Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ep. 279 - Ferry Plantation House and the Virginia Witch

Moment in Oddity - Flaming Hole Opens Up in Arkansas

There is a curious hole in Arkansas that opened up in September of 2018. What makes this hole in the ground so bizarre is the fact that it had 12 foot flames shooting out of it. The phenomenon lasted for only 40 minutes and in that time, several people witnessed this flaming hole. The hole opened up on someone's private property and it has stumped investigators. Some have reasoned that it was space junk that fell from the sky and made a hole, while others think it was a gas leak. None of these theories seemed possible since the hole has actually been around for over ten years. So I guess we're left with the only plausible explanation, could it be Satan?  Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he had ruled out Satan stating, "As far as the spiritual Satan goes, we've ruled that out. ... He didn't come up and stick his pitchfork in the ground and blow that hole out." Investigators are sending out soil samples to see if they can find any answers. One thing is for certain, a mysterious flaming hole opening up in Arkansas, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - William H. Eddy Dies

In the month of October, on the 25th, in 1932, William H. Eddy passed away.William and his brother Horatio were born in Chittenden Vermont and even though they had humble beginnings, they would soon become famous for their abilities as mediums. Henry Olcott was sent by New York's Daily Graphic to investigate the amazing reports about the Eddy Brothers. He spent ten weeks living with the brothers and was present at multiple seances where he claims to have seen extraordinary things. Olcott told the story over fifteen articles. Olcott claimed that he saw about 400 apparitions of all sizes, sexes, and races come out of a cabinet the brothers used during seances. He tested everything, measured everything and looked for all forms of trickery and could find nothing. He was convinced the Eddy Brothers were the real deal and said that William Eddy had a real knack for producing apparitions. The two main spirits William would produce were a Native American chief named Santum and a Native American woman named Honto. Many believe Olcott was gullible and the Eddy Brothers were just good tricksters. William broke away from his brother Horatio and had nothing to do with spiritualism again. He never married and when he died in October of 1932, he was 99 years old. To hear more about the famous brothers, check out Episode 191.

Ferry Plantation House and the Virginia Witch

The site where the Ferry Plantation House stands in Virginia Beach was once the scene of a trial for a woman accused of practicing witchcraft. That woman was Grace Sherwood and it would be her neighbors that claimed she was a witch who had bewitched their land and animals. She underwent the test of ducking to see if she was, indeed, a witch. Over the years, several houses stood on the site, falling victim to fires. The most recent house is a great example of Federal architecture and features a glimpse of Colonial life. This home also features ghostly activity produced by reputedly many apparitions. The Ferry Farm is said to be one of the most haunted locations in Virginia. Listener Whitney Zahar joins me to discuss the life of Grace Sherwood and the history and haunts of the Ferry Plantation House!

Rabbit hole on bikes: Some historians credit the invention of the pedal bicycle to Kirkpatrick MacMillan. He was a Scottish blacksmith who added pedals to the bicycle in 1839. Before that, people did the Flinstones thing, propelling forward with their feet. The Boneshaker Bike - Many historians credit Pierre and Ernest Michaux as being the true inventors of the modern bicycle. These two were carriage makers who were father and son and they first assembled a two-wheeled vélocipède, or what came to be known as The Boneshaker, around 1867. This bike was propelled like a tricycle, with its cranks and pedals connected to the front wheel. The design to the U.S. in 1863.

The Ferry Farm sounds like a wonderful place to visit and it is nice to hear that Grace Sherwood finally got her deserved pardon. Is there some kind of energy left over from this superstitious time that feeds into the paranormal activity at the site? Are there really nearly a dozen ghosts here? Is the Ferry Plantation House haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ep. 278 - Edinburgh Vaults

Moment in Oddity - The Winsted Wildman

There is a legend out of Connecticut that is a variation on the Bigfoot legend and this is the story of the Winsted Wildman. This creature was first reported in 1895 in the Winsted Herald as "a large man, stark naked, and covered with hair all over his body, [who] ran out of a clump of bushes." The person to witness the wildman was town selectman Riley Smith. He had been out in the woods looking for berries with his bulldog when the creature appeared terrifying both the man and his dog. Smith described it as "a wild, hairy man of the woods, six feet in height,"and "the man’s hair was black and hung down long on his shoulders, and that his body was thickly covered with black hair. The man was remarkably agile, and to all appearance was a muscular, brawny man, a man against whom any ordinary man would stand little chance." Two other men saw the Winsted Wildman and speculation started as to who or what this thing could be with the Winsted Herald speculating that the Wildman may have been Arthur Beckwith, an escaped mental patient from the nearby Litchfield Sanitarium. The  Winsted Wildman seemed to disappear until eighty years later when he was seen again in 1972. The Hartford Courant reported that a "strange, man-like creature" was observed by two young men on Winchester Road, near Crystal Lake Reservoir. They described it as "eight feet tall and covered with hair" that walked upright and finally disappeared into the woods. People said it was just a bear, but the two men were emphatic that "it was no bear." The Wildman was seen again in 1974 by two couples parked at night. They said they saw a "six-foot, 300-pound creature covered with dark-colored hair." Police could find nothing. There are those who claim the story was just made up by Louis Timothy Stone, the editor of the Winsted Herald in order to sell papers. This seems to be something he did quite a bit. But how to explain the more recent sightings? If the Winsted Wildman was anything more than just a bear, that would certainly be odd!

This Month in History - Serial Killers William Burke and William Hare Kill Their Final Victim

In the month of October, on the 31st, in 1828, William Burke and William Hare kill their final victim. The Judgement of Death Act of 1823 required judges to enter a sentence of death on the court record, but they could then commute the sentence to imprisonment. Medical and anatomical schools were only allowed to use the bodies of condemned criminals for dissection. This act made the availability of bodies very limited and thus the unscrupulous practice of grave robbing took root. William Hare immigrated to Scotland from Ireland and eventually became keeper of a lodging house in Edinburgh. William Burke was also Irish-born and he arrived at the lodging house in 1827. An old pensioner died in the house and so his rent went unpaid. Hare was upset about losing the money and stole the body from its coffin with the help of Burke and sold it to a surgeon named Robert Knox. The men were happy with their profit and decided to do more of this, only they didn't grave rob, they just murdered people and sold the bodies. It's believed they killed 15 unknown wayfarers who stayed at the lodging house. They would get the men drunk and smother them. Their last victim was Marjory Docherty, whom they killed and hid under a bed on Halloween. They tried to keep the guests who were staying in that room from entering, but they entered anyway and discovered the body. Burke's wife tried to bribe them to be quiet, but it was reported and soon the multiple murderers were discovered. Hare turned king’s evidence and was released and disappeared. Burke was tried for murder, found guilty and hanged. The Burke and Hare case inspired the horror films The Body Snatcher from 1945 and The Flesh and the Fiends from 1959.

Edinburgh Vaults

In the late 18th century, two bridges were built in Edinburgh to help the city to expand over the hills that were part of the area, the North Bridge and the South Bridge. The South Bridge linked the Old Town’s High Street with the University buildings on the south side of the city and housed a number of chambers that were first used for businesses and later became a seedy part of the city. These chambers are known today as the Edinburgh Vaults. Because of some of the illegal activity and the living conditions in the vaults, they are reputedly the most haunted site in Scotland. Join me as we explore the history and hauntings of the Edinburgh Vaults!

The Edinburgh Vaults of the South Bridge are located within chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the bridge. Construction on the vaults began in 1785 and was completed in 1788. The bridge consisted of 19 stone arches, hit 31 feet at its highest point and spanned a chasm just over 1000 feet long. There were three levels to the bridge. The street level had store fronts that included taverns and markets. The level below the street was used for cobbler and other tradesmen's workshops and storage. The third level contained 120 rooms, which were used for living space. This arrangement lasted for thirty years. The red light district would form after this time, but even before that there were some operations starting that were outside of the normal businesses like this report on Saturday 1 July 1815 in The Edinburgh Evening Courant,
"On the 24th inst. Mr McKenzie, supervisor, accompanied by Mess. Gorie and McNaugton, officers, discovered a private distillery, of considerable extent, under the arch of the South Bridge, which has been working these 18 months past, to the great injury of the revenue. The particulars of this seizure are worthy of notice, from the great pains which had been taken to prevent disclosure. The original door to the place where the operations were going forward had been carefully built up and plastered over, so as to prevent any appearance of an entrance. Behind a grate in the fireplace of a bed-room, an opening had been made, and fitted with an iron door and lock, exactly fitting the grate, which could only be seen by being removed; and this passage led to the flat above by a trap-door and ladder, where the still was working. This place again was in one of the deaf arches, immediately adjoining the middle arch of the bridge, (now The Caves venue), and the person had found means to convey a pipe from one of the town’s branches, which gave a plentiful supply of water. A soil pipe was also got at, and a hole broke through into a neighbouring vent to carry off the smoke. Besides the still, a considerable quantity of wash, and some low wines, were found in the premises; also many casks, mash ton, large tubs, etc. The spirits were said to have been conveyed away in a tin case, made to contain two or three gallons, which was again put into a green bag, and carried out by a woman under her cloak."
Things for the vaults changed after huge cracks began to form in the bridge. The South Bridge that had been considered an engineering marvel was actually flawed and these cracks that formed allowed water and waste from the city to flow into the vault’s lower levels. The conditions deteriorated rapidly and the businesses left in the 1820s. They were replaced with the poor and homeless of the city moving inside the vaults and in 1845, the vaults were overwhelmed with Irish immigrants trying to get away from the potato famine. Slum lords took advantage of the desperate people and would cram as many people into a space as they could, which usually amounted to 10 people living in a space meant for one person. Conditions were so bad that the residents began moving out in the 1860s. Proof that people once lived here was found during excavations in 1985. There were dishes, medicine bottles, toys and other household goods. Before this time, many people didn't believe that anybody had lived in the vaults. The reason why excavations needed to be done is because the vaults had been filled in with rubble to prevent squatters and effectively passed out of memory.

After the tradesmen left, disreputable businesses moved in and crime became the norm in the vaults. A vast red-light district took hold, smuggling operations were carried out and people were murdered. The cramped spaces became a hiding place for body snatchers who needed dark places to come and go more easily. There are even rumors that in the 1820s, the infamous serial killers William Burke and William Hare lurked within the vaults and may have killed some of their 16 victims there. I have found no evidence to back that up and as the Month in History details, the murders seemed to have happened at the boarding house, not the vaults. Add in the rampant disease and the vaults were a dangerous place to enter and live. So the South Bridge had a horrible reputation as being a slum.

There was a decades old belief that the bridge was cursed and the reason that it was cursed was because of the first person to cross the expanse. It was decided before the bridge was completed that a well known and respected judge's wife should be the first to cross. Several days before the bridge was opened, the woman passed away. The city fathers felt that they should keep up their end of the deal and so they decided to carry the woman's coffin across the bridge. The people of Edinburgh were a very superstitious people and they felt that carrying a dead woman across the bridge was bad luck and that the bridge was now cursed. But was this just superstition or could it really be true? And what of the claim that the Edinburgh Vaults are the most haunted place in Scotland?

One of the main areas that ghost tours in Edinburgh visit is the Blair Street Vaults, which are part of the South Bridge and can be entered through Barrie's Close. (For those who don't know, a close is basically an alleyway.) Let me give you a visual of what the vaults are like today and then imagine that this place is full of people, some with harmful intent for you. The air is dank and damp and cold. The dark grey walls seep water and are crumbling. Those decaying walls covered in slime, press in causing claustrophobia before eventually opening into cavernous spaces. This is an underground labyrinth of twists and turns. It is easy to get lost.

Mercat Ghost Tours guide Nicola Wright, who has worked in and around the Vaults for 11 years, said, “We do get an awful lot of activity and the reports have been getting more frequent in recent weeks. This is a very sinister place. There are lots of dark, dark spirits down here...Lots of guides have experiences. I train a lot of the guides and often when they are new we get a lot of activity, because the spirits aren’t used to them. They hear things, they get pushed, they hear footsteps, they see faces. Tourists feel things as well. Temperature changes - quite often the temperature will drop suddenly. We had reports of footsteps last night, people seeing figures. A lot of time people are taking pictures and they tell me ‘you realise there’s a woman standing behind you?’ but I’m fine with it.” The tours have recorded some unexplained activity. I had a friend take one of these tours several years ago and they captured a weird green mist in a couple of photos that was not visible with the naked eye. They also had a young boy on the tour who screamed in terror and wanted out of the vaults. He complained that his back hurt and upon lifting up his shirt, they discovered a red hand print as though someone had hit him.

Other visitors to the vaults have experienced the full array of ghostly activity from disembodied voices to strange sounds to cold blasts of air to full-bodied apparitions. The Wine Vault is said to be teeming with activity. The ghost of young boy named Jack is said to be here and he is known to grab the hands of visitors. The Occult Chamber is one of the creepier areas and is rumored to have been a place where satanic rituals and other occult practices were conducted. One legend that seems rather outlandish was that a woman was sacrificed on a mysterious square brick in the center of the chamber after being tortured for days.

Mr. Boots is the most well known ghost haunting the vaults. He is described as a shabby and tall man who likes to keep to the back section of the vaults. He throws stones at visitors to get their attention and occasionally pushes them. People hear his heavily booted disembodied footsteps and his voice cursing throughout the chambers. The White Room is the abode of the spirit that is thought to be the worst here and that is the Watcher. This spirit instills feelings of dread into most people, especially psychics. This specter gives the chilling feeling of being watched, which is where his nickname comes from. The tour guide Nicola says she won’t go into The White Room and that "people have come out of the room and found they had scratch marks or bruising, they’ve had their clothes torn, they feel very nauseous. If you take photographs quite often faces will appear in them. I won’t go into that particular room. He warns people not to enter, he shouts at people, he pushes people."

In 2003, a BBC Radio producer named Debbie McPhail wanted to cover the history of the vaults and she took the Edinburgh Vaults’ owner down into the underground to conduct the interview. When she returned to the BBC offices and began going through the audio, she noticed that there was another voice on the tapes that did not belong to her or the owner. This voice told the two to “get out.” McPhail told reporters, “When I was listening back to it, I could hear Norrie Rowan [the vault owner] chatting and then I heard another voice. It was close by to the microphone because you can tell if voices are far away or not. I knew it wasn’t the presenter or Norrie because the voice had a slightly Irish accent. But I couldn’t understand why no-one responded to it. When the presenter came back up I asked him who they had met in the vault and he said nobody. My husband thought it could be Gaelic and I asked a colleague who spoke the language and she said they could be saying ‘get out’ or ‘go away’. I have no reason to doubt it. You could sit forever and make explanations for it, but it’s there on the disc and that’s good enough for me.”

A bartender from a bar right next to the Vaults claims that he left an orange on the bar and when he came back, it had been perfectly peeled and no one was in the bar with him. Joe Swash spent a night in the vaults by himself in 2009 for a BBC program and picked up the EVP of a Catholic priest reciting the last rights for 20 minutes. A journalist for The Scotsman reported some experiences they had during a ghost hunt, "In another vault [our guide Ewan] sensed a room that was at one time used as a men-only drinking tavern. Ewan explained that every tour party he brings into this room splits immediately into male and female groups which, he said, was possibly due to previously being a male-dominated environment. A look around the room confirmed this to be true. The final room we entered featured a number of large stones laid out in a circle on the floor. We were told that this room had once been used by the witches who still practise today in a specially fitted-out room in the vaults. The witches had sensed a mischievous spirit in the room and had conducted a sermon to trap whatever was lurking within inside the stone circle.Those who have entered the circle are said to wake up with scratches on their legs the next morning."

The Edinburgh Vaults have an old and dark history. Many people probably lost their lives here through illness and murder. Is it possible that some of their spirits remain in the underground? Are the Edinburgh Vaults haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Mercat Ghost Tours:

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ep. 277 - Iron Island Museum

Moment in Oddity - The Koreshan State Historic Site

Many people have heard of the Hollow Earth Theory, but not many know that a cult of followers of this belief had once built their very own Utopia. Today, that Utopia is known as Koreshan State Historic Site. Cyrus Teed was born in 1839 and he became a physicist and alchemist. One day, Teed claimed that God spoke to him and told him to start a new religion. Teed was to take the name of Koresh and call this new religion Koreshanity. The core belief of the group was that the Earth and sky existed inside the inner surface of a sphere, which is one unique interpretation of the Hollow earth Theory. Teed claimed that Jesus was the sixth messiah and that he himself was the seventh messiah. In 1894, the group moved to the small Florida town of Estero and began building what they called "New Jerusalem." At their peak, the community had 250 residents. Teed died in 1908 and the group's numbers began to decline and the finally Koreshan died in 1961. The community was deeded to the state of Florida before that and was turned into a state historic site. So today, you can canoe the river near the Seven Sisters' Planetary Court and stop in to see the models of the Universe that have the Earth inside a concave sphere and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - First Double-decked Steamboat Arrives in New Orleans.

In the month of October, on the 7th, in 1816, the first double-decked steamboat, named the Washington, arrived at New Orleans. Henry M. Shreve designed The Washington and that design would prove to be ideal for western rivers. That original design included elements that we associate with the classic steamboat powering up the Mississippi: a two-story deck, a stern-mounted paddle wheel powered by a high-pressure steam engine, a shallow, flat-bottomed hull, and a pilothouse framed by two tall chimneys. The currents of the mighty Mississippi were tackled in record time for the Washington, which managed to reach Louisville in only 25 days after leaving New Orleans. The flat-bottomed hull was perfect for the shallow western rivers and The Washington started offering cargo and passenger service. Soon other paddlewheelers were produced and at the peak of the era, there were 740 steamboats traveling the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The boom ended by the late 19th century as the railroad started taking over.

Iron Island Museum

The Iron Island Museum is said to be the perfect spooky spot for anyone in western New York to enjoy a little Halloween fun. For those of us who celebrate Halloween year round, this museum is the perfect spot for a ghostly encounter. The tales of experiences are numerous and this location has been featured in multiple paranormal television shows. The museum showcases the charming and proud history of the Lovejoy neighborhood in Buffalo. The memorabilia is a sight to see and the place is crammed so full, it takes several hours to enjoy it all. And perhaps this is why the place is so haunted, all that memorabilia. Or could it be the former use for the building causing the hauntings? Join me as I explore the history and hauntings of the Iron Island Museum.

Hearing the name Iron Island probably immediately makes one think that this location is located on an island somewhere, but that is not the case. Iron Island is the name given to the Lovejoy neighborhood in Buffalo, New York because it is bordered on its perimeter by railroad tracks. The neighborhood was settled by Italian, German and Irish immigrants. Migrants from the rural south would come later, but the area is dominated by Italians. The neighborhood gets its name from Sarah Lovejoy who was an American killed during the War of 1812 in December of 1813 during a British-Indian raid on Buffalo. Most of the men from the settlement went to Black Rock to defend against the British attack and Sarah remained behind with her 12-year-old son, Henry. When the British Native Americans arrived in Buffalo, Sarah sent Henry into the woods because she figured it would keep him safe from being kidnapped and that the raiders would not harm a woman. The Native Americans ransacked the house and Sarah fought with them as she tried to save her property. Legend claims she stated, “When my property goes, my life shall go with it.” During the melee, she was stabbed with a tomahawk and her body was dragged into the yard. The neighbors put her body in the house after the troops left, but the next day the British burned much of the settlement and Sarah's body was burned up with her house. There is a cenotaph in Forest Lawn Cemetery to honor Sarah and also a memorial in Mumford Rural Cemetery near her parents.

The Iron Island Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Lovejoy neighborhood and it has its home in a building donated in August of 2000 by businessman Anthony Amigone. The building was formerly a church and a funeral home that dates back to the late 1800s. He decided to donate the property when he read about the efforts of the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy, Inc. The preservation society was formed in 1994 with the mission "to preserve and beautify the Iron Island neighborhood and improve the quality of life for the residents." They've done a lot of fundraisers to beautify the parks and held various events. The museum celebrated its grand opening in October of 2000 and features military uniforms, railroad memorabilia, a wooden altar from a neighborhood 1896 church and a model of the New York Central Terminal.

The history of the building starts with a small wooden church on the site in the late 1800s and a parsonage erected to the west at 994 Lovejoy Street. The brick church that is there now was erected in 1883 and opened in 1885 by a Methodist-Episcopal church. For some reason, the church building was abandoned for a short while starting in the 1940s and then bought in 1956 by a funeral director who used it as a funeral home, known as Church Funeral Home. An area with three viewing rooms was added inside and an apartment was attached. Three different funeral directors ran the home up until it was donated. Iron Island Museum has a well-known reputation for being haunted and they embrace it offering ghost tours and overnights. Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters have featured the location on episodes as well.

There are several ghosts here with the most famous being Edgar Zernicke. Edgar was 87 when he died in 1992. His remains were cremated and when the funeral home was closed, the remains of Edgar along with seven others were left in the basement in quart-sized paint cans. Nobody had claimed them.  Edgar had been a Marine who fought in the Sandino Rebellion in Nicaragua in 1928 and he later joined the Navy in the early 1930s. He eventually moved to Buffalo and he lived in the East Delavan area working as a tool and die maker. Once it was realized that his remains were left in the basement, he was given a full military burial at Bath National Cemetery in September of 2010. The discovery of Edgar as the ghost and owner of these cremains was made by Chip Coffey who visited the museum with Ghost Hunters. He told Linda Hastreiter, co-owner of the Iron Island Museum, that the ghost's name started with the letter "E," and then later he got the name Edgar. Later, Hastreiter was going through the list of names from the cans that had been left behind by the funeral home in the basement closet and she saw the name "Edgar Zernicke." She was able to identify the other soldiers in cans and all of them were escorted with Edgar by Patriot Guard Riders to the cemetery. This did not put Edgar to rest though. He still haunts the building.

Speaking of Linda, her first ghost experience in the building happened in December of 2000. The museum was hosting a Christmas party and Linda was in the kitchen prepping stuff when she heard tables and chairs being moved around in the front room. Not a problem if you have a group setting up, but when you are in the building alone? Linda made her exit quickly and called a volunteer to join her in checking the building. They found nothing moved.

Visitors and employees claim that there are also two spirits of 6-year-old boys who had been waked at the funeral home hanging around the museum. There wakes took place in the 1960s. EVP have captured spirit voices and entities have been caught in photos and in videos. The psychic Karyn Reece visited for a lecture and during her talk she mentioned that an orb was hovering over a man in the back. He was a skeptic and shrugged his shoulders unconcerned of her observation. He got a little nervous though when someone turned and snapped his picture and the orb was clearly visible above his head in the picture.

When Ghost Hunters was there, they captured evidence and had experiences. One of the investigators was standing in the hall speaking to another team member when she saw a shadow shape move in front of the door and then the door opened and closed. This was a door that had been locked. Grant climbed the ladder to the old church attic and he saw a dark figure and a voice seemed to emanate from it. The group captured disembodied footsteps and voices and some EVP.

Cindy from Ontario posted on TripAdvisor: "I was taking pictures with my cellphone in the attic room when it inexplicably took 2 pictures automatically in slow succession. I swear I did not do anything to my phone to make it take those pictures and my friend witnessed the whole thing as well. A few of the girls felt the 'spider web' feeling brushing against their arms a few times. We also think we caught an EVP while recording our conversation. Sounds like a male voice but cannot clearly make out what was said. Not sure if any of these things were truly paranormal ... my husband is still a huge skeptic lol. Mind you, he wouldn't go down in the basement by himself in the dark. All in all we had such a fun and enjoyable evening and would recommend this experience to others."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ep. 276 - Schenck Mansion Bed and Breakfast

Moment in Oddity - Victor's Way

Victor's Way is an adult contemplative park found near Roundwood, County Wicklow, Ireland. The privately owned 9-hectare garden is full of paths and black granite sculptures and was dedicated to cryptographer Alan Turing. The sculptures found in this park and quite unusual. Eight of the statues feature the Hindu elephant god Ganesha doing various activities like reading, playing instruments and dancing and there's even a small pint of Guinness next to one of them. One of the Ganesha statues has a little mouse standing behind it in street clothes complete with baseball cap and fanny pack. One of the creepier sculptures is named the Fasting Buddha and it basically is a skeleton in the lotus position. There is a large python-shaped seat and a young male statue that has its head split as an icon to indecision. The Shiva Lingam is a large finger pointing to the sky. The Ferryman's End is creepy looking too featuring a man who is relative skin and bones in murky water up to his chest and appearing in great distress. For a contemplative park that should bring one peace, Victor's Way sure has some creepy and disturbing statues and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Lascaux Cave Discovered

In the month of September, on the 12th, in 1940, four teenage boys exploring a fox den near Montignac discover the Lascaux Cave. The Lascaux Cave contained murals with a menagerie of animals including enormous bulls, horses and deer and there was one rare image of a human. The artwork numbered 600 pieces and was dated back to the Paleolithic period, circa 18,000 years ago. The paintings covered the walls and ceiling. The teenage boys who made the discovery were Marcel Ravidat, Gerorges Agniel, Simon Coencas and Jacques Marsal. It was decided toopen the cave complex to the general public on July 14, 1948. The cave was a huge draw for tourists and by 1955, the paintings were suffering damage from carbon dioxide and humidity that was generated by the 1,200 visitors per day coming to see the wall paintings. Added to this was fungi and lichen that began to spread across the cave walls. It got so bad that the cave was closed to the public in 1963. The paintings have since been restored to their original state and are monitored daily, but no one is allowed to visit save for a couple of scientists on occasion. The Lascaux Cave is considered the finest of all prehistoric painted caves made by Cro Magnons man and was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Schenck Mansion (Suggested by: Patricia Emmenegger Groce)

The former Benjamin Schenck Mansion in Vevay, Indiana is today known as the Schenck Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn. The two story Second Empire-style mansion has over 8,000 square feet of living space and is furnished with antique and reproduction furniture. The home was built over 144 years ago and has had multiple owners and served a variety of purposes. Today, it not only welcomes guests, but reputedly is quite haunted. Join me as I explore the history and hauntings of the Schenck Mansion!

Vevay (Vee Vee), Indiana is a traditional small mid-western town situated along the Ohio River. This episode is dropping right before October begins here in 2018, so I would be remiss if I did not mention their Sleepy Hollow Festival on October 13th, featuring booths, costume contests, pumpkin carving contests and a scavenger hunt to find the head of the headless horsemen. Vevay sits in the southeast corner of Indiana and was founded by Swiss immigrants in 1802 as New Switzerland. For this reason, it was named after the Swiss town of Vevay. The town was incorporated in 1836. One of its claims to fame is that it had the first commercial winery in America. The town also served as a busy port city. It was here that Benjamin Schenck decided to build his mansion.

Benjamin Franklin Schenck was the son of a wealthy “hay king” during the steamboat era named Ulysses P. Schenck. Ulysses had been born in Switzerland and his parents emigrated to America when he was young and he got into merchandising. he used steamboats to move his products up and down the river and in 1854, he built the "Switzerland" steamboat with his brother. This went on to serve on the Union side of the Civil War as a gunboat. He got his nickname of "Hay King" because he bought and sold large quantities of hay. Benjamin was born in Louisville, Kentucky on November 3rd in 1834. He went to law school at Poughkeepsie, New York and was admitted to the bar, but decided law was not for him and he joined his father in the mercantile business. He added the purchase of the Vevay Weekly News to his business holdings in the 1850s and edited it for several years. He also manufactured ink with a partner named John Henry. Benjamin began work on his mansion in 1874.

The mansion was constructed on a hill, giving it its nickname "House on the Hill."  The design was Second Empire and the architect was George P. Humphries, who was out of Cincinnati. The total cost of the construction was $67,000. The Second Empire style was very popular after the Civil War and the Schenck Mansion has several prominent features including its square four-storied tower, dormer windows and the Mansard roof. The house had 35 rooms and five bathrooms and keep in mind that at the time, having just one bathroom in a house was a luxury. The running water was supplied from a reservoir located on the hill. The bathrooms also had the added luxury of a bathtub and all of them were walnut cased and copper lined. There was central heating with a gravity hot air system and the lighting was all gas. Unbelievably, the Schencks designed the mansion with iys own carbide generator to manufacture gas. The mansion also featured four porches, seven balconies, eight chimneys, thirteen fireplaces, over fifty windows and a summer kitchen at the far end of the house. The roof was made from slate and the exterior trim was fashioned from tin. The interior was as gorgeous as the exterior with the shutters and trim all originally faux grained.  There was a butler’s pantry that had shelves, twenty-six drawers and cupboards of various sizes from floor to ceiling.

By November of 1874, Benjamin's health began to deteriorate and he was told to go to Florida for a while, so he and his family spent the winter and spring in Jacksonville, Florida. They returned to Vevay in the summer and the family was able to spend that summer and the next in the mansion, although it was not finished being constructed. The family returned to Florida in 1877 and Benjamin died there in April at the young age of 42. He never got to see his home completed. His wife Celestine lived in the mansion intermittently until her death in December 1885. The Schencks had three daughters and they held onto the mansion until 1923, but it was mostly abandoned through the early twentieth century. In 1923, they gave the mansion and the sixty-five acres around it to the Indiana Baptist Convention. The church eventually returned it to the family.

In 1945, the mansion was bought by Clarence and Lulu Wiseman to use as their home and a clubhouse for the Switzerland County Saddle Club. The second floor they rented out as a tenement. Major T. and Ruth E. Jester bought the home in 1966 and they sold off the land around the property, save for six acres. The Wisemans had put in a trailer park at the end of the driveway and they sold this to Ervin and Lynn M. Wilson. The next owners were Burrel C. Farnsley and Alexander “Sandy” Speer of Louisville. They bought the property in 1972 and they began restoration efforts. In 1981, they gave up their efforts to restore the house and sold the property to their friend Mark C. Miles. He continued restorations and then put the mansion up on the market where it sat for several years before being bought by Jerry and Lisa Fisher in 1998. They completed all the renovation in 2000 and opened it as a bed and breakfast. The Fishers also got rid of the trailer park and landscaped the property with terracing, a patio, water features and a vineyard. The current innkeepers are Steve and Jenny.

The restored mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and features reproduction period wool carpet from England and Scotland, but also modern amenities like air-conditioning, flat screen TVs, clock radio with docking for iPods and WiFi. The Music Room was on the first floor and is now known as The Wiseman Room. Four of the other guest rooms are named for members of the Schenck family and several contain canopy beds. The reviews on TripAdvisor were raving about how great this place is to stay. It seems to be so comfortable, that some spirits have decided to make it their home in the afterlife. There are claims that upwards of six to seven ghosts reside in this inn.

Guests report hearing disembodied voices and footsteps. Shadow figures have been seen in the rooms at night. There is a Lady in White here who haunts the second floor. She seems almost to be residual as she just floats through the hallway and doesn't seem to take notice of anybody. One of the most common reports comes from male guests who claim to be kissed in the middle of the night by someone they can't see. Could this be the Woman in White?

There is another female ghost here that has been described as an Amish Housekeeper. She is brusque and usually is seen on the stairway and passes by guests who think of her as rude since she doesn't respond to their requests. The guests will go up to the innkeepers and complain about the housekeeper only to be told that no such woman is employed by the inn.

There are legends connected to the mansion that I'm not sure of their historical accuracy, but they might help explain the hauntings. It is said that the mansion is built on the ruins of another structure that had been lost to fire and a couple had been trapped inside. Another story is about a woman named Sarah who took pity on Civil War soldiers and took them into her home. This could be where the story of fire comes from because Sarah took in Confederates too. A militia came upon the house and they were enraged. They tied up both Sarah and the Confederate soldier and burned the house. No one knew the name of the soldier until they saw it written in the dirt after the fire...Ed. Another story told about this earlier house was that a couple lived here and the husband was sent off to fight in the war. He returns home to find his wife in bed with another man and he kills them both before killing himself. This scene is said to replay itself in the mansion that was built over their home. There are people who report mysteriously lights flickering and weird sounds and in the words of Michele Thompson, one of the Schenck’s innkeepers, “There are things that just…happen.”

The Schenck Mansion is a beautiful historic bed and breakfast that offers wonderful luxury. With these tales of supernatural occurrences, it would seem that some previous residents of this home or area are reluctant to leave. Is the Benjamin Schenck Mansion Bed and Breakfast haunted? That is for you to decide!

Historic Hoosier Theater - The Hoosier Theatre was built in 1837 and was originally meant to be a warehouse and store. Over the years it was used as a saddlery, a post office, a tavern, the offices of the Vevay Newspaper and a 225 seat theatre, which it became in 1926. It was abandoned in 1955 and sat vacant until 1983, when Historic Vevay, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation was formed to purchase and restore the building. The theater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and re-opened in 1987 and continues to operate as a theater.

Forgotten Memories Antiques

Julia Knox House Gift Shop - The Julia Knox House was built in 1870 and sits along the main street. It was three stories tall and named for Julia Knox who inherited the property from her parents. She was a historian and direct descendant of one of the families that founded Vevay. The house is now a gift shop that was re-opened in 2016 as a family owned and operated business.

Old Jail

Show Notes:
The Original Vevay Ghost Tour: "We are "The Original" Vevay Ghost Tour. Experience Vevay and learn about the history, haunts, and spooky happenings from days gone by to current experiences. Tours are October 26, and 28 (2018). We start at 7:00pm from Vevay Vintage Prop & Shop (110 E. Main Street Vevay). Tickets are $32/person and available by phone at 812-493-9572 (leave message if after business hours) or in person at Vevay Vintage Prop & Shop (110 E. Main Street Vevay). We recommend purchasing tickets in advance as each tour has only a small limited number available for your best possible experience. We will tour four locations throughout town and walk about 1.5-2 miles (there are also stairs) over the 2.5-3 hour tour. You will get to meet and hear the stories of those who have had 'experiences'."

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Ep. 275 - Haunted Flagstaff

Moment in Oddity - The Aroostook War
Suggested by: Katrina Rae Saulis

There was a time in America when one lone state declared war without the backing of the rest of the country. This was the only time it happened in US history and it was called the Aroostook War. The state involved was Maine, of course. The Aroostook War was named after Maine's northernmost county and the dispute got started because the borders there weren't clearly defined. Maine gained statehood in 1820 and began issuing land grants, but Canadian lumberjacks ignored them and continued to cut timber in the Aroostook region. They went further by kidnapping an American land agent in February of 1839. The war was on and came to a a bar. An Aroostook militiaman raised a toast to Maine in a local bar and the Canadians drinking in the bar didn't like it and a fight broke out. Noses were bloodied and eyes were blackened. Not a shot was fired and the two governments came to an agreement on the border. This episode was the last confrontation between the United States and the United Kingdom and the fact that it was considered a war without a single shot and settled basically with a bar fight, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - First V2 Rocket Falls on London

In the month of September, on the 8th, in 1944, the first V2 rocket fell on London. The V2 had been sent by Hitler and the Germans and it left a huge crater that was 30ft deep. The rocket took only seven minutes to travel from mobile platforms near The Hague in the Netherlands, to Chiswick. The rocket had three quarters of a ton of explosive on board and it broke the sound barrier so there was no sound as it flew.The blast killed three people, demolished 11 houses and damaged over 500 other houses. The youngest victim, Rosemary Clarke, was just three. Her brother John recalled, "The best way of describing it is television with the sound off. You're deafened. That's what it boils down to. Seeing an airing cupboard crumble in front of you without a sound is an eerie experience." An aftershock followed that sounded like multiple thunderstorms and then there was an eerie silence. The residents thought that a gas main had exploded. Residents quickly figured out that this was not a gas problem when government officials arrived. The truth about the Germans' new weapon was an open secret, but not acknowledged publicly until November 10. Londoners took to calling the V2 rockets "flying gas pipes."

Haunted Flagstaff (Suggested by listener: Susan Johnson)

Flagstaff, Arizona has its roots in the railway and its growth in the timber industry. The flourishing town became a hotspot for tourism with the Grand Canyon just up the road. This meant hotels were needed and two that remain today are the Hotel Weatherford and the Hotel Monte Vista. They not only have a history, but they also have a reputation for being haunted. Another building with ghost stories is the Flagstaff Public Library. Susan Johnson of Freaky Flagstaff Foottours joins me to share the history and ghosts stories of these locations as well as the horrific true crime story about the Walkup Family that has some hauntings connected to it as well. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Flagstaff, Arizona!

The memorial for the Walkup children is simple and yet very moving because it is clear that these four children alllost their lives on the same day. It's a grave marker that tells a horrifying story. Do the spirits of the children still remain in the home where their lives were so violently taken from them? Are the hotels and library in Flafgstaff Haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes
Freaky Flagstaff Foottours:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ep. 274 - The Goldfield Hotel

Moment in Oddity - Einstein's Brain

When the genius Albert Einstein died, his body underwent a formal autopsy. That autopsy was performed by Thomas Harvey. He photographed and weighed the brain and then he decided that he wanted to study the brain further. This was not something that was approved, but that didn't stop Harvey. He ended up losing his job at Princeton Hospital because he had kept the brain. He didn't give it back, rather he took it home and took more photographs and sliced pieces of the brain up. He discovered several areas of the brain, such as the parietal lobe and Sylvian fissure, that had grown larger than normal. Parts of Einstein's brain were absent as well. Scientists who heard about this later, theorized that these absent areas allowed the brain's neurons to communicate differently and for Einstein to think in a visual way. After his thorough study, Harvey stashed the brain away at his home for the next twenty years and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Guillotine Falls Silent

In the month of September, on the 10th, in 1977, the guillotine falls silent for good. The last person executed with the guillotine was a Tunisian immigrant named Hamida Djandoubi and he was executed at Baumetes Prison in Marseille, France. Decapitating machines had been used as far back as before the French Revolution. The guillotine became popular during the French Revolution when physician and revolutionary Joseph-Ignace Guillotin won passage of a law that required that all death sentences be carried out by “means of a machine.” The first guillotine was tested on cadavers before it put the first person to death on April 25, 1792. Eventually, the machine would also claim Louis XVI and Mary Antoinette, the former king and queen of France. Use of the guillotine continued in France through the 19th and 20th centuries. France outlawed capital punishment altogether in September 1981. There is a museum dedicated to the guillotine in Liden, Sweden.

The Goldfield Hotel (Suggested by: Anna Prado-Frias and Melissa Potter)

Many consider the town of Goldfield in Nevada to be a ghosttown and with a population hovering around 200, it really does seem to be that way. This was once a boom town though and for several decades millions of dollars in gold was mined here. During that boom, The Goldfield Hotel was built. This building is one of the few to have survived fire and time. Today, the only guests that stay here are those seeking a connection with the afterlife and based on the experiences reported in the media and those that I have heard personally, the hotel's reputation for being haunted is well deserved. Join me as I explore the history and hauntings of The Goldfield Hotel.

The town of Goldfield is located in the state of Nevada and is named for the gold that was found there. Goldfield was founded in 1902. By 1906, the town was booming and over 30,000 people were living somewhere near Goldfield. That year, $11 million in gold was mined. All types of people were attracted to this spot in southern Nevada from prostitutes to miners to outlaws. Buildings sprouted up all along the main street that included banks, hotels, three newspapers and, of course, saloons with their attached brothels. One of those saloons was Tex Rickard's Northern and it was said that it had the longest bar in town and probably the longest in any bar in the country at the time. It was so long that they needed 80 bartenders to service all the customers. Many people believe this is just a tall tale because it was not that big of a saloon. One of the banks was the Goldfield State Bank, which was opened by George Graham Rice who was a former check forger and newspaperman who decided to become a mining stock promoter. He started the Sullivan Trust Company that was backed by mining stocks. It collapsed in 1907 and the bank failed causing Rice to quickly leave town.

The Earp Brothers were connected to Goldfield as well. The gunfight at the OK Corral had already taken place when Wyatt wrote his brother Virgil from Goldfield and told him that he should come because this is where “money was flowing like wine.” Virgil arrived in Goldfield in the spring of 1904 and was hired as a deputy sheriff. Wyatt was working as a pit boss in Tex Rickard's place that was also a gambling casino. Virgil contracted pneumonia about a year after he got to Goldfield and he died and this prompted Wyatt to leave Nevada.

Another prominent resident of Goldfield was George Wingfield and he built The Goldfield Hotel. The hotel stands four stories and is located at the southeast corner of Crook Avenue (U.S. 95) and Columbia Avenue. in Goldfield, Nevada. Morrill J. Curtis and George E. Holesworth were the architects and they designed it in the Classic Revival style. Two earlier hotels had stood on the spot, but both had burned down. The Goldfield was completed in 1908 and cost nearly $450,000 to build. At the time, it was the most spectacular hotel in Nevada and to demonstrate this reputation, champagne flowed down the front steps during its opening ceremony. The hotel also boasted that its U-shape design ensured that each guest had an outside window. The exterior of the ground floor was built from grey granite stones and the interior first floor facade and all upper story facades were built of redbrick. The top floor has a white cornice. The front lobby was glorious with black leather upholstery, gilded columns, crystal chandeliers and mahogany trim. There were 150 rooms that had pile carpet and around half had private baths and one of the first Otis elevators west of the Mississippi would sweep guests up the floors. The food was as opulent as the rooms with special chefs serving high-end meals such as oysters, lobster, quail and squid at the hotel’s main restaurant.

The population began to taper off in 1910 with only around 5,000 residents. Goldfield Consolidated Mining Co. shuttered in 1918 after producing $125 million in gold. A devastating fire swept through Goldfield in 1923 and burned down most of the buildings, except for the hotel. Newton Crumley bought the hotel after the fire and attempted to mine gold from beneath the building with no luck. By the 1930s, Goldfield was basically a flophouse for wayward cowboys and the population of the town was below 1,000 people. The last people to take up lodging here were the family of officers stationed at the Tonopah Air Field during World War II. When they checked out in 1945, the hotel closed its doors to guests for good.

On March 4, 1981, The Goldfield Hotel was added to the Nevada State Register of Historic Places and in 1982 it was placed on the National register of Historic Places. For seventy years, the hotel changed owners and has been dormant when it comes to guests. If you don't count the paranormal investigators that have stayed. About a year ago, in September of 2017, the current owner, Red Roberts, began a renovation to get the hotel back to a place where it could open once again. The work started in the basement and the first two floors and the plan is to open at the beginning of 2019. Red was a rancher who purchased the property in 2003 for $360,000. He has bought the parcels of nearby land as well, which has some people speculating that he will expand the hotel. The former gatekeeper to the keys to the hotel was Virginia Ridgeway. She handed them over to Malek DaVarpanah, an antique-shop owner.

One thing that seems almost certain is that while The Goldfield has not had any paying guests, there have certainly been some unseen guests still staying here. Many paranormal investigators have come through including Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and The Dead History's Jennifer Jones. All of them have captured some kind of unexplained activity. The main ghost story that is told about the hotel is clouded in legend with little proof. Apparently, George Wingfield took up a prostitute named Elizabeth and he got her pregnant. He feared the scandal that this kind of news would bring for him, so he chained her to the radiator in Room 109. He supplied her with food and water and kept her there until the baby was born. Some stories claim she died while giving birth, while others claim she was murdered by Wingfield. The baby was thrown into an old mining shaft. The disembodied cries of a baby are said to be heard, as are the cries of Elizabeth who wanted to be free of her prison. Photographs show the ghostly image of “a woman having long flowing hair, wearing a white gown, and looking terribly sad as she paces the hallways, calling out to her child.” The problem with the story is that the Elizabeth referred to was probably the daughter of a hotel manager and she was in town long after Wingfield had already left. Could some woman here have lost her baby and died in childbirth? Possibly, but the legend doesn't seem to be true. Room 109 is said to be the most haunted.

The George Wingfield Room is located on the first floor and is reportedly haunted by his ghost. Piles of fresh ashes have been found in the room and the lingering scent of cigar smoke can be detected. Wingfield's spirit has been sensed near the lobby staircase. Two small children have also been seen in the lobby and they are said to be pranksters who sneak up on people and tap them on their backs before giggling and running away. A weird part of this story is that some people claim their is a little person hanging out with the children too. The basement is creepy with darkened hallways and unfinished stone walls. In one video I watched, there does seem to be a shaft in the basement. The YouTube Channel About Van Life visited the hotel and they felt as though there was some kind of paranormal wind blowing down in the basement. They also claimed to smell cigar smoke.

There was a suicide here in 1915. J.B. Findly was a hotel porter before he took his life by jumping from the roof of the hotel. The day after he died, someone saw his ghost. Another suicide was committed by a woman who hanged herself in a room on the third floor. She has been seen by more than a dozen people. The Gold Room is on the third floor and has a spectre of a man nicknamed "the stabber." He got this name because his ghost is said to lunge at visitors with his arm raised and he appears to be holding a large kitchen knife. No one has ever been harmed by it, but he is definitely scary. Generally, the ghost disappears right after it lunges.

Psychics have claimed for years that the hotel is a portal. They also claim that the mine shafts under the building are a gateway to hell, but I've heard the only shaft is next to the building and not under. The Dead History caught some EVP, one of which might be saying "Hello." I'm not sure I heard that, but I clearly heard a voice that was creepy and moany and didn't seem to belong to any of the investigators. Jennifer also wrote that they clearly heard voices at the top of one of the stairs as though a party were going on, but there was no one up there. Could this be residual from the past? The group also heard boots walking above them when no one was in that location. Ghost Adventures made a documentary at Goldfield and captured what appeared to be a brick levitating in the air and then shooting across the room in 2004.

There are many stories of paranormal experiences at the hotel. Are these former guests and owner still hanging out in the hotel in the afterlife? Is The Goldfield Hotel haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:

The Dead History has some neat videos from inside the hotel here:

Ghost Adventures brick throwing video:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ep. 273 - Haunted Cemeteries 11

Moment in Oddity - Dungeon Rock

There is a legend dating back to the early 1600s about some pirates who were seen rowing a boat up the Saugus River in Lynn, MA, landing the craft and carrying a chest ashore. Several locals had seen this and they went to investigate. They did not find the chest, but they found a note that stated if a quantity of digging tools, chains and other supplies were brought and left in the woods, some silver would be left as payment. The men returned the next day with the tools and the following day, they found some silver waiting for them. The place was called Pirate Glen after this exchange. Authorities eventually raided the area where the pirates were hiding and they got three out of the four that were there. Thomas Veale was the fourth pirate and he hid himself in a cave. He lived there, only venturing to town for food on occasion. An earthquake hit in 1638 and split the cave and part collapsed in, trapping Veale. This cave came to be known as Dungeon Rock. People assumed that Veale still had the pirate treasure and that it had been buried with him. They tried for 200 years to find it. In 1852, a man named Hiram Marble bought the land and he became obsessed with finding the treasure. For 30 years he searched with the help of his son. They funded their efforts by offering tours through the cave for a small fee. They also enticed investors, promising a share of the treasure when it was found. The Marbles never found the treasure and eventually the City of Lynn bought the property and it is today known as Lynn Woods. Dungeon Rock can still be seen today, but as for people spending a lifetime looking for a treasure that is just part of a legend, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Empress Elisabeth of Austria Assassinated

In the month of September, on the 10th, in 1898, the Empress of Austria-Hungary, Elisabeth, was assassinated in Geneva by an anarchist. That anarchist was Italian Luigi Lucheni who was a poor man full of rage. Empress Elisabeth of Austria spent a night in disguise at the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Geneva, Switzerland because the Rothschild family had invited her on holiday. The next morning, she and her lady-in-waiting walked the short distance from the hotel to the pier to board the steamship “Genève.” She usually traveled with an entourage, but this time, it was just the two ladies and they were easily rushed by Lucheni as they walked on the promenade. He stabbed Elisabeth in the heart with a small sharp file. The empress and her lady-in-waiting did not realize that the Empress had been stabbed. They boarded the ship and a few minutes later, Elisabeth lost consciousness and died. Her body was brought back to Vienna and she was put in the tomb of the Capuchins. Her assassin Lucheni was caught and confessed immediately. He spent the rest of his life in prison and always claimed that he had not planned to kill the Empress specifically. He had made the decision to “murder the first high-born person” that he would meet in Geneva and it just happened to be Elisabeth.

Haunted Cemeteries 11

Cemeteries are not really a place I would seek to investigate when looking for ghosts. After years of hearing stories of paranormal experiences in graveyards, it would seem that a fraction of the cemeteries located around the world, really may harbor more than just the bones of the dead. Perhaps some do stay there in spirit. Is it because they are trapped by some kind of energy? Are these spirits just really attached to their bodies? Could they be waiting for a loved one to die and be buried in the plot,so that they can move on together? Whatever the reason, the swirl of leaves blowing across the graveyard grounds may be more than just the wind. A wandering soul could very well be taking a stroll among the tombstones. On this episode we will look at the history and hauntings of two cemeteries in North Dakota, Dartford Cemetery in Wisconsin, Logan City Cemetery in Utah and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans.

North Dakota Cemeteries - Tagus Lutheran Cemetery & Cass County Cemetery #2

Tagus Lutheran Cemetery is located on Old Hwy. 2 in the ghost town of Tagus in Mountrail County, North Dakota. Tagus had always been a small town with only around 140 residents in 1940. By 1976 there was no one left and Tagus became a ghost town. The only people left here are buried in the cemetery and they number around 30. The first dates back to 1908 and the most recent was in 1927. The church that once stood where the graveyard is located was supposedly taken over by satanists who claimed to be drawn there by a mysterious energy. Either they or some vandals led to the chapel catching fire and burning to the ground, leaving behind only a stairway that is covered over by earth. There are those that claim that this is the gateway to Hell.

We've heard this same story about several cemeteries: that a stairway leading down is some sort of gate to Hell. This legend goes a bit further in claiming that if one stands in just the right spot, they can hear the screams of the tortured souls in Hell. And that is the haunting that is here. Those disembodied cries.

Another supposedly haunted cemetery in North Dakota is located on Elm Street North in Fargo. This graveyard is known by the boring name Cass County Cemetery #2. It is a fairly small graveyard with around 315 burials and none of them are marked. Cemetery #2 is one of three cemeteries that are located within Trollwood Park and this area was once home to the Cass County Hospital and Poor Farm. This eventually became a nursing home starting in 1947, with a name change in 1962 to Golden Acres Haven. The nursing home closed in 1973 and the property was taken over by the Fargo Park District. To find the marker for this cemetery, park by the playground and take the path north towards the river.

The earliest burial I could find was from 1911 and they went through the 1940s, so I think it is safe to assume that these people buried here, died on the poor farm and this is basically a potter's field. Rumors of multiple hauntings here would not be surprising then. People claim to have seen multiple apparitions to hear disembodied footsteps. There are those that swear they have heard their name being called. One of the more frequently seen spirits is that of a woman who is wearing a dark blue 19th-century style dress. She is seen walking in the cemetery, but never ventures out into the park. She seems to enjoy music and will more readily appear if there is music playing nearby. She loves to dance beneath a willow tree that is the graveyard.

Dartford Cemetery

Dartford Cemetery is an old pioneer cemetery that takes its name from the original village of Dartford, which became Green Lake, WI. No one is sure when the cemetery was founded, but graves date back to the 1800’s. Many of the early pioneers of the area are buried here. A recent burial is for Adrian Kennedy Karsten who was a sports journalist. He was employed for over 20-years with ESPN and covered The Great Outdoor Games, The Tour de France, The America’s Cup and was a sideline reporter for NCAA Football. He was known for wearing his trademark suspenders. He was fired from ESPN and sentenced to jail for tax evasion in 2005 and he committed suicide just before he was to report to jail. There is a mausoleum with several soldiers buried nearby and children regularly visit to lay flowers on the soldiers' graves.

Dartford Cemetery gained some notoriety after being featured on the TV show "A Haunting." The episode was titled "Legend Trippers" and featured three teenagers who wanted to test out a legend that they had heard about the cemetery and a mausoleum found there. The legend claims that if you sit on the roof of the mausoleum, a ghost will push you off. Corbin VanBuren of Berlin was one of the teens. He claimed to have been pushed off and all three teens said they saw s shadowy figure of a woman. One of the other teens said that he never even made it to the top of the mausoleum because he felt as though something were holding him down, preventing him from climbing up. Others have reported the same kind of experiences, but many residents said they had never heard of any such legend until the episode aired.

There is more than just a legend about the mausoleum here though. People claim to see dark shadowy figures, to hear strange noises, feel the sensation of being followed or watched and even more weird are the claims that grave stones change or vanish altogether. There is a legend about the Native American Chief Highknocker who once ruled and lived in the Green Lake/Princeton area. He was the last Winnebago Chief to rule in the area before the tribe was forced onto a reservation. Even though the tribe had to leave, it expected that every Winnebago would return to Green Lake at least once in their lifetime to worship the Water Spirit. This area was said to be its home. The group left behind mounds and other burial sites. Chief Highknocker was called by this name because he wore a stovepipe hat. He had been born in 1820 as the son of  Big Shoulder, a chief who was said to have lived to the ripe old age of 106. Highknocker stayed behind in Green Lake and got along with the whites in the area, making bows for the kids. On August 12, 1911, Highknocker was returning from the town of Berlin. He needed to cross the Fox River, but he had no canoe, so he decided to swim. He was drunk and ended up drowning. He was buried at Dartford Cemetery and donations paid for the boulder that marks his grave. Chief Highknocker is not at rest though and many have claimed to see him walking down by the river near his burial.

A small girl ghost has also been seen in the cemetery as well. There are children buried here who died from polio and other ailments.

Logan City Cemetery (Suggested by Jennifer Jones in her book, "Ghosts of Ogden, Brigham City and Logan.")

Logan City Cemetery is located in the middle of the campus at Utah State University. There are over 17,000 burials and the first one took place in 1865. One of the better known burials here is for Leora Thatcher. Leora Thatcher was an actress who was the daughter of prominent Salt Lake Theater Company owner Moses Thatcher, Jr. Leora was born in 1894 and she performed on stage, particularly Broadway, on the radio and on television. She appeared in 3,180 performances of "Tobacco Road" in the role of Ada Lester. Her grandfather owned an opera house in Logan, Utah that burned down in 1912 and she rebuilt the building in 1921 and it became known as the Capitol Theater. She died in 1984 in Salt Lake City. The Thatcher Mansion still stands in Logan.

A burial located in the very center of this graveyard is reportedly where our haunting here comes from and this spirit is known as The Weeping Woman. The monument itself depicts a weeping woman who is crouching and holding her head. The statue was made for a woman named Julia Emelia Cronquist. She had been the wife of one of the first city commissioners in Cache County named Olif Cronquist. He had been a prominent farmer as well. Several family members contracted Scarlet Fever, with two of the children succumbing to the disease. Julia suffered from heart problems all her life more than likely from contracting Scarlet Fever too. She died in 1914 at the age of 52. Many people claim that the statue was inspired by the many visits Julia made to her children's graves at the cemetery, where she wept over them. Her husband had it made in 1917 out of Barrie granite.

And this is where our ghost story for this cemetery comes in. It is said that during the full moon, the statue appears to cry. The sounds of a woman weeping have been reported as well. Jennifer wrote that people have reported seeing the water for themselves, running from the face of the statue on nights when there had been no rain. Others who have heard the disembodied weeping will not go by the cemetery at night anymore. Could this be residual or the mother still crying for her children in the afterlife?

St. Louis Cemetery #1

The last haunted cemetery episode featured Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, but it is not the only haunted cemetery in the city. That's a no-brainer, of course. Probably the cemetery that comes up as the most haunted in the city is St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. The most obvious reason is because it is the final resting place of Voodoo priestess Marie Leveau. We covered Leveau in episode 75, so we will only touch on her briefly here, but she is said to be one of the spirits roaming about the graveyard.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is one of three Roman Catholic cemeteries which make up Saint Louis Cemetery. The cemetery was founded in 1789 to take the place of Saint Peters Cemetery, which was too close to the main city. The city of New Orleans had just been ravaged by a huge fire in 1788 and the city took the opportunity to move burials to a healthier spot away from the people. The graveyard was laid out much like a city and a tall wall was built around it. The property only stretches out over one square block, but it is full of bodies. Around 100,000 it is estimated. One might wonder how it is possible to bury that many people in a small graveyard. The burial customs in New Orleans make this possible.

Most burials in the city are above ground in crypts or vaults because of the water table. As we all know from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is below sea level and this means that anybody buried in the ground has a high chance of being disinterred when there is flooding. So families would buy a vault together and as one strolls through these cities of the dead, they will notice that some are very simple and others are grand. When someone died they were placed in a wooden coffin and this was placed in the above ground rectangular slot in the vault. It would be kept there for a year and a day. The coffin was then removed, the bones were put in a bag that was labeled and the bag was shoved to the back of the vault. I've also heard that there were slots in some vaults and that the remains were swept back into that slot, which dropped down to a lower level. If multiple members of a family died in the same year, another vault space would be rented until the remains were ready to be removed.

Within St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, there are also group vaults. These were sometimes purchased by a large family, but most of the time an organization would purchase the vault. Both these large group vaults and the smaller family vaults give the graveyard a real sense of being a miniature city with pathways and alleys. And like all cities that have their poor, this cemetery has a paupers field with unmarked graves near the back. Protestants and Jews were also buried in the back to make sure they were separated from the Catholics. One of the large group vaults was dedicated to the remains of the men who died in the Battle of New Orleans. Another pyramid shaped tomb was purchased by actor Nicholas Cage in 2010. As of 2015, the Roman Catholic Diocese of New Orleans, which owns and manages this cemetery, has closed it to the general public and charges tour companies for access ($4,500 per year, or lesser amounts for short periods). Families who own tombs can apply for a pass to visit.

The cemetery has many notable people buried within its walls. The family vault of Etienne de Boré is here. He was a Creole French planter, who produced the first granulated sugar in Louisiana. This made it profitable to raise sugar cane. de Bore owned a large plantation upriver from New Orleans. In 1803, the American governor of the territory appointed de Boré as the first mayor of New Orleans. there is also the family vault of Paul Morphy who was a world famous chess champion. He was the greatest chess master of his era. He only competed from 1857 to 1859, but he was the best. People begged him to return to playing after he retired, but he refused. He died young at the age of 47 from a stroke.

Bernard de Marigny was the great-grandson of one of the city's founders who is best known for his love of gambling and bringing the game of Hazard, otherwise known as craps, to New Orleans. He was also President of the Louisiana Senate. He owned a large plantation that he sub-divided and sold as lots for home development. Some say to pay off his debts, but this venture into real estate was good as New Orleans was bursting at the seams and people were looking for places to live. He purchased the Bonnabel Plantation and renamed it Fontainebleau. He ended up creating St. Tammany's first industrial park on this property by building a brick kiln, sugar mill, blacksmith's shop, saw mill and an infirmary. The Panic of 1837 did him in though and he had to sell Fontainebleau. The only thing left today is the ruin of the sugar mill. Marigny died in 1868 and it is said that he was penniless at the time

Barthelemy Lafon was a Creole architect, engineer, city planner, and surveyor in New Orleans. He was French and moved to Louisiana around 1790. The Lower Garden District follows some of his plans, although much of his grand plan for tree-lined canals, fountains, churches, markets, a grand classical school, and a coliseum were never realized.The grid pattern for the streets that he designed does exist and some of the street names he chose still remain as well. He had originally wanted to name the streets after the nine muses of Greek mythology: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Euterpe, Polymnia, and Urania. He designed parts of the Bywater and Bayou St. John neighborhoods and he recommended improvements to the fortifications of New Orleans during the War of 1812. It was after that battle that things went a bit south for Lafon. He decided to join the notorious Lafitte brothers and became a pirate and smuggler. He died from yellow fever in 1820.

Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial was the first African-American mayor of New Orleans. He served from 1978 to 1986. Morial was born in 1929 and grew up in the Seventh Ward. In 1954, he became the first African American to receive a law degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and he used that degree as he fought to dismantle segregation. He was limited to serving only two terms as mayor, but he tried to convince voters to give him a third term. His tenure as mayor had both its good points and bad with most of the bad coming in his second term. He had planned to run for mayor again in 1990, but he passed away in 1989 from complications due to his asthma.

Homer Plessy was the plaintiff from the landmark 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision on civil rights. He was born on March 17, 1862 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He worked as a shoemaker, but came to fame with one act of civil disobedience. He refused to move from a "whites only" railcar in 1896. He had purchased a first class ticket and announced to the conductor that he was 1/8th black. When he refused to leave the car, he was arrested. He protested the violation of his 13th and 14th amendment rights and the case came to be known as Plessy v. Ferguson. The Ferguson was Judge John Howard Ferguson who presided over the case. Plessy was found guilty, but the case went on to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896. During the proceedings, Justice William Billings Brown defined the separate but equal clause, which basically said it was okay as long as each race's public facilities were equal. Arguments from the case were used decades later in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. Plessy passed away March 1, 1925, at age 62.

Marie Laveau learned what she did about Voodoo from a man named Doctor John. He taught her how to make gris gris bags, how to use Voodoo dolls and how to produce charms and curses. Laveau became a very powerful priestess. Laveau lived to the ripe old age of eighty-six and she died of natural causes in her home on June 15, 1881. Marie Laveau's tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is said to be the most haunted in New Orleans. People visit this final resting place from all over the world. Many come seeking to ask the Voodoo Queen for a favor despite the fact that she has been dead for decades. There are a couple of rituals involved with this practice. The first is for the seeker to knock three times on the tomb and then say the request out loud. After the request is fulfilled, the seeker is suppose to return to the tomb with a gift consisting of either coins, liquor, flowers or a Monkey or Cock Statue. In the past, people would mark the tomb with three Xs using paint or a chip of brick, but that practice is illegal now. The second ritual features the seeker drawing an X on the tomb, spinning three times, knocking on the tomb and yelling out their desire. When it is fulfilled, they are to come back and circle their X and leave an offering. Because of the vandalism the vault has suffered, no one can enter the cemetery without a guide. And when I say vandalism, I mean things like painting the entire vault pink. The Catholic Church was able to restore it.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is said to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world. Ghosts here are said to number in the hundreds and with 100,000 burials, that could be possible. Visitors have claimed to see phantom figures, particularly those resembling Civil War era soldiers. Identifying these ghosts is almost impossible, but there are a few that are more well known. Obviuosly, Marie Leveau the most famous spirit here. Leveau's apparition has been witnessed walking among the crypts and people say she is wearing her turban and can be heard uttering voodoo curses. And strangely, there are some who claim that Laveau appears as a phantom cat prowling the graveyard and that it eventually disappears into Laveau's crypt. The cat's eyes glow red.

The ghost of Henry Vignes is said to haunt the graveyard. He was a sailor during the nineteenth century and had no real home. He chose a local boarding house as his place to stay when he was not at sea. He was worried about bringing his important papers with him , so he asked the owner of the boarding house to keep his papers if he died. These papers included his family tombs. The owner told Henry not to worry, that she would look after everything. And she sure did. She sold Henry's family tomb, which he found out about as soon as he returned from a voyage. He was very upset, but got sick before he could do anything about it. He died from the illness and now had nowhere to be buried. His body was placed in an unmarked grave in the pauper's section of St. Louis Cemetery #1. And that is probably why his spirit is at unrest. That apparition is described as tall with blue eyes and wearing a white shirt. He looks so real that people think they are talking to an actual person. He sometimes will tap a visitor on the shoulder and ask, "Do you know anything about this Tomb here?" At other times he will ask if they know where his family's old vault is located. He walks away when no one seems to know and then suddenly disappears. During funerals, Henry has asked the mourners if there is any room in the vault for his remains. His apparition apparently has been caught on camera and EVP have recorded him saying, "I need to rest!"

Another lost soul here belongs to Alphonse. He has a tomb, but he seems to want to find a home. People not only see Alphonse, but he touches them, often grabbing their hands as he pulls them to a stop. He gives them a broad smile as he inquires as to whether he can go home with them. His spirit has been seen gathering flowers left at other burials and bringing them over to his vault. Now this is something I would get a real kick out of witnessing! Many think he has a connection to the Pinead Family that is not good. People standing near the Pinead Vault  have been told by Alphonse to stay away from the tomb. Is this because he is afraid of them? He has been seen crying too and when someone notices his tears, he disappears.

These cemeteries are all very different from each other, but they all have two very important similarities. One is that the dead are honored in some small way and the other is that legends and restless spirits are connected to them. Could these graveyards be harboring the spirits of the long ago dead? Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!