Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Changes A-Com in, West Chester,1/29/2013

Hello everyone, Several people have asked what I am doing since I got back from the Christmas trip. Well for several days I spent trying to catch up on all the blogs about things I saw and did. I rested a lot. I did a lot of laundry. Saw Tom, Pat, Lisa and Mike. Got all the Christmas light down and put away for another year. Had my 6 month check with the heart Doctor and he said everything is fine but wanted a new updated blood test which has been done. Had my regular eye appointment and everything OK except I got an updated prescription for stronger glasses. The weather has been crazy which I know all of you have experienced the changes lately. Yesterday and today have been close to all time highs for this time of year. Heavy rain and strong wind forecast for tomorrow and possibility of thunder storms and following that we go back into the deep freeze for a few days. Have had some great church services which I always enjoy and look forward to. Also, got Lady Blue her 22,500 mile check up and she was OK as well. This check up was a little early but I figured I might be on the road about the time it would be due so go ahead and get it over with.

OK that just about catches me up but changes are A-Com in.

Love you all
Grandpa Bill

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Returning to Ohio,Jan.5,2013

As they say all good things come to an end and so it goes with my Christmas in California. I have enjoyed my stay with Bami and Janice beyond description as well as spending time with Parisa who came home for Christmas from New York City and Corey and Nicku who reside locally in California. Thank you all for making this a very special Christmas.

We loaded the baggage into the car and took off for San Francisco airport. They dropped me at the curb check in stand , we said our goodbyes and I proceeded on in to check in and wait for my flight. Check in was without problems. We had an on time departure for the flight to Denver, Colorado. The flight was smooth and the scenery below was beautiful as we flew at about 37,000 feet through a clear sky all the way.
Snowy Mountains
Snowy Mountains. Look at That Road Winding Through The Mountains
Large Lake Not Sure Where As Pilot Did Not Serve As A Tour Guide
Arrival At Denver Airport Visible In The Middle Background
The layover in Denver was short and we departed on time for the flight to Tulsa. It looked like they had about 3 inches of snow on the ground at Denver but it was clear. The flight to Tulsa was uneventful except for a few bumpy places caused by the high winds. Landing at Tulsa was a little rough again because of the high winds but otherwise it was clear and cool. I was met by Jamie, Sarah and Will. They left Steve home cooking dinner. We had a wonderful meal and watched some football of course. Sunday Jan 6, 2013, I went to church with Jamie's family. Following church we went to eat at a Chinese place which I enjoy. You go through the line and tell the cashier what you want and they bring it to your table You get your own drinks. It is much faster and more enjoyable way for me.
Pei Wei  Chinese Restaurant
My Meal - Sweet & Sour Chicken- Doesn't  That Look Delicious? It Was
Jamie's Family Room. Steve's Chair.
Jamie's Family Room. My Favorite Room In The House
Monday morning January 7, 2013 I said my goodbyes and loaded Lady Blue up and headed out for a short 2 hour or less drive to Johnson, Arkansas and the home of my brother James Louis and his wife Roylene. Lady Blue performed well after being cooped up in the garage for all the time I was in California.We had a wonderful time talking about old time and visiting with James Louis's daughter Sherry her husband Edward and of course their son Landon. Of course he is always the star of the show. He is just reaching the age that he wants to be the center of attention in a crowd. He gets all wound up talking an telling big stories. He loves the attention and we love to give it to him. Roylene fixed some excellent meals and invited my aunt Dorcas and my cousin Billy Frank Dowel  to eat and visit with us. That was enjoyable. There is a eating place there called the Cat Fish Hole which serves the best catfish I have ever eaten so we started out one evening to go there for some catfish. As we were driving along James hit a chuck hole or bump and there was a loud bang in the right front of the car and as he stopped it sounded like metal scraping on the ground. We got out to look and he thought he had blown a tire but we saw it was something much serious and it would require a wrecker to take the car to a garage to have it repaired. So calling and waiting for the wrecker and waiting for Sherry to come and take us back home that just about killed our plan to eat at the cat fish hole that night.
Right Front Wheel Leaning At a 45 Degree Angle  And Obviously In A Big Hurt
Wrecker Preparing To Tow Jame's Lincoln To Garage
Since our plans to dine on cat fish were dashed we went back home and had a wonderful meal of left overs and sandwiches. We watched TV and talked and speculated about what had happened to the car. The next day the garage called and said the ball joint had broken and it would be a few days before they could get it repaired. James has a suburban so we made new plans to go eat cat fish and we did that night.
Here It Is
Entrance To The Cat Fish Hole
Cat Fish Are Served With Hush Puppies, Dill Pickles, Cole  Slaw And French Fries
My Plate. I Wanted The Cat Fish So Bad I Almost Forgot To Take a Photograph

Obviously, when you look at the last picture above you soon see the dill pickles and the fish were what I went after first. Don't worry I cleaned all the plates. Boy it was a treat to eat like this. If I had some place here to get this kind of food I would eat out all the time. Long John Silvers has good fish but nothing to compare to this. So back home for a good nights rest before heading Lady Blue back toward Ohio which I did the next morning. After about a 12 hour drive I made it home to West Chester. I was glad to be home and headed for the bed and waited until the next day to unpack the car. Of course Lady Blue was just fine in her own garage.

Again I thank everyone for making this a most wonderful birthday and Christmas. I had a wonderful time. As always when I travel and visit places I am so reminded of Jan because we were there together. That's what it all about for you younger people - make memories. They can be both enjoyable and sorrowful as well but they balance each other out. 

The Lord willing my next long trips will be back to Tulsa for Sarah's college graduation in May, 2013 and drive to California for Nicku and Corey's wedding in late August 2013. Of course in connection with both of these trips there are National Parks and the beauty of our nation to see.

I love you.

Grandpa Bill

Menara Moroccan Restaurant, Jan.4, 2013 California.

After touring the Winchester Mystery Mansion Janice and I went to the Menara Moroccan Restaurant to join Bami and a friend of his for dinner. When we found the restaurant there were no lights lights on in the lobby and in fact the sign over the entrance was not lit and there did not appear to be anyone around the place. We were lucky and found a parking space right in front of the entrance and we waited. After a period Janice called Bami and told him the place appeared to be closed. He said it opened later. So we waited and sure enough the sign was turned on and we went inside.
Moroccan Restaurant
We were seated and shortly Bami's friend arrived as well as did Bami. The restaurant has a large lobby with a fountain. Inside there is a large dining area with two side room that I could see. We were seated in one of the side rooms. When I say seated that means for some people to be seated they were sitting on the floor on a cushion at a round table that is about a foot off the floor. Along the wall there is a cushioned bench you can use if it would be uncomfortable for you on the floor. Janice  and I chose the wall bench. In the photograph below you will note in the background the low round tables with cushions on the floor around them. It was early and we were about the only ones there. You will also note the draped cloth and over head feature that make it appear somewhat that you are in a tent.You will notice if you look closely at the following photographs there are no knives, forks, or spoons any where on the table. That's correct you eat with your fingers. You will also note the hand washing is done after you have eaten. And yes it is OK to lick the food off you fingers. I mean you don't want to waste any of that good flavor or sweetness of the dessert.
Looking From Our Room To the Large Dining Room
First item a salad like dish
Next A Bowl Of Bread Is Served And It Was Delicious
Another Dish
Chicken In The Foreground And Kabob In Back Ground
Kabobs On Bed Of Rice
Washing Of Hands
Waiter Pouring Water Out Of Large Kettle As You
 Wash Your Hands. I Waited  So I Could Get Photo
Bami Observes As I Wash My Hands Note The Large Basin
And The Bottom Of The Large Pot Of Water Being Poured
Water Basin Used to Catch Water While Washing Hands
They Wanted To Make Sure My Hands Were Clean
Sweet Dessert
The Final Glass Of Water Is Poured From On High. Note The Small 
Glasses He Is Pouring The Water Into From A Height Of About 3 
Feet. You Can See The Stream Of Water From The Spout That Is 
As High As His Head. Must Take A Lot Of Practice. 
Waiter Leave After Pouring Water. Another Time Without Spilling 
Water On The Patrons. Note His Hat And Clothing.
Janice And I Reclining On The Couch Bench After A Wonderful Meal

Now I have a bone to pick with some of you because you gave me a hard time about a couple of my photographs on my New England trip. Specifically, you recall the photographs I took of the New York Jets cheerleaders. Well hold on to your hat I have some photographs you can really give me a hard time about. Following the wonderful meal at the Moroccan Restaurant it was time for the Belly Dancer. Yep that's right Belly Dancer and here are a few photo of her strutting her stuff. I notice in the following photos the camera is a day ahead of itself because these were taken Jan 4, 2013 and not Jan.5. Huh, I wonder if the camera got that shook up over the dancer. I doubt it.
She Dances Awhile With A Large Veil
Here She Performs With A Man. She Went Around the Room And Got  Individual Men Or
Women Or Groups Of  Men and Women To Dance No She Did Not Ask Me
Here She Does The Sword Dance With A  Sword Balanced On Her Head

Another full day draws to a close in California and tomorrow I start the journey back east. I am anxious to get back home and at the same time reluctant to leave Janice and her crew here in California. Well as they say the show must go on. So I guess the next time you will hear from me is when I get back to Ohio. The short time I will be in Tulsa with Jamie I won't have time to get set up for a posting and In Arkansas I won't have access to he Internet.

I thank Bami and Janice for bringing me to their home for Christmas and for time with Parisa, Corey and Nicku. Thank you. I love you so much. Remember that Jesus loves you so much he gave his son for you and I love you.

Grandpa Bill

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA. Jan. 4, 2013

Winchester House
After touring the Egyptian Museum Daughter Janice took me to the amazing, curious and mysterious Winchester House which was constructed by Mrs Sarah L.Winchester. First I want you to see 3 photographs before I get into the specific details of the family and history of this magnificent house and gardens.
Winchester House
Mrs. Sarah  L.Winchester
Aerial View Of Winchester Mystery House
Now I want to tell you some details about  the family and this house. The information I have comes from the tour guide at Winchester House, materials available at the Winchester House and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The day we toured the mansion all room had fully decorated Christmas trees which were very beautiful. Sarah Lockwood Pardee was born in September 1839 in New Haven, Connecticut to Leonard Pardee a carriage manufacturer in New Haven and his wife Sarah W. Burns. Sarah was raised in luxury obtained the best education at the best private schools. She spoke four languages and was an accomplished piano player. On September 30 1862 Sarah married William Wirt Winchester the only son of Oliver Fisher Winchester, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut and the owner of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. They had one daughter, Annie Pardee Winchester, who was born on June 15, 1866 and died July 25, 1866 from the childhood disease of marasmus. Following the death of Annie, Sarah suffered from deep depression. The couple had no more children. Oliver Winchester ( William's father ) who died in  1880 had been active in the First Baptist Church. William (Sarah husband ) died in March 1881 of tuberculosis. This left Sarah as the heiress to his estate and eventually a 50 percent holding in the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Reportedly she had a daily  income of $1,000.00. It was estimated that in 2008 that would have been roughly $22,000 a day. Sarah still suffered from deep depression

At this time the story about Sarah Winchester is odd and the legends started forming around her and her life. It is understandable that she would have felt the loss of her loved ones very deeply however she apparently began to believe that her family was cursed and she sought out spiritualists to help her determine what she needed to do. The story goes that a Boston Medium told Sarah that her family and fortune was indeed haunted and cursed by the spirits of all the people killed by the Winchester rifle specifically the American Indians, Civil War soldiers and others.She was told that the death of her family members was caused by these spirits and it was implied that she might be next. The medium is claimed to have told Sarah she should move west to build a house for herself and and the spirits. Also, the medium supposedly told her if construction on the house ever stopped she would join her husband and infant daughter in death but if construction did not stop she could be sure she was not in any danger. Also, the implication was that by building this house it was suppose to bring her eternal life. Interestingly enough the Henry rifle manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Rifle Company was used for years against the Indians but it was the Winchester Repeating rifle which won fame as the Rifle that won the west.

Whether the prime motivating factors that influenced Sarah to move from Connecticut to California was the information provided by the medium or the fact that Sarah suffered from arthritis and she thought the climate in California would be better for her she did leave to visit a niece in Menlo Park, California. While she was there she purchased an 8 room unfinished farm house located in the Santa Clara Valley on 161 acre from John Hamm three miles west of what is now San Jose, California. The dates differ on when she made this purchase. Some say it was in 1884 and other say it was in 1886 but regardless she immediately started spending her $20 million inheritance by adding rooms and renovations which continued 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,365 days a year for the next 38 years. One of the first things she had the gardeners do was to  plant a tall cypress hedge surrounding the house to keep prying eyes of neighbors away. She was fascinated with numbers especially the numbers 4, 6 and 13 especially the number 13 which are incorporated in this house in many ways and places. There are 13 bathrooms, windows have 13 panes, thirteen chandeliers. I will try to elaborate on this later. There is disagreement among scholars about the claim that construction never stopped except for a brief period after the 1906 earthquake.

When the April 18, 1906 earthquake happened at 5:12 A. M. she was trapped in her bedroom for several hours when the bell tower which was 7 or 8 stories tall collapsed onto the bed room where she was sleeping. When her servants finally found her and got her out of the wreckage she told the construction crew to stop working on the nearly completed front part of the house and her carpenters to board it up, leaving most of the extensive earthquake damage it as damaged. It is said the carpenters left nails partially driven into boards. as we toured the house we went through many of the rooms that had been damaged by the earthquake. The path through these rooms kept us from the walls where you could see the plaster had been shaken off the lath. Our guide explained they had to stop letting people close to the walls because people were breaking off pieces of plaster to take as souvenirs. Again according to the legends, Sarah thought the spirits were angry with her because she was spending too much time decorating and working on the front rooms. Constructions resumed on new additions and remodeling the other parts of the house. Sarah's full-time address from the earth quake until her death was in Atherton, California. She also owned homes in Los Altos and Palo Alto, California but visited them only ocassionally.

Due to constant construction and the lack of a master plan, the house became very large and quite complex. Many of the serving staff needed a map to navigate around inside the house. The house also featured doors that open into walls, staircases that lead nowhere, the recurring number 13, and windows that look into other walls. A sky light in the middle of a floor. There are two theories as to why Mrs Winchester built such an unusual house. The first is by far the most popular and states that she built the house to confuse the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifles. The second, much less popular, is that while Mrs. Winchester was an extremely wealthy woman  and could build her house any way she wanted, she had no architectural training at all, so some oddities could simple be design errors.  Personally that does not make sense at all because she was noted for not liking something and having it torn down and rebuilt or just board it up. It appears to me to be a specific design pattern she was attempting to achieve namely that of a very large labyrinth  or puzzle which to date no one has successfully solved. No one ever interviewed her and she left no notes or journals and there were no blueprints. Over time many wild stories about Sarah and her house have been circulated. It does not appear that any of Sarah's many relatives in the area ever came forwarded to dispute these wild stories or if they did they have been lost or were ignored.

In the 1920 Mrs. Winchester maintained a houseboat on San Francisco Bay at Burlingame, California which became known as " Sarah's Ark" as it was reputedly kept there as insurance against her fear of a second great flood, such as the Biblical one experienced by Noah and his family. The more mundane answer is that many people of her social standing in California at that time had house boats or yachts. The yacht was destroyed in the fire of 1929.  This is so typical of the stories about  Mrs. Winchester and the reasons she did the things she did. There seems to be at two reasons suggested but apparently we will never know the true reasons.It does seem odd that someone so into the mystic would place any value on the biblical account of Noah and the flood.

In many respects Mrs. Winchester herself appeared to be a contradiction. On the one hand she appeared very generous by paying her workers double the going rate. She was apparently an anonymous donor to many charities and it is said she invited neighborhood  children to play on the grounds or inviting them in to eat ice cream or play the piano. This does not match up with other stories about her desire for seclusion, never having visitors to the house or keeping her face covered with a dark veil at all time. There are unconfirmed stories about servants getting fired because they accidentally caught a glimpse of her without her veil.

Mrs. Sarah Winchester died in her sleep of heart failure September 5, 1922 at the age of 83. She was buried next to her husband and infant child in Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven, Connecticut. She left a will written in 13 sections, which she signed thirteen times. She was survived by her sister and many nieces and nephews to whom she left cash and  substantial trust funds. She also left cash to her favorite employees and a substantial sum to the Winchester Clinic of the General Hospital Society of Connecticut for the care and treatment of tuberculosis patients.The belongings in the house were left to her niece Mrs. Mariam I. Marriott, who took what she wanted and auctioned the rest. It took movers eight truckloads a day for six and a half weeks to empty the entire house of furniture. The furniture was not identified as coming from Winchester home which makes it impossible to track it down today. The home was auctioned off to the highest bidder who turned it into an attraction for the public with the first tourist walking through the house in February 1923, 5 months after Sarah died.

Lets look at some facts and figures about the Winchester Mystery House. It is California Registered Landmark # 868 and named to National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Construction started in 1884
Construction ends in 1922
Cost of Construction $5,500,000.
Length of Construction 38 years
Size of Original Estate 160 acres
Number of Rooms 160
Number of Doors 2,000
Number of Windows 10,000
Number of Stairways 40
Number of Fireplaces 47
Number of Chimneys 17
Number of Bathrooms 13
Number of Kitchens 6
Number of Gallons of Paint Needed to Paint Exterior 20,000

Some interesting facts picked up as we toured the house as related by our tour guide.  She had 22 carpenters, 20 domestic servants, and 18 gardeners all who had to do exactly as she instructed them. Any disagreement or suggestions about doing it a different way was cause for immediate termination of employment. It was suggested the reason for this rule was that she was receiving her instructions from the     " spirits" and she had to carry out the instructions exactly as she received them.

As stated earlier she was obsessed with numbers especially the number 13. Examples of this are throughout the house. There are 13 ceiling panels in rooms with 13 windows. There are 13 panes in the the windows
There are 13 bathrooms but apparently all of them do not work.She ordered an elaborate chandelier from Germany and when it arrived it only had 12 candles. She added a 13th candle and it is very obvious that it was not part of the original design. there is a beautiful glass window with a spider web design that has 13 colored stones in it ( this was brought from Tiffany of New York at a cost of $1500 ) an apparently has special meaning that is unknown to us today. In the seance room there are 13 coat hooks apparently for the spirits to hang their coats. Outside the house there are 13 date palm trees and 4 fountains ( 4 was an important number to her ). The green house had 13 glass copulas.

Many of the rooms are very lavish in woodwork, carvings and flooring and furnishing to entertain the good spirits. In the center of the house was a room that was blue in color and was the seance room. The room has a small desk or shelf ,  paper and writing instrument apparently to write down instructions as given by the spirits.  Interestingly the room has one door to enter the room but 3 doors to leave the room. Of these 3 doors - one goes into a closet. One doors if used would drop you straight down into a kitchen sink and the other of course lets you thankfully exit the room in the normal manner.

The grand ballroom is the most beautiful room  in the house and is very large with exotic woods and carvings throughout. The floor has 6 different hardwoods  that are placed in a beautiful design. The room has two stained glass windows and there is a magnificent fireplace and pipe organ. Between these windows is a painting of Shakespeare.  I will try to discuss the 2 windows later.
Grand Ball Room
Grand Ball Room. What Marvelous Wood Work
Shakespearean Windows On Either Side Of Fire Place
The grand Ball Room was reportedly built at a cost of $49,000. An ordinary home would have cost $1,000.00 or less.

Mrs. Winchester was a collector of stained glass and there were hundreds that were never installed and are simply stacked in a storage room.  In one room there is a very large stained glass window that was installed so that the sun would never shine through it.

As noted above the house had 40 bedrooms and Sarah never slept in the same one two nights in a room. Some of her domestic help was on hand 24 hour a day but apparently they never knew for sure which room she was in so she devised a call system where she could push a button and the servants could look at a panel and know where she was located. ( I wonder if she called for a glass of water in the middle of the night did she put on her dark veil before the servants came into the room )?
Reportedly This is the Bed In Which Sarah Winchester Died
Some of the more odd  items are the stairways. Some go up and  you end at the ceiling. One flight of stairs has 40 steps and makes many switch backs but only actually rises only 9 feet from the bottom step to the top step. Some stairs are extremely narrow and difficult to climb. as noted earlier she had arthritis and as she aged it became very bad in fact so bad that she could only lift her feet a couple of inches. To help her go up and down the stairs some stairs have very wide risers but were only 2 inches high. I am sure they worked well for her but were difficult for me. In another part of the house she had an Otis electric elevator.
Stairway stops at ceiling
Stairs With Two Inch Risers
                    The grounds and gardens around the mansion are beautiful there are several building located on the grounds and I will give a brief description of several of these. 

The " Foreman's House " was a 8 room farm house which served as the servants quarters. It had indoor plumbing and electricity. Mrs. Winchester's foreman John Hansen once occupied this house.

The " Fruit Drying Shed " contained an evaporator which was used to dry the prunes and other fruit that was grown on her estate. The evaporator dried fruit at the rate of 1 1/2 tons every 30 hours. These dried fruits were sold in nearby towns.

The " Tank House " was the place for the water holding tank. This tank was originally in the tower that was destroyed by fire in the late 1940's. The bottom portion was used as a plumber's work shop. Many of the original dies and cutters are still there. The upper floors were used for field hand's living quarters.

The " Pump House " The Pierce gas engine in this building provided electricity to the mansion and ultimately powered the Otis elevator.

The " Garage/Car Wash "  Mrs. Winchester had several cars including a 1909 French Renault and a 1917 Pierce Arrow Limousine. All of these cars were kept clean and in good repair in this building.

The " Greenhouse " used for normal green house activities. Her 18 acre garden included plants,shrubs and trees from over 100 different countries.

The " Central Garden " A crescent shaped hedge in this courtyard points to the room where Mrs. Winchester died.

The " Gas Lighting Shop "  Before electricity was installed, this plant pumped carbide gas used to light the fixtures. The gas was produced by adding small amounts of calcium carbide to water.The resulting gas was pushed through the gas lines with a piston controlled by the counterweight.

The " Egret Fountain " All the statue and fountain pieces were manufactured in New York by the J. L. Mott Company. They are made of corrosion resistant metal consisting of zinc and tin. The pedestals are made of cast iron. This fountain piece depicts the North American Egret.

The " Gardener's Shed " Mrs. Winchester had this building constructed in the shape of a key hole. Some say it represented eternal life - which Mrs. Winchester hoped to achieve by keeping the carpenters building 24 hours a day.

The " Palm Drive " This was the main driveway to the mansion. Mrs. Winchester had added her own personal touch. At one time it was lined with 13 Washingtonian  Palm Trees. 

The " Cupid Fountain " One of the features of Victorian homes was the display of the ancient classics in the statue and fountain pieces. This fountain depicts the mythological Cupid and a swan.

The " Llanada Villa " These sandstone pillars and wrought iron gates once marked the entrance to Mrs. Winchester's estate. She called it Llanada Villa.

The " Cherub Fountain " All the fountains have been restored over the years. Originally they all had brick foundations coated with several layers of rough concrete. The figures are that of a Cherub ( small boy ) riding a Hippo campus ( a sea monster that has the head of a horse and the body of a fish ).

The " Serpent Fountain " Many Victorian homes were highlighted by formal front entries. The fountain and statues were to draw attention to the front doors of the mansion. The fountain piece is a serpent and the statues are of Hebe and Demeter.
Beautiful European Art Glass Doors. You Can See The Earth Quake 
Damage On Either Side. Doors Cost $3000.00. It Is Claimed The Doors
 Were Never Used After Installation In 1906
" Architecture " The mansion's asymmetrical design and finial-capped roof lines were typical Victorian Architecture Building oddities - but such as the door that opens to an eight foot drop -- were common only to Mrs. Winchester's home.
Door To No Where
The " Coal Chute " the coal chute carried coal directly into the front basement to fire the furnace and many of the mansion's 47 fireplaces. The furnace was kept going 24 hours a day to  keep the mansion warm for her arthritic condition. She had developed a gravity feed heating system which helped keep the mansion warm.  One interesting note is that the 47 fireplaces did not all have flues or chimneys and some of them used the same one. 

The " Almond Courtyard " Before 1906 this courtyard stood in the shadow of a 7-tower.

Also in the garden at the entrance  is a statue of an Indian Chief, Little Fawn placed there to appease the Indian Spirit of Indians killed by the Winchester rifle.

The entire force behind the Winchester Mystery House is just that the mystery of the whole thing and Mrs. Winchester's life and beliefs in many occult activities such as seances and communing with spirits and allegedly following their instructions. It is alleged that Sarah had been a Theosophist, a Rosicrucian, a Baconian  and a Free Mason. The Masonic order did not accept women in the United States. Following college Sarah traveled in Europe  for three years and it is thought she may have joined the Free Masons order in Europe because they were more liberal and accepted women. So what do all those names above mean. I am certainly no expert but the dictionary gives the following: 

Rosicrucian - These were people of the 17th and 18th century who professed to be members of a secret society said to have various sorts of occult lore and power and holding esoteric religious doctrines. Its symbol was a cross with a red rose in the middle of it. Also, a member of any of several groups with doctrines and practices said to be based on those of several persons especially the Rosicrucian Order or the ancient Mystic Order Rosae Rosicrucian's or Rosicrucian ism. One interesting tid bit is that the Rosicrucian home would have a central room within which to meditate and get away from the noise outside but not for seances.

Theosophist - A group  who has doctrines and beliefs of a modern sect that incorporates elements of  Buddhism and Brahmanism.

Brahmanism - A religious doctrine and system of the former Hindu Caste System.

Baconian - A person who believes that Francis Bacon wrote the works of William Shakespeare.

Sarah Winchester was said to be a staunch supporter and adherent to the Baconian doctrine.

OK so after that brief bit of information what does it all have to do with the mystery house. Throughout the house there are examples of occult symbols and Sarah's constant use of certain numbers in the design of virtually everything in the mansion had a special meaning or message but what is it. Roger Bacon developed an elaborate  system of cyptography  in which he substituted numbers for letters. This is nothing new as the early Egyptian and Romans developed such systems and there are many variations of them. Why, guess what I have in times past even used such systems in official capacity and have developed and even used some for personal reasons. Sarah was said to be a staunch supporter of his theories and she apparently was attempting to leave a message. In fact she created a great big puzzle or labyrinth that is waiting for someone to solve. The Shakespearean windows in the grand ball room have words out of some of Shakespearean work that had special meaning to Sarah. Richard Allan Wagner wrote a book "The Lost Secret of William Shakespeare ". This was planned to be a book about Sarah but as he got deeper into the subject he explored the interest Sarah had in certain numbers and the Baconian  doctrine and the book turned out to be more on Bacon than Sarah. Very interesting but too deep for me to delve into but I do believe that Sarah was in her sad and misguided way trying to leave a message.

Finally, Henrietta Severs who was reportedly Sarah's nurse has said that Sarah was not a Theosophist and did not conduct seances in the one room as claimed. Former tour guides from years ago said they did not make up stories to tell visitors to the mansion as has been claimed  but just repeated what they had heard and may have elaborated upon them. There does not seem to be any evidence to show the owners of the mansion made any special efforts to dream up stories to tell the guests but it is obvious that such stories help  justify the name placed on Sarah's mansion - Winchester Mystery House for it is  indeed is a house of many mysteries. I would love to spend more time exploring the house.

This wraps up my 2 cents worth about the Winchester Mystery House and if you are ever in the area I recommend you take all the tours they have to offer even the tour of the basement. I will leave you with the words our tour guide left us with. She said if you liked the tour with me you can tell my boss I am Amy  if you didn't I am Molly ( not her real name ). If you like this edition of the blog I am Grandpa Bill and if you didn't I am that guy that kept following me around on my travels last spring.

I love you
Grandpa Bill

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose, Ca.11/4/2013

Notice this posting contains information about ancient Egyptian Civilization and religious practices and beliefs which are contrary to my personal beliefs. Also contained is some information on the Rosicrucian teachings which is a school of modern mysticism which is also against my personal beliefs and contrary to the teachings of the Holy Bible.
Today, January 4, 2013 was a busy day and it will takes several days after I get back to Ohio to catch up on postings of what we did and saw. A great day. First Janice took me to see the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum which was very interesting. I need to point out that my comments are those gathered from the materials given out by the museum,  photos taken at the museum, signs and plaques in and around the museum and my observation and thoughts.

Again I am having trouble getting my photos to upload. I am going to go ahead and post this now to clear this out and try again tomorrow night.

I love you all. Grandpa Bill.

As you will recall I last left you with problems up loading photographs. The beauty of having you own personal IT person ( Grandson Michael ) is to get things fixed. Mike went through all the check list thingies that ITs do and found that the problem was with Internet Explorer. It seems many people national wide were having the same problem and the blog folks were working to fix the problem. The fix for me was to switch off Internet Explorer and go to Google Chrome - problem fixed. Thanks Mike. The thing I like about this it was not my fault. Like something I did or did not do or should have done. Oh well problem fixed so on with the story about the museum.
Sign At Entrance Of Museum
First lets look at some general scenes around the museum.
Entrance To Museum
Gateway To Garden Area
Garden Area
Fountain And Back of Museum

Statue Of Augustus Caesar
Garden Trees

The obelisk pictured above is a three-quarter size replica of the original, which stood before the House of the Sun ( Sun Temple ) at Heliopolis, the Biblical city of On, in lower Egypt. This replica  was constructed in 1941. The original obelisk, which is now almost 4,000 years old, is the oldest surviving obelisk in Egypt. The inscription indicates that it was erected by Senusret I, second pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty, on the occasion of his jubilee.
Entrance To Museum
Grandpa Bill Near Statues - He's The One In Blue.
Entry Way
Upper Class Mummy

The photograph above is of a Upper - Class Egyptian male mummy. This mummy arrived at the museum in the coffin of Usermontu, which is also displayed at the museum. This mummy is probably not Usermontu who lived during the Saite Period ( 664 - 525 BCE ). The style of mummification performed on this individual matches the style used on mummies known to be from the New Kingdom ( 1549 - 1064 BCE ).  Information at the museum describes this mummy as excellently preserved but did not have any wrappings or other decorations on his body that might help to identify him. The wrappings are ancient, but did not come from this mummy. His finger nails were dyed with henna, but his hair appears to be naturally red. Henna  was a skin and hair dye. It was used to apply temporary tattoos to the hands and body. The high quality of his mummification indicates that he was from the upper class of society. The question of when this man lived still exists. In 2004 some radiocarbon test of a piece of original linen adhered to his wrist dated to 400 BCE which is later than the Saite Period. This does not mean the man actually died in 400 BCE. It was explained that often when mummies were disturbed in ancient times Egyptian priests who found the unwrapped bodies would re wrap them and hide them again. So the mystery remains. He may have been unwrapped and then  re- wrapped around 400 BCE.
Dei el Bahri Mortuary Temple
The above photographs is of a model of the vast mortuary complex of the Pharaoh Hatchepsut, one of the few women to rule ancient Egypt. She followed the traditions of the pharaohs and had her mortuary temple, Dei el Bahri, erected in the Valley of the Kings. The ancient Egyptians called this place the Djeser - djeseru, the " Holy of Holies ".  The temple is believed to have been built by Senenmut, who was a teacher of Hatchepsut's daughter Neferure. The temple is made up of three courtyards separated by colonnades. It is inside this temple that can be found the carvings of Hatchepsut's expeditions to the land of Punt in Eastern Africa. An inscription inside the temple describes import goods obtained during the expeditions as follows:
" loading of the ships very heavily with marvels of the country of Punt; all goodly fragrant woods of God's - land, heaps of myrrh resin, with fresh myrrh trees, with ebony and pure ivory, with green gold of Emu, with cinnamon wood, khesyt wood, with two kinds of incense, eye - cosmetics, with apes, monkeys, dogs, and skins of the southern panther, with natives and their children. Never was brought the like of this for any king who has been since the beginning. "
Statue Of Cleopatra VII
When I think of Cleopatra I think of the Cleopatra created by the film industry and mainly her romancing with the Roman Mark Anthony. The fact is there must have been more than one Cleopatra over time but this Cleopatra was in fact involved with Mark Anthony.
The statue of Cleopatra pictured above is very rare. It is one of seven in the world identified as the most famous queen of Egypt: Cleopatra VII. Cleopatra VII was born into a Macedonian family called the Polemics, who were famous for their victorious infighting. Matricide, patricide and fratricide were common in many generations, including Cleopatra VII's. She had several relatives killed so she might survive. For generations the Romans coveted Egypt, a bountiful source of grain they could use to feed their army.They used the fighting in Cleopatra's family as an excuse to send an envoy to Egypt: Julius Caesar. The Romans expected Caesar to choose someone who would be friendly towards the Roman Empire to be Egypt's new pharaoh. However, Julius Caesar was charmed by Cleopatra's wit and intelligence and brought her back to Rome as his lover. He supported Cleopatra as she struggled against her sister Arsinoe for the throne of Egypt.
Unfortunately Caesar was murdered on the Senate steps, and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt. The new envoy to Egypt was Mark Anthony a friend of Caesar's. Anthony also fell in love with Cleopatra, and together they fought against Rome until they were defeated and Cleopatra was captured. She committed suicide, probably so she would not be dragged through the Roman streets in shame. Many of Cleopatra's statues were destroyed by the Romans after she died.
Her pose is classic Egyptian, probable meant to remind the Romans that her family had ruled Egypt as pharaohs for three centuries. However, her face is done in the Greco-Roman style. The triple uraeus ( snake ) symbol on her brow is rare and helped to identify this statue as Cleopatra VII. This statue was broken below the ankles, and the feet were later restored using another material.
Another Mummy

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world. There was an artist rendition of them but I failed to get a photograph. It is generally believed that they were built by Nebuchadnezzar II for his homesick Medean wife Amytis, who came from a mountainous lush country. according to the Greeks, Amytis, daughter of the King of The Medes who was married to Nebuchadnezzar to create an alliance between the two nations. Nebuchadnezzar decided to construct a man made mountain with stepped gardens on top. By some accounts, the Hanging Gardens covered about three acres of ground and consisted of a series of stepped terraces supported by sun-baked brick arches, spanned with sheets of lead, then tile and finally soil into which flowers and scrubs were planted. A Bucket conveyor lifter water from a nearby canal into the highest terrace, from which it cascaded downwards, irrigating each terrace. The gardens did not actually hang as if suspended from something above but were terraced to appear if hanging.
Although Diodorus and Strabo wrote about the famous gardens, they probably never actually saw the Hanging Gardens. The descriptions given by the Greek historians probably came from the accounts given by Alexander the Greats soldiers. No Babylonian records or concrete physical evidence survives to prove their existence. Babylonian records show that some gardens did exist at the site of Nineveh, far to the north and they in many respect seem to match the description of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon but this is all just speculation.
Babylon plays a very important place in God dealing with his unfaithful people and in fact used the Kingdom of Babylon and it's king Nebuchadnezzar to punish his people. They were led off to slavery in Babylon. Through out the Old Testament of the Bible you find that the Israelites repeatedly went against God command that they were to have no gods other than Him. They repeatedly picked up the worship of the gods of nations surrounding them. This was brought about by them disobeying God in another respect that they were not to intermarry with people of the nations surrounding them. In most instances the foreign spouse introduced the worship of idols and foreign gods into the home and the nation of Israel.
In modern time Saddam Hussein, former dictator of Iraq had many ambitious project and one was he hoped to build a new city of Babylon. In fact for years he worked at building his city of Babylon over the same spot as the original city of Babylon and destroyed much of the important artifacts. Following the disposing of Saddam Hussein the nations of the world have joined to try and save much of the area from further damage.
Above, I made mention about the speculation of whether the Hanging Gardens of Babylon  ever existed. One thing that is not speculation is that the City of Babylon existed and will exist at some time in the future and will play a major part in future biblical prophecy.
The Great Sphinx Tablet
More than a thousand years after its completion, the Pharaoh Thutmose IV (1400 - 1390 BCE ) undertook the first major restoration of the Great Sphinx. He erected a massive granite stele between the paws of the Spinx as a monument to that restoration and to commemorate his succession to the throne. The inscription recounts a dream the young prince had while sleeping under the head of the Sphinx which was half buried in sand at the time. It states:
" Now the statue of the very great Khepri ( the Great Sphinx ) rested in this place, great of fame, sacred of respect, the shade of Ra resting on him. Memphis and every city on its two sides came to him, their arms in adoration to his face, bearing great offerings for his ka. One of these days it happened that prince Thutmose came traveling at the time of midday. He rested in the shade of this great god. ( Sleep and ) dream ( took possession of him ) at the moment the sun was at zenith.
" Then he found the majesty of this nobel god speaking from his own mouth like a father speaks to his son, and saying: ' Look at me, observe me, my son Thutmose, I am your father Horemakhet-Khepri-Ra-Atum. I shall give to you the kingship ( upon the land before the living ) ( Behold my condition is like one in illness ), all ( my limbs being ruined ).  The Sand of the desert, upon which I used to be, ( now ) confronts me; and it is in order to cause that you do what is in my heart that I have waited.' "
During the first year of his reign as king, Thutmose IV fulfilled his promise to the Sphinx. His restoration project freed the Sphinx from the sand and reestablished its worship center at Giza.
The cast pictured above is life-size, but only shows the readable portion of the tablet. The original stela is 12 feet tall and weighs approximately 15 tons. The Sphinx tablet is an example of a substantial recreation. Often when these large pieces are created, durable materials such as metal or wood may be added to the plaster in order to give the piece more strength and stability.
 One thing I found interesting was the program the museum has for children although I suppose anyone could take part. Upon entry to the museum you will find a small booklet entitled " Passport to Ancient Egypt." As you proceed through the museum you are to answer questions in the booklet about the area of the museum you are visiting. In each gallery you will learn about a different aspect of Egyptian culture beginning with the ancient Egyptian temple and religion. As you leave each gallery you will find a stamp pad and stamp with which you can stamp your passport book with a hieroglyphic symbol. You are asked to imagine yourself as someone who lived in ancient Egypt and you worship many gods and goddesses and you make offerings to the deities to ensure that they protect and help you. You are asked what types of offerings you would leave for the goddess. In another gallery you are told that to the ancient Egyptians, the king is a living god, and such is very powerful and is a living version of the falcon god Horus and thought to have magical powers. It is the Pharaoh's responsibility to keep you safe, prosperous and happy.  In each gallery you are asked to believe you are an ancient Egyptian and imagine yourself doing the things described or use the tools shown. In the Afterlife Gallery you are told that when the Egyptian died, they believed that their souls would continue to live on in the afterlife as long as they were mummified and buried with all of  the proper equipment. Think about what each object meant to the owner and why it would be needed in the after life. The final question in this section of the booklet is " what items would you want to accompany you to the afterlife?"  Finally you enter " The Tomb " after you have prepared the objects that you want to bring to the afterlife. As you walk through the tomb, picture it as your own and think about the meaning and significance of each part. You are asked to think about things you saw and how you would design these for your own tomb. The final question is " How would the elements of the tomb that you selected help you to achieve eternal life? "
I don't know about you but I see this as a specific action to introduce this worship process to the children and at the least just plant the seeds for a pagan worship system. I saw many parents going through the museum with their children and helping them answer the questions and write answers and complete exercises in the passport booklet. The back of the passport booklet is a Hieroglyphic Alphabet and children were asked to write their names using these symbols. Can you do it?
With that little exercise I finish my visit to the Egyptian Museum and I hope you enjoy the visit as much as I did. I always have such a feeling of foreboding when I am in an atmosphere of pagan religions and practices and I constantly wonder how these people could follow such beliefs and practices. I am confident this feeling I have is the Holy Spirit protecting me and helping me keep my eye on the true and living God.

Grandpa Bill and I love you.