Thursday, October 22, 2009

Welcome Mrs. B's Halloween Blog Tour!

Good Morning, and Welcome, Everyone!!  It is so nice of you to stop by! 

In case you are in need of a snack, I've laid out some freshly baked Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and I have cups of S'mores Hot Chocolate, with Graham Crackers, topped with homemade marshmallows. 

I've included the recipes so that you can take them with you, if you like.

Everyone find a cozy spot to settle and make yourself comfortable, because I'd like to share a true mystery with you, while you enjoy your treats.  I've kept the lights low, and have a few candles burning, to help you relax.

Have you ever heard of The Light of Paulding?  I first heard of it years ago, when we first started going up into the Sylvania Wilderness Area to go canoe camping.  This Federal designated chain of deep woods and lakes is located in the general vicinity of Watersmeet, in the southwestern corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the Wisconsin border.  It is also just a few miles from Paulding.

Our story begins back in the 1840's.  Way back before the days of electrical and telephone lines, or of highways and bumper to bumper tourist motor traffic.  Back when iron ore deposits were discovered in several areas over the western end of the U.P.

Roads were nearly non-existent, and although the first loads of ore were shipped over Lake Superior, and down through Sault Ste. Marie, the rapids in the St. Mary's River made this a treacherous journey, and the winters on L. Superior made this mode of transportation impossible.  About the same time that the locks were being built at the "Soo", federal grants were given to the railroads to build lines crisscrossing both peninsulas, to not only transport the ore and other necessities, but to provide an access into the wilderness for settlers.

Thus, it was, that by 1883, the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad had extended into Watersmeet, setting the stage for a tragedy that still hs ramifications today.

Exact details are sketchy, but everyone seems to agree that the horrific accident occurred during a violent snowstorm, when the train was heading into the Watersmeet station.  They had to stop, due to excess snow on the tracks, with men getting off of the train to try and clear them with shovels.  When the drifts were cleared, they loaded back onto the train, and that is when it happened.

Whether the brakeman saw something on the tracks that looked irregular to him, or if he slipped and fell, the consequences were the same.  The engineer, misreading the lantern signals through the blowing snow, started to roll the train, crushing (some say beheading) the brakeman.

Ever since, no matter what the seaon, or the weather, one can see the brakeman's lantern, in the now empty track bed, swinging and moving in the night.

The distance varies usually from one mile to five, while some people claim that it has come all of the way up to the bridge, then disappeared.  If you walk down through the trail towards the light, when you get to the point where it should be, it also disappears, but the people remaining on the bridge can still see it! Sometimes it changes color, from white, to red, to green and back again, often accompanied by a train whistle, wafting on the wind.

I can hear your moans of distrust, but you can go and see this very light for yourself, with your own two eyes!  To observe this phenomenon, you drive North from Watersmeet on U.S. 45 for 4 miles toward the neighboring village of Paulding, and take Robbins Pond Road for a short distance West.  Robbins Pond is an unimproved rural lane that was once part of a military road authorized by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War in anticipation of a British attack through Canada.  So be prepared for a little rough ride, depending upon what the weather has been, but it isn't a long drive.


The road dead ends, but you will see this sign, erected by the National Forest Service. 

Other conflicting stories drift around from time to time. Some say that the light is that of a mailman who got lost in a snowstorm on his dog sled, and is out looking for his team.  Another version is that it is the Spirit of a Tribal Native, unhappy with the invasion of the trains and industry.  Some say that it is a father, out looking for his child that was lost in the snow.  Other witnesses claim that the light begins out over L. Superior, and comes inland, accompanied by stories of alien beings.


Scientists have tried disproving all of these theories, but haven't been able to do so.  Swamp gas doesn't exist in the area.  A common explanation is lights from cars on a nearby highway, but the light has danced long before electric lights on cars or even the road, existed! Trickery or human manipulation hav bee discounted for the same reason. This has been a nightly apparition sice before the turn of the last century!

Ripley's Believe It or Not offered an award in excess of $100,000 to the person who can prove what is causing the Paulding Light. The reward has gone unclaimed.  The television show, Unsolved Mysteries has witnessed the Light, and it still remains unsolved.


Maybe you should plan a journey up there, yourself.  Maybe YOU can be the one to solve this generations old mystery or maybe meet the ghost yourself!

Thank you all SO much for coming to read my tale.  Please stay and look around if you like, and come back to visit soon! You are always welcome!

 Recipes for your treats are detailed below.


Everyone have a spookily good day!!




Homemade Marshmallows


Veggie oil, for brushing
4 Envelopes Unflavored Gelatin
3 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 1/4 Cups Light Corn Syrup
1/4 Teasp. Salt
2 Teasp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar

Brush a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with oil.  Line with parchment, allowing a 2 inch overhang on the long sides.  Brush parchment with oil, and set aside.

Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 3/4 cup of water into a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into a bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle with gelatin.  Let soften 5 minutes.

Attach bowl with gelatin to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture.  Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.  Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula.  Set aside, uncovered until firm, about 3 hours.

Sift 1 cup confectioner's sugar onto a work surface.  Unmold marshmallow onto confectioner's sugar; remove parchment.  Lighty brugh a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2 inch squares.  Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar into a small bowl and roll each marshmallow in the sugar to coat.  Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

S'Mores Hot Chocolate With Graham Crackers

1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 - 2 Tblsp. Sugar
2 1/2 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
Pinch of Mexican Cinnamon
Butter to rim the mug
Graham Cracker Crumbs to rim the mug
1 Tblsp. Whipped Cream
1 Homemade Marshmallow
1 Pinch Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

In a saucepan over low heat, combine the milk, cream and sguar and heat until sugar is dissolved.  Add the chocolate and cinnamon and whisk constantly until the chocolate is melted.  Do not let the mixture come to a boil.  Rub butter  around the rim of the mug, dip into graham cracker crumbs to coat and fill the mug with the hot chocolate.  Place the whipped cream and marshmallow on top and sprinkle with cocoa powder.  Serve immediately.

Makes 2 cups

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cookies:

1 1/2 Cups Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Cup Veggie Oil
2 Tblsp. Molasses
1 Teasp. Salt
1 Teasp. Ground Cloves
1 Teasp. Cinnamon
1 Teasp. Baking Powder
1 Teasp. Baking Soda
3 Cups Flour

Filling:

1 Tblsp. Unflavored Gelatin
2 Tblsp. Cool Water
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
2 1/4 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
2 Tblsp. Crystallized Ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease, or line two large baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl, beat together, the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil and molasses.  Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat in the salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda.

Add the flour to the wet ingredients and beat for 1 minute, until the mixture is well combined.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat for a short time, just to make sure that everything is thoroughly mixed. Use a muffin scoop, or a 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop the batter onto the sheets, 2 inches apart, to allow for spreading.

Bake the cookies for 10 - 12 minutes, until they feel firm to the touch; a slight indention will remain when you press your finger into the center.  Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a small heatproof bowl, combine the gelatin and water and set aside for the gelatin to soften. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy.  Heat the gelatin and water very gently at low power in the microwave, stirring to dissolve the gelatin; set aside.

Add half the confectioner's sugar to the butter/cream cheese mixture, beating well.  Add the gelatin and mix to combine.  Add the remaining confectioner's sugar, mixing until blended, then stir in the ginger.

Spread the flat side of half of the cookies with the filling, using 2 generous tablespoons of filling for each cookie.  Top with the remaining cookies. For best storage, wrap each pie individually in plastic wrap.

Makes 12 cookies

Enjoy!

17 comments:

  1. OMG, I watched that Unsolved Mysteries!! That is a completely freaky story! Thanks so much for hosting us today, and for the awesome story and recipes. I will be making those whoopie pies ASAP!

    To everyone participating in the 31 Days of Halloween, take an extra entry to each of the giveaways today, by posting the name of your favorite recipe to each post!

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  2. What a wonderful welcome and interesting post! I love bizarre, local tales. :-D Happy Halloween!

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  3. Your blog is beautiful!
    I'm from Michigan too and have heard of the Paulding Lights, my neice and nephew have seen them. I'd be much too scared!!! It's so creepy, but fun!

    Thanks for the recipes, I've always wanted to try homemade marshmallows.
    Happy Halloween!

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  4. What a spooktacular tale!

    I've had a wonderful visit. Thank you for inviting me. :0) I hope to pop back in soon to catch up on what I have missed.

    Happy Haunting!

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  5. Hi Suzie -- When I was a teenager, some friends and I made a pan of homemade marshmallow. I don't know WHAT we did wrong, but the marshmallow turned out as hard as a ROCK. I've been too traumatized ever since to try again, LOL! Love the look of your blog -- I'm a follower now, so see you again soon!

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  6. I loved this local tale! I'd love to take my boys when they are a bit older around are great state and explore this. :) Becca
    BTW the pumpkin cookies sound good with some coffee about now!

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  7. stopping by to say hi from mrs B's blog - love the recipes - thanks for sharing

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  8. what a great story.... and the recipes to boot... thanks for sharing them with us...

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  9. That story was great, and now I have a reason to visit my hubby's family in Michigan!

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  10. First of all- I love you blog! It's decorations rock. Spooky stories are so much fun! If I ever find myself near Michigan I will definitely visit the spot.

    Thanks for the awesome recipes! I think I might use the pumpkin whoopie pie one for my Halloween Party.

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  11. Hi there,

    I can't remember where I heard about the lights, but reading your story rang a bell for sure! The funny thing is that I live in Germany, and yet I am quite sure to have seen a TV report about the lights. If I ever make it to Michigan, I will be sure to visit that place. :)

    Your blog is awesome -- thanks for taking part in Mrs. B.'s hauted blogs tour! :)

    Greetings from Munich,
    Birgit

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  12. Oh what a spooky story. I loved Unsovled Mysteries when it was on, and watch re-runs all the time. It was a great story I don't think I want to find out what the light is.lol.

    Blessings,
    Heidi

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  13. I love the whoopie pie recipe! I usually make chocolate espresso ones, but as much as I adore pumpkin I'm going to try these soon. Wonderful blog I'll be coming back often.

    Paula

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  14. Thank you for sharing this wonderful ghost story.... And the recipes are going to become a family favorite for sure!

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  15. Hi, I'm Anne from "The Gods Are Bored," coming by way of Mrs. B. Your blog is gorgeous, and this story is awesome. There are plenty of places in the world with ghosts and weird lights and stuff, but I can't recall ever seeing one before that actually has a park service sign announcing its presence!

    I wonder if this isn't just a concentration of faerie power... Anyway, Mrs. B has sent me to some great blogs, and this is one of the best!

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  16. Visiting from Mrs Bs and I LOVE your blog! What an amazing story about the light :-)

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  17. What a wonderful and sad, and creepy, story! Glad I'm already a follower - love your recipies!

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Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I love reading your comments, and hope that you will come back again! The tea kettle is always bubbling perfectly, the cookies freshly baked, and the door is always open!