The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odyssey

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The Land of Stories: An Author's Odyssey

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The fifth book in Chris Colfer’s #1 New York Times bestselling series The Land of Stories!

The Masked Man has captured all the royal families from the Land of Stories with the help of his army of literature’s greatest villains, including the Wicked Witch of the West, the Queen of Hearts, and Captain Hook. With his sinister plan finally in motion, he is eager to destroy the families and take his place as emperor.

Alex and Conner know they are no match against the Masked Man’s legion of villains, but they realize that they may be in possession of the greatest weapon of all: their own imaginations! So begins the twins’ journey into Conner’s very own stories to gather an army of pirates, cyborgs, superheroes, and mummies as they band together for the ultimate fight against the Masked Man.
Meanwhile, an even more dangerous plan is brewing–one that could change the fates of both the fairy-tale world and the Otherworld forever.
Conner’s tales come alive in the thrilling fifth adventure in the #1 New York Times bestselling Land of Stories series.

The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odyssey



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Outsourcing Pros And Cons: Outsourcing Disadvantages Weighed Against The Advantages

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Outsourcing is a bit of a gray area among many small business owners. On the one hand, it’s cheap, reliable work, on the other hand you might not always be sure you can trust the worker to complete the work assigned to them. Juggling the outsourcing pros and cons is a daily habit for some people, so here is a short list of both the advantages and the disadvantages of outsourcing.

Pros of Outsourcing:

Advantages of outsourcing include:

  1. Specialized skills– Unlike in-house employees, outsourcing companies and freelancers have finely honed skills relevant to their craft. When you hire a freelance writer for article marketing or link building for example, you are getting a persona who writes every single day for their living.
  2. Lower Cost- A lot of people are under the impression that freelancers and outsource specialists cost a lot of money, when in fact the opposite is true. Also consider the fact that to write a lot of articles yourself takes too much time, and hiring a staff to do it in-house is hardly cost effective anymore.
  3. Contracts– Worried that hiring someone in Costa Rica or the Philippines means that you will have no control over the way they work? Think again. Going into a contractual agreement protects both you and the freelancer, so you both get what you want.

Cons of Outsourcing

Outsourcing disadvantages include:

  1. Language Barriers– One of the only issues or problems with outsourcing would involve different languages. This is becoming less and less of a problem though, because a lot of freelancers and outsourcing companies realize how important it is to be fluent in English in today and tomorrow’s business world.
  2. Lack of Quality Control– Sometimes it just isn’t possible to control how a freelancer will behave. You can minimize your risk though by using a company like Freelancer.com that features a rating system. You can choose to hire only freelancers that have good reviews from past employers. It is nearly a foolproof system.

In the end, looking at outsourcing pros and cons shows that the advantages of outsourcing far exceed the outsourcing disadvantages. This is of course only true most of the time, and as with everything there will be exceptions to the rule. You might experience outsourcing problems when you look in places like India or Pakistan, so always be sure to clarify that you need someone who speaks and writes English very well.

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The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells

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The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells

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The classic guide to copywriting, now in an entirely updated third edition
This is a book for everyone who writes or approves copy: copywriters, account executives, creative directors, freelance writers, advertising managers . . . even entrepreneurs and brand managers. It reveals dozens of copywriting techniques that can help you write ads, commercials, and direct mail that are clear, persuasive, and get more attention―and sell more products.
Among the tips revealed are
• eight headlines that work―and how to use them
• eleven ways to make your copy more readable
• fifteen ways to open a sales letter
• the nine characteristics of successful print ads
• how to build a successful freelance copywriting practice
• fifteen techniques to ensure your e-mail marketing message
is opened
This thoroughly revised third edition includes all new essential information for mastering copywriting in the Internet era, including advice on Web- and e-mail-based copywriting, multimedia presentations, and Internet research and source documentation, as well as updated resources. Now more indispensable than ever, The Copywriter’s Handbook remains the ultimate guide for people who write or work with copy.

“I don’t know a single copywriter whose work would not be improved by reading this book.” ―David Ogilvy

Used Book in Good Condition



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Writing is Like a Muscle

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Think about the last time you started a physical activity, one using muscles you had not used much before. You started out feeling fine, but the next day, you were sore. Those muscles were protesting their initial use. But you enjoyed the activity, so you continued to use those muscles. And gradually or quickly, the strain decreased, the muscles grew stronger, and you were able to do more.

Writing is like a muscle because writing involves many developing many skills — from understanding grammar to understanding purpose and audience — skills that need practice in order for you, the writer, to become proficient. When you start writing, your writing muscles are unaccustomed to that activity, so you ache afterwards. This ache could translate into over critical evaluations of the work produced (probably valid), unfulfilled expectations that the writing would be easier than it actually was, or frustration that the activity took so much more time than expected with much less produced than hoped for.

IN THE BEGINNING, YOUR RESULTS ARE AWFUL

Lew Hunter talks of “training-wheel screenplays”: those first four or five screenplays that are truly awful but that you need to write in order to learn enough to write a fairly good script. These first scripts should never be shown to anyone because they are embarrassing.

Every writer has a time of producing training-wheel material, whether short stories or novels, articles or books, or short stories or novels; however, we are so proud of our accomplishment — we actually finished something — that we show it to everyone. Most readers are polite, perhaps even encouraging (mothers can be like that); some will say, “It needs work.” That is all part of building the writing muscles.

Realize that practice is essential to building muscle. That practice takes time and effort, focus and concentration, and much patience on your part. You must allow yourself time to grow those skills and confidence to the next level. Proficiency only comes with much dedicated practice and focused effort.

Refrain from too much self-criticism at the beginning stages of your development. Do not become discouraged at your first feeble attempts at your craft. We all start out as poor writers; with practice, we become better writers. Eventually, we can become professional writers, if that desire is strong enough.

Do not make the mistake I did. In my early writing career, when I was trying to decide the genres to focus on, I would write something and send it out. The rejection came back with boomerang swiftness. With each rejection, I would jump to another type of writing, figuring that rejection indicated my talent for the genre. The result was that I never stayed with any one kind of writing long enough to become proficient in it.

I finally realized that all this jumping around was not the best course of action, so I chose a few types of writing that I had enjoyed (writing books, writing about travel and writing, writing screenplays) and focused on developing those muscles (skills) specific to each type of writing. Eventually I became good enough to be published or to win awards, but I worked hard, spending a lot of time and effort to reach that point of proficiency.

One benefit of all that jumping around was that I learned about many types of writing, and I learned to write better out of sheer practice of writing. Writing is always good practice for better writing, no matter the genre you write.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

The more you exercise that writing muscle, the stronger it becomes. The more writing practice you put in, the better writer you will become. The stronger the muscle becomes, the more you will be able to perform more complicated, challenging tasks. You will feel confident at tackling larger and more complicated projects. So you can move from writing short blog posts to short 10 page e-books and eventually to writing 100 to 200 page book manuscripts.

The old adage is true: “practice makes perfect.” For writing, since no writing is ever perfect (a topic for another article), we will amend the adage to “practice makes improvement.”

Exercising the writing muscles is hard work, at least at first, but the whole process does become easier — with practice. The key to success is constant, daily (or as often as possible) writing. And write projects that really spark your interest, so you can sustain your writing efforts through the frustrating times.

Granted, some people do hit success with their first attempt at a genre, but most of us need that practice before we are good enough to be recognized for our accomplishments.

EVENTUALLY, YOU BECOME A PROFICIENT WRITER

As you become a better writer, you will find other writers who agree to read and critique your efforts (I am not talking about your mother or close friends or relatives, unless they are truly qualified). You may join a writing group, or you may just find friends who are also good writers.

As your writing is critiqued by these qualified readers, you will learn even more, especially about those issues particular to your writing — your “favorite” grammar errors or lazy ways you put words and sentences together. You will learn to tighten your writing. You will learn techniques to create better ideas and better ways to express those ideas.

Regardless of the pain and frustration of building up your writing muscle, trudge on. Continue to write; play with different types of writing; play with writing for different audiences and age groups; eventually, you will stumble upon your best fit for your writing. Actually writing is the only way you will achieve that level of proficiency so that your writing is taken seriously.

To get to that level, practice writing– stretching the writing muscle is essential. Write in a journal or write a blog about your hobby or passion. Write novels and stories and screenplays for you alone as the audience. But write. And then write some more.

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The Grantwriter’s Start-Up Kit: A Beginner’s Guide to Grant Proposals Workbook

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The Grantwriter's Start-Up Kit: A Beginner's Guide to Grant Proposals Workbook

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“This video makes the basics of grant writing easy to understand. The many examples scattered throughout the video make the abstract ideas more concrete. The graphics are well done and the pace gives the viewer time to absorb the material and even take notes. Anyone should be able to write a simple grant proposal after watching this video.”

–Ann Marston, president and CEO, Michigan League for Human Services

Fundraisers are often intimidated by the prospect of writing grant proposals. But missing a grant opportunity can mean losing important programs and essential services. For the fundraiser in need of practical skills and guidance, The Grantwriter’s Start-Up Kit shows how to prepare for the process of writing a successful grant proposal.

The video and companion workbook are specifically designed to help you streamline your efforts and avoid common mistakes.

Take the first step by watching this informative and engaging video. You will learn about the key elements of a winning proposal and gain invaluable insights from professionals in the field. The presenters draw from their extensive knowledge and experience in grantwriting and grantmaking to offer direct and succinct advice. They share wisdom not only from those who write proposals, but also from the foundations that approve the proposals.Used Book in Good Condition



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Mystery Solved – Boy-King Tut’s Magnificent Tomb – Exodus Miracles Affirmed!

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The Magnificent Tomb of Boy King Tut – Fleshing Out the Biblical Exodus Story!

When the tomb of Tutankhamon was discovered in 1922 it caused a world-wide sensation, the splendor of its death mask of pure gold becoming a centerpiece display of the wealth and opulence of ancient Egypt. In addition, extensive in size, it contained much jewelry of turquoise, lapis lazuli, carnelian, also articles of gold, silver and bronze, plus numerous objects for the Pharaoh’s journey of death. Egyptologists, however, puzzled over how Tutankhamon, but eighteen and only the heir to Egypt’s throne, could be buried in so magnificent a tomb – the established tradition being that reigning Pharaohs built their own tombs during their lifetimes. The size, grandeur and ornamentation of each Pharaoh’s tomb and the splendor of its contents, reflected upon the length and wealth of his sovereignty.

Dr. Lennart Moeller, medical doctor from Stockholm, but also an Egyptologist, archeologist, amateur deep sea diver, etc., developed a theory in his book “The Exodus Story” to explain the anomaly: Tutankhamun, first born son of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, dies in the Tenth Plague; later, Pharaoh, pursuing the fleeing Hebrews with his chariot army, drowns and his body is lost in the Red Sea; Amenhotep’s empty tomb is therefore available while royal prince Tutankhamun is dead and needful of a burial place.

There is much extra-biblical evidence to support the theory.

The biblical “Ten Plagues” inflict Egypt

After Pharaoh repeatedly refuses to let the Hebrew slaves leave Egypt, Moses warns there will be plagues, first the Nile turning into blood, then frogs, lice, and finally locusts, darkness, and the tenth plague, death of all firstborn, including Prince Tutankhamun.

A highly important extra-biblical source of corroborative detail – to almost all the narratives of the ten-plagues plus Exodus events (as told in both the Bible and Passover-Haggadah), is the Ipuwer Papyrus Scroll. Found in Egypt in the early 19th century, it was translated and taken to the Leiden Museum in Holland where it is still kept. Described in several archaeological books of ancient Egypt, it is a papyrus scroll over twelve feet in length, called “Admonitions of Ipuwer”, written during the 19th Dynasty by an Egyptian scribe-historian named Ipuwer. Interpreted in 1909, it depicts violent events in Egypt during the prior dynasty, which seem to parallel the Biblical plagues and the Exodus story – it describes a society in total crisis, providing essentially an eyewitness account of extreme and unusual occurrences:

  • “What the ancestors had foretold has happened”, (Imhotep, the Egyptian vizier who saved Egypt from famine, 260 years earlier – thought to be the biblical Joseph – had foretold the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt.)
  • “The river is blood .. there is blood everywhere, no shortage of death .. many dead are buried in the river {The first plague}.. lacking are grain, charcoal .. great hunger and suffering”.
  • “destruction of grain” {The plague of locusts or hail}.
  • “We don’t know what has happened in the land.”
  • “animals moaning and roaming freely”.
  • “darkness” {The ninth plague}.
  • Deaths .. “children of princes, prisoners, brothers” {The tenth plague, deaths of all the first-born}.
  • “Gone is what yesterday has seen. See now, the land is deprived of kingship. See, all the ranks, they are not in their place .. like a herd that roams without a herdsman.”
  • “Poor .. have become of wealth .. Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze are strung on to the necks of female slaves.” {.. and they requested from the Egyptians, silver and gold articles. And God made the Egyptians favor them and they granted their request.” Exodus 12:35-36};
  • Additional extra-biblical confirmation of the Passover plagues are the mass burial graves of Egyptians, excavated at Tel ed Daba and elsewhere, indicating a panic, no individual burials.

The Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt

After the Tenth Plague, when Amenhotep III’s first-born son, Tutankhamun dies in the tenth plague, Pharaoh finally orders Moses to take the Hebrews and leave Egypt. Later however, when he realizes the loss to Egypt of its slave people, also learning from his scouts that they are “trapped in the wilderness” (see article “Miracles, 3500 Years Ago”), he pursues them with his chariot army.

Going beyond the plagues, the Ipuwer scroll also corroborates the biblical description of the Exodus flight: “fire .. mounted up on high .. its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land” {Bible: “by night in a pillar of fire”}.

Pharaoh and his Chariot army Drowns

Pharaoh, leading his chariot army, pursues the Hebrews to the Gulf of Aqaba, where recently discovered artifacts of coral-covered chariot wreckage plus bones of men and horses – all strewn along an eight mile undersea ridge between the Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia – indicate they had drowned (see Ezine article, “Miracles, 3500 Years Ago”).

Corroboration of these events comes from several sources – firstly, the Ipuwer scroll: “See, he who slept wifeless, found a noblewoman ..” Written long afterwards, it obviously describes conditions after the loss of the Egyptian army, composed of upper-class males. Secondly, this also supports the request of the “royal” widow of Pharaoh, in a remarkable (clay cube) Amarna letter to the King of the Hittites- asking for one of his sons to become her new husband. It was sent to King Suppiluliumas, “He who was my husband is dead and I have no son. People say you have many sons. If you send me one of your sons he will become my husband .. repugnant to me to take one of my servants .. since most ancient times .. never happened before .. write to a foreign country .. humiliating to me and my country.”

The loss of the mighty Egyptian chariot army seems to be supported by various items of evidence – Josephus, the Roman historian, quotes Monetho, an Egyptian priest, circa 300 BC, regarding the “easy” conquest of mighty Egypt by the Hyksos. (Egypt’s loss of its entire chariot army at the Red Sea seems a corroborating explanation.)

Also, Tel-Amarna letters have been found from cities dependent on Egypt for protection from invaders, begging Pharaoh to send troops – saying “no help has come”. Historians note that Egypt having lost its powerful chariot army was now incapable of sending military protection, and recovery of a demoralized Egypt would take a long time – per Dr. Moeller, it was “the beginning of the end of the 18th dynasty”.

Tutankhamun is buried in the tomb of his Pharaoh father

With Pharaoh Amenhotep III drowned in a far-off sea and his magnificent tomb completely furnished but absent a body, but with the body of royal Prince Tutankhamun needing a burial place, the obvious apparently took place, the Egyptian court deciding that Tutankhamun would be buried in his father’s tomb. The only personal item was the magnificent death-mask.

One direct reference is cited by Dr. Moeller, ” .. young king .. buried in tomb originally prepared for ‘Ay’.”

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The Importance of Web Hosting Security

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What do you look for in a web host? A low price? Reliability and good support I hope. If you’re anything like today’s ambitious webmaster, you’re on the hunt for the best features. There’s a lot of programs and management tools available to make your site standout but I bet there are some features you pay no mind at all. Often overlooked but one should never forget about critical security features as they will help to keep your web hosting environment protected from an array of threats. Security features are abundant but here some you simply can’t do without:

SFTP

Short for Secure File Transfer Protocol, SFTP is more efficient and secure variation of FTP. In its purest form, FTP only has the ability to transfer files, leaving them vulnerable to a range of security breaches such as eavesdropping, tampering and even interception of the entire file. A web hosting company offering SFTP provides you with the ability to secure your files in transit with SSH (Secure Shell Host), a protocol that protects data with government recommended 128-bit encryption.

SSL

Secure Sockets Layer or SSL, should be incorporated on any website that sells products or services. SSL is a standard encryption protocol designed to keep internet communications secure. If a web hosting company doesn’t support a shared or private SSL certificate, you need to turn in the opposite direction and find yourself another provider.

Data Backups

Data backup and restoration is not only something that should be practiced with the files on your hard drive, but those on the web host’s server as well. All it takes is one technical difficulty or natural disaster for the web hosting company to lose a server and all of your website data. The good thing is that most providers perform redundant backups to ensure that your data can be restored in the event of a failure. To be on the safe side, I recommend looking into a web host that offers a utility that allows you to backup your own data.

Network Security

Aside from protecting your files and website transactions, you also need to keep an eye out for security features that protect the web hosting company’s network. Do a little research to learn how the web host is protecting their infrastructure, keeping in mind that intrusion detection systems, firewalls, DDoS protection, virus and spam filtering are common features. Servers are prime targets of hackers and malicious code writers so if the hardware is breached or goes down, your website will suffer right along with it.

These are just a few of numerous security features a web hosting company should offer to ensure the safety of your website data. Hackers are constantly trying to crack into web servers while malware writers are releasing new infectious strains everyday. A web host that doesn’t take this into mind is essentially leaving you wide open for exploitation.

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General Tools 88CM Tungsten Carbide Scribe and Magnet

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General Tools 88CM Tungsten Carbide Scribe and Magnet

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General’s 88CM has long been held as the industry standard for scribing and etching tools. The tungsten carbide tip performs flawlessly on even the hardest metals, and therefore works easily on ceramics and glass as well. A powerful magnet at the tool’s cap quickly cleans up stray metal shavings that can damage your work piece. The 88CM also features a reversible/removable tip, and a pocket clip for working in the field.

GENERAL TOOLS – THE PRECISE TOOL FOR DOING THE JOB EXACTLY RIGHT. Offering over 1,000 tools, we’re proud to provide tradesmen, craftsmen and DIYers around the world with a broad range of affordable, specific-purpose mechanical hand tools and precision measuring and inspection tools.

For inquiries, please contact our Customer Service Department at 212-431-6100. We strive to provide our customers with 100% satisfaction.

WORK SMARTER, MEASURE BETTER & BE MORE PRODUCTIVE WITH GENERAL TOOLS

Tungsten carbide tip marks hard materials including hardened steel, ceramics and glass
Aluminum/nickel/cobalt alloy permanent magnet picks up small parts and retrieves steel chips from hard-to-reach places
Scriber point reverses for safety
Scriber features a tungsten carbide tip that marks hard materials including hardened steel, stainless steel, ceramics and glass
Permanent magnet on the etching tool picks up small parts and retrieves steel chips from hard-to-reach places
Engraving pen comes with a chuck for reversing tungsten carbide point when not in use; scribe is an essential machining tool
Knurled aluminum handle provides maximum control and comfort; simply apply layout fluid and scribe away
Scribe tool point is replaceable; convenient pocket-clip allows you to always keep the tool handy



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Celebrity Ghost Stories – John Lennon

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The ghost of murdered Beatle John Lennon has been seen on a number of occasions by various people close to him, including former band mate Paul McCartney. Paul claims that when he, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr sang Lennon’s song, “Free As A Bird” in 1995, John’s presence was actually there in the studio.

“There were a lot of strange goings-on in the studio – noises that shouldn’t have been there and equipment doing all manner of weird things,” McCartney said. “There was just an overall feeling that John was around.”

In another paranormal experience, McCartney said that when he and the two other “Beatles” had a photo shoot for the album, a white peacock came wandering over from a nearby farm. At the very last minute, the beautiful bird made its presence known, and McCartney received the strong feeling that it was the spirit of John Lennon hovering around them as they completed the recording.

McCartney said to the other two ex-Beatles: “That’s John. Spooky, eh? It was like John was hanging around. We felt that all through the recording.”

When Paul McCartney listened to the single’s B-side, he believed that John was making his presence known there, too.

McCartney said, “We put one of those spoof backwards recordings on the end of the single for a laugh, to give all those Beatles nuts something to do. I think it was the line of a George Formby song. Then we were listening to the finished single in the studio one night, and it gets to the end, and it goes, ‘zzzwrk nggggwaaahhh jooohn lennnnnon qwwwrk.’ I swear to God.”

Paul said of he, George, and Ringo: “We were like, ‘It’s John. He likes it!”

Though this ghost story comes from someone who never knew Lennon personally, this is quite an eerie one to read.

John Lennon was gunned down by crazed fan Mark Chapman on December 8, 1980 in front of the Dakota, a New York apartment. Joey Harrow, a musician who lives near the Dakota, experienced a ghostly sighting of John in 1983. Harrow claimed he saw John’s ghost at the Dakota front doorway, where he’d been shot three years before. Harrow claimed that the Lennon apparition was surrounded by an “eerie light.”

When Joey Harrow witnessed the sighting, so did the writer, Amanda Moores. She was present at the time Lennon’s ghost was sighted. Amanda said that she wanted to approach the figure of Lennon and talk to him, but was dissuaded from doing so by the rather serious expression on the apparition’s face that seemed to say, “No, don’t come near me.”

Liam Gallagher, of the pop group Oasis, claimed he was once visited by the spirit of John Lennon. He didn’t know Lennon in real life, but held great admiration for the Beatle. When Liam stayed at friend’s house years ago in Manchester, England, he felt the strong presence of his hero.

The singer said, “I was in Manchester at a mate’s house having a sleep. I remember getting up and feeling really weird. I turned round and there I was, lying on the bed, and I sort of fell back into my body. There was a presence there and it was him, Lennon.”

The psychic Shawn Robbins said she saw John’s ghost in the Dakota building, and Yoko Ono herself was reported to have seen John sitting at his white piano. He turned to her and said, “Don’t be afraid. I am still with you.”

According to several Spiritualists, John’s spirit lingered on Earth for a short time before a group of spirit Guides helped him to adjust to the ‘other’ world. A person who won’t ‘let go’ after they are dead becomes a ghost who haunts the area of the tragedy. The Guides convinced him to join them in the spirit world and various mediums began receiving messages from him.

John’s ex-wife, Cynthia, found a dead jackdaw wrapped in old newspapers dated 1956 behind the fireplace of her home in Cumbria. She told journalist Annette Witheridge: “John told Julian that if there was life after death, he would prove it by sending a feather as a sign. When Julian saw the jackdaw, he was really shaken. It’s as if John is trying to get in touch with us.”

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Source by Alan Toner