In September of 2017, I paid a visit to a place I had not seen since I was about six years old…the Land of Oz. I remember bits and pieces of the trip. My parents took me in 1972 and two of my strongest memories are of riding on the balloon ride (a converted ski-lift) in a blinding mountain rainstorm and the wet ride in a bus, with no windows, down the mountain, leaving. For years, I wondered what had become of that park.
Originally opening on June 15, 1970, it was a grand place to visit and managed to stay open for a decade, even after a fire in 1975, before falling into disrepair and abandonment. Many things were stolen, vandalized or left to nature.
Appalachian State University had a cultural museum, at one time, that showcased saved pieces from the park including the yellow bricks, some munchkin houses, costumes, parts of the witch’s castle and other assorted props. All artifacts were eventually returned to the park.
In 1991, the park was included in a celebration for Independence Day for Beech Mountain. Watauga High School students dressed in costume. Emerald Mountain, Inc., purchased the property in 1994 and a slow restoration began. An “Autumn at Oz” was started as a reunion for former employees and became a yearly event. By 2010, the park drew 8,000 people.
Land of Oz (Official Website)
From Moon Giant:
May is most notable for being the turning point in the year where temperatures rise and a vast variety of flowers come into full bloom, letting the world break out into a riot of color. As such, May’s full moon has come to be known as the Full Flower Moon. The Anishnaabe tribe also called it the Blossom Moon. In Northern America, you can expect to see flowers such as bluebells, sundrops, violets and so on, as well as lush greenery to go with the blossoms. The Apache and Lakota peoples named May’s full moon the Green Leaves Moon, while the Mohawk tribe called it the Big Leaf Moon. The Arapaho referred to this Full Moon as “when the ponies shed their shaggy hair”. But, there is one specific plant that’s very important during the May season and it is, in fact, not a flower.
This plant is corn, an important staple food for Northern American peoples. According to the Algonquin tribes, May’s full moon is the Corn Planting Moon. For Native American tribes, this is the perfect time for them to start preparing the fields for farming and sowing the seeds saved up from last year. Appropriately, the Abenaki culture refers to May’s full moon as the Field Maker Moon, while the Haida tribe calls it the Food Gathering Moon. Apart from corn, other foods such as beans, squash and potatoes are planted during this time. The Cherokee tribe called May’s full moon the Anisguti Moon or the Planting Moon and would, traditionally, perform a Corn Dance during this period to encourage a fruitful corn harvest.
Due to the rising temperatures, the Full Flower Moon is also a time of heightened fertility. This is a good time for women to bear children in a warm, safe environment that would increase the chance of their survival. That’s why May’s full moon is also named Mother’s Moon or Milk Moon which could refer to breastfeeding or to the milking of cows. The latter interpretation is based off the Old English name Rimilcemona, or the Month of Three Milkings referring to how this was a period where cows could be milked up to three times daily.
In other parts of the world, the Full Flower Moon is better known as Vesak or Buddha Day, the most significant celebration for Buddhists all around the world. On the first full moon of May, Buddhists commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha. Devout practioners are encouraged to renew their intention to adhere to sacred Buddhist principles as well as refrain from all forms of killing and violence, including eating meat. Celebrations include giving charity to the poor, disabled and otherwise marginalized groups in society. Depending on your location, you may witness the spectacular practice of releasing thousands of caged birds into the air as a symbolic gesture of liberation, though this tradition is illegal in countries such as Singapore because it may cause harm to local ecosystems.
Pagans, on the other hand, associate the Full Flower Moon with the element of fire and, thus, often celebrate it by lighting bonfires and engaging in other magical fire rituals to bring prosperity. Powerful colors for the Full Flower Moon include fiery colors like red, yellow and orange. This is a good time to tend your garden and let the seeds you’ve planted blossom, both literally and metaphorically. Cultivate your passions and desires, encourage them to burst forth into bloom and you will be rewarded with abundance in various forms in your life.
This Flower Moon is also a Seasonal Blue Moon and 100% illumination occurred at 5:11pm EDT. Howl for me! ~Vic
Twenty-six years ago, today, at 9:45 am CST, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) attempted to serve a search warrant for illegal weapons, and possible methamphetamine manufacture (brings in military assistance due to the War on Drugs), to the Branch Davidians religious group at the Mount Carmel Center in Axtell, Texas. The raid did not go well. The ATF was unable to get into the compound after a two-hour battle that claimed the lives of four ATF agents and five Branch Davidians. Sixteen more agents were wounded. A ceasefire was called until another branch member attempted to re-enter the compound six hours later and was gunned down.
The ATF made contact with David Koresh (Vernon Wayne Howell) inside and, the FBI moved in and took over the operation. Early on, 25 FBI negotiators nearly had Koresh agreeing to the Davidians leaving peacefully in exchange for a recorded message of his being released via radio. After the recording was aired, Koresh changed his mind and, stated that ‘God’ had told him to stay and wait. Despite the reversal, nineteen children were released and, interviewed regarding alleged physical and sexual abuse. Koresh gave phone interviews to the local media until the FBI cut all communication.
The stand-off lasted 51 days, culminating in a deadly fire on April 19. Seventy-six Branch Davidian members died. Autopsies revealed some died due to collapsed concrete walls, others by gun shots (either self-inflicted or consensual execution) and, there was one stabbing. Autopsy photographs of some children seemed to indicate cyanide poisoning.
The raid was criticized extensively. A slew of controversies emerged. There was no meth lab and no evidence of child abuse. Despite the Danforth Report, the whitewash of bureaucratic misconduct fueled resentment. The Oklahoma City Bombing occurred on the second anniversary of the Waco fire.
Nothing remains of the buildings, today, other than concrete foundation components, as the entire site was bulldozed two weeks after the end of the siege. Only a small chapel, built years after the siege, stands on the site.