The Fair Rosamund




Going a bit off this month’s theme…

This is Rosamund Clifford (1150? – 1176). She was the mistress of King Henry II of England.

She grew up in Clifford Castle on the River Wye and had 2 sisters, Amice and Lucy, and 3 brothers, Walter II de Clifford, Richard and Gilbert.

There are many interesting stories that surround Rosamund’s life, but the most common is that King Henry took her in as his mistress- but in order to hide the affair from his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, he kept Rosamund in a room at the end of a very complicated maze in Woodstock. Eventually Eleanor got through the maze and confronted the young mistress- forcing her to choose between death by dagger or death by poison. The young girl chose poison and died. However, this story does not appear in any documents until the 14th century. Hmmm.

Not in question… her beauty. She was known to be devastatingly gorgeous which most likely fueled the romantic, but fictitious, tales of her existence.

Here’s a GREAT article on all the myths associated with the Fair Rosamund:



The Storyteller


Te Ata Fisher, also known as Mary Frances Thompson (1895-1995) was a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, and performed as a representative of Native Americans throughout the United States, including a state dinner for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939.

She made her debut as a storyteller/performer when she was a senior in the Oklahoma College for Women- telling stories and singing songs from various Native American tribes. Soon after graduating, she toured the country sharing her culture. She continued her studies at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh and then eventually moved to New York City where she performed in several Broadway productions.

Her career spanned over 60 years.

There is a movie in the works, produced by the Chickasaw Nation based on Te Ata’s amazing life and career. More info (and it looks beautiful!) here:


Ageless Women, Timeless Advice


I am very proud to share this incredibly special book with all of you. This was a true labor of love by the author, and myself.

“Throughout history wisdom has been passed from generation to generation through tales told, songs sung, and rituals performed by women elders. Yet in many cultures, particularly the Western culture, as women age they become marginalized and nearly invisible. The mental image of “wise” is almost exclusively portrayed by men: God, Merlin, Tribal Chiefs, Confucious, Socrates, the aging college professor – all men. Who are their feminine counterparts? The wisdom of older women is indisputable. Having lived decades raising children and sometimes grandchildren, caring for ill husbands and parents, creating “nests” from which progeny fly out of to be productive members of society, and often being forced to observe more than participate in the events around them, gives older women unique insights and wisdom to help future generations not only survive but thrive. As a society, however, we often fail to capitalize on that wisdom. Instead, we marginalize women who no longer look like Madison Avenue’s definition of vibrant and relevant and overlook the myriad ways in which their existence is actually essential to the survival of us all. Now, from the author of the bestselling trilogy of books for women, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich, and Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It, comes a book that honors older women. After spending a year speaking with and photographing women around the globe and collecting stories and remembrances from the families of women who have passed away, Dr. Lois Frankel offers this compilation of wisdom that ranges from heartwarming to hilarious. Beautifully illustrated by Lisa Graves, Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom is a book sure to be passed from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter with pages included to capture their own family wisdom. Award-winning singer/songwriter Rita Coolidge offers this early praise: “It’s about time for a book like this. For too long the wisdom of older women has gone unnoticed, unappreciated, and undervalued. Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom is sure to put a smile on your face and the faces of the women you share it with.”

You can order here:

One Who Goes About


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Nanyehi (translates to “one who goes about”), also known as Nancy Ward (1738- 1822) was a “Beloved Woman” or “Ghigau” of the Cherokee tribe. With this title, she was allowed to sit on councils and make decisions for her people. She wanted a peaceful coexistence with the European Americans and functioned as an ambassador between her tribe and the new settlers.

She married Tsu-la” or “Kingfisher” who was a member of the Deer Clan. In the Battle of Taliwa (a land dispute between the Cherokee and Muscogee) Nanyehi chewed bullets for her husband so the jagged edges would cause maximum damage- when Tsu-la was killed, she picked up his rifle and kept fighting. The Cherokee people won the battle.

During one particular negotiation between the Cherokee and the settlers, Nanyehi was surprised that the Americans did not have any female negotiators… her quote: “You know that women are always looked upon as nothing; but we are your mothers; you are our sons. Our cry is all for peace; let it continue. This peace must last forever. Let your women’s sons be ours; our sons be yours. Let your women hear our words.”

She is remembered as an important figure to the Cherokee people but is also considered an early pioneer for women in American politics.

There is a more in-depth article on her life here:

Warrior Woman


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Featuring Native American women this month! Several HW Facebook followers made the suggestion- so thank you!

This is Dahteste (1860 – 1955). She was a Choconen Apache warrior. Despite her warrior status, she was remarkably beautiful. As an expert horsewoman, she joined forces with Geronimo. After being part of several battles against the US Cavalry, she worked to negotiate peace. She was fluent in English which enabled her to become a messenger and translator for her people.

Unfortunately, her efforts to work with the US Cavalry did not work in her favor. Dahteste was arrested, along with Geronimo and several others (including her friend and fellow female warrior, Lozen) in 1886 as a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. She spent 19 years in prison – surviving pneumonia and tuberculosis.

When she was finally released, Dahteste spent the rest of her days at Whitetail, on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico.

Dracula’s Castle


Happy Halloween!!!!

In celebration of my favorite holiday, I’ve painted Bran Castle.

This castle was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s, Dracula.

Although there is no evidence that Stoker ever visited the castle, it does have a very dark history.

Stoker’s Dracula was based on an actual villain, Vlad the Impaler. In the 1400s, Vlad ruled Transylvania. He was a terrifying and cruel ruler and responsible for 80,000 deaths- mostly those who opposed his reign. Dracula was actually his father’s name.

Vlad, proving to be a fearless warrior (there had to be better ways) invoked a terrifying psychological warfare as a way of intimidating his people. As you can probably guess, his nickname “Vlad the Impaler” was given due to the fact he like to impale his victims on shape spikes throughout his lands. What makes it even more gruesome is that he put them on the top of the spike, alive, and let gravity pull them down. Bit of a sadist. His most offensive and horrific torture was reserved for women, especially pregnant women.  There are records that indicated he drink his victims’  blood and dined on elaborate feasts next to those slowly sliding down the spikes. Evil. Pure evil.

At the time, the area was quite lawless, so some historians believe his methods were necessary. Some Romanians still view him as a hero. WHAT? uh… ok. I’m open to discussion, but it’s going to be hard to sway me to believe he was anything but a monster.

Anyway, back to Bran Castle. It is often thought to be the official home of the fictitious Dracula, however, there is a very vague connection to the book, the author, or Vlad the Impaler. It was used by Vlad as fortified citadel on the fight with Turks after he conquired Brasov in 1460. Towards the end of the 13th century, it was taken over by the Saxons in that region in order to protect the City of Brasov, an important trade center. It would seem, from doing some research, that Vlad only spent a short time on the castle grounds.

Bran Castle continues to make top ten lists for “Most Haunted Castle in Europe” and is only second to Leap Castle in Ireland.

You can watch an episode of Ghost Hunter’s International who investigated Bran Castle here (it’s very fun to watch, especially today!):

The Castle’s Official website is here: Be sure to watch the home page video, it’s breathtaking.

The Ghost of Dalhousie

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Very difficult to find precise details on this…

Dalhousie Castle (Edinburgh, Scotland) was built in 1247. This fabulous fortress was home to the Ramsey Clan for over 850 years. Sometime in the 16th century, there lived a teenage girl by the name of Lady Catherine Ramsey. Lady Catherine fell madly in love with boy who worked at the castle. As you can probably predict, her parents did not approve. In typical teenage fashion, Catherine locked herself in her room and refused to eat. She eventually died of starvation!

There’s a great creepy mini movie on Catherine and her ghost story here:

Naturally, her ghost haunts the castle. She has been seen gliding through the halls in gray, sliding down the stairs, lurking in the dungeons and traveling through corridors.

Dalhousie was converted to a hotel and spa sometime in the 1970s. YOu can book your stay here: with a full history here:

Witches and Werewolves


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Situated in the Lungau region of Salzburg, Austria sits the very creepy Moosham Castle, otherwise known as The Witches Castle. It got its’ devious nickname from the fact that hundreds of witches were executed (beheaded) and thousands more were tortured and imprisoned.

Villagers believed that witches lived among them- hence a hysteria that lasted for 15 years. Between 1675 and 1690 men, women and even children were arrested and brought to the castle. Many of whom are said to still haunt the place. Prisoners’ ages ranged from 10 to 80 years old, and 92 of the executions were on victims under the age of 21- most of them were just beggars who had no one to vouch for their character. They often admitted to false charges just to stop the torture.

Another strange bit about this location- in the 1800s, mutilated deer and cattle were found throughout the grounds, leading some to speculate that werewolves roamed the hills.

Official Castle Website here (check out the photos!)

Who’s coming with me?

More on the Salzburg Witch Trials here:

More on creepy European Castles here:

Slaughtered and sealed.


This story took place in New Brunswick. In the 1870s, the area was plagued with turmoil- bad crops, tuberculosis, harsh weather, etc. Like most witch hunts and executions, these factors led to extreme paranoia. People felt the need to blame their hardships on something or someone, usually evil forces and witches.

The blame eventually turned to a local girl named Rebecca Lutes. She was hung and buried at the base of the tree from which she was executed on January 2, 1876. She was sixteen. The young farm girl’s body was placed face-down in the grave, so that if she were to dig herself out, she’d be digging downward- a slow route to hell. They also took the time to cover her with concrete.

There is much more to this story, and a LOT of suspicious details. You can read about it here:

poison pudding and prophet hens.


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Mary Bateman (1768 – 1809), also known as “The Yorkshire Witch” was a fascinating woman to say the least. Reading her story, I find myself wondering what led her to do what she did, to make the decisions she made, or to lead the life she led. I’m sure it was all out of necessity, but good lord- it took some… well… balls, big balls to even attempt half of this stuff.

Ok, so here’s the story. Mary was the daughter of a farmer in Asenby, North Yorkshire. She went to work as a servant girl when she was around 10 or 12, but got fired for petty theft (I kind of wonder if she was killing small animals at this point.) During the 1780s, she managed to convince a bunch of people she had supernatural powers (who’s to say she didn’t, right?) Her fortunetelling career took off- which led to a side business of potion making and magical remedies. All of which made her some decent money.

Here’s the fun part. In 1806, Mary claimed to have (and I’m not making this up) THE PROPHET HEN OF LEEDS. The prophet hen laid eggs which predicted the end of the world. Villagers believed that doomsday had arrived when all the eggs spelled out “Christ is Coming”. Well, it was clearly a hoax. Investigators discovered that she was writing the message in acid and re-inserting them into the hen. Ouch.

That same year, Rebecca Perigo and her husband William hired Bateman to reverse what they thought was a curse on Rebecca. Mary took the job and began feeding the couple a secret pudding to rid them of evil magic. What they didn’t know was that the pudding was laced with poison. Rebecca died as a result. William Perigo continued to pay for Bateman’s services even after the death of his wife- that is, until he finally realized he was being taken and reported her to the police.

She denied everything, but was found guilty of fraud and murder. She tried to avoid execution by claiming she was pregnant, but this too was a lie.

And because it IS Halloween, I will include the GORY ending to this story. After her execution, strips of her skin were sold as a magic charms to ward off evil spirits. WHAT?


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