Monday, October 8, 2012
My date with Elizabeth....
I started this particular blog sometime back, during the time of Mercury Retrograde. Not the best time to start new projects, or for electronic devices either, we lost 2 phones and retired ye old computer for its years of good service.
Mercury Retrograde is often a great time for review, a great time to take stock and see where you are at. Now as the fall chill is in the air and the Halloween, All Saints Day, Samhain and Dios de la Muertos is coming, I thought this would be an interesting time, when our internet is up and running to post this story. It is spooky, and like a scar this one sticks with me. It can be considered a cautionary tale for the knowledge seeker and it one of those rare occasions that I have actually used an Ouija Board and it actually worked. Another time was short and sweet and didn't scare me. A spirit came back to tell me my boyfriend sucked and to ditch him, while I hardly think that the poster child of so called romantically bad ending relationships would have time in purgatory to warn me about my teenage jerky boy, whatever or whomever spoke through that board had a point. I didn't value myself enough and I picked a jerk for a boyfriend. And I am no authority; it could have been him hoping to burn off some bad karma built up in his life. Or perhaps a spirit who cared enough to use a name that I would find interesting, whatever the case, I should have headed the spirits warning a little better. But I learn most lessons the hard way, especially then.
Fast forward to about 2005, I and a group of my Occult interested friends formed a fun little group where we would go on Ghost Tours, explore points of interest in spooky San Francisco and hang around as my hubby cooked us delicious meals as while we watch movies and discussed magic, ghosts, religions and the etc. We came from all different walks of life and interests. One of us (and it wasn't me at the time ) was an initiate of Santeria, another couple of Wiccans, La Vey Satanists, Chaos Magicians, and just Peaceful nondenominational folk.. a catch all if you will.
Two of our group were older Gentleman, both very knowledgeable and a total hoot to be around, and in one such field trip, they suggested that we would go visit and attempt to communicate with Elizabeth Short better known as The Black Dahlia. She was a beautiful movie starlet hopeful better known for her untimely demise and her unfortunate, ghastly and horrific murder. The Elder who was just shy of being a Santero, hoped to perform a ceremony where her soul would be at peace.
Her final resting place happens to be in Oakland, California, a far cry from the bright light of Hollywood, and a somewhat quick Bart and Bus ride from San Francisco.
I had heard that camps of Goths would picnic near her grave. She was known for her raven tresses and love of wearing black, complete with a huge Dahlia in her hair as she was for the mystery surrounding her death. In Jan. 15th, 1947, her nude body was dropped in a field, dissected, to be discovered by a passerby a woman taking her baby out for an early morning stroll. Her story has been made into countless true crime dramas and Hollywood movies. While she never made it as a star in life, she would haunt Hollywood forever as a reminder of the dark side of fame seeking.
My Elder recognized in my mediumistic ability that at the time I was pretty reluctant about. They had a fun time dragging this reluctant Medium around and saying “sit here, what do you feel?” in all sort of haunted hotels, theaters and the like. Knowing that natural gifts should be appreciated, it actually really helped me to see my abilities in a new light as well as test them in places I hadn't been before that they had.
On our field trip to Oakland we brought cameras, paper and crayons (for my collection of grave rubbings) as well as spiritual items to perform a ritual to help her spirit if it was not at rest, prayers, rum and a gourd rattle. Another item they brought was an Ouija Board. There were so many beautiful monuments to take pictures at and we tried to snap a plenty while we made our way around to locate Ms. Short's resting place.
While I cannot remember what order each of these occurred in, I know I politely asked her if I could make a rubbing of her marker in my sketch book. We had also brought her flowers, it just seemed right that we should gift her with lovely things if she was going to speak with us and let us hang out with her so to speak. Though this cemetery is a very well cared for and maintained place, I took a moment to clean up her monument, brushing the dust and leaves off and after addressing her and letting her know what we brought her, laid my paper torn from a handmade sketch book my coworker had made and gifted me and set to complete my rubbing.
First test rubbing.
Before cameras, grave rubbings were actually a quite popular pastime. You take a piece of paper, though wax paper works best, and a crayon of a sort: could be a regular colour crayon or fancy art school conte crayon and after placing the paper on the headstone you rub the crayon across it and it will leave the impression of the raised or engraved monument on the paper.
One great book I picked up at Aardvark’s Bookstore in the Castro of San Francisco for $6.00 is called “Early New England Gravestone Rubbings” by Edmund Vincent Gillon, Jr. it is put out by the fabulous Dover Books. It is a great way to be able to see these older tombstones as many are in such a state over time that to even do a rubbing can compromise them.
My test rubbings. Best to use wax paper as images will show up better.
Next up they recruited my other friend to sit with me and use the Ouija Board. I elected to keep my eyes closed so that I could not influence the outcome of what was said or rather spelt out. Other friends observing took note of what was the outcome of our questions.
Perhaps keeping my eyes closed was the reasons that I had such vivid visions, the like which I had never experienced except for perhaps dreams! Her spirit, I was surprised to note did not feel in peril but more at peace and acceptance, something that quite surprised me given her untimely and horrible death. She answered our questions and I heard my friend relaying what was spelled out as the images flooded me.
I saw the horizontal slats of a shed like place and heard a group of men’s voices, discussing the deployment of her organs and the draining of her blood and she walked me through these steps of her final hours, when the question was asked how many persons were involved in her death, the number 8 was chosen on the board. I shuddered thinking that there is just no “why” answer that would make sense to me as to why this happened to her. I grew nauseous as the images grew progressively gorier as the men took turns with various tools, carving and cleaving hurriedly to imply there was more to the significance of the motive of deploying remains in such a fashion.
When she had finished showing the sequence of events, I made a note to read what I could about her since all I had heard in the past were asides from old coworkers that were into true crime stories. I am not a huge follower of serial killers and the like so other than some very basic knowledge, I was unaware of any details surrounding her case.
It was after we thanked her for her time that our other friend stepped forward to offer prayers, libations and should she need them help in moving on. What I learned is while she has moved on in her acceptance of her fate as a cautionary tale; others have not as the Black Dahlia case has gone down in infamy as one of the unfathomable cold cases in America. Sometimes some folks find themselves in situations, being the right or wrong time and place; privy to information that can come back to haunt or some cases hurt us.
Photo courtesy of :
A great blog I found whilst doing an image search.Please read!
Where to find Elizabeth and other folks you may be looking for:
After the ceremony we took more pictures of the surrounding area which strangely none of which came out. I thought I had remember seeing them in the camera but something happened after transferring them to the computer, given my track record with electronics it doesn’t surprise me but this was one of the rare occasions where my computer didn’t crash. The pictures simply just …vanished. All I have left are the gruesome visions in my head and the grave rubbings. I sent the best one cross country to a friend and kept my trial ones I scanned here. I thought I would never be far from Oakland but I realize how life has amazing twists and turns you can never anticipate, as I am writing this in Kentucky!
I later found out my own great grandmother is buried in the same cemetery and I hope next time I make it back to California that I can visit her. Of course I’ll bring a Dahlia for Elizabeth too. I’ll never forget what she shared with me and what I learned about some Spirits, not all haunt, not all are trapped some simply move on.