Ghost Dogs of Orozimbo Plantation

Ghost Dogs spoil escape of Mexican President Santa Anna

Ghost Dogs
Antonio Lopez Santa Anna

The Battle of San Jacinto occurred on April 21, 1836, and lasted a mere 18 minutes. Sam Houston led the Texas army to fight Santa Anna, the president of Mexico, resulting in the loss of hundreds of men, only nine of which were Texas soldiers. San Jacinto was the victory that ended the Texas Revolution and secured Texas’ independence from Mexico. Santa Anna was caught dressed as a common soldier the day after the battle, and he was held prisoner at several plantations in the South while his captors negotiated his fate.

He was eventually transported to the Orozimbo Plantation on the Brazos River, less than a dozen miles north of West Columbia. A Mexican officer accompanied by several of his men made plans to advance on the plantation and free their president. The thick trees bordering the river provided an excellent cover as they advanced one stormy evening, taking advantage of the sound of the pouring rain  to conceal their approach to the farmhouse in which Santa Anna was held prisoner. Just as they were about to rush the guards, an eerie and unmistakable sound of howling dogs came quickly towards them, and the Mexican men were forced to retreat. Those keeping guard at the farmhouse went to investigate, but they found no animals in the area.

The howling dogs had been heard by many, yet no one could explain where they had come from, as they had not been seen. Speculation arose that they may have belonged to a man who went off to war and never came home, forever leaving his faithful friends to search for him.

It has been well over a century since Santa Anna was held at Orozimbo, yet stories of the phantom dogs never seem to fade away. In fact, many people still claim to hear the pack roaming through the dense jungle of trees near the property, letting out an eerie howl as they approach. While Santa Anna was eventually allowed to return to his country, the ghosts dogs are still—and might forever be— keeping watch over Orozimbo Plantation.

The Lone Star State is so vast it includes just about everything — including ghosts! For more haunted stories, check out April Slaughter’s book Ghosthunting Texas

Photo credit:
By Yinan Chen [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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    Ghost Hunting 101

    Ghost Hunting 101 with L’Aura Hladik

    L'Aura Hladik
    L’Aura Hladik

    For those new to the research of ghosts and the paranormal, here is a list of terms used frequently throughout this book and the paranormal research community.

    Orb or Orbs—These appear as balls of white light that can be translucent or opaque. Sometimes they appear to have a hue or color, either red or blue. In most cases, orbs are determined to be the result of the digital camera taking a picture of dust, pollen, or an insect. In most cases, the orbs show up in pictures but are undetected by the photographer’s eye.

    Ectoplasmic Mist or Vapor—This anomaly is an amorphous cloudy or smoky appearance in photos. This mist shows up in photos, even though the photographer doesn’t see any obstruction or interference when taking the photo.

    Vortex (Vortices-pl.)—This anomaly appears as a tornado or funnel-shaped mist in photos.

    Full Body Apparition—The ultimate capture for a paranormal investigator, full body apparitions can appear as solid as you and I or as a shadow or pile of dust in the form of a human. They can be seen with the human eye as well as in photographs.

    EMF (Electromagnetic Field)—The device, an electromagnetic field strength meter, is used to track the EMFs during an investigation. It is theorized that a spirit or ghost will cause a fluctuation detected on the meter between 0.2 to 0.4 milligauss.

    EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena)—Typically, the spirit or ghost’s voice is not heard with the human ear but is picked up by either digital or analog audio recorders. The movie White Noise dictated the accurate definition of EVP but instead portrayed ITC—Instrumental Transcommunication. (ITC—voices of the spirit world are supposedly captured by having one’s camcorder record the white noise displayed on one’s TV set.)

    Residual Haunting—This is the effect of a traumatic or emotionally charged event leaving its mark in time so as to play itself over and over. Some residuals are audio only, some are video only, and some are both audio and video. Residual haunting is non-interactive with the living or the surroundings.

    Ghosthunting New Jersey
    Ghosthunting New Jersey

    About the author:  L’Aura Hladik’s interest in the paranormal started in childhood and culminated with living in an actual haunted rental house when she was in the eighth grade. In 1993, she officially began hunting for ghosts; in 1998, she founded the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society, which is the largest organization of its kind in the “Garden State.”

    In addition to ghost hunting, writing about ghosts, and presenting her findings to schools and libraries over the years, she’s also appeared on the nationally syndicated talk show Montel Williams, as well as local cable shows and New Jersey’s own radio station, 101.5 FM.

    L’Aura’s ghost research takes her beyond the borders of New Jersey to other states—even other countries, such as Ireland. Yet the “Jersey Girl” always comes home to her favorite haunt. One of L’Aura’s most prized possessions is her 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood, affectionately known as Jezzabelle.

    L’Aura Hladik is the author of Ghosthunting New Jersey where you can find 34 tales about the scariest spots in the Garden State.


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      Hotel Bethlehem


      Hotel Bethlehem is full of ghostly activity

      Hotel BethlehemOne of the biggest paranormal hot spots in Pennsylvania is in the Bethlehem area in the Lehigh Valley, and Hotel Bethlehem ranks as the number one ghost destination. Large, stately, and elegant, the hotel anchors the town’s historic district, steeped in the culture of the founding Moravians. It is full of ghostly activity.

      The hotel teems with ghosts. Numerous guests report the same or similar experiences in certain rooms and areas. The hotel also is popular with paranormal investigators. Every hotel has its “most haunted” room or rooms; at the Hotel Bethlehem, the winner is Room 932. An apparition of a man appears at the bedside in the middle of the night. One couple described him as wearing an undershirt and boxer shorts. He vanished when they turned on the light. The couple was so unnerved that they checked out that night.

      A woman staying in Room 932 went into the bathroom, turned on the light, and saw an entirely different room, one with pink wallpaper. Perhaps she saw a glimpse of the room as it had been in the past. Room 932 may be the hotel’s most famous haunted guest room, but many of the other rooms also have ghostly activity. Plumbing turns off and on without explanation, other apparitions are seen, phantom voices are heard, and objects are moved about.

      Among the ghostly residents are several that stand out for their frequent appearances and details:

      – Francis “Daddy” Thomas welcomed and attended to visitors who came to Bethlehem. He was known for his kindness and humor. His ghost has been sighted in the boiler room area.

      – Mrs. Brong was an innkeeper of the old Eagle Hotel with her husband until they were fired by the Moravian Church in 1833. The Church officials were mortified by their unacceptable and outrageous behavior. Mr. Brong liked to get so drunk that he had to be laid out on a bench. Mrs. Brong shocked guests by going barefoot while she worked. Mr. Brong has not lingered, but Mrs. Brong is seen by staff and guests in the restaurant and kitchen, dressed in attire of the 1800s. Still defiant of the propriety of her era, she wears no shoes or stockings.

      – Mary “May” Yohe was born at the old Eagle Hotel in 1866 and was still a child when she danced and sang for the hotel guests in the lobby. The Moravians sent her to Paris to learn opera. By 1888, she was famous on stage for her singing and dancing––and off stage for her torrid romances. During the 1890s, she went to England and fell in love with Lord Francis Clinton Hope, whom she married. Hope owned the infamous Hope Diamond, a large and rare blue diamond that was named for the family and reputed to be cursed. Mary often wore the gem. Did it doom her marriage? Something did, for May left Hope for an American soldier, who later turned the tables and left her. May’s ghost sings, and the player piano in the lounge frequently plays on its own. May is thought to be the ghost of a little girl seen in the exercise room on the third floor and also in the lobby.

      Rosemary Ellen GuileyHotel Bethlehem is proud of its heritage, both historical and ghostly. Add to that its elegant ambience, finely appointed rooms, and superb dining, and you have an all-in-one haunted vacation.

      For more about the history of Hotel Bethlehem and other haunted places in Pennsylvania, check out Ghosthunting Pennsylvania by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

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        Trombone Tommy – Sounds from the Afterlife

        Trombone Tommy continues playing, even after death

        MoreHauntedHoosierTrailsA haunted railroad tunnel near Medora, between Medora and Fort Ritner, has a ghost not believed to be frightening but, instead, rather sad.

        During the 1920s and 1930s, jobs were hard to find; often, a man would have to travel miles from home just to earn a meager living. In many instances, the unwitting vagrants were forced to become knights of the rails – hobos. Along the rails, these itinerants would set up camps where all of the knights were welcome to stay, bunk under the stars, and share cans of beans for as long as they wished.

        One of these knights must have been a musician at one time, for he always traveled with his trombone. His companions dubbed him Trombone Tommy. People who lived in the area often talked about hearing him playing his trombone as he walked through the nearby railroad tunnel. One night, intent on playing, he evidently didn’t hear a freight train enter the tunnel, and he was killed.

        On summer evenings, the town’s residents had heard Trombone Tommy’s music coming from the tunnel as they sat on their front porches cooling off from the hot summer’s sun. Though no one in the community knew him or had met him, they soon realized they missed him. His trombone was silent.

        However, shortly after the accident, people began to hear the echoes of music coming from the direction of the tunnel. At first they were frightened, but then they accepted and enjoyed the music for what it was. Trombone Tommy was continuing to play for them, even after death.

        Trombone TommyTrombone Tommy is one of the many stories told by Wanda Lou Willis in her book Haunted Hoosier Trails.

        About the author: Wanda Lou Willis is a folklore historian who specializes in Hoosier folktales and historic research. She is a feature writer for the Indianapolis Star “Seniority Counts” section and regularly appears on WXIN-TV’s early-morning show. For more information check out her website.


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          John Dillinger Lives


          Ghost of notorious gangster has been seen outside the Biograph Theater

          Biograph TheaterJohn Dillinger Lives – Not the flesh-and-blood gangster, of course, but his ghost, who has been seen outside the place where Dillinger drew his last breath—the Biograph Theater on North Lincoln Avenue.

          By the time Dillinger was gunned down by FBI agents on July 22, 1934, he had become Public Enemy No. 1, his notorious exploits ballyhooed in newspapers across the country on an almost daily basis. While much of the American public viewed Dillinger as something of a modern-day Robin Hood, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had issued a “shoot to kill” order on the gangster as well as a $10,000 reward. Each of the five states in which Dillinger and his gang had robbed banks also offered $10,000 rewards.

          In July 1934, Chicago police detective Martin Zarkovich approached Melvin Purvis, director of the Chicago office of the FBI and told him that he could deliver Dillinger. Zarkovich had a friend named Anna Sage, a whorehouse madam who was facing deportation to her native Romania, who he said could set up Dillinger if the FBI would halt her deportation proceedings.

          John_Dillinger_full_mug_shotThe deal was struck. The evening of July 22 was a warm one. John Dillinger wore a lightweight coat with a white shirt, gray pants, canvas shoes, and his usual straw boater as he entered the Biograph Theater with his most recent girlfriend, Polly Hamilton Keele. Anna Sage, who wore a brilliant orange dress, accompanied the couple. The banner hanging below the Biograph’s illuminated marquee advertised that the theater was “cooled by refrigeration” so that its patrons could watch Manhattan Melodrama, starring Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy, in comfort.

          While the movie played, Purvis positioned his men in the streets outside the theater. He was nervous, chain-smoking cigarettes as he waited for the theatergoers to exit. At about 10:30, the house lights came up and the theater began to empty. As the crowd filed out, Purvis saw Anna Sage’s distinctive orange dress—the means by which they agreed to identify her, and thus, Dillinger—among the crowd. He signaled to his agents and the police to move in.

          Dillinger stepped off the curb, just before the alley that ran alongside the theater. Alerted by something, he suddenly stopped and whirled around, apparently reaching for a gun hidden beneath his coat. The agents opened fire. Three bullets struck him. Dillinger staggered a few steps then fell to the pavement dead.

          John KachubaThere are stories of people seeing a shadowy figure of a man running on the sidewalk, or heading for the alley. He runs, then staggers, then falls and disappears, almost as if reenacting the shooting over and over again. There are some who say the man killed at the Biograph Theater that night was not really John Dillinger, but that the FBI, embarrassed by the Little Bohemia debacle, could not admit yet another mistake and so covered up the truth. We may never know the truth, but what we do know is that a man was shot and killed that night and that his ghost relives that agony still.

          In his book Ghosthunting Illinois, John Kachuba explores the scariest spots in the Prairie State.  He visited thirty-two legendary haunted places, all of which are open to the public – so you can test your own ghosthunting skills, if you dare.

          Photo credits:
          Biograph Theater © John Kachuba
          John Dillinger: © By FBI [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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            Oaklea Mansion

            Oaklea Mansion Bed & Breakfast in Winnsboro, TX


            Oaklea MansionThe colonial-style home was originally built in 1903 by Mr. Marcus Dewitt Carlock, Sr. He was a successful attorney who had been involved in many political ventures, and often entertained the politically elite of the time. The Carlock home was recorded as a Texas Historical Landmark in 1966; a marker bearing a brief history of the house is proudly displayed beside the front door.

            Current owner Norma Wilkinson was born and raised in Winnsboro, and knew the Carlock family prior to purchasing the home in 1996. Norma and her husband live in the home, but have also opened it to guests as the Oaklea Mansion Bed & Breakfast.

            Many visitors to the mansion and its grounds have reported strange experiences during their stay, and paranormal teams have also investigated the home, finding that legitimate activity was indeed occurring there.


            The author of Ghosthunting Texas, April Slaughter visited the Oaklea Mansion with her husband and stayed in the “English Rose” room, which was richly decorated in floral décor and had access to the balcony. After a few hours’ sleep, April’s husband Allen was jolted awake by the feeling of a hand gripping his left ankle. He sat up in bed and saw no one there, but maintains that someone or something had touched him. He waited for awhile, but sleep ultimately found him again and the remainder of the night was uneventfully peaceful.

            Norma treated April and Allen to an elegant breakfast the next morning while they discussed their experiences from the night before. April and Allen wholeheartedly believed that they were not the only guests of the Oaklea Mansion. It is a lovely mansion and no real surprise if a member of the Carlock family regularly comes back to check on the home they once owned

            The Lone Star State is so vast it includes just about everything — including ghosts! For more haunted stories check out April Slaughter’s book Ghosthunting Texas


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              The Ghost of Edgar Allan Poe

              PoeHouse-BaltimoreLocated just eight blocks from where Edgar Allan Poe is buried at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground is, ironically, one of the many houses the author lived in over the course of his life. It was not, however, his home at the time he died in Baltimore in 1849 at the age of forty, as many people assume—possibly because of all the paranormal phenomena that have occurred at the site.

              The author dwelled in this small, unassuming brick townhouse for just a couple of years, from March 1831 to October 1833, with his aunt, Maria Clemm, and her children, Henry and Virginia (whom he married in 1835, when she was thirteen and he was twenty-seven).

              His stay there followed his discharge from the United States Military Academy at West Point and preceded his move to Richmond, Virginia, to work as a staff writer and critic for the Southern Literary Messenger, a periodical devoted largely to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews. While living in the Baltimore home, the author lived and wrote—possibly creating as many as a dozen published stories and poems—in a little top-floor room with a pitched ceiling.

              In the early 1930s, the city of Baltimore planned to demolish the house as part of an urban clear-cutting campaign and to extend the almost tastelessly named “Poe Homes” housing project onto the site. The Edgar Allan Poe Society managed to obtain the property and opened it to the public in 1949.

              Exhibits at the little museum include a lock of Poe’s hair; some china that once belonged to his guardian, John Allan; a reproduction of the portrait Poe painted of Virginia after she died in 1847;  a reprint of the 1849 obituary from the October 24, 1849 edition of the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper; and Poe’s original announcement  about the creation of The Stylus, a literary magazine that never got off the ground.

              Strange phenomena people have reported at the site include the sensation of someone tapping them on the shoulders, mysterious muttering voices, lights moving around in the house when no one was in it, inexplicable cold spots, windows flying open or slamming shut—and, in at least one case, a window falling out of its frame and smashing onto the floor.

              Some people have, predictably, also claimed to see the ghost of Poe in this house—and perhaps part of his spirit does remain behind there residually, or visits periodically during its rounds to the many other sites where people have seen it. What even more people have claimed to see or otherwise sense, however, is a specter that many have described as a heavyset, middle-aged woman. Who she might be, however—and whether or not she has any connection to Poe—remains unclear, and further investigation would seem to be in order.

              More haunted tales connected to Edgar Allen Poe are found in Ghosthunting Maryland by Michael Varhola.

              Copyrights: By Midnightdreary (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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                Ectoplasmic Ghosts


                Rosemary Ellen Guiley talks to us about the Ectoplasmic Ghost phenomena

                Rosemary Ellen GuileyMany haunted locations have albums of photographs taken on premises by visitors. Some of them show cloudy mists that weave around the objects in the photos. The mists may look like fog or smog, or uneven layers and streams of smoke. Ghost enthusiasts call this phenomenon ectoplasm or “ecto” for short. When it shows up in a photograph, they say, it reveals a ghost or spirit. Is ecto really paranormal or a case of mistaken identity?

                Whether or not ectoplasm is a genuine substance, belief in it persists, perhaps due in part to the popularity of the 1982 film Ghostbusters. The origins of ectoplasm date to the nineteenth century when Spiritualism and séances were all the rage. The word was coined in 1894 by a French researcher, Charles Richet, who combined two Greek words, ektos and plasma, to mean “exteriorized substance.” Richet used it to describe a weird third arm that oozed out of the noses, mouths, ears, and other body orifices of mediums during trance states. Supposedly, ectoplasm was used by spirits to materialize bodies in the physical world.

                Ectoplasm was warm to the touch and smelly. It ranged in texture, such as dough, rubber, cotton, muslin, gauze, and froth. It would come out in shapeless masses, or form into ghostly hands and feet, as well as other parts of a spirit “body.” Sometimes ectoplasm seemed more like a vapor or smoke.

                Sometimes the “ecto” turned out to be soap, gelatin or egg white

                From its beginnings, ectoplasm was controversial, and was uncovered as fraudulent in some cases. Sometimes the “ecto” turned out to be nothing more than soap, gelatin, and egg white. Researchers tested mediums by forcing them to drink blueberry juice or dyes, in case they had secreted cotton or linen in their stomachs to regurgitate. Other mediums performed séances in the nude to prove that they were not faking it. Research of ectoplasm ended for the most part by the mid-twentieth century with the jury out on whether or not it is a genuine spirit manifestation.

                The latest twist of ecto has emerged in photography, especially images taken with digital cameras in haunted locations. Those white mists usually have a natural explanation; the camera has captured humid moisture in the air that is invisible to the human eye but is illuminated by a camera flash. Sometimes cigarette smoke is the culprit. Nearly invisible wisps of smoke can linger in the air long after a cigarette has been extinguished.

                So, most ecto or ghost mist photos probably have natural explanations. Some photos, however, do defy explanation, keeping the debate going and the intrigue high.

                Rosemary Ellen Guiley is the author of Ghosthunting Pennsylvania is a renowned expert on paranormal, visionary, and spiritual topics.

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                  Halloween Special on all our books now through October 31, 2015

                  With Halloween just around the corner, Clerisy Press is excited to offer a special on all Ghost Hunting San Antoniobooks in the America’s Haunted Road Trip series including our latest release Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country by Michael O. Varhola.

                  Simply visit our and pick the ghost hunting books of your choice, then add them to your cart and make sure to enter the special coupon code GHOST15 before checkout to receive an extra 5% of per book on our already rock bottom prices. This is a total of 30% off the cover price for each book!

                  Let Donna Stewart, the author of Ghosthunting Oregon take you on a tour of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. The mere utterance of the name Heceta Head Lighthouse has become synonymous with the words haunted and ghost. Heceta Head Lighthouse is now a popular bed-and-breakfast that offers turn-of-the-century-style rooms at reasonable prices. So if you are of the adventurous state of mind and would like to take a brief step back in time, Heceta Head Lighthouse might well be the place to escape to on your next vacation. It is history, it is home, and you are treated like family. Even by the ghosts.

                  Prepare for Halloween with recipes from the dearly departed. Mary AnnWinkowski’s, the Beyond Delicious Coconut Kissesoriginal ghost whisperer, offers more than 100 recipes in her book Beyond Delicious: The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook: More than 100 recipes from the Dearly Departed

                  America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles 30-100 haunted places open to the public. From inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, the author visits each place, interviewing people who live and work there. Books also include travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of 50 more places the reader can visit.

                  This Halloween Special runs NOW through October 31, 2015.

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                    Pumpkin Cookies from The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook

                    Right in time for Halloween a recipe from Mary Ann Winkowski’s book Beyond Delicious: The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook: More than 100 recipes from the Dearly Departed.

                    Mary Ann WinkowskiAn old friend of Mary Ann Winkowski invited her to join her for a Thanksgiving meal with her mother, Flossy. Her mom was living in a nursing home. Nursing homes and hospitals are always full of earthbound spirits. It’s not just the ten people sitting in the community area playing cards and watching TV, to me it’s the ten people plus the ten other people attached to them. That’s a lot of bodies—both physical and not—that Mary Ann would have to try to dodge, because she was not about to start walking through ghosts if she can help it.

                    To make her friend Fran happy she agreed to accompany her and they had lunch chatting while Mary Ann tried to avoid the eyes of any earthbound spirits for fears of cluing them in to what she could do. They got to talking about holiday cookies, and Flossy asked Fran if she remembered the pumpkin cookies Fran’s grandmother used to make. Fran mentioned that they were delicious and made with actual pumpkin, not just the spices.

                    They were at a table that seated eight people, and everyone started chiming in about these pumpkin cookies that were like small, cookie-shaped pumpkin pies. Then everyone started wracking their brains for the best recipe, but this being a nursing home . . . well, let’s just say no one could quite remember how these cookies were made. Suddenly, a ghost attached to one of the other guests at the table said that she knew the recipe.

                    The ghost did not expect Mary Ann to ask her about the recipe, and had it not been for everyone at the table going on and on about how delicious these cookies were, she probably wouldn’t have. The ghost was taken by surprise when Mary Ann asked for her name and the recipe for the cookies. But, the ghost who’s name was Mitzi did give her the recipe. Mary Ann jotted it down quickly while everyone else was still chatting. She offered Mitzi the chance to cross over, but the ghost had no intention of doing so and sort of slunk away from the table,

                    After the lunch, Mary Ann gave Fran the recipe and told her what had happened. Three days later Fran called her friend and said she’d made the cookies for her mother. Flossy had loved them and swore they were exactly the same as the ones her mom had used to make!

                    Mitzi’s Golden Pumpkin Cookies

                    Beyond Delicious Coconut Kisses
                    Beyond Delicious – The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook

                    ⅓ cup shortening
                    1⅓ cups sugar
                    3 eggs, well beaten
                    1 cup cooked or plain canned pumpkin
                    1 teaspoon vanilla
                    1 teaspoon lemon extract
                    1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
                    1/4 teaspoon allspice
                    1 teaspoon cinnamon
                    1/4 teaspoon ginger
                    1 teaspoon nutmeg
                    2 1/2 cups flour
                    4 teaspoons baking powder
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    1 cup raisins

                    Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly. Add eggs, pumpkin, flavorings, and the dry ingredients, which have been sifted together. Add raisins, which have been dredged in some of the measured flour. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonful’s onto well-greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a moderately hot oven at about 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

                    For more information on The Ghost Whisperer visit Mary Ann Winkowski’s website.

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