Fun, Cool, Educational and Interesting Links!

Cool Software Sites

  • Major Geeks: Freeware, shareware, applications, programs,utilities.  A nice clean site, not cluttered with a lot of junk.
  • Filehippo:  Safe downloads.  Freeware, Shareware, Demoware. No registration required.

Favorite Youtube Channels   (All of these Youtube channels are family friendly.)

  • Aquachigger:  A metal detecting enthusiast on land and water.  Educational, interesting and fun.
  • Daniel Restodan:  Dan loves to take old cars that don’t run and make them run again, and he tries to do it for under $500.
  • Elderlyiron: (Channel description pulled from Youtube)  Started posting videos for the owner of what is now dubbed “Project Whitey”.  Along the way, I’ve decided to let the camera roll on just about anything that needs to be done to maintain that thing we call “The American Dream”. Some patience required. I don’t post on a regularly scheduled basis! I do, however, try to maintain some continuity. Check the playlists I’ve created that stay with a particular vehicle or project.
  • Grav3yard Girl: A fun channel hosted by Bunny AKA Grav3yardgirl. Makeup reviews, As Seen on TV items, shoe unboxings, and just plain fun!
  • Hobby Potter  The official vlog of ceramic artist & Hobby Potter Tammy Jo Schoppet!
  • NuggetNoggin:  Michael (aka Nuggetnoggin) has been metal detecting for 8 years now and he invites viewers along to share in the excitement of treasure hunting.
  • Ron Pratt:  A towing company that  uses Youtube to showcase their  Century 1150R rotator offering up videos of recoverys, accidents, and training with local Fire, Police, and EMS.
  • The Carpetbagger:  Jacob is a Yankee (his own word) who loves to share his unique perspective on living in the South. He admits to being obsessed with Southern Cultures, Folk Heroes, Folk Villains and Roadside Attractions.  He has started doing this channel as a full time venture.
  • Maximus Ironthumper:  Shares videos on blacksmithing and off-grid living. He lives off grid on 5 acres in merry olde England and shares videos on his work as a blacksmith, and other interesting projects.

Cool Software

  • 4kdownload:  4K Download is a place where Online and Desktop meet and connect with each other. Our goal is to remove artificial restrictions and limitations “enforced” by online services. Our apps allow you to download the content from YouTube and other video platforms, backup Instagram photos, convert video to mp3, and to create and share wonderful slideshows.
  • CD Burner XP:  is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free.
  • Easy Scan:  EasyScan is an acquisition interface for flatbed scanner using Twain standard interface capabilities from scanners drivers.  A easy to use scanning software.
  • Freemake:  Freemake has been providing high quality freeware to over 180 million users worldwide since 2010.  Download and use their free Video Converter, Video Downloader, YouTube Converter, Audio Converter and Free Music Player!
  • 4dots Software:  Founded in 2008, 4dots has developed more than thirty free software applications in the areas of video, audio, pdf, password recovery, file management, graphics, web design, system, desktop, and localization software.

Cool Websites

  • Check Short URL: Did you ever get an email that had a link to a site but it had been shortened?   If you are curious enough to find out where it leads to, but yet you don’t want to click on it, just go to this website, copy and paste the url into the search bar and let the magic happen.
  • The Alphabetizer:  Have a long list of things that need to be put into alphabetical order,  try this site.
  • VipTalisman: Over 9,060 Photo Effects, Which You Can Free, Quickly and Easily Make Online!
  •   The goal of this website is to catalog every comic, graphic novel, manga, creator, character and anything else that could relate to the field of comics.  Registration is free!
  • Grand Comics Database:  Nonprofit, internet-based organization of international volunteers dedicated to building an open database covering all printed comics throughout the world.

The Odd and Bizarre

  • Crappy Taxidermy: The Internet’s largest image repository of crappy and awesome taxidermy.

Used Books and DVD’s

  • ThriftBooks sells used books (DVD’s, too, but a word of warning, sometimes their ratings are a bit off, and yes I speak from experience, so I just stick to buying books) at the pretty decent prices.  You get free US shipping when your order is over $10 (and that can really end up saving you some money!).  They have a reader rewards program and also accept Paypal for payment.
  • AddAll:  A book search engine that allows you to compare prices from 40 different booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.

This post received an update on September 28, 2018. I added two new categories “The Odd and Bizarre” and “Used Books and DVD’s”.


Complaining can make us feel better by allowing us to vent and it can help us identify a problem area in our life, but that is about as far as it goes.    Additional action is going to be necessary and that can feel over whelming which is why some spend more time on the complaining part and less on the doing.   Anyway,  once you know what it is that is making you complain, formulate a plan of action. Don’t be afraid to ask for input from others, because the information and insight you get, the better your plan can be. Also, keep in mind that even if your plan won’t totally fix your issue, (but let’s hope it will)  it can be a boost to your spirits because you will be actually making an effort to turn something you complain about into something that makes you happy, or at least less prone to complain about.  🙂

The Meaning of Psalm 23

I received this in an email and thought that it is worth passing on. Whether you agree with the definitions used here isn’t really cause for debate, if you find it or any part of it to be of positive benefit to you on your spiritual journey than it has served its purpose for your life.

The Meaning of Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd (relationship: a connection, bond, association or mutual dealing)

I shall not want (supply; to furnish what is lacking, to provide, to satisfy)

He makes me lie down in green pastures (rest; relief or freedom from what wearies, troubles or disturbes, a refreshing ease or quiet.)

He leads me beside quiet waters (refreshment: to provide new vigor and energy, by rest, food, to restore)

He restores my soul (healing; to mend, to cure, to gain health, to make whole)

He guides me in paths of righteousness (guidance: leadership, direction, advice, supervised council)

For his names sake (purpose: the reason for which something exists)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (testing: to determine the quality of something)

I will fear no evil (protection; to defend, shelter or guard from attack)

For you are with me (faithfulness: steadfast in allegiance, constant, reliable)

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me (discipline: to improve or correct; to act in accordance with a set of rules.)

You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies (hope; a confident expectation of a favorable outcome)

You anoint my head with oil (consecration: to dedicate for a sacred purpose, to set apart for holy use)

My cup overflows (Abundance: over sufficient amount, a plentiful amount)

Surely goodness and love will follow me for all of my days (blessing: God’s favor to a person or God’s approval)

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord (security: to be free from danger, injury or harm)

Forever (eternity: A time without interruption, limitless time.)

SpongeBob Life Lessons Part Two!


Poster Souce: wall_posterity ( Ebay)

Well, here it is, the second (and last) part of the SpongeBob Life Lessons article.

Nature Pants (Season 1; Episode 9)

When SpongeBob decides that he wants to give up his current life and go life with the jellyfis, he gives away all his worldly possessions to his friends and heads out to live among his jellyfish brethren. His friends think his choice is a mistake and try to talk him out of it, but he refuses to listen. Non one believes he will have the ability to remain with the jelly fish for a long period of time, Squidward says that he will last about 11 minutes before realizing his mistake. As it turns out, his friends are right; the jelly fish aren’t all that welcoming to him and Patrick misses him so much that he actually tries to catch him and bring him back home, but still he refuses to give up his dream. But, it doesn’t take too long for SpongeBob to realize that just maybe he made a mistake after all. Will his friends take him back…will they give back all his stuff… I think you know the answer to that.

Let’s take a look at some of the lessons from this episode.

1) Some Ideas Really Are Just Bad Ideas
SpongeBob thought that living among the jelly fish was going to be a fun adventure, but when he tried it,  it wasn’t what he thought it would be.  Sometimes we get ideas that sound great in the planning stage, but when we put into practical use, are nothing at all like they were intended to be. That is not to say that all ideas will fail and not work, that would be a silly thing to say, but there are times when good ideas fail. But, the good news is that there is value in things failing, as it teaches us to look for alternative solutions. Thomas Edison had to try 1,000 times before he found the correct way to make a light bulb…each wrong try taught him that he had to try something else and he did so until he found the correct combination. So, even failure has valuable lessons to teach.

2) Trying New Things And Appreciating What We Already Have
Wanting to try something new and different is fine. Experiencing new things is how we gain knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. SpongeBob found out that the life he had was pretty good and the life of a jellyfish didn’t work so well for him. He learned to appreciate the life he had given up.  The life of a jellyfish is fine for a jellyfish, but not so much for a sponge.

3) Everyone Has a Right To Make Their Own Choices
We can’t make someone act or think the way we want them too. Patrick learned this when he tried to catch SpongeBob and bring him back home against his will. SpongeBob kept running and hiding from Patrick because he simply did not want to go back to his old life. Patrick realized that if SpongeBob was to come back home, it had to be by his own choice.

4) Sometimes our Friends Are Right!!!
It’s is not just experts we can learn things from, sometimes our friends can have a better and clearer view of a situation than we do. Even though his friends were against his idea from the start and tried to talk some sense to him, SpongeBob was determined that he knew best. We all will have experiences like this, wanting to do something that our friends and or family will think foolish or unwise.  It is probably a good idea to take their concerns seriously and examine them; are they coming from a merely emotional reaction or is there some solid basis for their concern. When you have to make a choice, such as changing your way of life like SpongeBob attempted, it’s good to look at as many points of view as possible. Our enthusiasm and excitement can sometimes blind us to the less than ideal aspects of our plans.

5) It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
During our lifetime we are going to make many mistakes and it is fine to admit that we were wrong or made a wrong choice. In SpongeBob’s case, he learned he wasn’t cut out for life as a member of the jellyfish clan, but even more importantly, he discovered he had friends who loved him and missed him and welcomed him back with open arms.

Graveyard Shift (Season 2; Episode 36)

To Squidward’s dismay and SpongeBob’s delight, Mr. Krabs announces that the Krusty Krab will remain open for 24 hours a day. The graveyard shift as it’s called, passes slowly. To liven it up a bit Squidward discovers that SpongeBob is afraid to take the trash to the dumpster because it’s dark out side. This gives him the great idea to create the story of the “Hash Slinging Slasher”, a former fry cook at the Krusty Krab who while making Krabby patties accidentally cut off his hand and then replaced it with a rusty spatula. Things go from bad to worse, when the fry cook is then run down by a bus, and finally gets fired at his funeral. But that’s not all, every Tuesday he returns to the Krusty Krab looking for revenge. There are three signs to look for that note his impending return, the lights will flicker on and off, the phone will ring and when answered no one will be there and finally, the Slasher arrives on the ghost of the bus that ran him down. Of course, even Squidward gets scared when the signs of the Slasher’s coming begin to happen, the lights flicker, the phone rings and finally a bus pulls up out front of the Krusty Krab and one passenger steps off! Oh no!! It’s the Hash Slinging Slasher and he had returned for his revenge—naw, not really, as it turns out it’s merely a kid who wants to work at the Krusty Krab who brought his own spatula and who had called earlier but lost his nerve at the last minute.

Let’s look at some of the lessons in this episode.

1) Having to Do Unpleasant Things

At times in our lives, we all have to do things we don’t want to do as Squidward discovered with having to work the graveyard shift, and SpongeBob having to take trash to the dumpster at night. But that is all a part of being a responsible person whether you are an adult or a kid. Sometimes those things we don’t want to do are based on insecurities, like with SpongeBob; he didn’t mind taking the garbage to the dumpster, he was simply afraid of the dark, but, he found the courage to face his fears and accomplished his goal. Squidward, on the other hand, didn’t want to work because he wanted to be off doing something else that’s more fun like playing his clarinet or painting another self portrait.

2) Not Everything We Are Told Is True

We can’t believe everything we are told. Squidward told a wild untrue story to SpongeBob and presented it as the truth.  In life, we will meet people who will lie to us for one reason or another. If you are ever faced with a story that you think might be made up, don’t be afraid to investigate it further.

3) Getting Caught Up In Our Own Lies

Squidward thought that idea of scaring SpongeBob with the Hash Slinging Slasher story was hilarious. But, it turned out to be not so funny when it appeared as thought the story was true. That happens in life, we tell a lie for whatever reason, and then end up getting caught up in that lie, maybe having to tell more lies to cover up previous lies…whew…it sure can be a tangled web for sure.

Sailor Mouth (Season 2; Episode 38)

 True sophisticates like SpongeBob and Patrick would never allow their lips to be stained by using curse words, or so we are led to believe. One day, SpongeBob, while reading “dumpster writing; the voice of the people”, comes across a word he doesn’t understand in a sentence about Mr. Krabs. Patrick tells him that the word is a “sentence enhancer” and is used when people want to talk fancy. One merely peppers your conversation with these enhancers and end up having a “spicy sentence sandwich”. The boys then proceed to use the word (blocked out by dolphin chirps, and other noises) until Mr. Krabs tells them it is a bad word, one of thirteen that should never be used.

The lessons this episode taught me.

1) People Can Be Mean

People can say and write some mean nasty things about other people. SpongeBob discovered this when he saw a not so nice piece of graffiti written on the dumpster about Mr. Krabbs.

2) When In Doubt, Find Out!

There are always going to be things we don’t understand as SpongeBob discovered when he saw those bad words written on the dumpster. When faced with something that puzzles us, it is best to seek out someone who is knowledgeable and can answer our questions like our parents or a teacher. We can also go to the library and look up the information or even go a Google search.

3) Sometimes People Haven’t a Clue As To What They Are Talking About!

We can also find ourselves being unintentionally misled. Patrick honestly believed he was telling SpongeBob the truth about what sentence enhancers were. He didn’t intentionally lie to SpongeBob, but he did give him the wrong information. This lesson ties in with lesson two.

 Just One Bite: (Season 3; Episode 43)

Is it possible that the reason our favorite octopus, Squidward, is so unhappy and grouchy, be the fact that in all the years he has worked at the Krusty Krab, he has never once tasted a Krabby Patty? That is the conclusion that our favorite sponge comes too, so, he decides to make it his mission to get Squidward to just take one bite of a patty. Realizing if he doesn’t, SpongeBob won’t ever leave him alone, he takes a bite and hates it! But, wait, there is trickery afoot, as it turns out, that one bite has made Squidward a Krabby Patty fan…. all those wasted years!! Now, the fun really begins as he schemes to get his tentacles on a patty without SpongeBob finding out. He ends up sneaking into the Krusty Krabb early one morning to finally get a chance to enjoy a patty in peace and discovers that SpongeBob is there, so he locks himself in the patty vault and eats all the patties, only to have his thighs gain a huge amount of weight and..explode, in a comical way of course, nothing gruesome there.

The lessons from this episode.

1) Don’t Judge By Appearances

We can go through life being for or against something without ever having any practical experience with it. Squidward hated Krabby Patties, but he had NEVER tried one. Somethings might look good or bad from appearances, but we sometimes have to dig a little deeper before making a judgment for or against.

2) Getting Rid of the Old Beliefs Makes Room For the New

It is okay to change our mind about a thing or situation once we have gained new information that supports that change. We don’t have to hold onto old outdated beliefs that no longer do us any good and simply don’t fit our personality.

3) It’s Okay To Have Our Own Likes and Dislikes

At first, SpongeBob found it difficult to believe that there could be someone out there who didn’t love Krabby Patties, as he viewed them as an absolute good. So, he spent time trying to get Squidward to try them.  After much effort, SpongeBob finally accepted that it was perfectly fine for Squidward to have his own opinions about the Krabby Patty. Even though SpongeBob wasn’t trying to be mean or to step on Squid’s right to say no, he did go overboard in his attempt to change his mind. As we go through life we meet lots of people and there might be one or two who think like SpongeBob did in this episode; that their opinion or admiration for a particular thing should be shared by all. None of us share the exact same views on everything and Squid was no different in this sense. He exerted his personal sovereignty which is one of those big fancy words that means he was his own boss in the matter and didn’t have to give in to outside control namely Sponge’s attempts to get him to try a taste of the patty.

4) Fear Can Make Us Do Silly Things

When Squidward discovered he loved Krabby Patties, he didn’t’ share this with SpongeBob because he was afraid of how he would react. Fear can cause us to do some strange things, like lock ourselves in a Krabby Patty vault and over eat till our thighs blow up… but seriously, while fear can be a good thing in that it motivates us to take a serious look at a potentially dangerous or negative situation, it can also prevent us from forming friendships and opening up to those around us. SpongeBob and Squidward could have shared a Krabby Patty lunch and gained a pleasant memory to be relieved at a later time.

4) Overeating Can Be Dangerous

Over eating can be dangerous. Squidward locked himself into the patty vault and ate so many Krabby patties, his thighs exploded. Of course this was meant to be humorous, but it is true that over eating can be dangerous to our health. It’s great to have a favorite food, but just take it easy and don’t over do it.

 The Splinter (Season 6; Episode 105)

The Splinter (Episode 105) One day at work, SpongeBob manages to get his spatula stuck in the ceiling of the kitchen at the Krusty Krab. (I’m telling ya, SpongeBob is one talented little sponge!) Piling boxes and jars of mayonnaise on top of each other, he manages to get high enough to get the spatula free only to lose his balance and fall causing the boxes and jars to spill their contents. But, you know luck is usually on his side and he manages to land safely. It’s only when he takes a step and slips on the spilled mayonnaise that he ends up getting a nasty splinter in his thumb off the hardwood floor. He tries all kinds of ways to get it out, but only manages to make things worse. When Squidward finds out, he tells him that Mr. Krabs will send him home early, a thought which terrifies poor SpongeBob, because you and I know how much he loves working at the Krusty Krab. He finally breaks down and calls his best friend Dr. Patrick (we know this is trouble even before Patrick gets there, huh?) for help. Patrick only succeeds in getting the splinter stuck deeper into his thumb AND it is now beginning to show signs of infection. When Mr. Krabs finds out, it’s with ease that he pulls the splinter free. SpongeBob is now on the mend and can stay at work flipping his beloved Krabby Patties.

The lessons I learned from this episode

1) Falling Hurts
That comes as no surprise, right. SpongeBob took a really big risk when he stacked up boxes and bottles one atop the other in a make shift ladder, so he could retrieve his spatula that he had accidentally stuck in the ceiling. He lost his balance and came tumbling down only to have a huge splinter embed itself in his thumb. Ouch!

2) That Darn Fear Factor, Again
SpongeBob’s fear of being sent home early made him decide to hide his injury from Mr. Krabbs. Instead of seeking real medical attention, he sought help from his best buddy, Patrick, who tried all kinds of remedies which only made things worse instead of better. The splinter became infected and hurt more than ever. And though it might not sound like much, an infected finger could lead to much more serious health issues.

3) Taking Risks Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing
While it is easy to see that SpongeBob’s risk on his makeshift ladder didn’t pan out too well, that is not to say that all risk taking is bad or wrong or will lead to failure or harm. Life is full of risks, but there are things we can do to minimize the dangers involved. A plan of action carefully conceived can lead to wonderful discoveries or the ability to get our spatula dislodged from the ceiling without getting a nasty splinter in our finger.

4) Sometimes People Use Our Own Fears Against Us
It almost appears as though Squidward found some sense of joy or pleasure in threatening to tell Mr. Krabbs about SpongeBob’s splinter. He knew that this was our little sponge’s biggest fear…. to be sent home from work. In real life there are people who do the same kinds of things, they discover what you fear the most and try to use that to their advantage, it’s a sort of emotional black mail. Fighting back against this kind of thing can be tough to do, especially in this scenario since SpongeBob has always considered Squidward his friend (no matter how many times he was told otherwise). In this case the right thing would have been for SpongeBob to have told Mr. Krabbs about his injury, no matter how frightened he was of the outcome.

© 2014-2017 Glory Miller All Rights Reserved

Boiling Springs: A Charming and Historic Pennsylvania Village

This man made lake was formed in 1750 to power the bellows for the iron furnace.

Historians can only speculate why Daniel Kaufman bought 48 acres of land from his father, Abraham, and settled the small village of Boiling Springs in 1843. The popular theory is that he was intending to sell lots to raise money to help his father pay off debts that amounted to more than $1,900 which was a huge sum of money in those days.

There was another theory that he founded the village because of the iron works that was nearby, but that won’t work as a reason because by the time 1843 rolled around, the iron works was in great disrepair and was up for sale and didn’t seem to have too much potential to draw in anyone who would be looking for work and who would want to settle in the area.

But, no matter the reason, he was planning his little village to be built on rich farm land. It had streams for fishing and even had a lake that, even though was man made, still offered up a beautiful scenic view. It sounded like an ideal place to put down roots, to build a house, to start and raise a family. I think Daniel, in his way had “far vision” the ability to see or dream about what the future could be like.

I am not a historian by any means, and I don’t have an extensive knowledge about the history of Boiling Springs. If you really want an in depth history of the place, I recommend getting a copy of At a Place Called the Boiling Springs that has been edited by Richard L. Tritt and Randy Watts.

This page is just my way of visiting again, a place that I came to love when I lived there over 10 years ago. There is something very special about Boiling Springs, there is an energy that runs through and around it. Maybe it’s because of the water that that surrounds it an even runs under it, water is, after all water is one of the basic elements of life that helps to give substance to our world.

Note: All photos are courtesy of Glory Miller (that’s me) and old postcards are from the personal collection of Glory Miller (hey, that’s me, too!)

The Ege Mansion

The old Ege mansion as it looks today after alterations throughout the the years.

  • One of the most beautiful and hard to miss buildings in the small village is what used to be the Ege family mansion that was built by Michael Ege Sr. around 1780. It is a Federal style building that boasted twenty three rooms.
  • In 1775, Ege purchased one eighth of the Carlisle Iron Works which has been started around 1762 by John Rigby & Co. Ege eventually took over sole ownership of the iron works by 1792.
  • Called by different names; Ege Mansion, Big House, Ironmaster’s Mansion.
  • Once the Ege family could no longer maintain the iron works, it and the mansion went up for sale around 1859. It has been hinted that Peter Ege, who inherited it from his father, Michael Jr, wouldn’t or couldn’t run the business so it had to be sold.
  • It was purchased by Cary Ahl and several of his brothers in 1863. Ahl took up residence at the mansion (his brothers lived in Newville) and remodeled it in the 1870s and then made a few more changes in 1881. Ahl died at the mansion in 1885. By the time of Ahl’s death new advances in iron making had put the Ahl’s out of the iron business.
  • After Ahl’s death, the mansion was purchased by Jared C. Bucher in 1887 who was the last iron master and operated the business until 1894. Bucher and his wife, Helen, named their home Highland Terrace. They renovated the home in the 1930’s. The Bucher family sold the house in 1985.
  • The mansion has had several incarnations as a bed and breakfast, first as Highland House and then as Swan Lake.
  • It has been a little while since I last visited Boiling Springs, but last time I was there the mansion was sitting empty and unloved, which is such a shame, as this has the potential, in the right hands, to be the show piece of Boiling Springs. I hope it’s no longer empty and not cared for, this is a wonderful piece of history for the community and for Cumberland County as well.
  • George Ege died when Michael was only six years old. He and his older brother George were brought up by his uncle the Baron Von Steigel of Manheim, PA. or so the story goes.
  • Another popular story is that Von Steigel is buried at the mansion. After losing his fortune and discovering he had no friends, Von Steigel lived at the mansion until his death. He was buried there with the intention of being moved and buried elsewhere, which never happened. There is no real historical evidence to support this claim and in fact several places in Pennsylvania claim to be home to the Baron’s final resting place.

The Boiling Springs Mill Apartments

The Mill Apartments
  • At the lower end of Children’s Lake is an old mill that was built about 1784. It was originally a two story structure and has been altered many times over the years. It is now an apartment building.
  • It is thought that Michael Ege built the mill (although many believe, apparently in error, that it was Alexander Rhoddy) because he needed a way to provide feed and flour for the iron workers. A 1785 tax list shows that Ege owned one saw mill, one forge, one furnace and one grist mill. An older tax list from 1783 makes no mention of a mill.
  • The Yellow Breeches was dammed at Island Grove, a race was dug that connected the dam to the mill, with the water then fed back into the Yellow Breeches.
  • There was a major fire at the mill in 1896 and it was repaired in 1897.
  • The Mill operated until 1920 when it closed.
  • Eventually, in 1971 the mill was turned into an apartment building.
  • The little mill was used in the book Toward the Morning by Hervey Allen published in 1948.

Children’s Lake

  •  This man made lake was formed in the 1750s and it’s chief purpose was to power the bellows of the iron furnace.
  • Originally pear-shaped, time and weather have eroded the eastern and southern banks of the lake.
  • The lake is 9-acres in size.
  • Every day about 22 million gallons of water (at a fairly steady 53-degrees) bursts forth from the over thirty springs that flow into the lake. Some places, the water comes in from underground and when it breaks to the surface, the water appears to be boiling. This water comes from subterranean caves that are about 1,800 feet below the surface.
  • The lake became a very popular in the late 1800’s, people would come for miles to get jars full of it’s clean, clear, cool water.
  • At one time, a paddle wheel steamer carried folks from the lake to Island Grove.
  • It was renamed Children’s Lake in 1987.

Daniel Kaufman House and the Underground Railroad

  •  Seventeen year old Daniel believed that slavery was unjust and immoral and it was this belief that led him to became an agent for the Underground Railroad from 1835-1847. He helped many an escaped slave find their freedom by hiding them in his barn or in the heavily wooded Island Grove area on the Yellow Breeches not far from his original home.
  • Slave holders from Maryland did take him to court in 1852 and he was eventually fined $4,000 (some sources state $5,000) which during the time was a huge amount of money. Different abolitionist societies and his brother-in-law Stephen Weakley, helped to pay his fine. Weakley also had assisted Daniel with his work in the Underground Railroad.
  • He built this Federal with Italianate style house (shown in the above photo) in 1880 and there are rumors that there are secret hiding places in it, but I have my doubts. First, his role in the Underground Railroad ended in 1847, and in 1865, the 13th Amendment officially abolished slavery. By the time 1880 rolled around he would have no need for secret hiding places, unless of course, he just happened to like that kind of thing.
  • It is also interesting to note, that even though Kaufman was anti slavery, that sentiment wasn’t highly shared by residents of Cumberland County. Nearby Carlisle had an Army post that had many southern officers stationed there. Dickinson College also in Carlisle had a lot of students who were originally from below that Mason-Dixon line. Many Carlisle churches refused to allow abolitionists to hold their meetings on their premises. Many Carlisle newspapers were also anti-abolitionist. Pennsylvania finally put an end to slavery once and for all in 1847.
  • Kaufman died in 1902 and his wife, Catharine died in 1907.
  • Of course, the Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, but simply a highly organized escape network that utilized back roads, secret meeting places, safe houses, etc This “railroad” covered 29 states and reached into Canada, Mexico and even the Caribbean.
  • Pennsylvania had officially abolished slavery in 1780, with the passage of the “An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery” but yet by the time 1840 rolled around there were still slaves being held in Cumberland County.
  • Before building this house, he lived in a house near what is now the intersection of Race and Kaufman Streets.

Dr. Milton Peters House

  •  Milton Peters had dreams of becoming a doctor and worked hard and saved his money so he could attend medical school. His older brother, Clayton, who was an established teacher in Brooklyn, New York bought for his brother, a lot on Front Street for the sum of $230 on April 2, 1898. Some time later, he had a house built on the lot and his brother, Milton, having studied to become a doctor, purchased the property from his brother on November 28, 1903 for $2,000.Dr. Peters then opened his practice at the property and eventually became a prominent doctor and surgeon in the area practicing medicine all of his life in Boiling Springs. His office was in the two rooms on the right side of the house. The other 8 rooms he used for his personal residence.
  • The building is an Eastern Stick style design that was very popular in the US from about 1855 to 1900. This building is actually classified as a modified Eastern Stick.
  • Of course, the house has gone through some alterations over the years with a garage being added on that wasn’t part of the original structure.
  • The one thing I remember about this place is when walking by it on my walks around the lake, I had to be careful because the bushes were infested with poison ivy plants!

The Boiling Springs State Bank

  •  This two story structure housed the Boiling Springs State Bank. It was built in 1920 and cost $17,500.
  • Founding members were L. Floyd Hess, Dr. Milton R. Peters, Jared C. Bucher, Jacob Meixel and George Otto.
  • The bank closed in 1938.
  • Hess had purchased the land from Jared Bucher who then sold it to the bank on March 10, 1922.
  • The building was sold in 1940 to Jacob W. Kiracofe who added a frame third story and turned it into a residence.
  • In 1985, it was remodeled and restored, but it still has that horrible third floor addition.

Island Grove Park 1 & 2

A photo of the restaurant at the second Island Grove park that opened in 1910 and closed just a few years later.

A photo of the restaurant at the second Island Grove park that opened in 1910 and closed just a few years later.

  • In 1875, the Ahl family built the first park at Boiling Springs at Island Grove which is located on the south side of the Yellow Breeches Creek about a half mile from the village.
  • Cary Alh wanted to attract customers to his family railroad, but that never happened as their Harrisburg and Potomac Rail Road never really got off the ground, or is that on track. Financial problems prevented the railroad from being built.
  • The park was about 15 acres and had a large pavilion, as well as an restaurant and a few other buildings. There were benches scattered throughout the area and there was a playing field where folks could get in a good game of baseball. Some described the place as being offered as more of a resort than a park.
  • While there is no official record of when Island Grove closed, it is believed that the closing coincided with the closing of the Ahl Iron Works in 1885.
  • A new Island Grove did reopen for a short time in 1910, but closed down about 1912 after a fire destroyed the restaurant and it’s equipment. But, while open it offered swings, see-saws, dancing, a merry-go-round along with benches and a seats for relaxation.
  • There aren’t many photographs of the original Island Grove park available.

The Second Park at Boiling Springs

The main pavilion where dances were held three times a week with live orchestras.
The main pavilion where dances were held three times a week with live orchestras.
The Merry Go Round (or is it carousel) at the park that was shipped off to Willow Grove Park after Boiling Springs Park closed.
The Merry Go Round (or is it carousel) at the park that was shipped off to Willow Grove Park after Boiling Springs Park closed.
The trolley at Boiling Springs
The trolley at Boiling Springs
  •  In 1896 the Valley Traction Company laid a trolley line from Carlisle to Boiling Springs. It wasn’t long until the trolley was making regular stops. People often came to Boiling Springs via the trolley to enjoy a lake side picnic. Dances were also held there, too.
  • In 1904, the company leased 20 acres as well as the lake and opened a park. The desire was to attract riders to the trolley and for ten cents you could take a ride through the country side in the special open air trolley. That actually sounds rather nice, doesn’t it?
  • The park had restaurants, a dance pavilion, a band stand, novelty shops and ice cream stands, a shooting gallery, a baseball and tennis areas, deer pens, Lover’s Walk, and the Flying Horses carousel.
  • As time went on, the park began to lose its appeal, as people sought other forms of entertainment.
  • With the increase in automobile traffic, the park became popular again at least for a short time, but the park closed down for good in 1930. It was a victim of changing times and tastes.


  1. Is there a difference between a merry-go-round and a carousel?
  2. What makes a Flying Horses carousel/merry-go-round different from other carousels or merry-go-rounds?
  3. Island Grove, at least the second incarnation of it, also had a merry-go-round, I believe, does anyone know what happened to that one after that park closed?

Collecting Animated Halloween Figures

Battery-Powered Halloween Figures

I started collecting these figures a long time ago.  A Dracula in the bargain bin at one of my local department stores was the inspiration for this “adventure”.  For me, in the area that I live, it seems to be getting more and more difficult each year to get a new figure to add to my collection.  But, I do the best I can.

Anyway, let’s take a look at just a few of these adorable collectibles, shall we?

Dracula Standing at Tombstone

This is the grooviest disco vampire. He sings and moves his hips in motion with the music. A very simplistic animated figure, but still a cute little guy to have in one’s collection.

Frankenstein Motionette


This Frankenstein is made by Telco and is from 1992. He is, as you already know I’m sure, part of the Universal Monsters series. Like his other kin in this series, he is battery operated and about 17 inches tall. He growls, his eyes light up red and he is ready to break his chains and make his getaway.

Rocking Frankenstein


This Frankenstein dances to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. He is dressed in bright colors we don’t usually associate with Frankenstein, but that is because he isn’t interesting in scaring anyone, he just wants to PARTY!! His arms moves up and down, his head moves side to side and his eyes glow a ghostly white as he mouths the words to “Thriller”.

Frankenstein Animated Halloween Figure

He is a Universal Monsters Studios animated figure. He dances to “Monster Mash”, his hips swing back and forth, his head turns, and his eyes flash green in time with the music. This is one handsome Frankenstein that is for sure and is made by Gemmy Industries.

Universal Monsters Wolfman Motion-ette

He is a Motion-ette from Telco and he stands 17 inches tall. He is the Wolfman from the classic Universal Monsters series of movies. His eyes glow, his arms are poseable and his head turns. There is also a howling soundtrack. He is motion activated or you can flip his switch and allow him to run all the time, but the howling gets to a person after a bit. 🙂

Wolfman With Guitar

He is a sharp dresser and he would make the perfect lead guitar in a “hair band” that is for sure.  This cutie pie wolfman plays a rock song (but I can’t recall which as I don’t have batteries in the little dude to test him out).

Animated Cat

Not all of my animated Halloween figures are monsters. This cute little guy is, of course, a black cat. He arches this back, his eyes light up and he also makes other cat sounds. He is a charmer, for sure.

Pirate Skeleton

Pirates aren’t the most friendly of people or so he likes to spout off. He says several phrases and dances to the song “Get Down Tonight”. This little guy is made by “Gemmy Industries”

Zoot Suit Animated Skeleton

He sure is handsome in his zoot suit and he knows it. He swings his chain of skulls and dances (moves his hips) to the hip beat of “Sing Sing Sing” by Louis Prima. As you can see, he has never been taken out of his box.

Grim Reaper

What Halloween collection would be complete with the obligatory Grim Reaper. This cute little guy sits on a tombstone and plays an eerie tune on his violin. He laughs a evil laugh and his eyes light up red as do those of the skulls at his feet.

Well, there you have it, just a sampling of some of the cute figures I have in my collection.

© 2016 Glory Miller

John Bellairs: Author of Gothic Fiction For Kids

john-bellairs-booksThe late John Bellairs (1938-1991) was an author of Gothic fiction aimed at the young adult reader using his creations,  Lewis Barnavelt, Anthony Monday and Johnny Dixon, three young boys who found themselves involved in all kinds of mysteries that usually involved ghosts, demons, magic spells, wizards, zombies and more!

His first book for the young adult reader was The House With a Clock In It’s Walls, which had originally been written as an adult fantasy novel, but was eventually retooled as a book for the young adult reader.

From 1973, until his untimely death of heart disease at age 53 in 1991, John completed 18 books that enthralled young and adult readers as well… and they still continue to do so today.

After John’s death, his son contacted author Brad Strickland and asked if he would take on the task of finishing some of the unfinished manuscripts and flesh out a few more of the outlines left behind by John. He readily agreed and became a wonderful “guardian” to John’s characters, even using a few of them in his own creations. Thank you, Mr. Strickland!

The House With a Clock In Its Walls: (A Lewis Barnavelt Mystery) Lewis Barnavelt is orphaned after losing his parents in car accident. He is sent to to live with his Uncle Jonathan Barnavelt, whom he had never met before, in the small town of New Zebedee, Michigan. His uncle lives in a house once occupied by evil wizard who created a doomsday clock and hid it in the walls of the old house, but he died before he could activate it. Now all the clock does is sit and wait and tick off the minutes until someone can put things in motion. That someone is Serena Izzard, the long deceased wife of the evil wizard, who is resurrected accidentally by Lewis when he tries one of his uncle’s magic spells. Edward Gorey did illustrations for many of John’s books. He had the ability to bring to life the words on the page.  Gorey and Bellairs made a wonderful pairing. In 1979, The CBS Library showed their adaptation of The House with a Clock in its Walls. Severn Darden was cast as Uncle Jonathan and Michael Brick was cast as Lewis. We are introduced to Rose Rita Pottinger at the end of this book. The book won New York Times Outstanding Book of Award and the American Library Association Children’s Books of International Interest Award.

The Figure in the Shadows:  (A Lewis Barnavelt Mystery) Poor Lewis, who is an easy target for bullies finds himself being picked on, this time, by Woody Mingo, and he wished he had a way to defend himself and get back at Woody. (This doesn’t sound like a good idea, does it?).    While rummaging in Grandpa Barnavelt’s travel trunk, he finds a  “lucky” coin from 1859, and he is certain that is contains magic powers and will act as a talisman. But, once he starts to carry the coin with him strange things begin to happen, like the appearance of notes with the word “Venio” written on them. Then, of course, there is that mysterious shadowy figure that seems to be following him. Just what has Lewis awakened? This is the first book to feature Rose Rita Pottinger who we met at the end of The House With a Clock in Its Walls.

The Letter, the Witch and the Ring: (A Lewis Barnavelt Mystery) With her best friend, Lewis, away at summer camp, Rose Rita figures it is going to be a boring summer.Things get interesting when her friend Mrs. Zimmerman receives a strange letter from her cousin Oley who has just recently passed. In it he tells her about the strange goings on at his farm and that he has found a ring that he thinks has magical powers.Mrs. Zimmerman asks Rose Rita to accompany her to the farm to investigate things and together the two of them run afoul of an old witch Gert Bigger who is holding onto a grudge from 45 years ago when Mrs. Zimmerman stole the old woman’s beau (or so she believes.)  The old witch intends to get her revenge against Mrs. Zimmerman and Rose Rita, too. While this is classified as a Lewis mystery, I always thought that Rose Rita should have gotten the credit as it features her more prominently that Lewis.

The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn: (An Anthony Monday Mystery) Has Alpheus Winterborn, Hoosac’s eccentric millionaire, really hidden a treasure in the Hoosac town library? Anthony Monday is sure that there is something to the story and sets out find the treasure. But, he isn’t the only one who is searching for the old man’s millions, Hugo Phipotts, Alpheus’ nephew has his sight set on the treasure too and is willing to let Anthony do all the work and then when the time is right, he will just snatch the treasure away.This book doesn’t have many elements of the supernatural, but it is a very good mystery story.This is the second of John’s books to be turned into a TV special. It was shown on an episode of The CBS Children’s Mystery Theatre in 1980 that was shown under the title of The Mystery According to Sherlock Holmes.

The Curse of the Blue Figurine: (A Johnny Dixon Mystery) One day while Johnny Dixon is looking around in the town church basement, he finds and old blue figurine called an ushabt (a funeral figuring used in Ancient Egypt) that has a message scrawled inside of it whoever removes these things from the church, does so at his own peril.By accident, Johnny takes the figurine home and odd things begin to happen. He calls on his friend and neighbor, Professor Roderick Childermass to help him figure out what is going on and how to put things right.

The Mummy, the Will and the Crypt:  (A Johnny Dixon Mystery) This book is also touted as a sequel to the “Curse of The Blue Figurine” and is the story of wealthy H. Bagwell Glomus’ and his missing will.There is a $10,000 reward that will go to anyone who can find it. Johnny Dixon wants the reward and believes that the clues to it’s hiding place is in Glomus’s diary but that is filled with strange and weird riddles that Johnny intends to solve.He also thinks that the clues to solving those riddles can be found in the old spooky Glomus mansion, so he decides to sneak in and look around. Once inside, a sudden bright flash of light stops him in his tracks and he discovers he is not alone in this mansion.

The Dark Secret of Weatherend: (An Anthony Monday Mystery) Anthony and his best friend, Miss Eells discover the diary of J.K. Borkman, a mad man who wanted to bring about the end of the world via a horrible ice age.In his diary, Borkman, had created a spell that he carefully hid in cryptic riddle form. When Anthony innocently solves some of the riddles, the ice age is set into motion. Anthony believes that a counter spell is also in the riddles, too, can he figure it out before the earth freezes!We are introduced to Emerson Eells in this book. He is Miss Eells younger brother and a lawyer by trade with a bit of a know-it-all attitude. He is scared of his big sister. He smokes pipes, cigars and cigarettes and likes to drink beer.

The Spell of the Sorcerer’s Skull: (A Johnny Dixon Mystery) Johnny Dixon and his friend Professor Roderick Childermass discover an old clock. Inside it, Johnny discovers a miniature room that is exactly like the room that a murder had taken place a long time ago.Inside this room, Johnny finds a miniature skull that has magical powers, but the minute he picks it up he unleashes demonic forces.Worse yes, his friend Professor Childermass has vanished and this leaves Johnny having to ask his best friend Fergie and the town’s priest Father Higgens to help him stop the diabolical plan set in motion by the Sorcerer’s Skull!This book is a direct prequel to “The Revenge of The Wizard’s Ghost”.

The Revenge of the Wizard’s Ghost: (A Johnny Dixon Mystery) Something odd is happening to Johnny, he is sleepwalking and simply not acting like himself at all and it seems the problem is that he has become possessed by an evil spirit and ends up in a coma. Can his trusted friend Professor Childermass save him?  This is the fourth Johnny Dixon book and is a sequel to The Spell of the Sorcerer’s Skull”. If you remember, in that book, an evil wizard was attempting to get revenge against the Childermass family for an ancient wrong that they committed against him.

The Eyes of the Killer Robot: (A Johnny Dixon Mystery) Mad inventor, Evaristus Sloane’s baseball-pitching robot can only be activated by installing a pair of human eyes and it seems that Sloane has chosen Johnny to be the donor! When he is kidnapped it is up to his best friends Professor Childermass and Fergie to go rescue him.

The Lamp From the Warlock’s Tomb: (An Anthony Monday Mystery) Strange things begin to happen after Miss Eells purchases an antique oil lamp. Little does she know that it was stolen from the tomb of Willis Nightwood who dabbled in black magic. When Anthony lights the lamp, it unleashes evil forces.

The Trolley to Yesterday: (A Johnny Dixon Mystery). Professor Childermass discovers an old trolley that has the ability to transport people back in time and soon he and Johnny end up in Constantinople in the year 1453 as the Turks are invading the Byzantine Empire.

The Chessmen of Doom: (A Johnny Dixon Mystery) Professor Childermass’s brother, Peregrine has passed away and left his substantial estate to his brother who has to go to Maine in order to collect it. Johnny and his best friend Fergie tag along and end up helping Professor Childermass solve a riddle that will prevent a mad man from destroying the world.

The Secret of the Underground Room: ( A Johnny Dixon Mystery) Johnny and Professor Childermass must help their friend Father Higgins who has been possessed by the spirit of an ancient knight bent on taking over the world with the help of seven ancient knights who he plans to bring back to life and release from an underground room where they are imprisoned.

The Ghost in the Mirror: (A Lewis Barnavelt Mystery) Lewis and his Uncle Jonathan have gone on a cruise leaving poor Rose Rita without a friend to do things with. She is happy to accompany her friend, Mrs. Zimmerman to the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch country where they duo are transported back in time to 1828. Mrs. Zimmerman loses her memory, and they are taken in by the kindly Weiss family who are battling a powerful evil wizard. (Finished by author Brad Strickland based on notes left behind by Bellairs after his death.)

The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder (A Lewis Barnavelt Mystery) Lewis Barnavelt and his Uncle Jonathan are in English visiting relatives. Lewis accidentally releases a demonic force that summons the ghost of an evil wizard that wants to destroy the entire Barnavelt family. Co authored with Brad Strickland.

The Drum, the Doll and the Zombie: (A Johnny Dixon Mystery) Dr. Charles Coote, a folklorist and friend of both Professor Childermass and Johnny brings back from his visit to New Orleans, a small black wood drum that when played releases the spirit of Madame Sinestra, a voodoo priestess who wants the drum to use with her cult. Co authored with Brad Strickland.

The Doom of the Haunted Opera: (A Lewis Barnavelt Mystery) When exploring an old abandoned theater, Lewis and his friend Rose Rita find an unfinished musical score title The Day of Doom. When stranger Henry Vanderhelm comes to town claiming to be the grandson of the opera’s composer, he convinces the town to put on a performance of the opera. Little do they know that he really wants to use the power of the opera enslave the world and awaken the dead! Co authored with Brad Strickland.

He Loved to Write Stories That Children Love to Read


A few years back, I had the chance to visit, for the first time, the cemetery  (Greenwood Cemetery, 646 East Broadway Street,in Haverhill) where John is buried in Massachusetts. I have to say that if he had a hand in picking this cemetery, it seems to fit him well. It’s a quiet and restful place, off the beaten path.  There are no large tombstones or ornately decorated family crypts or mausoleums to be seen.  In some ways, it doesn’t appear to be the kind of place you would imagine an author of Gothic tales to be resting.

bellairs-gravesiteJohn’s grave is in the front of the cemetery, right along the main road.  Sadly, time has not been kind to John’s stone, the highlighting on the lettering is wearing off on the back which lists his books, making reading it difficult. On the front of the stone is John’s name, date and place of birth and the date and place of his death. As well as the Latin phrase “Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt” which has different translations, and the one by Vergil may be the one John preferred, “These are the tears of things, and our mortality cuts to the heart”. It’s a line from the epic poem, “The Aeneid” On the back of John’s stone is a listing of his books.

Buried beside John, is his son, Frank who died in 1999 at 29 years of age. Frank was instrumental in getting author Brad Strickland to take over the “guardianship” of the characters that John created.

© 2014 Glory Miller

South Central Pennsylvania Haunted Places

Living in south central Pennsylvania has afforded me the discovery of a multitude of myths, legends, folklore and my favorite…ghost stories.  Gathered here is but a small sampling of the stories of the rich supernatural life that permeates the nooks and crannies of the fourteen counties that make up this geographical region in Pennsylvania.

  • Carson Long Military Academy (New Bloomfield): Founded in 1914 by Colonel Theodore K. Long. He named the school after his deceased son who had died at age 23 out west in a logging accident. The school had been in existence, under different names, for many years dating back to 1836 when it was first opened as a Latin Grammar School.  It is not unusual for a place as old as this to harbor a few ghost stories. Years ago, and no one will ever pin point the exact date, a woman, the wife of one of the school’s commandants, perished in a fire. It is reported by passersby and students alike that the sound of faint screams can be heard as well as the sound of crackling noise like is heard when a building is on fire.  One of the dorms on the campus has a blood stain that simply will not go away no matter how many times it has been painted over. It is said that years ago (again, no one has a specific date) a young cadet, while out enjoying a snow day, crashed his sled into the building and died.  Holman Chapel is said to be haunted by Colonel Edward Holman. There is a portrait of the Colonel that is rumored to have eyes that will sometimes glow red as fire. Also, above the main door to the chapel is an ornately carved eagle that also has a case of the red eye glow from time to time. No explanation is ever give for either of these occurrences.
  • Frankenberger Tavern (Mechanicsburg): Built in the early 1800′s, Frankeberger Tavern served as a stop point between Harrisburg and Carlisle. Weary travelers could partake of a drink, rest their weary bones and horses and get a meal and a room, if needed.  One day during a heavy rain storm, the the Susquehanna River overflowed it’s banks, making roads impassable. A cattle driver took refuge from the storm at the Tavern and after having a few too many drinks, began to brag about his successful sale of cattle the day before. He was also showing a large sum of money. After retiring for the evening and sometime during the night, someone relieved him of not just his money, but his life as well. The Innkeepers found his body in their herb garden the next day. No one was ever charged with the crime and it is theorized that it is his ghost who is sometimes spotted looking forlornly out of the upstairs windows in the old tavern and some have claimed to see the ghost of a man sitting on the roof near the chimney.
  • West Perry Senior High School (Elliotsburg): No one knows his name or the date of his death, but the West Perry High School has a persistent story about the phantom janitor who fell to his death while attempting to clean the windows in one of the rooms on the second floor. Students and staff have reported hearing the sounds of glass breaking and a man screaming before all goes silent. The room number often associated with the story is 118, but since in most buildings, the rooms labeled in the 100’s tend to all be on the first floor, it might be a little difficult for anyone to fall to their death from a window. Maybe room 218 is a better candidate? Do I believe this story, well, no, not really, as with all tales like this, there might be a smidgen of truth mixed in, but as the story is told and told again, it takes on a life of it’s own.
  • Dickinson School of Law (Carlisle):  William Harrison Hitchler became the dean of Dickinson School of Law in 1930. It was a job that soon became the love of his life and perhapsTricket Hall explains why he never married, he was simply too enamored with the college to have time to court anyone. He was respected by both his peers and students and often described as being a man of impeccable character. He wasn’t one for the traditional kinds of fun that might be found on a college campus, as he disliked the habits of smoking and drinking and basically anything that could be considered enjoyable…in other words, he was a bit stuffy. Sadly, he diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1952 and eventually came to the realization that his illness would prevent him from continuing his duty as dean. He retired from his position in 1953 and finally succumbed to the disease and its effects in 1959. Since his passing over 50 years ago, its not uncommon for staff and student alike to report seeing a man who fits his description appearing in what was once his apartment on campus as well as in various other buildings, too. The sound of footsteps pacing the halls in Trickett Hall have also been reported and of course when investigated no one is to be seen and many attribute this to the former dean still being active and caring for his beloved school.  A few years ago, Tricket Hall underwent a series of major renovations after almost falling victim to the wrecking ball. Public outcry was so strong that the college agreed to remodel the building, I can only wonder what Dean Hitchler thought of all that activity?
  • The Hotel Hershey (Hershey): During the Great Depression of 1933, Milton Hershey decided that he wanted a hotel that would rival any that could be found in big cities like Paris or New York, so he set about building one! While other businesses were closing their doors, cutting work forces, basically anything to save money he was doing just the opposite; he spent money! He decided that his grand hotel would be built atop Pat’s Hill, which is now known as Prospect Heights. The haunting associated with the hotel is the smell of cigar smoke, and since this is a smoke free premises, those who experience this phenomenon just assume it’s Milton, who did enjoy a good cigar from time to time, checking things out and making sure the guests are enjoying their stay.  It is reported that two ghosts have been seen, one resembling Milton and the other his wife, Kitty. Perhaps, even spirits need a vacation from the other side and staying at your own hotel just makes good business sense.
  • The Pioneer Cemetery (Landisburg): The Pioneer Cemetery, in Shaffer’s Valley, is all that is left of the settlement called Pandemonium that was bordered on the north by Bowers Mountain and on the south by Blue Mountain.  At it’s peak, Pandemonium boasted about 100 homes, two sawmills, a tannery, a stave mill, and a church. The community eventually began to shrink in it’s size as residents died, or moved way in an attempt to find a better life.  Legend has it that the little cemetery is haunted by the ghost of an escaped slave who was accidentally shot near the cemetery. No one knows her name or anything about her life and it is believed that she entered into the community under the cover of darkness, catching the attention of nearby dogs. She must have thought that her pursuers had found her and fearing for her life, she climbed a tree in an attempt to hide. She never realized that the barking dogs were simple from a nearby house. When the owner of the dogs came to investigate, having only a kerosene lamp to see by, he figured the large shape in the trees was that of a bear. The woman, apparently too terrified to cry out, was shot and killed. She is buried outside of the cemetery gate.  It’s not uncommon for reports of strange lights being seen in the cemetery (perhaps the faint glow of old time kerosene lamps). The state police have been called and have investigated but never anything out of the ordinary has been found.
  • The Walking Statue (Lancaster): This is a story that has really gotten some embellishment over the years and while many claim (even the Bitner family) that it’s not true in any way, it is still a classic kind of ghost story that allows us to believe the idea that love never dies. Augusta Bitner was young, beautiful and in love and she intended to get married. Her family did not haunted_walking_Statueapprove of her choice for husband material and tried numerous times to change her mind. Aside from being beautiful and young, she was also a bit head strong and would not pay any attention to their concerns. On the day of her wedding (some stories say the night before), Augusta visted her family once more in hopes of getting them to change their opionion of her intended and to get them to attend the wedding. A horrible argument ensued, and she raced out of the family house and tripped falling down a set of stairs breaking her neck. There would be no wedding for Augusta, instead her funeral. The haunting associated with this story centers around the statue that marks her grave. It shows a lovely young maiden (it may be her likeness, but I doubt it as I am certain I saw a statue similar in design in a cemetery in or near Winchester, Virginia years ago) walking down a set of stairs. Beside her is a broken column often used to signify someone who has died young. On the anniversary of her death, the statue comes to life and takes a calm slow stroll through the cemetery, in what some say is the eternal search for her true love, who, by the way disappeared into that annals of time. No one remembers his name or what happened to him.
  • Cashtown Inn (Cashtown): The small community of Cashtown is about eight miles from Gettysburg on Old Route 30 which is sometimes called The Lincoln Highway. During the time of the battle of Gettysburg, this road was used by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia as a way to get into Gettysburg, so troops marching up and down this stretch of road was a familiar sight. The Inn, was in business at this time and in fact, several of the Confederate generals would meet there to plan their battlefield operations.  For several decades the Inn has had a history of ghostly happenings. Reports of soliders in uniform, strange and unexplained noises in the attic, doors opening and closing on their own and even in Room 4, hearing mysterious rapping on the room door and when opened no one is there.  But, the noises and strange occurrences aren’t just centered inside, guests have reported hearing what sounds like horses snorting and pawing at the ground. Of course, when investigated, nothing can be found.

© 2014-2017 Glory Miller All Rights Reserved

SpongeBob SquarePants Life Lessons

Photo source: wailu.us2013 (Ebay)

Photo source: wailu.us2013 (Ebay)

A few years back, I used to write at a place called Squidoo which has since closed its doors.  Before it closed down, I was sure to save all my work,  packed it away with the idea that I might want to publish it again at some point in time.  So, since I need some “meat” here on this blog, I thought I would share with you that old article about the life lessons that the cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants offers viewers of all ages.  In this old article,  I use just a few of my favorite episodes of the series, giving a brief plot synopsis and then offering up the lessons that I got from the episode.  Of course, life lessons are subjective and what I got out of the episode might be totally different than what someone else got.

So, here is just part of the article , I think there is enough material here for a two part series.  We will just have to see what time brings.  🙂

Bubble Stand (Season 1, Episode 2)

In this episode SpongeBob builds a bubble blowing stand in front of his pineapple home and plans to open a bubble blowing business.  He intends to charge each customer one quarter to blow bubbles. Of course, next door neighbor, Squidward, thinks the idea is silly and wonders who in their right mind would pay to blow bubbles. Well, as luck would have it, the first customer is Patrick, who, on a borrowed quarter from SpongeBob, attempts to blow bubbles, only to discover he is “bubblily challenged”. This inspires SpongeBob to offer up a bubble blowing lessons for just one quarter per lesson and Patrick is happy to partake of the lesson (having to use another borrowed quarter from SpongeBob). The secret to blowing good bubbles goes like this; “first go like this, spin around. Stop! Double take three times. One, two three. Then pelvic thrust. Whooooooo, whooooooo. Stop on your right foot, don’t forget it! Now it’s time to bring it around town. Bring-it-a-round-town. Then you do this, then this, and this, then this, then that, then this and that, and then” you proceed to blow wondrous bubbles of all shapes and sizes like boat bubbles, and elephant bubbles and duck bubbles using this tried and true SpongeBob technique. Of course, Squidward gets into the act after one of SpongeBob’s bubbles floats into his Tiki house and promptly pops. Going outside he eventually attempts to blow a bubble only to discover he is as challenged at it as Patrick was. But, with a little help from SpongeBob’s technique he manages to blow a giant round bubble and discovers that bubble blowing isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Lets take a look at some of the lessons from this episode.

1) Different Strokes For Different Folks
Fun comes to different people in different ways. What appears to be childish or silly to one person might not appear that way to another. I for one love the idea of blowing bubbles. Squidward, of course, would look at me kinda funny if he was here I am sure. The point is to not lose sight of the kid in all of us. How many of the problems in this world, be it emotional, mental, physical could be eased or maybe even eliminated if more people took time out to be silly. It is said that laughter is the best medicine.

In the real world we have hot dog stands, lemonade stands, news stands, so why not a bubble blowing stand. I wonder how much fun people would have, if someone actually (and maybe they have) set up such a stand in a busy place, like a street corner or maybe a city park? If you happened upon a stand like that, would you take the time to blow a few bubbles?

2) Life Is Full Of Opportunities
Opportunities can present themselves in different ways. For one thing, SpongeBob decided to open his own business providing the service of bubble blowing. When he realized that his customers (Patrick and Squidward) were lacking in skills necessary to blow bubbles, he saw another chance to earn more money by offering bubble blowing lessons. During our life time, we will see many places where there are voids that need to be filled. Maybe we can fill some of those by becoming an entrepreneur like SpongeBob in this episode, and offering our services for a price. But, there are other places that have voids that simply require our time and effort. Maybe in your community the local food bank is in need of donations, so you could start a food drive, or maybe there are abused, neglected and abandoned animals that need a second chance at a happy home and some form of animal sheltering is needed, or maybe there are homeless or hungry people in your community who need a hand up. The point is, life holds many voids, many areas of lack that can be filled either through a business or charitable activities. Granted, you might not up end saving the world, and your work might be small in size, but just think, if you got a lot of people offering a little bit of help, that sure can add up over time. If you are a charity and you need $1,000, it is sometimes a lot easier to get 100 people to donate $10 each than it is to get one person to donate $1,000. “Never underestimate the power of “small”.   Little and often make much.

3) Just Because You Can’t Blow Bubbles, Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be That Way Forever
When Patrick discovered he couldn’t blow bubbles, he was willing to learn how and took lessons from SpongeBob.   Just because we find that we can’t perform a certain task at all or as well as we would like, it doesn’t mean that it has to be that way forever.    We have the options of finding ways to improve our skills–we can read a book, watch a video,  or even take lessons like Patrick did.

4) Solution Oriented
SpongeBob was solution oriented in his outlook. When he discovered that some were not able to blow great bubbles, he didn’t simply throw up his hands and shrug his shoulders and say, “well, that’s the way it goes” and then went on about his business. No, indeed, he realized he had a skill to offer and was willing to teach others how to blow great bubbles. He saw a “negative” situation (people who wanted to blow bubbles, but lacked the skill) and he was able to offer up a solution to their problem.  Solutions don’t always have to be complicated and convoluted.  Sometimes simple is the best way to proceed.

MuscleBob BuffPants (Season 1; Episode 11)

MuscleBob BuffPants Ok, so it’s safe to say that SpongeBob is never going to be a world class weight lifter, but when he tries to follow Sandy’s exercise routine and his arms keep falling off…something has to be done. Watching TV, he sees an ad for “Anchor Arms”, inflatable rubber arms that fit over your own  like gloves and by adding air, they grow to incredible sizes, like, “normal, meaty and hairy for the ladies”. SpongeBob immediately orders a pair and when they arrive he can hardly wait to try them out. When folks see him they are amazed at the changes and Sandy invites him to take part in an anchor toss. Of course, you know that things aren’t going to go well for our little sponge, when it comes time for him to toss his anchor, the air in his arms begin to inflate different parts of his body..his teeth, his eyes, his butt, well you get the picture, till finally the pressure becomes to much and they explode.

Let’s look at some of the lessons that this episode teaches me.

1) Be Proud of Who You Are
This is a valuable reminder for us all to be proud of who we really are and to do our very best according to our true abilities. Each one of us is unique (just like everyone else, eh) and as such we need to find our true “strength” in the basis of our uniqueness. There is a saying that goes, “spend your time being a first rate you, and not a second rate someone else” and this seems to fit so well here.

2) No Easy Way To Reach A Goal
There is simply no easy way to reach a goal. Sandy and Larry the Lobster are able to lift and toss heavy anchors, because they have exercised and strengthened their bodies. There is no quick way to get physically strong like Sandy or Larry, that is something that takes time, eating right and exercising.

Any goal that we have in life requires real effort; most of the things we want are not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. If we want a new car, a different job, a bigger bank account, a new house, or whatever, it requires thought, planning, effort, research, etc. There are no quick fixes in life, accomplishing a goal takes time.

3) What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
In this case, Anchor Arms promised SpongeBob that he would look big and strong, and he certainly did at that, but when he tried to participate in the anchor tossing contest he simply couldn’t do it. Those big fake muscles did absolutely nothing in helping him have the strength necessary to accomplish his goal. In the end, they were simply filled with nothing but hot air. People, politicians, civic leaders, companies, our friends, and even family members can tell us things that sound really good, but on closer examination we discover they are lies. The concept of Anchor Arms, with it’s huge muscles, made it appear on the outside that SpongeBob would have tremendous strength, but when he really needed to use them to lift the anchors, he couldn’t do it. Appearances can be deceiving.

4) Misplaced Confidence
SpongeBob at first realized that his Anchor Arms were simply full of hot air and he didn’t want to participate in the anchor toss. But, there came a point, when he was in front of the crowd getting ready to take his turn, the he actually believed that if he inflated the arms to their maximum size, that he could pick up the anchor and throw it the way Sandy and Larry did during their turns. Of course, it didn’t end well for our favorite little sponge. Unfortunately, SpongeBob’s confidence was misplaced, as his arms exploded under the strain of trying to lift such a heavy item. That happens in life, too, at times we can be very aware that a thing (even a person, sadly) is not worthy of our confidence, but yet we want to think the best, we want to be proven wrong in our assumptions. Happily sometimes we are pleasantly surprised and other times…not.

5) Lying Can Get You Into Situations You Don’t Want To Be In
When Sandy saw how huge SpongeBob’s muscles were, she was so impressed that she signed him up for the anchor toss, even though he didn’t really want to take part. If he had been honest with Sandy from the start, he wouldn’t have had to humiliate himself in front of all of those people when his arms simply exploded.  But, of course, we wouldn’t have had such a fun episodes to watch.  🙂

6) Giving Our Best Effort
Even though SpongeBob knew deep down inside that his arms were just for show and offered no real improvement in his physical strength, when faced with taking his turn to toss the anchor, he decided that he would give it his best effort.

© 2016 Glory Miller


Fun Reads From My Childhood: Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators

three investigators haunted mirrorSome time ago, while gawking at a yard sale, I found several Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigator books. For a time during my childhood, I was into reading series books like Nancy Drew and one of my all time favorites, Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators.

The books I got at the sale are paperbacks released through Scholastic and I got them just so I could read them again. When I bought my copies years ago as a kid, I got them at my local bookstore and they were hard backs then.  But, anyway, these little church finds were so much fun to read again. It was so cool to connect again to Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews and Pete Crenshaw. Three teenage boys (probably about 13 or 14, I don’t think the books ever really gave an age for them) who had opened a private detective business in Rocky Beach, California. What I loved as a kid was that many of the titles of the books had a spooky or supernatural tone, titles like: The Mystery of the Talking Skull, The Mystery of the Green Ghost, The Secret of the Haunted Mirror to just name a few. I also loved the fact that the headquarters for the three was an old beat up trailer that sat in the Jones Salvage yard. It had been hidden behind lots of junk and Jupiter’s uncle had forgotten that it existed. To get into the trailer, secret tunnel entrances were used. I thought that was so cool back when I was a kid. (And to be honest, here I am an adult and I STILL think that’s cool!)

Robert Arthur Jr. created the characters back in 1964 and had a great idea in getting permission to use the name of Alfred Hitchcock. He believed that attaching a famous name to the books would attract attention and get folks interested in reading them, and he was right. Hitchcock had nothing to do with the stories and the introductions that were attributed to him were actually written by the authors. Hitchcock did have veto power of the cover art, I suppose he wanted to make sure that the images used, since the books did bear his name and likeness, were tasteful. I don’t know if he ever had to use that veto power or not.

Anyway, 11 of the books  were written by Arthur himself. All told, there are 43 stories in this series. There was to be a 44th, but that was either not finished or simply not published. Eventually, Hitchcock passed away and from what I had read some time back (and it might not be accurate), the estate of Hitchcock simply wanted too much money to use his name and likeness, so eventually the series simply became The Three Investigators. A new person in the guise of Hector Sebastian would do the introduction.

There are lots of websites that have much more detailed information about the series, the authors and more. So, I don’t really need to go into any kind of detail here.

You would have thought that the books which have been so popular for so long would have seen at least a few adaptions for television at least.  A few years ago, in Austria,  The Three Investigators did make it to the small screen when The Secret of Skeleton Island was released and in 2009 The Secret of Terror Castle was filmed.  These two films did adopt some of the story lines from the books, but also made some significant changes, too.  I do remember seeing, at least parts of one of the movies on Nickelodeon or Boomerang?  I don’t think the films were that successful and from what I have read and most folks who are fans of the books and who have watched the movies say they stray too much from the books. I wonder why studios do that, take a popular series of books or a popular TV show, turn  them into a movie and then go about changing the characters and back story so much that they no longer resemble the much loved and successful books or TV show.  And, then what is amusing, is that they have no idea why the movie tanks at the box office or in the ratings and gets really bad reviews?  Oh well, that is life, eh?  🙂

© 2016 Glory Miller

Richie Rich Vaults of Mystery Comic Books

Richie Rich Vaults of MysteryI recently was going through a box of my old comic books that I have had since I was a kid.  Mixed in among issues of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Ghost Rider, Superman, The Green Lantern and other popular comics of the day, I found some old Richie Rich issues.

Now, I will admit that there was a period of time when I was really into Richie Rich but for the life of me, as I look at the majority of these comics, I have no clue what it was about him that I found so appealing at that time.  I can actually remember buying these issues at my local Giant grocery store.   The story lines in most of the Rich comics weren’t all that exciting and in reality were pretty bland and boring, at least to me now as I glance through them.

There is one issue that I know exactly why I purchased it, it was an issue in the Vaults of Mystery franchise. It has a really cool title The Seance at Spectro Castle and of course as you can guess, it had a spooky house and ghosts.  I was hooked as at the time I was reading spooky stories written by authors like John Bellairs, Richard Peck, Scott Corbett and more, but hey these guys are material for a later posting, I’m sure.

Richie Rich The Vaults of Mystery began in November 1974 and lasted until September 1982 with a total of 47 issues.  At the time I bought the VOM issue,  I didn’t know that it was part of an ongoing series and indeed just found this out when I decided to do a little bit of research into this lone issue I have in my collection.  I am sure if I had been aware of the other issues, I would have been trying to get copies for my collection as some of the titles do sound really cool.

I did manage to create a list of all of the titles from the Vaults of Mystery series and I guess I will publish it here as a courtesy to anyone else out there who has an interest in this series.

Richie Rich Vaults of Mystery Title Listing

(01) The Statue Cast A Curse Upon The Riches… That Couldn’t Be Destroyed! (November 1974)
(02) The Frankenstein Gang (January 1975)
(03) The Golden Caller (March 1975)
(04) The World of Germs (May 1975)
(05) The Condor’s Castle (July 1975)
(06) Ghost of Rich Castle (September 1975)
(07) Atoman (November 1975)
(08) The Mystery of Trebor (January 1976)
(09) The Mystery of the Googol (March 1976)
(10) The Voodoo Meanace (May 1976)
(11) The Power of the Youth Maker Can Make Babies of Us All (July 1976)
(12) The Mini Mansion Caper ( September 1976)
(13) The Seance at Spectro Castle (November 1976)
(14) The Fantastic Weapon (January 1977)
(15) Lord Kookley’s Castle (March 1977)
(16) The Land of Shirik (1977 May)
(17) The Great Museum Robbery ( July 1977)
(18) The Man in the Iron Vault (September 1977)
(19) Pirate Ship (November 1977)
(20) Convac (January 1978)
(21) Intruder ( March 1978)
(22) The Haunted Room ( May 1978)
(23) Lightning Robberies (July 1978)
(24) The Moon is Stolen (September 1978)
(25) The Lava Monsters ( November 1978)
(26) Greymoor Castle (1979)
(27) No Lights!  (March 1979) (Not certain of the title for this issue)
(28) The Hot and Cold Running Man (1979)
(29) The Rich Mansion Invaded By Ghosts (July 1979)
(30) Where’s Everybody (September 1979)
(31) Far Far World (November 1979)
(32) The Toy Factory Was a Destroy Factory (January 1980)
(33) The Good Old Days (April 1980)
(34) The Great Game (June 1980)
(35) Turnabout (August 1980)
(36) Money Bugs (October 1980)
(37) The Golden Wizard of El Dorado (December 1980)
(38) The Haunted Fortune (February 1981)
(39) The Big Crime Wave (April 1981)
(40) Four Doored Vault (June 1981)
(41) The Black Light ( August 1981)
(42) The Incredible Shrinking Rich Kid (October 1981)
(43) The Dream Machine (December 1981)
(44) Back in the Stone Age (February 1982)
(45) The World’s Worst Weather (April 1982)
(46) The Vanishing Mystery (July 1982)
(47) Our Millions Are Missing (September 1982)

Well, there you have it, a listing of the Vaults of Mystery Comic books for Richie Rich.

© 2016 Glory Miller

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters and Writing Letters

Hunt Sisters_Robinson_ElisabethSome time back, I read The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson.  Yes, it is true that the book has been published since around 2004, I am just really slow at getting my hands on books I guess.

Anyway, the book is based on a true story and is told using the epistolary style of writing, which simply means that it is written in form of letters and emails. It is the story of two sisters, Olivia and Maddie and how these two are so different in terms of wants, life circumstances and so on. Olivia is single woman, independent, a real go getter, and she works as a Hollywood producer. Maddie on the other hand is happily married and soon to become a mother for the first time. Sadly, tragedy strikes when Maddie is diagnosed with leukemia.

Olivia writes letters and emails to family and friends as she describes her job, her goals, her failures, and her childhood memories of her sister. Her letters also reveal how she feels utterly helpless, filled with anger and totally bewildered over her sister’s illness, which seem to be rather natural emotions to be experiencing under the circumstances.

While the book is a good read, sad in many parts, hilarious in a few others, it’s not so much the storyline that brings me to this post, but instead the idea of letter writing. I am not talking about emails, but real, “hold the pen or pencil in your hand, written on paper kind of letters” and then of course putting them in an envelope, addressing and stamping it and sending it off into the post, where hopefully within a few days, it will be delivered to its intended destination.

When I was a kid, during summer vacations, I remember how in order to stay in touch with my friends, we would exchange letters. This was years and years before text messaging and email when a person had to use pen and paper. Of course, we could have phoned each other, and I am not totally certain as to why we spent more time writing letters than talking on the phone, perhaps it was a parental thing, and not being allowed to use the phone, I really don’t remember.

I always looked forward to getting mail, especially from my friends. There was something very exciting to see your name and address printed on the envelope. I don’t know how it is in today’s world, whether kids find themselves getting unsolicited mail through the post or not. But, back in my childhood days, it wasn’t very common, or at least for me.

After getting the letter and reading all the wonderful information it contained, then came the task of writing the reply. I wish I had kept all my letters from childhood. How fun it would be to read again all those cool letters and to see bits of time stopped forever on the page. I admit that as I grew older, friendships changed and as I went into adulthood, I lost contact with my friends from school. That seems to be the way of the world, we change and go in different directions. That doesn’t mean our friends were bad people, it simply means they changed, too. But, that isn’t to say that one will never meet them again a little further down the line. Life can be unpredictable that way.

Back when I was dating my husband, he would send me letters. Now, computers had been invented and so had the internet, but neither of us had gotten into the computer scene, so good old standby of pen and paper did the trick. I do have a few of those letters he sent me, and it is very nice to sit back and relive those precious feelings and thoughts that come to a person when their relationship is in its infancy stage.

Now back the book, one thing that I really liked about it is at the end of it, Robinson writes some personal commentary of her own. I especially liked this: My sister’s letters are in a box under my bed, and from time to time I reread them, mostly just to see her handwriting on the girly pink stationery or the fringed lined paper ripped from a spiral notebook.  The part I really relate to in that statement is the to see her handwriting,  as you have probably gathered, her sister died and those letters from her became very special keepsakes, not just because her sisters wrote those letters, but they act as a connection to her even though she is no longer here.   In 1976 my grandmother passed away. But, before she did, she purchased an album by Judy Collins Whales and Nightingales for one song specifically, “Amazing Grace”, as she loved Judy’s version.  What makes this album so special to me is that on the front cover she had written some things in ink.  Now, here it is, well over thirty years since her passing and I can see her handwriting. I can run my fingers over the ink and feel the pressure point from the pen and I know she wrote this. I know she held that album in her hands.  It is, in a sense, a piece of her.  That little bit of writing on that album says to the world “hey, I was here”.    I guess that is why so many people are into collecting autographs (not just for the investment aspect). That signature is proof of that person’s existence.  It is a way for us, a member of the lowly unwashed masses, to connect with someone we hold in high esteem for whatever reason.

I wonder if anyone, besides me, is longing for the days when we actually received hand written letters?  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that technology allows me to write an email, hit the send button and within seconds it is waiting in my friend’s in box who is minutes or miles away.  I think that is awesome!  But, there is also something to be said for receiving a snail mail letter, too.  I am at the age now when I think those kinds of letters are awesome! I guess a person can take heart, the greeting card industry seems to be alive and well, people still seem to enjoy sending cards and maybe enclosed is a few words written on the inside.  I suppose that is better than nothing, eh?  I am hoping, though, that more people begin to miss writing letters with pen on paper and will take up that old “art” and keep it alive and well.   Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways and maybe letter writing will make a comeback.  I sure hope so.

© 2015 Glory Miller