Monday, October 31, 2016

THE BOGEY WAIL



 It's dawn on Halloween and I haven't been to sleep yet. I was up all night doing stuff, and when you do stuff after midnight time flies. I drank lots of strong Irish tea and the caffeine obviously kicked in. I'm wired for sound and probably won't sleep until Thanksgiving.

I made this video especially for Halloween and only finished it about an hour ago. It probably looks like a quick cut and paste job, but actually it was a helluva lot of trouble.

The current version of Windows Movie Maker no longer supports the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF files), so I had to put my brain into gear (or what's left of it) and use some ingenuity. I converted each GIF file into a WMV file and then changed the duration speeds so they look reasonably good on video.

In essence, I'm not as stupid as you think. Maybe.

Anyway, the music on this video is The Bogey Wail, recorded in 1929 by British vocalist Jack Hylton.

Actually, I uploaded the video to YouTube without even watching it, so I don't know how it turned out.

I'm going to hop into bed for a few hours and see if, by some miracle, I can sleep.

I might blog again later today - - if I'm in a reasonably good mood. Until then.....
enjoy Halloween! 
   

My YouTube channel is jayveesonata
I don't know the link  




Saturday, October 29, 2016

RANDOM HALLOWEEN THOUGHTS




Was Halloween more fun long ago, or does it just seem that way in our biased and selective memories?

I'm old, but rumors that I attended the Salem witch hunt trials are exaggerated. I'm not quite old enough to remember good old-fashioned Halloweens of yesteryear: ghost stories by the hearth, taffy pulls, apple bobbing, fortune telling, homemade costumes, bonfires, pranks, and rowdiness.

Nowadays Halloween is sapped of creativity and imagination - sanitized by the Goblin Regulation Police. Squadrons of supervised kids - - attired in fireproof unspooky Made in China costumes - - robotically trek door to door, collect their safety-wrapped store-bought candy, and go home. The End.

Of course, my fondness for children is minimal and I think Trick or Treating should be banned - but that's beside the point. Fortunately I live in a remote area where only wolves dare to trek. My Halloween will be blissfully brat-free.

This blog post is going nowhere but - what the hell - I'll dig my way out of it.

So, how will I be spending All Hallow's Eve? I'm going to have pizza.....and apples, and a big bag of Halloween candy. And I might bake a cinnamon coffee cake if I'm in a good mood. Which is rare.

I wanted to buy a pumpkin when I drove to town yesterday but - - nobody has any! They're all sold out!! The stores are already crammed with Christmas decorations. HOLY SHEE-IT!!

I've dusted off my Halloween dinnerware - mostly so I could take exciting photos that will be treasured forever. *smile*

 This is my favorite Halloween mug for tea. I've been using it in the microwave for fifteen years. Yesterday I noticed a label on the bottom that says Do Not Use in Microwave. I swear to gawd it's true.

 The orange bowl has a black cat in it.
I'll give you a moment to contain your excitement.
How about a witch plate -
and a kinda cool Halloween cat -


Beware of the Cat

That cat has been packed away for years. I just dug it out of mothballs last night.

What's the deal with the cat in your header photo, Jon?

Hey, I'm glad you asked. I love that picture and I colorized it myself. The cat's not mine, but he looks a little like my Bosco.

 Here's Bosco
in a Halloween mode

and Scruffy

 ...and last but not least
Scratch. This pic was taken when I lived in Texas. She looks tough, but actually she was squinting from the camera flash.


This post got way off track. I was initially going to write about a few of my Halloween memories. Well, perhaps it's best that I saved you from being mercilessly bored. 
Hopefully you were only slightly bored.

More Halloween stuff is on the way.
Look out!
 



  
 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

THE HOUDINI MANSION MYSTERY





Note:
Please read my previous post, which contains supplemental information about this story.
http://lonewolfconcerto.blogspot.com/2016/10/supplement-to-houdini-mansion-mystery.html 


Halloween night, 1920's.
In the rural, sparsely populated Hollywood Hills was a lavish three-story mansion. It was located on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, which at that time was nothing more than a seldom-traveled road. The mansion was a castle-like structure, complete with parapets and towers. It was situated on nearly four rambling acres, filled with gardens, grottoes, and a secret labyrinth of caves. A perfect setting for a Halloween party - - and for romance and danger.

The mansion was known as the Walker Estate. It was built in 1915 by department store magnate Ralf Marc Walker and he spared no expense. The home had 11 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, a ballet room, a theater, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and every luxury that money could buy.

An old-fashioned Halloween costume party

The Halloween costume party served a double purpose. It was also a birthday party for Walker's spoiled, self-indulgent adopted son George. On this night, to the consternation of his father, the son brought his gay lover to the party.

Legend has it that the two lovers went out on one of the balconies to see the moon. Somehow, during this romantic interlude, a heated argument ensued and eventually turned violent. In a rage, the heir to the Walker fortune pushed his lover over the balcony. The unfortunate man fell forty feet to his death.

Dapper and gay 

The family fortune served to protect Walker and son from scandal.  Every conceivable method was employed to exonerate his son. Newspaper stories were hushed. Cops, attorneys, and even the judge were paid off. The court case was dropped due to "insufficient evidence."

Ralf M. Walker died in 1935 and his widow sold the estate the following year. It fell into disrepair and eventually became a home for unemployed actors. In 1959 a great fire swept through Laurel Canyon, destroying the mansion and everything surrounding it. All that was left was the massive stone stairway to the mansion, the chauffeur's quarters, and part of the garage. That's where the real legend begins.


 This photo was taken on Laurel Canyon Boulevard
directly in front of the Walker mansion (located on the right) probably in the early 1920's. The building on the left (behind the tree) is supposedly the guest house where Houdini lived.


When I lived in Hollywood during my youth the Walker place was known as the Houdini Mansion. Everyone I talked to swore that magician Harry Houdini had owned the estate. Most intriguing of all (at least to me) was that the place was rumored to be haunted. The ghost of Houdini was said to roam the grounds late at night. Sometimes only his floating head was seen. There were other ghosts, too, including that of a woman and an executed bandit. Several Hollywood old-timers whom I spoke with recalled varying versions of the gay lover murder, and believed that the dead lover's ghost lingered there with the others.

The confusion about the ownership of the so-called Houdini Mansion persisted. It wasn't until later that I finally unearthed the true story.

Harry Houdini loved Hollywood but never owned a mansion there. He was a friend of Ralf Marc Walker and occasionally visited the Laurel Canyon estate. In 1919, Houdini came to Hollywood to make two motion pictures for the Lasky-Famous Players Studio, located on Vine Street (the movies were The Grim Game and Terror Island). During this time - a duration of about nine months - Houdini stayed at Walker's guest house. The guest house was a four-bedroom structure which was located across the street from the main mansion. A secret underground tunnel connected the mansion with the guest house.


Harry Houdini

A rare photo of Houdini by the outdoor swimming pool on the Walker estate


After Houdini's death on Halloween, 1926, his widow Bess occasionally stayed at the guest house of the Walker mansion. In 1934 she moved there and held seances in attempts to contact her deceased husband. In the summer of 1935, Bess held a party at the guest house for the Magician's Convention. 500 people attended. When the Walker estate was sold, Bess moved out of the guest house.

Sometime during the following years, Houdini's connection with the Walker mansion became legendary. Walker was completely forgotten and the crumbling estate became known solely as the Houdini Mansion.



One of the only existing public photos of the original Walker mansion, when it was obviously in a state of disrepair.


By the time I knew the place, confusion abounded - - especially because the address was changed. The original address of the estate was 2398 Laurel Canyon Boulevard. In more recent years, it was changed to 2400 Laurel Canyon. The address of the guest house across the street was 2435.

To add further confusion to the saga, a mansion located a block north of the old Walker Estate has also been mistakenly known as the Houdini Mansion. This house was owned by record producer Rick Rubin and had been used as a recording studio. The Red Hot Chili Peppers made an album there in 1991. To this day rumors of a Houdini mansion still persist, as well as tales of his presiding ghost.

The burned-out remains of the guest house were demolished in the 1960's. The remains of the main mansion were demolished in 1970. By the time I saw the place, there were only tattered remnants of what used to be, but it was still extremely intriguing.

The concrete stairway leading up to the ruins of the Walker Mansion, looking just as I remember it.


One Halloween night when I was in my early 20's - -  fortified with a generous amount of whiskey and Rainier Malt Liquor - - I went to the remains of the notorious mansion. The Houdini Mansion, or so I thought. It was extremely dark and moonless. I stumbled over the concrete remnants of steps and made my way through a maze of heavy weeds, empty gardens, and dilapidated places where grottoes had been. If ghosts exist, this was a perfect place for them to congregate.

There were stories that bandits had been hanged from trees here, long before the mansion was built. An unbalanced homeless man known as Robin Hood supposedly lived somewhere on the grounds. The spirit of a mysterious woman in white was said to wander among the trees. 

I didn't see any ghosts, but the general atmosphere was extremely creepy and reeked with potential danger. It was a place few would want to venture sober in the daylight, let alone and drunk on Halloween night.

Harry Houdini died on Halloween night.

The heir to the Walker fortune supposedly murdered his lover on Halloween night.

And I - a humble musician with an adventurous soul - wandered through the tumbling shadows and twisted paths on Halloween night in hopes of encountering  ghosts. No spirits of any form dared to materialize while I was there. But the entire place was filled with rumors of ghosts - - whispers of unfamiliar sounds, phantom shapes of suggested horrors...........
and haunting echoes of a long-ago Halloween party and the cold-blooded scent of murder.



Post Script:
The present owner of the property has completely restored the mansion and the grounds. It is now used for charity events, film productions, and various other rental purposes. Unfortunately it is still (erroneously) advertised as "The Houdini Estate" -  capitalizing on the famous magician's name.

For further reading:

 http://www.prairieghosts.com/hollywood6.html

 http://www.wildabouthoudini.com/2012/03/inside-houdini-estate.html

I'm too damn lazy to turn these into direct links - - just copy and paste. You'll eventually get there.




SUPPLEMENT TO THE HOUDINI MANSION MYSTERY



 Stairway to Scandal
the stairs leading to the Walker mansion

This is supplemental information to The Houdini Mansion Mystery, which I will post later today.

My story was solely intended to be about mysteries and ghosts, with a Halloween flair. I felt that if I added too much historic/biographic information it would bog down the story and greatly subtract from the original intent.

A quick recap:
My story is about the old Laurel Canyon mansion in Beverly Hills that was supposedly owned by magician Harry Houdini and haunted by his ghost.
In fact, the mansion was never owned by Houdini.
The real owner was department store magnate Ralf Marc Walker.
Legend has it that, at a Halloween party in the 1920's, Walker's son pushed his gay lover off a balcony and the unfortunate man fell to his death.

In recent years there has been some speculation as to whether Ralf Walker indeed ever had any children - and there has been doubt as to the authenticity of the legend.

What I know for a fact is that Walker was a man of great mystery and much of his existence has been clouded by a heavy shroud. Long ago when I was living in Beverly Hills and researching this story, I talked to several Hollywood old-timers who swore that the death at the party was true.

This much is certain:
Ralf Marc Walker married Eliza Fitzgerald in 1908. It is assumed that they never had children, mainly because none are listed in the Los Angeles census. The census is not always accurate, however, and children weren't always listed.
Even Ralf M. Walker wasn't listed in the 1920 census, simply because he was traveling in Europe at the time.

One thing is definite: 
Ralf Walker and his wife did have a foster son named George. He is listed as living with the Walkers in the1920's - and very possibly even lived with them before that time.

George A. Scott was born in Scotland, migrated to Canada, and eventually wound up in Los Angeles - where he worked as a stock boy at Walker's downtown department store. Ralf Marc Walker took a very keen interest in the young man and unofficially "adopted" him. No one knows what their exact relationship was, but they were unusually close companions. George moved into the Walker mansion. Ralf Walker and George even took extended trips to Europe together (without Walker's wife Eliza). 

Ralf Walker and George Scott eventually became business partners. They were on the verge of opening a new San Diego department store in 1935, when Walker died of a heart attack.

So:
Did Ralf M. Walker have homosexual inclinations? Was his "adopted" son gay? Where they lovers? Was there a third person involved who inspired  jealousy??

The whole "affair" could certainly have been innocent, but my keen intuition smells something very gay about the entire situation.
There is always some truth in rumor and legends. 
The pieces of the puzzle aren't all there, but what lingers is the echo of authenticity:
a Halloween party at the Walker mansion, gay lovers, jealousy.......
........and even possibly murder.....

And ghosts??
Hell, why not?

I will post the whole story later tonight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

UNSCHEDULED STOP


Ghosts??
Naw, no way!


We interrupt this blog for an unscheduled stop. Please remain seated and stay calm.

I've always considered my blog to be nothing more than entertainment. Mediocre entertainment, but entertainment nevertheless. I never felt a need to include reference sources or bibliographical data with my posts.

I try to write about uncontroversial topics (which for me is difficult, to say the least). After recently writing several anti-Hillary political posts my readership has dropped. I was expecting that. After all, 98 percent of my readers are liberal Democrats. I wasn't expecting some very nasty comments (which I deleted) calling me a Nazi and equating me with the Ku Klux Klan.
That irked me a little bit.

After considering shoving some burning crosses up those bastard's asses, I finally calmed down and said

"To hell with politics. I'll write about something fun and benign and non-controversial - - like Halloween!"

So far, so good. I was back on my mundane track.....and my three remaining readers seemed pleased.
(do I need to insert a *smile* here?)

Then, last Monday night, I proudly posted my Halloween tale of the "haunted" Houdini mansion. I thought it was a reasonably good read.
I was happy.

The Blog Gods saw that I was happy and decided to kick me in the balls.
I immediately received this somber comment (paraphrased):

"Your story doesn't add up. Please email me....."

Holy shit! What did I do wrong now?
Was this from the Blog Police?
An attorney? 
Houdini's ghost??

I had no idea. In a foolish panic, I quickly reverted my post to a draft.
I emailed.
I'm still waiting for the damning reply.

I plan to post my haunted Houdini story again - but before I do, I'd like to present my case and try to clear some things up.

First of all, I have written many articles about Hollywood history for very respectable publications. I'm not a novice at this game and I'm a staunch advocate of thorough research. 

My Houdini story has never been published. It was buried in my old files for years. I dug it out of the dust simply because I figured it would make a fairly good Halloween blog post.

My interest in the so-called haunted Houdini Mansion, and my research about it, began long ago when I was in my early 20's. At that time I was sharing a rental home in Beverly Hills with a fellow musician. I was very familiar with the area and was extremely interested in unusual stories about Hollywood history.

Several people had mentioned that there was an old haunted mansion on Laurel Canyon Blvd. that once belonged to magician Harry Houdini.

That was more than enough to intrigue me. When I finally found the address, I  discovered that the mansion no longer existed. Only the burned out ruins were there - on four acres of wild wastelands.
This setback intrigued me even more. All of this happened in the month of October. On a whim, I made a date with myself to visit the ruins on Halloween night. Getting drunk fortified my "courage". My midnight ramble through the ruins was interesting but yielded no ghosts.

Around this time I happened to discover a book entitled This Is Hollywood by Ken Schessler. He was one of the first writers to ever mention the Houdini mansion. I wrote to him and received a reply, and we exchanged stories that we heard about the mansion.

Later, I began my own research. In the main downtown branch of the L.A. Library I discovered some records concerning the mansion, which included the fact that the original address had been 2398 Laurel Canyon. It was changed to 2400 in later years. I also found out that the mansion was built and originally owned by department store magnate Ralf Marc Walker. In the 1920's he owned a popular discount department store in downtown L.A. located on 5th and Broadway.

My biggest discovery was that Harry Houdini never owned the mansion, but was a friend of Walker and did stay there as a guest.
Despite this revelation, the place is still referred to as the Houdini Mansion.

I began talking to a few old-timers who lived in the area during that era. I remember one old man named Mr. Scheffmeyer who was born in 1899. He told me that a party took place in the Walker mansion sometime around or just after World War I. During that party, a guest fell from the roof and was killed. 

This coincided with a later story I heard about Ralf Walker's son pushing his male lover off a balcony during a Halloween party. To my surprise, many years later a writer named Troy Taylor wrote about this exact same incident in one of his books (I think it was The Ghost Hunter's Guidebook, 1999).

Since my initial long-ago interest in this subject, many new articles about the so-called Houdini mansion have been written - - and many of my initial findings have proven to be true.

I am definitely not an expert on Houdini or the Walker mansion, but I know enough to stand firmly behind my findings. I've seen the place firsthand, have talked to numerous people who lived in Hollywood during that era, and I have dona lot of reading on the subject.

I plan to post my story again, and I'll include a few other links for readers who might want to learn more.

My account might not "add up" to some high standards, but I've written as honestly as possible about what I know. 

My main objective was NOT to give an historical textbook account, but rather to pique interest in a subject that I find fascinating.

 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

HOLLYWOOD HAUNTS





Few places are filled with more hauntings than Hollywood. And few places offer a more perfect backdrop for perpetuating tales of the supernatural: a stardusted Neverland steeped in glamor, fame and fortune, broken dreams, sex, scandals, murder, and suicide.

If all the purported Hollywood hauntings are to be believed, then the entire place is brimming with spirits and ghosts. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these stories have little substance and are generated by rumor, legends, imagination, and pure hokum. It's a deliciously intriguing subject, nevertheless.

I was raised in Southern California but didn't really hit the Hollywood scene until I was nineteen or twenty. At that time I had an insatiable appetite for ghost stories and things macabre and spent a lot of time exploring the dark side of Tinsel Town. I visited just about every place that was rumored to be haunted or had a sinister history.

I saw the shabby apartment on Harold Way where the definitive Dracula Bela Lugosi died, as a penniless drug addict. I found the house in Laurel Canyon where Ramon Novarro, screen star of the silent era, was brutally murdered in 1968 on Halloween night. 
I visited Falcon Lair, the last home of 1920's heartthrob Rudolph Valentino, which is reportedly haunted. At the time that I went there, the home was owned by heiress Doris Duke (who died there in 1993).


Falcon Lair, the haunted home of
silent screen star Rudolph Valentino

When I was in my early twenties I lived for a brief time in a Beverly Hills home that was very near Cielo Drive, where actress Sharon Tate was murdered. Ironically, the Valentino estate Falcon Lair was also near the Tate mansion (which has since been torn down) - - and the horse stables were located on Cielo Drive. A friend took me to see the stables and we were told by a caretaker that it is haunted by one of Rudolph Valentino's horses - - the phantom stallion roams the grounds after dark.

I was familiar with the haunted Chancellor Apartments on Cherokee (just off of Hollywood Boulevard) because an acquaintance of mine lived there. The Chancellor was the last known residence of Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia, whose savage murder in 1947 still remains unsolved.

The famous Hollywood sign on nearby Mount Lee has long been haunted by a "mysterious" lady in white. The  original Hollywoodland sign was erected in 1923 as a real estate advertisement. Fledgling actress Peg Entwistle committed suicide by jumping off the sign in 1932. The full story can be read in my post entitled
Suicide Sign 




The places on (or around) Hollywood Boulevard that are supposedly haunted are far too numerous to mention. Among the most well-known are the Knickerbocker Hotel, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the Pantages Theater, the Vogue Theater, and Grauman's Chinese Theater. 

The Vogue Theater had originally been the site of an elementary school. In 1901 the school burned down. Twenty-five children and one teacher were killed. The spirits of children have reportedly haunted the theater ever since. The Vogue Theater is also haunted by the ghost of a German man named Fritz, who was the projectionist for forty years. He died of a heart attack in the projection room in the 1980's.

The Vogue Theater at 6675 Hollywood Blvd.
first opened in 1935 and still exists today.


I especially loved the fascinating history of the Knickerbocker Hotel, but by the time I lived in Hollywood it was no longer a hotel. It had been converted into a home for senior citizens in 1970. I liked to walk past it - especially late at night - and reflect on all the things that had occurred there.

Ill-fated actress Frances Farmer lived at the Knickerbocker, when - in 1943 - she was arrested, dragged half-naked through the lobby, and eventually placed in an insane asylum (at the request of her vindictive mother).  In 1948, silent film director D.W.Griffith died in the lobby of the Knickerbocker. Strangely enough, actor William Frawley (Fred Mertz of I Love Lucy fame) collapsed from a fatal heart attack on the sidewalk near the Knickerbocker in 1966.


The Knickerbocker Hotel on Ivar, near the corner of
Ivar and Hollywood Boulevard was built in 1925.
This photo looks exactly as I remember it.

Even more gruesome was the suicide of Hollywood costume designer Irene Gibbons (simply known as "Irene"). In 1961, while staying on the 14th floor, she cut her wrists and leaped out the window. Her body landed on an awning and wasn't found until the next day. In the 1930's Harry Houdini's widow Bess used to hold seances on the roof of the Knickerbocker on Halloween night.

The old Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, final resting place of the stars, is reportedly haunted by numerous movie star ghosts - including that of Rudolph Valentino and Clifton Webb. It is located directly behind Paramount Studios (on Melrose) and has recently and inexplicably been renamed the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tacky. Very tacky. On several occasions I had sneaked into the cemetery after-hours for romantic trysts. One Halloween, I and several friends went there at midnight in search of famous ghosts. It was a very creepy experience but no spirits cared to manifest themselves.


Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery,
now known as the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
A creepy place after dark.

The Roosevelt Hotel at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard (newly renovated) harbors the ghosts of two former residents - - Marilyn Monroe and Montomery Clift. Marilyn supposedly appears in a lobby mirror, and Monty haunts his old room (which is # 928). Also the Blossom Ballroom has several "unexplained" cold spots. This old ballroom was the site of the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.

I've heard rumors that John Belushi's ghost has haunted bungalow #3 at the Chateau Marmont on Hollywood Boulevard ever since his death there in 1982. The spirit of Howard Hughes supposedly lingers at the  Hollywood Boulevard Pantages Theater. Hughes didn't die there, but he purchased the building in 1949.

The Hollywood Wax Museum, still located on 6767 Hollywood Boulevard, is a gathering place for restless spirits. A reporter for the National Enquirer once spent the night in there alone and was terrified, claiming that he'd never go back.

There's also a lesser-known Hollywood Boulevard ghost  that still lingers on the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine. There was a bus stop on the northwest corner of this intersection in the 1920's that was frequented by actor Lon Chaney. He would go there every morning to catch a bus to the studios when he was looking for work. His ghost is still seen late at night where the bus stop used to be.

Speaking of ghostly places, the infamous Suicide Bridge is probably the creepiest place of all. Although it's located in Pasadena, not Hollywood, it is worth a mention. Originally called the Colorado Street Bridge, it was built in 1913. One of the workers accidentally fell from the bridge and landed head-first in wet cement. His body is still entombed in the cement, under the bridge.


Suicide Bridge in Pasadena
(the Colorado Street Bridge, built in 1913)
Site of over 100 suicides and ghosts galore

Since the bridge first opened, it has been the site of over 100 suicides. Attempts to make the bridge "suicide-proof" have been futile. It remains a notorious jumping off point to this day. Spirits abound at the Suicide Bridge, and I can attest to the fact that it's an incredibly spooky place to visit at night. There's a strong sense of restless ghosts.

This post is getting too long and I haven't even scratched the surface of Hollywood haunts. Tinseltown has long had a surplus of ghosts and legends - - many of whom are more popular than the undead residents.

Note:
This post was written quickly and I relied solely on my memory. Please excuse any typos or errors.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

LIKE A FINE WINE




Autumn intoxicates my senses and I savor its delicious uniqueness like a fine wine.
Don't snicker. I'm trying to be poetic.
Having been raised in temperate Southern California, I never experienced the splendor of a real autumn. I had traveled with my parents, of course, and saw glimpses of the changing seasons - but it wasn't the same as permanently living in a seasonal environment.

It wasn't until I was 33 and moved to the Missouri Ozarks that I experienced genuine seasons - and became completely obsessed with autumn. On the first brisk October days, with the first sign of the changing colors of foliage, I would go out and immerse myself in nature's glory: drives in the country, long walks in the woods. I collected colored leaves, pine cones, acorns, and decorated the house with pumpkins, apples, and gourds. I sat by the fireplace on frosty nights - drinking hot chocolate, spiced tea, or spiked cider. I spent hours wandering in old graveyards, accompanied by the ghosts of imagination.

When I moved to Texas, autumn vanished and was replaced by surrealistic dust storms and ruthlessly howling winds. I was determined to survive long enough to see a real autumn again.

So here - nestled in the unfamiliar but satisfying solace of rural Tennessee - I have finally found another autumn. I'm admittedly tired, worn out, plagued with health problems, and haunted by the turmoil of emotional ghosts - but the gentle cloak of autumn is comforting. It rekindles life in the living dead.....

The best part is that I only have to step out my door to be reunited with nature.
Yesterday was unseasonably warm and gorgeous. Recent winds have stripped some of the trees of their leaves, but the remaining foliage is ripe with color. I ventured outside again with my camera. These precious days are fleeting and need to be captured and remembered.

 This was the full Hunter's Moon last weekend. Photo taken just before dawn, when it was setting in the west.













 Bosco, enjoying the warm weather



Afternoon view from the back porch



It's a good thing I took photos yesterday. It's pouring rain tonight and the temperature is dropping.