From Fred, the Missing Strange Traveler

The following is cut and pasted from an abandoned site, on Tripod. I would have reposted more newsletters, but I only found two.

Welcome, to The STRANGE TRAVELER

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Hi. I’m Fred, the Robin Leach of haunted castles, alien landing fields, mystical monoliths and really cool bars. You have just stumbled into the only travel Website on the Internet that takes a “Twilight Zone” approach to vacation planning.

This is how it works: First, dim the lights.

Stare deeply into your computer screen.

Then imagine you are in the black-and-white world of early 1960s television, sitting in a AAA travel office filled with happy brochures on Disneyland, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Suddenly, you realize that the terse, thin-lipped agent marking up your TripTik is actually Rod Serling, host of “The Twilight Zone” and one of modern society’s first supernatural tour guides.

In your head, you hear his clipped, dramatically inflected words offering guidance in your search for vacation ideas that don’t center on theme parks, relatives or all-inclusive resorts:

“You’re traveling through another dimension – a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead. Your next stop …Alton, Illinois.”

Or Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Or Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Paris, Roswell, Loch Ness, the Nazca Plain, Stonehenge, Area 51, The Queen Mary or that spooky old house everyone whispered about in the neighborhood you grew up in.

The Strange Traveler thinks vacations should be more than sunscreen and lengthy discussions about where to eat dinner. Your travel tales should make jaws drop around the office water cooler, and widen the eyes of fellow parents on the T-ball sidelines.

You see, the world is filled with Strange Travel possibilities: destinations reputed to be haunted, cursed, charmed, visited by aliens, inhabited by monsters, worshiped by strange cults, or infested by vampires, faeries and zombies. Some of these places are the doorways to true mysteries. Others are heavily hyped tourist traps. Most have overnight accommodations, lots of local color, and at least one decent bar.

That’s where The Strange Traveler comes in.

This Website and its newsletter are your tour guides to bizarre, out-of-the-way destinations. This e-zine both guides readers to strange places they can visit, and advises them of the supernatural undercurrents flowing beneath traditional getaways.

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Bio-Cremation

I’d prefer this method if I had to be cremated. But, at this point in my life I’d actually like to have a living wake (a funeral type of get together while I’m still alive) and have my body tossed into a hole in the ground, as is. Or just throw it into the deep ocean. Having a gravestone is a huge expense and not usually welcome in cemeteries these days. So, I’d rather have no stone at all if I can’t have some grandly romantic and mysterious sculptured gravemarker.

Likely, bio-cremation is the closest I will get to what I’d plan for myself. But, once I’m dead it really is up to whoever has to dispose of my body at that time. We (or I at least) don’t know how or where we are going to end up (literally end).

Bio-cremation is the funeral industry–approved term for alkaline hydrolysis, a method of corpse disposal in which lye and water are heated under pressure, dissolving flesh and leaving only bone fragments and whatever surgical oddments the body contained. The process is often faster than traditional cremation and costs about the same, and the end product takes up less space than a standard burial. Bio-­cremation’s unique selling point, however, is its environmental friendliness. It consumes one-eighth the energy of cremation, requires no casket, and leaches no toxic embalming fluids into the earth. Yet it is still a niche practice, even in a country as green-savvy as ours: Hilton’s facility is one of just three in Canada.

Source: Dissolving the Dead · thewalrus.ca

I Wish you Enough

My Mother posted this to my nephew on Facebook (she reposted from who knows who or where):

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter’s departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said: “I love you and I wish you enough.”

The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom.” They kissed and the daughter left.

The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?”

“I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.

When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”

She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. “When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”.

Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory, “I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.” She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them.

Death, Dying and the Whole Afterwards

I think my only excuse is that I’ve been having an odd couple of weeks with odd things going on. Here is my comment to Ken’s post Remembering Liam.

Liam sounds like someone worth remembering and great to have known.

We had a family funeral this week and my Mother seems never to be far from the topic of death, dying and afterwards. This month I decided I do not believe in god. So that’s given her something new to talk about. But she’s not a firm church-goer. Just from the generation where that’s what you do and how you think. Last night Stephen Hawkings was on TV, a new show on Discover called Curiousity. It was about god and did god create the universe. Hawking, as you might guess, says no about the god issue.

It’s interesting how things all come together at the same time, isn’t it? I haven’t though about god, death, dying, and afterwards for a long time other than an interest in old and neglected graveyards/ cemeteries. But here and now it seems the issue is all over my world. Even in your Irish rover of a blog.

Your tribute to Liam was lovely to read, especially the golf part where you painted him as human after all. When I die… I will leave no one behind (no children, just a brother and sisters and maybe my Mother if I beat her to it). At the funeral this past week I listened to my cousin’s daughter talk about her. It was lovely, sentimental and a good tribute to a Mother lost. My Mother likes what I wrote as a speech about my Father when he died a few years ago. I didn’t even like him as a person.

What will anyone say about me. No one here really knows me. They think they do. I think, in the end, I’d like nothing. I’d like to be in a building that blows up or lost in a shipwreck. No body. Then, maybe, I won’t give in to the temptation to see what thy say about me. Maybe if you’ve been blown up you can’t ghost around afterwards. That’s my little misguided theory. Anyway, once you decide you don’t believe in god, it’s interesting to see what you do have left to believe in about the whole afterwards.

I still believe in reincarnation but now you have to wonder who’s behind it all, who guides the process along and makes the decisions. This is a windy and twisted comment. Should keep you busy a minute and a half, if nothing else.

Funerality

Ken posted about funerals. I decided to copy my comment here. I’m too tired to add more tonight.

I have all kinds of weird and wooly ideas about death and funerals. I do think the soul goes somewhere, is recycled eventually. The body is just meat once we die. This is one more reason I’m not a vegetarian. I like my meat.. well never mind.

My Dad died a few years ago, we burned him. He wasn’t well liked and once he was gone no one actually rushed to pick him up in his urn. I finally did. He’s still around somewhere. My brother scattered some ashes when he took a trip to Scotland a couple of years ago. The rest of Dad is at my brother’s house. I’m not sure where.

You may assume I have a casual attitude about death. I don’t think I do. I do see it as pretty final. You don’t get a reset button – which would be really useful when you think about it.

All of my Grandparents and their siblings are dead. I used to write letters (real snail mail letters) to them all. It was a lot of people to tell the same news to. But I’m adorable that way. Just ask them.. well, I guess you’ll just have to trust me.

I could not look at the corpse in the coffin at any of my Grandparents funerals. The idea just grossed me out. They weren’t there any more and the left overs were dead, I didn’t want to see them that way or touch them. I sat down while everyone else filed past. I read a book at my Grandfather’s funeral but that was because I didn’t want to cry. I focused and the book was just distracting enough.

I miss my Grandmother most of all. My Grandfather was the best man who ever lived but I miss her more. She was funny, annoying and I think we had a lot in common. But we came from different directions, very different lives. Life makes you different from who you might have been. But, I think of my Grandmother every August 31st (her birthday) and every St. Patrick’s Day.