Oct 25, 2016

Halloween Web - The Windesphere Witch

Here's the second witch interview I promised a couple days ago. 
Let's meet Beth Schreibman Gehring.

Hi Beth, please introduce yourself.

My name is Beth Schreibman Gehring and I’m affectionately known as The Windesphere Witch. You also might know me from my Outlander themed facebook page – My Outlander Love Affair, also home of  Milady’s Magical Pantry & Stillroom. It’s 11,000 strong and we have a wonderful time discussing all things Herbal and Scotland!

I'm a good old fashioned greenwitch/herbalist/aromatherapist/life-coach. I’ve written a book that I’m very proud of Called “Stirring the Senses” that can be found on Amazon. My next book titled Milady’s Pantry - Garden Spells, Kitchen Alchemy and Other Sexy Secrets from the 18th Century and Beyond! will be coming out this holiday season!

Yes…I really am a witch. I’m a good witch though…I’ve got no time for troublemakers.  I believe in the words “Harm None!”. If you want manipulations and curses, I’m not your girl! What I teach is a holistic way of looking at your life. I love nothing more than to spend long days in my gardens tending my healing herbs, fruits and vegetables, promoting healing through herbalism, flower and gem essences, aromatherapy and Reiki, cooking gorgeous, healthy and delicious meals for my family (4 legged and 2) and friends while brewing delightful herbal potions to help keep you healthy, gorgeous and sexy all over, inside and out! That's what I love to do and I've learned over the years how to create the life where this is possible.

I believe that in designing powerful rituals for your life, healthy and satisfying food to eat and beautiful environments to live in, that we can begin to create a life that you will love no matter your financial or cultural means. Clearing the emotional and physical space to have a life big enough to be filled with incredible joy and celebration will supply all of the magic necessary to create any possibility that you could ever dream of!

If you’d like to work with me I do offer a 30 minute, free of charge gift session so you can discover what's possible through your participation in this program. I’ll answer your questions one on one and explore the specific dreams you have been yearning to bring to life. There’s no obligation to work with me further after that, but we’ll have fun, I promise! Sign up for a gift session here.

What was Halloween like for you as a child?

I grew up in Pepper Pike, Ohio and we just didn’t have a lot of Trick or Treaters which made me so sad. Very early on I knew that I was a witch, but I had to wait to grow up and get married to celebrate the season the way that I wanted to. My husband and I bought an old century farm (1848) out in Burton Ohio and named it Windesphere, hence the Windesphere Witch! It turned out to be very haunted which was definitely a plus! We spent every Samhain with our neighbors and we threw wonderful parties, complete with hayrides , bonfires and midnight walks to go owling . Sadly, I don’t have pictures of those, but the memories are locked forever in my heart.  When we moved back into Cleveland Heights several years ago, (Cleveland Heights LOVES Halloween!) I found myself immersed in a wonderful neighborhood full of children.

To get to know my neighbors, I decided to throw a huge Halloween party and now I do it every year. Autumn in Ohio is wonderful, fall leaves, pumpkins and a real harvest experience. It’s also spooky too, because as I said, Cleveland Heights really loves Halloween so on Trick or Treat evening the entire neighborhood for miles is filled with spooky sounds! I cook all day, huge copper cauldrons full of pumpkin soup, Chili and a spicy witches brew for the adults. The kids get root beer floats dyed black with scoops of homemade black vanilla ice cream and the parents get root beer flavored vodka in theirs! There’s lots of candy corn, homemade caramel apples (dipped in real homemade caramel!) and always a skeleton piƱata. I make platters of barbecued drumsticks and lots of salsa and guacamole.

Come Halloween eve, I can be found sitting on my front porch, with Halloween radio blaring out lots of music and a TV screen playing old  shows like Dark Shadows , the Munsters and the Addams Family. Because it’s usually freezing cold on Halloween here I’ve always got hot adult beverages for the parents! This year I’m going to load up the Yamaha piano in the basement with a creepy soundtrack that will shake the house. I can’t wait!

Do you have a special Halloween memory you'd like to share?

My favorite year of all time was the year that I dressed up as a witch…well to be fair I always dress up as a witch but this was different. I’d just gotten back from Salem and I decided to put on simpler cloths and my cape as usual, but instead of decking myself out with glitter, I rubbed dirt all over my face and put leaves in my hair.  I’m naturally very pale and I used a blue urban decay lipstick and eye shadow. The whole effect was a bit like the corpse candle, the strange electric blue fungus that creeps onto dead bodies that’s never seen anywhere but on a battlefield. To complete the effect I put a rope around my neck and had a friend tie the 13 knot hangman’s noos . Then I drove to work. I walked in the door and my mother screamed and fainted. My aunt, with whom I had a difficult relationship with said, “That looks good on you dear”. My next customer said “Well hello Miss Salem…I just got back from  Boston and I saw your picture in a museum.” I tell you...my day was made!

What about a favorite costume? Although that last one sounds great!

I wish I had a picture of my favorite. I wore a lion costume from the time I was 3 until I was 12. I love lions…and I used to love Halloween so I could put on my costume. I just knew that I was really a lion trapped in a human body. Sometimes I still think that I am!

How do you celebrate Halloween these days?

Like I mentioned, I always have a wonderful party. Not too scary, but just enough! Then because my parents have both passed, I drive to where their ashes are scattered and I leave a wee dram of my father’s favorite single malt and my mother’s favorite Bristol Cream sherry under the tree while making a wish for the New Year..Samhain is after all the Witches New Year…our Highest Holy day….the greatest and most powerful of our Sabbats and of course I read Tarot for the New Year.

What other things do you do for the season?

I always watch Practical Magic at least once and definitely Bell Book and Candle! Definitely “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” I adore Interview with the Vampire and the Lost Boys.. and sometimes The Omen. Never the Twilight Series…I’m old school that way. In my witchy world Vampires just don’t sparkle. (Amen!)

I generally re-read Anne Rice’s Vampire Series from start to finish and of course lots of Edgar Allen Poe. I listen to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein on Audiobook, because no matter how many times I hear it I love it! I always go to the small family cemetery in Burton Ohio where Lucy, our resident ghost is buried. There are lots of children buried in the cemetery with her so I always decorate the graves with pumpkins, candy corn and Indian corn. I will usually get up at 5:00 in the morning on the second weekend of October to drag out the copper cauldrons at the Century Village in Burton to stir apple butter over open flames and watch the apple butter spirits dance around in the fragrant steam. I always love to listen to Halloween Radio, and of course there are a million wonderful symphonies composed for the season such as Saint Saens,  Danse Macabre and Berlioz’s Dreams of a Witches Sabbath. How about Franz Liszt’s Totentanz?  Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead is pretty compelling too!

What makes Halloween special for you?

I can’t speak for anyone else but I love a season where I get to be myself and quite open about it! I love to play dress up, I always have. Halloween gives us the opportunity to try on different personalities that we wouldn’t normally feel comfortable with, so it’s a fun excuse to role play! Besides, there’s the possibility of all of that leftover candy!

Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was Reeses Peanut Butter Cups! I know that’s sacrilege, but I’m just not a peanut butter and chocolate kind of witch!

My favorite thing to get was a Heath Bar! Any Size! And Malted Milk Balls!

Where can people find you online?

They can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and of course at www.thewindespherewitch.com

Thanks for joining in, hope it was fun for you.

I had a blast! Thank you for including me!

Be sure to check out all the Countdown to Halloween bloggers!

Oct 24, 2016

Mansion Monday - Tales from the Haunted Mansion Review

When I was at DisneyWorld a few weeks back, I found this book that had somehow slipped under my radar. I picked up the Kindle version and gave it a read. The actual physical book is gorgeous and is almost worth the price just to have it sitting on your shelf.

From Amazon:
"Welcome, foolish mortals, to Disney Press' spookiest chapter book series yet: Tales from the Haunted Mansion! Based on the attractions from the Disney Parks, each new book tells the story of one of the Haunted Mansion's 999 ghosts. With eerie illustrations throughout and a beautiful three-piece cloth cover, the books are designed to look like they came straight from the library in the Haunted Mansion."

First off, the main thing you need to be aware of is that this is aimed at the grade school set. If you still enjoy Goosebumps, you should find this entertaining. The second thing to know is that although the summary states these are tales of the Mansion's 999 ghosts, they are not any ghosts you've seen on the ride. No Bride, no Hatbox Ghost, not even Hitchhiking Ghosts. Maybe they'll get to the more "famous" ghosts in future volumes.

The book is about four grade school kids who like to tell spooky stories and call themselves The Fearsome Foursome, sort of like The Midnight Society. One day, they receive invitations to the Caribbean and become Pirates. Kidding, I'm just checking to see if you're actually reading! No, they are invited to a dilapidated old mansion. After venturing inside, they encounter a ghostly librarian who traps them in a room with no windows and no doors. He insists on reading them tales from one of the library's books. Tales that feature each of them!

The first 20 pages or so when the kids go into the Mansion are like you're going on the ride. There's plenty of description and dialog lifted directly from the attraction. Unfortunately, they only get as far as the library. I mean, if you need a room to tell stories in, there you go, but I wanted more Mansion in my Haunted Mansion book! If you're a big Mansion fan, you'll find a few Easter Eggs, mostly in the form of characters names that are in tribute to the Imagineers.

Amicus Arcane, the spirited librarian telling the tales, acts as a classic horror comic anthology host. Some people will find him annoying as he interjects his own comments while tells the stories. And some of the puns are as groan worthy as the Cryptkeeper.

I don't want to get into the stories, I'll save that surprise for you. Fans expecting to uncover the history of their favorite attraction characters will no doubt be disappointed. I think as long as you're okay with a few short Goosebumps-type stories sprinkled with a little Mansion flavor, you'll be fine.

You can get Tales from the Haunted Mansion Vol 1 from Amazon.

Oct 23, 2016

Funko ReAction Pumpkin King Figure

I do a pretty good job of resisting buying a lot of the awesome stuff Funko puts out. But when I saw this guy in Toys R Us recently, I took it as a sign from the Great Pumpkin and had to get him! Plus I will usually buy pumpkin-headed people anyway.

The best and worst thing for me about the ReAction figures is the card art. The cards always look great and I never want to open them! But there's no way I"m going down the "buy one to open, one to keep carded" road.

In case you're not familiar with the ReAction figures, they're designed just like the figures you had as a kid...if you're a kid that grew up in the 70s/80s. They generally have 5 points of articulation and sometimes come with an accessory. Very retro.

Ol' Pumpkin King Jack comes with a torch. I kind of wish they'd given him something more Halloween-y. Or maybe the Halloween Town sign. But I'm not complaining, I would have been just as happy to have him with no accessory. He is the Pumpkin King after all!

If you're craving a new Halloween mix (and really, who doesn't?) head over to Halloween Hot Sauce and grab their 2016 mix: Songs for Seance.

Don't forget to visit all the Countdown to Halloween bloggers!


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