R.I.P. XII Challenge-Late, but Enthused!

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This challenge always trips me up a bit, because it just doesn’t feel like Fall in September around here and I forget R.I.P. starts September 1st. Though a late arrival, I am not less excited to get into reading for ‘scary October.’

This is the 12th year of the R.I.P. Challenge and I love its simplicity: from September 1st through October 31st read books and/or watch movies that scare you! More specifically, choose from these genres–

Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Dark Fantasy
Gothic
Horror

Organized loosely (because they are optional), you can choose different ‘perils’ (categories?) to help you feel part of the Challenge.

Andi at Estella’s Revenge and Heather at My Capricious Life host this, where you can get more information and link your blog-post reviews.

I plan to participate in multiple perils as I will be reading and seeing books, novellas, short stories and films, oh my….
Books, Novellas and Short Stories
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula, Loren D. Estleman
“Carmilla” and “Green Tea,” short stories by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
“The Call of Cthulhu” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” short stories, H.P. Lovecraft
The Italian, Ann Radcliffe

Films
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
The Mothman Prophecies

Apparitions and Invisible Friends

“…Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will suffer much and various nations will be annihilated.” Our Lady of Fatima to the children at the Cova

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Lucia, Francisco, Jacinta

I watched a film on the Fatima apparitions recently called, the 13th Day. The story is about three young sheep herders in Portugal Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, who experience a series of visions on a hillside of a beautiful woman they call, The Lady from Heaven, but who later reveals herself to be the Virgin Mary.

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Watching the miracle of the sun.

At the last appearance and with the crowd topping over 70,000 on the hillside the children ask The Lady for a visible sign so all might believe. The Lady gives a miracle: the sun spins and falls to earth, before pulling back at the last minute. You can read eyewitness accounts here.

Visitations of religious figures are part of many religions. Mary, Jesus, Hindu gurus, saints of all religions, angels and ‘higher beings’ have been appearing to people for millennia. In the rationally technological 21st century, we tend to question manifestations like this. Most are the Scully type and want to find a “logical explanation” for what they see, rather than the Mulder kind, who just “want to believe.” *

I admit I am a Mulder type. While I have not experienced a direct visitation by a well-known religious figure or any other figure for that matter, I have had enough puzzling and not quite normal experiences to make me wonder. I usually feel things rather than see them, but they make enough of an impression on me to acknowledge I am not always alone.

I personally think many of us have these experiences, but we’re not comfortable enough to speak of them in public. Even with the rise of psychic stars such as John Edward, James Van Praagh and Sylvia Browne and the proliferation of paranormal investigative cable tv shows, most of us raise our eyebrows at such visitations and would rather laugh it off to manipulation of emotions than admit to our own belief. Getting back to Fatima, critics and skeptics have given various explanations of the unusual event of the sun, including retinal distortion from sun gazing, psychological manipulation, a dust storm from the Sahara desert and a natural phenomenon called a sun dog.

It is interesting to think that most of us had imaginary friends as children, yet as adults, we expect them to be long gone. Visitations from “the other side” are as old as we are. You’d think humankind would have accepted this as normal or at least plausible by now. What holds us back from believing in our own experiences? Why do some of us try and talk ourselves out of them or come up with excuses as to why our meetings with dead people must be something else? Why can’t we just believe?

* The X-Files. Two F.B.I. agents investigate unexplained incidents. Dana Scully, medical doctor, scientist, logical. Fox Mulder, acts on emotions, wants to believe.