Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day! 
Check out my guest blog post for

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Family Ghosts

A true nocturnal tale of spirits of the past in an
epic dream experience with the present. 
Guest blog post Family Ghosts

published November 7, 2015

Family Ghosts

Insomnia. I’ve had it ever since I was a little girl, and as long as I can remember. 

On rare nights that I fall solidly asleep, snuggled under covers and under the velvet midnight sky, I dream deeply. Drifting into a misty world where images spin in my mind traveling through time, the scenes are often like something out of a sci-fi movie.

One of the most epic, recent recurring dreams is set in black and white, like an old 1920’s silent film. I don’t see myself in the dream, but I feel like I’m there, experiencing it all and viewing it all through my eyes.

I am in a rural area of dusty farmland as far as I can see. There are railroad tracks in the distance. I realize I am standing there alone, looking around, feeling lost. Not knowing which way to go. Walk on the road?  Or walk on the train tracks? How did I get here? Where am I supposed to go? All is silent. Then there are echoing distant whispers, the sound of wind, softly amplifying into a storm. Dust blows and spins in the air. I see a tornado in the distance. It is forming and coming in my direction. 

Instinctively, I spin around, thinking where to run. I notice an old house with no windows. Just a shell of someone’s former Home.  I run into it and through a maze of doorways, with no doors left. I hide in the deepest place I can find. The tornado whistles and blows over.  Then there is eerie silence. I walk out of the house looking at the land around me, alone in this strange abandoned place.  In real life, I wake up. 

In another episode of this recurring dream, I again find myself standing alone outside in the same place, looking ahead and around me. It is like I’m trapped in an old photo. Everything is more sepia toned this time. There is no sound. I look back at the house and see shadows of movement inside. Then, I see an older couple glide out, almost as if ice skating on air. They are looking right at me, and they wave like crazy so I notice them.  They smile.  After I smile back, they softly glow, as if illuminated with white light. There is no light in the house, there is no working electricity, and no sunlight. As I look at them, they are almost transparent. I can see everything behind them through them, like they are Ghosts. How can this be happening?

The woman tries to speak, she wants to say something. I see her mouth move, but there is no sound. She is so frustrated, that I can’t hear her. She starts to cry. I can see, but not hear it. It is heartbreaking. There is a wave of sadness over all 3 of us. The man puts his hand on her shoulder to comfort her, and she stands there, silent. They vanish. In real life, I wake up.

Dream episode 3.  Same scene. Tornado coming.  I run to the house and I see the older couple there. They wave me in, saying “Come in from the Storm!” This time she can speak and I can hear her. She says she is my Great Great Grandmother from Sweden and she knows I’ve been looking for her. She tells me she is here with me now. We stand together as the storm passes overhead. I feel the house shake, but I feel safe with them. 20 minutes later, we walk outside. She says she has messages for me before I go on my way.  She tells me a lot of things, and said I will remember when the time comes. She and her husband wave and stand by the front doorway of the house. I begin to walk the road in front of me. In reality, I wake up…stunned.

In reality, for 25 years I have been researching my family tree in Sweden. It started with just myself, my mother and grandmothers information. As of August 2015, the branches now have 98 people going back to the 1700’s. And I’ve uncovered the History of my mysterious 3rd Great Grandparents. After I recently discovered this, the dreams stopped.

Was this sequence of dreams a wishful subconscious fantasy, or really night time visits by Family Ghosts?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Spirits Check In to Jerome Grand Hotel - for Eternity

Up in the Black Hills of Arizona, the Jerome Grand Hotel stands on Cleopatra Hill, hosting souls who have checked-in for Eternity. Their stories have been written in time.

Originally United Verde Hospital, built 1927, it was then described as the most modern Hospital in the West. An engineering miracle - fire proof, earthquake proof, and able to withstand shock waves of dynamite from mines, it has survived two centuries. Planned to be a place of healing and rest for families and workers of the mining camp below, over time it became a place of haunting. Apparently, it wasn't ghost proof.

Camp was established in 1883, and the Town officially incorporated March 8, 1889. Named after Eugene Murray Jerome, of New York, the investor financed mining plans here and got the town rocking and rolling. United Verde Mine was born, began operations, and produced over 1 billion in ore, over 70 years. 

Anchored 5000 feet above sea level, the Hospital above town had windows in every direction, offering breathtaking views of the entire Valley. At night, lights from the windows were like glowing eyes a mile high. As if watching the gold, silver and copper fever below. 

Lured by visions of wealth and work provided by treasures of the Earth, people went to Jerome. They came from places far away, as if drifting into town under a spell, cast by the supernatural aura of Jerome calling them. Word spread quickly beyond Verde Valley, and Jerome soon incarnated into "the wickedest town in the West" as printed in the New York Sun, 1903. 

Back alley brothels sprang up, and secret underground opium dens operated, making fortunes for outlaws in the vice trade, fueled by legit fast money from copper commerce. A web of tunnels were built under the city, people creeping like spiders in the dark, carrying out nocturnal business activities.

Miners went on strike in 1917, bringing Jerome news out of the Mountains and into the spotlight, again. 60 members of the Industrial Workers of the World Union were forced out of town by old fashioned justice; guns pointed at them, prodded to get on a cattle train, and sent away, warned to never return. 

A year later in 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic hit Jerome. United Verde Hospital's 30, 000 square feet and all five floors, were over filled with patients. Doctors set up three emergency hospitals in local school buildings. Nurses often worked 18 hour shifts, to exhaustion. Some people were alive and well in the morning, and dropped dead by dusk. Varying reports indicate 600-900 deaths from the Flu. The town Cemetery was filled with "1918" headstones. 

Most patients at United Verde Hospital suffered from tuberculosis or black lung, the final price they paid from working in the mines. Deaths were logged at least once a day. Rumor has it the Hospital also functioned as the local Sanitarium, to calm demons of the mind. There was a designated area of "Death Rooms," where people were sent to die, and rest in peace. Since the 1900's, the living speak of the deceased that still wander. 

United Verde Hospital operated from 1927-1950. 

By 1953, there was nothing left to mine, United Verde Copper Company closed, and people left Jerome. What was once a thriving, independent firecracker town of 15, 000, became a Ghost Town of 100 residents. 

In the wake of the end of the mining era, and perhaps melancholy over what once was, the spirit of Jerome was being written, immortalized in literature. "Ballad of a Laughing Mountain" 1953, was penned by Richard Snodgrass and Art Clark. The documentary style book told the story of Jerome, from beginning to end, with photographic scenes of moments in time. Next, Herbert V. Young, (former executive at United Verde Copper Company) wrote "Ghosts of Cleopatra Hill: Men and Legends of Old Jerome" 1964. This was his 43 year personal account, of how a remote place in the desert was fueled by an enduring spirit, wild west drama, and the rags to riches success story of the town. Young's second book, "They Came to Jerome" 1972, a dynamic tribute to the people who made Jerome home, is proclaimed as the most comprehensive story of Jerome, ever written. 

United Verde Hospital shut its doors, remaining abandoned for 44 years. People in the valley below reported seeing lights flicker from the empty building with no electricity. Those who entered and explored the vacant Hospital say it is not empty. Restless spirits roamed, filled with souls trapped in time, patients of the past. Alive with haunted history, sounds of yesterday were heard; faint voices screaming, footsteps, eerie noises from the elevator shaft echoed, and moving dark shadows were seen. 

Most Ghost Towns crumble into dust of the past and fade away. However, Jerome was revived in the 1960's. It's mysterious allure and wild vibe attracted artists, writers, and crafters, who reincarnated the town, to a travel haven. This time, instead of coming for copper, people journeyed here in search of culture. Spellbinding a new generation, Jerome is now alive with galleries, shops, eateries, saloons, and events. Jerome became a National Historic Landmark on April 19, 1967, and "That the Past may Live" became the towns signature statement. This testament honoring the town's incredible never dying spirit, is truly inspiring. 

Nicknamed Spook City, celebrating a yearly Spook Festival with historical Ghost Walks and other assorted spectral fun every October, Jerome is the most unique, relaxing, and intriguing destination to visit. 

In 1994, the Hospital building, bought by the Altherr family, was resurrected as The Jerome Grand Hotel. Dusty but well preserved, it was lovingly restored, down to the original Nurse call lights in the halls which remain. The Hospital Lobby is currently the Asylum Restaurant, serving fantastic food and spirits.

Apparently, true to the tales, ghosts came with the property. Spirits checked in, and never checked out. Even today, stories continue to be told about time traveling ghosts illuminating their images of the past with the present spirits of travelers. Tourists and employees have reported hearing coughs, wheezing, moans and groans from dark empty rooms. A Nurse in white has been seen roaming the hallways, and a little boy runs into a room then vanishes. A bearded man has been seen in the basement near the boiler room, and a creepy figure lurks on the stairs near the Lobby. Guests of the Hotel can go on Ghost Hunts at the property after dark, if they dare. 

The legend lives on today, a new chapter written in time, hosted by Spooks and Spirits of The Jerome Grand Hotel.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Red Chair

Thursday, June 5, 2014



Forests were always my favorite place.

I remember my first road trip. In the back seat of my Dad's purple-blue Chevy Impala, my nose barely above the chrome framed window, I watch life getting greener. We are on the Interstate going to Indiana, which feels like a foreign country. To a place called Enchanted Forest.

On a concrete road called I-94, we cruise through the Southside of Chicago, and over the Indiana state line. A metal “Welcome to Indiana” sign stands at the border, greeting us with a view of monster steel mills, smokestacks like giant cigarettes puffing dark smoke into the sky, and burning smell of melted steel and fired coal.

Out the back window I see City life erased in the rear view mirror. Past houses poorly built and jammed onto small spaces of land, windows with dead end views of brick walls. Windows like glass eyes looking over concrete, rusted skeletons of buildings, and metal chain link fences, human constructed webs of aluminum that divided yet defined peoples' space and marked their territory. Defending whatever was inside from whatever was outside echoing invisible danger. No signs of Nature. Just mad orchestration of boxed in emptiness over Earth.

Soon it is just us on the road, ribbons of green grass and blue sky fly by, music on the radio, and forest up ahead.

This magical spot is US Route 20 and Indiana State Road 49, in the town of Chesterton Indiana, Porter County, right by Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Here, was a little Village hidden in the woods, with forest paths leading to surprises, rides, snack shacks and fun things to discover. A giant swing ride flew up into the trees. I loved the feeling of flying. People here are different, they are not like city people, they are peaceful, dressed in clothes from a faraway time that I remember like myst in my mind. The pretty little houses and shoppes are beautiful, surrounded by grass, flowers and forest. A lady is selling jewelry that is sparkling in the Sun.

It all seems so familiar, like from a dream place I know, only in a real life fairytale.

I spend the day walking through the Forest with my Dad, observing trees, and stopping at things I find interesting. Little striped gophers peek from behind leaves, then run across the forest path as they do their own exploring. We arrive at a clearing, a Medieval town center with more shoppes and stop for lunch. We have Pizza and Royal Crown soda on a wooden picnic table in the Summer sun. It is awesome. I wish these Summer days would last forever.

Years later, the scene is Elizabeth Conkey Forest Preserves in Chicago. Dad was busy organizing something. Over the PA system an anonymous voice announced a water balloon fight for kids. I ran to the area and was given a handful of flat colored balloons that I hooked up to a water hose to build my arsenal. Other kids were using the well water iron pump, and it was taking a long time to fill their balloons.

We were divided into 2 groups, told to stay on opposing sides and not cross the invisible line, which an anonymous adult pointed to in the grass. My Viking warrior spirit sprang into action as I dodged incoming balloons, but launched mine like soft weapons, landing on kids, empty picnic tables in epic explosions, and watched one fat balloon wobble aimlessly on the grass from those who ran away. I ran out of balloons, asked for more and was told no, because an adult complained I was 11, taller than the other kids, and said it was an unfair advantage. While asking for an explanation of why they let me play the game in the first place, I was sneak attacked by an army of small kids who crossed the battle line during my nice request for more balloons. Resulting in a mob of madness. Squishy sounds of rubber exploding into showers of cool well water, kids squeezing balloons over smaller kids heads till they burst, and everyone laughing falling on the grass play fighting in a pile of silliness. It was crazy fun until the anonymous voice announced game over.

Adults were playing bingo and there was nothing else for me to do. So I decided to take a walk in the woods. I found a forest path and went in. While walking, I met another kid from the picnic who was leaving. He stopped me, to say he found mudpuppies in the pond and that I too, should look for them. I asked what kind of creature that was. He said it looked like a big catfish but with two legs, and they live in mud at the bottom of ponds. I never heard of such a thing, and thought maybe he was making up fish stories like the tale of the Loch Ness Monster. Regardless, I was curious to find out.

I didn't worry about how long I may hike, how far, or how long it may take to discover if mudpuppies really exist. I didn't have a watch and didn't need one. I could tell time by observing Weather and Nature. This was never taught to me or learned at school. I always intuitively “knew” what to do in the wild, from my Soul's intense connection to Nature.

Walking through the Woods, I feel life lit up around me. Although wandering, I am aware of everything: colors, sensations, sounds, vibrations. My eyes send these images to my mind. I think in pictures. I have a brilliant photographic memory. It archived visuals of what light looks like at different times of the day. Light reflected in leaves, changes like the hands of a clock. The Sun, being the day's light, above me meant Noon. Soon the Sun was a pizza slice to the right, which meant 2pm.

I kept going and found the pond, way in the forest, with baby fish swimming around poking their noses out of the water towards the Sun. I sat on a rock and watched them. I wondered if mudpuppies were here. I did not see anything mysterious with legs moving in the mud. Lillypads and some frogs floated by. Birds were chirping and everything felt happy. Just me, trees, animals and plants. No one else was around, and I was not afraid. Then the Sun was not so bright anymore. Leaves were not illuminated. Colors were becoming pastel. Dusk was arriving. Excited from my exploration and tired, I decided to turn around and back track. Finally at the fork in the path near entrance to the Woods, I heard someone calling my name. I ran to the sound and found my Dad. He said I'd been gone for hours, and he'd gone looking for me. I said “how did you know where I was?” Dad said “I knew where to look for you. Where else would you be?”

Fast forward to Year 2013, and I'm still fascinated by Forests.

My explorations have gone beyond my backyard, beyond State lines, across the USA, into the Wild West, the Redwood Forest, and under the spell of the North Star into Canada.

For the last 3 years, I've been exploring the Forests of West Suburban Chicago. In Kane County, I saw a wild creek under railroad tracks in rural Oswego, IL - and climbed 15 feet down, discovering a stunning archeaological cove of layered rock. This is one of Nature's treasures you would never find on a map, only by exploring. Along the Fox River into Aurora, North Aurora and Batavia, IL are miles of bike paths, river walks, and parks with flowers and grand staircases. Off trail in these areas I've found abandoned wooden bridges, walking them to see where tracks take me further into the Forest. Every day I hiked two to three miles in DuPage County Forest Preserves, along Butterfield Road near the towns of Warrenville, Wheaton and Naperville, IL. I saw Herrick Lake's frozen beauty in the Winter, and lush colors of the Summer. Danada Forest Preserve is magical, and holds a very special place in my heart. Here I visited Horses, went on a hayride through the Forest, learned geological history of the prairie, and took an EAP educational workshop, on the Psychology of healing with Horses.

Traveling East I visited a secluded blast from the past. Right off Rt 83 in these woods, is a place rocked by time. Forces of Nature - wind, water, ice and shifting of the Earth's plate, were the Architects of this place. It is the only Ice Age canyon existing in Cook County, IL. Geologically, it is dolomite limestone, a rare crystalline mineral composite of calcium magnesium carbonate. The time stamped layers embedded in rock, tell the story of when glacial ice covered Chicago. I walked inside these 40 ft high rock canyons. In the Spring, Bluebell flowers turn the surrounding forest, into a landscape of majestic blue-green.

I have been in attendance during Nature's perfectly orchestrated four seasons. I've witnessed the breathtakingly beautiful and the wildly wicked weather. And I've learned to navigate by Nature and stay ahead of the Storms.

For the lasts 4 years, I've traveled the US on road trips in my Van, exploring and observing Nature, writing my online journal aka travel blog, and taking photos.

Immortalizing these images In the moment via my cell phone is a perfect avenue to document experiences on the road. The power of digital technology to instantly transmit, archive, and tell a story in real time, with words and pictures, is like the modern day equivalent of an explorer's handwritten diary.

My photography helps me be the visual voice of Nature, a mirror to the words I compose. It highlights amazing places I've seen, my adventures, and miles I've traveled It illuminates the spirit of Nature. Volumes of scenes and memories are not only in my mind now. They live in my Gallery online at National Geographic Your Shot, shared with the world, with hope of raising Environmental awareness. I have seen so much of this Earth - wild and hidden, created and destroyed. Based on true life experience, I am dedicated to defending what is left of this beautiful world. There is no substitute for Nature, no matter how advanced society may perceive itself to be.

Like the magnetic force that keeps the sun rising and shining, and stars lighting the night, I irresistably follow the compass of my Soul, driving into Nature. Rocking and rolling with the elements in an enchanting symphony of my Life.

This is awesome. And I can't imagine it any other way.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Writing my Book

This book details my adventures on the road and observations in Nature, on my 4th cross country road trip across the US. 
Composed from travel journals, notes, photos, and explorations hiking in wilderness and visiting historic places.

Book in progress
Publishing target date - 2015
available on Amazon.come
Stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Visiting Tesla

World Co-ordinates: 41° 50′ 24″ N  -  87° 57′ 11″ W
Oak Brook, IL 

Its is a rare Indian Summer day, in late September. Warm sunny 75 degrees. Cool breezes. On the edge of Autumn, I drive. 

While traveling from Chicago's West Suburbs to the Southwest Suburbs on this beautiful day, I spontaneously stop at Oakbrook Mall to enjoy sunshine during lunch. 

To my surprise, I find a Tesla showroom! Tesla's vision began in 2003, unveiling the Roadster as the first all electric sports car. Based in California, Tesla reigns as an independent innovator in US electric car design and manufacturing.   Website:

Here are their latest cars and amazing technology!    


0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds
Love the Made in California plate!

the Engine is so compact
it is underneath this front storage area 

on which awesome electricness is built 
Yes, that's the revolutionary ENGINE !!
The Power of the Future ...

Photography :  Traci Elizabeth 2013