Friday, 22 July 2011

Strange but True 1

I enjoy 'strange but true' newspaper stories and have found them to be a good place to get ideas. I usually search the internet with some arrangement of the words ‘strange but true newspaper reports’, and I’ve built up quite a collection of these now, although I haven’t always followed them up with some writing. Every now and then I come across a real gem though, which sparks up something in the creative process. The common theme in stories resulting from these  'strange but true'  accounts does seem to veer towards the dark side of life, with just a smidgeon of humour alongside.

Here's one I like but haven't yet found time to use directly, although it did spark a short story. I guess it attracted me because up until 2010 I was a deputy headteacher and the idea of school improvement through the use of black magic struck a chord. I’m not sure how it would go down with OFSTED, or how I would keep a data trail as evidence, but the whole idea got me thinking about using black magic to change something in your life. That led to me Googling 'voodoo'. You can see the results in my e-book A Wry Smirk from the Dark Side in the story The Spell.

Principal Tried ‘Magic' To Cure School
A principal who took an unusual approach to improve her TriBeCa high school — allegedly hiring a "black magic" practitioner to cleanse evil spirits through a ceremony involving sprinkled chicken blood — is being forced out a month before the school year starts. A replacement principal has not yet been named.
"There was always a running joke that, because many of the students were ill-behaved, we should use sage to cleanse the building," an assistant principal at the school told city investigators. Then, during midwinter break in early 2006, the principal invited her assistant to a Santeria ceremony that would involve chicken blood.
The assistant said she did not attend that ceremony but did go to a second rite where a woman shuffled Tarot cards under a cloud of cigar smoke. The assistant principal said she was later pressured to pay $900 towards the fee for this service.
Investigators did not interview anyone who attended the first Santeria ceremony, but a computer technician told them he saw the principal and two women walk into the school over the midwinter break dressed in white clothing and white headdresses. One balanced 40 lighted candles on her head atop a stainless steel tray, he told investigators. The principal introduced these women to him as "black magic" practitioners.
A Los Angeles man who identified himself as a high priest of Santeria, said chickens are commonly used in cleansing ceremonies. "All the negativity passes into the chicken," he said. Then the chicken is slaughtered. A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said that the principal has already been pulled from the school and steps are being taken to ban her from working in other city schools.

So there you go. Try it yourself. If nothing else, you’ll have some fun reading some of the many the strange but trues that are out there, and you never know, it could be the start of your next bestseller.


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