Monday, August 31, 2015

6 Natural Wonders Worth Taking a Dip In

A few evenings ago while perusing I stumbled across a picture of a location so breathtaking it gained an instant place on my "must visit" list. After a bit of location research I realized, much to my disappointment, that I have missed several chances to visit this hidden gem. Its one of 6 Waterholes you must visit.

Location 1. Cummins Falls, Cookeville, Tn
I first learned of this location from friends who live in the area. It was hot and sticky, typical summer
conditions in the southland. They had sneaked off to their favorite local swimming hole
to cool off. The 75-foot cascading waterfall is Tennessee's 8th largest waterfall. The plunge pool at the base of the fall is the ideal spot to cool off after you make the 1.5 mile trek to the gorge and falls.  

Location 2. Big Rock at Cherokee Park, Louisville, Ky
Louisville, the largest city in the Bluegrass State is home to some 760,000 people and is most famous for the Kentucky Derby and Heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali. Cherokee Park is an oasis in a otherwise bustling city.  The 409 acre park was designed in 1891 and holds the distinction of being the 69th most visited municipal park in the US. Big Rock is quite literally a big flat top rock sitting in Beargrass creek. The boulder slows the creek, allowing for a perfect spot for wading, while the rocks flat top makes a picturesque picnic area. 

Location 3. George Rogers Clark Park, Springfield, Oh
by Cadcam
Several years ago I attended The Fair at New Boston in Springfield Ohio. I went as a spectator but I met up with a friend who does Revolutionary War reenacting. While touring the fairgrounds I received a call from my mother, who gave me the news that one of my uncles had died. Seeing I was upset my friend grabbed my hand and lead me through a 300-year-old beech-maple forest to a bench beside a very gentle waterfall. The was were Shawnee women and children hid during the Battle of Piqua. The stream empties into Hosterman Lake a tributary To Mad River. No motorized boats are allowed on the 9.2 acre lake making it a perfect spot for swimming, canoeing and kayaking. We saw people doing all three the day I was there.

Location 4.  Meadow Run Natural Waterslide, Ohiopyle State Park, Pa
Ohiopyle State Park is nature's waterpark, between the 35-foot Cucumber Falls and the 100 foot long corkscrewing Meadow Run waterslide. Shaded by Eastern hemlock and Mountain Laurel the slide ends in a 3 foot deep dunk pool. Warning, you may want to wear sturdy denim cut offs to protect your tushy from the rough sandstone.

Location 5. Tallulah Gorge, Tallulah Falls, Georgia
Ignore the fact that this area was used a filming location for Deliverance. It is a beautiful area that deserves a visit! This is one of the few places on earth were you can see Persistent Trillium, this  herbaceous perennial had delicate three petal white blossoms. Tallulah Dome a unique geological formation was made during the creation of Pangaea, when the earth's crust double folded. After you spend the morning exploring take plunge down the 17 foot Bridal Veil sliding rock, one of 6 waterfalls that make up Tallulah Falls

Location 6. Devil's Bathtub, Devil's Fork Loop Trail, Va
Would you take a dip in the Devil's Bathtub? Located 1.5 miles into a grueling 7 mile looping trail the Devil's Bathtub is a pool of blue-green water at the end of a sandstone luge. Steep sandstone sides
and a dense old-growth hemlock and rhododendron canopy makes this an ideal spot to cool off in the hot Virginia summers. Not interested in the Devil's Bathtub? Walk a little further on the hiking trail and you will find a 50-foot waterfall at the mouth of Corder Hollow. Be careful, and be alert. It is very easy to become disoriented or lost on this trial. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Secret Identities

Last week the secret lives of 32 million Ashley Madison users was brought to the light. Marriages have been ruined, reputations tarnished, and the Duggar's are even more embattled than ever before. By now those of
you who are interested have already searched the list. I hope none of you found your significant others on the list. Yes I ran both mine and the Wanderers names through the list, neither of us had accounts. If I had found his information on the list it would have been okay, its nothing we can't work through. But this post isn't about Ashley Madison double lives.

Several years ago a guy worked his way into our group of friends. Over the course of several years we all started noticing flaws in his life story. He would tell stories about how he grew up in one state, but his brothers, ex wife, and other assorted family claimed it wasn't true. He claimed to be Native American, but knew very little of the culture and language. Again his family, including his children claimed this was false. He insisted on being called by his "Native" name. His family had never heard of this name, and it wasn't the name they called him. His hometown, where his family lives is 400 miles away, it appears that when he moved here he started over, complete with new history. Recently his legal woes has landed him in jail and we don't know if we will ever know who he is really.

This is not an isolated incident. A family I am friends with and share a hobby with have assumed names on Facebook and within the hobby. The husband, who isn't on Facebook and doesn't participate in the hobby is the only one that isn't using a fake name. I am sure they have many reasons for wanting to keep parts of their lives private and secret.

 Many celebrities under stage names. A dear friend of mine is an author, she writes exclusively under a pseudonym event thought her writing ties in directly with her occupation.

The Wanderer and I are basically using assumednames. We have attempted to keep our real identities separate from this little space on the web. We have done this for a variety of non nefarious                                                                                           reasons.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Saving and Preserving Historic buildings.

I love the Gilmore Girls. Recently I have been thinking about the episode right after Lorelei bought the Dragonfly. She is feuding with Taylor about renovations the building needs. She wants to tear down the porch and replace it. The porch isn't original to the building, but Taylor doesn't care and makes a statement about how we won't have historic things if we tear them down when they are only a few years old. Yes I am going somewhere with this ramble. A feud is taking place in the next county over from the Wandering Wonderful Homestead. A year ago a historic 86 year old church that has been a landmark of this town was purchases with the intent on being made into the towns new library. The board paid over 470,000 for the building and lot. That may not be a lot of money where some of you come from (I watch house hunters) but here in the hills of Appalachia that is an astonishing amount of money. The board didn't see fit to have a building inspection before plunking down nearly half a million in tax payer and coal severance money. Always get an inspection, always. They are now behind schedule and have realized that the beautiful brick building will not work for their intended goals. Their plan now? Raze the build, and build a new, similar structure on the lot. Many people are outraged by this, you can watch the board meeting here and here and see the original idea for the library here The building is eligible for a place on the historic registry. 

 I love old buildings, on my travels I always seek out historic buildings that are available for tours, I love the creak of hard wood floors and banisters shined by a hundred years of hands. I love the worn charm of history. People around the state have been buying up historic buildings and converting them into works of beauty. Dr. John Pellegrini bought the old Whitesburg post office and plans to convert the space into a art gallery. Whitesburg is already home to the world famous Appal Shop, a non-profit multi-disciplinary arts and education center. 

Morehead State University's Folk Art Center is housed in a beautiful old store front that was
generously donated by  Lovena and William Richardson when they closed their business. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Breaking up is hard to do...

This has been a roller coaster few weeks for relationships. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert have called it quits amid cheating allegations. Country music power couple Reba Mcentire and Narvel Blackstock are divorcing. Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog have ended their romantic relationship. The last one was probably most shocking of all. If a pig and a frog can't make it work what chance does the rest of us have?

Relationships are hard work. Mr. Wanderer and I have had a share of rough patches, we have broken up a
few times. There have been times we didn't think we could work things out, didn't think we wanted to try. But fate and love keep pulling us back together. He isn't the same person 13 year old me fell in love with, and I am not the same person he fell in love with. But that is okay. We have grown up, and at times grown apart. Even in our worst moments he has always been the man I wanted to grow old with. I have dated a lot during our break ups. The grass isn't any greener on the other side of the fence.

When he is away I miss the little things, sharing a sink and mirror while getting ready in the morning. He is tall enough to see into the mirror over my head. I miss waking up to him, falling asleep with him. I miss walks to the chicken coop holding his hand.

And that's love, or at least as close to love as I have ever gotten.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Ouija Files

A good friend of mine and I have been discussing ghosts and the paranormal for some time. We attended a ghost hunt put on during a Civil War reenactment last year. A few weeks ago he took the plunge a built a
Ouija board. This man doesn't do anything half way, so when he said he was working on a board I new it was going to be something special. 
A few nights later me and a few others met at his house and settled in for an evening of Ouija. Nothing scary happened, no demonic possession. But whatever was in control of the planchette did know that I had a poem written by my grandmother and a picture of my great great grandmother in my wallet. No one in the room could have known that, nor could that have guessed my great great grandmothers name, it isn't a very common name. 

I believe I have mentioned the poem here on the blog before. It was written for me by my grandmother and we found it with her things after she passed away. None of my friends know I blog, my sister, who is also a blogger doesn't know about this little space of the web I call my own. 

Is it real? Who knows. We do plan on using it more, and seeing what, if any, results we get. I will be sure to keep you informed of any Ouija excitement that may happen. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Waverly Hills...

Confession time. I love all things dark and spooky. I live for a good ghost story. Once upon a time I ran a pretty successful Paranormal message board. I wouldn't make house calls and kick a ghost out for you, but I would put you in touch with experts in your area that could and would. 
Tonight will be a special night. Tonight I will cross a haunted location from my bucket list. Waverly Hills Sanatorium has long been touted as one of the most haunted places in the United States, possibly the world. 

It was opened in 1910 to treat the tuberculosis epidemic. It originally started as a 2 story, 40 bed center and by 1924 it had grown to 5 stories and 400 beds. Urban Legend claims that 63,000 died at Waverly. The former medical director puts the actual number closer to 8,500-9,000. 

In 1962 a year after the tuberculosis center closed its doors the building reopened as a geriatric center. The geriatric center would be closed by the state in 1982 due to patient neglect. 

Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted, all have filmed episodes in Waverly Hills, all obtaining various amounts of evidence to prove a haunting. 

Is it really haunted? Are ghosts real? Will we see or hear anything paranormal? 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Serial Killer Next Door.

At any given moment there are between 35-50 serial killers active in the US. This is a conservative estimate made by former FBI Criminal Profiler and author John Douglas. Douglas has worked on many high profile cases. Have you read the books Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs (or watched the movies)? The character of Jack Crawford is based directly on Douglas.

Why is this important? Because serial killers can strike anywhere. Starting in November of 2014 women started disappearing in and around Chillicothe, Ohio.  by June of 2015 6 women in all had disappeared, the bodies of 4 of them had been recovered. Slowly word started slipping out, a Serial Killer may be preying on young women.When police arrived they made a shocking discovery. In his car was a list of names, phone numbers and addresses of 10 other women in the area. His trunk was a serial killers tool kit, hatchets, shovels, knives, sledgehammers, handcuffs. He could very well be the person who murdered those women in Ohio, investigators are currently working to find a link between him and disappearances in Illinois, Kentucky and Nevada.
Ladies, be safe. 

On July 18, 2015 an escort in West Virginia's capital city of Charleston meet a man on The John asked her "Live or Die?" before he began choking her. The escort managed to grab his gun and fired one shot over her shoulder, striking and killing him. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Elsewhere, or Not?

I initially had a completely different post scheduled to go live this morning. But the world of Facebook intervened. 
A couple days ago my news feed was in a frenzy over a blog post someone had found, shared and re-shared. Plans where made, adventures planned. All of my friends wanted, needed to find this place of legend and terror. The killjoy in me knew I had to get to the bottom of this and it didn't take me long. I didn't have to drive half way across the state, dig through my impressive collection of books on Kentucky history, or even venture to the library.

Elsewhere, Ky according to the story, is a ghost town in Calloway county where a school teacher poisoned all of her students, and many years later the town was abandoned. If you venture into the old school house you may never come back. I love a good ghost story, love abandoned buildings, and discovering lost things. This story had a little bit of everything. Its no wonder why all of my friends forwarded links to the story. Some wanted me to verify its existence, other wanted me to help plan the trip there. 

A quick google search lead me to the original story, posted May 15, 2015 on titled Elsewhere, KY. Go read it, it a hell of a good story. The subreddit it was posted to is for original horror stories. So while this story is a work of fiction, there are very real places of mystery and legend. I hope this story has inspired people to hike off the beaten path, and look for legends and mysteries in their own back yard. They exist. While this story is fiction there are according to Ghost Towns, 5 ghost towns in the state of Kentucky that still have buildings. Numerous other ghost towns now sit under various Kentucky lakes. 

Friday, August 07, 2015


1. Every single piece of plastic ever made, still exists today.
2. The Nazis considered Native Americans part of the Aryan Race. (pretty sure we are not)
3. Diamonds are not forever. Under very high heat they turn into graphite, the stuff in pencils.
4. The man who founded Alcoholics Anonymous, demanded alcohol during his last few days of life.
5. GPS is owned & controlled by the US government and can be switched off at any time.
6. The average adult in Switzerland has a net worth of $513,000 US.
7. 2 F16 pilots went on a suicide mission to take down flight 93 on 9/11, but the passengers ended up bringing the plane down.
8. Harvard offers free tuition if your family makes under $65,000 per year.
9. There is a "Gospel of Judas" not found in the Bible that says that Judas was the only one of Jesus's disciples that fully understood Jesus teachings. And he turned Jesus over to the Romans because Jesus asked him to.
10. In 80% of rapes the victim knows the attacker, and he exploits the trust or rapport.
11. One third of Leprosy cases in the US come from contact, direct or indirect, with an Armadillo.
12. You are more likely to die as a drug dealer in Chicago than a death row inmate in Texas.
13. During his time as a Congressman and then later as a US President, John F Kennedy donated all of his salary to charity.
14. The Vatican has its own radio and TV stations, money, stamps, and phone company.
15. The mortality rate of a black mamba bite is almost 100%.
16. One of Bolivia's oldest silver mines has killed over 8 million men in the last 500 years and is known as, "The mountain that eats men". It's still mined with pickaxe and shovels today.
17. 2% of people have armpits that never smell due to an unusual genetic variable.
18. One third of the world's adult population smokes.
19. Mankind has left 96 bags of feces, urine, and vomit on the moon.
20. There is a coast to coast hiking trail that stretches from Delaware to California. American Discovery Trail