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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Halloween

Halloween Witch

"Trick-or-Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!"

Though you may or may not be quite familiar with this somewhat inconsiderate child's ditty, simply the first words in the song indicate to you what the subject of this article is with quite immediate recognition, regardless of your personal views on the matter.

The subject, of course, is Halloween. More specifically, the Origins of Halloween, and a look into some of the practices most commonly associated with it, including... you guessed it, Trick-or-Treating.

Few people realize that most of the traditions involved with Halloween, and the very occasion of Halloween itself, draws back much further than the often cited 'European spin on a Roman spin on an ancient Pagan holiday'.

An ancient Irish tribe called the 'Celts' had a religious sect called Druids who performed ancient and 'magic' rituals. One of the Druids religious festivals was Oíche Shamhna, celebrated in the transitional stages of Fall/Winter. Samhain was celebrated on what is now October 31st and was held just before the Celtic New Year on the following day.

Winter was one of the roughest times in the ancient days, and many people died as the result of atrocious temperature drops and lack of food caused by premature destruction of the crops by the unforgiving cold. The Druids believed that the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead began greatly blurred at this time, and that the vengeful and restless spirits would wander the earth.

In order to confuse the spirits so that they couldn't be harmed, the Druids would dress in animal skins and masks in order to avoid being identified by the spirits. They also raised up large bonfires and threw animal bones from slaughtered livestock into the fire as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

Trick-or-Treating:

Though there seems to be much dispute about where the origins of Trick-or-Treating evolved, one widely accepted fact is that in ancient times many cultures placated spirits with food offerings and other gifts. The Druids and Celts were no exception, and this seems to be the most original connotation of Trick-or-Treating. In fact, allegedly they would leave the food offerings out on the doorstep so that passing spirits would be satiated, and mischievous children dressed in their costumes (which were supposed to make them appear as the spirits did), would swoop in and steal off with the savory treats.

Another heavily disputed topic is whether or not modern Trick-or-Treating comes from the Christian practice of 'Souling'. In this practice, people would go door-to-door asking for little square breads which were known as 'Soul Cakes'. In exchange, they would promise to offer up prayers for any recently deceased family members. Sounds a little familiar, wouldn't you say?

Read more about the history of Trick-or-Treating

The Jack 'O Lantern:

Though its origins are untraced, it appears that the practice of carving vegetable lanterns in which to put a candle goes back quite a ways, and may have been introduced by the Scottish or English.

A story says that a drunken, gambling farmer named Stingy Jack tricked the Devil into running up a tree then carved a cross into the tree. The Devil cursed him to wander the earth forever at night with the only light he had... a candle in a lantern carved out of a turnip.

Later in America, pumpkins were more plentiful and easier to carve than turnips, and became the national symbol for Halloween.

Shadow Person and Haunting in South Africa

Since I was five years old I have had an obsession with anything supernatural, not like aliens but anything that has anything to do with spirits, demons, angels, anything. I am relatively religious, and I do believe God watches over me.

For most of my life, I have always felt that I have had something with me, I have never felt alone. But it has never been good feelings. When I moved in to the house I live in now, (I live in South Africa) I experienced many things in this house. When we first moved in, about three days later, I was unpacked and feeling anxious about living in this house; if only I knew why at the time.

I went to bed that night, I cant remember the exact time, but I was woken up by a noise, as if somebody was in a hurry to get somewhere and they had jerked my mothers bedroom door open and was rushing down the passage toward the kitchen. Naturally I got a fright. I thought my mom had received an urgent phone call and was rushing out of the house. I jumped up from bed and pulled my door open and realized my mother was still safely in bed, sleeping. I was shaking and almost in tears. Many nights after that I heard running and sometimes walking late at night, on our wooden passage floor. It fooled me many times until I learned it was a spirit of some kind.

I must admit, I have been involved in the esoteric, but I have never played a Ouija board and never will, and have not gone too far into the supernatural although I drink up every bit of info or story I can. My mom always taught me to respect what we don’t know and what power they might have, that is why I cannot understand where the Shadow Person comes from.

Some nights, well, many nights, I have nightmares about these spirits. I remember one really scary dream that I have had a few times, where I am looking into a mirror, and the face staring back is my own, but you can clearly see it is evil with an evil grin and evil eyes. One night I was sleeping, and I woke up and saw a dark hooded figure in my doorway when I sat up, it was gone.

I have taken pictures in that house and there is like, a dark mist in the frame that was never there when I took the picture. Someone will take the same picture and there will be nothing there! Even pictures taken of me will have a dark mist across the frame. I have also noticed a blonde little boy following me. He is a good spirit, I know that. For some warped reason, I named him Ethan.

I have had experiences where I become paralyzed, and hear this evil laughing while I cant move, something invisible crawling on my bed and making the covers heavy, my stuff would move by itself in front of my eyes and stuff would be hauled off my dresser.

I’m used to it by now but would anybody have any advice on what to do about my Evil situation?

Forever Nightmares

My name is Luna and I’ve had some paranormal experience on my own. I’m 24 now but this story happened when I was 15, back in Hawaii. I have a big family auntie’s uncles cousins around the world, I never met all of them just my cousins that lives in state. I was in high school and in basketball team. Since I was a little girl I’ve been having experiences that I can’t even explain, When I was 8 years old my mom put me in bed that time and I have fallen asleep I was having nightmares like I shadow dragging me out of my room, then I woke up four feet away from my bed.

Then another time was when I was 10 years old when I was watching TV watching my favorite show then all of the sudden the TV went off, I got the remote and tried to turn it on, it went back on then it turned off again I was getting frustrated because I was messing my show. I looked at the screen very closely and I can see my reflection, I clinged my eyes and kind of bend forward and I notice on the screen another shadow on my left I turned and nobody was there beside me, then I looked back to the TV and the shadow was still there. I felt a breathing on my left neck I was getting scared I looked to my left and nobody was there and turned back to the screen and my show was back on.

My mom told me it was just my imagination so I believed her, it hadn’t bothered me but I was always have nightmares. But I thought I was just watching to much scary movies. I was 15 then And it was in the middle of April. I was in Science class I seat in the back of the class because it was easier for me to pass notes and text. My teacher was talking and talking and I was bored out of my mind, My boyfriend was in that class too he sat next to me but we kept our relationship out of the public. I was looking out the door just thinking, I felt dizzy and my sight was becoming blurry. My head felt crazy like someone was poking me with a needle I held my head looking down, “Luna? are you okay babe?” Alex my boyfriend asked, “Yeah, I’m okay just a little headache.” I said then I looked out the door and I saw a shadow just peeking, I felt a coldness on my neck like I was being choked I looked back and nobody was there it was a wall, I looked back to the door the shadow wasn’t there anymore but I something was choking me and I couldn’t breath I started coughing holding my neck. Everyone was looking at me now the teacher stopped talking and looked at me, “Luna? what’s wrong?” My teacher asked now my boyfriend was holding my hand asking what was wrong, I couldn’t answer because my throat was tight when I tried to talk no words came out I was still holding my neck choking and all of the sudden my sight turned black I was hearing laughter all over.

I woke up in the nurses office and I realized that I collapsed back in the class, The nurse asked me how I was doing? I didn’t answer because myself didn’t even know what happen. I was sitting there for 5 minutes just looking down at the floor then my boyfriend came running and hugged me “What happened ?” I asked, “Babe you were screaming and you were holding your neck and your eyes went back to your head then you fell onto the floor? you were making me feel scared? Are you okay?” Alex said and I could feel him shaking, “Yeah I’m okay” I said . My parents picked me up from my school and asking me what happened and I explained it to them I saw my mom rolled her eyes. “I saw a shadow in the doorway” I said looking out the car window,”Luna ! stop it it’s in your head!” My mom said, I kept myself quite, I wanted to cry but I couldn’t.

It’s been a week since the classroom thing and I was feeling weak I was loosing my appetite I was more quite. My nightmares started coming back again, I was starting to hear voices around me so I always had my ipod with me always listening to music to ignore the voices and it worked. Me and my boyfriend were fighting often now about stupid things. We broke up and I was feeling more weaker because we went out for a year and we broke up for the most stupidest thing ever ! I went home from school, went to the couch sat there and I closed my eyes. I was crying then the TV went on I opened my eyes I looked around there was no one I decided to watch TV then the couch I was sitting on started to shake, I looked around the couch even under nothing was there then when I held my head up one of the doors upstairs slammed shut ! I stood up went to the kitchen and got a knife thinking there was someone in the house. I walked slowly up the stairs it was quite when I got up there I checked all the rooms (there were 3 bedrooms upstairs plus 3 bathrooms – one in each room.)

I checked my brothers room last I opened it slowly and went inside went to the bathroom nobody was there I turned around then suddenly something pushed me forward my back hit the sink and it hurt the knife was still on my hand so I held it up my eyes searching around the room I heard footstep coming towards me then I felt a hand on my hand pushing the knife down to my other arm I was fighting it and the knife went closer to my skin I was kicking my legs expecting it to stop but I was kicking air then the knife went into my skin blood gushing out I screamed so loud it even hurt my ear. The pressure on my hand was gone and I dropped the knife on the floor crying sobbing screaming I got up ran downstairs I looked at my right arm seeing blood I hated the smell it wasn’t that deep but blood gushing was a lot. I felt dizzy then behind me I heard someone calling my name. The front door opened and it was my dad, “Oh my god! Luna what happened to you!” My dad asked running towards me I was on the floor in the middle of the dinning room, “Umm, I cut myself” I didn’t wanna tell them “Oh I was attacked by something and tried to cut my arm” but I know they wouldn’t believe me or even my mom.

I don’t really know what was wrong with this spirit or what did I do to make it so angry? I searched online why these spirits becomes so violent I found some information and it kind of made sense and I searched how you can handle it and I found information. But I didn’t know how to do it and especially doing it alone. I wanted to tell my parents about it I didn’t know how. It’s has been a month and I was seeing the shadow more often nor the voices, it didn’t hurt me and I was getting use to it. The weekend came and I had some friends sleepover, Audrey and Romina they were my bestfriends. The whole night was great, “Why did you and Alex broke up?” Romina asked, “It’s a long story” I said, “I heard he wants you back and he still cares about you?” Audrey said smiling, that information made me smile. It was 3 in the morning and we were tired so I decided to go to sleep and so did my friends.

I fell asleep having my nightmares again. I was sleeping in the other side of the bed, and in my dream it was the same as I was a little girl I was getting dragged down from the bed and my dream started feeling real when I felt my head hit the floor I woke up looking around and it was dark then something was choking me I screamed “MOM! DAD! HELP!” My friends woke up screaming too. Then something was dragging me out of the room I was in the hallways now jut getting dragged by something I was screaming, my parents came out of their room trying to get my hand but I was getting dragged fast I was kicking and trying to grab something. I held a Vase and threw it behind me it landed on my legs and broke into pieces I was screaming now, then it stopped my parents held me I was crying my legs were shaking, “Darling I’m so sorry!” My mom said.

We got out of the house the neighbors came out of their house asking my dad What happened why was everyone in my house screaming? It was 5 in the morning. My parents took me to the hospital. I woke up screaming my mom was on my side she held me I was crying thinking what happened that night was just a nightmare but it wasn’t it was real. My dad had called My family from across the country. I was sleeping and I was dreaming about I was in my house alone and the shadow was in front of me, I woke up not screaming but shocked and scared. My family was here now and all of them gave me a hug I was smiling now. I told them about it and how it tried to cut my arm and choking me. They were in shocked, “It follows you huh? it’s not the house that’s haunted.” My Auntie said.

Weeks came and we moved to another state. But we knew wherever we go it will follow me My dad got an exorcism for me, They said that it was gone. But I still think it was gonna come back no matter what. The entity hated me but I don’t know why? But it’s been 8 years now and I haven’t felt it’s presence. Thank you for reading my story.

Haunted Catacombs of Paris

Skulls from the haunted catacombs of Paris

I’m sure everyone here has heard of the Catacombs of Paris. It is listed as one of the top 10 most haunted places in the world!

A brief history of the Catacombs:

The official name of the Catacombs is l’ossuaire municipal, the cemetery covers a small section of underground tunnels making up the “les carrières de Paris ( ” The quarries of Paris ” ) the entire tunnel is referred to as ” The Catacombs “. Since the Roman times Paris buried its dead on the outskirts of the city. The rise of Christianity brought a change about the practice of burying the faithful dead in consecrated grounds and in adjoining churches.

With the city’s expansion in the 10th century, there were many cemeteries however with the population rise in Paris the cemeteries became overcrowded and expansion was not possible. At this time only the most wealthy could afford church burials, which in the 12th century led to the opening of a central burial ground. At the end of the same century people were dependant on the church St. Opportune near the central Paris district Les Halles the church was later renamed Saint Innocents under it’s own church and parish.

The common practice for burying the dead poorer people was mass inhumation. When an evacuation in one section of the cemetery was full, it would be covered over and another one made. Very few of the dead had coffins, more often a coffin would be used again for a next burial. The residues resulting from the decaying matter, a process accelerated chemically with the use of lime entered directly into the earth caused a serious problem for a city who relied on well water.

The chupacabra is a cryptid, or unidentified animal that reportly inhabits parts of both of South and North America. The chupacabra is most often asso

Before I tell of my experience, I would like to say I do not claim in any way, shape or form to be psychic. Though some people believe we all have psychic abilities-if I do, I am very much unaware of them. Except for once! I have never before, or after the psychic dream, had anything remotely similar happen.

Location: Kelowna, BC Late 1980’s

My best friend, Laura, was on lunch break (she was a social worker and worked for a Women’s Shelter in Kelowna). She picked me up and we were sitting outside of Subway in her Pinto getting ready to enjoy our lunch. The radio was on, and a story came on that told of a recent find of a partial skeleton-male, between the ages of 14 – 18 they believed. Some bones were missing, probably carried off by animals. His bones were found on Knox Mountain, located in Kelowna, an area that I had never visited.

A lot of us become desensitized to the news, but this story bothered me for some reason. I couldn’t eat, I felt nauseous and this weight of sadness overwhelmed me. This lousy feeling followed me all afternoon. Generally my life was great, especially around this time. I was in an all female metal band and life was just rockin’. That night I played the drums for a bit, then crashed for the night. At around 8:30 am I awoke with a scream, jumped out of bed and stood shaking for a few minutes. I had had what I thought at the time, a harsh nightmare. I dreamed that the boy found on Knox Mountain was murdered by a local schoolteacher that he knew. I dreamed what he looked like, but what was most fascinating was that his address (street name and number) flashed in my dream-almost continually. I saw what his house looked like and a white rose trestle was parked at the front of a walkway. The part that frightened me was that I went to his house(to do my own investigating), and when he came to the door, I saw in his eyes that he knew that I knew what he’d done and he stepped towards me. I started running across peoples lawns-I knew he was going to kill me. I ran and ran and when he was nearly upon me and his hand reached out to grab me I woke up. I was terrified!

I told Laura and immediately she suggested I call the police. Although I always believed in a higher power, Laura was very religious and believed that God may have given me that information in my dream to help this unidentified person in some way. My thinking was they’d think they were talking to a crackpot. So, I didn’t call the police immediately. Instead, we got a city map and looked to see where the street was located that flashed so much in my dream. We both were a bit freaked out when we saw it was near the bottom of Knox Mountain. I had to plead with her to take me up to Knox Mountain. I wanted to see if we could find the house from my dream, and to go up the mountain to see where the skeletal remains were found.

We went up the mountain, parked and began walking around. We saw some yellow crime scene tape, and not much else, We just walked the area for another 15 minutes or so until I stumbled across a long bone. I remembered that there were some missing bones. I took off my jacket and wrapped it around the bone. We traveled down and turned onto the street we were looking for. We drove slowly looking for house numbers. I looked up ahead and I didn’t need to see the house number – I saw the exact house in my dream, white rose trestle in front of the walkway and all. I was really freaked out now – I couldn’t believe this was becoming real. Scared wasn’t the word for it.

Laura protested when I said I was going to go knock on the door.As frightened as I was, I had to know if it would be the same face my dream showed me. With legs like jelly I managed to get to the front door. I would ask for someone else if he answered pretending I had the wrong address.I knocked, and it wasn’t long before the door opened – and there stood the man-the murderer. I stammered something, and returned to the vehicle. I had described him to Laura to a tee earlier, and she could see him from the car. As we left, we drove in astonished silence most of the way home.We were both pretty shook up.

I called the police the minute we got in. They sent someone to pick up the bone, and hear my dream. I wasn’t shocked to hear they were already investigating this man-a highschool teacher, who had been caught previously of luring young boys up to Knox Mountain for his sick pleasure. Though he had never killed anyone that they knew of.

I wish I could say my dream helped solve the case. It didn’t. He was never charged-I don’t have any doubt he is a murderer, the remains were still not claimed even a decade later the last time I inquired. The bone I found was from an animal. It breaks my heart that this young kid was never claimed-especially since I have a son now-probably in the same age range as that boy was. That has always bothered me. I don’t know why I had a dream that came true, especially when nothing positive came out of it. I often wonder if I may have crossed paths with this kid when he was alive.

I will never understand the ‘why’ of it and never want another experience like that again. Would love to know if any of you have had a similar experience!

Sent in by Kim Corbett, Copyright 2009

Cryptozoology ~ Cryptids, Monsters and Strange Creatures

Cryptozoology is the study of animals, or creatures, that have been reported to exist without any actual proof. This field of study also includes the search for animals that are thought to be extinct. These strange creatures, like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Sea Monsters, el Chupacabra, and others are often referred to as cryptids.

Read True Terror is When Your Imagination Turns Into Reality, a story about a young boy's encounter with a strange creature in the woods of New Jersey.

Monsters. The very word brings to mind everything from the famous Loch Ness monster to the nameless terrors that lurked underneath your bed as a child. But, where did the these images and legends come from? Are they purely fantasy, or are they based on some darker truth? Let's find out.

The Greeks and Romans had a plethora of fantastic monsters and half human/half animal creatures that are now thought to be purely fantasy and myth. But, there have been reports, even as recently as our modern age, of creatures that fit the descriptions of some of these mythical monsters. One of them is the Satyr.

Many years ago I came across the story and the pictures of two mummified bodies found over in a part of Europe that bore all the characteristics of what the ancients wrote about satyrs. I was dumbfounded. Both bodies has been extremely well preserved and one was clearly male and the other clearly female. Both bodies had the upper torso of a human male and female, but had long shaggy black hair on the heads with horns protruding from the head and very long canine teeth. From the waist down the legs ended in cloven hooves and was also covered in long shaggy black hair. The bodies had been laid in an underground tomb together in a large stone sarcophagus.

The next sort of monstrous creature that has had reported sightings in the last few years comes out of the southwestern part of the United States as well as from the state of Pennsylvania. The witnesses report a great flying beast that is as large as a small private air plane, like a Cessna. The wingspans of these fantastically monstrous birds seem to range from 15 to 20 feet across and the coloration of the feathers ranges from dark brown to black. The head is reported to be very large with a very long and sharply serrated looking beak. The talons are reported to be larger than a big man's hands. When many of the people drew what the saw, the results were astounding. What they drew resembled a pterodon, a beast thought to be extinct for millions of years. The Native Americans have had tales of these monsters for ages. They called them Thunderbirds.

What are we to believe? Could these monsters that have been long thought of as myths and legends, or mere folk tales, really exist? For many years it was thought that the tales that sailors brought back from there travels to exotic lands about the great apes were merely tall tales and that they were mythical monsters. As we all now know, they are very much real, although not the monsters the sailors made them out to be. Perhaps the legends are based on fact and the monstrous creatures in these old tales are very real and perhaps a remnant of these seemingly magical and mythical creatures still survive even today.

All over the world there have been reports about strange creatures swimming around in the lakes and oceans of our world. Are they real? Or, could hundreds of people be imagining these things? Personally, this writer doubts that every single person has been hallucinating. While there are those who have been caught up in perpetrating a few hoaxes many sightings remain unsolved and unexplained.

Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness Monster

One of the most well known creatures to have been reported being seen time and time again over, at least, the last two centuries is the famous Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as "Nessie" the world over. What is Nessie? Is this beast a remnant of the age of dinosaurs? A plesiosaur as many people believe? Many of the eye-witness accounts and descriptions definitely describe just such a creature.

Or is it, as some claim, a rather large sea snake? One thing is for certain, something lives in Loch Ness that has amateur and professional cryptozoologists alike captivated and longing to find out what this legendary creature is.

Loch Ness isn't the only Lake in the world with a strange creature living in it. Lake Champlain lies between Vermont and New York and goes all the way up into Canada and it has it's resident monster too. The creature locally known as "Champ" has been spotted many times over the last several decades. Eye witnesses describe a creature which bears a striking resemblance to accounts given about Nessie.

In this modern technological world of ours could there really be dinosaurs left swimming in the vast deeps of the lakes and oceans? This writer finds the idea wonderful and exciting.


Bigfoot

Bigfoot

The sightings of a large, hairy creature that became known as Bigfoot was first reported in the U. S. and Canada in the mid 1800s. Since that time there have been many hundreds of sightings of this large, hairy ape like creature, and foot prints found ranging in size of 16"-20" in length.

There have also been numerous hoaxes over the years, but there are also the various unexplained bits of evidence that suggests some as yet unidentified creature roams the woods and forests of the Great Northwest and Canada.

There is some speculation that Bigfoot is a distant surviving relative of an an extinct primate known as Gigantopithecus, which lived in China. The famous home movie shot by Roger Patterson in 1967 is one of the most well known pieces of evidence in favor of the existence of Bigfoot.

The Chupacabra

The chupacabra is a cryptid, or unidentified animal that reportly inhabits parts of both of South and North America. The chupacabra is most often associated with Puerto Rico and Mexico, but has also been seen in parts of the United States, and Russia. "Chupacabra" literally translates from the Spanish as "goat sucker". The creature came to be called the chupacabra because of it's habit of attacking farm livestock, especially goats, and drinking their blood.

The physical description of the chupacabra varies. The first sightings of the chupacabra were in Puerto Rico around the early 1990s. In the Americas eye witnesses have reported seeing this bizarre creature as far north as New England, and as far south as Chile.

Many swear that the chupacabra is a real creature, but mainstream science and it's experts generally agree that the chupacabra is just a creature of legend, a myth, or even an urban legend. The chupacabra is reported to be a rather thick and heavy looking creature, about the same size as a small bear and it has a row of spines going from the top of it's head to the base of it's tail.

History of the Belief in Demons

The origins of the belief of demons among the ancient societies of the world have been shrouded in mystery and it is uncertain just exactly where the concept started, though a good start would be with the Persian and Assyrian empires... some of the most ancient civilizations that we are aware of today.

Nearly every culture that has been recorded in the history of mankind has had some form or variation of demonic belief. Today the most widely recognized aspects of demonology are derived from Judaic, Christian and Catholic sources. Many archaic stereotypes presented within these religions, as well as the prolific historical inaccuracies long associated with fictional print and media, persist in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Most people today imagine short horns, leathery bat-like wings, long pointy tails and menacing pitchforks to be the common accepted image of demons in general, and Satan in specific. However, this is a far cry from how demons were presented in the past.

Initially, in many of the most ancient cultures of the past, demons were seen as having the capacity for both good and evil. The origin of the word demon, in fact, may have come from Indo-European sources and simply meant 'Celestial Body'.

There has often been confusion when regarding Devils and Demons in many Orthodox traditions. A Devil is an entity who usually fights a goodly and divine authority for control of existence. Many such battles will be settled in an 'End of Time' scenario where the forces of good vanquish the forces of evil.

Demons are much like Angels in that they are lesser beings who are usually under the authority of the prevailing Devil. They are always malevolent in nature, and seek to torment humans with their dark and wicked ways. The means by which they wreak havoc are threefold:

#1: In spiritual form they whisper evil thoughts into a person's mind, trying to corrupt them to do wrong.

#2: In spiritual form they restlessly wander the earth and torment others with their mere appearance.

#3: They actually possess someone and control their actions, usually causing them to harm others, or at the very least, themselves. This is called 'Possession', and even today it wreaks fear in many just by even mentioning it.

Another thing that is usually representative of demons in nearly every culture; they are usually grotesque in appearance, and more than likely half animal at least.

Perhaps one of the greater influences in restoring interest in demons and their study in the mid-20th century was Anton LaVey, the author of the Satanic Bible and the founder of the Church of Satan. LaVey believed that Christianity was a repressed religion, and the true power of Satanic belief was the lack of limits imposed on the believer. LaVey believed that man ought to have the supreme choice over his life, not a God, or any god.

Damned by the gods; feared by man; demons have made their home on earth, and they're here to stay.