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Publication: The Paranormal Insider
Holiday Superstitions

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Issue date: Saturday, December 23, 2006
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P A R A N O R M A L  I N S I D E R 
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Hi Everyone! I've been thinking about holiday spirits...NO, 
not chilled vodka martinis or rum-laced eggnog:>) I was 
reflecting on an old Irish superstition I recently came 
across that says the gates of Heaven open at midnight on 
Christmas Eve and those who die at Christmas go straight 
to Heaven. Isn't that a lovely thought? My stepfather 
passed away several years ago just after the holidays, on 
January 2. We are sure he returned the following Christmas 
to say hello, because that next Christmas dinner, as we 
all sat down to the table, a lovely brass dining room 
chandelier my stepfather and my mom had picked out together 
not long before he passed, flickered just as my mom took 
her seat. It never flickered before or since, and I still 
think of that occasion and how it warmed our hearts. In 
today's issue, I'm keeping to the holiday theme, and I 
hope you'll share your thoughts and comments as always. 

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Star of Wonder

"We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light"
written by Rev. John Henry Hopkins, 1857

It's an enduring mystery, studied and speculated about 
by theologians and biblical scholars, astronomers, 
astrologers, ufologists, Sci-fi buffs and maybe even some 
of the little tousle-headed children taking part in Sunday 
School Christmas pageants. It is the story of the Star of 
Bethlehem, the magically glowing orb that guided the three 
wise men many long miles to the newborn baby Jesus on that 
first Christmas. Once the Magi had completed the long 
journey traced out by this star that had appeared in the 
east as if by magic, this 'star of wonder' did what no star 
can do - it stopped and hovered over Bethlehem. There have 
been many explanations put forth on what this spectacular 
'star' actually was: an awesome planetary conjunction; a 
comet; a supernova, but no explanation has been universally 
accepted, and none seem to be able to withstand all 
arguments. Of course, for many Christians around the world, 
this amazing wandering star was simply a miracle. 

The wise men are believed to have come from Persia or 
Babylonia, lands where the science of astronomy and the art 
of astrology was highly developed. For this reason, many 
experts posit that the Star of Bethlehem was part of a 
larger astrological portent of a very special 'king's' 
birth, one that was only decipherable to a select number 
of students of these arts. So far, modern day scientists 
have not been able to establish an exact match in the 
timing and behavior of any astronomical events, such as 
comets, novas, or planetary conjunctions with the birth of 
Jesus, at least not closely enough to come to any sort of 
consensus about what this celestial body was for certain. 

One of my favorite theories is that this magical star that 
so seemingly intelligently guided the three wise men to the 
baby lying in the manger and then hung there motionless may 
indeed have been of extra-terrestrial origin. Comets and 
meteors don't normally pause in the journeys and most 
certainly aren't close enough to pinpoint a particular 
building with their light. This star is said to have 
traveled part of the journey from north to south, and stars 
in the sky seem to move from east to west, so perhaps, as 
one of my old favorite songwriters said, the star was a 
space ship carrying the Nativity Angel to oversee the entry 
of the baby Jesus into the world. 

Here is an excerpt from Chris de Burgh's haunting Christmas 
song: 

A Spaceman Came Traveling

A spaceman came traveling on his ship from afar,
'twas light years of time since his mission did start,
And over a village he halted his craft,
And it hung in the sky like a star, just like a star...
He followed a light and came down to a shed,
Where a mother and child were lying there on a bed,
A bright light of silver shone round his head,
And he had the face of an angel, and they were afraid...
Then the stranger spoke, he said 'Do not fear,
I come from a planet a long way from here,
And I bring a message for mankind to hear',      
And suddenly the sweetest music filled the air...
And it went la, la-la, la, la-la, la, la-la-la, la, la-la, 
la, lalala 
Peace and goodwill to all men, and love for the child...
Words & Music by Chris de Burgh - 1975

What do you think? Please leave a comment in our forum or 
email me at paranormal@zsuzsana.com 

NOTE: Please sign your submissions if you wish your name 
to be included should your letter be published. 

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Holiday Superstitions

The following two emails were sent in by readers in 
response to last week's question about holiday 
superstitions. 

"When I was a little girl growing up in the south, my 
mother always told me it was BAD LUCK if the new year 
found a Christmas tree in the house. To this day, I always 
get the tree down and all Christmas tree decorations down 
by Dec. 31st. 

I am in my 70's. My children also continue the custom to 
have the tree down by New Year's day. I have never met 
another who knows of this custom." 

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"I don't know where this started and would welcome any 
insights into this tradition from anyone. I believe it's 
of Irish or Scottish heritage. 

On New Years Eve, a basket is filled with items that you 
want to be plentiful in the coming year, i.e. foods (meat, 
soup, potatoes, etc.) money, a toy car to signify a new 
one, etc. Also have everyone in the family write a list 
of what they want to accomplish in the coming year and 
include it in the basket along with an item they want too. 
I start collecting things after Christmas as a cure for 
that post holiday depression. 

A couple years ago I found a lovely big basket that is now 
our New Years basket, but even a cardboard box will do. 
Set the basket outside (preferably in a locked vehicle 
nowadays) during the evening on New Years Eve (I do mine 
after supper). Then the first thing when you awaken New 
Years morning, even before you have coffee, go retrieve 
the basket. This is supposed to signify the bounty that 
will be reaped in the coming year being brought into your 
home.  

I didn't do this for a couple years because I was too 
busy and they turned out to be so hard and burdensome 
that I began doing  this ritual again and haven't had a 
bad year since. This year I'm including a winning lottery 
ticket - who knows what might happen." 

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More Holiday Superstitions

Never give a gift of knives or scissors unless you place a 
coin in the package too, lest your friendship or love be 
'cut'. 

At the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, animals can 
talk but it is bad luck to eavesdrop on what they are 
saying. 

Stockings are hung by the chimney at Christmas in 
remembrance of St. Nicholas and his generosity. In his 
compassion, St. Nicholas once tossed three coins down the 
chimney of the home of three poor sisters. Each coin fell 
into one of the three stockings left drying by the hearth, 
and today, we hang stockings in hope of also receiving such 
gifts. 

Those born on Christmas day will never encounter a ghost, 
nor will they have anything to fear from spirits. Christmas 
babies are also protected against death by drowning or 
hanging, and are lucky in general. 

It is good luck to kiss under the mistletoe, but it is bad 
luck to deliberately to avoid doing this. 

***************************************************** 

Wishing all my readers peace, love and joy at this magical 
time of year. Stay safe and see you next week! 
Carpe diem,
Zsuzsana

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         GopherCentral's Question of the Week

          Should we end our embargo of Cuba? 

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Question of the Week
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