thick and lumpy skin. His lips became rather enlarged, and a bony lump started to grow on his forehead. One arm and both feet also grew to be enlarged and during his childhood he had fallen, damaging his left hip which caused him permanent lameness.

At the age of only eleven years old, Joseph Carey’s mother passed away. The cause of her death was bronchopneumonia. His father remarried not long after. Wrongly, he and his new wife rejected Joseph, treating him like an outcast. Joseph Carey was forced to leave home, finding shelter at the residence of his uncle, Charles Merrick.

At thirteen years old, Joseph gained employment working at Freeman’s Cigar Factory in Leicester. And then, in December 1879, at seventeen years of age, he joined the Leicester Union Workhouse. A few years later in 1884, Joseph got in contact with Sam Torr who was a showman. Joseph suggested that Sam should put Joseph up as an exhibit because of his unusual deformities.

Torr agreed on the proposition and along with a group of men who managed Joseph, they came up with Joseph’s exhibit’s name of “The Elephant Man”. After touring for some time, Joseph made a trip to London to be put on exhibit in a penny gaff located on Whitechapel Road which was rented by Tom Norman who was also a showman. Norman’s shop was located right across the street from the London Hospital.

Frederick Treves, who was a surgeon from the hospital, visited Norman’s shop. Dr. Treves automatically showed interest in Joseph Carey Merrick. The doctor invited Joseph to the hospital to be examined and photographed. This made Joseph feel uncomfortable, like an animal, and he refused to return to the London Hospital. This angered Dr. Treves and oddly enough, Norman’s shop was closed by local authorities. Upset by it all, Joseph decided to seek another opportunity elsewhere and joined a gentleman by the name of Sam Roper who owned a traveling circus that toured throughout Europe.

As time went on, Joseph was unfortunately robbed in Belgium, abandoned in Brussels, and finally made his way back to the London Hospital. Dr. Treves allowed Joseph to stay the remainder of his life at the hospital, free room and board. With daily visits from Dr. Treves, the two men quickly formed a remarkable friendship. Even the wealthy elite, including Alexandra, Princess of Wales visited Joseph.

And then, on April 11, 1890, Joseph Carey Merrick sadly died at the age of twenty-seven years old of asphyxia which is a condition where the body is seriously deprived of oxygen. It was believed that he was awake, attempting to get up from his bed just prior to his death. He was found stretched across his bed with a dislocated neck. Perhaps the weight of his head was too much for his neck to support. His skeletal remains can be found on display in the Royal London Hospital, which is a large educational facility in London, England.

It’s said that one of Joseph Carey Merrick’s favorite poems was:

“Tis true my form is something odd,                                                                               but blaming me is blaming God.                                                                                Could I create myself anew,                                                                                               I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole                                                                                      or grasp the ocean with a span,                                                                                         I would be measured by the soul.                                                                                 The mind’s the standard of the man.”

 

 

“I am not an animal! I am a human being! I … am … a man!” ~ Joseph Carey Merrick, a.k.a. “The Elephant Man”.

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

Here is the artwork that I created in honor of Joseph Carey Merrick simply titled, “The Elephant Man”. Prints, pillows, blankets and even stationary…. available only at Fine Art America!

(“The Elephant Man” ~ by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints, tote bags, coffee mugs and so much more available only at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-elephant-man-sheila-renee-parker.html!)

 

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“Spooky Random Fact: #18”

“Spooky Random Fact: #18”

“The Unknown Woman of the Seine”, or more beautifully known as “L’Inconnue de la Seine”. 

“Who was she?”, you may ask. Well, back in the late 1880s a young woman’s body was pulled out of the Seine River located at the Quai du Louvre in Paris. The local officials theorized that the cause of death was suicide since there was no evidence of foul play. Now here’s where the story gets a little strange. It was alleged that the Paris morgue’s pathologist at the time was so completely awestruck by the young woman’s beauty that he created a death mask of her face. Kinda creepy, right?!

And as if that wasn’t disturbing enough…. Apparently the pathologist wasn’t the only one who was charmed by the vision because a large amount of copies were made of the unknown beauty’s death mask throughout the years. As macabre as it may sound, the copies rapidly made their way in the fashion of Parisian Bohemian society. This mysterious belle has even been the inspiration that has led to the creation of countless literary works.

Did ya know that her beauty was so captivating that it even….. Well, ya gotta read more at L’Inconnue de la Seine 😉

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

“The Haunted Swamp”

Ahhhh…. The Haunted Swamp. Nefarious place or a peaceful location? I guess that’s up to the individual and their experience.

Recently, my husband and I checked out a place called Bear Creek Swamp located in Prattville, Alabama. It was nearly a three hour drive that we took early in the morning to attend our son’s football game that was scheduled to occur later that night. The reason why we left so early was because my husband and I had already researched the city of Prattville, which was founded by industrialist and architect, Daniel Pratt in 1839. We love historical places so we took the opportunity to look around!

Upon our research, we looked for areas known for paranormal activity. That’s when my husband stumbled across some online articles about Bear Creek Swamp, also referred to as “The Haunted Swamp”. What he shared with me were some pretty interesting things. We read about ghostly sightings of Confederate soldiers, Creek Indians, early settlers, and even an apparition of a woman desperately in search of her lost child that will lash out at anyone who repeats three times, “We have your baby!”

People have even made reports of seeing floating orbs and phantom car lights that chased them down the road, that’s if their vehicles didn’t stall without plausible explanation. Yep, some say that their cars have actually “died” and wouldn’t start back up while encountering the freakishly paranormal activity of The Haunted Swamp.

Also, sightings of none other…. the big, hairy beast himself, Bigfoot! His echoing howls have been heard by various people claiming the validity of this creature. Oh, and we dare not leave out the elusive, legendary Chupacabra whose sightings have been reported as well.

And as if all that wasn’t enough to make one want to become a nail biter, there’s the Creepy Doll Graveyard where 21 porcelain dolls were found on top of bamboo stakes back in November, 2014. Who or what was behind this macabre creation? Who knows? The origin of such a morbid finding has never been discovered, or revealed.

Now, in finding Bear Creek Swamp, it seemed like it took my husband and me forever before we finally found it. Of course, we used our GPS and it sent us to a bridge that crossed over Bear Creek on Alabama State Route 14. We knew that wasn’t the exact location mentioned in the articles. Keep in mind, we weren’t able to find any road signs about Bear Creek Swamp, but did that stop us from our search? No way! We were determined to see what all the hype was about with The Haunted Swamp!

We traveled down a couple of paved roads that were near the bridge, but quickly knew that we were still in the wrong spots. My husband and I were just about to give up when we passed a dirt, gravelly looking road. He said,  “Hmmm…. wonder if that was the road?” Getting tired of driving around I asked him, “Wanna go back to see?” He was like, “No, uh huh… let’s just keep going.” But when he said that, I could tell that he really did want to go back to see if that old road was the correct one. “What would you do if you were me?” I asked him. “Go back.” He said without any hesitation.

That’s when I found the nearest place to turn our car around. I’m glad we did because once we turned down the old road, we were in awe of our surroundings! We weren’t even a mile away from Alabama State Route 14 when we noticed the swamp that was on both sides of the road. It was lush and green with a beautiful serenity about it! It was a road that appeared not traveled much and had very few residences on it. The entire time we were on the road, not once did we encounter another vehicle. It was absolutely quiet there. The only sound we heard was from a small, man-made drainage culvert. Trees were all over the place, moss was abound and I couldn’t resist taking some of the beautiful moss home. (The next day I put the moss into a crystal bowl and added some tiny, white wire lights to create a stunning coffee table centerpiece. One word…. “Gorgeous!”).

While going down the road we did stop and get out of our car a couple of times. Did we experience anything ghostly or otherworldly? Did we see our beloved Bigfoot and/or  Chupacabra? Nope! Didn’t see anything, hear anything, nor smell anything of the sort. (Smell? Why would I say that?? Because Bigfoot has always been known to have a foul odor about him. Poor guy…. you’d think that with all the water around there that he would take a bath every once in a while. 😉 )

Everything that we researched basically had supernatural activity at night. We didn’t stay there until nightfall because the main reason why we were in Prattville was to attend our son’s football game, which was far more important to us. So, that’s why we visited Bear Creek Swamp during the day.

What we did experience at The Haunted Swamp was tranquility and beauty. It was like stepping back into another time as we made our way down the unpaved road. No sounds of the hustle and bustle of a nearby city, no streetlights and buildings. Only vibrant green scenery and tall trees surrounded us. The occasional breeze that blew off the water was cool to our skin, taking away the humid, August day’s heat.

I was raised as a country girl, so I found myself extremely comfortable there. It made me reminisce the times when I was growing up on the old road that I did with my best friend. Together, she and I were always finding our way down hidden trails that passersby often forgot about.

My husband found himself reminiscing as well. He loved the place, too. We will happily go back at the next given chance!

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

My artwork titled, “The Haunted Swamp”.

The Haunted Forest 3

(“The Haunted Swamp” ~ Digital artwork by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints available at Fine Art America!)

 

 

(The coffee table centerpiece that I created using the moss from “The Haunted Swamp”.)

 

 

“Spooky Random Fact: #17”

“Spooky Random Fact: #17”

Ok, everyone’s heard of Casper the Friendly Ghost, right? You know, the cute transparent guy who floats around through walls? If all the hauntings were as adorable as him, then that would be pretty amazing and all the little kiddies wouldn’t be so afraid of the things that go bump in the night.

Well, let’s take a step back and face reality here. Some hauntings can be pretty frightening and down right mind-numbing. Did you know that there are actually two known types of hauntings? Yes, intelligent and residual…

An intelligent haunting is when the spirits can interact with the living, a type of energy that DOES have consciousness. These spirits may find ways of communication much like the ways discussed in my previous blog titled, The Afterlife ~ A Corporeal’s Transition, or the spirits can often communicate through the use of a voice box; a tool that is used to collect electronic voice phenomena (EVPs)……….

The second type of haunting is known as a residual haunting. It’s more like a supernatural experience that resembles a recording of past energy. For instance, like hearing footsteps walking down an empty hallway when no one is there. It’s believed that in a location where someone has released a large amount of energy or heightened emotions were experienced and the energy attaches or “imprints” itself. As a result of the abiding energy, individuals in the future may get to experience seeing a type of “recording” of these events. Some signs of a residual haunting may be the absence of interaction from the spirit. As if the spirit doesn’t acknowledge the presence of the living person. The spirit will almost seem totally oblivious to anything that’s occurring in it’s presence.

I’ve actually encountered both. Read more at Intelligent & Residual Hauntings: What Are They?

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

 

“Light Will Always Prevail”

Even when it’s cloudy the sun continues to shine.

Clouds cover the sky on a humid summer day, passing by with their random forms and patterns. And yet, beaming high above, the sun radiates its rays for all to see. Just witnessing this was so awe inspiring to me. Why? Because I saw it as a beautiful reminder that regardless of what we go through in life, light will always prevail.

Writing about and researching the paranormal, there’s always talk about the darkness and shadows. But what we have to remember is that regardless of how dim things may get, they cannot exist without the Light. There is a magnificent balance between the two. As I always say, “I love the Light as much as I love the Dark. It’s such a beautiful balance.” And I sincerely mean that.

We all go through our moments, good and bad. It’s up to us on how we perceive things. Remember, a positive mindset can do a world of wonders.

I’ve often been asked, “Sheila, how are you always so positive?” Well, the truth is… I’m not. I have my moments just like anyone else does. For example: when something happens and it absolutely irks me, I’ll be like “OMG, seriously?!?!” And trust me, I’ll say a couple of “choice words” about it, but then I have to remind myself to just let it go. Whatever it is, does not have power over me. I have power over me. I am in control of my life and whatever happens, whether it’s good or bad, is because it is meant to happen. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. We are never given more than what we can handle. But again, it is based on our perception on how we see things. Do we accept things as a lesson that will help us to grow and become stronger, better individuals or will we let things drag us down and consume us? We can either accept things constructively or destructively, the choice is ours. If we choose constructively, then we can embrace the experience as a lesson that will teach us to be wiser with a more positive outlook. However, if we choose destructively, we do so with a negative mindset, therefore becoming cold and bitter towards the situation. Subsequently, allowing the latter to control us. I repeat, the choice is ours. Constructively or destructively. Positive or negative. A positive life brings forth strength and happiness while a negative life results in weakness and misery.

When I was younger, I was actually more negative than positive. I would often look at things with a scowled look on my face, angry and wrapped up in my own little world. I would let things control me and still question, “why?”. And then one day I woke up. A co-worker once told me that no matter how some people may try to bring us down, we should always smile at them. I questioned her reasoning and she replied, “Because if you let them get the best of you, then they win. And if you do that, you let that person have power over you. But, by smiling at them, regardless of how hard they try to be rude, you let that individual know that they can’t control you.”

It may sound like simple advice, but I have carried that with me for twenty years and the older I get, the more it makes sense. I guess with age comes wisdom? Whatever it is, it continues to resonate with me and I find myself sharing my former co-worker’s advice quite often. (If you’re wondering what I used to do, I worked for a law firm serving subpoenas for a living and would often get a lot of attitude from people when I served them. Even though it wasn’t my fault why they were being subpoenaed to court, I was the middle person and the one who they hated. I must admit, the job did help me develop a tough skin, though.)

Keep in mind when you encounter someone who’s having a bad day, remember this….. don’t take it personally. And if you can, help them have a better day. Even if you just give them a smile. You may not think they deserve it, but I promise you, the simple gesture of a smile can brighten someone’s day more than you know. It can literally speak volumes. Pay it forward! Also by doing so, you continue to help yourself grow by incorporating a positive life into your daily routine. Your positive light can be the seed that manifests brightness into the world. How amazing is that, right?! You are a beautiful beacon of radiance! You glow and so does your magical smile! 🙂

Keep shining, my most awesome friends!

~ Love & Light, Sheila

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

 

 

 

 

(Here is the photo that I took of the sky that inspired me to write this article. ~Sheila Renee Parker)

“Spooky Random Fact: #16”

“Spooky Random Fact: #16”

Do you have a fear of ghosts, anything ghoulish that goes bump in the night and causes fright?

Well, if you do, then don’t worry because millions of others do, too. It’s a very common fear known as “phasmophobia”. The word “phasmos” derives from the Greek language referring to “phantom” or “supernatural being”. It’s also known as “spectrophobia”. “Spectrum” is Latin referring to a specter, or an image of a thing, or an apparition.

Symptoms of phasmobia can typically be found in most disorders that lead to anxiety. A sufferer can go through feelings of dread, rapid heartbeat, panic attacks, also nausea and severe vomiting. It’s even been reported that a person suffering from phasmosphobia can develop OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in order to conduct rituals to negate any kind of ghostly presence.

Is there treatment for such a phobia? Read more at Phasmophobia: A Ghostly Fear

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

 

 

 

 

“Spooky Random Fact: #15”

“Spooky Random Fact: #15”

You say that I’ve done this before…. wait, what?! I don’t remember….. :/

Have you ever had a moment when you’ve bumped into someone that you haven’t seen in a while and they are so happy to see you, but you haven’t the slightest clue as to who they are? Or you go to a place that you’ve been to many times before, but you can’t seem to remember it? When this happens to someone, they have just experienced “jamais vu”.

Jamais vu is a French term meaning “never seen”, which (according to Wikipedia) “refers to the phenomenon of experiencing a situation that one recognizes in some fashion, but nonetheless seems very unfamiliar.” Strangely, it’s the opposite of “deja vu” which is the phenomenon that basically describes the feeling one gets when they’re experiencing a current situation even though they know that it has never happened to them before.

And just for kicks…. here’s another “vu” that everyone’s well aware of, simply because it happens to us all. Ever have that moment when something is on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t, to save your own life, remember what it is? Like when someone starts to hum a song that you haven’t heard in a really long time and you know the name of the song, but you can’t quite get it out. Or when a couple of friends start talking about an old televisions series with what’s her name…. ya know the one… that actress that’s been on t.v. for years, but for some weird reason we just can’t remember her name at the moment….. Experiences like this happen to each and every single one of us. This phenomenon, my friends, is known as “presque vu”.

Read more at Jamais Vu: A Random Peculiarity of Familiarity

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html