Although not exactly a Halloween destination and not a ghost story the so-called Blood Falls in Antarctica present themselves as a plot point in a gruesome ghost story.
It is unlikely any of us will get to see the Blood Falls in person as they are located in the very remote McMurdo Dry Valleys of eastern Antarctica – this adds to their mystique. However many images of them exist and the sight is still mind boggling.
The Blood Falls were found and written about in 1911 by Thomas Griffith who was a member of Robert Falcon Scott’s failed expedition to the Antarctic.
The slow oozing of red from the Taylor Glacier has been attributed to microbes living in the frozen lake trapped beneath the glacier. Originally scientists thought the lake to be too oxygen deprived to support live. However a 2009 study by the National Science Foundation found that an ancient colony of microbes live under the Taylor Glacier in the lake. These microbes convert iron and sulfur into energy to survive. What’s more bizarre is that the red color of the oozing lake water are the microbes themselves.
Americans love an outlaw, an anti-hero, a longer-rebel. This probably has something to do with the history of the founding of our country. Countless films have tried to capture and romanticize the lives and dirty deeds of our most notorious criminals.
The closest we might ever get to any kind “truth” about some of these infamous outlaws is visiting the places related to their histories.
Jesse James, Missouri
Jesse James is a well know Wild West outlaw who characterized by many films and actors. Credited for robbing dozens of banks and trains all over the West, he lived an died in the state of Missouri. However, the so-called James Gang committed heists in other states.
After being pursued by law enforcement for nearly 20 years, ironically James was shot and killed by one of his fellow gang members for a $10,000 reward.
In Liberty, Missouri there is a Jesse James Bank Museum. It is supposedly the site of the nation’s first successful daytime and “peaceful” bank robbery. The robbery occurred in 1866 and the robbers were never caught nor identified, but the robbery is usually attributed to the James Gang.
St. Joseph Missouri is the location of the site where James was killed. The Jesse James Home Museum includes many artifacts of James’ life and death. You can also visit the Jesse James Farm and Museum in Kearney, Missouri—this is James’ birthplace and childhood home. Visitors can tour the restored home and the town host a Jesse James festival annually in September.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wyoming
Most famously played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, if you want to re-live the adventures of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid you need to go to Cody, Wyoming. There you can find Cassidy’s home in Old Trail Town and Outlaw Cave. There is also a set of trails often traveled by his gang (and others) while seeking reprieve.
You can also visit Hole-in-the-Wall pass in the Big Horn Mountains. This was once the meeting place of the Wild Bunch gang. The Cabin is preserved at the Old Trail Town Museum. Finally, 20 miles outside of Kaycee is the Outlaw Cave Recreation Area. This is another area where the gang used to hang out.
The Crime Museum, Washington, D.C.
Don’t have time to wander the wild west like these famous outlaws? Look no further than the Washington, DC Crime Museum. It is home to one of the country’s biggest collections of outlaw artifacts! It includes items belonging and related to the country’s most famous outlaws. It even includes galleries depicting the history of crime dating as far back as the Middle Ages.
Jody Victor knows that for many, packing is their least favorite part of planning a vacation. That, and lugging an overstuffed suitcase behind that falls over, whose wheels don’t work properly only to arrive to the check in to find out their luggage is overweight and they have to pay a fee. On the other hand most vacations require a variety of clothes, from comfy, casual and even formal wear depending on the destination. Not to mention shoes and toiletries. Here is some information to help you with your travel packing.
Many vacations involve special sporting items like fishing rods and tackle, large camping gear, snorkeling and scuba gear and golf bags, to name a few, are going to be a hassle to get on a plane. These kinds of items are best shipped to your destination or even rented. Additionally if you feel your luggage is going to rack up extensive baggage fees, shipping the luggage to the hotel might be a better and easier option. Although not very elegant, if the vacation allows one could pack their clothes in bags less heavy bags than airplane worthy luggage and let a sturdy shipping box be the luggage.
An easy trick you can try is rolling rather than folding some of your clothing items. Undergarments, t-shirts and pants can all be carefully rolled to save space. Using airless bags or clothes compressors can also aid in maximizing space.
Packing less is the most straightforward way of saving weight and space. Though many of us normally wash an outfit after a single wearing, many items can be worn several times without washing. We aren’t exactly suggesting people wear dirty clothes, but that pair of jeans the button up worn over an undershirt can likely be warn again if you weren’t particularly active that day. An alternative would be making time to take advantage of either the hotel’s self-service laundry or a local laundromat. If you budget allows, check with the hotel about laundry services.
Another tip some will find less than ideal is to minimize personal care products. Even a hefty collection of travel sized items can take up a ton of space. Most hotels don’t have top of the line shampoo, conditioner and soap. But it’s probably not going to ruin your hair and skin to use their products.
Try a few of these ideas the next time the fight between your suitcase and wardrobe has you stressed out the week before you leave on vacation.
Many of us pine for months over much needed vacations. Waiting to savor that freedom from stress and responsibility makes finally getting to those precious few moments of relaxing all the more sweeter. Although no vacation is perfect, I am sure we have all had at least one stinker where nothing seemed to go right.
Though taking your time has he benefits of possibly saving you money, making sure you have taken care of all details far in advance will ensure a much less stressful period the week or so before you scheduled departure date.
For those headed out of our country, acquiring or renewing one’s passport is of concern. This process can take a month or longer even if you are willing to pay the “rush” fee. Getting your passport sorted out early will ensure a significant decrease in nail-biting the last few weeks before your vacation. Some countries even require several months of remaining validity on a passport. This task is something best handled 3 months or more before departure.
The 3 month point is also the best time o start looking for deals on airfare, ground transportation and lodging.
At the one month point working out the details on how you will handle communication, especially out of the country, should be one’s concern. Check with you service provider on what kinds of fees to expect if you want to use your current cellphone out of the country. If this option seems too expensive, researching the use of inexpensive prepaid phones that can be purchased after arrival in your over-seas destination is another option.
Catch up with us next time for part two!
Read more about it here.
~ Jody Victor
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, Jody‘s crew thinks the mythology behind historical buildings and locations can be fascinating. Visiting America’s “haunted history” can be a great way to spice up any vacation and is probably easier than you think. Most locations steeped in history have ghost stories.
Here is a list of some of the more famous locations to get you started:
St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans: The St. Louis Cemetery is probably immediately recognizable and is rumored to be haunted by a variety of ghosts, most notoriously the ghost of Voodoo Queen Mary Laveau.
Winchester Mansion: The home of Sarah Winchester, widow of William Wirt Winchester (son of famed rifle maker). This mansion is most famous for its long hallways, stair cases to nowhere, mirror tricks and doors that open to reveal brick walls. After the death of her husband and daughter a medium told Sarah the family was cursed for the deaths their rifle-building lineage had caused. To appease these dead Sarah was required to build them a house for the dead and never stop building. The construction went on nearly no stop for 38 years.
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: Constructed in 1858 this building is the largest hand-cut stone building in North America. The asylum stopped treating patients in 1994. Guided tours are available and it is rumored that the ghosts of Civil War soldiers and patients roam the two miles of hallways.
Stepp Cemetery, Illinois: Several gruesome myths, from cults to grieving mothers unburying their dead children, surround this famous cemetery in which less than two dozen disintegrating graves still stand.
Moundsville Penitentiary, West Virginia: This Gothic style prison is said to house many ghosts, but is most famous for its resident, the Shadow Man. The Shadow Man was supposedly a maintenance man who was stabbed to death by inmates for snitching to guards about inmate activity. Sunset tours available.
Gettysburg Battle Field, Pennsylvania: During the infamous Civil War battle more than 50,000 soldiers were killed. Today it is said their ghosts still roam the fields, hills and forests. Groans, moans, cannon and gunfire supposedly can be heard all over the grounds; however, The Devil’s Den, where dozens of limbs and bodies were discovered after the war, is a favorite ghost hunting site.
Other spots to visit include the Stanley Hotel, probably made most famous as the set for The Shining, the St. Augustine Lighthouse , The Myrtles Plantation and The Bell Witch Cave.
More info about all these locations can be found in the original article.