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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My New Ouija

"OUIJA BOARD" Definition:  

Oui·ja  [wee-juh or, often, -jee]  

"a device consisting of a small board, or planchette, on legs that rest on a larger board marked with words, letters of the alphabet, etc., and that by moving over the larger board and touching the words, letters, etc., while the fingers of spiritualists, mediums, or others rest lightly upon it, is employed to answer questions, give messages, etc."  

Last week, I was killing some time on my lunch hour, and went into a local antique store on Main Street in Barre.  I noticed a vintage Ouija Board that was marked with a sales tag of $50.00.  I kept thinking about owning it and yesterday, I went back in and purchased it - and discovered that the price had been reduced - to $30.00! 

The box is in fair condition, from a collector's standpoint, and was delighted to discover that the board itself, is in mint condition.  

The planchette has a crack in it and the felt on one leg (on the reverse side) is almost detached, but a dot of glue easily repaired it. 

Because I am new to owning a "Mystifying Oracle Board", I wondered why someone had stuck a nail in the center of the eye, until I searched online to discover that all planchettes have this.  

At first, I couldn't understand why someone would put a nail in the window... what did it mean?

I discovered that in the past it is believed that the first Ouija boards were constructed using coffin nails.  More importantly, I now understand that the nail serves as the center of the pointer.  This means that when a spirit supposedly chooses a letter, the nail should be centered over it. 

The Board that I bought was made in 1938.  I can't help but wonder if it would be appropriate to perform a cleansing of some type prior to using it.  

My mind swirls with many questions....

What if this vintage Ouija board was misused...


Could old spirits be attached to this board, if someone didn't close the "door" properly

In essence, I believe that we do reap what we sow, and that if you enter into a session believing that evil or darkness will be the result, then you will have a negative experience.  However, I choose to believe that when I am ready to conduct a session, that my spirit will be filled with light and positive energy.  As with anything meaningful in life, the outcome will be the consequences of my actions. 

"According to the seed that’s sown, 
So is the fruit you reap there from, 
Doer of good will gather good, 
Doer of evil, evil reaps, 
Down is the seed and thou shalt taste 
The fruit thereof."  ~Samyutta Nikaya (Karma/Buddhism)

I am anxious to discover it's secrets!

The "Museum of Talking Boards" gives us the rules:

"Never play alone!

Never let the spirits count down through the numbers or go through the alphabet as they can get out of the board this way.

If the planchette goes to the four corners of the board it means that you have contacted an evil spirit.

If the planchette falls from a Ouija board, a spirit will get loose.

If the planchette repeatedly makes a figure eight, it means that an evil spirit is in control of the board.

If you should get an evil spirit, quickly turn the planchette upside down and use it that way.

The board must be "closed" properly or evil spirits will remain behind to haunt the operator.

Never use the Ouija when you are ill or in a weakened condition since this may make you vulnerable to possession.

The spirit of the Ouija board creates "wins" for the user, causing him to become more and more dependent on the board. Addiction follows. This is called "progressive entrapment."

Evil spirits contacted through the Ouija board will try to win your confidence with false flattery and lies.

Always be respectful and never upset the spirits.

Never use the Ouija in a graveyard or place where a terrible death has occurred or you will bring forth malevolent entities.

Witchboards are so named because witches use them to summon demons.

The very first Ouija boards were made from the wood of coffins. A coffin nail in the center of the planchette window served as the pointer.

Sometimes an evil spirit can permanently "inhabit" a board. When this happens, no other spirits will be able to use it.

When using a glass as a message indicator, you must always cleanse it first by holding it over a burning candle.

Ouija boards that are disposed of improperly, come back to haunt the owner.

A Ouija Board will scream if you try to burn it. People who hear the scream have less than thirty-six hours to live. There is only one proper way to dispose of it: break the board into seven pieces, sprinkle it with Holy Water then bury it.

If you must use a Ouija board, make your own. Arrange the letters and numbers, into a circle so whatever is trapped within that circle can't escape.

If you place a pure silver coin on the board, no evil spirits will be able to come through.

NEVER leave the planchette on the board if you aren't using it.
Lecherous spirits from the Ouija board will sometimes ask young women to do rather . . . ah, odd things. Ignore them and always remember that your Ouija partner (i.e. boyfriend) has nothing to do with this."  

Three things never to ask a Ouija board:

* Never ask about God.

* Never ask when you are going to die.

* Never ask where the gold is buried. -Museum of Talking Boards

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Landgrove is a tiny town which is sandwiched between Peru, Weston and Londonderry.  The geographical borders make the town appear to be "hatched shaped", meaning it's blade is pointing due east and the handle is situated between Londonderry and Weston.  It occupies 9.2 square miles of Bennington County.  At one time it was becoming a ghost town but currently survives with approximately 160 residents today. 

Approximately 35 years ago, an article in the Rutland Herald was published, entitled, "A Mystery Castle, A Mystery Bride".  The publication date was November 20, 1980, as recorded in my late father's 'Vermont Firsts' scrapbooks.  The article revealed a sad tale of the building of a magnificent log home castle in Landsgrove, that was later abandoned to the wilderness.

If anyone has surviving photographs of the building, especially the interior or any more information, (so that I may update and post more about this place) please contact me (Denise Goodwin) at:  vermontdeadline@gmail.com

Clark Lodge, 1907

This photo is recorded as being taken on August 15, 1909
I have researched for pictures and more information about the lodge, but have only been able to locate these surviving photos (above).  

Stephen Clark Carter of New York City was the builder of the grand log castle and work was completed in 1907. All that is known today is that the structure was built as a honeymoon get-away, and was, then, referred to as the "Bride's Castle".  

The exterior was "embellished with balconies and battlements, all fashioned from logs.  Inside was a grand piano and custom made furniture for the rustic "cabin".  The magnificent log structure boasted fine paneling, stained glass cabinets and red leather upholstery, and the modern wonder, indoor plumbing."

Also included in the castle, was a wine cellar, five bedrooms - some with adjacent baths, and a large kitchen with a pantry. 

To get an idea of the amassed wealth from the owner of the lodge, Stephen Carter Clark, was also one of the heirs of the Singer Building in New York City. Their paternal grandfather Edward Clark, was the owner of the Singer Building, and, at that time, it was "The Tallest Building in the World".

"Born into Gilded Age wealth and privilege, Stephen Carlton Clark and Robert Sterling Clark were among four brothers whose paternal grandfather, Edward Clark, was a founder of what became the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

Beginning with Edward, the Clarks developed large swaths of land in Manhattan, building everything from model tenements to luxury apartment buildings, most notably the Dakota on Central Park West.

Stephen Carter Clark

 Robert Sterling Clark
"By the end of 1923 the brothers Sterling and Stephen Clark, heirs to the Singer sewing machine fortune, were no longer on speaking terms. In earlier years they had a close kinship based on a shared passion for art. But in their distinct personalities lay the makings of a classic Dionysian-Apollonian conflict. They eventually fell out over the family riches, and, yes, a woman was involved. "May God curse him on earth as well as in heaven," Sterling said of Stephen." 

For more on the brothers, see the end of this post.

An important note:  The woman (Francine Clary Clark) referred to in the New York Times article, was not the mysterious bride.


In 1980, the Rutland Herald reported that the Bride's name is as mysterious as why this remote spot was chosen for the construction of such an endeavor.  After the building was completed, the story was told that the Bride or perhaps the fiance of the owner, spent one night there, left, and never returned.

One may easily speculate a thousand scenarios for her choice, but with out the facts, I will not do so.

Mr. Alve Neilson, who was 86 in or around 1980, was retired and living in Florida recalled that he was 13 years old when the lodge was built in 1907.  He and his wife, Mary, were caretakers and housekeepers, respectfully, for the castle.    Alve said that the lodge was never used again by the honeymooning couple, though for several years it was maintained during the summer months faithfully awaiting their arrival.  Since its location was remote, the dirt road was also maintained and a barn was built to house livestock.

In a written account, Alve and Mary Neilson described the interior as quite spectacular: 

"The front door entered into a spacious area which included a magnificent fireplace surrounded by colored glass bookcases and gun cabinets.  Spaced between were fitted settees with red leather upholstery.  Surrounding all this beautiful lounging area was an imposing banister with fitted rails.  There was an interior view, from floor to ceiling, absolutely beautiful, with exquisite architecture proportions so that nothing could be changed to improve it."  


The Lodge and its holdings were sold to Marshall Hapgood in 1920, with an unknown business partner.  It is reported that Hapgood held galas and dances at the Lodge and had mostly purchased the land for its timber, and operated a lumber mill. 

By 1929, the Lodge had abandoned to the elements, vandals and wild animals.  

Sam Ogden was a local historian of Landgrove.  In 1978 he published a book entitled "The Cheese That Changed Many Lives" in which he describes the very first time he saw Clark Lodge and eloquently recalled its devastated condition, in 1929:

"When I first saw it, it was still enigmatically standing surrounded by its silent forest, though the axes of the woodsmen which had so painstakingly fashioned it were now turned against it, and some mad wag of a chopper had attempted to play a tune on the piano with his axe."  

He continued, " All of the windows were broken and those effete symbols of a more civilized place, the flushed toilets, had been wrenched from their foundations and smashed. In fact, there was nothing that was not smashed, including all of the elaborate and sturdy rustic furniture." 

In 1930, the United States Congress established the Green Mountain National Forest, and  the Forest Service tore down any structures in the boundaries of preserves which essentially forever sealed the fate of the Lodge.   The Lodge, barn and all property was burned to the ground in 1930.  


"One afternoon in the year 1923, a couple of rich brothers got into a fistfight. 

The depressing, unnecessary and all too predictable cause? 


Robert Sterling Clark (1877-1956), the elder, wanted his French actress wife made beneficiary of his share of the family fortune. This amounted to some $20-odd million dollars derived from the Singer Sewing Machine Company and extensive family holdings in Manhattan real estate. 

Sterling, as he was called, was a high living thrill seeker who bred thoroughbreds, showered actresses with champagne and diamonds, fought the Boxers in China and collected Old Masters in Paris. 

His younger brother Stephen Carlton Clark (1882-1960), was just the opposite. Restrained to the point of dour, dutiful to the point of resentful - "It is I who am doing all the work," he once wrote to his brother - Stephen became the guardian of the enormous Clark estate. 

"From a purely selfish point of view, I would cut loose," he wrote, adding,"I haven't of course any idea of doing this." 

After Sterling lost in court, they never spoke again."  

Source:  http://bigoldhouses.blogspot.com/


Stephen Carlton Clark, Sr. (August 29, 1882 – September 17, 1960):   American art collector, newspaper publisher, benefactor and founder of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  

He was the son of Alfred Corning Clark and grandson of Edward Clark, who was a founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. 

His brother, Robert Sterling Clark, also an art collector, founded the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. 

The Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
Stephen Clark graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1903 and was awarded in 1957 an honorary degree of Doctor of Human Letters. and became a director of the Singer Manufacturing Company. 

He founded the Clark Foundation to further his philanthropies.

In 1909, Stephen Clark and his brother, Edward Severin Clark, built the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York.

He was a member of the New York State Assembly (Otsego Co.) in 1910.

In 1922 he received a Distinguished Service Medal for his service in World War I as a lieutenant-colonel.

He was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art from 1939 to 1946, and was a director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. During his lifetime he served on numerous corporate boards.

The Stephen Clark Fund, established in 1960 with a bequest from his estate, supports scholarships and stipends given at the discretion of International House.

Art Collection and donations

The Night Café (1888) by Vincent van Gogh.  Donated to the Yale University Art Gallery.

Upon his death his will distributed many significant works of art of many museums. Yale, for example, received forty such paintings. The following year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited the works from his bequest to that institution. - Wiki

Today, July 27, 2014, I researched the mystery castle, the "brothers" and their respective "brides"..... Mystery solved:

My husband refers to the Internet, as "The Answer Box", and in this case, he is right on the money.   And, in the original author's defense, who originally wrote the article from which I have based this post, she did not have access to the Internet, as we do today.


Stephen Carlton Clark married Susan Vanderpoel Hun, in 1909.   Susan was from Cooperstown and most likely the person for whom the "Log Castle" was built.  She was considered highly suitable from a distinguished family of New York attorneys in the Albany area. 

The only portrait of Susan Vanderpoel Clark I could find.
I have yet to locate an actual photograph of her. 
I did, however, locate her final resting place, in Cooperstown, New York

Birth: Apr. 29, 1889

Death: Jan. 25, 1967


 Stephen Carlton Clark (1882 - 1960)

 Stephen Carlton Clark (1911 - 1992)
 Peter Gansevoort Clark (1915 - 1915)
 Alfred Corning Clark (1916 - 1961)

Lakewood Cemetery, Cooperstown

Otsego County:  New York, USA

Stephen Carlton Clark
Stephen and Susan's art collection included works by such masters as Cezanne, Matisse, Miro, Picasso, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper, Van Gogh, Windslow Homer and Monet. 

 Richard "Sterling" Clark:  Unlike his business like brother, Stephen, he was known as "an adventurer, volunteering for the army upon his graduation from Yale’s civil engineering program, serving in the Philippines and China, where he fought in the Boxer Rebellion, including the taking of Peking. Resigning from his position as—according to the Washington press—“the richest man in the army,” he traveled to the West Indies and England, studying topography before mounting an eighteen-month exploring expedition to the little-known northern Chinese regions of Shaanxi and Gansu. 

The expedition came to an abrupt end when its Indian cartographer was murdered. Undaunted, Sterling was planning a similar excursion to Egypt when, in 1910, with his already formidable wealth increased by the death of his mother in 1909, he bought a house in Paris and met the love of his life, Francine Clary, a French actress and, herself illegitimate, the mother of an illegitimate daughter, Viviane. Sterling and Francine lived together in his elegantly remodeled Right Bank hôtel particular for nine years before getting married, in 1919, in a civil ceremony not attended by any of the Clark family.

Sterling and Francine Clark
The next day, Francine became an American citizen, and the next year, at the age of forty-three, Sterling returned with his wife and stepdaughter to New York, establishing part-time residence in a eighteen-room apartment on Park Avenue. He had stayed in Paris right through World War I, in which, with the rank of major, he served the US Army as a bilingual liaison officer. 

Rare photo of Francine Clark in her youth
For the rest of his life he devoted himself to collecting art, books, silver, and manuscripts, breeding horses in Upperville, Virginia, and opinionizing in his peppery diaries, without ever helping run the commercial enterprises that poured millions of dollars down upon him."  Source:  The Artful Clarks by John Updike