Category Archives: History
It’s Summer! Explore Museum Hill.
By G G Collins (Copyright 2017)
Four world-class museums to discover the Native American Southwest and all it has to offer: arts, culture and history. Lunch at the Museum Hill Cafe. Listen to music as it floats around the huge plaza, compete with its on contemporary labyrinth.
Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer
And don’t forget the Santa Fe Botanical Garden just across the street. The Art Walk has changing exhibits.
Have a great day exploring Santa Fe’s Museum Hill!
Builder of Worlds
By G G Collins (Copyright 2016)
I never expected to be a builder of worlds and yet I’ve written two books where I needed to do just that.
Time travel is always tricky, but it’s also fun. In “Lemurian Medium” I sent protagonist Rachel Blackstone back in time via astral travel to the mythical (?) continent of Lemuria. I began reading about the continent that reportedly sunk into the ocean when a cataclysmic series of earthquakes and volcanoes broke up the island country and the sea claimed it.
When you ask people to buy into a paranormal or fantasy storyline, it’s important to include as much fact as possible, to lend integrity to the story. I began reading the works of Colonel James Churchward, who called Lemuria by another name; Mu. He studied monastery sources in India while serving in the British army.
After getting a basic idea of Churchward’s theories I read Frank Joseph’s book “The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Oldest Culture.” There are many creation stories and Lemuria is one for that part of the world. There is a museum in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan called the Mu Museum and is a tribute to the Motherland. In the Hawaiian Ethnic Art Museum in Oahu, there are carvings that seem to verify the existence of a golden race who survived the onrush of the sea.
To make the city realistic I researched the Romans from their garments to their communal toilets. In addition I read Shirley MacLaine’s dreams of Lemuria as she related them in her excellent book “The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit.” Her description of the Lemurians—some golden, some violet, and hermaphroditic—let imagination fill in the blanks. For homes I went with crystal construction with private areas being opaque. Rachel was surprised to learn she could communicate either from her mind or with the use of Lemurian seed crystals and crystal balls.
I needed a villain in spirit and chose Quetzalcoatl, a Mayan god who liked to dine on humans. It is thought that Lemurians who survived the end of their homeland took to the vast water and made their way to what is known today as Central America and to the southwestern part of the US.
When my research was complete I was no longer certain that Lemuria was a myth. I hope readers of the book can entertain that possibility as well.
Next Post: We’ll take a look at “Atomic Medium,” worldbuilding in a much closer era.
Paranormal Mystery Writer G G Collins Blogs
Explosive Tale Pits Psychic Against Nazi Terrorists
Check out my guest blog and learn how Atomic Medium came to be. It’s a little bit supernatural, a little bit history and all fun. Join reporter Rachel Blackstone and friend Chloe for their latest adventure in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series. No lines at TSA for this trip, but no map or directions either. Travel back to 1945 when the most feared weapon of mass destruction was developed in Los Alamos. Will Rachel stop two evil men intent on changing history? It’s no small task for the two friends; just save the world!
Amazon 5-Star Review: “I loved that the suspense lasted right up to the last page.” — Mojo
Atomic Bomb Test Successful 70 Years Ago
The Trinity Test had to be pushed back to 5:30 a.m. due to rain at the Alamogordo Bombing Range at White Sands in New Mexico. The area was known as the Jornada del Muerto or Journey of Death. As early risers went about their ranch chores, sorted mail for delivery and stocked grocery selves, none knew their world would change drastically in minutes.
Those who would be watching this scientific achievement huddled in bunkers made for that purpose. Earth and sand covered the concrete bunkers on three sides and on top. There were viewing holes in the wall facing the test site.Welding goggles were handed out to protect eyes.
The atomic age began with a pinprick of light so bright it lit up the desert with the power of several midday suns. It could be seen for 180 miles. If you closed your eyes, you could still see the light. The energy sucked up tons of desert sand, the dust muddied the light as it rose and churned into a fireball.
Heat came next to those huddled in the bunkers. It was as if someone had opened an oven door. People dropped to the ground the heat was so intense. Then came the sound wave, as the earth beneath them shuddered with the force of 21,000 tons of TNT. This was followed by the now familiar mushroom cloud. The cloud created by fission rose and undulated to the substratosphere and spread across the heavens.
Some people were temporarily blinded by the light. Others who rode out the blast outside the bunkers had been knocked flat as the super wind rushed across the desert basin. Those who witnessed this first splitting of an atom had various reactions. Some slapped their knees and cheered; others laughed or cried. Still others showed the horror on their faces at what had been unleashed. Although no humans were harmed directly, livestock and wildlife did not fair as well.
The atomic bomb that The Manhattan Project developed was both an incredible human feat and the monster that would hide in children’s closets for generations to come. Although the bomb would end WWII, nothing would ever be the same. The era of fear had begun.
For more information: 109 East Palace by Jennet Conant, The Manhattan Project edited by Cynthia C. Kelly, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, http://www.losalamoshistory.org, www.atomicheritage.org/bios, www.lanl.gov, https://www.osti.gov/opennet/manhattan-project-history/Resources/photo_gallery/photo_gallery.htm
Note on photos: From the U.S. Department of Energy. “To the best of our knowledge, all text and images on this web site are in the public domain. Almost all of the photographs were generated by government agencies, or by contractors working for the government, and as such are not subject to copyright. Most of these photographs were acquired from government web sites or government publications. In a handful of cases, photographs were used whose copyright had expired; these were acquired from the Library of Congress’s web site.”
New Release: Atomic Medium by G G Collins. Historical Fiction with a Twist.
Click on the book cover to read more about the new Kindle book. Takes the reader to 1945 Santa Fe, location of The Manhattan Project office, the Atomic City of Los Alamos and to White Sands, New Mexico to experience the Trinity Test. Third book in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series.
Santa Fe in Only One Day
by G G Collins (Copyright 2015)
THE SHED: Eat at The Shed! It’s on Palace Avenue a couple of blocks from the Plaza.The Shed is known for their New Mexican cuisine: such as Carne Adovado. Inside or out, it’s colorful and fun. The chocolate fudge sundae for dessert goes beyond decadent. For more on the restaurant’s history and how it came to be called The Shed:
SHOPPING: If you enjoy shopping until you drop, you can do that in Santa Fe. A good place to start is Rainbow Man. It’s on Palace too. Be sure to look for The Manhattan Project plaque dedication. It’s at the back of the courtyard under the portal (porch in Spanish). Despite being a historical site, there is no sign to indicate that. If you can’t find the plaque, ask someone at the store. They’re happy to point it out.
For more on The Manhattan Project:
At Wind River, you can enter on Palace, walk through the store (this may take a while with all the jewelry, Native American art and chickens, yes, chickens), and exit on San Francisco across from La Fonda. From top-of-the-line clothing to kitchen items to kitsch, it’s all on the Plaza. The Marcy Card Shop on Marcy Street (a couple of blocks from the Plaza and close to the convention center) has a lot more than cards!
LA FONDA: Now, cross the street and walk through the lobby of La Fonda. This hotel has a loooong history in Santa Fe. Both the famous and the infamous have walked these Saltillo tiles. Look in the restaurant. See the fountain in the center? That used to be a well in an outdoor courtyard. A business man down on his luck threw himself in it and was killed. His ghost is said to still walk the halls. Oppenheimer and fellow scientists relaxed in the bar–under the close watch of federal agents. There is also a rooftop deck and bar for watching sunsets. Here’s more on La Fonda:
ST. FRANCIS CATHEDRAL: The St. Francis Cathedral is worth a look. It’s beautiful inside and out. There are usually members there to answer questions and give tours. And if you are a candle lighter, there are candle alcoves just inside the entry. A labyrinth is in front of the church for contemplation. More on the cathedral:
THE PLAZA: And don’t just walk through the Plaza. Take a few minutes and soak up the sun, be dazzled by the azure skies. The light, and the vibe, is the reason writers and artists have flocked to The City Different for years.
If you have time and are museum people, the Palace of the Governors is fascinating. There are holes in the floor and no one knows why (carefully covered in thick clear glass for a look-see). Wallace finished “Ben-Hur” at the Palace while governor. The Palace was on high alert and he covered his lamp to conceal the light as attack was imminent.
All of this is within a few blocks.
IF YOU HAVE A SECOND DAY:
JACKALOPE: Jackalope on Cerrillos Road is shopping, animals, oh heck, it’s a party. The owner’s story is a fascinating journey. The prairie dogs are a favorite with kids and adults alike. Check out Jackalope at:
MUSEUM HILL: Is so worth a good look. If you’re not up to the museum crawl, just go out and look at the outdoor art, eat at the restaurant and listen to the music drift on a breeze.The new Santa Fe Botanical Garden is just across the street. Great views of the Sangre de Cristos. Here’s more on both attractions:
TENT ROCKS: If you’d like a far-out hiking experience, go to Tent Rocks. Made of ash from a long ago volcano, the tent-shaped rocks are eerie and magical. It’s south of Santa Fe near the Cochiti Dam. You drive right by the dam and it’s a bit scary thinking about all that water behind the dam; so don’t. The car you’re in feels very small and insignificant. Now you can’t stop thinking about it.
NEED DOWN TIME: If you can’t take anymore and need to relax, it’s 10,000 Waves time. Massage, hot tubs, facials and a gorgeous Japanese style mountain retreat. It’s on the way up to the Ski Basin, only a few miles. It’s heavenly.
Whatever you do in Santa Fe, remember, it’s mañana time.
Atomic Medium Free One Day Only
“We’re three women from two different centuries, trying to save the world from oblivion. I don’t know about you, but that’s way above my pay grade.”
New release, Atomic Medium, will be a free Kindle download Saturday June 20, 2015. One day only! It is Book 3 in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery series. You don’t need to read them in order. The stories are all separate adventures for new psychic, reporter Rachel Blackstone. But reading them in order does show Rachel’s growth as a Reluctant Medium and how she became one.
Rachel and friend Chloe are drawn into a paranormal mystery that leads them straight into a historic year, 1945, WWII and the Trinity Test. It is a world of subterfuge, secrets and danger. If they can’t stop the men intent on sabotage, history will be changed. For Rachel and Chloe, it’s no small task: just save the world.
In Atomic Medium we learn how Kiyiya became Rachel’s spirit animal and there is a surprise about Chloe–one I didn’t see coming either. Mari-Lynn is back as the pot dispensing crystal expert, a boy helps out much to Rachel’s chagrin and the two friends may move on from misdemeanors to higher crimes.
It’s all adventure with a few laughs along the way. Thank you for trying Atomic Medium.
— G G Collins
The Building That Changed the World
By G G Collins Copyright 2015
On Palace Avenue just steps from the famous Santa Fe Plaza is a small building that changed the world. It was the headquarters for The Manhattan Project, the top secret mission to build the first atomic bomb and end WWII. Everyone, scientist and secretary alike, passed through this building. They came in the front door and left by the back door where they were secreted off to the Atomic City. No one left by the back door unless Dorothy McKibbin gave them a pass to “The Hill.”
McKibbin was looking for a job in March of 1943. She was offered employment at the First National Bank for $120 per month. Working at a bank wasn’t really what she wanted to do, but income was income. Then she met Joe Stevenson in an awkward conversation in the middle of the Plaza. He told her there was a secretarial position open that would pay $150 per month. But Stevenson was mysterious about what the job would entail.
She did accept the job and became the gatekeeper to one of the biggest discoveries of the last century. McKibbin kept that job until 1963 when she retired. She would remain a loyal friend to Robert Oppenheimer until his death in 1967.
The historic site, originally constructed in the 1600s as a Spanish hacienda, is now home to Rainbow Man. The shop is filled with Native American hand-made items, blankets, photos and folk art in vivid colors. The courtyard is beautiful rain or shine. Flowers brighten the entrance in vibrant hues. The old wagon only becomes more silvered with each passing year.
At the back of the courtyard, under the portal and behind the chile ristras is a plaque dedicated to those who split the first atom. Shoppers visit the store to take home a little bit of Santa Fe. Historians stop by for the history and wonder what it must have been like in the 1940s when The Manhattan Project was in full swing.
July 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test at White Sands, New Mexico.
New book, Atomic Medium, takes place in Santa Fe during 2015 and 1945. It is the third installment in the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series. Get it at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SWkjde
For more information, try these books:109 East Palace by Jennet Conant, The Manhattan Project edited by Cynthia C. Kelly, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes.
Christmas Eve in Santa Fe
By G G Collins (Copyright 2013)
It’s Christmas Eve and you’re in Santa Fe. Sunset is fast approaching and the air is frosty. There’s only one thing to do: wrap up warmly and go to the Canyon Road Christmas Eve Farolito Walk.
Forget trying to park. Stay at a nearby hotel or B & B. Otherwise prepare for frustration trying to park. There will be street closures and partial street closures. Last year Santa Fe Trails offered shuttles from the South Capitol Station for $2 round-trip. Check with them for service this year.
Notice the farolitos (brown paper bags with sand and a votive candle) lining the street and sidewalks. Now, in Santa Fe these are called farolitos, but much of New Mexico refers to them as luminarias. To further confuse the issue, in Santa Fe we call bonfires luminarias. Okay, don’t sweat the details; just enjoy.
This can be a shoulder-to-shoulder event with up to 30,000 people—and their dogs—descending on Canyon Road. Santa Fe’s art centre lives right here and many of the galleries will be open late; doorways of yellow light inviting you in. I absolutely love this yearly procession. You never know what surprise waits to delight you. Most of these are provided by the parade you are a part of; people and dogs draped in Christmas lights. Canine friends may be outfitted with antlers in addition to the brightly colored lights. They don’t seem to mind. There’s always a new take on costuming for the Farolito Walk.
Impromptu carolers burst into Christmas songs and spirituals. Music erupts as drummers pound their instruments marching the length of Canyon Road. Notes float across the cold air from a harp or flute gently reminding you of the season. The galleries, shops and restaurants along the narrow thread are decked out with festive lights and bright red bows. It’s a sensory experience of light, sound and delicious scents.
But don’t leave out taste. To warm up, stop and get a coffee, hot chocolate or cider. Usually one can find cookies for munching—you’ll need energy to walk uphill. Take a few moments and warm your hands at a nearby bonfire, and keep going.
When the lights fade and the music stops, just turn around and do it all over. And when you reach the end of Canyon Road, savor the experience, because it will be another whole year before it happens again. This is Christmas Eve in Santa Fe.
— G G Collins
Links to YouTube videos of the Christmas Eve Farolito Walk on Canyon Road:
Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be happy and peaceful.