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Monday, January 27, 2014

Black Agnes



This statue is one of Vermont's most desirable haunts, particularly at night.

The story of the curse of the statue that was told to me was: "If you lay in her arms at midnight, during a full moon, you will die within 7 days, and 7 of your friends will die, too."  

Another version is if you sit on her lap, you will have 3 strokes of bad luck.   

"One story claims that three teenagers sat on Black

 Agnes during   the full moon, trying to show how

 brave they were. They all drove home safely that

 night and thought they had escaped the curse. But

 within a week one was in a serious car accident,

 one fell and broke  his leg, and the third drowned

 when his canoe capsized in the  Winooski River.

 Just coincidence or the malevolent power of 

 Black Agnes? " -newenglandfolklore.com

John Hubbard bronze statue (shown wrapped in a shroud) was commissioned by Austrian sculpture Karl Bitter in 1899

For anyone believing that this beautiful statue is a statue of "Black Agnes" may want to read the actual memorial of the person that is actually buried here.  And if you are silly enough to believe that you are laying in the arms of a woman....you may want to actually look at the statue itself.  Your first hint might be that this individual is not a she (has no visible breasts), your second hint is that he is not black.

"Black Agnes" - to which this statue is commonly referred, is actually John Hubbard.   John Hubbard lived a relatively short life (1847 - 1899), leaving this world at the young age of just 52.  During his life, however, one of his Aunts died, leaving him a rather large sum of money that was intended to be used for the public good - one of which was the Kellogg-Hubbard Public Library.  Here is the skinny on that story, from kellogghubbard.org:

"The saga of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library began in 1889, when Martin M. Kellogg, a New York City real estate magnate born in Barre, died of a heart attack, followed three months later by his widow, the former Fanny M. Hubbard, a Montpelier native. The couple had agreed their $300,000 estate should be given to the city of Montpelier to construct ornate entrance gates for the Green Mount Cemetery and to build a public library.

But Fanny's nephew, John E. Hubbard, contested her will. After signatories to Fanny's will testified at a probate court hearing that they hadn't realized they were signing a will, the judge ruled in Hubbard's favor and declared the will void. Town fathers filed a counter suit, and after three years of dispute — with local residents taking sides — John Hubbard agreed to build a library."

But what of "Black Agnes" a.ka. "Black Aggie" a.k.a. 'Black Annis"?  From where did this curse and urban legend come?  

Well, you might as well jump on the band-wagon, because there are many trumpeters here to join you.  Researching this has been very informative and interesting.  It always amazes me how stories are started, and how they evolve into urban legend.

In Maryland:

Original statue before it was removed and replaced with a bronze statue
"Black Aggie is the folkloric name given to a statue formerly placed on the grave of General Felix Agnus in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland. It is an unauthorized replica, rendered by Edward L. A. Pausch, of Augustus St. Gaudens' allegorical figure, popularly called Grief, at the Adams Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. The statue shown above is of a seated figure in a cowl or shroud. 

Beginning with its installation in 1926, the statue was surrounded by many urban legends, principally that someone spending a night in its lap would be haunted by the ghosts of those buried there; that the spirits of individuals buried at Druid Ridge would annually convene at the statue; that no grass would grow on the ground where the statue's shadow would lay during the daytime; or that the statue would animate itself during the night, whether by physically moving or by showing glowing red eyes.

These urban legends led to much unwelcome attention toward the statue; many people were caught breaking into the cemetery at night to visit it, and the pedestal was frequently vandalized. The Agnus family, disturbed by the attention the statue received, donated it to the Smithsonian in 1967. It sat for many years in storage at the National Museum of American Art (later named the Smithsonian American Art Museum) where an authorized recasting of the original Adams Memorial statue now sits.

"Black Aggie", today in bronze
 Black Aggie was moved from her previous home at the museum to a courtyard behind the Dolley Madison House on Lafayette Square[disambiguation needed] in Washington, D.C. where she currently stands. The bare, blank pedestal remains at the statue's former home at Druid Ridge Cemetery." -wiki

In West Virginia:

"Black Agnes is a statue located in a cemetery in West Virginia, she is a very famous statue of a seated lady, with her hands outstretched. Is believed to be in the memory of Felix Agnus (1839-1925), a General from the Civil War.

Another version of the legend behind this statue (and most popular) says that in this grave, lies a woman who died from a broken heart, but let me tell you why is this statue famous: One of the legends says that at midnight, if you dare to look at her eyes, they will burn bright red and then they will turn you blind, or even kill you with her gaze, but there is another legend.

A teenager girl it's in a slumber party with her girlfriends playing truth or dare, when one of her friends dare her to go to the cemetery and sit on Black Agnes' lap. The young girl accepts the challenge and makes her way to the cemetery.  After some hours, she never made it back to the party, all of the girls thought she got afraid and just went to her home, and all of them decided to call it a night and went to sleep.

The next morning all of the girls had to walk in front of the graveyard to go to school and noticed that one of the shoes of their friend outside and decided to see what happened. When they got to the statue, they screamed in horror when they saw their friend dead, laying on the arms of the statue.

There are various versions of this legend as I said before, sometimes is a girl that has to sit on the statue's lap as a sorority initiation dare, other version says that the girl is a descendant from the woman's fiance, and she finally had her revenge.

Also in some versions of the legend says that on the body of the dead girl, were found marks that looks if she was held by a superhuman clutch. But the legend of the killer statue its not only based on Black Agnes. There are various statues around the world that share the same legend, all of them having as an end, that the girl is found dead on the arms of the statue." -read-legends-and-myths.com

In England: 

"Black Annis, also known as Black Agnes, is a bogeyman figure in English folklore. She is imagined as a blue-faced crone or witch with iron claws and a taste for humans (especially children).  She is said to haunt the countryside of Leicestershire, living in a cave in the Dane Hills, with an oak tree at its entrance.

She supposedly goes out onto the glens at night looking for unsuspecting children and lambs to eat, then tanning their skins by hanging them on a tree, before wearing them around her waist.  

She would reach inside houses to snatch people. Legend has it that she used her iron claws to dig into the side of a sandstone cliff, making herself a home there which is known as Black Annis's Bower. The legend led to parents warning their children that Black Annis would catch them if they did not behave." 

The earliest written account of ‘The Old Hag’ which comes from a poem written in 1797 by John Heyrick, a lieutenant in the 15th Regiment of Light Dragoons (which later became 15th/19th King’s Royal Hussors). In the History of Leicester, Heyrick recalled this poem, and insisting it to be a true story.  It is understood that his honorable character meant that he could be quite trusted.  These six lines of Heyrick’s poem were the foundation to every tale and every description of Black Annis written since:

"Tis said the soul of mortal man recoil’d,

To view Black Annis’ eye, so fierce and wild;

Vast talons, foul with human flesh, there grew

 In place of hands, and features livid blue

 Glar’d in her visage; while the obscene waist

 Warm skins of human victims close embraced.

 Where down the plain the winding pathway falls,

From Glenfield Vill to Lester’s ancient walls,

Nature or Art with imitative power,

Far in the glenn has placed *Black Annis’ Bower.

An oak, the pride of all the mossy dell,

Spread its broad arms above the stony cell;

And many a bush, with hostile thorns arrayed,

Forbids the secret cavern to invade;

Whilst delving vales each way meander round,

And violet banks with redolence abound."

*Black Annis, also known as Black Agnes, is an evil witch-crone figure from English folklore.  Supposedly, she possesses a blue-face of a crone or witch and has iron claws with an appetite for humans - and especially likes children.   She is said to haunt the countryside of Leicestershire, England and lives in a cave in the Dane Hills.  Legend states that there is an oak tree at the entrance of the cave. 

In England, and earlier still....

There was a woman by the name of Agnes Scott, who in the "The Description of Leicestershire” is described as ‘Black Agnes.’ Agnes was a real person, in fact, she was a Dominican Nun, "is surmised to have lived in a cave near the Dane Hills and from there ran a leper colony."  She died in 1455 and was buried at Swithland church. An engraved brass plate memorializes her at the church, engraved in Latin translates:

The Swithland Church
"Enclosed in this tomb lies Agnes Scott, called the devout mother of Lady Ferrers. Whoever thou shall pass by pour out prayers, I beg. I am what thou shalt be. I used to be what thou art. Pray for me, I pray."

Scotland:  1337

"Agnes, Countess of Dunbar, was the daughter of Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, a close ally of Robert the Bruce. In 1337, while her husband was fighting in the north, ‘Black Agnes’ defended her home, Dunbar Castle, against an English siege.

Dunbar Castle
Black Agnes was named for her olive skin and black hair. She was outraged when the Earl of Salisbury besieged her home and she refused to surrender.

For months Agnes and a few servants and men held out against the English forces. The English earl brought mighty siege engines to batter the castle walls. Agnes and her ladies walked the battlements and dusted the walls where they had been hit with their white handkerchiefs.

Agnes stood on the walls of the castle and berated the English forces.

When the Earl of Salisbury brought a battering ram called ‘a sow’ to the castle, Agnes had a massive boulder - that the attackers had fired at the walls - dropped on the war machine, destroying it.

The English held Agnes’ brother John Randolph, Earl of Moray, captive. They put a rope about his neck and threatened to hang him. Agnes called their bluff telling them to go ahead as she would fall heir to the Earldom of Moray. The English relented and Randolph survived.

Eventually the English earl gave up and abandoned the siege. Black Agnes became a folk hero. A ballad, put words into the mouth of the Earl of Salisbury:"

"She kept a stir in tower and trench, 

That brawling, boisterous Scottish wench, 

Came I early, came I late, 

I found Agnes at the gate."

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Giving life to words:  Words to life.

Hate.  Love.

Shame.  Pride.

Fear.  Hope.

Boredom.  Satisfaction.

Envy.  Trust.

Anxious.  Calm.

Sadness.  Happiness.

Doubt.  Courage.

Selfish.  Generous.

Liar.  Honest.

As you may know, the old adage that "opposites attract" isn't always accurate. Bittersweet. Oil and Water...and so on.  Read the words above.  Visualize the word.  Then visualize its meaning.   If you want to give life to words, then make them positive. 

Someone once said to me that the word "hate" should not be in any one's vocabulary.  It was very powerful. Today, I am reflecting on that.

I have learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut and most importantly I have learned the *Golden Rule is something that I understand and value.  In fact, the "Golden Rule" has actually been incorporated into virtually every major religion.  In the "heat of the moment" sometimes it is difficult to look at yourself because you believe what you are saying is true. A valuable lesson is stop in the moment, turn it around, onto yourself.

Name calling - "Use of profane, derogatory or dehumanizing terminology to describe another individual or group."  Another term for this, may be verbal abuse.

Name calling is used to hurt or disparage others.  It is often used when there is an emotional based moment, from which has very little or no supporting logic.

[For the purpose of demonstrating my point, I will use the terms "He" and "She", "Her", "Him", etc.]

She is attempting to hide her own feelings of inferiority by striving for superiority.  It is easy for her to project her own feelings of shame, guilt, fear, anger - any negative emotion - on to him.  This is her method of escape from her own pain, difficulties or self image. It is an inferiority complex, coupled with a superiority complex, as one does not exist without the other.

He is the target.

Sadly, he, the target, has become conditioned to accept her abuse because of his own feelings of worthlessness.  These feelings are the direct result of having been repeatedly beaten down by her verbal abuse.

She feels so bad about herself, or is so insecure that by labeling him "stupid" or "dumb" or "lazy",  makes her feel superior.

Over time, he may begin to believe it, and is sucked into her vortex of emotional blackmail.  He may eventually think that without her, he could not survive.  He may begin to believe that her words are true.

He may become defensive - attempting to hold on to that one last shred of dignity or attempting to use logic as the volley for her barbed projections.  This will not work as a defense because her emotions are too tightly bound to the moment.  He cannot validate the circumstances because of her emotional tirade.

She is striving for superiority over him, because this is the way in which she maintains control.

As time goes on, he feels weak, believing he is useless or worthless which ultimately gives her more power to continue her outbursts and/or projections.  

Ordinarily she may actually feel bad about her words, and may express it but without continually being conscience of the notion that "words do hurt", the psychological effect may have already scarred him.

It will not be easy to mend the tapestry woven in hurtful and demeaning words, for patches are a temporary fix.  Words from her may include (the classic) "I'm sorry, but you - - -." Or, "if you would just -  -  -."   Stitching along an already weakened seam will most likely result in another blow out.  The long term effects and emotional trauma can last a life time.

Words hurt as much as a physical blow:

A couple of years ago, I was shopping in Walmart.  A child was crying sitting in the shopping cart while his Mother repeatedly told him to shut up, while she continued to fill her cart with clothing, talk loudly on the phone and ignored the child.  The child continued to cry and Mom - the person from whom the child should experience trust and comfort and love - walked over the the child and slapped him twice.  Once on the face and once on the back of the head.  I could tell that the slap was hard as I watched the little boy's head be knocked forward and then backward, and the sound was clear and loud.

I remember - all at once - experiencing a sense of utter shock, and immediately feeling my arms and legs go weak, cringing in horror and a sickened panic in my stomach. My adrenaline and heart raced.

I experience the same feelings when I hear people call one another, or each other names.

How it feels to be on the receiving end:

When negative messages are repeatedly conveyed, many reactions may occur:

Self esteem is destroyed.  After being continually belittled, the message that he receives is that the person who loves him or is important to him, doesn't like him or thinks less of him than he actually deserves.

Self criticism and negative thinking is a way that he may begin to believe that he is stupid or lazy or no good.  When these messages are repeatedly conveyed, the pattern of self-criticism and negative thinking follows him.

He may begin to ask himself "What is wrong with me?" or a natural reaction may be that he begins to believe that he is not worthy or that he is stupid or he really is lazy, resulting in depression, anxiety, loss, hopelessness.  A very natural reaction to hurtful words.

Verbal or emotional abuse conveys that the he "is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered or only of value in meeting someone else’s needs".  It may include other ways of shaming, ridiculing or humiliating him:

Ignoring him by being cold and not supportive, and to withdraw comfort as a means of discipline or getting back at him.

Rejecting him or dismissing his feelings.  This leads to feelings of doubt, sadness, loneliness.

Describing him negatively to family, friends or coworkers by belittling, or calling him names or degrading him. 

Setting constant or unrealistic goals so that when goals are not met, can lead to conflict.

She may withhold affection, sex or love as a means of punishment.

Slamming doors, throwing objects, stomping floors or pounding furniture may be used as a means to frighten or intimidate.

Verbal aggression may lead to physical aggression or destructive behavior.

Verbal abuse or name calling may interfere with a person's social interaction and behavior.  They may become aggressive as a way to mask their feelings or withdrawn, afraid of further ridicule, become aloof of disconnected or indifferent.

It destroys his confidence. 

Alcoholism and substance abuse may escalate or become a problem.

She may think that this raises herself on the proverbial pedestal, but in reality, it only strengthens her own inferiority.  Most people can see through it, though she may have talked herself into believing that she is right or that others cannot see the truth.  In reality, she is a bully - she appears very small.

Stop the Madness!

Are you in the throws of a self-absorbed little tirade projecting your hatred out onto that someone you love?


Take a very deep breath or two and look at yourself.  Picture yourself in the mirror.  Do you like what you see - in the moment?

Sticks and Stones...

THE NITTY-GRITTY from twoofus.org:

"Toxic relationships threaten, damage or even destroy those involved in them. In most areas of our life, toxic relationships are easy to spot … and avoid. We tend to dislike and avoid toxic people. 

When it comes to romance, however, feelings of desire and euphoria can sometimes mask the more hazardous aspects of a relationship. Love is not only blind; it can also be blinding. If you want to have a healthy relationship, however, you need to be able to view your relationship clearly and objectively.

Relationships are about loving, respecting and supporting each other. If you find yourself being ridiculed, manipulated, or otherwise mistreated, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. Here are some behaviors to be wary of:

Chronic or explosive anger:

Every couple fights—this is natural and not inherently damaging. The manner in which you argue, however, is important. Even during your worst arguments, you should never resort to name-calling or insults. Screaming is generally counterproductive and can be a form of intimidation. And if your arguments escalate to a point that they become physical—breaking objects, punching walls etc.—your relationship definitely is not healthy.

Verbal abuse or humiliation:

Does your significant other criticize or belittle you?  Does he or she crack jokes at your expense, yell at you, or embarrass you—in private or in front of others?  A healthy relationship focuses on the happiness and well-being of each other, not humiliation and degradation.

Unmanaged addiction:

The nature of addiction often prompts the addict to act against his/her self-interest, in the form of health risks, questionable judgment or illegal activity. By doing so, the addict also fails to act in the best interest of his/her partner. No matter how well-intentioned your partner may be, addiction often drives people to incredibly dangerous and selfish behaviors. Addiction is not restricted to just drugs or alcohol; addiction to sex, gambling, food, or pornography can also have negative effects on intimate relationships. If your partner is an addict and is unwilling or unable to control his/her addiction, your relationship and possibly your safety are in serious jeopardy.

Extreme or irrational jealousy:

Does your partner constantly demand an account of your whereabouts and cross-examine you when you get home? Is he or she irrationally jealous? If you have a history of betraying or lying to your partner, he or she may (understandably) be a little reluctant to trust you again. However, if there is no logical basis for your partner’s jealousy, he or she may simply be possessive or controlling.


Does your partner twist words or situations to his/her advantage? Does your significant other use the silent treatment when he/she doesn’t get their way? Perhaps they withhold affection or intimacy? Manipulation comes in many forms, but regardless of the method, it is fundamentally unfair.


Does your partner try to control where you are, what you do, who you speak to, or how you dress?  Controlling behavior is expressed in a number of ways, but its goal is to eliminate your ability to choose. This behavior will leave you powerless and fearfully dependent, if it continues.


If you find your partner asking you to constantly cancel plans with friends or family members in order to spend time with him/her, they may be deliberately trying to alienate you from others. Healthy relationships should include your friends and family. You should never allow yourself to be isolated completely from the people who love and care about you.

Physical or sexual abuse:

Many of the factors described above—jealousy, controlling behavior, verbal abuse and threats—also put your relationship at higher risk of physical abuse.  Even if your partner hasn't become physically violent yet, such behaviors are warning signals that violence could develop.

Abuse is never, ever, ever OK—no matter how much you love your partner, no matter how much you think he or she loves you. In abusive situations, you may feel like there is no way out … but there is. If you are in an abusive relationship, call your local  Domestic Violence Hotline.

People in unhealthy relationships often assert that, despite all appearances to the contrary, his/her partner really loves them.   But true love doesn't masquerade as anything else—certainly not abuse, cruelty, or manipulation.

True love dresses itself simply, truthfully. It does not distort, it does not conceal. It is cut from the fabric of respect. Listen to your instincts. If you feel fearful, tense or intimated around your significant other, your relationship is most likely an unhealthy one."


Physical abuse might leave scars but verbal abuse leaves invisible scars that never heal. The impact of verbal abuse on the weak or vulnerable,  will last a lifetime.

"Words may be forgiven, but never forgotten."

"Words don't have the power to hurt you, unless the person who says them means a lot to you."

"It is good to control your words and thoughts. The seeker who is in control feels free and joyful. Listen to that seeker who guards his tongue and speaks wisely. Such a one is humble and does not exalt himself." - Dhammapada

"It is not whether your words or actions are tough or gentle; it is the spirit behind your actions and words that announces your inner state."  - Chin-Ning Chu

"Never accept words meant to hurt. Turn them back because they are the responsibility of the speaker. When you are caught off guard, hold the emotions in silence for a moment and tell them to be still. It takes longer to forget than it does to forgive - and time heals when we give it the power."  - Joyce S. Hifler

"A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed."  - Henrik Ibsen

"Words are alive. Cut them and they bleed."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson



Native Spirituality
"We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive." 

Baha’i Faith
"Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself." 

"Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." 

"In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets".

"One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct . . . loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. " 

"This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you." 

"Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. " 

"One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated." 

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it." 

"I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all."  

"Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss." 

"We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."

"Thou hast obeyed the Law. But mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold”.   "An'  it harm none, Do what thou wilt.”

"Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself." 

What does the future look like, to me?  

...In my personal relationship, we do not use unkind words to one another; never, ever call each other names or degrade each other.  We are fortunate to have unconditional love and pure acceptance of one another.  Sure, we've been through a few rough patches, but when you love someone, you work it out.  You talk, don't yell.  You tell the truth and move forward.  We say 'please' and 'thank you' and 'I love you' and mean it, every day.

....I sure hope this is my future with Ol' Rusty, just chilling out and growing old, together....

Peace Out and