Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment

Author: Benjamin Radford

New Mexico’s twin traditions of the scientific and the supernatural meet for the first time in this long-overdue book by a journalist known for investigating the unexplained. Strange tales of ghosts, monsters, miracles, lost treasure, UFOs, and much more can be found not far from the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Huge radio astronomy dishes search desert skies for alien life, and the world’s first spaceport can be found in this enchanted land; in many ways New Mexico truly is a portal to other worlds.

Mysterious New Mexico is the first book to apply scientific investigation methods to explain some of New Mexico’s most bizarre lore and legends. Using folklore, sociology, history, psychology, and forensic science–as well as good old-fashioned detective work–Radford reveals the truths and myths behind New Mexico’s greatest mysteries.

Review:

Let me start by saying I recommend this book highly no matter what level of interest one may have in paranormal legends and claimed experiences. Ben Radford’s writing style is conversational, taking the reader along for the ride as he researches the mysteries and cultures of this historically rich state.

I enjoyed all the accounts in this book, such as when a miracle staircase and its story are investigated with a critical eye. Analysis of the legends and scandals surrounding the “crystal skulls” is fascinating enough to be the start of another book. Those are just a couple of examples, as even more stories of UFO’s mystery birds, and alleged haunted locations are examined. New Mexico through Radford’s eyes is a land where mysteries are simply a window that, when opened, lead to facts that will hold a reader’s interest until the end.

For the skeptic, this will be a fresh look at analyzing claims of the extraordinary without succumbing to easy sensationalism. For the believer that is open to critical yet respectful examination of popular myths and hauntings, there is much to learn and appreciate. For this reader, my borderline cynicism about researching this area of interest has softened a bit. After reading this book, I now see that there are still true investigators into legends and perceived experiences. It is an excellent example of how research into such topics should be conducted–with an open, analytical mindset that references facts rather than “specialists” in fields that don’t exist. A genuine thumbs up.

A Quick Q from Jadewik

My dear readers, I have a huge backlog of topics to keep me busy writing for years to come– finding time to type it all up and share is the trouble. As I find time to write around my new work schedule, being a mom, and “life” (in general) I want to make sure that I put my time and effort into things the Witching Hour readers want to read. Please let me know which of the following topics interest you the most.

Thanks for your understanding and Happy Haunting!

~Jadewik

Buried Treasure: Saddle Ridge Hoard

In the coin collecting world, part of what adds to a coin’s value, besides the quality of the coin, is the story that goes along with it, and these coins have a whopper of a tale to tell.

One morning in February 2013, a couple living in northern California was out walking their dog on their property– in California gold country. One of them saw an old, moss-covered tin can that was half-buried in the mud. They used a stick to dig the can out and scrape the can clean. When the can, which was sealed on both ends, was opened it revealed a treasure trove of gold coins.
Continue reading

Burbon Street Blood Bath

Preface
When I first learned of this case, it had been transmogrified. I already knew that legends change from telling to telling, but this story is an excellent example of how the stories we hear aren’t always as they seem. What I had heard about a “vampire murder” was, in fact, a much greater tragedy. I briefly talk about my quest for truth in a previous blog article called “New Orleans Vampire Murder: A Lesson in Truth“. This article approaches the story from a different angle– it contains further details of the crime and investigation as described in the television broadcast of the Investigation Discovery network’s show “Dead of Night”. Tuesday, March 26, 2013 was when they first broadcast the episode titled “Bourbon Street Bloodbath” which regards this phantasmagorical murder. Because of the interest in this story, I’ve decided to summarize the details presented in the episode of Dead of Night.

Once again, please note that comments to this article have been CLOSED. This blog is NOT a memorial. It’s NOT meant to berate or glorify those involved in the murder. This is NOT a place to grieve for those who have lost their lives in conjunction with this event. This article was written for the purpose of conveying information about the event and also to correct misinformation being spread throughout the paranormal community. Continue reading

An Update From Jadewik

Dear Witching Hour Readers:

I feel like I owe our blog subscribers a little update as to why I haven’t written much in the last year or so. 2013 has been quite the eventful year– the details of which may seem like embellishments from a soap opera. The long of the short is that I had a really rough pregnancy. I suffered from what I like to call “baby poisoning”, and I spent the better part of 2 months (42 days) in the hospital. My son was born 5 weeks early, but he is healthy and is now terrorizing my cats as he learns to walk.

I also lost my job in August. I spent 6 months enjoying my full-time job as a mom before finding something in my field. Things are rough right now as my new job is a great distance from my family, but we’re putting a lot of time into relocating which is one of the main reasons I haven’t been writing for The Witching Hour of late. The other reason I haven’t been writing is that my work computer has abysmally stringent firewalls which make it impossible to write at work. Alas, the mighty pen has replaced the keyboard…. and I long for the wonder that is copy/paste.

I do have some exciting stories on the who-knows-how-distant-horizon. Around August, I had just finished doing a TON of research on zombies, which I had hoped to furnish last October for a “zombie week”. (Perhaps I’ll have it finished by this October?) I also have a few things in the works on some Arizona folklore, and some old half-written stories that I hope to complete. I’m constantly amassing lists and lists of new topics and things to write about– if only I had the time!

I love the comments we’ve been getting, and I still try to respond to those as quickly as possible. I try to put forth the most accurate information available, and I’m happy to see a readership who is like-mindedly focused on accuracy. Thank you for helping me keep my facts straight!

In the meantime, I hope you’ve been enjoying some of the material our other authors have been busy putting together. (I’m really enjoying Ysbryd’s haunted library series!)

Thank you for your readership,
~Jadewik

Paracon Australia 2014

For those of our followers who live in Australia, the 2014 Paracon Australia will be held May 10th and 11th at the Maitland Gaol. More information can be found on their official website Paracon Australia 2014.

If anyone goes, please write in and let us know how it went. You can either comment on this post or send in an email (thewitchinghour@mail.com) and we’ll post your story here on the blog.

Haunted Libraries: Andrew Bayne Memorial Library

Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA

Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA

3. Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA

History

Unlike most of the stories told so far, Bayne Memorial Library began life as the home of Amanda Bayne Balf, daughter of Andrew Bayne who was a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and Sheriff of Allegheny County in 1838. Mrs Balf’s husband, James Madison Balf, was a prominent architect at the time and designed the Victorian home, placing marble fireplaces in each room and etching his name above the entrance to the house.

Upon the death of Mrs Balf and her sister Jane Bayne Teece, the house and surrounding property was bequeathed to the Borough of Bellvue. The sisters wanted the house to be used as a library and the rest of the property to be converted into a park.

In 1914, a library committee announced the opening of two rooms in the old home for use as a library. In the early 1920s, a group of women called the Bellevue Federation sought and received permission to use the home as a meeting place. They used the upstairs rooms for their meeting space.

It wasn’t until 1927 – thirteen years after the library committee first met to announce the opening of rooms for use as a library – that the library and park were formally dedicated to the citizens of Bellevue. At the time of the dedication, the library contained 3,000 volumes, most of which had come from the private libraries of Amanda and Jane.

In the 1960s, the library was renovated and with the renovation came the monumental task of updating texts that were in poor shape or no longer used. Some were discarded outright, some repaired, but all were finally cataloged.

Today, the park surrounding the library has playground equipment and a large field that is used for football and extreme frisbee. During the summer, the library offers movies and concerts on Wednesdays.

Haunting

Since the library began life as a home, it’s understandable that it was a beloved place for those who spent so much of their lives within its walls. One of the manifestations witnessed by staff and patrons alike is that of Amanda Bayne Balf herself, recognizable because a of her portraits hangs in one of the library rooms. She is often seen upstairs in what was once her bedroom. She is also known to be a mischievous entity, often turning lights off and on, randomly. Strange numbers have also appeared on computers, entered by unseen hands.

 

Sources