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Review of the App UniTarot

September, 2018

UniTarot

By ucdevs, Developer address is Moscow, Russia

100 thousand downloads on many platforms

4.7 stars 5,042 rates

Lifestyle

Similar

Contains ads and

In-app purchases cost $4.95

Version 2.9.3

App Release date is Jan. 7, 2014

I downloaded this app June 5, 2018. This is a cool Tarot app. It is free to download, but you can go VIP and get more from the app. I didn’t do that.

Just downloading the app as it is, you get a choice of 8 different Tarot decks. The cards are pictured in HD Quality. You can also hook your phone up to your computer with a USB cable and download your cards to the app. It has 16 different spreads to pick from, or you can develop your own.

I set up the app with a daily reminder for a card for the day. I would do that, with the reminder, then I would also do a weekly reading and a daily three card draw. Each time I would pick different cards for the reading.

Each card has information including Astrology, Numerology, Elements, Colors, Esoteric Title, Intelligence, Correspondence in the Hebrew Alphabet, Position in the Kabbalistic tree of life, and more. I enjoyed reading the card meanings by Rider-Waite, A.E Thierens, and P.D. Ouspensky. Some of these added to what I already knew of the Tarot.

There is even an option in VIP that allows you to compare cards with each other, and that is something I didn’t get. I was happy with what I had in the app.

The only drawbacks were in the saving or the emailing of the reading. When you saved the reading, it kept all the information for that reading. I tried doing the email reading, where you pulled the cards and then had them emailed to you, and not all the information came through. It sent a picture of the cards to download into Google, and it only included Color, element, astrology, dates, esoteric title, intelligence, Kabbalah, Tree of Life, numerology, keywords, Rider-Waite meanings and then it was a brief two sentence meaning with a few keywords. So, saving it to the phone was better for this app.

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

January, 2018

La Befana

 

(LA BEFANA. Magic stocking from BEFANA. By incantevolemerletto shop.)

 

Merry meet.

While my mother’s parents were from Sicily, it was not until recently I learned of La Befana, Italy’s oldest and most celebrated legend – about a witch.

In Italian folklore, she is an old woman with warts on her crooked nose, wearing a skirt and a black shawl, who flies around on her broom, delivering candy to well-behaved children. In Russia she is known as Baboushka.

Children await Babbo Natale on Christmas Eve, but the red-suited man is new compared to the story of the old woman who was too busy cleaning to join the Wise Men on their journey. According to the legend, they stopped by her cottage to ask directions and invited her to come along, but she refused. She also refused to join a shepherd who asked her to join him, as some tell the story.

Later that night she saw a great light in the sky. Regretting her decision, she sets out to give the Christ Child gifts that had, according to some, belonged to her child who had died. She never finds the Baby Jesus and instead, leaves her gifts for children she encountered along the way. Since the 13th century, children have left their shoes out or hung up their socks Epiphany Eve, January 5, for the Befana to fill with sweets and gifts. Bad children were given lumps of coal.

Often she is shown covered in soot because, like Santa Claus, she delivers presents by sliding down the chimney. Her name means “gift-bringer” and according to a post by DreamDiscoverItalia.com in 2015, many believe she also sweeps the floor before she leaves, sweeping away the old to make way for the new.

La Befana is a Christian legend that began in Northern Italy and became a big part of the Italian celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the Wise Men arrive in Bethlehem and deliver their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Other versions of the legend have La Befana carrying a sack of bread, giving a piece to every child she saw in the hopes one would be the Christ Child. She never does find him and is still wandering around Italy on her broomstick.

Her arrival is celebrated with such traditional Italian foods such as panettone, fried doughnuts with dried fruit, and fritters with raisins. When children leave a snack for the witch, it’s something soft because she has few teeth.

While La Bafana is viewed most commonly as a village crone, she has also been called a sprite or fairy. Instead of a broomstick, sometimes she is said to ride a goat or a donkey. Rarely does she wear a pointed hat; a headscarf is more traditional.

According to an article written by Martha Bakerhian for tripsavy.com, “This folktale may actually date back to the Roman pagan festival of Saturnalia, a one- or two-week festival starting just before the winter solstice. At the end of Saturnalia, Romans would go to the Temple of Juno on the Capitoline Hill to have their fortunes read by an old crone. This story evolved into the tale of La Befana.”

Heather Greene explains in an article for “The Wild Hunt” in January 2016, “As with many regional traditions, La Befana’s modern construction and appearance were developed over an expansive amount of time and stem from a diverse number of cultural elements. Her story has been adapted over and over to fit into a variety of different social or religious structures.

 

(La Befana the Witch Sculpture by Dellamorteco, Dellamorte & Co. Etsy Shop)

 

Similar to modern community traditions in the northern Italian towns, Circolo dei Trivi burns an effigy, a representation of Giobiana, within their ritual space. They collect the ashes and tell the story of nature’s death and rebirth, through the death of Giobiana and the birth of Belisama. In that process, they also thank nature, represented as La Befana, for bringing the final gifts from the previous year. Grazie, La Befana.”

Urbania, thought to be her official home, draws tens of thousands of people for a five-day festival that includes the arrival of La Befana to her cottage, which the townspeople built in her honor. There is music, dancing, parades, fireworks and letters from children asking for gifts. In Venice, men dressed as La Befana race boats on the Grand Canal, per DreamDiscoverItalia. In Rome and elsewhere, women dress like La Befana.

 

A Spell of Prosperity to Accomplish your Goals 

(Submitted by Gayle Nogas)

What you’ll need:

A red candle placed on a table or altar

Three figs or three dates 

A small cup of honey

A broom 

With this simple spell you can ask The Befana not only to bring your home prosperity, but also to send you powerful energy regarding your success and the goals you will work with next year.

In the evening, put the three figs or dates in the small cup of honey (this is a traditional offering for The Befana) and put them on the table or the altar next to the red candle. These offerings will show that you honor her powers.

Light the red candle. Pull up a chair and sit in it calmly for two minutes watching the candle and bringing your mind to the tranquility of the energy that is surrounding you. The red candle is a symbol of your own power to accomplish your goals and also calls the power of The Befana. Now repeat the following out loud or in your head three times:

“Come Befana, come to me.

Come from the mountains to make me free.

Come with your gifts of wisdom and power,

To make this a prosperous year for me.”

Once you have repeated this spell three times, take the broom and start sweeping the room in the direction of the clock’s hands, always sweeping towards the central part to concentrate there the powers and the charitable energy of The Befana in one place.

Leave the broom and dust all night long. Finally blow the candle and thank The Befana for her help by saying:

“Thank you, Befana, for giving me the gifts of your wisdom and prosperity.”

The next day, pick up the broom, clean up the dust and debris, and focus on a hugely prosperous year.

 

This year, in honor of my ancestors, I plan to recognize the Witch of Christmas for making winter a witchy season. Perhaps I’ll dress like her, or leave my shoes and a soft cookie outside my door. If you celebrate her, please leave me a comment describing how on the Pagan Pages Emag Facebook page.

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.

 

**

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Greetings from Afar

June, 2013

Music of the Night

 

If Russia has an “national” musical instrument, it is the accordion, or “gormusha”. Almost every home has one, and almost everyone can play at least one tune on the instrument, especially the older generation, those born before, or during the “Great Patriotic War”. It is a lovely instrument that produces beautiful music. Like the people who play them, they vary in size and shape, and range from elaborate hand enameled antiques to modern, state of the art pieces. They are everywhere, pedestrians stop on the street and listen as some pensioner or invalid sits on the corner and plays, people strolling in the park are delighted by the sound of some lilting Russian folk song, or sad Soviet Era ballad. In Subway stations, commuters listen as someone plays while they wait for their train, or as some military pensioner sits in the lobby and plays a stirring march for the crowd. On weekends, when the Russian Soul is driven to the country like lemmings making for the sea, every car, on every commuter train, contains at least one accordion player. The “artists” range in age from nine (and younger) to ninety (and older). Most of the time, the music is highly appreciated and, and the talent of these sidewalk musicians is greatly admired. Most of the time, the simple beauty of these spontaneous concerts is a welcome addition to the day… Most of the time.

 

 

Three o’clock in the morning is not one of those times. To be waken from a sound sleep at some ungodly, cow milking hour by the sound of someone playing “Katusha” or the “Moscow My Own” on his Stomach Steinway is not a treat. It is an obnoxious nuisance. Dogs bark, babes cry and cats hiss.  It is not a pleasant thing. Fortunately, it does not happen often.

 

 

Dmitri Raikin and his wife Natash live in a small, one room flat on the third floor of a “Kruschev” building, on Kamagerski Peruelic, in downtown Moscow. It is one of those prefabricated tenements that former Premier Nikita Kruschev had erected for returning servicemen and their families in the mid 1950’s known for poor heating, bad plumbing, and extremely poor acoustics… you can literally hear a pin drop… from three floors away.

 

 

Raikin and his wife had not lived in the flat long. They were newlyweds, and had only moved in some three weeks before. Dmitri had “inherited” the flat from an uncle, who had decided to move out of Moscow, and back to his home village. Because of this, the Raikins did not know anyone in the building, at least, not very well.

 

The problem started almost as soon as the young couple moved in. Dmitri would wake up at three o’clock in the morning, to the sound of someone below them playing the garmusha.  Now, Dima works in the Moskvich Automobile factory, on a swing shift. Sleep is precious to him. He must be at work at five o’clock in the morning, and the three o’clock concerts were timed just right to cheat him out of an hours worth of sleep every night. Since he had to get up at four, anyway, what was the use of going back to sleep? At first, he ignored it, but after about two weeks, it began to get on his nerves. The music didn’t seem to bother Natasha, who slept right through it. This bothered Dima even more.

 

 

Finally, his typical Russian stoicism gave way to darker emotions, and one morning, in the summer of 1998, he got up to the sound of the music… yet another rendition of “Moscow My Own”… and decided to do something about it. This obnoxious disturbance just had to stop.

 

 

He got up, dressed, and stepped out into the hall. He listened carefully, until he got a definite idea as to where the music was coming from. Then, he went down the stairs and into the second floor corridor. Now was the time, he thought. The building musician had just began playing a fairly good rendition of “Red Army March”.

 

 

Dima carefully listened at each door until he identified that of the culprit. Then, he made his move. He stood as erect as possible, tried to look as distinguished as his twenty-three years would allow, and knocked on the door. After about the fourth knock, the door opened, revealing an old gentleman, obviously in his eighties, with a broad smile on his face. “Come in, young man! Do come in!” the man beamed. “What brings you out so early in the morning? Come in and have a cup of tea”.

 

 

The old man was being so nice, it was hard for Dima to be angry. Sleep, he knew, sometimes comes hard to the elderly. But, he had to say something. “Grandfather,” he began… all young people address older men and women as “Grandfather” or “Grandmother”. He cleared his throat and began again. “Grandfather. I hate to mention this, but, I live upstairs. It’s your accordion”.

 

 

“I suspected as much,” the old man cut in. “Actually, I was hoping to annoy someone enough to get them to come and visit me. You see, I have so few guests”…

 

 

So, that was it. Now Dima understood. His anger dissipated, replaced by pity. He stepped into the old man’s flat, and followed his “host” into the kitchen. On the table sat the most beautiful accordion that Dima had ever seen. He admired it with an obvious look of awe on his face. It was black enamel, with mother of pearl inlays. The keys were onyx and mother of pearl, on silver mounts. Dima reached out to touch it, as the old man poured the tea. He stopped short. It would not be proper with out asking first.

 

 

Without turning around, the old man muttered “Go ahead. Pick it up. Play it if you like. That’s what it was made for”.

 

 

Dima couldn’t play it as much as he would have loved to. He traced the curves of the delicate inlays with his finger as his host served the tea. In no time at all, the old man was playing again, and both of them were singing. It was as if Dima had been transported to a different world, as if time, itself, had stopped. They sang the songs of the workers, the songs of the last century, they sang of loves and wars lost and won. Finally, Dima excused himself, and went back up to his flat. The old man, Dima had forgotten to get his name, waved goodbye to him, and invited him back again. Dima, of course, eagerly agreed.

 

 

He returned to his own flat, shaved, and had another cup of tea. It amazed him how little time he had actually spent with the old man. The clock said only 3:45. He had been gone only half an hour. At four, he woke Natasha, said goodbye, and started off to work. All day, he thought about the lonely old man in the flat below him, and his beautiful accordion. On his way home that afternoon, Dima stopped at the corner kiosk, and bought a bottle of vodka and some cakes. As soon as he got to his building, he headed straight for the second floor flat, and began knocking on the door. He intended to give his new friend a present. Hopefully, the old man could teach him how to play the accordiond. He had always wanted to learn.

 

 

He knocked, on and off, for about ten minutes. Finally, he decided that the old man was out, and turned to go home. He would come back later. As he turned away, he saw the building Superintendent looking at him from down the hallway. He had a strange look on his face. Dima instantly thought that something must have happened to his new friend.

 

 

“What’s wrong?” He asked. “Did something happen to Grandfather?”

“Grandfather?” The Nachalnik replied. “Who are you talking about?”

“You know,” Dima answered. “The old man who lives here” Dima described the man in some detail. “Did something happen to him.”

The Superintendent eyed the bottle under Dima?’s arm. “Are you drunk?”

“No, I’m not drunk,” Dima responded indignantly. “I asked a simple question. Did something happen to the old man?”

 

 

“You could say that,” the Superintendent answered. “That flat has been empty for years. The old man you just described was the last owner. He’s been dead since… hmmm… let me think… somewhere around ’92, maybe ’93. They found him dead in his living room, he was playing his garmosha, and just fell forward… massive heart attack. He never knew what hit him.”

 

 

Dima went home and poured himself a stiff vodka, then chased it with another one… and another one… and another one…

Greetings from Afar

September, 2010

A Little Child Shall Lead Them


Vologda is a quiet town. It is one of the oldest towns in Russia, and a part of the famous “Golden Ring” of cities making up traditional “Old Russia”. Unlike some of the other cities on “the ring”, it is not known to be particularly haunted.  The skyline of the town is dominated by the spires of one of the oldest and most elaborate Russian Orthodox Churches still in constant use, and the gabled Victorian eminence of the Vologda Children’s Home, on a sugarloaf hill on the southern outskirts of the town. The saying that “nothing ever happens in Vologda” has some relevance. However, over the years, the quiet little  town  has had it’s share of triumphs and tragedies, and from these, some rather peculiar incidents. While none of these quite qualifies as a “famous” haunting, several are interesting form the perspective of an investigator.

It was November 21st, 1998, and winter, along with long nights and cold had come to the little town of Vologda. Junior Lieutenant Igor Kuzminov, Night Shift Supervisor of the Vologda Police Barracks, looked up suddenly as he heard the door to his office open. It was almost eleven in the evening, and Kuzminov was not actually expecting any visitors. After all, “nothing ever happens in Vologda”, and essentially that’s correct. Volgda is by all definitions, a rather sleepy place. Expecting an adult… one of his Patrol Officers, Kuzminov overlooked the child, at first. Then the movement, just below his field of vision, caught his eye. The little girl was about five or six years old from the looks of her, and small for her age, at that. She looked upset and quite excited, and she was dressed a little strangely… but as soon as she opened her mouth, the situation more or less explained itself.

“You have to come, Tovarich Lieutenant, and bring the fire brigade with you…
she said breathlessly. “You have to come now… the barracks is burning…”

Her language sounded strange… stilted… as though it came from another time… no one used the word “Tovarich”… Comrade… anymore. It reminded Igor of cloth caps and barricades and black leather trench coats. The child had to be from somewhere out in the provinces… really “out in the blue” he said to himself.

“What, little sister?” Igor asked, not quite understanding what the girl was saying… something about a fire, but where. “What on earth are you doing out alone on a night like this little one? What is it that you want?”

“The barracks is burning, Comrade Lieutenant… You have to come now…”

“What barracks? We have the only barracks in the city…”

An orphan, he thought to himself, that figured…  She had to be from the Children’s Home. Even though Kuzminov was new at his job, he was no stranger to the region. The tall, lanky, Igor had grown up in Vologda. It was his hometown. His family had lived there for generations. The young officer with the straw-colored hair and soft voice knew every sqauare inch of the city. He knew where everything was, including the State Orphanage. His mind clicked and whirred. That was it. She had to be from the Children’s Home.

The little girl persisted in her desperate pleadings…

Igor repeated himself, slightly more firmly.  “There’s no fire here, little one,” he said patiently, “and this is the only barracks in the city”.

“No, Comrade Lieutenant! No!” She gasped as she ran over and tugged at his sleeve, almost pulling him out of his chair… strong for such a little one, he thought. “The Children’s Barracks… Comrade Lieutenant… it’s on fire… You must come now…”

Children’s Barracks? Now that was one he hadn’t heard in a while… a long while… that term hadn’t been used since his grandfather’s time. Some of the old people still called the Children’s Home by that name, but not many… they were rapidly dying off. The place was old though. The original “Children’s Barracks” had been built before his grandfather’s time.

Igor stood and followed the girl as she tugged him toward the door. “Why didn’t you call in, or use the alarm if there’s a fire?” He asked out loud. “Why did you run all this way to get me? Are the lines down?”

The child released her grip on Igor’s tunic sleeve and headed toward the door.

“What?” the little girl asked…  She stopped and stared at the Lieutenant with  round hollow eyes. For an instant, Igor thought, she looked far older than her years.  “I don’t know…” Her speech was halting. “I don’t know…” For a moment she looked disoriented to Igor, and acted slightly confused. Not a good sign, Kuzminov thought.

“Never mind, Comrade Lieutenant”, she continued. “Just come now… get the fire brigade and come”.

She ran out into the night. Igor Kuzminov tried to follow her, but lost her in the night. Probably a false alarm, he thought, but better play it safe. He ducked quickly back into the lobby of the Police Barracks and picked up the telephone. He quickly dialed O3 and told the Fire Brigade to go out to the Children’s Home… that he had the report of a fire. He then roused two of his off-duty patrolmen and started toward the Home, himself… looking along the side of the road for the small figure that had alerted him as his little four-wheel-drive WaZ bounced along down the badly paved narrow track leading toward the southern edge of the city.

After about two blocks, he saw her. She was running toward the Children’s Home as fast as her little legs could carry her. The oversized boots that she wore seemed to glide just over the street, in a blur as she ran… Her long black hair trailed in the wind behind her along with the tattered scarf around her neck.

Igor now had a dread of what he would find. The Children’s Home was old… very old… it had been built in the time of the Tsars, just after the turn of the century, and the wooden structure had known several serious fires in it’s hundred-odd years of existence.  The last one had been just over twenty years before he was born… the place had burned almost completely to the ground… That was… he thought… about 1950. He remembered his father telling him about it. It had been dreadful, the worst fire in the history of the city. Now the massive old building stood, with more or less modern additions marring it’s somewhat foreboding but quaint semi-Victorian grandeur atop a low hill overlooking the city. It wasn’t far from the center of the town, nothing in Vologda was far from the center of the town. But… the way the old building was situated, and the condition of the road leading to it meant that it would take quite a while for the Fire Brigade to get their trucks into position. Thinking about the possibility of a fire, and just what it could do to such an old building, Igor was glad that he had called them. “Better safe than sorry”, he muttered to himself as he bounced along the rough road.

He told his driver, Sargent Leoneid Andropovich, to pull up alongside the girl and stop. He flung the door open and motioned for the little girl to get inside. She ignored him and kept running… it was as though she had not seen him at all. Like he and his car simply did not exist to her. He ordered his driver ahead, covering eight blocks remaining to his destination, and easily beating the little girl to the Children’s Home, firmly expecting to be present at her arrival. He never saw her again.

When the little squad of police and the fire brigade arrived at the Children’s Home, all was quiet. Everyone was asleep, and the Director, Doctor Nadezhda Tushkova, roused from her slumber, vehemently denied sending a child to the Police Barracks for any reason, let alone to report a fire. They had a telephone after all, several of them, and an alarm system that alerted the Fire Brigade directly. The home even had detectors she pointed out. The very idea of sending a child to fetch the Fire Brigade was preposterous. It had to be a hoax or some sort of a prank.

The charge was serious… if it was some sort of prank… Well…  the Director summoned all of the Dormitory Supervisors, who in turn summoned all of the children. All were present. All except the little girl who had been in Kuzminov’s office.  He described the child to the assembled staff. None of them knew her. “No such child is here,” they informed him.

“That’s impossible. It’s not been ten minutes since I saw her on the road leading here, and less than half an hour since she came pounding into my office. My men saw her as well. He looked at Andropovich, standing beside him, who nodded agreement, as did Corporal Stefan Danielenko who had accompanied them. We stopped and tried to give her a lift back here, but she ignored us and kept running”. Both of Kuzminov’s colleagues nodded.

“There is no such child here”, Doctor Tushkova repeated. “Nor has there been since I hve been here… over ten years now”.

Igor shook his head. Maybe the girl was just a local child pulling a prank… Maybe, but her behavior was serious. The child had been agitated and apparently quite frightened. It didn’t make sense.

“I assure you Lieutenant, if you have been tricked, and it would appear that you have, you and your two companions must look elsewhere for your trickster”. The Director of the Vologda Children’s Home dismissed her tiny charges and their sleepy guardians and prepared to return to her own bed as soon as the ever-present paper work surrounding such a nuisance was completed.

As Junior Lieutenant Kuzminov and the Administration of the Vologda Children’s Home were sorting the matter out, the Fire Brigade was packing to leave. It was decided that since they were there anyway, they would make a routine inspection of the place, just in case.  There was, after all, nothing to be lost by being careful, and it would save the Fire Marshal another trip back out to the Home later for the sole purpose of conducting an inspection. Slowly and meticulously they went over the old building, floor by floor and room by room. Once the actual living space had been fully checked and inspected, the Fire Marshal and his assistant went through the attic space and then, down into the basements while a separate team went into the aging furnace room. As soon as this long and tedious process was complete, they once again began packing to leave… but, once again the packing halted when someone realized that the Children’s home had one location left that had not been checked for fire… and… it was a location that had, in fact, proven to be deadly at least once before.

Yet again, Fire Marshal Vyetheslav Markov and Deputy Fire Marshal Andrei Shaposhnikov set out toward the building from their waiting trucks… This time, they did not go inside, they carefully walked around the perimeter looking for  what they knew was surely present, the loading chute leading into the underground coal bunker that provided fuel for the Children’s Home’s furnace. After about five minutes of walking in the dark, their path illuminated by the yellow glare of their flashlights, they found it.

It was then that they also found the fire. The coal bunker, only partially filled, beneath the old building, was ablaze. It was not yet to the point of open flame, but it was, in fact, burning. Once the outer doors of the bunker were opened, the smell of smoke was unmistakable. If left as it was, by morning, the smoldering inferno would have reached open air on its own and would burst into an open flame Most likely it would have destroyed the Home before help could arrive. The building was old and the wood in it’s walls was dry. It would have “gone up like so much tinder” Markov later said.

Such fires were dangerous, and a constant threat in older buildings. They produced gasses… if it had hit open air in the night very little hope would have existed to halt its spread. That was exactly what had happened in the fire of 1950.  And… just as it had in 1950, this fire could very well have caused a blast from those gasses that would have killed everyone in the building, even before the flames could consume the structure. Another truck was summoned, and hoses were tapped into the water main leading into the Home. The fire was eventually extinguished… but in order to put out the blaze, the entire bunker had to be emptied.

They worked until dawn. Even in the chill night air it was hot, sweaty and dirty work. The thirty-six men of the Vologda Fire Brigade formed a chain, taking the dusty black chunks out bucket by bucket as fast as the buckets could be filled by four of their companions inside the bunker. Every fifteen minutes they rotated the odious duty of filling the pails. Shovel by shovel they lifted out the coal… over a ton of it. Igor Kusminov and his two Militiamen joined the effort. All through the night Kuzminov thought of the little girl in the ragged clothes with the “quaint” dialect who had come to warn him of this budding disaster. “Who was she”, he wondered, “and how could she have known?” Was it simply a prank that turned out to be at just the right time? He wondered. Igor was very typical of his generation… He had been raised to believe only in what he could see, feel, hear or otherwise physically sense. But… he also had the typical Russian attitude that such things don’t “simply happen”.

Finally, it was done. The bunker was empty and the fire was extinguished. The Children’s Home was safe.

It was then that they made their second discovery of the night…

The current Children’s Home had been built, or rather, rebuilt, after the disastrous fire of 1950 in which several children, the exact number was never established, and at least three staff-members perished. While using most of the old foundation and some of the surviving original structure, the building was not on exactly the same spot. While digging out the coal bunker, a set of remains were found… remains most likely dating to the time of the 1950 fire. They were the remains of a little girl… about five or six years old.

Three days later, in a funeral service attended by practically the entire city, pall bearers supplied by the Vologda Militia Barracks and the Vologda Fire Brigade carried the remains of the last victim of the 1950 Children’s Home Fire to their final resting place next to the ancient structure of the ornate Russian Orthodox Church. There has not been another haunting reported in Vologda in the two years since this somber ceremony took place. But… on the other hand, there hasn’t been another fire, or threat of one, at the Children’s Home, either…

© Dr. J. Lee Choron 2010. All rights reserved unless granted by the author in writing.