Healing Machines. Work of an Eccentric? Or a Genius? By Pam Crooks

I recently read a fascinating story about an artist that once lived not far from me in the sandhills of Nebraska.  Emery Blagdon was born in 1907, the oldest of six children, and a farmer’s son.  He ended his education at a country school to work on the farm, but at age 18, he left home to drift around the country for ten years, riding the rails for adventure.

Once he returned home, however, he stayed home, surrounded by family. He never married, never had children.  He rarely bathed and wore his hair long, unusual for a man at the time, and donned baggy clothes that often needed laundering.  He chopped wood every day for heat, drew his water from a well, and grew all his own food.  Always a loner, his niece remembers him as being very kind, very gentle and quiet.  When his uncle died, leaving him the family’s 160-acre farm, Emery didn’t work the land but instead leased it, which provided him a modest income and allowed him to do what he loved best.

On the farm was a 800-square-foot shed that Emery devoted the next thirty years to making what he called “my pretties.”  He created metal sculptures using only what others called junk and a pair of pliers. Yet each creation, never measured, was symmetrical.  After the deaths of his parents, brother and sister from cancer, he hoped to heal people with the energy from his art.

Some called him crazy.  While the farm deteriorated from neglect, as did his personal appearance, neighbors couldn’t help but have reservations about him.  Yet inside the shed, which was practically falling apart around him, beams of light touched on bits of foil, wire, colorful beads, and ribbon.  Strings of blinking Christmas bulbs wound around the room.  Visitors report being light-headed, feeling overwhelmed, even out-of-breath.

Emery possessed books on science and physics yet depended on the elements for his energy fields, using ionic salts purchased from a pharmacy in North Platte, NE.  He befriended the pharmacist, and they became lifelong  friends.

Unfortunately, Emery succumbed to the cancer that took family members before him, and just as it seemed the healing machines he’d created to protect himself and others from illness would be dispersed and lost through an estate auction, his pharmacist friend bought the entire lot, including the shed, to preserve Emery’s works.

Over the course of several decades, Emery’s 600 ornate wire sculptures and 80 geometric paintings traveled the country and were eventually displayed in a New York gallery.  Pieces sold from $2,500 to $25,000. The remaining works, including the shed, was acquired by a foundation and donated to an art center in Wisconsin where they all remain today.

As far as the healing machines?  Did they really heal?  Well, they were indeed found to emit measurable electrical energy, but perhaps it was only the sheer rush of unexpected beauty that ripples through one’s body, giving him or her a dazzling hum of appreciation for Emery Blagdon’s passion.

Do learn more about Emery, you can watch a fascinating documentary about him:  http://netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/television/emery-blagdon-and-his-healing-machine

Have you ever known anyone who was a little odd? Crazy? Eccentric?

I can name several, but my favorite has to be the matronly elderly woman we all called the “Chicken Lady” in my hometown of North Platte.  I remember her still in her baggy coat and walking cane.  She truly seemed to love children and, eyes twinkling, always greeted them with loud squawks of “Bawk, bawk-bawk-bawk-BAWWKKK.”

I don’t recall ever hearing her talk normally to anyone, be it children or adults. Surely she knew words.  I don’t know – shrug – but I never knew if I should laugh or feel sorry for her.  One thing is certain, though.  I’ve never forgotten her!

Amanda Cabot Returns For a Visit

This Friday, April 9, 2021 we welcome back Miss Amanda Cabot!

How much do you know about 19th century newspapers? Miss Amanda has some interesting information.

And she’s toting 2 autographed copies of her new book to give away!

Very exciting. I know you don’t want to miss this.

So shake the wrinkles out and come over for lots of fun.

You might just win something.

Not Your Grandmother’s Farmers Market

With spring’s arrival, my thoughts turn to planting a garden. I love gardens, and it doesn’t matter what kind: flower, bee, vegetable, whatever. I have fond memories of my Grandma Walter’s huge garden filled with green beans, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, strawberries, and what else I can’t remember anymore. Unfortunately, while I received her crafty, DIY, and gardening soul, I didn’t inherit her green thumb. My vegetable/fruit gardens have been dismal failures except for growing green beans.

When my boys were young, planting a garden was a spring break tradition. Each kiddo picked what he wanted to grow and together we nurtured the small plot along. Again, as I said with limited success, but what mattered was doing the project together. Now that my sons are on their own, planting a garden isn’t the same.

My son Zachary and the carrots he grew one year.

With my grim gardening skills, I’ve started doing the next best thing to growing my own fruits and vegies. I shop Farmers Markets. By doing so, not only do I get fresh produce at a great price, but the farmer receives more for his product. A win-win! But these “farmers” markets have broadened their horizons. No longer are they a group of folks selling produce from the back of pickups along the roadside. A lot are big shopping events. Communities, apartment complexes, and mall parking lots now host these farmers markets. They still have tomatoes, peaches, apples, green beans, squash along with an array of other fruits and vegetables. But now, they have products you might be as surprised as I was to find. Here are some of my favorites non fruit or vegetable items.

  • Candles
  • Plants for my house or yard
  • Pottery (I bought my mother-in-law a cool mug with a bird on it for Christmas last year.)
  • Honey
  • Dog treats, dog bandanas and other dog related items (I buy something from these vendors almost every time because you know me…I have a house full of dogs!)
  • Lotion candle (I love these, but they’re hard to find. When the candle melts  the warm liquid is lotion!)
  • Jewelry
  • Bath products: soap, body wash, shampoo, lotion, lip balm, bath salts

                           

 

Talk about one stop shopping!

To be entered in the giveaway for the cool T-shirt, yes I have this one, too, leave a comment on this question. What’s the most unique or your favorite produce item to buy at a farmers’ market?

 Secrets of Gravesite Symbols

One of the things Jodi Thomas, sister-filly Linda Broday, and I like to do when traveling is visiting cemeteries.  My son-in-law and I also love cemetery visits. What stories tombstones of all ages can tell.

With the help of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, founded in 1792, I learned a lot about the meaning of grave symbols.  Our encounters have told us that a walk through a cemetery can be a beautiful experience cyphering the names, dates, and symbols on tombstones.

My favorite is the old cemetery in Menard, Texas.  In Texas, the grave of a deceased Texas Ranger is designated with sturdy metal Ranger markers and are set on a cross symbolic of a Texas Ranger badge.

One thing I learned, the majestic, weather worn stone carvings you see from the cipher-loving Victorians from 1839 to 1920, are more than plain Jane decorations.  They mean something; a virtue the person exemplified, a value they held dear, or a nod to how they earned their living.

I found numerous sites explaining symbols online, but of course for this blog had to limit the ones I selected, so here goes my choices from back many centuries.

  • Anchor – a symbol of hope, or the deceased was a seaman or mariner.             
  • Angel – a guide to Heaven
  • Acorn – Prosperity; power; triumph
  • Anvil and Hammer – Blacksmith
  • Bell – a symbol of religious faith or religion
  • Bird – Flight of the soul
  • Candle – Life
  • Column/Pillar (broken) – Life cut short; sudden death
  • Evergreen – Faithfulness; remembrance
  • Fruit – Eternal plenty
  • Key –  Knowledge; entrance into Heaven
  • Lily – Innocence, purity
  • Olive Tree – Peace
  • Palm – Life conquering death
  • Plow; Hoe; Rack; Stalk of Corn or Wheat – Farmer; modern day is a symbol of old age, a fruitful life
  • Rose – Love, beauty strong bond; Rosebud, youthful death
  • Sphinx – Courage and Power
  • Tree-Shaped – Possible member of the Modern Woodmen of American or member of the Woodmen of the World fraternal organization order.

Do you ever go to old cemeteries and wonder about the lives of the people with certain symbols on their stones?

 

To one lucky reader, I will send you a copy of Texas High Plains Writers 2021 Anthology With Words We Weave … Challenges.  Both Linda Broday and I have short stories in the book.  Mine is the first story I wrote as an assignment in my first Writing Class two decades ago.

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Karen Witemeyer

The e-single Inn for a Surprise releases tomorrow! YeeHaw!

This was originally part of The Kissing Tree novella collection and is now available as a stand-alone novella for as low as $1.99.

Amazon | Kobo | Christianbook

And to whet your appetite, I have a free prequel short story called The Keepsake available on my website. You can find it here.

Karen Kay

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, the first book in a series of four, is on sale now for $.99.

** A hunted woman

** A forbidden love

** Time ticking down on an ancient curse.

THE LOST CLAN SERIES, Book #1.

Amazon

Linda Broday

Releasing on April 27th!

Book #1 Lone Star Legends series

Sparks fly when struggling saloon owner Deacon Brannock finds himself pitted against Grace Legend and the Temperance Society.

It’s anyone’s guess as to who’ll emerge as the winner.

 

 

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE  |  KOBO

Laura Drake

Hopefully book news soon (cross your fingers for me) but right now, I’m ecstatic to be taking my first trip in a year and a half! Next week I’ll be flying to Oregon to meet up with my two fishing buds –  we have over 20 years of memories! Fly fishing all day, and at night, it’s like a high school sleepover!

 

Cheryl Pierson

What a wonderful day we had here today! Hubby and I both have gotten both our shots, and daughter, son, and daughter-in-law have gotten their first one (plus, they’ve all three already had COVID last year!) We got together for Easter and “belated” March birthdays in our household. My hubby turned 70 on March 31, and my daughter-in-law, Kayla, celebrated her birthday on the 15th of March. Here’s what happened through Max (white lab) and Sammy’s (brown love-dog) eyes!

It’s so hard to wait. We haven’t seen them in so long! We’ll just be right here on our bed looking for them–maybe it’ll make them come faster!
They’re here! I will roll on the ground and kick my legs for joy!

 

Well, that didn’t last long enough! Everyone is leaving! Pooey!
I can’t believe it’s over! I did get a new bone today, though.
I’m tired. A fun day, but I’m worn out now. I’m getting very sleepy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m already gone, brother. So tired my tongue’s hanging out!

 

 

A good time was had by all. Happy Easter, everyone!

 

Kit Morgan

 

A Cover Reveal!

 

This was too pretty not to share! Autumn’s release date will be April 30th. I’ll be getting the book up for pre-order this week. In the mean time, feast your eyes! Love those spring time colors!

Susan Page Davis Has a Winner!

Thank you for visiting, Miss Susan! We loved learning about Glorieta Pass.

Now for the drawing!

One person will get a copy of The Rancher’s Legacy!

And that lucky person is…………………..

CONNIE SAUNDERS

Woo-Hoo!! I’m so happy for you, Connie! Watch for Miss Susan’s email and check your Spam.

Tomorrow is Yee-Haw Day! Come over and see what’s happening with the Fillies!

The Battle of Glorieta Pass New Mexico, 1862 and a Give Away!

Hi, I’m Susan Page Davis. Last fall I was writing a novel set mostly in Colorado during the Civil War. Hmm. Did the war reach Colorado? I didn’t want it to be a war story as such, but the characters in my book, being upstanding US citizens, couldn’t ignore the conflict, could they?

Time for research. The hero’s family lived near Fort Lyon, and I soon learned the 1st Colorado Infantry took an active part in the war, including a major role in the Battle of Glorieta Pass.

The battle actually took place in New Mexico Territory, so as you can imagine, getting there was a major challenge. The Union forces marched from Denver a distance of 400 miles in fourteen days to Glorieta Pass, in the Sangre de Cristos mountains. That’s a lot of marching, especially in rugged territory.

Another challenge for me personally was to learn to spell Glorieta Pass with only one T. My fingers want to throw in an extra every time I write it.

Anyway, from March 26 to 28, 1862, Confederate forces under Major Charles Pyron and William Read Scurry battled Union forces led by Col. John P. Slough and Major John M. Chivington.

While the Confederates pushed the Union army back through the pass, they had to retreat when their supply train was destroyed. Instead of breaking the Union’s hold in the West, as the Confederates hoped, this battle signaled the Southern forces’ withdrawal from the New Mexico Territory.
While the battle is past when my story begins, my hero, Matt Anderson, was there. He was wounded, and he’s been recovering for nearly a year. He wants to go back to his company, which is stationed at Fort Lyon. His commanding officer decides he’s not ready, which is disappointing to Matt, but not to several other people in the story.

I could have sent Matt back East to other battles, but Glorieta Pass suited my story just fine. For one thing, it kept him in the West, and he was able to get home to his father’s ranch without a long delay. Since his outfit was stationed nearby, he went home to recuperate, not to a military hospital.

In the next book in the series, Matt’s brother will face battle east of the Mississippi. Jack wonders about his brother, but he and Matt haven’t seen each other for more than twenty years. And right now Jack has a lot of other things to think about, like how he can keep the Rebs from stealing his codebook, and how to escape a fiendish Southerner who thinks he should have been President of the Confederate States of America.

Do you like actual historical events as a story setting? Is so, do you think it adds a certain depth that the story wouldn’t have had otherwise? I will give an ebook copy or a print copy of The Rancher’s Legacy

Guideline rules apply – https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules/

Here’s a little more about the book:

Matt Anderson’s father and their neighbor devise a plan: Have their children marry and merge the two ranches. The only problem is, Rachel Maxwell has stated emphatically that will never happen.

When Rachel finishes her education in the East and arrives in Colorado, Matt is tasked with retrieving her from the stagecoach. As they crest the hill overlooking the sprawling acreage, Rachel gets her first glimpse of her new home. Only it’s in flames and besieged by outlaws.

She soon learns her father was killed in the raid, shattering her life. Will she allow Matt to help her pick up the pieces?

Meanwhile in Maine, a sea captain’s widow, Edith Rose, hires a private investigator to locate three of her now-adult grandchildren who were abandoned by their father nearly 20 years ago. After weeks of investigation, Ryland Atkins believes he’s located the eldest—in Colorado Territory.

 

Amazon

Book 2, The Corporal’s Codebook, is scheduled to release in November.

Family Stories

We write them, we read them, but also, they are our own history – they’re part of who we are.

I have two examples:

First, mine. My grandfather was an itinerant preacher on the plains of Saskatchewan, Canada. They lived in a tent (not many trees on the plains). He’d be home long enough to get his wife pregnant, then go off on his donkey, preaching again. After the first few babies were born (she was alone), she told him she was going to a city, with or without him.

9 of the 11 children. My dad is the youngest

So they moved to Saskatoon. The kids kept coming, and at one point, the house caught on fire. Once my grandmother got all the kids out, she went back for her husband’s sewing machine (he was a tailor as well as a preacher) and threw it out the window before getting out herself.

This isn’t the one that burned.

I come from hardy stock!

My second story is my husband’s. His maternal great-grandmother was 11, her sister 9, when her mother died back east. Her father put them on a train heading west, and told them there would be someone to meet them in Texas, and he’d follow as soon as he wrapped up business.

The girls got off the train in Midland, Texas. No one to meet them. A few good people traded off taking them in until the 11 year old could get work and take care of her sister.

She never knew what happened to her father.

Two months after she died, they got a phone call from someone back east, claiming to be kin. Turned out, the father shipped the girls off on a train to get rid of them. He was marrying another woman, who didn’t want his kids.

5 generation photo. His great-grandmother is bottom left.

Can you imagine? I’m glad she passed without knowing that.

Okay, your turn – give me your family story in the comments!