Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Witch Watch: Cats bring both good, evil according to superstitions

Redford Observer, July 21, 1975
The superstitions of man and beast are many. Those of cats abound to excess. Cats have been feared and beloved from Biblical to modern times. In ancient Egypt, Bast the cat-headed goddess was worshiped and killing a cat was punishable by death. Conversely, the Christian Church in the late Middle Ages saw the cat as a purveyor of evil. They were attacked and killed on the belief that they could turn into witches. Like the witches many were burned and buried alive. That ill-sentiment must have persisted for many centuries as they are not once mentioned in the Bible.

But let's not get mired in human history and delve right into his superstitions towards the cat. Most of these I have never heard of because I'm only a descendant of insane English and Polish people and not a practicing kook.

1. The first person a cat looks at after it sneezes is soon to be kissed.
2. When a cat washes by licking its paw and rubbing behind its ear it means company is coming.
3. Sailors used to take cats aboard ship because they believed a cat placed on deck under a large pot could raise a wind. But to throw a cat overboard was a dangerous thing, for this could cause an unholy storm.
4. Actors believed the presence of a cat insures success for their show.
5. Kicking a cat causes the worst possible bad luck.

Gundella, at the time of this article, had a cat named Sally which noted to be fat, friendly, funny and sometimes foolish. Sounds a bit like all of us at times.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Spirit keeps things lively in Forester

The Times Herald, April 9, 1990
This is an update on a previous story where Gundella was protested before a seance for Minnie Quay in Forester, Michigan in 1988. Tee seance never happened because 40 member of the Faith Gospel Tabernacle in Bad Axe led by Rev. James Willett blocked their access to Quay's grave by circling it.

Gundella had been contacted by Bill Clugston, owner of the Forester Inn, about conducting a ghost tour in the town which would end with a dinner at his establishment. She agreed and the events, which included sight seeing of old building between Detroit and Forester, a horse drawn carriage ride in the woods, meals and a seance, went off as planned until the protest thwarted the spirit session.

A few days later Gundella arrived with two more busloads of ghost seekers. This time they were met with a circus atmosphere that included people lined along both sides of the highway in parade spectator fashion to see the clash of the protesters and Gundella's brood. The church members carried crosses and marched down the road and later took over the inn to block the witch's planned festivities.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Witch Watch: Tarot's Food Fool card represents journey of life

Redford Observer, August 7, 1975 (enlarge)
Now this is interesting! A typo in the headline which completely alters the tone of the content. I went from totally dreading the topic of food to only semi-lamenting my ignorance of the subject at hand.

The Fool in tarot, as explained by Gundella but open to individual interpretation, is a seeker, wanderer and dreamer who is not always aware of his Earthly bindings. Dogged is his determination to find escape and the pratfalls which await his dreamy feet and head. Dream but not to the detriment of reality. Your time to fly with the angels or dig with the devil is coming soon enough but your time in the flesh is the main concern in the human sphere. Always the practical witch was she.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Ghost stories of the Thumb

The Times Herald, April 9, 1990
If you recall the story that I posted a week or two ago about Gundella's tours to the grave of Minnie Quay then you know that Billl Clugson was the owner of the Forester Inn which sits across the road from the dead girl's home. Clugson was convinced that not only was the Quay home haunted but so was his establishment.

Clugson was a dinner guest of James Johnson who owned the Quay home and one night witnessed a strange incident that convinced not only the participants of the party but the homeowners that there was a spirit among them. During the dinner a glass chimney on a kerosene lamp suddenly exploded. Johnson cleaned up and vacuumed the mess and went back to his dinner guests. Five minutes later the vacuum started up on its own.

Likewise Clugson thought the Forester Inn was haunted. A woman in western garb appeared at the bar several times in 1988. Clugson, through the speculations of older patrons that frequented the bar before he bought it, assumed that it was the ghost of Jean Green who was a longtime regular up until her death.

Gundella disagreed with Clugson's theories. I'm not sure how she suddenly got interjected into the story but their past dealings must have played a part. Gundella thought that the hauntings at the former Quay house were caused by the ghost of Mary Shaw, a former resident of the home whom disliked Clugson due to the crowds from the bar making noise and carrying on late into the night.

She was also a skeptic of the entire Minnie Quay folklore. According to her research Minnie had probably been in love with a sailor but she did not commit suicide. In fact, she claims that the girl fell into the water and survived a few days before succumbing to pneumonia. Although, I have come across newspaper articles which claim that Quay did commit suicide but that there is no truth to the rumors of an illicit love interest. Maybe I should go to the Garden City Historical Society one of these days and read some of the Minnie Quay book that she was writing.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Witch Watch: Red, blue or green--witches practiced openly

Redford Observer, July 31, 1975 (enlarge)
While Gundella oft spoke of the common ground between Christianity and Witchcraft (for lack of a better word) the differences seem stark to me as a neutral observer of each. In principle there may be similarities but the perception of "unholy" practices are markedly apparent to me. Just the fact that she describes the three types of witches in the Middle Ages as "cults" points to the obvious distinction between the two. Of course you could call Christianity a cult as well and even more so Islam. Luckily, we're here to discuss witches.

During the Middle Ages the three cults of witches would smear their skin with vegetables dyes to celebrate the harvest or sabbats. The blue witches studied the stars and delved in astronomy and astrology, the red witches believed in alchemy and the green cult celebrated their agricultural lifestyle though each overlapped. Gundella, of course, was of this latter group.

The practice of dying themselves Green was a combination of braggadocio and thanks to the Gods for a successful harvest. For they believed that although they were given many blessings their hard work contributed to the success of crop outputs. A notion that Christianity once frowned upon and in some circles still does.

But enough of my babbling on things that I know little about. I'll post the Song of the Harvest Sabbat below for searchers of such things:


The fruits of the earth may be sent from above,
And we should improve them with wisdom and love.
If apples and grapes are both products divine,
Who prefers water to cider and wine?

Up with the ladder and down with the fruits,
In with a shovel and out with the roots.
The Gods may provide us with life from the land,
But the harvest we hold is the work of our hand.

Dame Nature's a wonder, we all do agree;
Who knows our necessities better than she?
Yet, though she is doing as well as she can,
She answers her best to the touch of a man!


The wheat and the barley, as much as the corn
Have kept us alive ever since we were born;
But unless we had turned them to flour and bread,
Few would be living, and many be dead.


We pray for the seasons to be as they should;
Dry or wet weather may do our crops good.
Though, if sunshine is needed to ripe the grain,
Who risks rheumatics by working in rain?


Whatever the task, and wherever the field
We reap our reward with the sickles' we wield;
For if all things grew from their numberless seeds,
The whole of our world would be covered with weeds.


So here's to the Gods and the men of this earth
Who take one another for what they are worth;
Each of them doing what has to be done,
In order to live altogether as ONE!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Witch Watch: Seances can be tricky

Redford Observer, August 14, 1975 (enlarge)
If anybody had frivolous notions about Gundella being just an entertainer or a paranormal charlatan that was easily debunked in her many columns railing against profiteers of the occult.

Here she talks about the trickiness of seances but not in the way that you might imagine. She has said before that seances are experiments and not rituals. Each person brings something different to the experience and the worst possible participant is somebody who purposefully plays a part or acts out to sway the outcome. In other words it is wise to have trust in the participants.

This column discusses the charlatans and the heavily-gifted and scary seers. One instance was of a widowed man who sought to speak with his recently-departed wife. The medium "contacted" her and the spirit told him to remarry...the medium. After doing so he was bilked of $6,000 in savings and the ghost whisperer disappeared faster than a shadow person.

Another medium once contacted Gundella and relayed a message that she had received from her deceased grandmother. She told Gundella of things that nobody else could have possibly known and was convinced of the woman's powers of perception. She just didn't believe that she had spoken to her grandmother because if her spirit had sorely needed to get in contact with Gundella she would have done so directly.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Witch Watch: STARS: Signs of life, not the devil's own work

Redford Observer, September 18, 1975 (enlarge)
After failing to locate Witch Watch articles for half of July I moved on to August and September of that same year. I'm not sure if there was some sort of protest and the column was halted or if she was merely on vacation but I'm moving on because I'm weary of searching through pages and finding nothing.

In this edition a reader who had heard Gundella on WDRQ radio wrote in to ask about pentagrams and their relationship to the Devil.

If you needed a quick primer on pentagrams, and I apparently do, here it is. The five-pointed star represents the body with arms and legs outstretched. Arms crossed over represents death and is oft presented with the skull and cross bones. The pentagram itself is not Satanic but when inverted it serves as a symbol for many Satanists.

The six-sided star represents our dual spiritual and physical natures. They overlap each other to symbolize the equal nature of each.

After the history lesson Gundella delved into her own personal interactions with the cosmos stating that her favorite place to star gaze was Port Sanilac. Which makes sense since it's near Forester, Michigan where Minnie Quay's tragic life and death played out.