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Gothic Beauty Magazine

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

UPDATED- Cheyenne Leo's Darkness Reigns exposes "Exposing Paranormal Posers" - a questionable group in itself!



In this article, I will seek to explain myself and the issue I have had with this group as clearly as possible. Please read and give and form your opinions yourself.

All who read my work regularly, have seen any of my social media profiles, or even run into me on the street know one major thing about me- I’m a loud, proud, earth loving, nature worshipping Wiccan. Wicca is a nature worshipping religion, based off of the old, old religions of druidism and the like from generations ago, but with our own traditions, etc. Wicca itself, in the form with which we practice today, began around 1950 and took off quickly. It was founded by Gerald Gardner. While I was born into a Wiccan family, many are not. It is the fastest growing religion in America, surprisingly, and requires a person who converts to learn the religion for a year and a day before they are allowed to refer to themselves as Wiccan.

There are many types of Wiccans. There are traditional Gardnerian Wiccans, Avalon Wiccans, gothic Wiccans, Fae’s Wiccans, and Draconian Wiccans, to name only a few. Within these categories, there are many, many covens and individual practitioners. We are many, but we are divided in interpretation of belief, in practice, and in dedication. Divided as we are, there are a few things that define what is a wiccan. One of those things is the most important and basic rule of all, present in all Wiccan sects- “an ye harm none, do as thou wilt.” Basically, it means we are not supposed to harm anyone else, physically or through malintent. Connected to that is the rule of three- which has a few meanings depending who you ask. For those Wiccans who practice Witchcraft, it is widely considered to mean that the energies and spells you send out to someone else or into the world will triple in strength and come back upon you. Imagine that- curse someone to death, and die an even more painful death yourself. For those who don’t practice witchcraft, I have heard it interpreted that a Wiccan must give back what the goddess gives to them times three to the rest of humanity.

But perhaps the most important, well recognised, and well loved thing is our symbol. Our symbol is the pentacle- a five point star, upright and enclosed within a circle. While other religions have similar symbols, such as satanism, we are separate from those. In fact, Wiccans do not believe in Satan, or hell. Wicca is also separate from witchcraft, although some use the pentacle while practicing- but not all Wiccans practice, which must be specifically understood. Not all Wiccans are Witches, and not all Witches are Wiccans.


The pentacle is important to us. It is as important to a Wiccan as a Christian’s cross. Many Wiccans have fought for the right to have a Pentacle on their headstones when they pass away. Many Wiccans face adversity in the workplace, at home, and anywhere they go because they choose to display their pentacles and identify themselves. For some reason, some people find us offensive. They disrespect our symbol, and disrespect our way of life.

But perhaps the worst kind of disrespect there is, would be when a company, group, or organization use it blatantly for their own profit and advantage. Recently, I was going through facebook, and found that the group, Exposing Paranormal Posers, is one of these misguided organizations. Their logo is a defaced version of the pentacle, set on a black background.


However, this group does some good work, and seeks to educate the general public on paranormal fakes, such as fake mediums, or ghost hunting groups that fudge their evidence. Their methods are questionable, from modifying people’s pictures to posting personal information and calling on their followers to harass individuals- but so many people are taken advantage of by these kinds of “mediums” and the like, usually people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. So instead of going right to the good old standby- the angry canadian letter- I decided to contact them about it. I tried to explain the significance to them, in no uncertain terms. I left them a message not only on their public page but also in their private messages, giving them the option to speak in private, which they declined. Instead they posted publically to me that I must be on drugs to be able to have the beliefs that I do and that I am warped. They also state that their logo is intended to resemble an older police’s badge from Oakland, where the person who answered me stated that a relative had worked, as part of the fraud division.

However, upon research into this, I have found that this is not a feasible claim. Badges from Oakland have seven or six point stars which are not in any way enclosed within a circle. The only one that has a five point star is the shield for the chief of police, as can be seen here and it is simply the star on the shield- no circle involved! Unless their relative was the chief of police as well as a fraud investigator, they did not have a five point star anywhere on their badge, and it is not possible for them to have had a pentacle.

However, when I posted this to them, and called them out on their blatant deception- they suddenly deleted the post, and refuse to speak on the issue. I have posted to the page asking for an explanation as to why they will not acknowledge that they have at the least made a mistake, if not blatantly decided to use a religious symbol from a religion they claim to be warped for their own gain, to no avail. They now refuse to comment. It seems that although they can dish it out, they do not like being held to the same standard of honesty to which they hold others. I have respectfully requested that they change their logo to better represent the badge they claim to wish to emulate, instead of defacing a religious symbol. Time will only tell if they will- and you can be assured that until they do, they will not be hearing the end of it from me.

UPDATE- after I posted this blog, but only after I posted this blog, EPP contacted me back on their page. They claim that they do not profit from the use of the pentacle and condescendingly informed me that people in america have freedom of speech- apparently they are unaware that Canadians also have that right and the right to voice their opinion right back. The extent I had to go to to garner a response is worrisome, and the fact that they originally ran from the conversation does bring their credibility down quite a bit, but all in all, the group has redeemed themselves by returning to the issue.

However, it must be said that while EPP clearly and several times stated that they have the right to freedom of speech and opinion, they and their followers were not comfortable with someone voicing another opinion that was different from their own. They were not comfortable with being disagreed with and all seemed very upset that I continued to voice my opinion. This is the only tactic that I used in this conversation- voicing my opinion. I did not post any of their personal information, tell them to shut up, or any of the tactics that they use day to day on their site. While their credibility as a journalistic venue may be redeemed partially, I believe that their unwillingness to hear an alternative opinion may put their overall credibility into question. It brings to mind the analogy of the pigeon playing chess- who will only shit on the board and strut around as if it has won.  As of the time of this updated posting I have blocked all communication from the page and from the users involved, in a big to end the conversation, which is what EPP seems to wish would happen.

Hopefully in the future, EPP will not make personal attacks on people trying to speak to them about issues on their sites. Personally, had they not attacked me I would not have taken such issue. Sure, their logo may not look much like the badge they say they were emulating but it DOES look like a child's toy badge you can find in dollar stores. All in all, the issue is resolved- I will no longer be supporting the group, so will not be commenting further on the issue. This blog was posted november 10, 2015 and updated november 11, 2015. You are free, should you have an issue with EPP, to use this article in any argument you may need.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Zucchini parm for beginners! (for you UK readers, that's a courgette)

Image originating from the guilt free food blog

First posted in 2009 on original blog

please read the entire recipe before attempting to make the recipe.

Zucchini parmesan

Ingredients

4 medium or 2 to 1 large zucchini, depending on size.

2 cans of your favorite spaghetti or tomato sauce- I prefer hunts thick and rich 4 cheese, yum!

parmesan cheese- at least a cup

grated mozzarella cheese for the topping

flour- a bit for dredging

oil- as much as you need, during the process

a casserole dish, whatever size is better suited to your needs.

slice the zucchini, however much your using, into thin and even discs, about 1/4 of a centimeter.( in other words, pretty darn thin.)  put the zucchini, once cut, into a strainer and sprinkle liberally with salt. sit the strainer into a sink so the zucchini liquid that will leach out of the slices can go down the drain instead of all over your counter.
 the point of the salt is to remove some of the moisture from the slices so your end product isn’t a gooey, icky mess. leave the salt on for about 30 minutes, and then run cold water over the slices until all the salt is removed. you MUST be sure that ALL the salt is removed or it will continue to leach moisture out of the slices and make your parmesan dry. 
dredge the slices in flour- to do this, put about a cup of flour onto a clean dry plate. you wont be able to fit all the slices onto the plate at one time, so do it in batches. this is NOT a wam-bam dinner. it will take you some time. but it is a guaranteed kid pleaser. make sure the slices are completely covered in flour, or the damp zucchini will make the oil pop and sizzle, which will burn whoever and whatever happens to be in the way of the flying oil. place the flour covered slices into a shallow pan of hot oil and fry them until golden brown on one side. 
flip them carefully, try not to splash yourself. hot oil can cause severe burns. fry until golden on that side, too, and then get your casserole dish. remove your golden slices from the pan and drain them of oil on a bit of paper towel or non colored newspaper. cover the bottom of the dish with sauce- this keeps the parmesan from burning on the bottom. lay the slices down on the bottom of the dish, on top of the sauce. continue to fry the slices and layer them. 
once you have the bottom covered with slices, pour more sauce over top of them, and sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese. put more slices over top, to make more layers. continue altering sauce, slices, and cheese until your dish is full or you are out of slices. once you have reached the end of the slices, cover the top with sauce and parmesan, and the grated mozzarella cheese. bake the parmesan in an oven preheated to 350 degree for 30 minutes with the lid on and 20 to 30 minutes with the lid off or until the Parmesan is bubbly and nicely browned on top. let the parmesan sit for ten minutes to let it set. once it has set, cut the parmesan and serve. you can serve it with or without a salad