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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our sixth calendar year
    PCR #290  (Vol. 6, No. 41)  This edition is for the week of October 10--16, 2005.

Haunted Pinellas, Part 2
 by William Moriaty and Lisa Clardy
"A History of Violence"
 by Mike Smith
My Life in the "Church"
 by Dylan Jones
Alice Cooper
 by Terence Nuzum
Echo and the Bunnymen Return From Siberia....Stellastarr* Harmonizes With Copy Protection....John Peel Day....Paper or Plastic Medicine?
 by Vinnie Blesi
Welcome Back....Are You Kidding Me?...Movie Notes....God I Hate Her....Thanks....Call Him KashYYYK/American....Where's The WB Frog?...The Answer Is....You're Out....Passing On....Jaws: The Story, Part 37
 by Mike Smith
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Haunted Pinellas
By Guest Columnist Lisa Clardy  

Will Moriaty here. You will recall in last week's column that we were exploring the hauntings of a Pinellas Park, Florida resident who we referred to as "Linus Oliver." This week will feature an even more in-depth recounting of the strange and at times terrifying encounters with the unknown that this person, as well as those close to him, and even those across the street from him, encountered throughout the 1980's and early 1990's.

This week I am proud to feature Ms. Lisa Clardy of Orlando's F-Bod Studios as a guest columnist, a first for La Floridiana, as I am needed in San Diego, California to preside over the wedding of Denis Lebrun's son, Devin. Ms. Clardy can tell these tales with great authority as she not only heard them first hand from Linus Oliver, but had several strange and at times terrifying encounters herself while in or near the presence of Mr. Oliver, or even at houses nearby.

I hope that you will enjoy this authentic series about some extraordinary occurrences in a very otherwise ordinary neighborhood in Pinellas Park, Florida!

William Moriaty, La Floridiana.

One Terrifying Night
Although a wealth of spooky stories can be gleaned from the small, neat house just off of Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park, I’m going to tell the tale of one terrifying night I spent there, in the company of my dear friend Karen Cashon, “Linus Oliver,” the home’s owner, and his roommate, "Ludiwici Armstrong."

Linus had told us a few stories of the strange goings-on at his house, but they were the easily dismissed variety - - lights turning themselves off and on, strange noises, etc. He said most of the activity seemed to center around the attic, where all his deceased grandmother’s belongings were stored, and that was why he suspected that his grandmother’s spirit might be responsible for some of the phenomena.

At the time, Karen owned a classic 1965 VW Beetle, a lovely car she had nicknamed “Ruby.” We spent many long hours zipping around Pinellas County in Ruby, and if Ruby had any faults at all, it was that she had no air conditioning. Therefore, on the night we decided to visit Linus, we arrived in a rather windblown state.

Starting The Night Off With A Bang
Ludiwici had just gotten off his shift at work, and he and Linus excused themselves to the kitchen to eat dinner. Karen stayed in the living room to play with Linus’ new dachshund puppy named "Shelby", and I went to the bathroom to brush my wind-frazzled hair into some kind of shape.

I’m going to pause here to explain the layout of the house, which has a bearing on my story. It was exceedingly tiny, no more than 900 square feet total, and had only four rooms - - living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. It didn’t even have a hallway. It did have a nice porch and breezeway leading out to the enormous backyard, but we’ll get to that a bit later.

Since I was doing nothing more personal than brushing my hair, I didn’t bother to close the bathroom door. And since it was the 80’s and big hair was all the rage, I bent over to brush my hair up from the roots, to pump up the volume as it were.

Suddenly, the bathroom door slammed shut with enough force to crack the jamb.

I straightened abruptly, more than a little alarmed, and stared at the door. I could hear Ludiwici and Linus talking in the kitchen, and Karen making cooing noises at the puppy in the living room. No one in the house at the time could have touched the door.

I tried the doorknob, but when closed too tightly, Linus’ bathroom door had a tendency to stick. It wouldn’t budge. That’s when I remembered where the attic entrance was located.

Goosebumps broke out all over my body as I looked overhead to the innocuous-looking square of wood leading to the attic above. And that’s when I started to yell for Linus to come and get me the hell out.

He showed up immediately, wrestled the door open, and asked my why I had slammed it so hard. I said, “I never touched the &*#%! door,” and promptly burst into tears.

Rummy Interruptus
I was all for leaving right that second, but Linus convinced me and Karen to stay, to try to relax by going out onto the breezeway and playing cards. I reluctantly agreed, stowed my hairbrush in my oversized purse which was resting on the sofa, and we all trooped out to the breezeway, located behind the kitchen, to play a nice safe game of gin rummy.

Linus had run wires from the stereo in the bedroom to speakers out on the breezeway, so we had soothing music to listen to as we played cards and tried to forget the upsetting bathroom incident.

We’d been playing for about an hour and a half when the music’s volume suddenly climbed to painful levels. Since all four of us (puppy included) were sitting at the same table, we knew none of us were responsible. We just stared at each other for a moment, then Linus said, “It’s a short in one of the wires. That’s all.” Riiiight.

As one, we rose from the table and walked into the bedroom. The stereo’s slider volume controls were pushed all the way up.

Karen and I exchanged a Significant Glance, then simultaneously checked our watches and said, “Gosh, it’s been fun, but we gotta go.” No one tried to talk us out of it this time.

Karen and I went back out to the living room, where my gigantic purse was nowhere to be found. We instituted a search, with all four of us checking any possible place I might have left it, although I was certain I had left it in plain view on the sofa. After several minutes, Ludiwici found it - - behind the sofa, which was pushed up against the wall. There was no way on God’s green earth it could have slipped down between the cushions, as it weighed about fifty pounds on a good day, and was, as previously mentioned, absolutely ginormous.

As Karen and I made our hasty goodbyes, Ludiwici suddenly exclaimed, “Look at the puppy!” Said puppy had trotted into the bedroom, stopped just outside the bathroom door, then tucked her tail between her legs and ran back out into the living room.

Karen and I booked it, posthaste.

When we arrived at my house, the phone was ringing as we walked in the door - - at one in the morning. I picked up the phone to hear Linus’ trembling voice. He and Ludiwici had walked Karen and I to the car, and upon returning to the house had discovered the entrance to the attic “blown open.” The square of wood that normally settled into its frame to block the entrance was now lying four feet away on the attic floor. The temperature in the bathroom and bedroom was about 20 degrees lower than the rest of the house. And the puppy was going nuts, refusing to even enter the bedroom.

Linus informed me that he and Ludiwici were going to grab some pillows and go sleep at the neighbors’ house. Which I thought was a most excellent plan.

Angry Ghost Or Something Worse?
We never did figure out what happened that night. Linus, who was convinced the paranormal activity in the house was due to his grandmother’s spirit, told me he had never seen anything like the malicious events that occurred that particular evening. Either I did something to anger his grandmother, or something worse than the ghost of an elderly woman lived in the attic of that cozy little house in Pinellas Park.

Will here again...
Well, that was some enchanted evening! Whatever was at work at Linus Oliver's house may well have been at work at other houses along his street. Late one afternoon Lisa went across the street from Linus's house to visit one of his neighbors. Lisa knocked at the neighbor's front door. She heard a voice inside the house respond "Come on in!" Lisa tried to open the door but it wouldn't budge.

A little frazzled, Lisa knocked again, this time asking "Theresa, are you home?" The same voice replied "The door's unlocked, come on in!" Lisa tried frantically to open the front door, but to no avail. She then walked around the house to see if anyone was home. After a thorough examination, Lisa could find no evidence of anyone inhabiting the house. Confused, she crossed the street back to Linus's where some time later she saw the neighbor's car pull into their driveway, walk up to the front door, unlock it, and go inside.

Just who or what was talking to Lisa from behind the door of what appears to have been yet another haunted house in Pinellas Park?

Will's Recommended Websites

The Paranormal in Florida
Orlando Ghost Tours http://www.hauntedorlando.com/
The Original Key West Ghost Tours http://www.hauntedtours.com/
Ghost Tours of St. Augustine http://www.ghosttoursofstaugustine.com
Ghost Tours of Historic Haunted St. Petersburg http://www.ghosttour.net/
The Florida Jaguarundi http://www.pangeainstitute.us/expeditions/jaguarundi/
The Florida Skunk Ape http://www.floridaskunkape.com/
Florida Paranormal Research Association http://www.floridaparanormal.com/
SpookHunters http://www.spookhunters.com/
New Smyrna Beach Historical Ghost Tours http://www.nsbghosttour.com/
Daytona Beach Ghost walk http://www.hauntsofdaytona.com/
Florida Ghosts Haunted Index http://www.floridaghost.com/hauntedindex.htm
Shadowlands Haunted Places Index: Florida http://theshadowlands.net/places/florida.htm

"La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty.  Thanks to Lisa Clardy for filling in!  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.