Monday, October 29, 2012

Growing Up Haunted--A True Story (Part 5) By Linda Kozar

Growing Up Haunted
(Part 5 of  5)
New Orleans

With Hurricane Betsy (1965) bearing down on New Orleans, our family left to stay at my grandparent's home where we rode out the storm without much consequence. There were downed power lines, branches everywhere, roof damage, but thankfully, not much flooding. When we returned to our home however, we had not fared so well. There was major damage. Much of the roof had blown off and there was extensive water damage to the walls, floors, furniture--everything. We were without power for weeks on end, conserving food and water. We found splinters of wood embeded in fence posts--such was the strength of the wind.
Instead of simply repairing what needed to be fixed, my parents decided to add on to the house and do some remodeling--in this case--a major remodel. They decided to add on an entire second floor.
So for the next 5 or 6 years, things were fairly quiet around our house, except for all the sawing and hammering going on. Progress was slow as my father kept getting new ideas and inspirations. Besides that, he was both a perfectionist and procrastinator--not a good combination for an efficient remodel:)
Finally though, the rooms were ready. Our bedrooms were now upstairs--my parents had one room, my sister and I shared and my brother had his own room situated at the end of a long dark hall.
Shortly after we moved to our new quarters, my brother began to behave strangely. In the middle of the night, every night, he bolted down the hall and jumped into bed with my parents. He was terrified of something, though he couldn't tell us exactly why or what he was afraid of.
Over the years, his night terrors grew worse. I'm sad to say my sister and I used to make fun of him for being a "baby" and not being able to sleep in his own room like a big boy. Why didn't it occur to us, especially me, give my experience, that he might have been afflicted by the same spirit we had encountered years before?
As I said earlier, my mother was fully convinced that the whatever had plagued her before was gone. That said, she was still afraid to talk about it. I believe she feared talking about what happened might cause its return. The rest of the family (with the exception of my father) had no idea my mother had experienced anything similar to mine until we finally sat down and talked about it.
Finally, things began to happen in front of people other than my brother. Once he had a friend over. They were playing a board game on the floor in his room. His friend threw a ball into the closet. A couple of minutes later, the ball hurtled out of the closet at his friend. Mind you, the ball didn't simply roll out of the closet from an unstable position.
We started listening to my brother. He told us about the spirit. When he crawled into his bed to go to sleep, he would often feel something else lay next to him. He would see the mattress press down, as if under an invisible weight. And the spirit would talk to him--urge him to engage in evil acts toward his family, to others, to himself. Though terrified, he resisted.
Eventually, he moved out of that room and to a downstairs bedroom. We closed the door on his old room and used it for storage. The truth is, we avoided it. Sometimes we'd hear noises coming from the room. Other times when were pulling out the driveway, we could see what looked like a woman or a man at the window. No one wanted to be alone in the house because you knew you weren't alone. The way you feel when you know someone is watching you.
The years went by. In my twenties and no longer living at the house, I was visiting one weekend and went upstairs to look for a bolt of material in the room. It was pretty much sealed off and though we had central air, the vents were closed. In the middle of summer, I dreaded the prospect of searching for my sewing materials in the heat, but I mainly wanted to get in and out as soon as possible. I looked around and found the bolt, but as soon as I grabbed it, a chill wind passed through my body. A chill as cold as winter--as cold as the wind that first blew through the house that summer's day so long ago. I could feel it pass through me. I've never felt anything like that before or since. Shaking, terrified, I dropped the bolt and ran. That was my final encounter in the house. I never experienced any other manifestion of the demonic presence again, nor did I ever desire to.
Through a series of divine appointments with born-again believers, my brother decided to give his life to Jesus. He was the first in our family to do so and began to pray and witness (share his testimony) with the rest of us. In time, we all accepted Christ as well. Though we didn't know or understand the full significance and authority given to believers at the time, that decision was the first step to our deliverance from the demonic presence in the house.
We used to watch as my brother walked through the house with his Bible, speaking over each room with authority. An eager prayer warrior, he rescinded the invitation to the demon(s) and closed the open door originally offered by the Ouija board. He searched through the house and collected occult material--incluing the original Ouija Board which was stored on the top shelf of my closet for some odd reason. He also collected items none of us had ever considered to be occult material--books, tapes, even movies and removed them from the premises. We began to join him in those prayer sweeps, concentrating God's Word in faith on casting out that awful spirit for good. And though a few more rather unsettling occurances happened over the years, this time again involving my mother, the reign of terror welded by that demonic spirit over the house and over our lives was over, broken!
My father went to be with the Lord in 2004. A year later, in 2005, Katrina flooded the home with six feet of of water. Since no one was allowed back into the area right away, the house overcome with black mold, the interior downstairs gutted and destroyed. The home was eventually reduced to a bare skeleton inside. (See photos below). The city finally bulldozed the house in 2010. Now there is nothing left but an empty lot.
The hurricane also destroyed my brother's home but the storm left in its wake, a desire to serve God in a new way. My brother became a pastor.

There are those who still play with Ouija boards or dabble in the occult in various other ways, people who think there is nothing wrong with doing so. But experience is something you get when you were expecting something else.
We expected to play a board game.
Instead, our family was tormented for many years by a demon or demons.

The experience changed our lives. We were tormented and afflicted, but now we are free. For years we remained silent about it. But now it is part of our testimony. And because it is very much a part of my personal testimony, I finally felt ready to share this true story about overcoming victory in Christ Jesus. The blood of Jesus set us free from the law of sin and death. Jesus saves, heals, protects and delivers!
It is my sincere hope that this testimony will help others who might find themselves in similar situations or those who have lived through it as we did, but chose to keep silent.

Deuteronomy 18:10 "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead." 

Hebrews 9:27 "It is appointed unto men but once to die and then the judgment." Reveal the lies and lead them to Your Truth Lord."

The home AFTER Katrina
 1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour."
Matt. 16:19 "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
"Ghostly Orbs" There are some plausible explanations for orbs--moisture, camera lens issues, etc. but this was the room with the greatest activity.
Downstairs completely gutted after the Hurricane.
Luke 10:19 "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

Acts 10:38 "How God annointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil..."

Matt 8:16 "...He cast out the spirits with His Word. . ."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Growing Up Haunted, Part 4--by Linda Kozar

Growing Up Haunted
(Part 4 of  5)
New Orleans, LA

My mother continued to pray and read scripture and light candles, continuing these tacts until the voice dwindled and seemed to disappear into the thin air it had emerged from.
But the spirit did not flee, nor go far from its new habitation.
I was eight years old. Sound asleep in my bed when I woke up to a strange and utterly terrifying situation. My bed was jumping up and down.
At first I thought my sister was pulling a prank. Our beds were in an "L" shape--mine vertical to her, horizontal. But such a prank would be uncharacteristic of my sister. Once she fell asleep, she slept like a log. Nothing stirred her. Still--what else could it be?
I reached for the desk light on my headboard and pressed the switch. Smile on my face, I was all ready to to yell "Cut it out!" until I saw with my own eyes what was happening. The right side of my mattress was bowing down and then up again, as if someone of substantial weight were bouncing or jumping on the edge of it. And I could hear the squeak of the mattress as the invisible weight of something bounced off it.  I looked beyond my mattress and noticed my sister sound asleep in her bed. Sound asleep!
Sound caught in my throat. I could not scream. I could not breathe. I could not move.
All the while, the mattress scrunched and squeaked as an unseen weight bore down upon it. And that's not all. I was acutely aware of the presence of a being. There was something or some invisible someone on the end of my bed. Jumping or hopping, bouncing perhaps from a seated position or standing for all I could tell. On my bed.
I tried again to shout, to yell, to scream. And though it began with a mere squeak, I let out a scream.
My mother ran into the room and asked what was wrong.
Between the hysterical tears that came with her comforting presence, I told her what happened. She sat on the edge of my bed and soothed my fears, but told me it was probably a bad dream. Just a nightmare. She sat with me a while longer to calm me down. But when she left me to go back to bed, I was unconvinced. The rest of the night, I stayed awake with the light on--afraid whatever it was would come back--fearful it might happen again.
The next morning I asked my sister if she'd heard anything. But she didn't. I already knew the answer. She was sound asleep--didn't hear a thing. I'd seen her with my own eyes. But I'd also seen my mattress going up and down with my own eyes.
To my relief, my bed never jumped up and down again, but I spent many a night terrified it would, and worried what else might happen. I had the feeling of being watched and often hid under my sheets. If I had known about my mother's experience, I might have understood there was reason to be afraid. I wondered if it was all in my mind, if maybe I was going crazy.
The demonic spirit stayed in the background for a while. We don't know why. Perhaps the arrival of a hurricane and the destructive impact on the house. Perhaps my mother reciting scripture daily? Whatever the reason, my mother was fully convinced that whatever had tormented her was now gone for good. But it had moved from her to torment me.
And a few years later,  the spirit would move on to torment another family member.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Top Ten Cheesy Horror Movie Linda Kozar

I thought it might be fun to list some of my favorite observations about cheesy horror movies I've seen over the years. Though not so much of a fan these days, I have a good memory for some of my favorites. The cliche's are truly unforgettable.

The Top Ten Cheesy Horror Movie Stereotypes. . .


Hear a noise in the pitch-dark basement? An expendable character will grab the nearest battery-failing flashlight and go downstairs to investigate.


"Maybe we should split up..." One character always says it. Everyone in the theater knows this is bad idea. But the idea seems perfectly reasonable to the characters.


The car won't start! Of course not. But somehow as the monster/killer/alien/creature approaches and is almost upon the hero/heroine, the engine turns and they zoom off.


The monster/killer/alien/creature you just killed/chopped up/hacked/exploded/rolled over/electrocuted isn't really dead after all. It almost always grabs the hero/heroine by the arm or ankle.


Characters always trip over something when running away from the monster/killer/alien/creature. The character always looks back to see how much lead there is between them and the monster/killer/alien/creature, and promptly trips over a tree root.


The root cellar moment. Remember that scene in the movie, Psycho when Lila (Vera Miles) discovers Norman Bates's (Anthony Perkins) mother sitting pretty in a rocking chair, preserved like a dried apricot? You will see similar root cellar moments in every horror movie.


Zombies can't see, hear, taste, smell or feel but they sure can sprint after the human gravy train. And there's always a slow character who becomes not-so-fast food. It's true what they say. You don't have to run faster than the bear, you just have to be faster than who ever is behind you.


The heroine sprains her ankle and it slows her down enough for the masked maniac/bogeyman to get closerthanthis to her. Think Jaime Lee Curtis in the Halloween movies.


The lights are gonna go out. Take away lights. Add fog and mist. Cue creepy music. Horror movie.


This scene is reserved for the end of the movie. The audience is calm. The terror is over. Or is it? The final cuts of the movie are telling. Whether one see's Stephen King's character "Carrie's" hand springing up from the graveyard dirt, or hears the thumping heartbeat in Vincent Price's "The Tingler," or the spooky/futuristic music accompanying an alien spaceship leaving earth with the final credit: "The End?" we all know the movie ain't over till it's over.

And there you have it, my Top Ten Cheesy Horror Movie Stereotypes. Add your stereotypes to the list. I'm certain I've missed some...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting Your Peking Ducks in a Linda Kozar

On the tail end of a lovely trip to Monterey, my husband and I stayed in San Francisco and wandered through China Town for three days. Took a picture of the ducks (see below) hanging to dry in the window of a restaurant that specialized in Peking Ducks. Inside was a real treat. The cook would hack away at the cured meat with a giant meat cleaver, serving up plates of the delicious duck to customers.

Getting their Peking Ducks in a Row. . .

Apparently the whole process of preparing a Peking Duck takes a full 10 hours (see recipe below from I can't imagine the majority of the population would be as committed or driven to the tenuous process of getting this special dish to the table.

Of course we do have our Thanksgiving turkey stories. For instance, brining a turkey is quite a lengthy process. You have to soak it overnight (at least) in a brining solution, then bake it. Brined turkeys come out sooooo tender. If you haven't had one, I urge you to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey that way this year.

And hey, I'm getting an idea as I write this...what if the Peking Duck preparation could be applied to turkeys? Can you imagine a Peking Turkey? I can. Ducks have a rather distinct taste. So do turkeys. Why not? Naaaah, I'm just rambling. Turkeys are way too big. Food poisoning comes to mind. 

But some clever chef out there might find a way to make it work. Please post a comment here if you do OR if you have ideas on how to make the whole Peking Turkey idea come to life!

Beijing's most famous dish, Peking Duck is traditionally served with Mandarin pancakes, and green onions for brushing on the hoisin sauce. Note: If you don't live near a cool, windy place another option is to dry the duck in an unheated room with a fan blowing on it.

Learn more about Peking Duck in this feature by guest author Ronghe Yu.

Prep Time: 10 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 11 hours, 20 minutes


  • One 5 to 6 pound duck
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1 scallion, cut into halves
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • Scallions for garnish


Clean duck. Wipe dry and tie string around neck.
Hang duck in cool, windy place 4 hours.
Fill large wok with water. Bring to boil. Add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil. Pour in dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly.
Place duck in large strainer above larger bowl. Scoop boiling mixture all over duck for about 10 minutes.
Hang duck again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.
Place duck breast side up on a greased rack in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Set a pan filled with 2 inches of water in bottom of oven.
(This is for drippings). Roast 30 minutes.
Turn duck and roast 30 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 10 minutes more.
Use sharp knife to cut off crispy skin. Serve meat and skin immediately on a prewarmed dish.
The duck is eaten hot with hoisin sauce rolled in Mandarin Crepes. Garnish with scallion flowerets. Serves 4 to 6.

Reprinted with permission from Madame Wong's Long-life Chinese Cookbook

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Growing Up Haunted (Part 3 of 5)--by Linda Kozar

New Orleans, LA
July, 1965

What none of us realized at the time was that a demonic spirit had come out of that simple little board game. The expression "playing with fire" took on a new meaning to my mother as she realized the game wasn't really a harmless pasttime at all. Somehow, communing with the "spirits" who moved the planchette had opened up a portal to a supernatural realm she knew nothing about.
The demonic spirit knew just what to do however. It began to torment her. Demonic beings are not human, but fallen angels. Created by God, these angels (one-third of all the angels) chose to side with Lucifer and rebel against God. They were cast out along with Lucifer (light-bearer), now called Satan (Adversary). Where did they go? Earth. They have no body or form and as such cannot experience life in a physical body as we do. They want and desire a human body to inhabit and live vicariously through--a body they can bully and command to do their will in opposition to God's will. They want to twist the scripture Acts 17:28 " Him we live and move and have our being..." to their own purpose--to live and move and have their being in the bodies of the children of God, human beings who are created in His very image.
Day and night, my mother's former "friend" followed her, tormenting her with words, suggestions, commands. The thing that had come out from the supernatural world it inhabited, took up residence in our home. It tormented her with obsene suggestions, horrible accusations and attempted to spur her to commit heinous acts. Horrified, she resisted. Its desire was to wear her down enough to convince her to consent to possession. Yet she persisted in fighting against it.
My mother read everything she could get her hands on about how to exorcise spirits from a home--though at the time she couldn't readily find what she needed to know about the subject at the public library. She began a constant prayer vigil. She prayed whenever she heard the voice of the spirit, which never rested in its advance. It had attached itself to her presence like a parasite. She'd hoped that leaving the home for periods of time would offer some relief, but her hopes were short-lived. In fact, when she traveled to other locations or homes, the spirit followed her, talking to her, but only she could hear what it was saying. It even hovered over my parent's bed at night--a swarming ectoplasm of evil. The sight of it, as well as the constant whisperings kept her from sleep. Much like my sister, my father slept through these appearances, never aware of any presence or affliction. Though he struggled to understand, my father had no way of comprehending what she was going through.
But my mother felt like she was losing her mind. Distressed by the constant torment, her face pale and drawn, she could barely eat or sleep. She began to lose weight.
Then she came across some information that offered her a shred of hope. She found some information in a book. I have no idea as to the title of it. But according to my mother, the author suggested burning a white candle and walking through each and every room of the house while repeating Bible scriptures out loud. She immediately followed the procedure, repeating it each day.
In doing so, she noticed that reading Bible scriptures somehow gave her comfort and made her feel more secure. She felt at peace when she spoke scriptures out loud through the house.
To her surprise, the spirit stopped tormenting her. It left.  Mom was elated, joyful, grateful.
But her joy would not last for long. . .

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Growing Up Haunted: A True Testimony--Part 2--By Linda Kozar

Growing Up Haunted
(Part 2 of  5)

July, 1965

We lived in a relatively new ranch-style home in New Orleans. Though in the midst of a sweltering July, our only method of beating the heat was a large attic fan that opened from the ceiling over a hallway--that and a few well-placed box fans. The attic fan reminded me of a helicopter. The blades were enormous. Supposed to suck the hot air out. So much for that. 

Anyway, as I said, it was the middle of July and stifling, humid. The kind of heat that clings to you and won't let go. And not a natural breeze to speak of, save for the fans, stirring the hot air. My sister and I were playing in the hallway with our dolls. My brother was only a year old, sleeping in his crib in my parent's bedroom. The door to the bedroom was open and my mother was sitting on the bed, playing with the Ouija Board. Since the rest of the family lived on the other side of the Mississippi River and my mother didn't have many friends in New Orleans, she'd taken to playing the game by herself. 
And, it turned out, she'd found a friend after all. She was in daily communication with something or someone from the spirit world beyond. (Of course I had no idea about that at the time. My mother told me the truth years later). She told me how she'd started out asking it questions.
Soon, a definite personality began to answer her.
Mom was fond of an old television show, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, about a woman who moves into a home haunted by the ghost of a sea captain who falls in love with her--sort of a precurser to today's paranormal romance in secular publishing. Anyway, in large part due to the influence of that show, my mother was not put off by this supernatural friendship. She initiated conversations with it and vice versa.
On this particular day, in the humid, sweltering heat--without warning, a chill wind as frigid as a norther blew throughout the house. It blew the curtains high, plastered our hair back and ended almost as quickly as it began.
My sister and I ran screaming to our mother who was just as terrified. She began reciting the all-purpose prayers she'd grown up repeating. But her prayers did not calm our fears. She had no real belief to back them up. And she would need real faith to fight what leapt out of the Ouija Board that day.

Cozy Mysteries by Linda Kozar

Gate Beautiful Radio Show--November 21, 2013

Family Reunion--Oregon 2012

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