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20 January 2014

Lalaurie Haunted Mansion

In the French Quarter of New Orleans there is an ordinary looking house, but a closer look at the hidden past of the property reveals a more complicated history- tales of secret attics and murder..

It’s all true in the haunted Lalaurie House.

The dark history of the Lalaurie House began in 1832 when wealthy doctor Louis Lalaurie and his wife Delphine moved into the mansion. The family was one of prominent standing in the community at that time- they were socialites and and threw lavish parties for their neighbors.

Despite the appearance of their charming lifestyle, whispers of more sinister things spread through the slave class. It seemed there was an extremely high turnover with the house slaves- not only did the Lalauries frequently purchase new slaves, but no one ever seemed to figure out what happened to the old ones. Until, that is, a fire broke out in the Lalaurie kitchen.

Some say it was a slave that started it in hopes to bring law enforcement into the house to investigate, but when authorities did show up, they discovered a secret attic with a grisly scene. Many of the former slaves who were thought to have disappeared were still within the house, in cages or attached to chains. All were disfigured and mutilated beyond recognition, tortured beyond belief. Many had died and their body parts were strewn around the room. 

The town immediately gathered as an angry mob in order to arrest the couple, but the Lalauries barely escaped them by carriage, never to be seen or heard from again. It was then understood from multiple slave accounts that Delphine had been the mastermind behind the torture chamber, and her husband simply turned a blind eye to her horrendous experiments. 

The LaLaurie house has had many incarnations before returning to its purpose as a residence. It was a saloon and a girl's school, a music conservatory, an apartment building and a furniture store. The stories began almost immediately. Many have reported seeing the phantom of that young slave girl fleeing across the LaLaurie roof. Agonized screams coming from the empty house were commonplace. Those who stayed there after it became occupied left after only a few days. At the turn of the century, a resident, one of the many poor Italian immigrants who lived in the house, encountered a black man in chains. The entity attacked him on the stairwell then suddenly disappeared. The next morning, most of the other residents abandoned the building.

The bar, "The Haunted Saloon," opened in the 20th century. The owner kept records of the odd experiences of his patrons. Later, it seemed the LaLaurie House did not care to be a furniture store. The owner’s merchandise was often found covered in a mysterious foul-smelling fluid. After staying up to catch the suspected vandals, the owner found the liquid had somehow re-appeared in plain sight, although no one had entered. The business closed.

Animals were found butchered within the house. Delphine was reportedly seen hovering over the infant child of a turn-of-the-century resident, or chasing children with a whip. She also apparently attempted, late in the 19th century and long after she was dead, to strangle a black manservant. Today, people just passing the building on tour report fainting or becoming nauseous, and of course, disembodied screams or wailing are still occasionally heard. Some tourists are able to photograph orbs around the roof area.

13 January 2014

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?" - About the Mad Hatter and my new writing desk!

As soon as I realised that the English word for what my boyfriend handcrafted me for Christmas was "writing desk" I couldn't help but think about the Alice In Wonderland quote, when the Mad Hatter asks her: "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?".
I actually never thought too much about it because for me it was an obvious non-sense question, typical of Lewis Carroll (author of the Alice in Wonderland adventures) way of writing but out of pure curiosity (there's a bit of Alice in all of us after all ihih) I decided to check on the internet if I could find something about this sentence, if it had a subtle meaning for example. After a few clicks I found myself on the Wikipedia page of the Mad Hatter character and while reading I discovered some interesting fact about him too. For example, why are him and the March Hare always having tea?

The Hatter explains to Alice that he and the March Hare are always having tea because, when he tried to sing for the Queen of Hearts at her celebration, she sentenced him to death for "murdering the time," but he escapes decapitation. In retaliation, Time (referred to as a "Him") halts himself in respect to the Hatter, keeping him and the March Hare stuck at 6:00 forever. The tea party, when Alice arrives, is characterised by switching places on the table at any given time, making short, personal remarks, asking unanswerable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry, all of which eventually drive Alice away.

I also discovered that the name "Mad Hatter" was clearly inspired by the phrase "as mad as a hatter". Mercury was used in the process of curing felt used in some hats, making it impossible for hatters to avoid inhaling the mercury fumes given off during the hat making process; hatters and mill workers thus often suffered mad hatter disease, mercury poisoning causing neurological damage including confused speech and distorted vision.

Hat making was the main trade in Stockport, near where Carroll grew up, and it was not unusual then for hatters to appear disturbed or confused; many died early as a result of mercury poisoning. However, the Hatter does not exhibit the symptoms of mercury poisoning, which include "excessive timidity, diffidence, increasing shyness, loss of self-confidence, anxiety, and a desire to remain unobserved and unobtrusive." The Hatter and the March Hare are initially referred to as "both mad" by the Cheshire Cat.

Back to the riddle, it appears in the chapter "A Mad Tea Party". The Hatter asks the much-noted riddle and when Alice gives up, the Hatter admits: "I haven't the slightest idea." 
Lewis Carroll originally intended the riddle to be without an answer; but after many requests from readers, he and others — including puzzle expert Sam Loyd — suggested possible answers! 
In his preface to the 1896 edition, Carroll wrote:

Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer: "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is nevar* put with the wrong end in front!" This, however, is merely an afterthought; the riddle as originally invented had no answer at all.

*Note that "nevar" is "raven" spelled "with the wrong end in front" (that is, backwards).

Loyd proposed a number of alternative solutions to the riddle, including "Because Poe wrote on both" and "Because the notes for which they are noted are not noted for being musical notes." 

I personally love Loyd's "Because Poe wrote on both" being I a deep fan of Mr Edgar.

BUT, back to my writing desk! Here are the pictures:

Isn't it gorgeous? :D My boyfriend made it for me out of a bare piece of wood and I'm so proud of him. This is officially the best gift ever received! Surely one of a kind and done with so much love. He didn't have all the appropriate tools to make it but with his genius and creativity he managed to make it anyway..in 3 days only by the way!! :P

09 January 2014

LondonEdge show 2014

The logo for London Edge which takes place at Olympia National event and exhibition venue in London.

LondonEdge is the biggest and best show of its kind, dedicated to the alternative creative side of the world. A space for the most creative and niche brands out there, from rock n roll to burlesque, to the darker side of goth.  Hosted at the London Olympia from 2nd to 4th February 2014, LondonEdge is proud to present the 29th edition of show after 14 years of activity and which also sees the return of the much celebrated LondonEdge Fashion Show!

"Catering to a group of the most creative and exciting niches in apparel, footwear and accessories, LondonEdge is the only show worldwide dedicated to this very specific sector of the fashion industry, welcoming in a host of left centre, daring and statement brands, exhibitors, media and visitors.

Dominating the trade show scene for 14 years, the show is split into two notional areas, Original and Fashion.  LondonEdge Original represents over 200 hard-edged, punk, rock, goth and tattoo inspired brands where as LondonEdge Fashion houses over 150 rock n roll, vintage, retro, pin up, burlesque and rockabilly collections.  With both areas heaving with clothing, accessories, footwear and beauty brands, there truly is something for everyone.

Alongside the ever-popular themed areas, lounges and complimentary hairstyling stands, this February 2014 LondonEdge is pleased to announce the return of their entertainment acme, the LondonEdge Fashion Show.

Absent for the past two seasons and back by popular demand, attendees will be treated to two different fashion shows, each showing twice a day on the centre stage and no doubt pulling in crowds of exhibitors, buyers and visitors alike.

Excitement is already building that the highlight of the LondonEdge entertainment menu is back with more & bigger brands than ever! Representing the vintage, retro and kitsch  styles at LondonEdge are renowned brands Bettie Page, Hell Bunny, Voodoo Vixen and Purplish London. On behalf of the edgier LondonEdge, there is plenty of alternative, dark and gothic apparel and accessories on offer including Spin Doctor, Queen of Darkness, Kreepsville 666, Jaw Breaker and Phaze.

Catering to all, Banned Apparel, Dead Threads, Echo3 and Iron Fist are also on the list for this one off show and will indeed prove eye catching during the performance and on the trade show floor.

Entertainment aside, this unique global show is dedicated to short order merchandise, with  an excellent reputation for attracting a high percentage of overseas buyers and for onsite order-writing.

The rock n roll, cool and kooky styles of the exhibitors is met year after year with an exciting buzz and positive atmosphere and with this host of eclectic brands on the catwalk, lively and enticing music and professionally chorographic performances this season will be no exception! More news to follow.

When: Feb 2nd – 4th 2014
Where: The National Hall, Olympia, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX

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