The historic LeBeau plantation in Old Arabi, Louisiana has fallen victim to arson. Headlines are claiming that the arsonist were inside the property searching for ghosts. Further details indicate that the arson was due to a group of drunken party boys trying to be ghost hunters and not an established paranormal group.
Firefighters responded to the call outside of New Orleans just after 2 am on Friday, November 22. On arrival, they discovered the 159 year old mansion completely engulfed by flames.
"When I received the call from fire communications, I live in Chalmette, I looked out my window and I could see the whole sky lit up." stated Thomas Stone, Fire Chief of St. Bernard Parish.
It quickly became clear to officials that arson was likely to blame for the fire. Officers later arrested seven men between the ages of 17 and 31. Several are from Texas and the others from Louisiana.
Col. John Doran of the Sheriff's department oversaw the arrest of the men:
"They had been looking for ghosts, trying to summon spirits, beating on the floors."
Col. Doran said the men became frustrated when the spirits of the home failed to appear. The suspects were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana while in the house. In their aggravation, the men decided to burn the house down. The apparent ringleader of the group is Dusten Davenport, 31, of Fort Worth, TX. Police believe it was Davenport's idea to start the fire and that he stacked pieces of wood to ignite the blaze.
Designed by Francois Barthelemy LeBeau, the home was completed in 1854. It was once the largest plantation south of New Orleans with sixteen rooms, an attic and an octagonal cupola from which both the Mississippi river and the city of New Orleans could be viewed.
The mansion changed ownership numerous times over the years but continued to be referred to as the LeBeau home. It served as a hotel for a time, then in the 1940s, as an illegal casino.
The plantation had a long history of ghost stories. Reports of strange lights, apparitions and bloodcurdling screams were common over the years. The most reported ghost associated with the mansion was the spirit of a woman in a white dress reported walking on the upstairs porch.
There were plans in recent years to restore the home but its age and disrepair made it a huge undertaking. Jimmy Delery of St. Bernard reflected what many Parish residents felt:
"To me it wasn't a loss of a building; it was like a family member,"
A cougar has been shot and killed in Illinois. The animal was killed by a wildlife official and is reported to be between five and a half feet to six feet in length with a weight of over a hundred pounds.
Officials with the Illinois Conservation Police responded to a call at a Whiteside County farm on November 20th. On arrival, officers were told that a cougar had been spotted in a corn field running towards the home and outbuildings of the farm’s owner. Searching for the animal, officers found it in a concrete tunnel under a corn crib and, at the request of the farm owner, shot and killed the animal. The body has been turned over to wildlife biologists to examine.
Wildlife officials in most eastern states claim that the cougar or, mountain lion, as it is also known is mostly extinct east of the Mississippi. Apparently, all of the cougars haven’t gotten the memo because there continue to be reports of the big cats in the east.
Recently three cougars were seen outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Just prior to those sightings, a cougar was reported in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There have also been other reported sightings in Virginia, Massachusetts and New York.
People living in Midwestern states have been reporting the cats for years. Despite the ‘official’ status of the animal, many people, from hunters to housewives, have reported seeing the big cats.
Illinois has had numerous reports over the last ten years. State officials tend to dismiss the accounts and affirm that there is no breeding population of cougars in the state. They cannot however, deny that a number of the animals have been killed. A large male was killed by a train in Randolph County in 2002. A hunter killed another male in 2004 in Mercer County and in 2008 a male was shot and killed when it was spotted wandering around the north side of Chicago. The animal killed this month in Whiteside County makes the fourth ‘official’ cougar found in the state in recent years.
According to the “Living with Wildlife in Illinois” website:
“Mountain lions were extirpated from Illinois before 1870 and are not protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code. There is no evidence that a resident breeding population of mountain lions exists in Illinois at this time. Dispersing mountain lions are possible in Illinois.”
Illinois state wildlife officials believe that the occasional cougar travels in from South Dakota. Apparently no one in Iowa noticed them wandering through.
There are an estimated 30,000 cougars in the United States. They are mostly found in the mountainous western states. They are solitary hunters and prefer dense woods and hills as opposed to open ranges. Cougars are very territorial and each cat requires its own range to hunt, this in part, keeps the animal’s numbers on the low end.
This week I’m back on Dreamland
with Whitley Strieber to discuss my latest book, Strange Intruders.
From the Unknown Country
Dreamland: The Growing Presence from Another Dimension
“Last year, David Weatherly caused a sensation on Dreamland with
his tales of the Black-Eyed Children. The program remains one of the most
popular we have ever produced, and now David's back with groundbreaking
research into some of the most perplexing cases of interdimensional beings on
record, including the return of the Mothman and much more.”
of people are now involved with “ghost hunting” as a hobby.They prowl purported haunted locations with
recorders and cameras in hand, hoping to catch evidence of spirits.But how many actually understand exactly what
they may be dealing with and what they may take away from their encounters?
“In any given day our
brains process over 70,000 thoughts, thoughts that lead to actions.What if something could interfere with that
delicate process?Let’s consider there
are things out there beyond our unaided abilities of sight and hearing that did
and continue to have an influence on our thoughts.”
reads the statement on the back of Barry Fitzgerald’s outstanding book, “The
is no stranger to the paranormal and is most widely recognized for his work on the
popular show “Ghost Hunters International.”
GHI was basically a work of entertainment, Fitzgerald’s work off screen has been
quite serious.He has put in a lot of
time both in the field and delving into serious research.
The Influence, Barry explores various aspects of this negative, invisible energy
and how it many play a role in various types of hauntings, cases of reported
demonic activity and possession and even how this may all relate to mental
illness and violent behavior.Including
cases to illustrate his points, the author makes a clear case that everyone should
consider and, hopefully, bear in mind when dealing with paranormal incidents.
also addresses the effect of poor diet and how it relates to the unseen
energies that surround, and possibly, influence us on a daily basis.
we have become bombarded with food filled with chemicals, additives and
genetically modified components, the health of the average person has
plummeted.But beyond the physical damage,
what have these unnatural foods done to the function of the brain?Additionally, what’s now absent from our
diets that may have further weakened us to the effects of the influence?
information in this book is of great importance to the paranormal field.If you are actively involved in investigating
or even mildly interested in the subject, I suggest you read the influence and
consider the perspective offered.At the
least, the book should prod you to think in a more positive manner and that is
the greatest influence of all.
My recent post on the apparent Black Eyed Kid found in a
scene of Close Encounters of the Third Kind brought forth a flurry of
responses. In short order, several readers contacted me
to identify the artist, a woman whose work I was unfamiliar with.
My friend Red Pill Junkie first sent me an 'unskewed' version of the BEK painting from Close Encounters. Once I searched a database of the artist's work, the image was easy to locate. Here's the image from the film and a shot of the original painting:
It turns out that the painting is from an American artist
named Margaret Keane.Keane was born in
Tennessee in 1927.She is a Jehovah’s
Witness who credits her grandmother with inspiring her artwork and instilling
her with a deep respect for the Bible.
Keane’s paintings were very popular in the 1960s when her
work was sold under the name of her husband, Walter Keane.The couple divorced in the 1980s and the
ownership of the paintings was contested.Margaret challenged her estranged husband to a ‘paint-off’ in court to
prove she was the actual artist.Walter
bowed out citing a bad shoulder and the courts sided with Margaret.
Keane’s work was a part of popular culture in the 60s and
many of Hollywood’s elite owned her paintings.Director Tim Burton has recently announced plans for a movie title “Big Eyes”
based on Keane’s work.
Her paintings typically depict children with large, oversized
eyes that are often black.Her early
works are sad and haunting and the children appear lost and lonely. It's a rather unsettling style. Close examination reveals a sliver of white in the eyes of Keane’s children. Still, it is in a sense, a depiction
of a different type of black eyed child and on an emotional level, people responded.
Perhaps her popularity during the period is what led Spielberg to use one of her paintings on the set of Close Encounters. Still, one must wonder if he had another, more subtle reason. Directors of Spielberg's magnitude rarely doing anything haphazard and usually chose carefully what's included on a set. Perhaps he used the image, combined with the actions of Roy's son during the scene to harken to the presence of aliens just outside the door. Unless someone has a direct line to Spielberg and can ask him, we're not likely to know.
Keane often chose to paint her children standing in doorways or peering through windows. In fact, in my quick scan of dozens of her paintings, all the children seem to be outside, looking over fences standing in alleyways or outside of homes. Perhaps they just want to come inside.
Keane claims that since her divorce and her move to Hawaii that her work has become more lighthearted and she now paints children who are 'crying tears of joy.'
Personally, I wonder exactly how the Bible and her grandmother inspired such odd pieces of work.
When I was doing research for my book, The Black Eyed
Children, I made a point of seeking out cases that predated modern accounts.Brian Bethel's encounter certainly set a precedent
and from it came the current terms we now use for these entities.Accounts prior to the early 90s don't use the
term "BEK" or black eyed kids/children.
Naturally, I considered the modern media influence on the
appearance of the BEKs.By the early
2000s, the effect had been used in film and television.Most notable to those with an interest in the
paranormal was the effect’s use in the X-Files.A ‘black oily alien substance’ was seen invading human bodies and taking
them over.As part of the process, the
victim’s eyes would turn solid black.
Bear in mind, this effect was not in common use at the
time.Since then, it’s seen constantly
in movies and television to represent aliens, demons, vampires and a host of
other supernatural beings.I find it
interesting that solid black eyes are used to such extent in portraying a range
of strange beings but it automatically communicates an evil or negative
presence so filmmakers make full use of it.
Still, people with sharp eyes often send me images that I
was unaware of that relate to the BEKs.Recently, I received one that I found particularly fascinating.It came from Jason Scott who emailed me with
“Were you aware that there is a picture reference of the
Black Eyed Children in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind’?”
My first thought was, no way.Like many people with an interest in UFOs, I
had watched Spielberg’s classic film countless times.Who could forget Richard Dreyfuss building a
mash potato version of Devil’s Tower or the classic theme music?I knew the story inside and out and there certainly
wasn’t a black eyed kid to be found in the film…was there?
Turned out there was.Jason sent a screen shot of the relevant scene.Admittedly, I still wasn’t sure so I got the
film out and went to the scene myself; I had to see it in the actual
movie.I could hardly believe it but, sure
enough, there it was.The image is a painting
hanging on the wall in Roy’s (Richard Dreyfuss) home.Oddly, the image is at an angle and the BEK
in the painting appears to be leaning into the scene.As you can see from the photo and the
enlargement, the painting is clearly a child with oversized black eyes.
Close Encounters came out in 1977.BEKs were hardly a topic on anyone’s mind at
that point so what exactly is the point of this picture?Was there a popular mass produced painting
during the time that depicted such a child?If so, I have yet to locate it.Perhaps
Spielberg put it there as a subtle connection to the grays that would appear by
the end of the film but, if so, even that is a weird coincidence when we
consider the popular alien hybrid theory connected to the children.Watching the scene, I also find it odd that
one of the boys stands behind Roy and leans sideways like a mirror image of the
child in the painting.
Is this all a strange synchronicity or was Spielberg aware
of something in 1977 that only came to light years later.Even if there is a ‘normal’ explanation, it’s
another fascinating connection to the mystery of the black eyed children.
If you'd like to see the relevant section yourself, the scene begins just after the first half hour or so of the movie (depending on the cut you have).