Muscle Museum

Season 2 of Calamityville Horror is getting off to a good start. There has been a technical issue in season 1, resulting in the final episode, The Galleries of Justice, now being shown as the first episode of season 2. Basically, Ryan moved out and we lost his ultra fast Broadband. But this wouldn’t be Calamityville if everything went smoothly. If you want a slick, professional show with professional, well-behaved investigators, boy did you stumble upon the wrong show! ūüėÄ

So for episode 4, we headed for Huntingdon to pick up our regular guest, L K Jay. We only got lost once and that was on the ring road. We didn’t feel too bad about that. Apparently, if you listen closely at night, you can still hear the ghostly cars driving around, unable to leave the ring road. After a quick baggage dump at her lovely flat, we piled into her car and headed for Peterborough.

Peterborough Museum

Peterborough Museum

We managed to get to the museum without any hitches. Mostly because we weren’t leading the way. The museum is free, but we did have to sign a permit to be allowed our cameras, so we’re not sure how much we’ll be able to show you. The museum started life as a home, before being turned into a hospital. It is said to be the most haunted building in Peterborough. It is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a soldier wounded in battle in France and brought to Peterborough for treatment. He died not long after arriving. His ghost has been seen on the stairs. It is also haunted by a little girl who has been seen in the operating theatre, and a woman who calls for Lady Charlotte, the wife of the museum’s previous owner, Thomas Cooke.

Shortly after entering the museum we realised we were hungry. Having recently discovered a website which warns you not to go ghost hunting on an empty stomach in case you end up with stomach ghosts, (we’re not kidding) we decided not to risk it and went to get something to eat.

We returned to the museum, stomachs well protected against the pesky stomach ghosts, and started to explore. When we were in the surgeon’s office, Cat touched the grandfather clock, which is the only original piece of furniture from the time of Thomas Cooke. When she touched it, she got what we call ‘fish tank feeling’. It’s the barely heard of technical term for when you feel really dizzy, like your brain is swimming. If you want to replicate it, stick your hand in a full fish tank and you’ll know what we mean. Lynx experienced it when we were in the underwater exhibition.

Peterborough Museum

Soldier, Solider

We moved on to the anglo-saxon and Roman exhibition to hunt for the Roman soldier who is so attached to his sword, he has reportedly been seen standing by the display case which holds it. We got Ryan to dress up in the Roman soldier costume provided, to see if we could lure the ghost. We also persuaded Ryan to wear a bonnet, but that was purely for our own amusement. One of the displays was of a skeleton family, who may be the first murder victims ever found. The man had an arrow lodged in his ribcage. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our Tyvek suits and crime scene kit, so the identity of the murderer will remain unknown. Our money’s on the the butler.

We then moved upstairs to the part we were looking forwards to – the Victorian operating theatre. Our fish tank feelings worsened in here considerably. At one point, Cat was worried she’d have to leave, for fear of passing out. The theatre was brilliant. The bed had a blood stained sheet and there was even a bucket of fake blood on the floor. The display case had an array of old equipment and even the doctor’s patients’ notes. Lynx was about to head out of the surgery when her camera failed to connect to its battery. This has never happened before and she was using the new battery. She kept switching it off, taking out the battery then trying again. It still wouldn’t read the battery. Cat suggested she leave the surgery, see what effect that would have. The moment she stepped out, the battery reconnected and worked fine for the rest of the trip. We know that some people¬†believe¬†that ghosts can drain your equipments’ power sources and use their energy, but we’re just putting this down to an inexplicable technical glitch.

Peterborough Museum

Theatre of screams

Our last stop in the museum was the¬†Napoleonic¬†prison ship. This was the coldest room in the museum, which was strange, as it was at the top of the museum, where usually the higher rooms are warmer. Again we had Ryan dress up as a solider and a prisoner. He looked more like a gnome, which was only confirmed by his impromptu gnome dance. Yes, it’s on film.

Peterborough Cathedral

Peterborough Cathedral

The next place on our list was the cathedral. We got there just as a service was about to start. We were invited to stay, but decided to explore the adjoining graveyard instead. As graveyards go, it wasn’t very impressive. It clearly wasn’t the ‘in’ place to be buried. It’s apparently haunted by a white woman and a monk. Monks are very popular ghosts. You’d think after devoting their lives to God, they’d want to at least visit Heaven, but they seem to prefer hanging out on Earth, spooking tourists. As we passed a sarcophagus, the K2 bleeped once. It had been silent until this point. We moved around by the sarcophagus, but it didn’t bleep again.

We explored the rest of the graveyard then decided to go for coffee. The K2 started bleeping slowly, the needle gradually rising to 3.5 in the red zone as the bleeps got faster. It’s never done that before. Usually it just goes off, but this was really gradual. We were right by a cottage, which had a lamppost and fuse box next to it. We put the K2 to the ground, to see if there were any electrical cables beneath us, but it fell silent. We took it over to the railings of the cottage and pointed it at the fuse box. It was quiet. We returned to our spot, but the K2 didn’t bleep again. There were rumblings of thunder, so we figured the electricity in the air was probably the cause.

We took shelter in the nearby coffee shop, as it started pouring. The tension between the staff was worse than the impending storm. It’s a wonder the K2 wasn’t going crazy. It was tense! The place was too small for such an atmosphere and we were stuck there for half an hour until the rain stopped and the cathedral opened. Shortly before we left, the thunder returned. Grabbing our K2, we hurried into the rain. It didn’t respond.

The cathedral is stunning. There was a ¬£3 permit charge per camera, so we only used Ryan’s iPhone for both filming and photography. The most frightening thing in the cathedral was the dramatic organ music that started without warning and scared the bejesus out of us. Sadly it wasn’t music accompanying the phantom choir that are meant to be here. We also didn’t see the terrified monk who has been spotted running down the aisle before vanishing. We did get to stand by Catherine of Aragon’s tomb, which we were pleased about. We didn’t even know she was here. We must’ve missed her check-in on Facebook.

Huntingdon’s about 3 1/2 hours from Cardiff, so we had a rare stay over. We don’t often stay overnight, one, because we don’t think it’s fair to leave our mum with the animal army and two, because our intermittent insomnia returns with a¬†vengeance¬†in strange places. But we’re glad we stayed, because in the morning we visited Nun’s Bridge in Huntingdon, which is haunted by a nun. The name kinda gave that away. She had an affair with a monk and they used to meet on the bridge. Sadly the only activity we got on the bridge, were the cyclists who had to avoid our tripod as we recorded our debrief. Though we did manage to scare a jogger. He was about to come on to the bridge, saw us, swiftly turned around and jogged away. Either he never meant to cross the bridge, or he was truly terrified of seeing us without makeup. Clearly he hasn’t read a fairytale in a ¬†while. Trolls live under the bridge.Nun's Bridge, Huntingdon

Let the Games Begin!

the Gimpic Games at Merthyr Mawr sand dunes

Going for Gimpic Gold

The Gimpic Games have officially started. Even though we haven’t yet filmed our opening ceremony, mostly because we don’t have Danny Boyle’s budget. On Monday, us – Lynx from The Kingdom of the Blood Skulls and Cat from the Pirate Islands – and fellow Gimpians, Ryan from Jerkuanius and Rich from the United Pimping Regency banded together to form an elite team of athletes. Well, kind of. Ryan and Rich both nearly died on the sand dunes. Ryan from lack of fitness, Rich from forgetting his asthma pump & continuously face planting in the sand. We knew it was a going to be a good time when Cat forgot to bring Ryan’s trainers, forcing him to compete in his socks. Rich kindly gave up one of his shoes and the pair of them hopped all the way to the dunes like a couple of gimps.

The course was extended and much faster. Rich must’ve been practising on the sly because there’s no way someone who’s never sand dune sledged could be that fast. He thrashed everyone’s times by one or two seconds on each run. There was cheating galore as we got Rich to push us to give us faster times and when Cat pushed Ryan, he promptly tumbled out. Allegations of drugs cheating were banded around when Ryan beat Cat in the head to head race, despite losing every single time trial. Suspicious, doncha think?

sand dune sledging at Merthyr Mawr

the Hero takes a fall

There were injuries aplenty when Rich kept falling off the sledge and headbutted the flagpole in his desperate attempt to escape the 2 second time penalty for missing the flag. And there was a collision of epic proportions during Ryan and Rich’s head to head race as Rich tumbled out, Ryan thought he was home free until his sledge stopped, only for him to see Rich hurtling on his sledge towards him. Ryan frantically paddled forwards but it was too late. They collided and crashed over the finish line in a tangle of limbs and sledges. Cat discovered she’d dislocated a finger when we returned home. Ryan was nearly sick when she manipulated it back in. Ryan hurt his back copying Rich’s winning headfirst style then when imitating Baywatch with the red sledge, tripped, face planted and mysteriously hurt his man parts. Cat took a photo of his pain filled face as he clutched his crown jewels and admitted he was no Baywatch Babe.

sumo wrestling at Merthyr Mawr sand dunes

Cat and Ryan face off

Next up was sumo wrestling. Everything becomes instantly funnier when you’re wearing an inflatable sumo suit. We drew a ring on a flat surface at the very top of the sand dunes, donned our suits and wrestled our way to Gimpic glory. Cat proved to be a tiny dynamo as she beat Ryan in round one. Rich won round 2 by scooping Lynx up upside down, her little legs kicking like a beetle as he dumped her face down in the sand. The final was between Rich and Cat. Rich once again proved to be Gimpic champion and was presented with his medal and bouquet of wild flowers that he’d snapped off a nearby bush. We have a feeling those sumo suits WILL be making a return to the Gimpics…and a new event has been added – rubber ducky racing in the River Taff. There will be blood.

the Gimpic Games

gimping for gold

World of War

Dinefwr World War 2 Summer

brothers in arms

We were persuaded to visit Newton House’s World War 2 summer event, organised by Scott James (you may remember him from episode 5 of Calamityville Horror). There would be guns, history and soldiers in their uniforms. Hell yeah we were going! It was fantastic! We made the Glamorgan Home Guards on the barrier very suspicious as we kept passing them to fetch things from the car and only had one pass between the 3 of us.

Glamorgan Home Guards

stop or we’ll shoot!

We tried to convince them Ryan was a spy and should be shot but sadly the¬†mischievous twinkles in our eyes gave the game away. Maybe next time…We spent ages in the US/German camp talking to the soldiers. Turned out, one of the soldiers was Ryan’s neighbour! And they’d never met. Small world. He loaded Ryan up with equipment and made him run about 50 yards, to experience what the soldiers had to experience. We were hoping he’d launch a grenade after him to fully add to it. Sadly not. Their reluctance to gun down this varmint was worrying. He must’ve paid them off.

Not only did we get to pick up the rifles (which were nearly the same size as us), we also got to sit in the genuine WW2 Jeeps! We were desperate to nab one for a test drive but no keys were left in them, sadly. Though we did get to play with the machine guns mounted in the back and pretend to shoot people ūüėÄ How badass would we look filming the next Calalmityville episode in a WW2 Jeep? Does anyone have a spare one they don’t want?¬†Preferably¬†one with a machine gun?

World War 2 Jeep

Jeepers Creepers

The lady from the Medic tent asked if she could take our photo for her son as he used to be a Goth. Naturally we obliged. Even more coinkidinkally, one of the soldiers happens to run the website about the Bridgend POW camp that we tried to get into. Remember the pics of us squeezing through the fence? That one. And they’re having an open day! We’ll finally be able to see inside in a legal, won’t-have-to-run-from-the-cops manner! Our mum will be thrilled. And the escape tunnel is still there. Might have to recreate that German POW escape…

The battle re-enactment was brilliant. Scott told us the best place to film and we were right by the action. It was so exciting. Not only were the soldiers extremely friendly and knowledgeable, they were also really good actors and the German sniper was captured with only two casualties.

World War 2 re-enactment, Dinefwr

band of brothers

Then a group of soldiers came over and wanted their pics taken with us. Lots of pics ūüėÄ They even let us sit on the bonnet of their Jeep. In the Resistance exhibition we met an old soldier who taught us about the Smith and Wesson revolver we were playing with. He also wanted our photo. It was like being celebrities! We weren’t even part of the event!

We returned to the basement where the K2 meter had given us such great hits on our last two visits. It was silent. Maybe because the audio wasn’t playing, though that wouldn’t have effected it anyway, but it’s the only explanation we can think of. The K2 didn’t go off anywhere else, which was very strange as Newton House has always given us plenty of K2 activity. Maybe the soldiers scared the ghosts away. In the wards there were a variety of tools with those scanning barcode things for Smart phones to find out about them. As our phones are so old, we ended up inventing uses for them. Eyeball grabbers, brain hooks and nose pokers being amongst the favourites. Cat tried to take Ryan’s jugular blood from an over sized syringe. None came out. Maybe he’s a vampire.

Dinefwr World War 2 summer

HALT!

We strong armed our sister and her family into going the next day. Apparently, as soon as they mentioned us, all the ¬†soldiers raved about us ūüėÄ (We’re now FB friends with 2 of them) Surely we can’t have made that much of an impression, not with the large number of people who were there. Although our outfits were very popular. We highly recommend everyone goes to Dinefwr to witness it first hand. It was amazing. Even more so because it was the first event Scott’s organised, so we were doubly impressed! And he did look rather handsome in his uniform ūüėČ

Dinefwr World War 2 summer

us with Scott James

Enter Sandman

The Gimpic Games

making winners out of losers

There is a fever sweeping the country. Olymp-no, wrong one. GIMPIC fever. It’s the most talked about thing since Red Bull announced they would be lifetime sponsors of C L Raven. Hang on, might have dreamed that one. Anyhoo, you can’t escape Gimpic Fever. It’s like a big gimpy tidal wave that’s blitzing your home town and drowning you in its infectious fun. Our evenings have been filled with archery and Nerf gun practise and a quick go of space hoppering before Ryan fell off and declared our pixie stature was an unfair advantage. Also it appears his big man hands are hampering his efforts with the child’s archery set. We offered to cut off his hands. He declined. Obviously not that dedicated to winning then.

Yesterday we decided to practise the sand dune sledge slalom. Merthry Mawr are the highest sand dunes in Wales. Yes, these are no ordinary dunes. These are epic. It started off well when a topless hotty was running up and down them continuously, giving us something lovely to focus on while we struggled our way to the top. After the second climb, we were knackered. After Ryan’s first climb, he collapsed at the top and we had to poke him to make sure he was still breathing as he was a very unhealthy shade of dead. 50 shades of dead perhaps. Had the worst happened, we might have had to sit on him and slalom him down for rescue. Luckily a twitching limb confirmed life.

Merthyr Mawr sand dunes

our sand dune sledge slalom

sledging down Merthyr Mawr

going for gold

The original course we plotted turned out to be a big fat failure. The sledge would not move under it’s own power. Disheartened that the event we were so excited about might not happen, we tried thinking of a solution. Then Ryan spotted a steeper part to the dune so we tried it. And sped down like tobogganing pros! The more we did it, the faster we got. And as predicted, a slight turn of the sledges had us crashing out and rolling like those riders in motorcross racing. Think of gymnasts doing tumbling routines in the floor exercises and that was us, except it was on sand, downhill and we weren’t wearing glittery leotards. (Though they might have been better than the skull trousers Lynx wore and the tight PVC trousers Cat wore). No bones were broken in the making of this historic fun. Then we learned you went faster and stayed in if once you hit your speed, you lay back. We were actually a little disappointed at the lack of tumbling this method created. We did time trials as instead of a slalom, this was to be our sprint course. After several attempts, Ryan’s fastest time was 12 seconds, Lynx’s was 11 seconds 52 and Cat was the undisputed champion with 10 seconds 31.

sand dune sledging

winning in style

If sand dune sledging doesn’t become an Olympic sport, something is seriously wrong. The good news is the chances of cutting yourself on the dunes is minimal. However the chances of broken bones, dislocations and and death are highly probable. Let the games begin!

The Gimpic Games

Forget being published and having our own ghost hunting show in Calamityville Horror, over the next couple of weeks, a certain event will be the greatest thing we’ve done. The Gimpic Games. Basically, Olympics for idiots. Us. We are SO excited about this. So excited, we keep laughing manically as we think up the next event. So far, events include space hopper racing, archery with children’s archery set, shooting with Nerf guns, piggy back obstacle course, timed obstacle course in a children’s playground, pillow shot putt, air hockey, arcade games, a floor routine and the canoe slalom, which involves rowing an ironing board down the stairs. That has caused controversy amongst the athletes as Ryan Ashcroft has deemed the event ‘too dangerous.’ Personally we think he’s worried he’ll lose as we used to toboggan down our twisty stairs in sleeping bags as kids. So instead we will be sledging down Merthyr Mawr’s sand dunes. Competitors come from all corners of the world, including the Pirate Islands, Kingdom of the Blood Skulls, Dragon Isles (formerly the Jerk Republic) and United Pimping Regency. Event organisers C L Raven had this to say when questioned about the safety of the games.

“The Gimpic Games will be heralded as the greatest sporting event in living memory. Injuries heal but the Gimpic Games live on. Sure someone might lost a finger or break a bone but sacrifices must be made for the greater glory. The pain of injury will vanish when that medal is placed around your neck. As long as no one dies, the event is considered a success. Health and safety is getting in the way of good clean fun.”

Wild At Heart

Today we’re thrilled to be welcoming fellow Indie author, Gena Mantz to Ravens Retreat. We’ve known her on Facebook for a while and she keeps us in a state of cuteness overload with the adorable pics of her kitties on Twitter. So she’ll be very at home amongst our animal army. We’ll go restock the Red Bull and let you get to know her.

Hello all,

¬†I am honored to be the guest blogger. Thank you for inviting me today. So a little about me. I am a legal assistant, belly dancer, wife, and mom to one human and several different types of animal kids. In fact as I type, my Anatolian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees ‘pup’ is nudging my ankle. (Louisa’s about 9 months old and weighs about 65 pounds, and always WHINING.)
I write paranormal novels and poetry. I’ve had a love affair with all things paranormal, Gothic, romantic, and particularly vampire since I was in my teens. (Which was about half a century ago, give or take a decade.) When I was in my teens, I wrote some fantasy-style stuff , but none of it survived the various moves. I have always been a storyteller. When my sister was a child, my mom often sent her to me for the answers to all those annoying why questions. Somehow, a wonderful story was told and all the questions my sister had were answered.
 I took a break from writing to be a human mom and raise our son while my husband was an over the road truck driver.  A few years ago, a librarian friend of mine got me in touch with a retired college instructor who was leading a poetry group at our local library. I began writing poetry and found I enjoy writing paranormal themes, mostly vampire. I am hoping to publish a short book of my poetry soon.
My first novel is an alternative look at small town life in Kansas, using humans, vampires and werewolves. I tried to address the themes of prejudice, inequality, marriage, and fidelity as well as family and acceptance in this book. It is a light, quick read. Let me put it this way, if my 13 year old niece or nephew read this, I would not be embarrassed. You can find my novel at  http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Hearted-ebook/dp/B008LD5DC8/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1  or for the UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Hearted-ebook/dp/B008LD5DC8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343829066&sr=1-1 and is available in paperback or in Kindle. I also do Kindlegraphs.
I am working on my second novel, which will be published under a different name. The themes in it are more adult, and the content is not for children. It will be published under a pen name and it is still very much a work in progress. My main character in this novel, Isis, has her own blog, twitter, and email and I never know what she will comment on next. Her blog is isisthevampire.com, her twitter is isisthevampire, and her email isisisthevampire@gmail.com.
Well, I suppose I’ve chattered on enough about myself. Time to get back to working on my newest stuff. Thanks again for listening and have a wonderful day/evening/night!
Hugs and blessings to all
g