I’m NOT saying this is real. I just find it interesting. One reminder: NONE of the stuff said below are in my own words, but instead in the words of an intern at Nickelodeon.
“I want to start off by saying if you want an answer at the end, prepare to be disappointed. There just isn’t one.”
“I was an intern at Nickelodeon Studios for a year in 2005 for my degree in animation. It wasn’t paid of course, most internships aren’t, but it did have some perks beyond education. To adults it might not seem like a big one, but most kids at the time would shit themselves over it. Since I worked directly with the editors and animators, I got to view the new episodes days before they aired.”
“I’ll get right to it without giving too many unnecessary details. They had very recently made the Spongebob movie and the entire staff was somewhat sapped of creativity so it took them longer to start up the season. But the delay lasted longer for more upsetting reasons. There was a problem with the series 4 premier that set everyone and everything back for several months.”
“Me and two other interns were in the editing room along with the lead animators and sound editors for the final cut. We received the copy that was supposed to be “Fear of a Krabby Patty” and gathered around the screen to watch. Now, given that it isn’t final yet animators often put up a mock title card, sort of an inside joke for us, with phony, often times lewd titles, such as “How sex doesn’t work” instead of “Rock-a-by-Bivalve” when spongebob and patrick adopt a sea scallop. Nothing particularly funny but work related chuckles. So when we saw the title card “Squidward’s Suicide” we didn’t think it more than a morbid joke. One of the interns did a small throat laugh at it. The happy-go-lucky music plays as is normal.”
“The story began with Squidard practicing his clarinet, hitting a few sour notes like normal. We hear Spongebob laughing outside and Squidard stops, yelling at him to keep it down as he has a concert that night and needs to practice. Spongebob says okay and goes to see Sandy with with Patrick. The bubbles splash screen comes up and we see the ending of Squidward’s concert. This is when things began to seem off. While playing, a few frames repeat themselves, but the sound doesn’t (at this point sound is synced up with animation so yes that’s not common) but when he stops playing, the sound finishes as if the skip never happened. There is slight mummuring in the crowed before they begin to boo him. Not normal cartoon booing that is common in the show, but you could very clearly hear malace in it. Squidward’s in full frame and looks visibly afraid. The shot goes to the crowd, with Spongebob in center frame, and he too is booing, very much unlike him. That isn’t the oddest thing, though. What is odd is everyone had hyper realistic eyes. Very detailed. Clearly not shots of real people’s eyes, but something a bit more real than CGI. The pupils were red. Some of us looked at eachother, obviously confused, but since we weren’t the writers we didn’t question its appeal to children, yet.”
“The shot goes to Squidward sitting on the edge of his bed, looking very forlorn. The view out of his porthole window is of a night sky so it isn’t very long after the concert. The unsettling part is at this point there is no sound. Literally no sound. Not even the feedback from the speakers in the room. It’s as if the speakers were turned off, though their status showed them working perfectly. He just sat there, blinking, in this silence for about 30 seconds, then he started to sob softly. He put his hands (tentacles) over his eyes and cried quietly for a full minute more, all the while a sound in the background very slowly growing from nothing to barely audible. It sounded like a slight breeze through a forest.”
“The screen slowly begins to zoom in on his face. By slow I mean it’s only noticeable if you look at shots 10 seconds apart side by side. His sobbing gets louder, more full of hurt and anger. The screen then twitches a bit, as if it twists in on itself, for a split second then back to normal. The wind-through-the-trees sound gets slowly louder and more severe, as if a storm is brewing somewhere. The eerie part is this sound, and Squidward’s sobbing, sounded real, as if the sound wasn’t coming from the speakers but as if the speakers were holes the sound was coming through from the other side. As good as sound as the studio likes to have, they don’t purchase the equipment to be that good to produce sound of that quality.”
“Below the sound of the wind and sobbing, very faint, something sounded like laughing. It came at odd intervals and never lasted more than a second so you had a hard time pinning it (we watched this show twice, so pardon me if things sound too specific but I’ve had time to think about them). After 30 seconds of this, the screen blurred and twitched violently and something flashed over the screen, as if a single frame was replaced. The lead animation editor paused and rewound frame by frame. What we saw was horrible. It was a still photo of a dead child. He couldn’t have been more than 6. The face was mangled and bloodied, one eye dangling over his upturned face, popped. He was naked down to his underwear, his stomach crudely cut open and his entrails laying beside him. He was laying on some pavement that was probably a road. The most upsetting part was that there was a shadow of the photographer. There was no crime tape, no evidence tags or markers, and the angle was completely off for a shot designed to be evidence. It would seem the photographer was the person responsible for the child’s death.”
“We were of course mortified, but pressed on, hoping that it was just a sick joke. The screen flipped back to Squidward, still sobbing, louder than before, and half body in frame. There was now what appeard to be blood running down his face from his eyes. The blood was also done in a hyper realistic style, looking as if you touched it you’d get blood on your fingers. The wind sounded now as if it were that of a gale blowing through the forest; there were even snapping sounds of branches. The laughing, a deep baritone, lasting at longer intervals and coming more frequently. After about 20 seconds, the screen again twisted and showed a single frame photo. The editor was reluctant to go back, we all were, but he knew he had to. This time the photo was that of what appeared to be a little girl, no older than the first child. She was laying on her stomach, her barrettes in a pool of blood next to her. Her left eye was too popped out and popped, naked except for underpants. Her entrails were piled on top of her above another crude cut along her back. Again the body was on the street and the photographer’s shadow was visible, very similar in size and shape to the first. I had to choke back vomit and one intern, the only female in the room, ran out.”
“The show resumed. About 5 seconds after this second photo played, Squidward went silent, as did all sound, like it was when this scene started. He put his tentacles down and his eyes were now done in hyper realism like the others were in the beginning of this episode. They were bleeding, bloodshot, and pulsating. He just stared at the screen, as if watching the viewer. After about 10 seconds, he started sobbing, this time not covering his eyes. The sound was piercing and loud, and most fear inducing of all is his sobbing was mixed with screams. Tears and blood were dripping down his face at a heavy rate. The wind sound came back, and so did the deep voiced laughing, and this time the still photo lasted for a good 5 frames. The animator was able to stop it on the 4th and backed up. This time the photo was of a boy, about the same age, but this time the scene was different. The entrails were just being pulled out from a stomach wound by a large hand, the right eye popped and dangling, blood trickling down it. The animator proceeded. It was hard to believe, but the next one was different but we couldn’t tell what. He went on to the next, same thing. He want back to the first and played them quicker and I lost it. I vomited on the floor, the animating and sound editors gasping at the screen. The 5 frames were not as if they were 5 different photos, they were played out as if they were frames from a video. We saw the hand slowly lift out the guts, we saw the kid’s eyes focus on it, we even saw two frames of the kid beginning to blink. The lead sound editor told us to stop, he had to call in the creator to see this. Mr. Hillenburg arrived within about 15 minutes. He was confused as to why he was called down there, so the editor just continued the episode.”
“Once the few frames were shown, all screaming, all sound again stopped. Squidward was just staring at the viewer, full frame of the face, for about 3 seconds. The shot quickly panned out and that deep voice said “DO IT” and we see in Squidward’s hands a shotgun. He immediately puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. Realistic blood and brain matter splatters the wall behind him, and his bed, and he flies back with the force. The last 5 seconds of this episode show his body on the bod, on his side, one eye dangling on what’s left of his head above the floor, staring blankly at it. Then the episode ends.”
“Mr Hillenburg is obviously angry at this. He demanded to know wht the hell was going on. Most people left the room at this point, so it was just a handful of us to watch it again. Viewing the episode twice only served to imprint the entirety of it in my mind and cause me horrible nightmares. I’m sorry I stayed.”
“The only theory we could think of was the file was edited by someone in the chain from the drawing studio to here. The CTO was called in to analyze when it happened. The analysis of the file did show it was edited over by new material. However, the timestamp of it was a mere 24 seconds before we began viewing it. All equipment involved was examined for foreign software and hardware as well as glitches, as if the time stamp may have glitched and showed the wrong time, but everything checked out fine. We don’t know what happened and to this day nobody does. There was an investigation due to the nature of the photos, but nothing came of it. No child seen was identified and no clues were gathered from the data involved nor physical clues in the photos. I never believed in unexplainable phenomena before, but now that I have something happen and can’t prove anything about it beyond anecdotal evidence, I think twice about things.”
These aren’t the “druids” you’re looking for! Ha! We just couldn’t help ourselves!
On January 22, 1985, The Freeman Coventry Organization held a dinner reception at the spirited St. Mary’s Guildhall. In the middle of praying, this photograph was taken and shows tall mysterious figure, standing at the top left. The weird hooded spirit, appearing almost like a druid from Star Wars was clothed much like a monk from another era. Lord Mayor Walter Brandish, who was present at the reception, stated that no one was dressed in such attire and could not comprehend how that figure appeared in the photograph.
St Mary’s Guildhall, located in the centre of Coventry, England is one of the finest medieval guildhalls in the country with foundations dating back to more than 650 years. It has seen many historical events on the national and local scale, the most significant being the centre of King Henry VI’s court during the War of the Roses and a temporary prison to Mary, Queen of Scots during the 14th century.
Intense poltergeist activity has been witnessed over the years at the St. Mary’s Guildhall. On many occasions, visitors and tourists have heard whispers on many ghost hunting vigils, had their clothes pulled, some had their scarves tightened around their necks as many unlawful hangings had taken place. Along with many reporting the sensation of stones being thrown at them and felt while some have complained of feeling sick to their stomach. One of the testimonals mentioned by a visitor was when members of a séance glowed white and after mere seconds, their faces had grown larger and appeared to be those of old haggard people, claiming it made him “fear” what he saw. Monks have reportedly been seen wandering through the undercroft, which was traditionally a cellar or storage room.
The St. Mary’s Guildhall holds ghost tours and overnight ghost hunts throughout the year. For more information, be sure to check out Haunted Happenings for details and dates.
DRESDEN FRAUENKIRCHE CHURCH - GERMANY
On version of the legend is the devil made a deal with the builder: no windows were to be built in the church. The clever builder, however, tricked the devil by positioning columns so that the windows were not visible from the spot where the devil stood in the foyer. When the devil discovered that he had been tricked, he could not enter the already consecrated church. The devil could only stand in the foyer and stomp his foot furiously, which left the dark footprint that remains visible in the church’s entrance today.Legend also says the devil then rushed outside and manifested its evil spirit in the wind that furiously raged around the church.
The Devil’s Footprints is a name given to a phenomenon that occurred in Devon, England, in 1855: after a light snowfall, trails of hoof-like marks appeared in the snow, following primarily straight lines for over 100 miles. The footprints were so called because some people believed that the footprints were the tracks of Satan, as they were allegedly made by a cloven hoof. Many theories have been put forward to explain the incident, and some aspects of its veracity have also been called into question.
On the night of 8–9 February 1855 and one or two later nights, after a light snowfall, a series of hoof-like marks appeared in the snow. These footprints, measuring 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide and eight inches apart, continued throughout the countryside for a total of over 100 miles, and, although veering at various points, for the greater part of their course followed straight lines. Houses, rivers, haystacks and other obstacles were travelled straight over, and footprints appeared on the tops of snow-covered roofs and high walls which lay in the footprints’ path, as well as leading up to and exiting various drain pipes of as small as a four inch diameter.
The area in which the prints appeared extended from Exmouth, up to Topsham, and across the river Exe to Dawlish and Teignmouth. R.H. Busk, in an article published in Notes and Queries decades later, stated that footprints also appeared further afield, as far south as Totnes and Torquay, and that there were other reports of the prints further afield in Weymouth (Dorset) and even Lincolnshire. In each case, the prints would go on for miles and miles before abruptly stopping.
There were also attendant rumours about sightings of a “devil-like figure” in the Devon area during the scare. Many townspeople armed themselves and attempted to track down the beast responsible, without success.
THE DEVIL’S FOOTPRINT - MAINE
Story is as follows: When workers were building a road through the township they came upon a large stone that could not be lifted or moved by any conventional means at the time. Frustrated at the situation one of the works was said to have called out “I would give my soul to the Devil to move this rock” upon returning to the site on the following day the rock was indeed no longer where it had been it was now fully cleared from the path of the new road. The worker who had made his statement the previous day however was nowhere to be found and they say never heard from again.
Annabelle the Haunted Doll.
I’m a huge fan of haunted objects, so I couldn’t pass this story up.
This Raggedy Ann was given to a little girl named Donna in the 70s, and she and her family immediately began to notice strange things. The doll would seemingly repose itself when no one was looking, and once it was even found in a kneeling position. When Donna tried to replicate the pose with the doll, she couldn’t – it was too soft to stay in that position and would just fall over. Childish writing began to appear on the walls and the family got scared….
Read more here: http://www.warrens.net/Annabelle.html
The Catacombs of Paris are a network of tunnels and caves that run for more than 300 kilometers under the city. To build a city, you need materials. The Romans were the first to quarry the limestone in the area in 60 B.C.E.; however, those quarries were the open-air kind — the Romans just dug out the rock that was exposed. As the city grew and covered the landscape, tunneling would be required to get more building materials. In 1180 C.E., Philippe-Auguste became King. He was a major proponent of tunneling to quarry in order to build ramparts to protect the city, and it was under his rule that this tunnel network would truly be born.
The quarries grew in size and complexity and produced building materials for centuries to come. Quarrying continued with reckless abandon until problems began to arise. In the eighteenth century, the city of Paris (and the weight of its buildings) continued to grow as the ground became more hollow underneath. Some buildings began to collapse and fall into the earth that was opening up below them. On April 4, 1777, the Inspection Générale des Carrières was formed to manage, fill in, or close sections of the tunnels deemed dangerous.
It was during the eighteenth century that a second problem arose for Parisians — the graveyards were getting full… very full. The Cimetière des Innocents (Cemetery of the Innocent) alone held more than thirty generations of human remains.
Taara, as she is known in the Paris underground, is the author of a Web site on the Catacombs. She said, “Families used to pay the parish priest to bury their dead in here [the cemetery near the church]. The priest didn’t want to refuse money, so after a while, of course, there’s no more place [to put the bodies]. So many priests decided to build a sort of house for dead people, which is called a ‘charnier’ [mass grave]. The dead accumulated there.”
As the emerging city enclosed around the cemeteries, there was no place to go but up. Near the end of the life of the Cemetery of the Innocent, as well as several other cemeteries, the ground swelled more than ten feet above the road. The smell was tormenting those who lived in close proximity to the graveyard. Some of the cemetery walls actually broke open, spilling rotting bodies onto the street. Soon after, disease took hold of those living in the vicinity, and people began dying from the pestilence spread by the corpses.
The decision was made to start emptying the cemetery and to place the bones into the network of tunnels under the city. In 1785, when the bones were moved to the underground network en masse, the quarries became the Catacombs. The first quarry that received the bones is called ‘Carrière de la Tombe Issoire.’
Disturbing the dead is a bit of a universal taboo. It’s understood across many cultures that one should leave the dead alone, and many go through great care to perform rituals and ceremonies to see their departed loved ones off to the afterlife. However, the living will usually take precedence.
In a passage no more than six to eight feet in width were stacks of human bones and skulls. At the doorway they were stacked about four feet high. The empty skulls greet those who enter with empty, but powerful stares.
THE ROUNDHOUSE RAILROAD MUSEUM - GEORGIA
The Roundhouse Railroad Museum in Savannah, Ga., began construction in the 1830’s as the Central of Georgia Railway and is now a National Historic site and home to the largest and the oldest 19th century railroad complex in the nation still in existence. It was abandoned in the 1960’s and after 12 locals saved the complex from being demolished, the city of Savannah stepped in to stabilize the buildings. Today it is the non-profit group Coastal Heritage Society that is preserving and sharing this place in history with all of us.
There are still 13 original buildings still in existence and 5 of those buildings have permanent exhibits in them. Those that visit can see the Tender Frame Shop and Master Mechanics Office built in 1855 and was used to build frames for steam engine tenders and of course an office.
It was here a staff member told us a story of a current CFO that when into the office and found a check on his desk. The check was numbered 1234567 and dated in the 1950’s. Seeing that it was an odd check number he went out to see who had put this on his desk. When he came back a few seconds later, the check was gone.
Another building available to see is the Blacksmith Shop. Currently it still has a lot of the tools and machines displayed that were being used during that period. During that time blacksmiths had to not only master their tools of the trade but make them as well. It was here that several staff members told stories of hearing machines running when there were locking up, an apparition of a black man in work clothes and voices coming from the building.
The Print Shop is one of the most complete exhibits on the site. The shop was responsible for printing all sorts of forms for the complex as well as an employee newsletter. This building gives some people a real uneasy feeling when walking inside and some report that they can still hear the print press running when inside this building.
The other two buildings would be the boiler room which pumped steam and heat throughout the complex providing all the power. Workers would feed the boiler with either wood chips from the carpenters shop or with coal. The other building is the Colored Shopmen’s Locker and Lavatory when the railroad provided separate washroom facilities for whites and African-American.
This complex is not the only reason there is strong history here. The land that the complex was built on was the site of the October 9th, 1779 Battle of Savannah, the second bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War. The American and French forces had a plan consisting of a simultaneous attack and overwhelming the British forces entrenched there.
Due to bad communication and some columns arriving late, the attack was disorganized. The American and French forces were soundly defeated which resulted in the British keeping Savannah until 1782. Approximately 800 American and French soldiers were wounded or killed compared to 55 for the British. Before their withdrawal a mass grave was dug and the bodies were hastily buried. There are reports by visitors and staff that a man in a British uniform, a “Red Coat” has been seen wondering around the grounds.
Just outside Huntsville, Alabama lies the Maple Hill Cemetery, one of the oldest and largest graveyards in the city. Burrowed behind the cemetery is an interesting lot; a playground, complete with swingsets and slides. Owned by the cemetery, the park is a place for children to play while parents attend funerals or visiting loved ones. However, over the years, there have been reports of paranormal activity taking place in a spot also known as the “Dead Children’s Playground”.
Founded in 1822 and reaching over one hundred acres of land, the cemetery is surrounded by a rock cliff on three sides and a scenic path leading through the woods. There have been many stories circling the playground with some believing the spirits of buried children find their way to the park and play but another story, rather legend. One that involved a horrific string of child abductions in the late 1960s, where many children’s bodies were later found at the location. Investigators of the case had found a skull that belonged to one of the abducted children at the playground and discovered other bodies of the other missing children. Further investigation had then shown the murders were comitted sacrificially by satanists.
While there has been no confirmation as to whether or not that this is true, the locals stand by the stories with many visiting the graveyard and playground area in the evening hours and at night, reporting many unusual events. Some have stated they’ve seen full-blown apparitions of children while others have heard children screaming, calling out, whispering and giggling, swings moving on their own and when photographs are taken, orbs of light, believed to be the spirits of children are captured. The most eerie of reports are the common occurence of swings moving rhythmically and in sync by themselves, even when the swings have been brought to a complete stop. Some have seen dust from the sand below the swings to rise, as if someone had jumped off a swing. However, it’s been reported by some now though that the sand has been replaced with wood chips. Others who have taken photographs see circles of light show up on their photos, some of which are the same height as a child.
The photo above is of the playground taken at night and you can see a few orbs circling around the slide and one actually appears to be going down the slide. To see this photo and others taken at the Maple Hill cemetery, check out this user’s album over at Flickr. For more photographs like the one above, also check out the Haunted Alabama Ghost Investigations.
Last week, CBS42 visited the playground to investigate further into the hauntings that take place, speaking to Huntsville resident, Rashad Deyampert who had a bit of a spook.
“We walked down here and we get on the swing, and out of nowhere, you hear someone scream. When I say I ran like the fastest ever in my whole life, it was terrifying,” he says. “I heard some kids fell off a slide, or someone died, a couple kids died in here, and they never leave. At night they’ll come out, or whatever.”
See the video from CBS42 below:
In January of 2008, The Alabama Paranormal Society investigated the area known locally as DCP. One of the investigators had heard a voice of either a woman or female child, quickly snapping a photo of the area. When it was later developed, a misty figure of a woman was made out. Many of the photos taken that night were littered with orbs.
Huntsville, Alabama is one of the most popular ghost towns in all of the state. To see more pictures of the “Dead Children’s Playground” check out this entry at Livejournal.
All supernatural entities are required by law to register their existence with the SRA, regardless of age, nationality, species or level of vitality. All supernatural entities registered with the SRA enjoy the same benefits and protections. However, those that have physical proof of their registration suffer fewer disruptions of their daily lives. The physical document provided by the SRA (shown below) for a $5.00 fee is instantly scannable by SRA agents.
o_O ~ cool. but uh?
Following is typical of a Zen funeral. Any person claiming to be a Zen monk will be familiar with these rites and know the correct sutras, recitations, and rituals to be performed. Usually the only time a Japanese visits a Buddhist temple is to attend a funeral, sight seeing or during the new years celebrations.
Funerals are the central component of Buddhism in Japan. Buddhism in Japan exists solely to console the dead and provide a safe trip to the afterlife or a proper rebirth.
When a Zen monk is notified of the death of a parishioner, he goes to the home of the deceased to perform the rinju fugin - the series of sutras for the deceased. These are commonly called makura agyõ which means literally “pillow chanting.” The officiating monk chants the Yuikyõgyõ (last teaching sutra) and shariraimon (Buddha’s relics sutra). These outline the nirvana or death of the Buddha.
After this the officiating monk will then state: “I have offered incense, flowers, lanterns, candles, water and rice and have completed the chanting of the necessary sutras handed down by the Buddha. I dedicate the merit accumulated from this chanting to the newly released spirit of the deceased. We who are gathered here pray that the karmic combination of the four elements fades away and that this achieved merit will adorn the spirit of the deceased and bring retributive justice to the soul of the deceased.”
On the night prior to the funeral there is a night long vigil usually held at the house of the deceased when the relatives, co-workers and friends come together to reflect on the life of the deceased. Night long sutra chanting takes place affiliated by the monk.
On the day of the funeral, the dead person is ordained as a Buddhist monk (teihatsu) and the monk performing the rituals will shave the head of the dead body saying, “Right through the round of rebirth in the three realms, the bonds of love cannot be severed. To cast off human obligations and to enter into the unconditioned is the faithful repayment of blessings.”
This signifies that the dead person has cut all ties from his/her family and become a Buddhist monk. The officiating monk then shaves the head of the dead body after first purifying it with holy incense and says while doing so, “Shaving off the hair we pray that all living things should forever be free from mental afflictions and attain nirvana (death and freedom from cyclic rebirth).”
The dead person then takes the three precepts of Buddhism! The monk performing the rituals sounds wooden clappers three times and says, “Oh that you have returned to the source, if you wish to take the three precepts, you must first repent your sins. There is this repentance verse that must be repeated after me: I now completely repent all the evil deeds of my past arising from ignorance, anger, greed, and delusion and manifested through my actions through body, speech, and mind. Having repented for the three spheres of karma you have received purification. Now you will take refuge in the there jewels: Buddha, dharma, and sangha. The three jewels each have their own merit but are of one essence. Manifested by the Buddha and maintained by man. When you take refuge, all merit will be realised.”
The monk then sprinkles holy water in three directions, in front of the mortuary tablet of the dead and to the right (the Buddha side) and the left (the side of humans). He claps the wooden clappers loudly and chants, “Hail refuge in Buddha, hail refuge in dharma, hail refuge in sangha. I take refuge in the honoured and highest Buddha, I take refuge in the honoured and stainless dharma, I take refuge in the honoured and harmonious sangha. I have taken refuge in the Buddha, I have taken refuge in the dharma, I have taken refuge in the sangha.”
The precepts have now been taken and the dead body is now a Buddhist monk!
The monk continues, “From now on the true and perfect awakening of the Buddha shall be the great teacher to …………… who has recently returned to the source. He/she must not take refuge in other paths, for we hail great pity, great compassion, and great mercy. Next our new monk ……………will receive the three sets of sanju jõkai (pure precepts). First are the precepts of restraint, second of adopting good qualities, third the precepts of benefitting all living beings. Next, our new monk …………. will receive the juju kinkai (the ten major precepts of restraint). First is the precept not to kill, second is the precept not to steal, third is the precept not to engage in sex, fourth is the precept not to use false speech, fifth is the precept not to partake of alcohol, sixth is the precept not to point out the faults of others, seventh is the precept not to praise oneself over others, eighth is the precept not to be stingy with material things, ninth is the precept not to become angered, and tenth is the precept not to slander the teachings or disparage the three jewels. These refuges and precepts are holy teachings maintained by the prior buddhas and handed down by our patriarchs. I now give them to you. Beginning with your body and until you attain the body of a buddha you must uphold these things.”
The monk then gives the newly ordained dead monk a lineage certificate outlining all the past patriarchs of Zen from the Buddha down to the current head of the temple. He blesses the certificate with incense and says, “This is the holy lineage of the great bodhisattva precepts correctly transmitted unchanged and unadulterated by the buddhas and patriarchs. Buddha after buddha, patriarch after patriarch, all have inherited it and it has come to me as one in the line of the Great Buddha. I now give it to you new monk ………………. who has recently returned to the source. You should reverently protect it.”
The monk places it before the dead body so that the spirit may see it and says, “When living beings receive precepts they enter the rank of the buddhas. When one’s rank is the same as the greatly awakened, one is definitely the child of the Holy Buddha. Hail great pity, great compassion, and great mercy.”
The ordination of the dead body is now complete and so the body can be given a funeral in accordance with that of a Buddhist monk. This funeral rite originated in China and has been handed down practically unchanged since Zen was introduced from China.
The funeral itself is very long and involved and quite often assistant monks will be asked to help out. There is more dedicating of merit, lots more chanting (nyukan fugin) or sutras for putting the body in the casket. Then the officiating monk chants in front of the casket the kanzen nenju, “Aware that birth and death give way to each other, like lightening flashes in the sky, they pass like waves on the sea. Today that is the case with …………… who has recently returned to the source. His/her karmic conditions are exhausted and lifespan expired. Understanding the impermanence of all things, ……………… will take nirvana without constraint. I request that the assembly here today recite the holy names of the sacred beings that they may furnish the path of awakening.”
Everyone present then recites the names of the ten Buddhas.
The officiating monk continues, “Having recited sutras and recitations, we dedicate the merit we have accumulated to ………………..who has returned to the source. We pray that his/her spirit will cross over to the Pure Land, that his/her karmic afflictions will fade and be gone, that the holy lotus of the dharma will blossom, and the Great Buddha will predict a good rebirth.”
The coffin is then lifted up while another recitation is made (kokan nenju), a guiding dharma phrase is repeated while the coffin is being carried (indõ hõgo), and a recitation at the actual funeral site on the temple grounds or at the house (in the backyard, street or farm) is made to prepare the site to receive the new monk (santõ nenju). Tea is offered to the dead body before it is burned, then the officiating monk will wield the torch used to light the fire and start the cremation.
Following the cremation, the family members will be given white chopsticks and one by one they will sift through the ashes looking for holy shari (relics). Then a sutra chanting will take place in the temple’s mortuary hall where the dead person’s tablet will will be placed.
The Gray Man has to be South Carolina’s most famous ghost. The spirit of John C. Calhoun himself could not top the Gray Man’s long enduring history and tragic legend. Pawleys Island sits along the coast and is home to small cottage homes, inns, and one very famous spirit. The story is always the same - the Gray Man warns residents to flee the island from an impending hurricane.
My favorite version of this legend tells a tragic love story. A young man returning from a long absence was eager to see his fiancee. He rode on horseback from Georgetown, SC to Pawleys Island. The young man was so eager to see his beloved young girl that he decided not to follow the road, but take a short-cut across the marsh. In this untraveled marsh the young man’s horse fell in quicksand, both horse and rider were killed. The young girl was devastated and began to forlornly walk the beach, mourning her lover. One windy summer day, she saw a man dressed all in gray approach her and recognized him as her dead fiance. He told her to get off the island immediately because there was danger. Without another word, he vanished. The young woman told her parents what she had seen and they fled to the mainland. That night the hurricane came ashore destroying nearly every home on the island. The home of the young woman was left somehow untouched by the storm as though it had been protected by an unseen force.
The first recorded sighting of the Gray Man is from the hurricane of 1822 that hit Charleston and caused over 300 deaths on the outlying islands.
In 1893 the Gray Man appeared to the Lachicotte family. He was silent, but his meaning was clear. The family fled the island and survived the storm. This hurricane, called the Sea Islands Hurricane, killed an estimated 1,500 people and Lachicotte’s surely would have been part of that tragic number.
October 1954 found Bill Collins and his new bride honeymooning on the island. Around 5 AM Bill heard a knock at their door. Too early to be anything unimportant, Bill answered the door. Before him stood a man in rumpled gray clothing and a gray hat which hid his features. He said that the Red Cross had sent him to tell them to leave because a big storm was coming. Bill could smell salty brine on the man’s clothing and heard the urgency in his voice. Suddenly the man in gray disappeared leaving Bill stunned and shaken. Bill and his new wife left the island and Hurricane Hazel struck soon after as a Category 4 storm. Hazel eventually killed 95 people and destroyed 15,000 homes.
September 19, 1989 residents of Pawleys Island, Clara and Jack Moore were walking along the beach. They saw a man dressed all in gray suddenly appear among the dunes. He approached them, then vanished. This was warning enough for Clara. She and Jack packed bags and fled inland. Two days later Hurricane Hugo struck the coast as a Category 4 storm killing 76 people along its path and causing $10 Billion in damage.
Often when the Gray Man is seen the homes of his audience will be left completely untouched by the storm while the neighboring homes are decimated. Is the Gray Man somehow protecting these homes? If his warnings were not heeded, would the homes and residents truly be destroyed? For people who have seen the Gray Man it is without question - he came to warn them and if they hadn’t listened their lives would’ve been taken by the storm.