Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vacation 2009...Voodoo, Vampires, and Vodka

Ok, it’s that time of year again…the Haugh/Hadley annual sojourn to silly destinations and questionable activities. And where did this trip take us?

New Orleans, Louisiana.

Now, I can actually hear some of your shocked gasps…New Orleans, you are saying, a place of culture and cuisine, of good music and history…what in the world are Eric and Kimberly doing going somewhere so, well, normal?

Others of you, who have been there for Mardi Gras and other events, are thinking that we decided against our usual bizarre vacation and went to New Orleans to party.

And I’ll be honest, there were a few moments that could be described as drunk and surly, I did encourage Eric to beg for spare change on the street corners, and people back home stopped accepting our calls…

But that was not the main goal of our vacation!

See, what you people have forgotten (or never knew) is that New Orleans is also the home of American voodoo, that it is reputedly the most psychically charged city in America, not to mention the most haunted.

And it’s the only place I know that offers PSYCHIC BOOT CAMP….yes, that’s right a training ground to test and train potential psychics….

But I get ahead of myself!

The trip began early Monday morning and as always, it seemed half our trouble rested not in the location itself but in getting to the location…a task that should have been made simpler by the fact that Eric and I made the rare decision to fly instead of drive.

However we forgot to check in with the airline the night before…which meant that in spite of the fact that the plane we were in was the size of a shoebox, Eric and my seats were NOT next to each other.

And if you think that was upsetting for US, imagine the poor passengers in the seats between and around us as we continued chattering back and forth as if there were no impediment…particularly when Eric began a long and disturbingly detailed discussion of his underwear.

Though, to be fair, Eric felt it was probably MORE disconcerting to the other passengers when the pilot said “If you’re wondering why the mechanic was on board the plane it was because the motor wasn’t working. We think it’s fine now.” And I began moaning out loud and predicting our fiery deaths.

However, against all odds, we made it to New Orleans relatively intact.

So, our first afternoon/evening was supposed to be all about reconnaissance. I mean, we had to find the Voodoo Museum, the Voodoo Cultural Center, Madame Laveau’s Voodoo Shop, and the Boutique du Vampyre (the only vampire shop in the US!).

Which, by the way, was the biggest disappointment of the whole trip.

We didn’t even make it inside until the 3rd day because it was closed every time we went by…closed but with tantalizing little signs on the door that said “Be right back” or “Back in ten minutes” or “Back at 1:30” which indicated that someone had, at least, been in the store long enough to change signs.

And then, when we did finally make it inside, it was the lamest display of vampire merchandise I have ever seen…I’m not even sure why it was considered a VAMPIRE store since it seemed to focus much more on homemade scented candles…although, to be fair, the woman did offer us a press on tattoo of bite marks we could put on our necks.


However, as I said, we didn’t even discover that until later…because of their bizarre hours but also because, in our first ten minutes of recon, we found this little bar that made the strongest yet cheapest vodka and lemonade I have ever had the good fortune to consume. Which means we were, of course, ready to throw off any semblance of voodoo searching and settle in for the evening…until we realized that strong drinks are only made available to the FEMALE patrons of the bar.

Eric didn’t qualify.

Apparently his vodka and lemonade actually had lemonade in it…odd.

Since we are committed to fighting discrimination in any form, we decided to press on…though not until I got the bartender to mix me a new drink for the road.

And it was thus filled with righteous indignation, we marched down the streets of New Orleans and found ourselves a gay bar…where several of the patrons—in the spirit of unity among all people—bought ME drinks while letting Eric fend for himself.

New Orleans, in my opinion, is one of the friendliest places on earth.

Eric did NOT concur.

The long and the short of it is, we kind of forgot about recon for the rest of the night.

Day Two we were a little more focused…in fact, we decided to completely eschew alcohol until we had completed our psychic missions…and, to get ourselves in the mood, we meandered through every Voodoo shop we could find, where they actually sold things like “eye of newt” and voodoo dolls and magic candles…all the while assuring us that voodoo is a “life affirming practice that encourages its participants to better understand the natural processes of life and their own spiritual natures.” It actually has bizarre ties to Catholicism and has all these correlations between Voodoo spirits and our saints.

I’m not going to lie, some of the altars creeped me out.

Hoodoo, on the other hand, is all about magic spells and curses and the like. Those spirits are also supposed to be tied to Christian ideas but correspond with demons and devils.

Which also creeped me out.

However, it was armed with this knowledge that we marched ourselves to Madame Laveau’s Voodoo shop and got our palms read and our fortunes told.

And I won’t bore you with everything she predicted (though I did write it all down in my journal for future reference) but I will tell you that she said she could tell I’m a little bit psychic, a “sender.” This means I can send my thoughts to others and force them to think of me, etc.

Which I thought was perfect, since our next spot was Psychic Boot Camp.

Eric was hesitant to participate at first…not because he didn’t want to go but because he was a touch worried about my inherently competitive nature. While I am not considered competitive by my family’s standards (My dad used to beat us at CANDYLAND? And don’t even get me started on Hungry, Hungry Hippos, that experience is a blog entry of its own!), I’m still just about twice as competitive as the normal person.

Which makes me approximately six times as competitive as Eric.

And in a psychic flash, he had some vision of me cackling like a loon and chanting “I’m more psychic than you are!”

But after I vowed not to do such a thing (at least not OUT LOUD)., we made reservations and off we went.

And it was AMAZING!

Apparently, there are about 17 different types of psychic ability and all people have some sort of gift.

With this in mind the expert, noted parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz, taught us how to “ground ourselves” to become more in touch with our psychic natures, he told us about the difference between being an empath (a person who can feel psychic vibrations) a medium (a person who can communicate with spirits) and a channeler (a person who can let the spirits enter their psychic space).

Then he showed us he showed us how to focus our energy and “zap” other people to get their attention…

How many of you are worried that I’m going to spend a disproportionate amount of time in the next few weeks running around yelling “ZAP!” and poking people in the back of the head?

But I digress…

He also tested us on our telepathic abilities by looking at these things called Zener cards and seeing if we could determine which one he was looking at.
Eric did amazing! He got about 1/3 to ½ of the cards right, which even impressed Dr. Montz.
I, on the other hand, sucked out loud…I didn’t even get ONE card right. Not because I’m LESS psychic, you understand but because I’m a SENDER not a RECEIVER, just ask the voodoo priestess (Competitive? Me? Don’t be ridiculous!)

Finally, they took us on a tour of all the haunted areas in the French Quarter, led us into dark rooms and the like and asked us for our psychic impressions of the places.

This, of course, led to a lot of giggling, a few incidences of me attempting to “zap” Eric, and a shocking amount of very bad guesses.

However, pardon me for sounding like some sort of hippie dippy freak, but there were 2 places that had such bad energy I about ran out screaming. In the first place, I actually started to cry and talk about how much I wanted/needed my mom…which is when Dr. Montz told us that the building had been an orphanage.

The second place, I just got really scared and refused to even stand near the entryway. That place, we found out later, was where this freaky doctor had performed a bunch of horrible medical experiments on different people.

In any case, we were suitably and deliciously freaked out by the whole thing…which makes this vacation an overwhelming success! And a suitable training ground for next year’s trip to the Lizzie Borden Weekend Paranormal Retreat!

If you want to see pictures of the trip, here they are:
A Mother Life</