Nock. Draw. Loose. The Sport of Archery

Once a method of hunting prey for food, the bow and arrow date back to Paleolithic times.

With the onset of firearms in the 17th and 18th centuries, archery became outdated. Revived for sporting activities, archery is once again finding its place in hunting, as well.

Archery Through the Ages

Some of the earliest arrowheads found, coupled with ancient pictographs, reveal the invention of the bow and arrow to have come in Africa some 65,000 – 71,000 years ago. As man began to migrate and explore new territory, there is no evidence they took their weapons with them until some 40,000 years later when traveling to Asia, India, Australia, and Europe.

Arrow shafts have been found in Europe dating back some 12,000 years ago, while fragments of a bow dating from 11,000 years ago were found in an archaeological site in northern Germany. Other accounts show bows being found in a Denmark site dating back possibly further, somewhere between 20,000-9,500 BC. In North America, it is believed that Native Americans began using the bow and arrow around 500 AD for hunting, with it later also evolving into a weapon of war.

Archery as Sport

The sport of archery became popular in Egypt during the 18th dynasty period, between 1567 – 1320 BC. Records reveal early archery tournaments in China during the Chou dynasty from 1027 to 256 BC.

In more modern times, archery began its history in the Olympic Games in 1900. While performed through the early 20th century, it saw an absence of more than 50 years following 1920 until 1972. Today’s Olympics offer competition for men and women as individuals and teams. Individual Gold Medalists from the US include John Williams in 1972, Darrell Pace in 1976 and 1984, Jay Barrs in 1980, and Justin Huish in 1996. The last men’s team to earn Gold was in 1996.

Two US women have struck Gold in the sport of archery, too, Doreen Wilbur in 1972 and Luann Ryon in 1976. No US women’s team has earned Gold since the sport’s resurgence, although the 1988 team did take the Bronze.

Today’s Bow and Arrow

Beyond the competition of shooting at a standard target, in the US, archery is seeing a comeback as a method for hunting. Each state has its own specific rules for hunting with a bow and arrow, and the season may vary from the regular hunting season.

Today, the sport of archery is taught throughout the country, through local 4-H clubs, some schools, and various other sporting clubs. Private archery lessons are available most anywhere. Local competitions are abundant and archery is a part of the Shooting Sports competition through National 4-H.

If you have an interest in archery, check with your local chamber of commerce or your city’s department of parks and recreation to see what may be available in your area.

Catch a Chill on an Adventuresome Ghost Tour

Whether you are more apt to call a séance to summon the ghost of someone from your past, or more ready to call ghostbusters at any possible sign of one, you are one of 52% of Americans who believe in ghosts, according to a Chapman University survey.

Some paranormal researchers travel the country in search of spirits, while others concentrate their energies in specific locations they feel have either shown or are thought to have ghosts yet not confirmed.

Ghostly History

Sightings of ghosts are said to date back as far as the first century AD. Many religions have the belief that the soul of a person is separated from his or her body at the time of death. That soul may continue to live on in heaven, hell, or somewhere else unobtainable to man during his life on earth. Some believe that soul may take on a shadowy appearance of its human form returning to visit, or haunt, others on earth, while their physical remains have long been buried or interned.

Former homes of the deceased have been said to be “haunted” by their ghosts. Cemeteries are also thought to contain ghosts of those whose bodies are buried there. Fact or fiction, tales of ghosts and the paranormal have been recorded for as long as man has taken quill to paper, or rock to stone.

Ghost Tours near You

Whether you truly believe in ghosts or are simply curious of the possibility, those paranormal researchers along with historians and museum docents may offer a ghost tour near you. Traditionally, some places are long thought to be more haunted than others. New Orleans, Galveston, and Salem, Massachusetts are a few cities where multiple ghost sightings have been claimed in multiple locations within the city.

Exact locations that have seen massive losses of life, such as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia, or the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, and older cemeteries throughout the country are home to multiple ghost sightings.

Yet still, there are other private homesteads also thought to be haunted such as the childhood home of Lizzie Borden, who is said to have bludgeoned her parents to death. The home is now a bed and breakfast in Fall River, Massachusetts.

The former home of Sarah Lockwood Paree Winchester, who while in mourning the loss of her infant daughter and later her husband, William, moved from Connecticut to an eight-room farmhouse in San Jose, California. From her arrival in 1886 through her death in 1922, the heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune continuously had additions made to her home which had reached a total of 24,000 square feet.

Some believe she was advised by a psychic to do this. Now open to the public, the Winchester Mystery House is believed to be home to the ghost of Sarah Winchester and many others, and is a must-see for Californians and visitors to the area.

There are so many ghostly haunts to visit from the ghost towns of the Old West to the battlefields of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. If there isn’t a ghost tour near you, make sure to look for one on your next vacation. Maybe you will be lucky enough to make a paranormal sighting of your own.