Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Flying over Maryland's Eastern Shore

I took a flight yesterday out of the Bay Bridge Airport for an aerial tour of Maryland's Eastern Shore. We took off from Kent Island and flew over Poplar Island, Cambridge, Oxford, St. Michaels, and other areas. I had a GoPro camera on my head and shot this video. It was shot in HD, but Youtube may switch you to a lower quality version depending on your internet speed.

I flew with Trident Aircraft in a Cessna. I was very happy with the flight and the professionalism of the pilot.

Watch below or click here.

YouTube - Flying over Annapolis
Oxford, Maryland
Witchcraft traditions in Maryland - Dorchester County 
Katie Coburn, witch of Plain Dealing Creek, Talbot County, Maryland

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kensington Day of the Book

Two Sundays ago on April 26, I was in Kensington, Maryland for their Day of the Book festival. The event is related to World Book and Copyright Day, which was created by the UN to encourage literacy.

Mainly authors, book dealers, artists, and other vendors line the roads in Old Town Kensington to sell their products. I had a table where I sold copies of my books, including Witch Trials, Legends, and Lore of Maryland.

As you can see on my sign (if you click to enlarge it), I offered to accept payment in cash, by check, through paypal, and Bitcoins. I can accept Bitcoins through an app on my phone. Since I was in the "People's Republic of Montgomery County" home to the most pro-big government population this side of North Korea, I wasn't expecting many to be supportive of the decentralized electronic currency. One old guy felt it necessary to try to argue with me about why he thought Bitcoins are a scam. I just smiled and said I wasn't worried about losing a few dollars in Bitcoins if they are. Others seem amused by the concept and engaged me in conversation about it. It brought people to my table and maybe helped me sell a few books.

The festival was well attended. The picture from the left is from right after the event started. Soon the street was filled with people and I was too pre-occupied with my table to take more pictures.

The event lasted from 11am to 4pm and thankfully this year we had good weather. About two years ago we had heavy rain all day and it ended early.

The festival is organized by Elisenda Sola-Sole, owner of the Kensington Row Bookshop. If you are ever around the area, be sure to visit her shop. It carries many unique books and other items. She has also been supportive of my books and always has signed copies of Witch Trials, Legends, and Lore of Maryland for sale.

Selling at book fairs wouldn't pay my mortgage. Nevertheless, I always enjoy going to these events, especially as it gives me a chance to meet other writers. This year my table was between authors J.D. Brayton and Matthew Kastel. I also had a chance to speak to Susan Elnicki Wade, co-author of Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay. I encourage you to take a look at their work.

If you are an author and want to sell your books, you should consider signing up for a table at next year's event. If you enjoy reading books, you should visit next year. There is a wide selection of books for sale. Many are quite good ones that you may never see in Barnes & Noble or featured on Amazon. If nothing else, you will have a nice day walking around the area.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Governor's Bridge - Bowie, MD

The Patuxtent River is the dividing line between Anne Arundel County and Prince George's County. Governor's Bridge, which just so happens to be located on Governor's Bridge Road, crosses the river and connects the two counties.

According to the State of Maryland, "the site of the bridge has been used as a crossing since the mid-eighteenth century."  The name, they speculate, may come from the fact that Governor Ogle, in the mid 1700's, used a bridge that was previously at this spot to commute between his home in Bowie and Annapolis. That bridge no longer exists.

The current metal truss bridge was built sometime between 1907 and 1912. It is a single lane bridge on a two lane road, so care must be taken when using it.

A simple unassuming little bridge like this really shouldn't attract much attention. Yet rumors about the supernatural have turned this structure into a local legend.

The mysterious Goatman of Prince George's County is said to inhabit the area. This half-man, half-goat beast is thought by many to live in the woods around the bridge. Jimmy Tupper VS The Goatman of Bowie is a 2012 movie about this creature. It was shot in and around the area. You even see the bridge in at least one scene, although it is never mentioned by name. The movie was clearly inspired by the Blair Witch Project and was sort of slow at times. It got much better near the end. A sequel was hinted at and I hope it gets made.

There are also stories about it being haunted. Another blog tells a popular story:
a young unmarried teen-aged girl that became pregnant. Afraid to tell her parents, the girl took her newborn baby and dropped it over the side of the bridge. Realizing what she had done, the girl jumped from the bridge and fell to her own death. According to many eyewitnesses, one can see the woman standing in the middle of the bridge, frightening drivers.

Of course, the biggest problem with this story is that while the baby would have drowned, the jump is not high enough to kill a person. I suppose the girl could have also drowned, if she didn't know how to swim. There is, however, no record that I can find of an incident like this ever taking place at the bridge. Crybaby bridge legends are fairly common all over the US and are not to be taken too seriously.

There are stories about terrible car accidents over the years at or near the bridge. It is a one lane bridge on a two lane road that is curvy and not well lit, so the fact that there have been accidents nearby is not surprising. Throw in the fact that teenagers and other young people are visiting the bridge, often at night and under the influence, and, of course, there are going to be deaths. People like to visit the bridge and post videos of it on Youtube. These people got out of their car and walked on the bridge, on a foggy night.

One benefit of these types of adventures is that sooner or later some of the people involved are going to get killed. So if the bridge wasn't haunted before, it will soon be.

Of course, while it is quite reasonable to be concerned about homicidal satyrs  and ghosts, there is another reason to be worried while travelling over Governor's Bridge. According the the Maryland Historical Trust, "When the bridge was surveyed in 1995, it was closed to traffic. However, it has since been re-opened, although no significant alterations are evident." Well, maybe the Goatman fixed whatever was wrong.

Maryland Folklore - book review
In search of Anne Arundel County's "Midgetville"