Haunting Tales From The Bleaker Street Benches



On Halloween Eve, Christine’s ancestor was with Martin Luther when he nailed his edict to the door of a church. Thus began the greatest heresy the Roman Catholic World ever knew. My ancestors fought against the Papal Armies bent on destroying them. Are we looking at her kindred, Johan Windt-Wandel, who has a hand on his shoulder?


Last night Christine called me from her favorite Bleaker Street bench and gave me a report. She has attended the Village Halloween parade where she lost the Austrian native, Stefan Eins, in the crowd. She is wearing the boots I bought her at Ross at the Gateway Mall, for the first time. She tells me they fit perfectly, as if she stood on pieces of paper and had her feet traced. Consider the Glass Slipper.

“How do you do this? How do you know?”

“I am your psychic shopper! Even though we have not lay eyes on each other since 1986, I see you. I hear you. I touch you! I am the Phantom of the Mall.

Three weeks ago Christine was concerned she had no formal clothes. I bought her a beautiful scarf, also. We had no idea where she was destined to go.

Christine grew up in a four story home on Hancock Street on Beacon Hill. Her father was a doctor that had his office on the first floor, and treated the Blue Bloods of Boston. Chris went to the finest schools, and attended Mills College in Oakland California where she majored in Theology. Religion is in her blood.

In looking for Christine Wandel’s ancestors, I found Marie-Louis Wandel who at the time was the Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations from Denmark. I had Christine give her a call. Marie-Louise told Christine all the Wandels lived in a city in Denmark and are kin to a Bishop. I found this Bishop, and the city. It is the oldest in Denmark. Johan Wendt-Wandal-Vandel-Wandel was appointed the Bishop of Ribe by King Christian 111 because Wandel was a disciple of Martin Luther, and was with him when he nailed his theses on the church door in Wittenberg.

Christine was upset because Stefan is considering taking his Austrian friend to the airport. She is going back home after a three month visit. Last week Christine and Stefan attended an event at the Austrian Consulate on 69th. Street.

“I wish you had told me! I have been trying to get Stefan to tell the Austrian Government about the huge painting at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon. It needs to go home. The Austrian people need to see their Empress. Zita’s ghost wanders about in the state of New York where she lived after she fled from Hitler. She can not rest until she sees her beloved homeland again!”

I just got off the phone with Jeff. He is a guard at the Austrian Cultural Forum. He tells me it is a Austrian holiday, and no one is there. I tell Jeff he is going to be in my blog because he is the first human contact in what will be a Grande International Cultural Event.  I got a recording at the Consulate, most of it in German. I see the Last Audience in the gallery of the ACF, or, in the entrance of the Consulate, where Christine talked to a representative of  the UN, a Colonel who was in full dress.

“Christine! You talked to a person who is in the Habsburg family tree! Have Stefan show you the funeral procession video of Otto Von Habsburg. and see if you recognize him. Did you tell him about the lineage of Wandel Diplomats?”

What! It’s All Saints Day in Austria! What?

“Yes I did.”

Leofdag of Ribe was supposed to have been made a Saint! Did Colonel von………. suspect Christine may be kin to him? Did he put on a monocle to examine her more closely? Did he take Stefan aside and bid him to make sure she attend the All Saints Day event? Did Stefan fear if he brought Christine, her Catholic divinity would be more inflamed? Christine is carrying on the mission of all the Old Italian Crones of the Village that passed away. She is a walking votive candle. Stefan broke his vows and fled from a monastery. He could not look her in the eye. His hands were shaking. Christine believes he ditched her at the Halloween parade.

If this was the case, then I suspect Stefan made his way to the Consulate, and was let in the side door in order to be part of the secret ceremony at the strike of midnight. Christine called me because she felt she was being bewitched by Stefan’s female countryman. But, the energy directed at her was too powerful to be coming from one person.

“There’s more going on then meets the eye. Stefan’s female friend may have been on a mission. The Austrians might want Stefan to come home.”

It looks like Leofdag was somehow de-Sainted, brought down from heaven, when his kindred, Johan Wandel-Wendt became a disciple of Martin Luther, and was with him when he nailed his theses on the church door in Wittenberg. Luther was considered to be the Devil. The Habsburgs are the King of Romans, the most faithful protectors of the Roman Catholic Church. Can the dead, and the un- born, be cursed – forever?

“Is it possible, the Monastary wants him back?”

All of a sudden;

“I hear bells. Who would be ringing bells? My hands! They’re very cold. I must rush home. I’m freezing!”

All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas,[3][4] Feast of All Saints,[5][6] or Solemnity of All Saints,[7] is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. In Western Christianity, it is celebrated on 1 November by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and other Protestant churches; meanwhile, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic churches celebrate it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.[8]

Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven (the “Church triumphant“), and the living (the “Church militant“). In Catholic theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries


Jon Presco

Copyright 2016



All Saints’ Day in Austria

All Saints’ Day is a celebration of all Christian saints, particularly those who have no special feast days of their own, in many Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches. In many western churches it is annually held November 1 and in many eastern churches it is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. It is also known as All Hallows Tide, All-Hallomas, or All Hallows’ Day.

Leofdag of Ribe was the first Bishop of Ribe in Denmark, later regarded as a local saint but never canonized. Ribe was established as a diocese for Leofdag in 948 under the supervision of the Archbishop of Hamburg, who was authorized by the Roman Curia to proselytize the Danes. Leofdag was consecrated by Archbishop Adaldag of Hamburg, probably at the Synod of Ingelheim (Germany), which the Jutlandic bishops attended. Leofdag was martyred that same year, when a housecarl skewered him with a spear, as he forded the river at Ribe.

Although never canonized, Leofdag was revered as a local saint and martyr, until the Reformation. His remains would eventually end up in Ribe Cathedral. Until the death of his third known successor Vale (1044–59) the bishops of Ribe, Schleswig, and Aarhus wandered about Jutland on missionary tours.

Horik II, also known as Erik Barn (Danish: “Erik the Child”), was King of Denmark from the murder of Horik I in 854 to c. 860s. After a brief civil war which nearly wiped out the branches of the royal family, legend has it that a single royal child was left alive, hence the name Erik the Child. The problem with the story is that at the time there was no hereditary kingship. Kings were literally shouted into office at the assemblies (Danish: landsting) by the chiefs and peasants who supported him. Horik II, whose own lands lay in extreme southern Denmark, including Hedeby, emerged as the strongest of the claimants. Little is known about him except for few references in Saxo GrammaticusGesta Danorum and The Life of Ansgar by Rimbert.

Horik was probably not the son of Horik I, but a close relative, perhaps a nephew or grandson of the powerful Gottfredson clan who held power in much of Denmark. Sons were not usually named after fathers in Viking Denmark.

During his reign, Danish Vikings under Ragnar Lodbrok and others began raiding and then colonizing England, eventually capturing York and much of northeast England.

Although not a Christian, Horik II was tolerant of the Christians among his people and of the missionaries from the Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen who found their way north. Horik became acquainted with St Ansgar during Horik I’s reign and shared his view that regarding religious matters there was no better or upright man in his kingdom. After a brief closure of the church at Hedeby by Jarl Hovi, Horik II was persuaded by Ansgar to reopen the ruined church and permit a new church at Ribe. Horik even allowed them to ring church bells for the first time, much to the disgust of the non-Christians who believed the bells would frighten off the land sprites (Danish: landvætter) and ruin the harvest.[1]



Since its founding, the ACF has served as a place for cultural exchange between Austrians and Americans and introduces Austrian artists at venues all over the USA. It is responsible for cultural and academic cooperation throughout the United States of America, with the exception of Washington D.C., which has its own cultural forum under the auspices of the Austrian Embassy. It organizes its own events and promotes collaborative efforts with various cultural institutions in the USA, with an emphasis on contemporary, artistic, sociopolitical, and academic subjects. Events


In the ACF building, five floors are used as exhibition space for predominantly contemporary art, generally presented in the context of three major thematic exhibitions per year. Smaller, event-type installations take place in between.

Concerts and performances are presented either in the in-house auditorium or at various venues in New York. Outside performances are organized in cooperation with American partner institutions, and have included concerts at Carnegie Hall and Judson Memorial Church.

Among other events, Moving Patterns, an electronic music festival first staged in spring 2005, introduces Austrian electronic and experimental musicians in the USA and is considered an important contribution to the electronica scene. The ACF regularly screens films on Austrian subjects or by Austrian filmmakers as part of a year-round series and also shows films in special screenings in the context of other events organized by the Cultural Forum. Activities of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York also include a variety of podium discussions, readings, and book presentations.


The Girl in the Last Audience of the Hapsburgs

Surrounded by the pencil ghosts of her fellow orphans, she gazes at the viewer, solemn but not accusatory, enigmatic. I can’t help making up stories about why the painter had completed this one face so perfectly. Even the empress is not as finished. Was this girl one of the orphans who especially captured his artistic eye, or was she not part of the portrait group at all, but special to him in his own life?

 The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon was a nice diversion for an afternoon during my recent trip to the Northwest. One painting in particular captured my attention for some time. (Click on either image for a much larger version.)

“The Last Audience of the Hapsburgs” was painted in 1918 by Artur von Ferarris, a Hungarian painter who lived from 1856 to 1936. It’s not the kind of painting I usually find riveting.

Here’s the text that accompanied it:

When this unfinished canvas was first exhibited in Eugene fifty years ago, it was described as a “painting with a history as romantic as old Vienna.” Given that it was smuggled into the United States in a carpet roll by a political refugee, this claim is not unfounded.

The artist began the work in October of 1918 at Schönbrunn Palace, where the young Empress Zita (1892 – 1989) received an audience of war orphans and a group of wealthy noblewomen, the Organization of War Godmothers, who had “adopted” them. Within hours, Empress Zita (shown seated on her throne), her husband, and their own eight children were forced to flee across the Swiss border because of the contentious political climate. Despite several attempts, they were never able to reestablish themselves on their thrones; both the Emperor and Empress died in exile.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Haunting Tales From The Bleaker Street Benches

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    Three days ago, I declared Christine Wandel an artist. https://rosamondpress.com/2016/11/02/stefan-and-i-in-einstime/

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