Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice...

~~~Mythology. Fantasy. Hidden History~~~

173 years ago today, four men experienced a supernatural event that would forever bind their bloodlines. Read of that fateful 1844 summer solstice and what exactly ties Nicolae Ganoush, Jonathan Blake, James Livingston, and Hector de Fuentes together. Their descent is only the beginning...

Check out the first book in the epic Dark Fantasy/Supernatural-Historical series on Amazon:


You can also try before you buy with a nice sized preview sample:


And take advantage of my Summer Solstice sale taking place between now and July 1st. For 30% off your entire purchase in my Antiquity & Illusion store, simply enter the code SOLSTICE2017 at check out. :)

Visit the Antiquity & Illusion store:

Happy Summer Solstice!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

More History (the 'water myth') and Other Home Projects


It's been a hectic week, so I didn't get to post an actual blogpost as planned (I hope to do that this week), but here is a little of what I will be working on.

Also, I will be at the Depreciation Lands Museum today, so if you are in the area, swing by. :)

There are a lot of historical myths floating around, some of which might surprise many. Here is one interesting article on the 'water myth' of the Medieval era, though this myth seems to have followed us into the 18th century as well (did they really only drink beer and wine because they thought the water was poison?). It's worth a read!
His final paragraph in the article also raises a good point (particularly how many tend to excuse repeating a myth...it amazes me how many continue doing this for the sake of appearing edgy/shocking/humorous to museum/historical landmark visitors):
"Unfortunately, long-standing myths are not displaced by anything so flimsy as documentation. In previous discussions elsewhere, one person's response was simply to say, "The lack of evidence is not evidence." Another's was that since some doctors criticized some water, some drinkers might have considered this good enough reason to avoid water. Etc. This long-established idea then is unlikely to die anytime soon. But at the least, the next time you see or hear someone put it forth, you can always try asking: what is the evidence for this from the period?
Because that simple question has, for too long, been ignored."

The Great Medieval Water Myth:

Also starting to make two projects from this knitting book. One will be for my #livinghistory projects and ventures and the other will be something for 'everyday wear.' 

Got some more thyme and sage for the herb garden a local produce store near me, among other things.  Also pictured is my non-toxic pesticide that I make with Purification oil, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Lavender. It works wonders on both plants and human skin. :D

Last Sunday I had my author takeover for the Victor or Victim book release party, then I got a lot of deep cleaning done (my non-toxic cleaning products that I make myself work quite well  ) and made bone broth, cold brew coffee and baconnaise. I'd say it was a win. :D

Well, hope you all have a great rest of the weekend and a wonderful Fathers Day. :)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

More Adventures in Living History :)

Here is one of my latest sewing projects.

A 'hussef' was a sewing kit that both men and women carried with them ("never leave home without it!"). They are often made of cloth and shaped like a sort of wallet. While I have a couple hussefs among my own sewing supplies, I am currently making one that will double as a wallet (so that I'm not taking out a 21st century wallet at these #livinghistory events!). I will show the finished product once it is complete. :)

This passed Sunday at the museum, I ("Sadie Miller") and 'Kate Ferguson Greiner' cook a braised venison on the hearth inside the cabin. The process of cooking on the hearth is also discussed.

And the week before, I made a spice cake which turned out quite nicely. :)

I have a new blogpost that I plan to put up early next week, so stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bloggers/vloggers that have influenced me...

Hey there!

I have spoken of my influences in areas such as music, writing, film, and other forms of entertainment I might take part in, but it occurred to me that I have never spoken of those that influenced me in my blogging and vlogging.
So here goes. :)

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the Underground Wellness YouTube Channel when I was researching a few health related websites. At the time, I had an issue with my thryroid. I was getting to be dangerously thin, my skin had a sort of sallowness to it, among other things. Instead of being on meds, I wanted to try and take care of it by making some lifestyle adjustments. I was becoming disillusioned by much of the medical industry. Then one day I happened upon this particular video. :)

I was then introduced to Underground Wellness and its founder, Sean Croxton. The above video made me want to watch more and the next two videos had me hooked.

What I liked about Underground Wellness was that it wasn't a 'magic pill' or one size fits all sort of thing (which even holistic sites and references can be guilty of). Sean had a podcast where he featured many experts in their field with scientific research backing them. It made me want to try the Paleo way of eating, which is what ended up helping me (sorry, vegan friends!) and much of the material featured focused on fixing the thyroid. To this day, I am on absolutely no medications.

Sean grew his own empire, with his podcast, his book "The Dark Side of Fat Loss", video sessions and interviews, and more. And going with the philosophy of 'cover-thine-own-behind', I will say that no, I am not a health professional. Just sharing what helped me.

Nowadays, Sean is focusing more on mental health and self-help, but Underground Wellness is still up for public consumption.

Underground Wellness Website and Podcast

Recently, Sean released his JERF ("Just Eat Real Food") bar, which I will be trying and possibly reviewing. Add to that, I tweeted out a congratulations to Sean on the JERF bar's release and he liked and replied to my tweet, which made my day. :D

Next up is LeahMouse. As someone who was a gothkid (and still kind of is) her video 'What Goth is Not' was awesome to behold. ;)

Leah also had a lot of other great video blogs and there is all kinds of gothy goodness. :)

Last but not least is Jenna or 'White Witch Parlour.'  Her blogs are just plain awesome and here is the one that got me hooked. :)

Be sure to check out their channels and hey, sub to mine as well!

Underground Wellness
White Witch Parlour

And stay tuned for a new book review (Sai Marie's latest book) and a followup to Living History and One-sided Perceptions of the Past."

Til then, here is another favorite Underground Wellness video.

I'm out. :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Living History and One-sided Perceptions of the Past, Pt. 1

Well hey there.

A lot has been on my mind in the last few weeks, and I vented some of it out in two videos. If you haven't seen them yet, here they are.

As someone within the Living History realm, I can say that it has been a truly great time and I have met/am meeting a lot of awesome people from whom I continue to learn much from. Though in addition to that, I view it as a sort of responsibility, one that involves giving the public an accurate (or as accurate as possible) and well-rounded account of historical events. Much of this is heavily weighed upon portrayals of the different types of individuals that lived throughout the ages. When a visitor comes to a historical site it is up to those working it to try and convey this and encourage said visitor to adopt an appreciation for those that came before them.
Historical reenactment extends far beyond dressing up in a 'pretty costume' (sometimes they're not so pretty, depending on who you are portraying), and it certainly isn't talking in the old stereotypical 'Shakespearean accent'. Nor is it shrieking "witchcraft!!!" when a visitor takes out his/her cell phone (sadly, that is something I have witnessed...I died a little inside that day...). In other words, turning your persona into a caricature (please, just don't).
Now I know some might be thinking 'but isn't that how someone from 200+ years ago would have reacted to modern technology?' My answer is that some might have, yes. But there are others that would have regarded it with more intrigue than fright and condemnation. In one of the debunked myths in Mary Miley Theobald's book, Death by Petticoat: American History Myths Debunked, just how superstitious those in early America might have been varied. Not everyone was dead against new science and inventions (look at Ben Franklin and the American Enlightenment, for one) and not everyone was highly superstitious. On a side note, the Medievalist also has an article theorizing five things medieval people would hate about the modern world. It's a pretty good article, so check it out. :)

Five Things Medieval People would Hate About the Modern World

Like with most things, how new inventions were perceived varied depending on ethnic group, religious affiliation, geographic region, etc. Therefore, if you are going to portray someone who would jump around screaming every time a cell phone or other technological device was taken out, really think about why your person would do that. Is it their religious background (very likely)? Or the overall customs of his or her ethnic group (perhaps)? Perhaps your person is from a remote area and hasn't been exposed to much beyond the ways of his or her family. REALLY think about these things, along with how they might react to someone from their era who is of a more scientific mind and might not freak out so much upon seeing a modern cell phone (or any new invention from their respected time period, for that matter). With these in mind, your portrayal will come across as more honest as opposed to a comical caricature that will leave your visitors with little to no respect or understanding of our predecessors.
In addition, if your persona is one who would be more intrigued than frightened by a technological device, give the visitor you are communicating with a little of your background that might indicate why you are not reacting as your modern guest might expect. Most reenactors I've come in contact with just ignore tech devices altogether, but if you are going to react, whether with fright or intrigue, research why your persona might react as he or she may. Really research the religious beliefs, or even non-religious beliefs (because there were non-religious people in early America) of your area and what they were. If it were me, I would also refrain from speaking of supposedly held superstitions until you find evidence that the groups of your chosen persona actually did believe in such things (through research, you'd be surprised at what was actually believed and not believed...and sometimes it isn't what you might think).
This is not to say that someone who knows little to nothing about history but is still interested in getting involved with Living History can't get involved. By all means, join us. The more the merrier. When I got involved with living history, I was already into history, though there is much I learned since doing this. What's important is that you at least come in with a willingness to learn and maybe get with a more experienced reenactor. Let them do most of the talking to visitors, at least at first. Take in what they are saying and research those things on your own time. Think about what you might want to portray and also research that. Ideally, first and secondary sources are most ideal. Firsthand sources are the documents, journals, books, and things that were written within the respected time period. Secondary sources might be a textbook that cites original documents, journals, etc. There are also third sources that cite secondary sources that can be pretty good. Many also turn to the internet.
Now I do know a few reenactors that completely dismiss the internet as far as research goes. I don't completely agree with this. I think there are good blogs and websites that can point one in the right direction, though being aware of the bogus information out there is also of importance. It can seem like a lot of pressure, but doing the research and allowing yourself down that rabbit hole can be a lot of fun. The more you learn, the more you really want to learn.
With that said, I see a rather troubling trend of falling into the one-sided historical view trap. I don't think this is anything new but as I delve deeper, I am able to see all that was taking place and stories that can be lost if they are not told. I have seen many going the 'easy route' and us female interpreters tend to be great culprits of this.
In the two above vlogs, I discuss a video put out by the Jas, Townsend & Son YouTube Channel. The video in question is called A 19th Century Housewife. It features a woman by the name of Kim McCann portraying a woman called Lucinda Barker.
Lucinda is a housewife on a 19th century prairie who is not only dedicated to being a homemaker, but she is also decidedly illiterate. The way Lucinda is portrayed, I would also say that she is very much set in her ways, not to mention very unapologetic. From a modern perspective, and likely from the perspective of a more educated woman of her era, Lucinda is one to be pitied for being 'denied the opportunity for education'. However, someone like Lucinda might not see it that way and also might even be insulted upon such an insinuation.
Now compare a Lucinda to someone like my 18th century/Rev War era persona, Sadie Miller. Sadie was born and raised in Philadelphia. She is educated, higher class, and went to be a schoolmarm in the small frontier town of Talley Cavey. Meanwhile, her fiance Joshua is stationed near the Talley Cavey area in the militia. After they get married, Sadie will be helping his family run their printing press (many women of the 18th century were prominent members of the press...this is explained in an article from the Colonial Williamsburg site titled "Gentlewomen of the Press"):


In the second video, I make suggestions on how a Lucinda Barker and Sadie Miller can work well together on a living history site.
What gets me, though, is how people happily and indignantly comment on videos like the 19th Century Housewife with their one-sided views of not only history, but also those that lived back then, including someone like Lucinda. And anytime someone posts a link offering a differing viewpoint, the other commenters either don't reply or get really defensive, dismiss it as false without even looking into it and refuse to debate it on an intellectual level. Personally, I like how Kim portrays Lucinda as unapologetic, someone who might look at someone like Sadie Miller and think that not only is she out of her mind, but that her fiance is out of his mind for allowing her to do such things. She might not see any need for a schoolmarm and she also might wonder what Joshua's family is thinking in allowing her to work with them at their press. She might look at all women doing what Sadie is doing and think that they are ruining their lives. Meanwhile, someone like Sadie might look at Lucinda and think her a simpleton, though Lucinda, in some ways, might be more intelligent than a Sadie Miller (and vice versa), despite the lack of formal education. And there is something to be said about that.
No, I am not saying don't get an education, but I will also suggest looking into ancient civilizations like the Mayans, the Aztecs and all they were able to do without a formal education as we know it today. Should those ancient indigenous tribes be 'pitied' because they didn't have access to formal education? Or were they educated in a way that was valuable to their particular culture and area in which they lived? The same question can be asked about a Lucinda Barker as well as a Sadie Miller. I was talking to a friend the other day about the ancient world and how many tend to view the ancient world in a rather homogenous way despite that fact that each ancient civilization had their own culture and way of life, whether we speak of the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Norse, Balkans, and others. I plan to delve further into this in a future blogpost.
As far as women and living history go, I would suggest, along with looking into a Lucinda Barker, looking at the female blacksmiths or women like Penelope Barker, Flora MacDonald, Charlotte Corday, Clementina Rind, Christiana Campbell, Nancy Morgan Hart, Elizabeth Glover, Elizabeth Timothy, Cornelia Bradford, and many more. Look at all of them and think about how you can offer a well-rounded view of history to potential visitors to your historic site. If there are already plenty of Lucinda Barkers at your living history site, maybe look into being a Nancy Morgan Hart. Of course, you would have to think about how she might fit in (or not) into the given area and any traditions of those of the town your site portrays and research that, but the end result of having a well-rounded and well-developed persona is extremely rewarding, particularly when your persona starts relating with others in the village. And when you speak with visitors and see the impact it has on them, it is just that amazing.

I will be continuing with this in my future blogposts. I will be doing another women in history blogpost, then delving more into the ancient world, their cultures and contributions, the roles of men and women, and such traditions of Ostara, Mabon, and Imbolc, along with raising your vibrations and how it ties into all this. There is much more to come. :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

One-sided Preceptions of History?

Getting you all warmed up for my next blogpost...

I had a little rant prepared after something that had been weighing on me, but since I've cooled off, I broke it down into two questions.

Jas Townsend & Son YouTube Channel

A 19th Century Housewife featuring Kim McCann (jas. townsend channel)

Gentlewomen of the Press

For All the Grace of the Sex

Why I'm Involved with Living History (from my blog):

History Myths Debunked

Eric Sloane website:

Conner Prairie Website (check it out!)

A follow up to my last video, "Living History: Two Questions" and more on my views on the importance in showing and telling of history from more than one perspective.

Check out more at my YouTube Channel and stay tuned for a new blogpost. :)