Madonna of the Rosary

While exploring resident Mad Taxidermist Rob Reysen’s old cow barn last year, we stumbled upon this antique religious picture. Thankfully, Rob managed to salvage it from the garbage pile for me.
Antique Madonna of the Rosary picture depicting the 15 Mysteries

After being assaulted by hordes of bulbous, black spiders from inside the cracks of the frame, Christina and I decided it might need to be cleaned up a little before we hang it on the wall.

The image depicts the Virgin Mary holding a baby Jesus with a rosary. Around it is a series of 15 scenes which we originally thought were meant to represent the Stations of the Cross. When we managed to extract the print from the frame, we realized it is numbered and the title is Madonna of the Rosary.

Madonna of the Rosary antique numbered print

Despite an interest in religious art and symbolism, as well as theology in general, I am not Catholic or even remotely religious. Much of the imagery was meaningless to me. I hit Google, using the title as the starting point. A little researched uncovered a somewhat similar print sold on Ebay. The listing described the smaller images to represent the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary, rather than the 14 Stations of the Cross.

Apparently the traditional 15 Mysteries of the Rosary are based on some long-standing custom by Pope Pius V from the 16th century. The mysteries are grouped into three sets: the Joyful mysteries, the Sorrowful mysteries, and the Glorious mysteries.

Joyful Mysteries

  • The Annunciation. Fruit of the Mystery: Humility
  • The Visitation. Fruit of the Mystery: Love of Neighbors
  • The Nativity. Fruit of the Mystery: Poverty (poor in spirit), Detachment from the things of the world, Contempt of Riches, Love of the Poor
  • The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: Purity, Obedience
  • The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. Fruit of the Mystery: True Wisdom and True Conversion, Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus

Sorrowful Mysteries

  • The Agony in the Garden. Fruit of the Mystery: Sorrow for Sin, Uniformity with the will of God
  • The Scourging at the Pillar. Fruit of the Mystery: Mortification, Purity
  • The Crowning with Thorns. Fruit of the Mystery: Contempt of the world, Courage
  • The Carrying of the Cross. Fruit of the Mystery: Patience
  • The Crucifixion. Fruit of the Mystery: Salvation, Forgiveness

Glorious Mysteries

  • The Resurrection. Fruit of the Mystery: Faith
  • The Ascension. Fruit of the Mystery: Hope and desire for ascension to Heaven
  • The Descent of the Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Mystery: Holy Wisdom to know the truth and share with everyone, Divine Charity, Worship of the Holy Spirit
  • The Assumption of Mary. Fruit of the Mystery: Grace of a Happy Death and True Devotion towards Mary
  • The Coronation of the Virgin. Fruit of the Mystery: Perseverance and Crown of Glory, Trust in Mary’s Intercession

Cleaning up the antique gold picture frame

The frame cleaned up nicely. It is in rough condition, as is the print, but that only adds to the creepy religious patina.

Inside Amityville: The Story Behind My Amityville Horror

Tony Brueski of Real Ghost Stories Online talks with filmmaker Eric Walter about the making of his documentary My Amityville Horror. The film explores the controversial story of The Amityville Horror from the perspective of Daniel Lutz, the oldest of the three Lutz.

In this interview, Walter discusses how he came into contact with Lutz, and how the 8 hour interview came to change his perception of the Amityville events.

Daniel Lutz has lived in the shadow of The Amityville Horror his whole life

My Amityville Horror

What is it like to live with the stigma of being involved in arguably the most controversial real-life haunted house story ever told? In the new documentary My Amityville Horror, Daniel Lutz tells his story for the very first time.

Daniel Lutz stands in front of the real-life Amityville horror house at 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville, NY

There has been much speculation about the events that took place in the 28 days between December 1975 and January 1976 while the Lutz family occupied the house at 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville, NY. Over the years dozens of books and movies have weaved supernatural tales of a demonic pig creature with glowing red eyes, swarms of flies, levitation and much more, all seemingly correlating to the brutal DeFeo murders in the house 13 months earlier.

Daniel Lutz has lived in the shadow of The Amityville Horror his whole lifeNewlyweds George and Kathy Lutz moved into the now infamous Amityville house to a start a new life. Daniel, who was just nine years old at the time, was the oldest of Kathy’s three children from a previous marriage. Now, close to 40 years after his family fled the house in terror, the stonemason living in Queens is the subject of the documentary My Amityville Horror as the “lost witness to a world famous haunting.”

Throughout the interview with director Eric Walter, Daniel claims he always just wanted a chance to tell his story, while alternately seeming to feign anger toward Walter for making him dredge up old traumas. As he begins to tell his story, he seems to be doing nothing more than recounting scenes from the movie alongside deep-seated emotional issues with his domineering step-father. His recollection of events tend to seem contrived, disassociated. Besides a rather unbelievable claim of having witnessed George practicing telekinesis in the garage one day, he brings no new details or insight to the table.

Walter seems to have been skeptical of at least some of Daniel’s claims, but seeking the truth wasn’t exactly the purpose of the film. Walter has had a fascination with the Amityville story for a long time. At 18 he launched the website AmityvilleFiles.com, now the largest archive of Amityville-related research on the web. It is through that website that Daniel Lutz reached out to him. Walter says the film is a character study, examining how the story has effected those who live in its shadow.

Ed and Lorraine WarrenThe film features many prominent voices in Amityville history, but the most interesting part of the film is when Danny and the crew visit the home of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens have spent a lifetime researching and investigating supposedly paranormal cases. They have authored many books on their investigations, and started an occult museum in their house to display the haunted objects they have accumulated over the years. They were among the very first to investigate the Lutz’s claims, corroborating the evil presence in the house with their expertise in demonology and clairvoyance.

Ed passed away in 2006, but Lorraine continues their life work. Because Ed communicated to her from the afterlife that she should.

When the documentary crew comes to her house, Lorraine discusses her conversation with the Lutz kids during a stroll on the beach sometime shortly after the incident. Then the tone turns more serious. Lorraine wants to show two very powerful religious relics, but is nervous to unveil them if there are any non-believers present. She asks the crew if everyone believes in God. Daniel threatens that he will “call them out on it later” if anyone isn’t being truthful.

Though there are a couple of “agnostics” in the room, Lorraine decides it will be okay. She reveals a small crucifix she claims to be made out of or infused with wood from the actual cross Christ was crucified on. The other object is a religious icon containing a hair of the Catholic saint Padre Pio, which supposedly protected her during the March 6th, 1976 investigation of the Amityville house.

This is Daniel’s first time speaking publicly about his experiences in the Amityville house. The other Lutz children, Christopher and Melissa, declined to participate in the film. Melissa, who was very young at the time, has always preferred her privacy. In 2011, however, Christopher decided to speak up. He claimed that most of the details in the original book and movie were made up, offering a different perspective where George’s tampering with the occult was to blame for the haunting.

Listen to his interview with Spooky Southcoast here.

Whether Amityville was a horror or a hoax, Eric Walter’s film has successfully added a new facet to events that have been scrutinized for decades. It reveals a previously unexplored page of the story with testimony that seems to unintentionally speak more truth than any other before it.

My Amityville Horror will be an important piece of the canon for many years to come.

Post-apocalyptic dioramas by Lori Nix

End of the World Dioramas by Lori Nix

Nature consumes the remains of human civilization in these miniature post-apocalyptic dioramas.

Remains of Six Found in Cars at Bottom of Lake in Oklahoma

The skeletal remains of six bodies in two cars that were last seen over 40 years ago have been found at the bottom of a lake in Oklahoma.
Cars found at the bottom of Foss Lake in Custer County, Oklahoma with the skeletal remains of six missing persons

Oklahoma troopers found the cars decaying side by side in about 12 feet of water during a training exercise with new sonar equipment on September 10. When they were pulled from the lake, bones were found in each – the remains of three people in each car. A human skull was floating in the water.

The discovery may potentially solve two decades-old missing persons cases.

One of the cars, a blue 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, is believed to be associated with the disappearance of three high school students from the small town of Sayre, OK. They were last seen on Nov. 20, 1970 heading to a football game in Elk City. The investigation at the time noted speculation that they may have detoured to go hunting at Foss Lake, instead.

The case never had a lead.

1950s car found in Foss Lake with the skeletal remains of three bodies insideThe second car is a 1950s-era Chevrolet that may be associated with an old story about a couple or group of three who disappeared in the early 1960s. They were last seen ten miles south of the area in Canute, on their way to Foss Lake.

The missing persons database does not record open cases earlier than 1969, so the local legend is all they have to go on at this point.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with any information to contact them immediately at (580) 323-1616.

Update 10/27/14: DNA Solves Foss Lake Bodies Mystery