Saturday, November 12, 2011

Conclusion: Case of the Found Cremains

During our last installment, I told you about a box containing old photos and cremains, which had washed ashore on Pavilion Beach in Gloucester, MA.  I had eagerly called the man who had written up the story for the web site of CAPS - Cape Ann Paranormal Society.

Within an hour or two, he called me back.  I was on fire, ready to delve into solving this case.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that the mystery had been solved - about three years ago!

Actually, it was a bit of a no-brainer.  The name of the decedent, a man from Vermont, was right on the box - as well as the name of the funeral home which had cremated him.  Gloucester Police called the establishment, which returned the box to the family.

Apparently, they had decided to cast his ashes onto the ocean - from a boat, I'm assuming.  However, they left the cremains inside the box - probably because they wanted those pictures to stay with him.  (I wonder if the infant depicted him as a child - or perhaps it was his child, lost too young?)

The ending to the story had already been written, but that doesn't mean there's not a punch line here.

After telling me the story, the CAPS member said to me, "It's so weird that you should call today.  I haven't thought of that box in a while.  Just last night, I was walking along that beach with my daughter, and she said, 'Dad, isn't that where you found that box with the ashes inside'?"

As far as I know, this macabre package has not washed up again.  This time, hopefully, the family took the ashes out of the box before casting them into the sea - and saved the precious pictures for themselves.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Case of the Found Cremains

When I learned of this story, I was still wearing shorts, lathering up with sunscreen, and wading in the waters of Good Harbor Beach.  Now, the leaves have fallen, and the water's turned cold (or, I should say, colder, since it never really gets warm here in New England).

But intriguing stories have little or no shelf life; when I worked in TV news, these are the stories we would call "evergreens" - good for any occassion, they were stacked on the shelf and ready to roll at a moment's notice.  So, as we used to say back then, "roll tape"...

No matter where I go, I usually do a bit of research - just for fun - to see where the local haunts are near my vacation spot.  Yes, "haunts" - as in, places where ghostly spectres are rumored to roam.

Last August, while sipping coffee on the back deck of our Gloucester rental, I came across the web page for the "Cape Ann Paranormal Society" (CAPS).  One story in particular caught my eye.  A CAPS member had been strolling by another beach in town when he made a bizarre discovery.

He happened to glance down at the shoreline, and there was a battered black box.  Curious, he clambered down for a look.  On the cover was an address in faded ink.  Yards of clear packing tape had been wound around the box, over and over again, in an attempt to secure it from the elements.

Yet the box had broken open; two soggy photos peered out.  Inside was still another container - and it held human cremains.

My chair crashed forward.  I spit out my coffee.  A case!  Maybe I could trace these remains and help return them to the owner!  I Googled the CAPS member and eagerly dialed his number...

Remember how I mentioned I was in the TV business?  Tradition dictates that you let the interest of the audience reach a crescendo - then break for commercials.

To Be Continued....

(Photo taken by CAPS)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Committing "Blogicide"

Have you considered committing "blogicide"?  Many genealogists have, at one point or another.  Just yesterday, I contemplated just that.  My blog had lain dormant for over (egad!) three months.  I almost decided to end it all (virtually, that is), but then I felt a weak pulse returning.  It's alive!  A quick infusion of words and witticisms, and it's up and running again.

Then today, I see an article on just this topic.  It details when to revive a blog, and when to put it out of its (and your) misery.

I'll jump the gun a bit here.  The article states that if your blog doesn't generate business, you should dump it.  I disagree with that.  You may never get a call that says, "Hey, I saw your blog.  Now I want to hire you."  Life seldom works that way.

Yet if you advertise (on your biz card, across s.m. platforms) that you are active in social media, current or past clients may well check you out.  When they have a chance to refer someone, who do you think they'll refer?

That's right - the person who can be considered a "thought leader", because he or she is out there, day in/day out, commenting, learning, and engaging with the world.

But I'll let you read and decide:  w
Any thoughts on this?  Please post.
PS - The term "committing blogicide" was coined by Kathleen Pierce, the article's author.
PPS - The suicide analogy in the first paragraph is by no means meant to disrespect the notion of actual suicide, a very serious topic indeed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No Excuses!

Not I, said I, as I clacked away on my keyboard.  I will not be one of those people who starts a blog, then abandons it.  Or posts only once every couple of months.  Why do people DO that?  Why do they even start blogs if they don't keep them current?

Now I know why people do that.  Travel. Work. Family. Life!  That's why they - and I - don't always keep up with their blogs.  Life happens.

And before you know it, you're staring at your blog, and it's staring back at you.  Actually, I feel that it's glaring back at you - or, at least, the date is.  The date of the last post, over three months ago.  Sigh.

Okay, fellow bloggers, clue me in here.  How do you all find the time and motivation to keep up with your blogs?  I really do love to write, but I hate the pressure of coming up with fresh, intriguing material three or so times per week. 

But I'm back, and I'll do my best to check in far more often from now on.  Promise.

Did you hear that life?  Now don't stand in my way.  Right.  I'm just as likely to see ___________ (fill in your absurdity of choice here).