Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ghosts of Santee Cooper Country in South Carolina

All about Ghosts and Haunted places in Santee Cooper Country around scenic Lakes Marion and Moultrie in South Carolina.

A ghost is often defined as the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear in some visible form to the living. Ghosts are also known known as a spectre, phantom, apparition or spook. The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is quite widespread, dating back thousands of years. A 2005 Gallup poll found that about 32 percent of Americans believe in ghosts. It appear that a number of ghosts may be found wandering around Santee Cooper Country in S.C. See Wikipedia.

Descriptions of the apparition of a ghost vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, and is usually done during a séance. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life.

A place where ghosts are reported is described as haunted, and often seen as being inhabited by spirits of deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property. Supernatural activity inside homes is said to be mainly associated with violent or tragic events in the building's past such as murder, accidental death, or suicide. Some argue that the 'spirits' of those who have died have not 'passed over' and are trapped inside the property where their memories and energy are strong.

Both the Hebrew Torah and the Bible contain a few references to ghosts, associating contact with spirits as being a forbidden occult activity. The most notable reference is in the 1 Samuel 28:3-20, when King Saul has the Witch of Endor summon the spirit/ghost of Samuel. Both Jews and Christians are taught that it is sinful to attempt to conjure or control spirits in accordance with Deuteronomy 18:9-12.

Here in Santee Cooper Country, S.C., there are a number of reported ghost sightings or haunted locations that you might be interested in knowing more about. For example:

  • The Old Robert Eli McFaddin Plantation Home - Robert Eli McFaddin, Sr. built this home in 1854 with the help of his nephew John Brogdon McFaddin the son of Joseph Sidney McFaddin. It is rumored that a Ghost that lives in the attic and peers out the rear windows, and may be seen in the late afternoons. This Ghost once took the reins of Jeff’s horse on dismounting at the lot gate and handed them to Earl his brother.
    Manning Cemetery & Dead Man's Curve- On the side of the road in dead mans curve you can see an old ghost like figure sitting in a rocking chair on certain nights when the moon is right. It is believed by many that the mans son was ran over and killed in the curve so he sat there waiting on the driver of the car who killed his son until he died but his spirit lives on and still waits on the driver.
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  • The Ghost Town of Ferguson – There are a number interesting ghost stories and sightings related to the flooded town of Ferguson now lying at the bottom of Lake Marion. You might be interested in taking a paddling trip around the area and even consider scuba diving through the ruins.
  • Santee Indian MoundThe Santee Indians buried their chiefs, shamans, and warriors in earthen mounds by the Santee River. Over time, numerous sightings of ghostly images of Indian warriors have been seen in the area.
  • Wampee Ghost - Wampee was the seat of a Baptist colony in 1700. A number of Indian mounds were found on the Santee Valley Plantation. Portions of the property later became Somerset and Somerton Plantations. The ghost of a young Indian squaw has been seen appearing upon the front steps of the Wampee building in a flowing robe resembling blue silk chiffon with a complexion “as exquisite and delicate as a blush of early dawn upon the morning dew”. It makes its usual visits to all the rooms of the house and to the surrounding premises, then vanishes as mysteriously as it appears.
  • Spirits of Stony LandingSpirit Hunters of the South did historical and paranormal research on the Santee Cooper 'Stony Landing' property near Pinopolis. Read about their investigative methods and findings.
  • Wantoot Plantation - Shortly after the Revolution, General William Moultrie took a shortcut as he rode home one night. At Simons Hill near Wantoot, about 6 miles from Pinopolis, Moultrie thought he saw “the Devil” ride beside him. Something with fiery eyes seemed to go before, beside, and behind his terrified horse.

There are many other ghosts or haunted locations in Santee Cooper Country that may have never been officially recorded. For example, there is the Confederate soldier that supposedly strolls through the Church of the Holy Cross Cemetery, then there are the ghost sightings around Eutawville, and many others to learn about.

If you know of any other ghost stories or haunted places around Santee Cooper Country, please consider sharing your stories or encounters with us.

Selected web sites about Ghosts and Haunted Places in South Carolina

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Editorial: Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are Right

Editorial: Voters in the 2016 election are have been energized by both Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Donald Trump. Many issues and ideas being pushed by both candidates make a lot of sense.

On the left, voters are attracted by Senator Sanders' attacks against the growing inequality of wages and wealth in our country. It's a no-brainer. It's obvious that the emergence of the wealthy class composed of 1% of the population owning more than the other 90+% of the population does not square with the 'American Dream' and the people's vision for our country.

On the right, Donald Trump's position against unchecked immigration of refugees at this time from self-destructing regions of the Islamic world makes reasonable sense, e.g. Syria, Iraq. Especially in light of the never ending stream of terrorist attacks around the world by Islamic extremists.

Some of the other interesting issues and ideas raise by these candidates that resonate with voters include:

  • Providing some form of free college education for our citizens to help create a more educated and competitive workforce.
  • Further improving border controls to further reduce the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.
  • Providing some form of healthcare to all Americans that is acceptable to both parties by incrementally modifying existing laws.
  • Maintaining a strong military, while exercising restraint in using it whenever any crisis breaks out around the world.
  • Continue to move the country towards energy independence by further encouraging job producing alternative clean energy industries, e.g. wind, solar, nuclear.
  • Ensure all entities pay their fair share of taxes, including large US corporations that take unfair advantage of every loophole available to avoid paying taxes.
  • Implement laws to help stop the 'off-shoring' or outsourcing US companies and jobs to other countries.

There are a lot of other good ideas coming out from both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump's campaigns. Whoever finally wins the election needs to pick the best ideas from these two competing campaigns that have energized the American people, then get to work ensuring our country remains a strong, shining example to the rest of the world.

It's not about citizens strictly aligning behind the Democratic or Republican Party – its about doing what's right for America. What we shouldn't do is keep going down the divisive road we are currently on. We can do better.

Latest Update on Human Augmentation and Exoskeleton Technologies

News continues to proliferate about the development, deployment and use of emerging human augmentation and exoskeleton technologies.

Human augmentation technologies have the potential to enhance our innate human abilities in many ways. For example, it could be used to replace missing limbs or correct physical disabilities. In fact, some of the latest prosthetic devices have now reached the stage where they offer equivalent or slightly improved functionality over human limbs.

Military organizations are now experimenting with a wide range of 1st generation human augmentation technologies, including exoskeletons that allow personnel to carry increased loads and perform at a higher level. These devices also have the potential to be adapted for use in healthcare and many other industries.

Elderly people could benefit from powered human augmentation technology, such as powered exoskeletons, that can be used to assist wearers with simple walking and lifting activities, improving the health and quality of life for aging populations.

New implantable brain-machine interfaces have been developed and are being tested that are demonstrating that directly bridging the gap between brain and prosthetic devices are becoming a reality – allowing prosthetic devices to be directly integrated with the user’s body.

Neuro-enhancement technology under development could also provide superior memory recall or speed of thought for humans. Think of the possibilities for the those suffering from some form of dementia.

Exoskeleton Technology

Powered exoskeletons consist primarily of an outer framework worn by a person coupled with a powered system of motors or hydraulics that delivers part of the energy needed for limb movement.

The main function of a powered exoskeleton is to assist the wearer by boosting their strength and endurance. To date, powered exoskeletons have primarily been designed and developed for use by the military.

Powered exoskeletons are now also being designed for use by firefighters and other rescue workers operating in dangerous situation.  The medical field is another prime area for exoskeleton technology development and use. For example, it could be used to assist nurses in moving heavy patients. It could also be used by patients with major physical disabilities, missing limbs, and many who are currently wheelchair-bound.

Exoskeleton for the Military 

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated development of exoskeletons in 2001 under the Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation program. Check out some of the following examples:

  • XOS Exoskeleton is a robotics suit developed for the US Army. The XOS system was originally developed as the Wearable Energetically Autonomous Robot (WEAR) by Sarcos Research. The company was subsequently acquired by the defense contractor Raytheon.
  • The DARPA Warrior Web program aims to develop a soft, lightweight suit that would help reduce injuries and fatigue and improve Soldiers’ ability to efficiently perform their missions.
  • Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) is an untethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton developed by Ekso Bionics , under an exclusive licensing agreement with Lockheed Martin. It is intended to help soldiers in combat carry a load of up to 200 pounds at a top speed of 10 miles per hour for extended periods of time.
  • A light weight robotic exoskeleton is also being developed and tested by Harvard scientists for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) called the Soft 'Exosuit'

Exoskeletons in Medicine 

Several companies have also created exoskeleton systems for use in medicine. For example, check out the following solutions:
  • The HULC System developed by Ekso Bionics for the military is also working on a modified version of the system for medical use. The Ekso Exoskeleton Lower Extremity Gait System (eLEGS)  is a hydraulically powered exoskeleton system that helps paraplegics to stand and walk. A variant of the system known as Mantis is being developed for use in other industries.
  • Cyberdyne has developed the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL-5),  a wearable exoskeleton cyborg-type suit, that allows the wearer to lift 10 times as much as they normally could. It is expected to be applied in various fields such as rehabilitation support and physical training support in medical field, activities of daily living (ADL) support for disabled people. Cyberdyne's HAL-5 system could also provide support for rescue workers at disaster sites.
  • Honda has been working on their Walk Assist & Body Support systems that is now being readied for the marketplace. It is designed for use in activities requiring extended standing or repetitive lower-body tasks.
  • ARGO Medical Technologies has partnered with innovative robotics experts YaskawaElectric Corporation as it continues the global expansion of its ReWalk exoskeleton device which enables individuals with lower limb disabilities such as paraplegia to walk.

Exoskeletons & Open Source 

Various organizations and projects teams have now tapped into the 'open source' movement and practices to collaborate, share, and speed up the development of a wide range of innovative human augmentation solutions, including exoskeleton systems. For example:

  • OpenExo is a project to build and program an open source assistive lower limb exoskeleton. Also visit the OpenExo Project on GitHub.
  • Open Prosthetics Project is producing useful innovations in the field of prosthetics and freely sharing the CAD designs, open source code, and open source hardware, e.g. Arduino boards.
  • Rehab Rex is designed and developed by Rex Bionics for use in rehabilitation centers to assist with the treatment of patients under their care.
  • Titan Arm is a robotic exoskeleton which was developed using low-cost manufacturing and production techniques to cut the cost dramatically. The project team used open source software to run the device and reduce development costs.
The development of human augmentation technology and exoskeletons is primed for significant growth over the coming decade(s).  Think of the many benefits to the military, manufacturing, factories, healthcare, gaming, and many other industries. As we move into the next generation of this technology and become more aware of its potential, more and more actors are getting into the game.

Latest Exoskeleton Technology News

Finally, some of the most recent articles this year about this emerging market and specific exoskeleton products include the following:

  • Panasonic thinks you'll hike, run, and build stuff using its Robotic Exoskeletons - Panasonic has developed three different types of exoskeletons designed for specific tasks. Their Panasonic Assist Suit is designed for warehouse and factory workers who lift heavy things, reducing strain on a wearer's lower back by up to 33 pounds. The much sleeker-looking PLN-01, which Panasonic has dubbed "Ninja," assists with motions like walking and running, and is shown being worn by people hiking steep mountain trails. Finally, the Power Loader suit is a very large exoskeleton that's designed for construction, public works, and disaster relief.
  • FDA Clears Parker's Indego® Exoskeleton for Clinical and Personal Use - Parker Hannifin Corporation, the global leader in motion and control technologies, today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given clearance to now market and sell their Indego® exoskeleton for clinical and personal use in America. Indego is already commercially available in Europe. With annual sales of approximately $13 billion in fiscal year 2015, Parker Hannifin currently employs approximately 55,000 people in 50 countries around the world. Visit the company's website at
  • Ekso Bionics has now developed and delivered their Ekso GT robotic exoskeleton which enables individuals with lower extremity paralysis or weakness to stand and walk. In fact, the first Ekso GT was delivered to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago several years ago. The FDA is now hoping to see Ekso Bionics conduct a post-market study to assess the use of their products by patients.
  • Advances in exoskeleton tech provide the gift of walking to Paraplegic Patients - Recently, the California-based bionics firm suitX was selected as the winner of the $1 million top prize at the event for its pediatric medical exoskeleton at the 2016 UAE Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Competition. The company’s Phoenix exoskeleton is a modular unit which has a maximum weight of 27 pounds and is adjustable in size. The pediatric version of the Phoenix exoskeleton has been envisioned for helping children suffering from cerebral palsy or spina bifida to gain ambulatory mobility.
  • Global Exoskeleton Robots Market 2016-2020: Key Vendors are Cyberdyne, Ekso Bionics, Rewalk Robotics and Rex Bionics - The global exoskeleton robots market is expected to grow at a fairly solid Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 50.85% during the period 2016-2020. Then the industry will really take off!

If you're looking for a hot new field to enter that will start to play a dominant role in the marketplace in the 2020-2030 timeframe, this is it – human augmentation and exoskeleton technologies.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Latest Swamp Fox Mural – Elusive Francis Marion

The newest in the series of Swamp Fox Murals located throughout Clarendon County, S.C., was recently completed. It is located in the Town of Summerton on South Church Street, opposite the local Clarendon School District #1 offices. The newest mural is called “Elusive Marion”.

During the American Revolution, General Francis Marion’s Brigade continuously eluded the British forces under Lt. Col Tarleton. Marion's Militia slipped through swamps, trees and grasslands, enticing the British to follow them hoping to ambush them at Benbow's Ferry on the Black River. For more detail, visit

The 10' by 24' mural was painted by artist Terry Smith of Land O'Lakes, Florida. Terry started painting the series of Swamp Fox Murals back in 2005. This latest mural in Summerton was donated by The Swamp Fox Murals Trail Society. It was finished on January 19, 2016.