Thursday, January 18, 2018

HGB Ep. 241 - Baker Mansion

Moment in Oddity - Fake Vampie Attack Thwarts Hukbalahap Rebellion

After the second World War, the Filipino's People Army that had fought against the Japanese started adopting Communist ideals and began a peasant's rebellion called the Hukbalahap Rebellion against wealthy Manilan Filipinos who had worked with the Japanese. The United States considered the Philipines an asset and they didn't want this Communist rebellion to succeeed, so the CIA sent one of their top men, Edward Lansdale, to the Philippines to quash the rebellion. Lansdale's favorite tactic was psychological warfare and he decided to use some of the cultural folklore to his advantage. As we learned in our Filipino legends episode, one of the things the people here fear is the Aswang, which is a vampiric creature. A unit of the Hukbalahap rebels had positioned them on a very strategic hill and it was imperative to get them removed from that advantage. Lansdale ordered several of his men to grab one of the rebels at the back of the group. They then punctured the man's neck in twoplaces and hung him upside down until the blood had drained from his body. They threw the man back onto the pathway, so that when several of the rebels returned to find their comrade, they ran across his lifeless corpse and discovered the marks and that he had been drained of blood. They were terrified and reported back to their group. The rebels fled their hilltop position, losing their advantage. Lansdale used other tactics like painting all-seeing eyes on homes and flying aircraft low. The rebellion ended in 1954 and Lansdale's fake vampire attack was credited with playing a large part in that success and that, certainly is odd! 

This Month in History - British Egyptologist Howard Carter Finds Sarcophagus of King Tut

In the month of January, on the 3rd, in 1924, British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. Carter had searched for the tomb of King Tut for several years and found the entrance to it in November of 1922. His crews had been digging around ancient stone huts that had housed workers when they discovered a stair. This stair proved to be a full staircase that led to a sealed tomb door that was marked in a way that indicated it was a royal tomb. Carter reached the inner door and drilled a hole through which he could see the treasure of King Tut. It would take him over a year of excavation to finally find the body of King Tut, who had died at the age of nineteen, in his sarcophagus. The treasures and sarcophagus are usually on permanent display at the Cairo Museum in Egypt, but the collection has regularly traveled the world on exhibition.

Baker Mansion (Suggested by and research help from listener Tiffany Delozier)

The Baker Family moved to Altoona, Pennsylvania in the 1830s and grew a successful iron-making business. Elias was an ambitious man who ruled his family with an iron fist that resulted in him alienating his first son and driving his daughter to dedicating herself to a spinster life. He built the family a mansion in Altoona, known as the Baker Mansion. The home remained with the family for decades and most of them died in the house. Today, there are claims that this historic home houses more than just a museum. The spirits of the family seem to have decided to stay in the afterlife. Join us and our listener Tiffany Delozier as we discuss the history and hauntings of the Baker Mansion.

Altoona is located in Blair County in Pennsylvania, it was originally the home of the Iroquois Confederacy. The first western settlers arrived in the mid-1700's and a series of stockades were constructed in the region as a defense against Indian raids, one of which was Fort Roberdeau. In 1849 the Pennsylvania Railroad Company paid David Robeson $11,000 for his farmstead so that they could develop it into a staging area for the construction of the rail line that would be used to service the train locomotives. There are two theories as to how Altoona got its name, one is that it is named after the German tow Altona which is now part of Hamburg and the second is that it comes from the Cherokee word "allatoona" which means "high lands of great worth." In 1854 the Horseshoe Curve was completed and the travel time to get from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh was cut from three days to 15 hours.

Even though the Civil War never made it as far north as Altoona it did still play a small role in it. The War Governors' Conference was held in the Logan House Hotel. Thirteen governors of the Union states came together for two days to discuss the support of President Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation and to discuss if General George B. McClellan should be removed as the command of the Army of the Potomac. The Logan House Hotel was also where David Wills held a meeting to begin plans for the establishment of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Unfortunately, the hotel was later torn down and the Altoona Post Office now sits in its place. In 1858, Altoona was incorporated as a borough and in 1868 it was chartered as a city. Altoona gained unwanted attention from the Nazi's during World War II specifically the Horseshoe Curve. The Nazi's knew that the curve was making it easier for the U.S. government to transport much needed materials for weapons making and hatched a plan to destroy the Horseshoe Curve forcing trains to take a longer way around and this met the goal of slowing down production.

Luckily the men that were sent over were caught before they could destroy the tracks and the Horseshoe Curve was saved. Altoona is home to a few historical sites such as Fort Roberdeau, the Leap-the-dips roller coaster that is in the now closed Lakemont Park which is the oldest still running wooden roller coaster, Reighard's which is one of the oldest still operating gas stations, the Railroader's Memorial Museum, the Mishler Theater, the Horseshoe Curve, and Baker Mansion.

Elias Baker was born on December 24, 798 to Frederick and Margaretta Baker in Pequea, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His wife Esther 'Hetty' Baker (maiden name was Woods) was born on October 2, 1803 to David and Ann Woods in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as well. There is no information as to when or where they were married, and there is no information as to when their son David was born other then he was born sometime in 1823 in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Their second child and youngest son Sylvester was born on October 31, 1825 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and David was about two years old.  Their third child Anna was born on June 9, 1836 in Altoona, Pennsylvania since the family had moved to the area before she was born after Elias had purchased the Alleghany Furnace with his cousin Roland Diller.

Their fourth and last child Margaretta was born on December 11, 1839 in Altoona but she would never live to see the mansion her family would eventually live in, she contracted diphtheria and later died on January 14, 1842. In 1844 Elias bought Roland's share of the business and contracted the Baltimore architect Robert Cary Long Jr. to design a new home for his family which would become Baker Mansion. Construction on the building in 1845 but problems and delays one of which was the falling prices of iron caused the building to go uncompleted until 1849. Elias almost caused himself to go bankrupt paying for the $15,000 cost of the mansion's completion, to give you an idea as to how much he would have had to pay today it would cost him anywhere between $460,000-$470,000 to complete today. The mansion is a Greek Revivial style home and is made of limestone and iron from Elias' own furnaces, it has around 35 rooms altogether one of which was Elias and later Sylvester's personal office, a double parlor which was used when the family was entertaining guests, a single parlor for quiet nights at home, a dinning room, the second floor is where the bedrooms were at along with a bathroom which was not a common thing to have at the time, the basement contained the kitchen so that the servants could cook the family's meals without worrying about getting in the family's way, an ice room and several other rooms for them to use, the mansion also had an in-house brick bake oven which was also another rare find in any home at the time.

In 1851, David married Sarah Tuthill and moved away, roughly a year after they were married Sarah gave birth to their only child Louise. Sadly Louise would grow up without David around, two weeks after she was born David was killed in steamboat accident and later on in life Louise would marry Ernst Beckworth and move to his native Sweden with him having never stepped foot in the mansion. Around the time of David's death there was more drama in the mansion as Elias found out that Anna was planning on marrying one of his workers, Elias was furious to find out that his daughter wanted to marry someone below her social stature and forbid her from marrying him. As the story goes during the argument Elias told Anna that the man was to poor to provide her and any children they would have and that he doubted that the ring she had been given was even a diamond. In anger Anna screamed at her father that she would prove to him that the ring was real, she took her ring off turned to the window and scratched her initials into the pane.

Nonetheless, Elias would not relent and went to the worker and either talked him into leaving Anna and Altoona or paid him to leave, when Anna found out what he had done she vowed that if her father would not let her marry for love she would not marry at all and was determined to die a spinster. Elias would never live to see the day, he died on December 5, 1864 from either an unknown illness or old age. Hetty never remarried and she remained in the mansion with Sylvester and Anna until she died on May 14, 1900 she was 96 years old so it isn't to far fetched to say that her age was probably the reason for her death. Sylvester died on June 24, 1907 he had been sitting on the couch in the single parlor when he stood to head up to his room and suffered a heart attack, he was dead before his body ever hit the floor. Even though she was all alone Anna refused to leave and died on December 20, 1914 leaving the mansion to her niece Louise, the mansion was closed up and would not open up for another eight years.

In 1922, the Blair County Historical Society began leasing the building from her and turned it into a museum. In 1941 with the communities help the Historical Society was able to purchase the mansion from her and they have continued to work with the community to restore the Baker Mansion to the grand home it has always been. They hold three tours a day Tuesday to Friday and hold several different events to pay for any renovations and to bring the community together. Baker Mansion was added to the PHMC on April 1, 1947 and the NRHP on June 5, 1975.

There are several ghost stories told about the mansion and many people have had experiences. The most famous story from Baker Mansion is that of the wedding dress, people have reported either seeing the skirt and shoes of the dress moving or the case that it is in violently shaking. What some people get wrong is that the dress belonged to Anna Baker when in reality it belonged to the daughter of another ironmaster named Elizabeth Bell, Elizabeth taunted Anna about the fact that she was unwed throughout their entire lives so some people believe that Elizabeth comes back every so often to taunt Anna once more by moving the dress or that Anna is longingly touching the dress that could have been hers if Elias had let her marry the man she loved and that when she is in a bad mood that she will shake the case so hard sometimes that people were worried that it would break. The dress is no longer on display due to it slowly falling apart from the passing of years so it is unknown if the dress still has activity happening. In the same room that the dress was kept in there is a music box that is said to play without being wound on certain nights. Elias has been spotted in the dining room possibly still tending to his business in the afterlife, a woman dressed in black that the volunteers believe is Hetty has been seen wandering around the attic and Anna is seen in different rooms of the house as well.

Near the end of his life Sylvester needed a cane to help him get around and when he needed to get either Anna or one of their servants' attention he would bang his cane on the floor as hard as he could, volunteers have reported hearing the sound of his cane banging along with the image of Sylvester sitting in the room it's coming from and have seen him banging his cane on the floor before he disappears. The single parlor is also haunted by Sylvester as well, the mansion has plates in the floor that goes off when someone steps on them and several times in the middle of the night they have gone off. Police will arrive and find no one there, there is even the story of one time when they brought a K-9 unit and the dog acted strangely in the house but was fine when it was out in the open refusing to re-enter the house, at one point the plates right in front of the couch that Sylvester sat on right before he died were found broken in the exact shape of a body while the rest of the plates remained intact. The basement is said to be haunted as well, when David died his body was sent back to Altoona for burial but by the time it had arrived the ground was frozen solid and they were unable to bury him so his body was placed in the ice room. Before his death, David and Elias had gotten into an argument and David had sworn to his father that he would never enter the house again, even though his body has long since been put in its final resting place people report hearing the screams of David Baker coming from the ice room in the basement at night.

David is not alone in the basement, one tour guide tells the story of when they were leading a group through the house. Everything was fine and the tour had gone off without a hitch until they got to the basement, a little boy took one look down the stairs before he clung to his mother and started to cry and beg her not to take him down. When they got him calmed down enough to ask him what was wrong he told them that "There's a soldier down there and he keeps glaring up at us. He doesn't want us down there." when he described what he saw they realized he was seeing a Union soldier. The war never made it up to Altoona but that didn't mean that it would not affect the Baker family, Sylvester was drafted into the Union army and unwilling to see his only remaining son leave to possibly die in a battle Elias paid another man to take his place. The soldier might be the spirit of the man who took Sylvester's place his life possibly cut short thus creating another spirit with a bone to pick with him.

Volunteers have also reported having a difficult time keeping some of the beds tidy mostly the bed that belonged to Hetty and Elias, they have reported going into their bedroom and straightening everything up for the next day or the next tour and moving on to another room before walking past the room and seeing that the bed has been messed up again. People outside of the mansion have also seen the Baker family and other unknown entities in the house, Hetty had a garden beside the mansion that she could see from her's and Elias' bedroom and the Historical Society keeps it maintained to honor her memory. People who have visited the mansion and stood in Hetty's garden have reported looking up to the bedroom window and seeing a woman matching her description looking down at them from the window before disappearing. Another woman who does not live in the area was driving by the mansion when her car either broke down or she realized she was lost, since this was well before cell phones she had no way of calling for help. She looked around to see if anyone was awake in any of the houses when she saw the lights on at Baker Mansion, she got out of her car and walked up the small hill to the front of the house.

She knocked on the door in an attempt to get someone's attention, she could hear people talking to each other in the house and became irritated at the thought that they were ignoring her. She knocked again and called out to them that she needed help, when no one answered the door she angrily knocked again and demanded help. Instead of anyone answering the door or calling out to her she heard a knock from the other side followed by laughter, she turned and stormed back down the hill in an attempt to find help elsewhere. She returned the next day and talked to the head volunteer at the time, when she told them the story of what had happened to her the night before the volunteer's jaw dropped and they apologized to her about the rudeness but explained that at the end of the night they give the mansion back to the Baker's and that the reason none of them answered the door was because Anna was the last one to live there and that she had died decades ago. The woman's face paled and she quickly left the mansion the way she had come, she is not the only one to have an encounter with a spirit inside the house while they were outside.

One person posted online that one night while their friends were returning home from Mansion Park they passed by Baker Mansion and noticed that one of the doors was open, they stood there daring each other to go into the house when they noticed someone in one of the upstairs windows. They moved so that they could see the figure better and saw a little boy in one of the windows looking down at them and waving at them to come in, thinking it was the child of one of the nearby residents they were about to enter the building when they realized that the boy's clothes did not match the time period. At the same time that the realization hit them the little boy vanished from the window, the door closed with the sound of a child's giggle and the two friends were sprinting down the hill as fast as they could. While the Baker family were the only people to live in the house that does not mean that there isn't a spirit from another location isn't there since the mansion has items that did not belong to the Baker's in its many rooms some of which is actually from the Logan House Hotel, who's to say that they didn't bring a spirit that cherished it along with it? There are numerous stories of sightings from the mansion that I either haven't found yet or are basically the same thing so I will end off with a story told to me in grade school and a personal one of my own.

Tiffany related the following to us, "This story was told to me by a worker at my elementary school, she had volunteered at the mansion during an event they held a few years before she told this story and one of the requirements was for the volunteers to stay behind and help close up the mansion. She went from the top of the mansion to the bottom and made sure all of the windows were shut and locked up tight since the windows had alarms connected to them as well and since the windows had not been fixed at that point they would fly open if not secured properly and set the alarms off. Once she had finished she went to the back door and let the other volunteers know that she had finished, they set the alarm and no sooner had they shut the door when the alarm went off for a window in one of the second story bedrooms. Thinking that she had not secured the window correctly she ran back up to the room and shut and locked the window again, she had just made it to the door when the alarm went off again. Now frightened but still not wanting to think about it to much she dashed up the steps and into the room slamming the window shut and pushing on the lock so hard she could have broken it.

Her feet hadn't even touched the 1st-floor hallway when the alarm went off again, she looked at the other volunteers before running out the door shouting to them that either one of them or one of the ghosts could shut the window because she was not going back up. My personal story takes place in the basement, whenever I would graduate from grade school to middle school to high school my dad would take me to take a tour of Baker Mansion. The year I graduated high school my dad told me that I was old enough to pay for my own way in and to go without him, I arrived in time for the first tour which turned out to be just me and a tour guide. Everything was fine other then the tour guide jumping when I stepped on a floorboard that squeaked and then we went down to the basement, the gift shop has been moved to the carriage house but at the time of this story it was still in the basement which I have always hated going in to since I've had two nightmares about that area of the house. The tour guide realized that she had forgotten the keys to the cash register and after excusing herself she ran upstairs to get the keys off of her boss, while I waited for her I browsed the selection of items they had for sale.

I had picked out a few things when I heard a man's voice 'What are you doing here?' he asked, he sounded irritated that I was there so I looked around to see if there was a male volunteer there wondering why I had been left in the gift shop by myself. There was no one there so thinking that I was hearing things I turned back to the items when I felt someone all but jump on me 'I said what are you doing in my house?!?' the man's voice said. I stood up straight and my breathing quickly came out short and panicked, something kept telling me not to turn around since I wouldn't like what I might see if I did so I stood frozen to the spot and the realization that I had not heard the voice out loud had me questioning if something was really happening to me or if I was letting my imagination get to me. Just in case I decided to think to myself just to make my possible imagination stop 'Seriously? I am a guest at your house and this is how you treat me? I've only come into this house because I love being in here and I love this house and this is how you're going to be? All I want to do is get a few things from the shop and leave! Leave me alone and I am out of here.' I thought. I felt the presence move a few feet away from me 'Fine then. Get your things and get out as soon as you purchase them,' he said.

After a few minutes the tour guide came back apologizing for taking so long before turning the register on, as promised as soon as she rung me up I power walked to the exit that leads from the basement to the backyard area taking the steps two at a time. About halfway down I stopped and turned towards the mansion half expecting to see Elias or Sylvester Baker watching me from the steps before heading to a bus stop to get back home. Most people wouldn't want to go back to a location after something like that happens to them but I have been back to the mansion at least three or four more times so far but I still wonder even ten years later if I really did have either Elias or Sylvester confront me in the basement or if I had made up the whole thing in my mind."

Have members of the Baker family decided to stay behind in their former home after their deaths? Are the strange noises heard supernatural or just the creaking of an old house? Is the Baker Mansion haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

HGB Ep. 240 - Yosemite National Park

Moment in Oddity - The White Death Sniper

The deadliest sniper in world history was a Finnish man named Simo Hayha. He racked up his unbelievable record of 505 kills during the Winter War. World War II had just broken out when the Soviet Union invaded Finland. The Finnish people were not about to go quietly and they put up a fierce fight that lasted three and a half months. Simo dealt the Soviets a heavy blow with his prowess as a sniper. The Soviets were soon calling him Belaya Smert, which translates to "White Death." Simo made his kills in just 100 days meaning that he averaged 5.5 kills per day. His record days were 23, 25, and 40 confirmed kills. The only thing that stopped him was a bullet. The Soviets sent out counter-snipers and one finally got lucky and hit Simo with an exploding bullet. It blew the lower half of his face away, but he survived and had reconstructive surgery. What is really amazing is that Simo made his kills while seated rather than lying down and he had no scope on his rifle and that certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Russians Surrendered to the Japanese After the Battle of Port Arthur

In the month of January, on the 2nd, in 1905, the Russians surrendered to the Japanese after the Battle of Port Arthur during the Russian-Japanese War. The Russo-Japanese War was fought from 1904 to 1905 and was a military conflict in which Japan fought against Russia for dominance in Korea and Manchuria. There had been an agreement by Russia to withdraw its troops from Manchuria in 1903, but it reneged and Japan decided it was time to attack. It defeated Russia, becoming the first Asian power in modern times to defeat a European power. President Theodore Roosevelt later mediated a peace conference in September of 1905 held at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, where the Russians agreed to the Treaty of Portsmouth. This treaty gave Port Arthur and the Liaodong Peninsula to Japan and it also had an agreement by Russia to evacuate Manchuria. They also had to recognize Japan's interests in Korea.

Yosemite National Park

In the United States, there are 59 separate natural protected areas known as National Parks. The Department of the Interior oversees these parks under the National Park Service and each area has been dedicated by an act of Congress. The effort to set aside these areas was initiated to prevent the expanding population from destroying distinct natural areas, so they could be preserved for future generations. Yosemite National Park was one of the first parks designated for special protection. The park covers an area of 747,956 acres in the Western Sierra Nevada of Northern California.  It was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984.  Known for it’s granite cliffs, waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, and glaciers it is the source of not only beauty but of an amazing history and great stories including those of curses, cryptids, and ghosts.  Join us as we explore the history and the hauntings of Yosemite National Park.

The California Gold Rush of 1849 brought thousands of miners to the Sierra Nevada.  Many miners were ruthless in their search for gold and thousands of the native people were killed or died of starvation.  In 1851 the Yosemite Valley was entered by the Mariposa Battalion, a state sponsored militia.  They made two attempts to remove the native people to the Fresno River Reservation but were unsuccessful. When non-native people began settling in the Yosemite area, life for the native people changed drastically.  Euro-American clothing styles and food were adopted.  The native people started working for the new arrivals doing jobs, such as, guides, wranglers, and wood cutters for the men with the women taking care of children, housekeeping, and making woven baskets to sell.
The population began to shrink and eventually in 1969 the final houses of the native people were razed.  Today many of the descendants of Yosemite’s native people live both nearby and scattered throughout the world.

Yosemite was central to the development of the National Park System.  Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development.  This lead to President Abraham Lincoln signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864.  Later, John Muir, who was a naturalist and environmental activist, led a successful movement to establish a larger national park that included not just the valley, but the surrounding mountains and forests as well.  The area was called “Ahwahnee” (big mouth) by the indigenous people, who called themselves the Ahwahneechee. Muir had been born in Scotland and immigrated to America with his family when he was a child. He loved nature and studied botany in college. It was after an accident caused him to go temporarily blind, that he dedicated himself to nature and walked from Indiana to Florida, sketching the terrain as he went. He wrote articles and essays and his efforts eventually not only led to the creation of Yosemite, but also the Grand Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

Another group that had a huge impact on Yosemite were the Buffalo Soldiers.  They were among the first park rangers, especially in the back country.  The Buffalo Soldiers were formed shortly after the Civil War when African-American army regiments were dispatched westward to fight in the Indian Wars.  They were given the name Buffalo Soldiers by the Cheyenne and other Plains tribes who saw a resemblance between their short curly hair to that of the hair between the horns on a buffalo.
Even though the Buffalo Soldiers wore the uniform of the US Army they had to overcome much racial prejudice and were often abused and even killed for the smallest perceived offense.  They were considered the bottom rung of the ladder, but in spite of that, they performed their duties well protecting and building the area and became a huge part of building the infrastructure of Yosemite National Park.

Women also played a crucial role in the development of the park.  In the 1800s, women were expected to play a traditional role in the family and the home. When the railroad came in and as the Gold Rush drew people to California in the late 1800s, pioneering women found ways to broaden traditional roles. The advent of "bloomers," allowed women to participate in outdoor pursuits, while women writing about their adventures in the West inspired the imagination of others. Some women expanded traditional roles because of an adventurous spirit while others branched out from the necessity of supporting the family. In the West, women's domestic skills sometimes became the basis for a profitable business. The early women became Yosemite’s concessioners, adventurers, rangers, naturalists, cultural demonstrators, and artists that helped expand women's roles.

Clearly, the shaping of Yosemite is thanks to a wide variety of people from all walks of life, which is really symbolic of a National Park that is such a tapestry of different wild areas. These include vast wilderness areas, waterfalls, deep valleys, lush meadows and ancient giant sequoias. And the park offers a variety of things to do to get people closer to nature. Yosemite is one of the most popular parks and is very crowded during peak season with visitors all seeking to write their story of adventure. There are many stories from the park that are of a different nature as well. For those into the bizarre, unexplained and supernatural, Yosemite seems to have experiences that touch upon it all including ghosts, curses, legends and cryptids.

The first one we would like to share is the Curse of Tenaya Canyon.  The canyon is beautiful and calls to the heart of those that love nature and adventure.  There is a 10 mile hike through the canyon for those that dare to attempt it.  It has rough terrain, mandatory swims, dangerous climbs, and numerous waterfalls and slippery glacier polished granite rocks -dangerous for even experienced hikers.  In the 1850s, Chief Tenaya of the Ahwahnechee tribe placed a curse on the canyon as revenge for the death of his son at the hands of a battalion.  The troops had been sent by the state of California to relocate the tribe. The Yosemite Indian Petition to Congress of 1891 describes what happened as "The action of the Mariposa Battalion towards our chief at that time, Tenaya, and his tribe was wantonly unjust and outrageous. Our only quarrel with the whites then was owing to our determination not to go upon a reservation being established on the Fresno, and give up to the whites this magnificent valley, which was to us reservation and all that we desired and that for a few paltry blankets, gewgaws and indifferent supplies of rations, that might be furnished us or not, at the discretion of any appointed Indian Agent. Our fathers had the sorrow to see their tribe conquered, their dignified and honored chief Tenaya led out by a halter, like a beast, into a green field to eat grass, amid the wonder and laughter of our pursuers; and his youngest son shot dead for no other reason than that he had tried to escape the unjust thraldom of our persecutors. For proof of these statements, you are referred to Dr. Bunnell’s History of the Discovery of the Yosemite. He was himself attached to this battalion, and was an eye witness to all the facts related. Those who were left of our fathers were taken with their chief, however, to the reservation on the Fresno, from which place hunger and destitution finally forced them to run away; after which, we have been informed, the reservation was broken up, having shed disgrace upon all connected with its management."

Rangers sometimes refer to Tenaya Canyon as the “Bermuda Triangle” of Yosemite as they have to do dozens of rescues there every year. Many hikers have disappeared over the years. John Muir himself claimed to be a victim to the curse, "I was ascending a precipitous rock front, smoothed by glacial action, when I suddenly fell—for the first time since I touched foot to Sierra rocks. After several somersaults, I became insensible from the shock, and when consciousness returned I found myself wedged among short, stiff bushes… I could not remember what made me fall, or where I had fallen from; but I saw that if I had rolled a little further, my mountain climbing would have been finished, for just beyond the bushes the canyon wall steepened and I might have fallen to the bottom.” The native people also believed that this area was home to the Monah or Yosemites whom they considered to be similar to witches.

Next is the Spirit of Ahwahnee.  The Ahwahnee Hotel is one of the most historic and luxurious hotels in Yosemite.  Mary Curry Tresidder (who was crucial to the development of the hotel) lived in an apartment on the hotel’s 6th floor until her death in the 1970s.  Ever since her passing, apparitions and strange activity have been reported on the floor.  There are also claims that the ghost of John F. Kennedy show up from time to time.  He stayed on the 3rd floor during a 1962 visit.  He was brought a rocking chair to alleviate some of his back pain.  Guests have reported seeing a phantom rocking chair on the floor despite the fact that no room has been furnished with such a chair for years.

Po-Ho-No and Bridalveil Falls has it’s own creepy story.  Some people translate Po-Ho-No as “Puffing Wind” but many translate it as “The Spirit of the Evil Wind”, a demon who attempts to lure people over the park’s Bridalveil Falls.  There are a couple of variations to the Native American legend:  young women are picking berries or grass to weave baskets near the falls, when one of them is lured to the edge by a hypnotic, misty rainbow…the wind comes and attempt to pull her off the falls.  The other version is that the Po-Ho-No lures young women to the falls and all the way over the edge.  The chief of the tribe warns the tribe to never approach the falls or they will be lured to their death by Po-Ho-No.  As legend has it no son or daughter of the Ahwahnee have ever gone over the falls but it has not protected other people from being lured to their death by the spirit.

The Ghost of Grouse Lake goes back to the first park ranger.  In 1857 he experienced a wailing sound coming from Grouse Lake.  It sounded like a puppy in distress.  He reported it to the local tribe who warned him not to go into the lake or to the edge.  The story goes that there was a young boy from their tribe who drowned in the lake.  He lures victims into the water with his cries and then pulls them into the lake to drown them.

The immense wilderness of Yosemite National Park makes it a perfect place for cryptids.  There have been dozens of sightings of Big Foot across the park and surrounding areas.  There have also been reports of Nightcrawlers (and we aren’t talking about the ones you use for bait).  They look like a walking pair of pants.  The local tribe believe them to be aliens – there are images of them in statues and totem poles that confirm the beings have been here for a long time.

Is Yosemite National Park just a beautiful wilderness area for people to come and enjoy nature?  Are the legends and stories just made up as warnings from the native people to keep their young people in line?  Are the spirits of the people who loved the park still there in the afterlife?  Is Yosemite National Park haunted?  That is for you to decide!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

HGB Ep. 239 - Keith-Albee Theater

Moment in Oddity - Benjamin Bathurst Disappears

Benjamin Bathurst was a British man who was sent by the British government on a secret mission to Austria to ask them to join in a confederation to fight against Napoleon. His message was that Britain would attack the French occupying Spain if Austria would join. Things didn't work out and Austria ended up ceding territory to Napoleon. Bathurst began his journey home after delivering the message under the assumed name Koch. He told everyone that he was a wealthy merchant and he was traveling with his secretary. Bathhurst had been acting very vervous and was sure agents of Napoloen were following him. He decided to leave an inn where he was staying in the middle of the night. He left his secretary to pay the bill and he went out to check that the horses were rigged right. He walked around the horses and just disappeared. The valet did not see him anywhere and he had been loading the baggage. The secretary did not see him come back into the inn. Soldiers stationed at each end of the street did not see him pass. He literally just disappeared. Many stories theorized that he had somehow run away and been lost at sea, others say he was kidnapped and others say he slipped away and changed his identity. The only thing we know for certain is that he walked out around his horses and was no more and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Beatles Turned Down by Decca Records

In the month of January, on the 1st, in 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca Records and were turned down. The members of the Beatles at that time were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best. They travelled from Liverpool with their roadie Neil Aspinall. Brian Epstein met up with them later as he decided to take the train. They nearly missed their 11am audition with Decca because of snowstorms. The boys were eager to seal the deal. A representative from the company had already seen them perform live and he was not impressed, so they hoped the private audition would win the contract. They were thrown off at the beginning of the audition because their amplifiers were considered subpar and so they had to use some that Decca owned that they were unfamiliar with. The session took an hour to record. They recorded 15 songs most of which are only available today as bootleg. Another group had auditioned that day as well and that was Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. Decca Records could only choose one of them and in a decision they clearly must have regretted later, they decided to sign Brian Poole and the Tremeloes since they were a local group and would be easier to work with. The official reason Decca gave was that "guitar groups are on the way out, Mr Epstein". Dick Rowe would forever be known as the "man who turned down the Beatles" and this line became infamous. Obviously, Brian Epstein pressed on for the Beatles and took the recordings they made around to other record labels. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Keith-Albee Theater (Suggested by Victoria Brooke)

The Keith-Albee Theater in Huntington, West Virginia was a part of a national chain of theaters that hosted vaudeville shows and then eventually converted to motion picture theaters. The Keith-Albee Theater also has the distinction of being one of a very few atmospheric theaters built in America. Nearly all of them are gone today. This theater has survived and has been refurbished to its former glory. All the decades of use has left spiritual residue behind. There are rumored to be several ghosts here. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of the Keith-Albee Theater.

Keith-Albee-Orpheum Theaters was a national chain of vaudeville theaters formed by the merger of the holdings of Benjamin Franklin Keith, Edward Franklin Albee II and Martin Beck's Orpheum Circuit. The company was incorporated in Delaware on January 28, 1928 and soon the company was operating a chain of theaters across America and Canada that could seat a total of 1,500,000 people. There were 700 theaters at its height. Fifteen thousand vaudeville acts passed through the theaters. Eventually the KAO theaters were bought out by RKO and motion pictures became the main source of entertainment at the theaters.

One of the locations where Keith and Albee decided to build a theater was in Huntington, West Virginia. The first permanent settlement in Huntington was "Holderby's Landing," which was founded in 1775. The official city of Huntington was incorporated in 1871 and named for founder Collis P. Huntington, who was one of the "Big Four" to build the Central Pacific Railroad. He and Delos W. Emmons wanted the city to be the western terminus for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. The tract of land was at the mouth of the Guyandotte River. Huntington boomed from that time in the late 1800s and the city was actually the second in America to feature electric street cars. They were eventually replaced by gas-powered buses. Things changed with the Great Flood of 1937. The Dust Bowl and Great Depression had already hit the country hard and this flood was devastating. For Huntington, it resulted in five people dead, millions of dollars in damage and tens of thousands left homeless. *Fun Fact: The movie "We Are Marshall" was filmed in Huntington.*

Construction on the Keith Albee Theater began in 1926 and ended up costing $2 million to build. The owners, the Hyman brothers, hired Scottish-born architect Thomas W. Lamb to design the theater in the rococo style. The rococo style dates back to the 18th century and was a French artistic movement. The style was ornate and featured light colors, curves, gold and asymmetrical designs. Many of the themes were quite witty and many times incorporated Chinese figures and designs. Interiors would integrate ornate furniture, tapestries, small sculptures and ornamental mirrors. Another unique part of the design for the theater is that Lamb chose to make it one of eight atmospheric theaters he designed. Atmospheric theatres were designed to create the illusion of being entertained outdoors in a magnificent courtyard. There are faux facades of various shops and village homes and the domed ceiling appears to be a blue night sky with a smattering of stars.There is only one other atmospheric theater left and it is in New York and scheduled for demolition.

The theater officially opened on May 7, 1928. Guests entered to find a grand theater with seating for 3000, chandeliers, intricate plasterwork, balconies, restrooms for men and women that had fireplaces, smoking rooms, cosmetic rooms and a gorgeous front lobby with Mexican Baroque styling. Inside the theater there was a Wurlitzer organ to accompany live performances and motion pictures. This type of organ was fun in that it could create sound effects for any silent pictures shown at the theater. The Hyman Brothers innovated the theater to have air-conditioning. It was one of few places to have such a luxury. There was also a state-of-the-art heating system, so guests were comfortable all year long. Huntington’s Herald-Dispatch newspaper called the theater the “temple of amusement.” That first opening featured a performance by singer Rae Samuels, some vaudeville acts and a screening of 1928's "Good Morning Judge" starring Reginald Denny. People paid .50 cents for a ticket.

The theater was hit hard through the Great Depression and the flood and the entertainment industry changed. The Wurlitzer organ was removed in the 1950s, but in 2001 the Huntington Theatre Organ Project, Inc., purchased a 1927 Wurlitzer organ and reinstalled it in the theater. In the 1960s, the theater was converted fully to a three screen theater. A fourth smaller theater was added later. In 1986, the theater was added to the Register of Historical Places. The Hyman family had owned it for eighty years and they decided to donate it to the Marshall University Foundation, Inc. in the 1990s. In January 2006, the Keith-Albee Theatre closed as a functioning movie theater. The foundation later passed it on to the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center Foundation. Many grand theaters dating back to the time of the Keith-Albee were demolished, so it is really special that the citizens of Huntington decided to save their theater. Today, the theater is used for weddings, special events, touring Broadway shows, music concerts and dance recitals.

The Keith-Albee shares a unique feature found in so many theaters and that is, ghosts. Several people have met their ends inside the theater and many believe that their spirits have opted to stay at the theater in the afterlife. There are claims that this is the most haunted building in the tri-state area. Three of the ghosts reputed to be here, belong to workmen, two of them electricians and one a maintenance man. The electricians were electrocuted while working on wiring and the maintenance man died in some way inside the modern projection room. They appear as shadow figures and fittingly, mess with the lighting and other electrical parts.

A homeless man had taken shelter in the basement, but there was no heat down there and he ended up freezing to death. It was right below the staging area. Much of the activity does center around the basement and it believed that this is where the electricians died as well. Ghostlore claims that the basement opens up into a system of tunnels, but we didn't find anything to prove that these tunnels exist today. They may have been under the city, but they are more than likely filled in now.

The most famous ghost at the theater is the Lady in Red. She tends to occupy the ladies restroom on the mezzanine level. There is a mirrored parlor that leads into the restroom and this is where she is often seen as a full-bodied apparition. The specter wears a fancy red dress and high heeled shoes. Another bathroom at the Keith-Albee is said to be haunted by a spirit, but no one is sure what is haunting it as it only appears as more of a poltergeist type spirit. Patrons describe feeling as though they are being watched or followed.

Most theaters claim to have at least one spirit hanging around. The Keith-Albee claims to have several. Is the Keith-Albee theater haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

HGB Ep. 238 - Emlen Physick Estate

Moment in Oddity - Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley Die on Same Date
Suggested by: Lindsey Sutton

In the mid 1980s, a musical subculture started in the Northwest that came to be known as Grunge. Two prominent voices arose during that time, Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley. Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of the band Nirvana and Layne Staley was the lead singer of Alice in Chains. The details of Cobain's death are mysterious. Officially, his death was ruled a suicide by shotgun and he had high levels of heroin and diazepam in his system. There are some who believe that his death was staged to look like a suicide and that he actually was murdered. Staley died of what was officially ruled an accidental overdose of cocaine and heroin, known as a speedball. What is odd about both of these men's deaths is the fact that they both died on the exact same day, April 5th, eight years apart. And they both were found days after they died. Cobain was discovered three days after his death by an electrician at his house. Staley was discovered two weeks after his death. Was it just a coincidence that two of the most influential voices in Grunge died on the exact same date? One thing is for sure, it certainly is odd! 

This Month in History - First Car Number Plate Issued in England

In the month of December, on the 24th, in 1903, the first car number plate was issued in England. In the beginning of the 1900s, more and more people were becoming owners of cars in Great Britain. With more cars on the road, auto accidents began to increase. The Motor Car Act of 1903 made it compulsory for every motorcar to be registered with a number plate to make it easier to identify cars. Registration began on January 1, 1904. The first car plate number issued was, of course, A1. It was registered to Earl Russell who had camped out all night to ensure that he received the first plate. The registration system has changed four times since then to accommodate all the vehicle registrations through the decades. Numbers were initially made up of a local council identifier code of up to 3 letters, followed by a random number, like ABC 123.

Emlen Physick Estate (Suggested by Becki Fleming)

 Cape May in New Jersey is considered to be America's oldest seaside resort and while the word "cape" is part of its name, Cape May is actually an island. Dr. Emlen Physick, Jr. built his home on Cape May at the age of 21 and he spent his entire life there. The estate is gorgeous with a unique "Stick-Style" Victorian architecture style. The doctor clearly loved the home that he shared with three other family members. They all died here and perhaps that is why it is believed that all of their spirits have remained here as well. Join us and Deana Marie of the TwistedPhilly Podcast as we discuss the history and hauntings of the Emlen Physick Estate!

The Kechemeche Indians of the Lenni-Lenape tribe were the first people in the Cape May area. Sir Henry Hudson discovered the island in 1609 and Cornelius Jacobsen Mey explored it in 1621. English colonists settled and built the island into a prosperous fishing and whaling colony. By the mid 1700s, Cape Island, as it was called at the time, became a popular place for vacationing. Visitors were brought in from Philadelphia by sloops, schooners, horse-drawn wagons and stagecoaches. There were no official inns at the time, so guests were housed in residential homes and taverns.

By 1834, there were six boarding houses and people were coming from many east coast big cities. Bigger hotels were built, like the New Atlantic, and by 1852, the Mt. Vernon Hotel was under construction. The plan was to accommodate 3500 guests at the hotel, making it the largest hotel in the world. It was consumed by fire in 1856, before it was completed. The Cottage Era began in the 1860s. This was a time when land was parceled out for Philadelphia families to build summer homes. A devastating fire broke out in 1878 and destroyed 35 acres of the heart of the island. Cape Island was rebuilt in a scaled-down version with architecture following the Gothic, Queen Anne and American bracketed styles. One of the new homes built at that time in 1879 was the Emlen Physick Estate.

The 18-room home was built for Dr. Emlen Physick, Jr. He hired renowned architect Frank Furness to design the home and is thought to be one of the best American examples of the Victorian style of building known as "Stick Style." The style was influenced by Tudor-style construction that featured exposed half-timbering and heavy oak framing. Decorative facades were used in stick-style to emphasize the basic wood frame structure underneath. The Emlen Physick features this style through decorative structural overlay, steeply gabled roofs, extended rafters with brackets to support the overhanging roof, decorative brickwork panels and large brackets that form curved diagonal braces along the porch. The interior features dark, ornately carved wood, Victorian wallpaper and a broad staircase.

Dr. Physick lived with his widowed mother, Mrs. Frances Ralston, and his Aunts Emilie and Isabelle, at the mansion. He never married. The Physick family's roots ran deep in Philadelphia and his grandfather was Dr. Philip Syng Physick, whom is referred to as the father of American surgery. He was also the inventor of the stomach pump in 1812. Dr. Emlen Physick studied medicine to carry on in the family tradition, but he actually never practiced. He enjoyed being a country gentleman and loved his dogs. His mother would not allow the dogs in the house, but her sister Aunt Emilie would sneak the dogs in whenever Mrs. Ralston was away.

Dr. Emlen Physick was 58 when he died on March 21, 1916. His Aunt Emilie was the last family member left and she stayed in the house until her death in 1935. The house was willed by Emilie to the neighbor who took care of her, Frances Brooks. Drs. Harry and Marian Sidney Newcomer purchased the house around 1946 from Frances Brooks. Marian died in 1949 and her husband remarried and stayed in the house until his new wife could no longer bear the haunting activity going on in the house. They moved to an apartment  and sold the house to Cape May Inns, Inc. in 1967. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) was formed in 1970 and it saved the estate from demolition and restored it. The city of Cape May eventually purchased the estate and MAC leases it from the city.  The organization operates the Victorian historic house as a museum and offers guided tours year-round. The entire estate covers four-acres and features not only the main house, but a Carriage House,  the Carroll Gallery, a museum shop, the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom and Hill House.

The mansion is thought to be the most haunted location on Cape May. There are claims that Dr. Physick, his mother, his aunts and his dogs all haunt their former home. The paranormal hot spot in the house is Mrs. Ralston's room on the second floor. She died an agonizingly slow death in there from cancer in 1915. The bed there belonged to her. Dr. Newcomer would tell his friends that even though he was a man of science, he believed there were ghosts in the home. He heard footsteps and noises that he could not explain. Cleaning crews would complain about noises and disturbing events that had many of them leaving the house and not returning. Isabelle had been sickly and in a wheelchair and the family is said to have hid her away from the public for this reason. She died in 1883 in the house and it is believed that feelings of sadness in the house could be attributed to her. *Fun Fact: Isabelle was so hidden, that the house tours used to not even mention her.*

Craig McManus is a psychic who leads ghost tours and seances in the home and he has interacted with all of the family spirits and claims that other spirits show up on occasion as well. Craig's first visit to the house was not by his choice. A friend who loved history dragged him along and he says of that, "I am so glad I listened to Kathy! My experiences with the old house, from that day onward, have been some of the best paranormal times of my career." Craig claims that there is also a spirit in the carriage house that might have been Dr. Physick’s driver. Dr. Physick had the first automobile in Cape May. Guests claim to be touched during ghost tours and many have seen the apparition of a woman in vintage clothing wandering around the house.

The author of The Blog on the Borderland website attended a seance at the estate and wrote, "At some point, in the midst of all this, a woman to my left asked, 'Did anyone hear that sigh?'...I realized that I had indeed been hearing a sigh for some period of time—a beat, a few seconds, a moment—but it took a bit longer for my brain to catch up to what was happening. And then I thought, 'Yes, I did hear that sigh. I have been hearing it.' (but for how long?) And it wasn’t just any sigh, either. It hung in the air, just off my left shoulder. It was not a typical, weary sigh, not an exasperated or wistful sigh, but a long, breathy, drawn out sound. Sort of like wind, or the opening of an air lock. Or like the spooky respiration of some unnamed person on the other end of the phone line. It had a physical quality that pricked my skin. It seemed to occupy both a space in the room and some other void. I looked around and try to figure out if anyone around me could be doing all that sighing, but I couldn’t tell for sure. Then, the sound moved. It migrated up and to the rear, and I heard it just behind and above my head, near the door. And there was definitely no one standing back there."

Many people claim to have had experiences at this historic home. Have they really experienced something or is it just the power of suggestion? Has the psychic Craig McManus actually made contact with the former residents of the home in their spirit forms? Is the Emlen Physick Estate haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

HGB Ep. 237 - Gettysburg College

Moment in Oddity - Brazilian Treehopper

There are around 3200 species of the treehopper insect. One of these is the Brazilian Treehopper, which seems to be a part of the Addams Family branch of the insect family. This is an insect that leads a solitary life in treetops, feeding off the sap in leaf stems. Pretty normal bug stuff, until you see the thing. The Brazilian Treehopper has an odd antenna-like appendage that sticks up out of its body and this antenna has four round appendages coming off of that. Each of those have little hairs covering them. They look almost like four eyes looking off in different directions. There is also a long spike shaped piece that comes off the rear of this attachment. Scientists are unsure if they actually have a purpose, such as to scare off predators, or if they are meant to be ornamental. Now you know you want to go Google an image, so do it. We think you will agree that the Brazilian Treehopper, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Silver Bridge Collapses in Point Pleasant

In the month of December, on the 5th, in 1967, the Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River in Point Pleasant, West Virginia collapses. The Silver Bridge was an eyebar-chain suspension bridge that was built in 1928. The bridge got its name from the silver paint that was painted on its aluminum frame. Just before sundown on that cold December 5th day, commuters were making their way home from work either driving back across into Ohio or West Virginia. An eyebar that helped suspend the bridge fractured, and the 1800 foot structure fell into the river. Forty-six people lost their lives and nine others were seriously hurt. One of the survivors was Charlene Wood, who was pregnant at the time and driving a 1967 Pontiac. She said of the event, “As I was approaching the bridge, the light changed. When it went to green, I started over the bridge and there was a terrible shaking of the bridge. My father was a riverboat captain and had talked about barges hitting the bridge and the pier, so when I heard that, I automatically put my car in reverse.” Her car stalled, and she continued, “by the time I got my car stopped, mine was on the very edge where it broke off.” Many people believe the legendary Mothman either caused the tragedy or brought a warning that it was going to happen when he is rumored to have appeared before the bridge collapsed.

Gettysburg College (Suggested by listener Kaydi Bigelow)

Gettysburg is a town in Pennsylvania that is well known for its haunts. The place is steeped in history from the bloody Battle of Gettysburg to one of the most well known Presidential speeches of all time, the Gettysburg Address given by President Abraham Lincoln. So it only makes sense that spirits would be alive and well here. One location that is overshadowed by the Gettysburg Battlefield, but which seems to be just as haunted, is Gettysburg College. The college was founded before the Civil War in 1832. Fighting forces would cross the campus and several buildings would become field hospitals during the Battle of Gettysburg. Listener and Executive Producer Kaydi Bigelow suggested this location and she shares with us her experience of growing up in Gettysburg and attending Gettysburg College, along with the stories of the many spirits that still seem to be hanging around the campus in the afterlife.

Anti-slavery theologian Samuel Simon Schmucker founded Pennsylvania College in 1832. In 1837, the college moved into Pennsylvania Hall. This hall was built on land donated by abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. Stevens was a lawyer for many years in Gettysburg before getting involved in politics. He eventually became the largest landowner in Gettysburg. He was fiercely against slavery and after the Civil War, he made it his goal to get African-Americans their Civil Rights during Reconstruction. He obtained this goal when he authored the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed full civil rights to citizens of all states. It is only fitting that the most important battle of the Civil War would be fought in Gettysburg and it was a great Union victory.

The college expanded and grew over the years after the war. In 1921, Pennsylvania College became Gettysburg College. The campus now stretches over 225 acres and sits adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park. There are over 90 buildings on the main campus. Pennsylvania Hall still stands and serves as the Administration Building. There is the College Union Building, Eddie Plank Gym, Masters Hall, Briedenbaugh Hall, Musselman Library, Weidensall Hall, McKnight Hall, Glatfelter Hall, Schmucker Hall, Brua Hall and various dorms and fraternities. The Quad is located outside of the library and is nicknamed "Stine Lake." There is no lake here, but several decades ago, a large muddy pond would form in this area due to bad drainage. That issue had been taken care of, but the nickname has remained.

Kaydi shared many tales of haunting experiences people have had throughout the years at the college. Are these students and faculty just imagining these occurrences? Is Gettysburg College haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

HGB Ep. 236 - Haunted Cemeteries 7

Moment in Oddity - Foxfire

Anyone who has walked through a wet, deep forest has more than likely noticed that mushrooms have an affinity for growing on rotting wood. In some forests these mushrooms give off an eerie bioluminescent glow that has been nicknamed "fairy fire." The more formal name is Foxfire, but the fox part is not representative of the animal. The term refers to the French word fols, which means "false." So basically the name means false fire. It is believed that the bluish-green glow of the mushrooms is from luciferase, which is an oxidative enzyme. The glowing attracts insects to spread spores and keeps animals from eating it. Documentation of this glowing oddity dates back to Aristotle in 382 B.C. Foxfire is mostly found in the tropics and just last year, a new variety was discovered at Ribeira Valley Tourist State Park near Sao Paulo, Brazil. Foxfire makes fungus beautiful, but it certainly is odd!

This Month in History - First Permanent Artificial Heart Implanted

In the month of December, on the 2nd, in 1982, the first permanent artificial heart was implanted in 61-year-old Barney C. Clark by Dr. William De Vries at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Clark was a Seattle dentist who was suffering congestive heart failure at the age of 61. His illness was so severe that he was not a candidate for a heart transplant. The FDA had just approved an artificial heart for human implantation. The device was named the Jarvik 7 after Dr. Robert Jarvik who was one of its key developers. The Jarvik 7 employed a heart-shaped pump that had an external pneumatic compressor that connected to the pump by tubes running through the chest wall and this regulated blood flow. The threat of infection was high though. Clark knew that he would probably not live long, but he wanted to further science. He managed to live for 112 days with the artificial heart, but it was an awful time for him. He suffered mutliple infections and strokes and begged to be allowed to die. He finally did die on March 23, 1983.

Haunted Cemeteries 7

The final resting places we are covering in this haunted cemeteries episode are all very different with one thing in common, they are all haunted. The Waldheim Cemetery is a large conglomeration of several cemeteries within one cemetery that was set aside for the Jewish dead of Chicago. The famous specter here is a hitchhiking ghost. La Recoleta Cemetery is a graveyard that Denise has visited in Buenos Aires, Argentina and she was amazed by the beauty of the architecture of the over 4,000 above-ground crypts found here. Old Gray Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in Knoxville, reputedly home to another Black Aggie. And Stull Cemetery illicits chills from just the mention of the name because people who know the legend here knows that it involves portals to Hell and visits from the Devil. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of these four cemeteries.

Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois

Forest Park is a village and suburb of Chicago. The village was originally part of the larger city Harlem. It was incorporated in 1907. The history of Forest Park is of great interest to taphophiles because it was once considered a city of the dead because there were so many cemeteries here at one time that there were more dead residents than living one. One of those dead residents is nearly as famous as her counterpart Resurrection Mary. This hitchhiking ghost has the nickname Melodie Millie having been named after the nearby Melody Mill. The cemetery that she asks to be dropped off at is named Waldheim Cemetery.

Waldheim Cemetery is a Jewish Cemetery that was established in Forest Park in 1870. The cemetery was divided into 288 separate sections with each one representing a family group or a synagogue or an organization. Each of these sections had their own prices, rules, regulations and individual caretakers. Most of the ornate entrances and dividing fences still exist today. There are reportedly 300 gates. The first Jewish interment was held in 1873. In those earlier days, a funeral procession would take quite some time to make its way to the cemetery. This all changed in 1914 when the Metropolitan Elevated L Tracks began a special funeral route train. That route ran until July 13, 1934. Immigrant based Jewish organizations kept up the care of the cemetery, but over the decades, these organizations faded away and before long, Waldheim began to look neglected. Today, it has recovered with new efforts by the Waldheim Cemetery Company to upkeep the beautiful historic cemetery. There are estimated to be around 150,000 Jewish burials in the cemetery.

There are a couple of famous burials here. The first is Clara Peller. That name might not ring a bell until you hear that she was the little old lady made famous as the Wendy's spokesperson who asked, "Where's the beef?" She was plucked from obscurity to star in the commercials and it was a boon for Wendy's. She was born in 1902 and worked as a manicurist until she retired. And that was when Wendy's came calling. She actually was fired from her spokesperson job after doing a commercial for a spaghetti sauce. She passed away in 1987. Another famous burial belongs to Michael Todd who was a motion picture innovator and producer in the 1950s. He's probably most famous for being married at one time to Elizabeth Taylor. He died in 1958. Albert Weinshenker is buried here as well. He was a gangster who worked for Bugs Moran and he was one of the victims in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Melody Mill was known to the locals simply as "The Mill." The Mill was a dance hall that opened in the 1930s and hosted young people until it closed in 1984. The young woman who haunts the road from The Mill to Waldheim Cemetery is unknown, but her legend predates that of Resurrection Mary. That legend first began in 1933 and rose to prominence in 1938 when a bandleader named Tiny Hill told the story on a WGN radio show. He had been performing at The Mill and heard the story there. Apparently, a young woman had been dancing with three young men who all offered her a ride home. She accepted and they got in the car that was one of the young men's and they drove towards Waldheim Cemetery. She asked them to stop the car right outside of the cemetery. She got out and headed into the cemetery. Two of the men followed after her, maybe because they feared for her safety or perhaps they had ill intentions. Either way, those two men were found the next day in the cemetery, alive but driven insane by whatever they saw in the cemetery. Their driver friend who had remained with the vehicle was dead at the wheel. The story continues that a purse was left in the car and the police found an address inside. They took the purse to the home and were shocked when the woman living there told them the purse belonged to her daughter...who had died three years earlier. Even though there has to be a name connected to this legend, it has been lost to time.

La Recoleta Cemetery

There are many diverse burials at La Recoleta Cemetery and many are very ornately decorated. A few have fallen into disrepair revealing the brickwork beneath the marble. Different architectural styles found here are Baroque, Neo-Gothic, Art Deco and Art Nouveau. It was after the Argentinian War for Independence that a plan was put forward to create a cemetery worthy of the wealthy elites living in Buenos Aires. The location that was chosen had been a former monastery to the Order of the Recoletos. This order was part of the Franciscan Order and the Recollect Fathers had established the neighborhood of Recoleta in the 18th century. Their chapel, Our Lady of Pilar, was built in 1732 and still stands. The graveyard opened in 1822 and encompassed 14 acres that was designed by French civil engineer Próspero Catelinand. His design has the cemetery broken into areas similar to city blocks with wide, tree-lined walkways. The entrance features tall Doric columns and neo-classical gates. The cemetery was initially named Cementerio del Norte and was on one of the highest points in the city. The name was later changed to Cementerio de la Recoleta.

There are around 4,000 burials with many important and famous burials that include Argentinian presidents, the founder of the Argentine Navy, Nobel Peace Prize winner Luis Federico Leloir, the illegitimate granddaughter of Napoleón Bonaparte named Isabel Walewaski Colonna and Eva Peron made famous in the play Evita. Eva Peron was born in 1919 as Eva Maria Durate. Her early life was one of poverty and she moved to Buenos Aires as an adult, so she could pursue acting and singing. She met Colonel Juan Peron in 1944 and the two married in 1945. Juan was elected President of Argentina in 1946 and Eva got heavily involved with politics at this time as well. She spoke on behalf of labor rights, women's suffrage, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation and founded the Female Peronist Party, the nation's first large-scale female political party. She decided to run for the office of Vice President of Argentina in 1951 and she received wide support. The nation's military and elite opposed her though and when she was diagnosed with cancer, she withdrew her candidacy. The cancer eventually killed her at the age of 33 in 1952 and Eva Perón was given the title of "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" by the Argentine Congress. Her corpse was put on public display for two years, disappeared for 16 years, was shipped to Spain where Juan and his new wife kept it in their dining room on a platform and finally was buried in the Durate family crypt.

There are several spirits who haunt the cemetery. One of these spirits is said to belong to a former grave digger at La Recoleta named David Alleno. He loved the cemetery and all the beautiful architecture of the various tombs. He himself wanted to have a grand final resting place and so he would put all his earnings toward his burial plot. When he had enough, he commissioned and Italian sculpture to make a statue in his likeness. After everything was completed, Alleno committed suicide. It is believed that his spirit roams the cemetery because of the suicide. Visitors claim to hear the jingle of his keys echoing throughout the property.

Another of the ghosts is believed to belong to a woman named Rufina Cambeceres. She was the nineteen year-old girl of a wealthy family living in Buenos Aires in the late 1800s. Rufina had been getting ready for a night out on the town when she died suddenly. She was put in a casket, taken out to the cemetery and put in the family's mausoleum. Cemetery workers were doing a regular patrol of the grounds and when they looked in the Cambeceres Mausoleum, they saw that Rufina's coffin had been moved and the lid was no longer properly set. This made them believe that grave robbers had come to take away the jewelry that Rufina was wearing. They opened the casket and saw that her jewelry was still there. But her body was in a sad state. She was covered in bruises and there were scratch marks all over the inside of the casket. She had actually been alive and just in a coma when she was placed in the coffin. Theories claim that she had suffered from cataplexy brought on by narcolepsy. Cataplexy is a sudden weakening of the muscles caused by the destruction of the neurotransmitter hypocretin. Hypocretin regulates the awake cycle. So poor Rufina was conscience of everything going on around her, but unable to respond. And when she was able to respond, it was after she was already suffocating in the casket. It is for this traumatic reason that people believe she walks the graveyard at night. Some believe she is trying to unearth bodies to make sure no one else has been buried alive. The mausoleum is beautiful and features a stone statue of the young woman leaning upon its door.

Judy wrote of her visit to the cemetery, "For those of you sensitive to different energies, I can tell you that at least a part of this cemetery is haunted. The energy was extremely heavy and very uncomfortable. Some of the spirits aren't friendly. I told my friend and we walked to a different area, & the negativity didn't follow. Unfortunately, I didn't protect myself well enough and woke up the next morning sick. If you're sensitive to energy, take some precautions to protect yourself!"

Old Gray Cemetery (Suggested by Tammie McCarroll-Burroughs)

Old Gray Cemetery is located in Knoxville, Tennessee and it is the second oldest cemetery in the city. The graveyard was incorporated in 1850 and is the final resting place of many prominent people from Tennessee. The architecture here is Victorian in style and thus, this is also a garden cemetery. Victorian angels make up the bulk of the statuary and there are many obelisks as well. The winding avenues spread out over 13 acres. Old Gray is named in honor of Thomas Gray who was an English poet during the 1700s. He wrote the poem, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." Mrs. Henrietta Brown Reese, who was the wife of  the first president of the cemetery board of trustees, suggested the name Gray. It was called simply Gray Cemetery until a newer cemetery was built in 1892 and then this became Old Gray. Old Gray was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The first person buried in the cemetery was William Martin. An exploding cannon fired during a July 4th celebration killed him and he was buried in the northwest corner of Old Gray on July 15, 1851 before the cemetery was completely laid out. The cemetery is the final resting place of over 9000 people. These people include those who died during Knoxville's 1854 cholera outbreak and victims of the 1904 New Market Train Wreck. This wreck involved two Southern Railway passenger trains that collided at high speed near New Market, Tennessee. This occurred on Saturday, September 24, 1904 and killed at least 56 passengers and crew and injured 106 people. The crash was heard as far as fifteen miles away.

Old Gray Cemetery is part of the Civil War Heritage Trail and there are many dead from both sides buried here. The Horne monument has a life-sized sculpture of a Confederate soldier and marks the graves of two Confederate veterans, William Asbury Horne, an assistant quartermaster with the 42nd Georgia Infantry, and John Fletcher Horne, who was a sergeant with the Kansas Bottom Tennessee Artillery. One of the more well known Tennesseans buried here is William Rule who was an American newspaper editor and politician. He founded the Knoxville Journal, which was published from 1870 until 1991. Rule served as mayor of Knoxville twice and published the city's first comprehensive history. Eldad Cicero Camp, Jr. was an American coal tycoon, attorney and philanthropist, who lived in Knoxville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was president of the Coal Creek Coal Company and was one of the wealthiest men in East Tennessee. Charles McClung was an American pioneer and surveyor who platted out Knoxville. "Lizzie" Crozier French was an American educator, women's suffragist and social reform activist who was one of the leaders for the push for women's rights in Tennessee in the early 1900s, and helped the state become the 36th state to certify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

One of the spirits at Old Gray is believed to belong to Herb Evers, who was a cowboy that died in Knoxville's first and only duel on Market Square. Apparently, the duel was over a fight between Evers and his neighbor. The neighbor was having relations with one of Evers' sheep and he was angry. Since he lost the duel, he is even angrier and so his spirit roams the cemetery looking to settle the score. East Tennessee Paranormal Society member Eric Huckabee claims to have captured a picture of Evers using a Sony Mavica digital camera. He said, "I snapped the photo and ran like hell back to the safety of the nearest street lamp." 

Another supernatural being that roams the cemetery is a dark shadowy figure known as the "Black Aggie." This is not the same spirit as the one we covered on an earlier episode. This mysterious shadow weaves between the tombstones at night and it seems residual as it rarely interacts with people who see it in the cemetery. Still others claim that Black Aggie is an aggressive spirit and has chased after them.

Stull Cemetery

Stull, Kansas was founded in 1856 and originally called Deer Creek. German and Pennsylvania Dutch were the first settlers here and they erected the Evangelical Emmanuel Church on land donated by Jacob Hildenbrand. He later donated land to be used as a cemetery. Sylvester Stull ran the post office when it was opened in April of 1899 and residents started referring to their town as Stull. The name stuck and even when the post office closed in 1903, the town continued to be called Stull. Stull was never big and the population never exceeded fifty residents. In the early 20th century, many businesses tried to start in the town, but eventually people just moved away and today the church and its cemetery, known as Stull Cemetery, are abandoned. There are still a few homes here and around twenty residents.

Legends abound about the tiny church and abandoned cemetery. Stories incorporate witchcraft, Satanic rituals, haunting experiences and the infamous "Seven Gateways to Hell." A haunting wind is a popular legend. One story claims two young men were visiting Stull Cemetery one night and became frightened when a strong wind began blowing out of nowhere. They ran to their car and found that it had been moved and turned around. Another man claimed to experience the same wind inside of the abandoned church. He said it felt sinister and knocked him to the ground. The wind then held him down.

The student newspaper at the University of Kansas is believed to have started many of the legends. In the November 1974 issue of the University Daily Kansan, an article claimed that the Devil himself appeared in Stull twice a year: once on Halloween, and once on the spring equinox. Following this story, rumors started circulating that there were seven gates to Hell within the graveyard. Students have made it a rite of passage to visit on Halloween and the Spring Equinox to see the Devil. They have done a lot of damage and now the police arrest anyone trespassing. *Fun Fact: The season 5 finale of Supernatural is set in Stull cemetery and the creator of the series, Eric Kripke, claims he had made Lawrence, Kansas the hometown of Sam and Dean Winchester because of the city's closeness to Stull.

Why would the Devil choose such a small town? Apparently, there was an event in the 1850s when “a stable hand allegedly stabbed the mayor to death in the cemetery’s old stone barn. Years later, the barn was converted into a church, which in turn was gutted by fire. A decaying wooden crucifix that still hangs from one wall is thought to sometimes turn upside-down when passersby step into the building at midnight." But there is more than just that.

An old tombstone near the church bears the name “Wittich” and a tree that used to stand nearby had supposedly been used as a gallows for condemned witches. A grave in the cemetery is said to hold the bones of a “child of Satan”, who was born of the Devil and a witch. The child only lived a few days due to his deformities. People claim its ghost hangs out here, but has grown to the size of a boy that someone claims to have captured a picture of and that he resembles a “werewolf-like boy” peering out from behind a tree.

Each of these cemeteries features at least one haunting tale. As is the case with so many cemeteries, legends abound, most of which have no basis in fact. Are these cemeteries truly haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

HGB Ep. 235 - Manresa Castle

Moment in Oddity - The Skadegamutc

A Skadegamutc (skuh-deh-guh-mooch), is known as a ghost-witch. In the lore of the Micmac, the Passamaquoddy and Abenaki tribes, the Skadegamutc is an undead monster that is created out of the dead body of an evil magician who refuses to stay dead. This undead creature comes to life at night and lurks about seeking humans to throw curses at and humans to kill and eat. The only way to stop a ghost witch is to burn it by fire. The following story was told by Beulah Tahamont, a sixteen-year-old Abenaki from Lake George, New York: "An old shaman was dead, and his people buried him in a tree, up among the branches, in a grove that they used for a burial-place. Some time after this, in the winter, a Native American and his wife came along, looking for a good place to spend the night. They saw the grove, went in, and built their cooking fire. When their supper was over, the woman, looking up, saw long dark things hanging among the tree branches. 'What are they?' she asked. 'They are only the dead of long ago,' said her husband, 'I want to sleep.' 'I don't like it at all. I think we had better sit up all night,' replied his wife. The man would not listen to her, but went to sleep. Soon the fire went out, and then she began to hear a gnawing sound, like an animal with a bone. She sat still, very much scared, all night long. About dawn she could stand it no longer, and reaching out, tried to wake her husband, but could not. She thought him sound asleep. The gnawing had stopped. When daylight came she went to her husband and found him dead, with his left side gnawed away, and his heart gone. She turned and ran. At last she came to a lodge where there were some people. Here she told her story, but they would not believe it, thinking that she had killed the man herself. They went with her to the place, however. There they found the man, with his heart gone, lying under the burial tree, with the dead 'witch' right overhead. They took the body down and unwrapped it. The mouth and face were covered with fresh blood. The legend of the Skadegamutc certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Lady Nancy Astor Becomes the First Woman in the British House of Commons

In the month of December, on the 1st, in 1919, Lady Nancy Astor became the first woman in the British House of Commons. She was born as Nancy Lanhorne in Virginia. She married her first husband in 1897 at the age of 18. The marriage was an unhappy one due to her husband's alcoholism and she divorced him after four years. She went on a tour of England and fell in love with the country and so she decided to move to England. Nancy was 26 at the time. She met Waldorf Astor there and the two married. They were very similar people and even shared the exact same birth day.including the year. And both were expatriates. Waldorf succeeded to the peerage and became a part of the House of Lords. Nancy became interested in politics at this time and in 1919 she won his former seat in Plymouth as a member of the Conservative Party. She then became the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. She served until 1945, when she was persuaded to step down.

Manresa Castle (Suggested by listener Jen Morgan)

Port Townsend claims to be one of the coolest small towns in America. The city had its heyday during the Victorian era and several of the historic buildings here are Victorian in design. Many of the earlier settlers envisioned the seaport becoming the largest harbor on the west coast. One of the prominent families in Port Townsend were the Eisenbeis and they built their home in 1892 in the style of a castle that is today known as Manresa Castle. This is a hotel, restaurant and lounge that not only provides accommodations for the living, but a couple of ghosts as well. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Manresa Castle!

In 1791, British Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver led an expedition from England with two ships, the Discovery and Chatham. The plan was to explore the Northwest Coast of North America. By May 1792, Vancouver's expedition had entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca and was exploring the northern side of the Olympic Peninsula. Captain Vancouver made it a practice to name the points that they mapped out on their journey for his friends, patrons and crewmembers. One of the places he named was Port Townsend, which was named for the Marquis of Townshend. The name was originally spelled ending with -shend, but today, the h has been dropped. Before the Europeans arrived, several tribes lived here: the Chimakum (or Chemakum), Hoh (a group of the Quileute), Klallam (or Clallam), Quinault, and Twana (the Kilcid band — Anglicized: Quilcene).

Port Townsend was called the "City of Dreams" because it was considered a safe harbor with the promise of being the largest harbor on the west coast of the United States. It did become a very active seaport. Port Townsend was founded as a city in the 1850s. Four men, Alfred A. Plummer, Loren B. Hastings, Charles Bachelder and Francis W. Pettygrove, met in a cabin that two of them had built on the beach below Point Hudson and they agreed to establish the town together and named it for Port Townsend. Soon thereafter, the town became the site of the U.S. Customs port of entry and the county seat of Jefferson County. Many homes were erected at this time as the population grew and railroads decided to add an extension of rail lines to the seaport. Those plans fell through though when the Depression hit and the rail lines stopped on the east side of the Puget Sound. The decline for Port Townsend was rapid as people moved away.

Other economies developed in the future with the installation of a paper mill and the Naval Magazine Indian Island, which is the US Navy's primary munitions-handling dock on the Pacific coast. More people started moving here in the 1970s and Port Townsend has developed into a tourist destination. They host blues and jazz festivals and in 1999 they launched an annual international film festival. Many people come to the town to see all of the Victorian architecture. Because so much of the town was abandoned and the economy was dying, no one tore down any of the buildings and built over the sites. So in essence, the Victorian buildings were preserved because of a lack of growth. Today, many have been restored as their value is appreciated.

One of these grand structures is the Manresa Castle. The castle was built in 1892 by Charles and Kate Eisenbeis. Charles Eisenbeis was a German emigrant who arrived in Rochester, New York in 1856. He learned baking from his family and worked doing that for a while. The Gold Rush was reaching its peak on the west coast and Charles decided to head west. He boarded a ship that sailed around Cape Horn, heading for Puget Sound. The weather was rough when they arrived at the Sound and the ship decides to dock at Port Townsend. The year is 1858 and this is where Charles decides to stay. His brother was traveling with him and the two men do odd jobs saving up money to open up their own bakery. They called it the Pioneer Bakery and they specialized in making bread for ships. the business was very successful and he became a very prominent man. So prominent that he became a part of the Big Five Syndicate, which was five men that control the entire economy of Port Townsend. When Charles first arrived in Port Townsend, he was married to a woman from Prussia named Elizabeth. She died in 1882 and he remarried a woman named Kate.

Twenty years after arriving in the town, Charles was elected the town's first mayor. He built several properties in Port Townshend: the Mount Baker Block, the Eisenbeis Building, a hotel, a brickyard, lumberyard, a brewery and the Eisenbeis Castle that was his home. The hotel was a grand structure with 120 rooms, but it never opened as the promise of the coming railroad was never realized. It burned down in a fire of mysterious origin. The Eisenbeis Castle was the largest residence in Port Townsend at the time and had 30 rooms. The home was constructed from brick and had a slate roof. The inside was designed and built by German artisans and featured finely crafted woodwork and tiled fireplaces. He didn't get to enjoy his home for long. Charles died in 1902. He was buried in nearby Laurel Grove Cemetery. The whole town turned out to see his burial. His casket is within a subterranean vault and was placed next to the Victorian glass-top coffin of his first wife, Elisabeth.

There is an interesting story connected to the burial. The vault was sealed for many years. The sandstone slab cracked and fell into the vault many years later and it was opened for repairs. Unfortunately, the slab fell in on Elisabeth's coffin and broke the glass. Another coffin was damaged as well.This one was a child's coffin that was on top of Charles' casket. The managers of the graveyard were befuddled. There should be no other coffin in the vault because there was no record of it. The great-grandchildren of Charles, Ann and Mayor Mark Welch, were called. "None of us knew anything about it," Ann Welch said. "The child's casket was a complete surprise." Plaques with the names of other family members are embedded in the solid cement around the white Victorian cenotaph and indicate where the ashes of Eisenbeis descendants were buried around the perimeter. Some other descendants were buried in the upper part of the cemetery. So who is this child? The child is buried in a coffin with a glass lid as well, which seems to indicate that she does belong in this vault. But why no indication as to who she was? Was she illegitimate? It remains a mystery.

Kate remarried in 1905 and she abandoned the castle to a caretaker, who was the only one to live there for twenty years. In 1925, a Seattle attorney bought the Castle and turned it over to nuns teaching in Seattle schools to use as a vacation home. The nuns didn't use it much and so Jesuit priests moved in in 1927 and used it as a training college. The priests spent their sixteenth and final year of training here studying ascetic theology. The Jesuits added a large wing housing a chapel and more rooms in 1928 and installed an Otis elevator. The outer bricks were stuccoed over to give the building a uniform look and they called the building Manresa Hall, after a town in Spain where Ignatius Loyola had founded the Jesuit order.

The Jesuits left in 1968 and the building became a hotel with the new name changing to Manresa Castle taking inspiration from the original home and the name the Jesuits used. Three other owners have held the building since 1968. Each has done renovations and brought the hotel up to modern standards. The Victorian elegance has been kept though. Some of those modern amenities include more bathrooms. There were only three during the Jesuits time and there are now 43. The Castle Key Seafood Restaurant has been added and offers the best in Northwest recipes and is open Tuesday to Sunday. There is a banquet room, several suites and romantic gardens making it the perfect setting for weddings. Another unique feature of Manresa Castle is, of course, the ghosts.

There seem to be three rooms that are haunted and they are all on the third floor. Rooms 302, 304 & 306 are reported to be home to two ghosts. One is a young lady thought to be named Kate, who is waiting for her beloved to come back to her after fighting in a war. He was killed in the war, so he could not come back to her and when she heard about that, she threw herself out the window. The other ghost belongs to a Jesuit monk who hung himself in the attic. Haunting events feature footsteps walking across the attic when no one is up there, drinking glasses in the chapel/cafe explode both when just sitting on the bar and also in people's hands and empty glasses are turned upside-down on their own. People claim to see writing on the mirrors with messages like, "Get out." And the full-bodied apparition of the female ghost has been seen many times. There are room journals where guests record their experiences.

One of the entries in the journal related, "At midnight, we heard singing coming from the bathroom. It was a woman's voice singing a ghostly tune. Well, needless to say, we all woke up. If we had known she was coming at midnight, we would have stayed up and waited on her. I got up to go to the bathroom and see who was in there and then the door eerily came open. There was a swish of cold air and a glowing light and then all the lights came on. After that we saw nothing else. We didn't get much sleep the rest of the night."

One family shared the following experience that they had, "The next morning James, 13, went down to use the restroom down the hall (Room 303 bathroom) and came back concerned that he heard a woman crying mournfully in the 305 bathroom, but the lights were out in that room. He brought his dad down the hall to show him and he heard it also. I, Lori, then went down there, but by the time I got there, she was no longer crying. I did; however, hear movement coming from inside the room. When I knocked on the door and asked if someone needed help, the response was two knocks back from whoever was in there. At that point we decided to call the front desk to tell them what was going on. They sent up four maids to check the situation out. When they opened the door it was dark inside and no one was in there. But the maid commented that 'someone had sure been into the Kleenex.' It had been strewn about. [The door was never left unattended the whole time of our experience.]"

Another family wrote, "Finally around 11:30pm, we started hearing things! Earlier we were looking forward to hearing things, but when we actually did hear things, we were huddled with the blankets to our noses! There wasn't really anything in the room. It was in the hallway! Definite dragging and walking sounds. They would stop right at the door. It was so scary. Then scratching and scraping sounds at the door. It was like someone was right on the other side and would open or come through the door. This all went on for about an hour and a half!"

Ghost Adventures visited the hotel during their eleventh season. Jody Reuther is the Front Desk Manager and she claims to have been a nonbeliever when she first started working there, but she has had enough experiences that she believes there are ghosts there. One day she was making up the bed in Room 310 with a housekeeper and she noticed that the maid went white looking at something behind Jody. Jody spun around and saw a woman pass the door to the room and Jody ran out to the hallway to confront her because nobody should have been in the hotel. She saw that the woman was wearing period clothing and then see noticed she could see the fire escape through the woman. And then she disappeared. The Breakfast Room has many strange occurrences and one of these was a door opening on its own while Zac interviewed Jody about the building. Mardella is a housekeeper who had a violent experience in the laundry room. She was left with a small handprint bruise on her leg, but she did not feel anything touch her. When she told the ghost out loud that she wanted to be left alone, something unseen punched her very hard in the face.

There seems to be unexplained activity in this hotel. While there are claims that there are only two ghosts, is it possible that there might be more? And are these ghosts or just the products of overactive imaginations? Is Manresa Castle haunted? That is for you to decide!