Flute Club

More flute at Double Trouble State Park. Site of an old sawmill and cranberry bog operation. Years ago, my family had their post and beams cut here for our living room by kids who were in a juvenile detention program, teaching them a trade for when they are released. The area got its name because when they had set up the mill, a beaver blocked damned up the river not once, but twice. Been coming here since I was a teenager, but within the last two years, I come here twice a week to play the flute to those people hiking through. Mark and his wife are some regulars.

Flute Club

I have been running through these woods since I was 5. This moraine leads back to a rivulet running between two ponds, separated by a bridge and the ruins of a pump house. On this raised area are some Bull Pines surrounded by a circle of forked top Pitch Pines; some local Lenni Lenape landscape. By the age of the pines, this might be one of the oldest Native lots in the area. After the Natives, or during their time here, General Lacy’s workers would ply these waters for a bacteria that grows under the peat in the pond, which would make iron. If you see an oil slick on the water, there is iron below. Along the river leaving the second pond, there are wooden railings in the dirt the bog workers could stand on, harvesting the bog iron. The river leads to the third pond where you can still see the impression in the hill where their forge was, and the beach is littered with iron. Well, anyway, enjoy the flute! A mixture of Japanese Zen flute with Native American stylings that put emphasis on the quality of silence, its length, and contrasting approaches on how the silence is broken connote the style. Very relaxing and tranquil.

Looking Up

I grew up next to an old abandoned nudist colony called Nature’s Rest founded by the friends of the guy who ran NYC’s garbage industry for the Italian mob at the turn of the last century, but that is not the interesting part of this post. Before, the poultry farm, the brickwork and its cable cars, and General Lacy’s (who hid General Howe on his lot after his refusal to go north to Saratoga during the Revolutionary War) bog iron industry, and the nudist colony there was a Native American community. What remains is their bonsai forest.
In the Pitch Pines of NJ, we have very flexible trees. Near the headwaters, the native Lenni Lenape would create their burial grounds. Much like ours today, with some wonderful landscaping.
One of the landscape designs was to bend trees at 90-degree angles for decoration and to serve as trail markers. The picture below is of one of them. You can tell it is not natural, for when you look above the trunk at the bend, you will see where the original top of the trunk was cut off.
Other landscape designs would have circles of various species of trees in which they forked the tops to look like antlers. Usually, next to them, they would also have trees shaped to look like lightning bolts. Another feature of these gardens was to bend them while they are young and let them spray out like giant spreading junipers. There will also be one or two bull pines, which they would lean at 45-degree angles.
Now, where I grew up playing in, this old nudist colony was actually one of their cemeteries. In the area, the Boy Scouts would pitch their tents are about thirty circular depressions in the ground where many of the natives were buried. Also, where the burned-out farmhouse was and by the old apple trees is still a large open field with circular indentations. Once you disturb the ground in the pines, it never comes back. In this cemetery and the other one on the other side of the neighborhood by the pond that disappears and comes back, lichen grows in the open spaces they cleared centuries ago. Another feature of their landscaping is mountain Laurel hedges. Also, they had plentiful wintergreen patches next to the scrub oak they cultivated for the acorns. The blueberries, well, they are just everywhere.
Now, between the two native cemeteries, was their neighborhood. Each lot had a circle of forked trees on both sides, with oaks in the center. Each had about an acre.
Now the secret to this is when things might strike you down thinking that life is a bitch, keep looking up. You will be amazed at what you find. Plus, if you are looking up, you are not looking down into the grave or up from one…
It is also better to think of the people who lived in your neighborhood before you who had good or average lives, rather than a couple of nudists who owned property with the mobster that dropped murder victims into the mineral quarries next to where the Hindenburg blew up.
Like visiting, your grandparents, it is better to focus on the living and happiness they once spread through the world. Not of the tragedies that once befell an area, even if they sound cool and made documentaries about them (Oh, the Humanity!). So learning from that, I walk with the spirits of the Lenni Lenape that once went through my woods and no longer feel the presence of the nude mobster who would drive through town with his rat rod with the devil hick hood ornament thumbing his nose to the Pineys.
Looking for the Lenni Lenape’s ornamental trees is much more fun now, but I still look for the bog iron that General Lacy’s men have left behind too by the edge of the ponds…

New Arkham: Tales from the Flipside

This is Professor Wilmarth and your friendly neighborhood Cthulhu welcoming you to another journey within the world of the macabre and the strange. In this season’s issue, we have several tales of aliens, strange houses, killer turtles, and the end of the world.

  We begin with Henry traveling back to Cromwellian England to face an evil that has spread out through American history…Next Hilton brings us a forboding home in The House Jack Built. Then Martin Pearson gives us a tale of a private dick looking for an alien embassy in New York City. In Deschenes’ LGBTQs, we learn it’s not nice to fool with mother nature or men in 5-inch heels. Followed by Simak’s Worry Wort in which a copyreader follows the course of a young lad’s power to shift the events of the world to a naive Utopia, which might be the end of everything. Herbert then brings us to a deal too good to be true when a young couple gets to trade their mobile home for a palace. Last we have Stuart bringing us into a deep freeze in Who Goes There?; a tale of an alien invasion that wins one cell at a time.   

   Some stories touch on historical facts and others you will hope are just pure fiction. Let’s see if you can figure out all the connections between the tales. Who knows, you might even find more than I reveal at the end of our installment from Arkham: Tales from the Flipside.

  Well, Cthulhu is hungry, don’t mind if he starts nibbling on your toes as you begin to read, don’t worry, the world will be over before he eats anything important.

Part Two to Lost Taira: What a Boar!

Read the latest installment from The Sinclair Narratives, the sequel to the Lost Tiara where Henry and Bjorn fought back Rasputin, Crane, and Jp Morgan II on the eve of WWII as the bird flu was spreading throughout the world after Crane robbed a magical and deadly tiara from the recently executed royal family of Russia. In What a Boar! Henry and Bjorn who has reached far beyond his 80th birthday (and his bones are creaking and he doesn’t like it) go on a boar hunt…

Normally Bjorn reaches 80, has a bar fight, walks out after everyone is unconscious, and dies the next day. This time it didn’t work out; he was rubbed by a magical boar back in 1918 in the Pines of NJ that was infected by the flu and now during the SARS2 epidemic a hundred years later as the Russians are getting revenge for toppling their Russian Provisional Government, Bjorn goes hunting for that magical pig of resurrection with Henry. For when the boar that infected him dies, so will Bjorn!

Read the latest from The Sinclair Narratives from Arkham: Tales from the Flipside!

The Latest from “The Sinclair Narratives”

A Strange Literary Twist…

Henry, everyone’s favorite immortal (just ignore that other Scotsman…), encounters the strangest visitor to Greenlawn Cemetery within the Witch City.  This encounter brings him on a journey to find a long lost rare novel featuring Dupin, the world’s first detective. Follow Henry as he tries to remember the plot of a book he lost on a train years ago. A plot detailing the most famous murder within the ivy halls of Harvard University. Filled with twists and turns so original, it might have created a new modulation on the murder mystery.

Give it a read today!

The Latest from Arkham: Tales from the Flipside

The Fall Issue is here!

This is Professor Wilmarth and your friendly neighborhood Cthulhu welcoming you to another journey within the world of the macabre and the strange. In this season’s issue, we have several tales of ravens, cuckoos, and aliens; maybe you will think of me cuckoo for mentioning aliens…

This season Henry meets someone sitting inside the Greenlawn Cemetery, which is stranger than any ghost, who starts their journey looking for a long lost book by Edgar Allan Poe detailing an infamous murder within the ivy halls of Harvard. Then we learn from Philip K. Dick that some gifts for your wife can prove deadly. Then James Stammers teaches us that gifts for your girlfriend can become just as troublesome. Then in Deschenes’ tale, we learn the best-boxed gifts are the ones you find for yourself. Simak then explains to us that for some rare aliens sorrow is the best gift you can offer. Poe teaches us what happens when your most precious gift is removed from your life.

Some stories touch on historical facts and others you will hope are just pure fiction. Let’s see if you can figure out all the connections between the tales. Who knows, you might even find more than I reveal at the end of our installment from Arkham: Tales from the Flipside. Well, I’m off to feed the ravens in the cemetery. I do hope they eat all of the bodies before I get a ticket for littering. Do you mind if I leave Cthulu here to dine on your toes?

Check it out now!

Abandoned Harrisville Paper Mill

There are plenty of places to travel to within the NJ Pines. Hours and weeks of driving can be found under these stumpy little trees. Many abandoned properties scatter the woods when it was once an industrial center. Beyond the iron forges that supplied our Colonial, Revolutionary, and Civil Wars; amidst many complaints from the local Quakers, the Pines gave birth to the first Mason jar, the first winery in the country, and many resorts for the wealthy and early Hollywood stories before the talkies came about. Many towns came and went during these times, one of which was Harrisville.

Around 1795 the area saw a couple of forges, a sawmill, and a grist mill established. Isacc Potts was one of the earlier owners. The McCarthy family would buy it later and eventually the Harris family. Last was Wharton in which the local state forest is named after. From 1795 to the 1914 fire it had seen multiple uses.

For more info please read this site. Below are some of the images from my trip there with Bear.

 

Here are the directions: