Thursday, October 14, 2021

HGB Ep. 406 - Haunted Fellsmere

Moment in Oddity - Giant Octopuses of the Narrows Bridge Ruins (Suggested by: John Michaels)

Octopuses are amazing creatures and we must admit that we have a soft spot for the legendary Kraken. There was a legend about a Kraken connected to Tacoma, Washington and while that really is just a legend, there is a fascinatingly weird thing going on here with octopuses at the Tacoma Narrows. The giant pacific octopus is the largest known species of octopus and they can get up to 50 pounds. They are highly intelligent and recognize human faces. They can even taste you and identify you with their tentacles. A legend claimed that a King Octopus weighing 600 pounds lived under the Galloping Gertie Bridge in Tacoma. This was actually the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but people gave it this nickname because the suspension bridge would move when the wind blew. Those winds finally took the bridge down on November 7, 1940. Those ruins still are down in the water and they provide hiding places for the Pacific Octopus because octopuses can squeeze themselves through any opening at least the size of their beak and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Reno Brothers Conduct First Moving Train Robbery

In the month of October, on the 6th, in 1866, the Reno Brothers carry out the first train robbery of a moving train in U.S. history. Previous train robberies had been of stationary trains. Trains often times were carrying very valuable things. Not only were there people on board with money and valuables, but trains transported precious minerals, cash and sometimes even gold and silver. The Reno Brothers started a bad thing when they figured out that if they stopped a moving train in a sparsely polulated area, they wouldn't have to worry about the authorities interfering. When word got out that the Reno Brothers got away with $13,000, this method got very popular. The brothers hit an Ohio and Mississippi Railroad train while it was traveling through Jackson County, Indiana. Soon the railroads got smart and started putting valuables in massive safes with armed guards watching over them and they even sometimes carried a boxcar of guards and horses. By the late 19th century, train robberies were a thing of the past.

Haunted Fellsmere

Larry Lawson is the founder of The Florida Bureau of Paranormal Investigation and runs Indian River Hauntings, which hosted this event. He introduced himself and his team: Mark, who is Vice President of the Indian River Historical Society, and his wife Val; Candace and Tina and her husband Spanky, who is Larry's right-hand man. We spent most of our evening investigating with Spanky. The thing we really liked about Larry is that he is a retired cop, which gives more credence to his investigations. He was a detective in Fellsmere before he retired, so he knows this city. And like us, he understands the importance of knowing the history in order to understand the hauntings. He comes at this from a scientific and open-minded skeptic base and he investigates with respect. Larry shares some of his personal experiences. (Fellsmere 1)

The town of Fellsmere is named for Nelson Fell who founded the town in 1911. The "smere" part means watery, swampy place. He had come up from New Zealand during the first Florida land boom of the 1880s. He had been educated in England as a mining engineer. Fell bought a large parcel of land known as Cinncinatus that had been owed by a newspaper magnet. His goal was to make Fellsmere a county seat and a hub for farming. This was to be the gateway to the south. Fellsmere was officially incorporated in 1915 and two years later, Fell left and never returned to his namesake town. This was the first town in the area to have a power plant, electricity and phone service. And fun fact, this was the first town in the south to allow a woman to vote, which happened in 1915. There were some men who heard about it and demanded that her vote be nullified, but the townspeople took up for her and the vote remained. And even with that, Fellsmere slid backward in prosperity after huge rains in 1915 flooded the whole area. Muck farming and growing sugar cane were the main industries with the first sugar refinery in Florida being built in Fellsmere around 1932. Citrus would become the main form of agriculture here though.

Since Fellsmere was down and out and yet a stop on the way to the south, this became a place for never-do-wells and it was a rough place for a while. The town of Fellsmere is today around 80% Hispanic and they brought many of their customs with them. This is a very spiritual town. With many haunted locations. We got to investigate two locations on this evening, but before that, Larry shared some of the haunted places with us. 

Ditch 13 Gallery and Gifts

Nikki Rouge owns this business at 46 N. Broadway Street, which looks like a cute little building next door to the restaurant where we met up for the event. This is a local Artisan's gift shop featuring offerings by talented locals such as Homemade jellies and jams, Ceramics, Intarsia Wood Crafting, Stained Glass, Carvings, Jewelry, fine art and more. The owner claims to have paranormal activity here with things moving around.

Larry's son seems to be sensitive and he tells a story about a property where the oldest house in Fellsmere once stood. (Fellsmere 2)

Fellsmere Inn

Fellsmere Inn, located at 107 N. Broadway Street, is the oldest hotel in town and was built by Fell in 1910 and has 11 bedrooms, six full baths and three half baths. The barons of industry in the local area would meet here and enjoy drinks and cigars while discussing business. And Sunday nights would find cars lined up down the street with folks coming for Sunday dinner. Fred Vandeveer bought the property in 2005 and he restored and renovated it. I found many listings through the years for the inn being up for sale. Right now it appears to be a private residence. The owner has experienced some strange things here and he had wanted Larry to come investigate, but his wife put the kibosh on that. 

Marian Fell Library

The Marian Fell Library was started by Nelson Fell's daughter Marian. The building was constructed in 1915 and is a quaint little place. Activity reported includes orbs appearing in photographs, temperature drops and disembodied footsteps in empty rooms. Larry used to be able to investigate here and one night they saw something pretty creepy. There was this homemade crafty cloth doll thing that people put over brooms or mops in the library. One night while investigating someone saw it move and they ran out of the building. Paranormal investigator Brian Cano has also investigated here and he tried a tulpa experiment inside where he had everybody focus on a word. That word was banana. They thought about the smell of bananas and the taste of bananas and the word banana. They did an EVP session after that and they all heard the word banana. *Seven Sisters Inn and the word bird.*

Fellsmere Cemetery

Fellsmere Cemetery is host to the spirits of a woman and child. One evening a police officer was there about fifteen years ago to lock it up. He saw a woman and a child walking in the cemetery. He starts to walk towards them and they disappear. A deputy sheriff pulled up and upon seeing the look on the other officer's face he said, "You've seen them haven't you?" A medium that was part of Larry's team had been in the cemetery and she said she felt that there was a woman there with a child who was not her's, but she was taking care of the child.

Old School House/City Hall

The Old School House was built in the early 1900s and opened in 1917. This is the oldest masonry building in all of Indian River County. School closed in 1980. Stayed empty for a while and then became city hall and then the police department. The police department moved out into another building, so this is now just city hall. They offer classes there and the Boys and Girls Club is in the basement.

Larry said of the hauntings here, "We don’t know why ghosts of children seem to inhabit the school. There were no deaths or tragedies documented in this building. One of the theories is that when people die, they go back to where they were happiest. One night when I was locking up here, in front of me I saw an arm in a flannel shirt. Just the arm. I can’t explain it but I know that it happened." They have seen lights coming out of the walls and they've seen shadows.   

So Larry brought us into the Old School and explained the layout. Our first stop was going to be in the small theater auditorium, but we ended up with our first unexplained experience. (Fellsmere 3) A police officer unlocked everything before we got there and Larry had to call him back. Larry shares some of the experiences from their previous investigations here. (Fellsmere 4) You here me mention in there that a woman's EMF was going off. It did several times, as did the meter of the woman behind her. And Larry heard a loud bang in the elevator and no one was in the elevator. Here is the EVP he mentioned. (Fellsmere EVP) (Fellsmere EVP 2) Larry left and Spanky handed out dowsing rods. We've never used the rods as a large group with one question being asked and several sets of rods answering. It seemed to work okay with the rods all answering the same, including pointing in the same directions when we asked where the spirit was located. 

Then Spanky fired up a spirit box. (Fellsmere 5) I heard a yes after he asked if there were any kids there. Sounded like an older kid. Larry joined us again as we headed to the basement and he told us another quick story about the building. (Fellsmere 6) The basement has a lot of activity relating to children. The elevator is fairly active. (Fellsmere 7) We haven't ever had much luck with Rem Pods on any investigation we've been a part of, but here in the basement, the Rem Pod went crazy. Larry checked the batteries just to make sure they were fresh because it was so crazy it seemed to be spazzing out. And then it went off again. (Fellsmere 8) It felt like the kids left. Later, Larry would tell us that there is an adult - maybe a teacher - who seems to have some control over the kids. The Rem Pod went crazy again when we went up to the first floor and we were envisioning the kids playing and running to touch the Rem Pod before the teacher would stop them and things would go silent. (Fellsmere 9)

Larry then told us a story about using a DR60. For those of who listen to Astonshing Legends and heard their series on the Sallie House in Kansas, you heard them play an EVP of a creepy scream. DR60s are notorious for playing back really creepy things. Some in the field don't think they are reliable for that reason, but others swear by them and think they are more able to pick up stuff. We've never used one. Here's what happened here at the Old School. (Fellsmere 10) Kelly and I didn't hear anything above us, but Larry and another guest did apparently. There were 5 of us that went into the council chambers and it would be in here that two of the women would get a small scent of lilac and it was like it blew in their faces. And then Kelly and Sparky smelled it too. I didn't smell anything, but I was off in a farther part of the room that was dark and I was focusing on a closet. (Fellsmere 11) We didn't find any kind of air freshener dispenser.

Marsh Landing Restaurant

We met up with the group at the Marsh Landing Restaurant. Originally built in 1926 for the Fellsmere Estates Corporation and then it became the headquarters for the Florida Crystal Sugar Company, which was here through the early 1960’s. City Council meetings were held in the large main room and the police department occupied the North end of the building and some prisoners were held here awaiting transportation to the jail. A concrete vault held important documents for the corporation. The building was sold, boarded up and given to the city back in the 1980’s and sat empty until October 1995, when Fran Adams bought the building at public auction. She refurbished and opened Marsh Landing Restaurant in November of 2002. Much of the building is still original. The wood windows and door frames were made from cypress trees that were logged locally and cut in nearby lumber camps. The wainscot around the interior walls has a nice golden hue and is the original tongue and groove ceiling. Most of the doors are original. 

Staff have reported seeing the apparition of a woman wearing a white dress walking across the restaurant in a residual manner and they have also seen her staring into the street when they close up for the night. They have also seen shadow figures and watched chairs move on their own. The blinds have rolled up and down by themselves. The owner of the restaurant, Fran, saw some weird stuff when they were renovating. She witnessed the woman in white float from one wall to another wall and then disappear. Fran has tried to talk to the woman with no luck, which is why they think this is residual. Larry himself saw the woman in white. He said, "A deputy sheriff was here taking a photo in the same spot, and I looked up and saw a woman in white standing in the doorway. The sheriff did not see the woman I saw. I know what I saw – I saw a woman standing there and then she was gone. I went and got the security camera footage and there was no sign of the woman." A woman in purple was snapped standing in the doorway of the women's restroom.

We would end our evening of investigating here. A small group of us headed to the bar area where the holding cell had once been and did a spirit box session. (Fellsmere 12) Then we just let the box go for a while without asking anything and we got this. (Fellsmere 13) Sounded like, "There's a monster." Then we went into another room where three Spanish women are reputedly hanging out in the afterlife. One of the women with us spoke Spanish so she asked some questions. (Fellsmere 14)

We had a lot of fun and met some more interesting people in this field. Are these locations in Fellsmere haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

HGB Ep. 405 - Haunted Guam

Our sponsor for this episode is HelloFresh. Go to HelloFresh.com/bump14 and enter code bump14 for 14 free meals, plus free shipping!

Moment in Oddity - Colonial Ship Found Under World Trade Center (Suggested by: Duey Oxberger)

In July of 2010, some excavators were using bulldozers to excavate a parking garage on the 56th block of lower Manhattan. During that excavation, they uncovered a 32 foot hull of a ship dating to between 1770 and 1780. Archaeologists were called in to handle the artifact. They dated it and researched what the ship had been used for, finally concluding that it was probably a commercial ship that had worked out of the Caribbean and got wrecked a few times, needing several repairs. It is rather odd to find a ship buried under the World Trade Center area, but apparently this was something that was done on the regular in places like New York City. The city had many areas that were built on trash heaps. Using old ship hulls to serve as foundations for landfills in Manhattan was an old practice dating to 1836. A similar discovery was made in 1982. Builders found an 18th century merchant vessel near the South Street Seaport. It too was used as part of a foundation too. Finding old shipping vessels beneath buildings in places like New York City, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Scientific American Reports on Radio Coming to Homes

In the month of October, on the 1st, in 1920, Scientific American magazine reported that radio would soon be used to broadcast music to every home. For those of us living in 2021, it may seem strange to think of a time when there were not even radios in homes. If people wanted to listen to music at home, they either had to have live music or play it on a phonograph. Shortly after World War I, radio became a practical technology. Early usage was a telegraph, but innovators found a way to harness that for other forms. The National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. began experiments in 1919 and used amateur radio operators to test their system and give them feedback. The magazine article reported after hearing about the success of these experiments, "Music can be performed at any place, radiated into the air through an ordinary radio transmitting set and received at any other place, even though hundreds of miles away...and the music received can be made as loud as desired by suitable operation of the receiving apparatus. Experimental concerts are at present being conducted every Friday evening from 8:30 to 11:00 by the Radio Laboratory of the Bureau of Standards….The possibilities of such centralized radio concerts are great and extremely interesting."

Haunted Guam

Guam is a United States territory located within the Mariana Islands. The island was occupied by humans starting around 4,000 years ago. Guam IS the Chamarro people. This indigenous group has endured hundreds of years of conquest and occupation of their island and yet their culture has survived. A wonderful culture that embraces the spirit world. On this episode, we are going to share the history, legends and hauntings of Guam!

The first people to arrive in Guam probably came from Taiwan thouseands of years ago. In 800 AD, a clan-based society took hold and several villages were formed. These villages would grow rice and build one-story houses set atop two-piece stone columns that were called latte houses. These people would become the Chamorros that were a matriarchal society and they grew to become expert fishermen and farmers. Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521 and this began 300 years of Spanish conquest. He looked at the Chamorros as savages and nicknamed the island "Islands of Thieves" because the Chamarro took things. The island was relatively ignored by the Spanish until Jesuit missionary Father San Vitores arrived and forced conversion to Catholicism. He baptized the chief's daughter against his wishes and the missionary was killed. The Spanish sent the military to subjugate the people. Wars erupted and in the end, only 10% of the Chamorros population remained.

In 1898, the Spanish-American war would come to Guam. The irony is that the Spanish here had no idea that there was a war, so when the USS Charleston arrived and fired its cannons, they thought the ship was saluting them. The Spanish were no match and gave up the island peacefully. The leading families of Guam assumed that they would be able to form a representative government after this, but that was not the case. The Navy ran the island like a battleship. The bombing of Pearl Harbor brought America into World War II. Many people are probably unaware that Guam was bombed by the Japanese as well just a few hours later. The Japanese occupied Guam for three years and killed over 1100 people in that time, some of them tortured. Before the end of the war, America would again have control of Guam and a National Park was established to commemorate the battle. In 1993, Congress finally recognized the suffering of the Chamorro people during this time and a monument was erected.

This kind of history leaves some residual energy that is not positive. Along with this, the Chamorro have a rich spiritual culture and tradition. The main belief is that there are all these TaoTaomona on the island. To put it in our language, these are Guam Zombies! These are spirits of the ancient inhabitants of the island. The Chamorro believe that they live in the jungles and caves and inside banyan trees. Some of the ancient latte ruins are infested with these creatures as well. The Chamorro believe that the TaoTaomona must be shown respect by asking them for permission before entering the jungle. And if you want to take fruit or plants from the jungle, you must also ask permission.

The TaoTaomona can be either nice or malicious. Suruhanos and Suruhanas are shamans and they are used to exorcise spirits that attach themselves to people. Attachments usually reveal themselves through sickness. Pregnant women face the most danger when it comes to these spirits. They seem to dislike pregnant women and they use perfume to mask their scent or even wear their husband's clothing to hide that they are a woman with child. And they usually stay inside at night.

There are strange stone monuments here just like those found in other places like Easter Island or places like Stonehenge. They date back to 600 AD and no one knows who placed these rock pillars all around the island. The stones are called Latte Stones and are so large and heavy, they would be hard to move. This has led to the Chamorro believing that the TaoTaomona have superhuman strength and that they moved the stones. Thus, the Guam Zombie Ghosts are near to these columns and stones. 

There are many haunted locations in Guam. One area that is considered quite haunted is Agana Heights. Before World War II, Agana Heights was primarily farm land for the residents of Hagåtña. The Spanish had also used this as a military lookout and built Fort Santa Agueda here in 1800. They feared attacks from English privateers and other assaults. The fort was named for Governor Manuel Muro's wife, Maria Agueda del Camino. The structure was made from mamposteria, which is a stone rubble. There were spaces made for ten small cannons that faced Hagatna Bay Channel. When the Americans took over control of the island, the fort was used as a signal station for ships. They renamed it Fort Apugan and it became a naval governmental park. During World War II, the Japanese once again armed the fort and Japanese figures can still be seen carved into the concrete. They trained carrier pigeons here too. When the United States recaptured Guam, they used the fort as an internment camp. The site is today maintained by the government as a park that is a popular tour site with a panoramic view of the island’s capital city, bay of Hagåtña, the Philippine Sea, and the sheer northern clifflines of Oka Point and Urunao Point. 

Old Agana Hospital

The United States built the Old Agana Hospital at Agana Heights. The hospital was established the year after the U.S. capture of Guam in the Spanish-American War. Surgeon Philip Leach arrived in 1899 aboard the USS Yosemite and he established a Naval Hospital and Dispensary. Over 1,100 civilian patients were treated that first year and the Navy realized they needed more trained personnel. They graduated the first Western-trained midwives in 1901. Another hospital was built named Shroeder Hospital and it eventually combined with this original hospital in 1910 and this became U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. In 1916, a tuberculosis ward was opened. People claim to hear music on the air when there is no music playing anywhere and ghostly faces have shown up in pictures. 

The Government House

The Government House is also located in Agana Heights on Chalan Palayo. This is the Governor's official residence and incorporates both Spanish and Chamorro culture in the architectural design. Construction started in 1952 and took two years to complete. More was added to the building after Super Typhoon Pamela in 1976. Today, the building occupies 22,000 square feet and houses a mini-museum of Guam's antiquities. And maybe that is why this structure is haunted. In the middle of the night, people in the building claim to hear disembodied wet footsteps as though someone is walking down the hallway. The heavy double doors open on their own and slam shut as well. This whole scene seems to go together and a legend claims this was a fisherman’s path.

Hotel Nikko

The Hotel Nikko is located at 245 Gun Beach Road in Tamuning. The building has a cool wave shape to it and overlooks Tumon Bay with 470 luxury rooms just waiting for guests. But people might think twice about staying here when they hear that it was built over an old Chamorro burial ground. This has led to some disturbed spirits that guests and employees claim to have seen and heard. The main thing reported is ghostly wailing.

For October, they offer a Halloween Platter:

 

Gun Beach

Gun Beach itself where the hotel is located has an infamous haunt. This spirit is called the Gun Beach Spanish Horseman. A woman named Ha’ani was once on Gun Beach at night with some friends sitting around a campfire and enjoying stories and drinks. They were stunned when they saw a Spanish soldier riding on the back of a black horse. He was holding a torch light and as the horse trotted down the shore, the soldier and horse both disappeared. The torch light continued on, floating in the air like an orb and then it flew up into the sky.

Leo Palace Hotel

Leo Palace Hotel is located at 221 Lakeview Drive in Yona. This is described as Paradise City that awaits you in the hills of Guam. The spirits that haunt this location are two soldiers from World War II. People who have passed the hotel in the wee hours of the morning claim to see nothing outside the hotel, but when they look in their rear view mirror, they see two soldiers wearing their uniforms walking side by side. What is most startling about them is that one has no head, but is holding his helmet. A guy named Guy Lambert was on vacation in Guam and he was visiting the Leo Palace Hotel and in the hallway he saw two soldiers. One had no head and was holding a helmet. The soldiers disappeared into a wall. Clearly, these two can be seen both outside and inside the hotel.

Talofofo Falls

The Talofofo Falls are a scenic series of cascades on the Ugum River. This is a resort park that features rides on a cable car that affords stunning aerial views of the 30-foot waterfall, an observation tower, a Guam Historical Museum, Shoichi Yokoi’s Cave and Ghost House. There is also an erotic statue park called “Loveland.” There is a legend connected to the falls that claims three boys came to the falls to play in the 1930s and while they were near the top of the falls, something in the jungle spooked them and they tumbled down the falls. All three died. People claim to see the outline of three boys in the mist of the falls and when the mist dissipates, the ghostly images are gone.

Old Spanish Bridge

The Old Spanish Bridge in Agat has one of the most well known legends in Guam connected to it and, of course, that legend entails a Lady in White. The bridge was built in the late 1700s when the Spanish occupied Guam. The daughter of a Spanish official fell in love with an indigineous man and wanted to marry him. They would have secret rendezvous at the bridge in the evenings. Her father heard about the engagement and forbid such a union. There was no way his daughter would be marrying a lowly savage native. The official had the man murdered the day before the wedding. The distraught young woman drowned herself in the water beneath the bridge. Now her ghostly form is seen wandering around the bridge and her ghostly wailing is often heard. 

Naval Station Guam

The Naval Station in Guam is located in Sumay/Agat. The naval base was built in 1944 after American forces had liberated Guam from Japan. The Navy's "Lion Six" was used to construct the base. A "Standard Lion" was a group of components put together on the US mainland and then shipped to a location. This would be nicknamed The Pacific Supermarket and was the largest single element of WWII Fleet support in the Pacific. This was the largest base on the island and housed 50,000 personnel. There had once been a Sumay village here, but the Americans destroyed it when they first invaded. Eventually the Navy would resettle the Sumay in Santa Rita Village in Agat. The base would see action in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well. The base is still maintained today with over 6,000 active duty Navy members in residence.

This is probably the most haunted location on the island. Employees that work in the store on base claim to hear disembodied footsteps and to hear children's laughter and voices. The warehouse connected to the store has a basement where beverages and snacks are stored and there is also a restroom. One day, a female employee was in a stall in the restroom when she heard someone come into the restroom, walk to a stall and then open and close the door. She assumed it was her co-worker friend and so called out, "Hello!" There was no response. She called out again and still no response. She finished and approached the stall. It was closed and looked occupied. She called out for a third time, but still no answer! We're not sure if she could look under the stall, but she didn't and just went out to work in the cool storage room. She watched the restroom door and no one ever came out of the restroom. A male co-worker had been in the storage area when she went into the bathroom, so she asked if he saw anybody go into the bathroom and he said nobody had been around, but himself. She asked him to check the restroom with her and they found no one inside. A morgue had once been here, so could this have been a spirit from that time?

wrh1969 wrote, "I was stationed in Guam from July 2007 to July 2010 by the U.S. Air Force. Guam has a very strong affiliation with the paranormal and I will share a couple of experiences I had while living there. One summer night, it was very windy and I was walking my dog, Spot (whom we rescued from a dog Shelter on Guam) around the base housing neighborhood. For some reason we headed straight toward a taotaomona tree at the edge of a neighbor's yard. I had heard many stories about bad reactions/experiences with this type of spirit tree. Some people would say that if you stepped on the roots of this tree you had to say sorry or you could get really sick, a bad scratch or bad luck from not giving this tree proper respect. As Spot and I went towards the tree, I immediately felt cold air all around me and a shock, as Spot was urinating on the tree. Spot immediately started dragging me back to our house! His tail was between his legs and his hair was standing up! I was surprised by his reaction but I noticed a wind swirl of leaves was heading toward us and Spot really took off and whimpered at me to get a move on and out of there.Spot only weighs 15 pounds and he was dragging me easily at 5'9,185 pounds! We got back to our house and Spot had calmed down quite a bit. I went to bed that night and before I went to sleep I felt a weight on my chest and for 15-20 seconds I couldn't breathe. I tried to sit up and after I moved a little bit the weight on my chest stopped and I found I could breathe again! I was spooked and very afraid and I immediately looked around my house  and something didn't feel quite right, I felt like I was being watched. I decided to pray before I went back into my bedroom and I held my wife's hand and I felt safe. See, my wife at that time, didn't believe in ghost/hauntings, even though she loves scary movies! Go figure Huh? But after living on Guam for 3 years she relented her beliefs and at least could say, something scary happened but we don't know why/what."

Pvchamorrita wrote, "My mom had just passed away in 2014 and I just found out that I was pregnant. The manam'ko (old people) would say that if you're pregnant you're not supposed to go out late at night. There is this long strip of road in Guam between the village of Ipan, Talofofo and Yona that is said to be haunted. All my life we've driven past this road and nothing has ever happened. The night I came in my sister, her boyfriend and I decided to go to Kmart to buy some stuff and by the the time we got out of kmart it was 2:30 am and we lived all the way in Inarajan. We stopped at the traffic light on that road. We were the only car there and I see a shadow walk across the street and then vanishes in thin air. I asked everyone else in the car if they saw what I saw and they said they don't see what I'm seeing. So as we drive further I see silhouettes of soldiers marching and prisoners dragging themselves across the street. My dad had told me that that road was the road our people took on the way to their death when Guam was occupied by the Japanese. I never went after sunset after that. There was another incident on the same road where my sister and I smelled embalming fluid in the car. I think someone was following us because it went away after 10 minutes. My dad has seen a soldier standing on the side of the road during the hours of 12 - 3 am. Don't ever go alone when driving that road I've also heard of a man who asks for a ride then when you pass the gas station he disappears from the front seat."

Taytay01 wrote, "This was when I was about 9 years old. My family had a gathering at my Nino's house at night and my auntie was in the back cutting coconuts from the coconut tree. I was watching her from the front yard waiting to scare her and I heard someone talking. It was a deep voice. I looked back and saw a shadow walk by slowly underneath the streetlight. Then I remembered my mom saying that at night there would be ancient Chamorro spirits walking around all over Guam at 6:00 pm called the Taotaomona. I didn't believe her at first, but when I saw the shadow I had chills. So I went back to the gathering and saw something again. It was another spirit but a different figure. Maybe a little bigger than the one I saw under the streetlight. It stood there at the side of the house staring at me. I could see that no one else could see it but me. So I went inside the house and told my cousin. He didn't believe me. So when I got home I told my mom and she told me they don't like it when people are loud during their time. Now I know that I have to sleep early because she said that the Taotaomona pinches loud people or makes them sick if they find them disturbing. Sometimes people die. I guess I was bothering them. I also remember the time when I was 10. I was riding my bike down a big hill in front of my house. It was about 7:42 or 7:43 pm. I was riding it by myself. Suddenly, I saw a dark figure under the streetlight again. I think it was one of the ancient chiefs from over 500 years ago. I peddled a little faster so I could stop by the store up ahead. It kept on moving faster towards me. So I decided to go and ride to it to see if it was my cousin who was at my house. But as I went closer to the figure, I saw that there was nobody around to make the shadow. I started breathing hard because I wasn't this frightened in my life since when I was 9. So I peddled back up to my house and I didn't stop no matter how tired I was. Since then, I never rode my bike after 6:00 pm ever again."

gyoza1216 wrote, "I was stationed in Guam on the Naval base from 2004-2006. I've had a few paranormal experiences before but nothing prepared me for what would happen my last night on the island. I lived in Barracks 9 on the top floor, just down the hall from the kitchen. I can't remember my main room number but once inside, it was room A. I had a roommate at the time but she was always spending the night at her boyfriend's place. I was a police officer and I got to work with a few of the locals. They mainly worked at our entrance gates and they were masters at telling us their local ghost stories. Every place has a woman in white and this place was no exception although this story isn't about her. The locals call the island spirits the Tatamonas. According to the islanders, if they like you, they'll sometimes pinch you or play jokes on you. If they don't like you, they make you sick with headaches. I worked with a guy who suffered terrible headaches that medical couldn't diagnose. It got so bad they accidentally killed him with a morphine overdose. Don't believe me, just look at the memorial in the lounge of the MA's headquarters. His name was MA3 Brent. He had died a few months after I had gotten there and I didn't know him that well. I did, however, take the spirits of the island quite seriously. I've always been as respectful as possible and I think that's the reason I was never hurt. Ok, so here's what happened. I had always sensed that there was something in my barracks room with me. I wouldn't look at myself in the mirror when I brushed my teeth because I could feel it behind me and I was afraid I would see it in the mirror. I had a friend who claimed to see spirits and she told me she could see a shadow-like figure walking around my room through the window outside. I never told anyone that I thought there was something living with me. It didn't freak me out, because I already knew it was there. So I had my orders for my next duty station and all my stuff had already been packed up and shipped out. I only had the sheets I was issued and a suitcase I had to live out of for the next month. I was sleeping and I remember waking up in the middle of the night. I was still in a half dream-like state where I wasn't fully awake or fully asleep. I had woken up because I was talking. I was saying, "No, I can't" as if I was refusing an invitation. I was being polite and I could see a vague shadow by my door. Right before I realized that I was talking to something in my room, I was held down in my bed. I was on my back and my sheets were pulled up to my collar bones. It felt like someone big had placed their hands on either side of my shoulders and pressed down on the sheet. It scared me so bad I woke up all the way and the pressure went away too. After I had a moment to process what had happened, I came up with a theory: Whatever was in my room knew I was leaving the next day. I think it was making a last effort to convince me to stay because it liked me there. I had to refuse the offer because I had my orders and in a very last attempt, it wanted to force me to stay. I don't think it wanted to hurt me. I just think it was tired of having to deal with so many young single sailors who only wanted to be loud and get drunk. I was a quiet and calm guest in its house."

Guam is a beautiful, tropical island location. The culture of the indigineous people leads many to believe that spirits roam the island. Are these locations in Guam haunted? That is for you to decide.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

HGB Ep. 404 - Walt Disney World

Moment in Oddity - Honey Bee Reproduction (Suggested by: Scott Booker) Warning for little ears.

Many times people refer to reproduction as "the birds and the bees." After learning about honey bee reproduction, we're not sure we should actually do that, especially when it comes to males. When it comes to bees, the only ones getting action are the drones and the Queen Bee. Around seven days after the incubation of a Queen Bee, she will fly outside of the hive and have a little party with around 12 drone bees. This little party takes place mid-air in moderate temperatures around 68 degrees fahrenheit or 20 degrees celsius. The drone reverses his equipment, so that it sticks out of his body and he contracts his abdominal muscles to send out his message to the Queen Bee. Then that part of his body gets cut off and remains inside the Queen Bee and he, well, dies. See, we said this wasn't pleasant for the guys. The next drone comes along and does the same thing after removing the remnants of the previous drone. This mating ritual lasts around 20 minutes and the Queen stores all that spermatozoa in her body, which is around 7 million. We're not sure who counted all that. She stores that for her entire life, deciding which eggs she will fertilize. The fertilized ones become female while the unfertilized become drones. The females become either queens or worker bees. And that determination comes through the feeding of royal jelly, which helps a Queen Bee to grow. While bee reproduction is fascinating if not a tad dangerous, it also certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Fannie Farmer Opens Her Cooking School

In the month of September, on the 24th, in 1902, Fannie Farmer opens a cooking school. Farmer was born in 1857 to a family who believed in women being educated. Unfortunately, her education was delayed by a stroke that left her disabled. In her early 30s, she attended the Boston Cooking School. This was a school that aimed to teach women how to teach cooking so they could become teachers and Farmer eventually became its principal. She published her first cookbook in 1896. This book would revolutionize American cooking through a number of topics like sanitation techniques, nutrition and using precise measurements, which was a novel culinary concept at the time. Farmer left the Boston school in 1902 and opened Farmer's School of Cookery. She had such an expertise in nutrition that she lectured at Harvard Medical School about nutrition for specific diseases and nutrition for children. Farmer died in 1915 at the age of 57, but The Fannie Farmer Cookbook is still in print today.

Walt Disney World (Suggested by Josi from Germany)

Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary in October of 2021. This incomparable theme park is exactly what its name describes, a complete world that was the ultimate vision of Walt Disney. Walt Disney World covers a full 27,000 acres and features four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district and 31 resorts, plus its own public works district. There is so much to see and do here, but even better, there are many legends and ghosts on this property. Join us as we share the history and haunts of Walt Disney World.

Disney has been a big part of both of our lives. Both of us were born in California and grew up with the original theme park of Disneyland. The Wonderful World of Disney was a staple in our homes. And as adults, we have enjoyed Walt Disney World. In episode 44, we featured haunted Disneyland and covered the biography of Walt Disney, so we won't be repeating that information here. Walt was a visionary and while he loved Disneyland, he was deeply unsatisfied. His vision of a theme park was so much bigger. He needed a space where he could stretch out his creative genius. He found that space in Bay Lake, Florida, which is today Lake Buena Vista. There were huge swaths of land available on the cheap because much of it was considered swamp land. With his popularity, Walt knew that if anyone knew he was the one purchasing the land, the price would go up, so a cover name was used, Robert Price, and several dummy corporations were started as well. In 1964, 12,400 acres were purchased from three Orlando home builders for $145 per acre. When Disney was done buying, they had spent $5 million on 27,443 acres.

Speculation began throughout the Florida press that the mysterious industry coming to Orlando was headed by the Disney Company and that possibly there was going to be an East Coast Disneyland. By November of 1965, it was no longer speculation because Walt and Roy Disney announced their plans for a new theme park near Orlando. Walt dubbed this the Florida Project and he shared his vision in a film he made shortly before his death. The core of this project was to be the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or EPCOT, which was a utopian community.

Tragedy struck in December 1966 when Walt died. Roy announced that plans were still going forward and that now the new park would carry his brother's name, but plans to run a city of tomorrow were abandoned. The Reedy Creek Improvement District approved by Florida legislature in May of 1967 and this gives Disney something unique, their own independent municipality. WDW even has its own post office and zip code. On May 30, 1967, ground was broken on the new park and the plans were ambitious. Many of the restaurants and rides that are at the Magic Kingdom have been there for the past fifty years and were the same rides as the ones at Disneyland: It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain and the Railroad to name a few. The castle that anchors the wheel with spokes leading to various lands was called Cinderella's Castle and is much bigger than Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland. A bigger monorail system was incorporated into this park and parking was set up at a separate area, so that the Magic Kingdom was set back and needed to be traveled to via other means, the monorail or ferry.

The Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971 and charged $3.50 admission for adults. Today, it costs around $120 for a day pass to one park. Over 10,000 people were in attendance on that first day to enjoy the seven themed areas which were Main Street, Adventureland, Bear Country, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland. Bear Country no longer exists. Along with the Magic Kingdom opening that day, the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village Resort both also opened. Not all rides were ready to go that first day. Peter Pan's Flight wouldn't open until October 3rd and as if perfectly planned just for me, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea opened on October 14th. Unfortunately, it no longer exists. A grand opening special ran on NBC at the end of the month and had 52 million people tune in to show. An end of an era would come when Roy Disney died less than three months after the opening.

Plans to expand the world continued with EPCOT Center being the next focus. This was a unique theme part split into two sections. The first was Future World and focused on technology, education and human achievement, while the second was called World Showcase and had various pavilions representing countries from around the world. Many people don't know that the reason there are two radically different parts to EPCOT is that Imagineers couldn't agree on what the park should focus on, so they combined them. This park was anchored by a giant geodesic sphere that holds the Spaceship Earth ride and there were six pavilions that grew to nine. EPCOT opened on October 1, 1982. One of the difficulties for EPCOT would prove to be that innovation moved too fast for it to keep up and many concepts have changed over the years with a major current revamp going on right now. The park will literally be transformed into something fairly new on the Future World side with it being divided into three worlds. Various festivals have been introduced over the years to keep the park popular like the International Flower and Garden Festival and the International Food and Wine Festival. Diane will be doing the 10k for that festival in November.

The third park to open at the world was Disney's MGM Studios that later changed its name to Disney's Hollywood Studios. This park was the brainchild of Marty Sklar and Randy Bright. The park opened on May 1, 1989 and has gone through many changes through the years with the biggest update being Star Wars: Galaxy Edge. The part I love about the park is its nod to old Hollywood from the Golden Age. Originally, this was a working production facility with a backlot, but sections of this closed over the years and no longer exist. The anchor to this park had been the Earffel Tower and then the Sorcerer's Hat, which was removed a few years ago thankfully, as it obstructed the view of the Grauman's Chinese Theater replica. Only two rides were running when this park first opened, but many have been added through the years and there were seven themed areas. The Streets Of America was a replica of a New York Street, but was demolished to make way for Star Wars. This also killed the Osbourne Festival of Lights that ran during the Christmas season. Toy Story Land has also been added. 

The fourth park would be Disney's Animal Kingdom that opened on April 22, 1998. This is like a large zoo with rides and takes up the most acreage of all the parks. This was the brainchild of Imagineer Joe Rohde. Over twenty six hundred workers constructed the areas for the animals from shelters to planting trees and Zulu crafters from South Africa made the thatched roofs for buildings. Disney hired staff from 69 different zoos to oversee care of their animals. There is a safari guests can ride on to see animals in their natural habitat and several trails to hike to see animals as well. Discovery Island is the central part of the park and feeds into Asia, Africa, DinoLand and Pandora: The World of Avatar that was added in 2017. 

Disney obviously doesn't like to talk about deaths at any of their parks, but they have happened over the years. Some employees have been killed while working rides. Once upon a time, there was a skyway that took guests from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland aboard colorful Skyway cars. This ride was a part of the Magic Kingdom from opening day until 1999. The Tangled restrooms now sit where the ride used to board in Fantasyland. Raymond Barlow was a sixty-five-year-old custodian cast member at the Magic Kingdom and one morning before opening, he was cleaning the skyway when it started up and a car pulled him from the platform. He clung to the car until he was over a flower bed, but the forty foot fall still killed him. This happened in 1999 and Disney was fined $4,500 for the “serious” violation of safety standards. The Skyway closed several months later. I remember in 2009 when cast member Austin Wuennenberg was killed in the early morning hours driving the monorail. Two of the trains collided with each other. Two cast members have died at the Primieval Whirl ride at Animal Kingdom, one in 2007 (Karen Price) and another in 2011 (Russell Sherry Roscoe).

And some guests have passed away, like a great grandmother who had a heart attack when a snake dropped out of a tree onto her grandson and bit him. And many people probably recall the tragic loss of a toddler at the Polynesian Village Resort who was attacked by an alligator resulting in big changes with signage and access to water all around the parks and resorts. Other guests have had medical conditions aggravated by rides that caused them to have heart attacks. Some of these deaths have led to hauntings. We need to emphasize that when it comes to ghosts at Walt Disney World, there are many legends with not much evidence. But they are still fun to share.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened in 1994. This is an accelerated drop tower dark ride with great theming based on Rod Serling's Twilight Zone. This is the second tallest attraction at Walt Disney World. A ghost has been seen walking around the attraction during off hours and does not respond to cast members calling out to him and eventually vanishes. Some stories claim that he is wearing a bell hop costume, so perhaps a former cast member. There are many interesting artifacts and props as a part of the theming giving the hotel a really creepy feel. There is the devil fortune telling machine from the episode "Nick of Time" starring William Shatner. One of the teeny tiny attackers from the episode "The Invaders" starring Agnes Moorhead is on a shelf. This episode had a great twist in the end when we discover that the tiny invaders are actually humans visiting a planet of giants and Agnes is one of those giants. But one of these props is really creepy. Caesar is a ventriloquist doll from the Twilight Zone episode entitled "Caesar and Me." In the episode, Caesar manipulates his owner Jonathan West. The actual Caesar now sits among the dusty collection of oddities in the basement and he carries some bad luck with him. If cast members working the ride do not say hello and good night to Caesar every day, they have trouble with the attraction.

And speaking of creepy dolls, Liberty Square has an old doll that occasionally peeks out from the window of one of the stores. Now some people may be unaware that Liberty Square is meant to model a real colonial square complete with a river of poo running through it. This doll is a nod to another tradition of colonial times in which dolls were placed in windows to let firefighters know that a child was inside the house. There is also a firemen’s brigade crest on the building that contains the doll that let firemen know that the family donated to their cause. This doll is said to move about on its own according to cast members. She may appear in a different window or be found sitting somewhere that is not where she is normally kept. 

Across from Liberty Square is Tom Sawyer's Island and it definitely has some creepy caves over there to explore. There are those who claim to see shadow figures in those caves that are not coming from humans. 

The man who made sure that his brother's vision came to fruition, Roy Disney, has been spotted hanging out on Main Street, particularly when it is time for fireworks and he looks like he is watching the show in the sky. 

EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth takes riders through time and the history of communication with lots of animatronics. There are two spirits that are thought to haunt this ride. These are a little boy and a little blonde girl and they are seen both outside of the ride near the entrance and riding on the ride. In either case, they disappear which is how people know that they are not human.

One of our favorite rides is Pirates of the Caribbean. POTC first opened at Disneyland on March 18, 1967. This was originally meant to be a walk-through ride that featured wax figures. When the rides It's A Small World and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln turned out to be huge hits, it was decided to use Audio-Animatronics for the pirates rather than wax figures. It's a special ride not just because it has these glorious animatronic pirates, but this was the last attraction that Walt had his hands all over. He never got to see the final product on this side of life, but Imagineers did push him through the ride on a chair rigged to a dolly. Imagineers who worked on the creation of the ride were Marc Davis, Francis Xavier Atencio (known as "X"), Claude Coats, Yale Gracey and Blaine Gibson. X wrote the lyrics for "Yo Ho (A Pirates' Life for Me)." He also wrote Grim Grinning Ghosts. The POTC ride at the Magic Kingdom opened in 1973. The reason it was not there for the opening was because the company thought that the mystique of the ride would not be there since Florida is so close to the Caribbean, but visitors were vocal about their disapproval of that decision. Guests enter the ride through a Spanish style fort named Castillo Del Morro inspired by a fort in Puerto Rico.

The one at Disneyland is haunted and so is this one at WDW. There are several ghosts here. The first two seem more of a legend because the story connected to them claims that these are two women who died on the ride when the boat derailed during the drop. This accident never happened, but people do claim to see them on the ride and cast members sometimes see them on the security monitors. One lady is described as being wire-haired. George is the most famous ghost at the ride. Legend claims that this is the spirit of a construction worker who fell and died while building the ride. Now whenever the ride has any mechanical issues, George is blamed. To appease George, Cast Members always make sure to say "Good morning" and "Good night" to George. If someone says that they don't believe in George, he will stop the ride. Most Cast Members agree that George hasn't interacted with anyone since 2005

Our favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom is, of course, the Haunted Mansion. We are not going to talk about the history of this attraction on this episode. Rather, we are going to cover that as part of our Halloween episode this year. Just as the Disneyland mansion has real spirits, this one does as well. For some reason, this is a favorite spot for family members to dump ashes of their deceased loved ones and as we said in the Haunted Disneyland episode, this is not a good idea for a number of reasons. This is illegal and unhealthy. The ride will be stopped and shut down for clean-up and your loved one is going to get vacuumed up and thrown away. You are also going to be permanently banned from the park. This may be why we have some spirits here. Or maybe they just had planned to spend the afterlife here. A legend claims that the original spell book in the seance room was a real tome of witchcraft from the 14th century. Cast Members claim they have trouble keeping it upright and that it occasionally disappears.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion has a little boy ghost and so does the Magic Kingdom's mansion. A photo made it up on Twitter in 2004 that showed a boy peeking his head out of a doombuggy. The person who took the picture said, "As you'll see in the photo after clicking the link, it appears as though a child is peeking his head out of the doombuggy and looking directly at me. Not only was he not there when I took the pic, there wasn't a child of this age within 20 people in front of me in line, and as you can see, he's only a few doombuggies in front of me. Not only that, what's he doing looking at me? There is NO flash, and NO visible light coming from me. It's all infrared, and invisible to the naked eye."

The most seen spirit on the ride is the Man with the Cane. The first time he was ever encountered was on a particularly slow night. There were few people boarding the doombuggies at the loading station. The empty doombuggies come through from the unloading station and on this particular night a Cast Member saw a man with a cane sitting in one of the doombuggies as it came through. The Cast Member was shocked and told the man that he should have gotten out of the doombuggy at the loading station. The man gave no indication that he heard the worker and he continued to sit and went back into the ride. The Cast Member called his fellow worker at the unload station and told him to watch for a man with a cane and make sure that he got off the ride this time. The other Cast Member said he would take care of it and then he proceeded to wait and wait and wait and the man with the cane never showed up. The ride was checked after this to make sure he had not gotten out of the doombuggy and they found no one on the ride. We couldn't find any information on security cameras and what they picked up.He has been spotted multiple times through the years and people think he was a pilot who crashed into Bay Lake before the park was built.

We watched a video on YouTube featuring Kris Star from the Travel Channel and she did some ghost hunting at the Magic Kingdom. She was sitting next to a bush outside the Haunted Mansion where a cast member had told her some asses had been dumped one time and she set up a Mel Meter and used a Spirit Box app on her phone, Necrophonic. She asked how many ghosts were there and it said "ten." That number came up two more times when asked how many people's ashes had been spread there. There were definietly children's voices coming through, particularly laughter, and the Mel Meter indicated temperature changes and the EMF went off. Her camera also turned itself off. Kris asked a spirit to touch the Mel Meter and it started going off like crazy right after that. She asked if they were happy there and a voice said, "I'm excited."

We love visiting the Walt Disney World property. It's always a good time. We never realized that it might be a good place to do a little ghost hunting. Is Walt Disney World haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Link to Kris Star video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4iyJP4xD2c

Thursday, September 23, 2021

HGB Ep. 403 - Butterworth Building

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Moment in Oddity - The Devil of Scott County (Suggested by: The haunted Scott County Jail in Tennessee)

The town of Helenwood got its name from a tragedy. In 1935, the town suffered a horrific explosion and the townspeople referred to it as "Hell in the woods" and that name stuck and became Helenwood. This name seems oddly appropriate since the Devil came to Helenwood and Scott County in the 1920s. Cruis Sexton was a resident of Scott County who had recently come back from China. He had been fascinated by the statues he saw in China and decided to build his own. He found some clay near an abandoned coal mine and he started building a demon-like statue that was taller than any man and very detailed with horns, the muscles were outlined and there was a chain from an arm to a leg. Sexton's mother soon found out what he was doing and after the man moved the statue to a relatives house, word started to spread that the Devil was in Helenwood. So many people wanted to see the Devil that Sexton and his relative set the statue in a massive coffin and took it to the railroad station. People came from all around the country to see it. They paid 25 cents for a 20-minute view. Some people fainted at the sight of the creature. The Devil eventually ended up getting sold to the World's Fair. The Devil of Scott County certainly was odd!

This Month in History - Washington Lays Capitol Cornerstone

In the month of September, on the 18th, in 1793, George Washington laid the cornerstone for the Capitol. The United States had no official capital building as a new country and members of Congress had met in eight different cities. Washington probably had no idea that the building would take a century to build and that he would feature in the center of the dome rotunda with Constantino Brumidi's The Apotheosis of Washington. This is a weird and highly symbolic artistic rendering of Washington rising to the heavens in glory surrounded by the gods of mythology. The dome was made from cast iron. The original design was created by Scotsman William Thornton, but a series of project managers and architects would work on the capitol through the decades. Some people may not realize that the Capitol's dome is meant to serve as the womb to the Washington Monument's phallic symbol and that it was inspired by the way the Vatican is set up. The cornerstone laying ceremony was headed by the Masons of which Washington was a member and he wore full Masonic regalia. Many people probably also do not know that the building was going to be called the Congress House, but Thomas Jefferson insisted on calling it the Capitol after the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. That's why you sometimes hear the Capitol referred to as the Temple of Democracy. And now all state's have a capitol too.

Butterworth Building

The Butterworth Building in Seattle, Washington is home to Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub. This building had once been home to a mortuary and the man who built and ran that is credited with creating the terms mortuary and mortician. Nearly all of Seattle's dead at that time passed through the doors here and with that many dead bodies, there is little surprise that this building has many ghost stories connected to it. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Butterworth Building!

The Butterworth Building is uniquely designed because it is on a hill. The part of the building on First Avenue has three stories while the side on Post Alley has five stories. To us, the building almost looks like it is squeezed between two other large and taller buildings. The building is close enough to Pikes Place Market that it is included in that historic district. There is a great history here for us HGB people. We love our cemeteries and mortuaries. And this building was specifically built to be a mortuary. How lovely is that? Edgar Ray Butterworth had the building made and he was the first mortician and this guy is going to be fascinating to talk about because he never meant to be an undertaker.

E. R. Butterworth was born in the Boston suburbs in 1847 and as a teenager worked as a hatter there. Then he studied law. With that start, no one would think he would end up as a cattleman in Kansas, but that is what happened. While in Kansas, he met up with a settler whose wife and newborn baby had just died. The settler needed to make a coffin, but there was no lumber around. Butterworth tore wood off of his own wagon and fashioned a coffin for the man. In 1881, Edgar moved on to Washington and found that this was not a place for cattle, so he built a steam-powered flour mill. He and his family, which consisted of his second wife - the first died in childbirth - and a son, moved to Centralia, Washington. Butterworth started a furniture shop and got involved with politics serving as mayor and then in the state legislature. Then an epidemic of black diphtheria hit and Butterworth was called into action with building coffins and his life as an undertaker was under way.   

Seattle had a problem with bodies piling up from mining accidents, epidemics of diphtheria, tuberculosis and Spanish Flu, crime and poor sanitation. The situation was so dire that bodies would regularly just appear on the streets of Seattle and the city issued a standing offer to any undertakers that they would be paid $50 for each body they took off the street. Call this a morbid community clean-up program. Butterworth had relocated to Seattle and he saw a real opportunity here because he already been offering coffins through his furniture business. He purchased a controlling interest in the Cross & Co. Undertakers that was located in the Masonic Temple on the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Pike street and had five of his sons join him in business. These would be Gilbert Butterworth and his half-brothers Charles Norwood Butterworth, Frederick Ray Butterworth, Harry Edgar Butterworth, and Benjamin Kent Butterworth. Butterworth named the business E. R. Butterworth & Sons. There are claims that Butterworth would pocket half of the $50 for every body brought to his mortuary, if a regular citizen brought the body in and there are even claims that there was some kind of undertaker race that the Butterworths took part in as they tried to be the first to get to all the dead bodies. Descendants say that any claims of corruption are just wrong.

Butterworth decided he needed to build a bigger location specifically made to handle the dead, so in 1903 he hired English architect John Graham. Graham's firm would go on to build the Space Needle. For this project, he designed a five-story building with a chapel that could hold up to 200 people, a casket showroom, a crematorium, a columbarium and the very first elevator on the West Coast. It took eight design changes before Butterworth saw what would become his perfect palace of death that he would later dub a mortuary. The building was built in the Beaux Arts architectural style of the era and featured four sculpted lion heads on the facade and the inside had lavish embellishments of bronze, mahogany, brass, stained glass, Flemish oak and Victorian filigree. The bottom floor held the horses and hearses and was level with Post Alley, so that the moving of bodies was discreet. The heating plant for the building was located here too. The first floor was above the grade of Post Alley, but still below the First Avenue grade and this had what they called the "stock room." There were fireproof vaults here for storing bodies. This was the first time Seattle had a place to properly store the dead while families made decisions about what they wanted to do as a memorial for their family member. 

The main floor faced First Avenue and had the chapel complete with a choir balcony, an embalming room, morgues, private offices and a storage room with flourish items like pedestals, canopies and laying-out beds. There was a private room for clergy and family to meet as well. A best show room featured the high end caskets that could cost as much as $890, which was pretty expensive for that time. The upper floor had three flats for employees to live in and right below them was the main showroom. On this floor, there were women's burial garments, a consulting room, a showroom for child coffins and a private reception. The variety in burial clothing and coffins revealed that this was a mortuary for everyone in the city, whether they were poor or rich. And Butterworth & Sons was the main mortuary for everyone in the city. Some of the bodies that came through here reputedly belonged to victims of Doctor Linda Hazzard who we covered on our episode about Starvation Heights. She starved her patients to death. There is a scandal connected here because Butterworth cremated the emaciated body of Claire Williamson quickly and presented a different body at the funeral. The mortuary had also picked up the body without a license and one of the employees plead guilty to that charge. The Butterworths were never charged with any wrong doing, but people in town did whisper and despite E.R.'s protests, papers claimed they were friends with Hazzard.

The Butterworths revolutionized the funeral business and introduced many of the rites that we still carry on today. Funeral packages included transporting of the body via a hearse service; washing, embalming and dressing the body; publishing death notices; providing flowers; a choir and musicians; burial permits and an air-sealed vault. Everybody in town seemed to love the Butterworths and there were always plenty of handshakes and pats on the back when they walked the streets. They were a part of the elite class of Seattle, members of the Masonic order and regulars at the Arctic Club, which was a cognac-sipping and cigar-smoking salon where the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was planned. This club is today a DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, but it still features the walrus head carvings that decorate the outside. And wouldn't you know, this place is supposedly haunted. The Arctic Club was started by two men who made their fortunes during the Yukon Gold Rush. This would become a club where adventurers traveling to and from Alaska could stop in to drink and share their stories. Later, the offices of congressman Marion Zioncheck would be here and this guy was quite the character, given to outrageous antics and even some mental health breakdowns, the last of which led to him leaping to his death from the fifth floor. His spirit is said to haunt the building now. People feel cold spots, hear a disembodied male voice and disembodied footsteps. And the elevator can be erratic and likes to stop on the fifth floor even when nobody has pushed that button. Some people even claim to see the residual body of Zioncheck on the street.

Gilbert and Frederick would continue on in the business after the passing of their father and several of their own sons joined them in the business. The Butterworth Building would lose its death anchor in 1923 though, when the business moved to a different building on Melrose. This had more room. The former chapel at the mortuary hosted the second funeral of Bruce Lee and would go on to become the Chapel Bar and then The Pine Box Bar. This location is apparently haunted by to ghosts: an angry older man and a little girl. White Noise Paranormal investigated in 2013 and they caught an EVP of a little girl asking, "We're asleep?" and a whispered, "Go home." And they heard an audible "no." A chain mechanism that was installed in the basement was attached with a screw that takes 47 turns to get it to come free and one night the staff heard it crash to the floor. They have no idea how it came undone, but when they counted to see how many turns it took to release they were blown away wondering how a ghost managed to do that.

The Butterworth Building now no longer was a mortuary and ownership gets a bit murky. Unfortunately, much of the interior was lost over time. On the first floor where the old chapel and mortuary office once was, there was a restaurant here for a bit called Cafe Sophie owned by Scott and Sue Craig that lasted until 1997 and then a restaurant called Avenue One owned by Arnie Millan was here from 1997 to 2002 and then a Chinese Restaurant owned by John David Crow called Fire and Ice Lounge, which opened in 2003 and finally the Starlite Lounge was here until 2007. Restaurants had a hard time staying in this space. Patrick McAleese and his sister Karen opened Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub in 1983 in the basement, which has managed to stay here through the decades. The stock room is used as a private banquet room. Word is that this pub holds the city’s largest collection of single malt scotch. Throughout their time here, they have done a lot of renovations which stirred up activity. During one period of renovation, Kells lost their construction permit because construction was going on in the building at 4am. Karen explained that it was just the ghosts and the city responded by taking their permit away for a year.

It is not surprising that a former mortuary has ghost stories. There are at least two spirits in the building according to most employees and patrons. One is a little girl who appears to be eight-years-old with long red hair. She seems to like to play, but this playing usually comes off as pranks. She is most active during the day when there are other kids in the restaurant and she likes Irish music and appears when that is playing. It is believed that she died during the 1918 influenza outbreak. One reason people believe that is because the paranormal activity here seems to ramp up in November and it was during November of 1918 that the flu hit Seattle especially hard. 

The other ghost is thought to be male and has the name Charlie or according to another account we read, Sammy. Charlie seems to be attached to a mirror for Guinness beer. He'll show up in the mirror and then quickly disappear. He is always wearing a derby hat. Some say that you'll see him in the mirror looking right at you and then he'll vanish and then if you look away and then look back again, his visage reappears and this time he will be smiling at you. He can leave the mirror too though because musicians claim he is more active when live music is being played and they have witnessed his dark shadow near the stage.

Sue Craig from Cafe Sophie once saw shoes in a stall in the bathroom that disappeared. Arnie Milan of Avenue One said, "Two wine bottles flying off the rack, narrowly missing a manager’s head. A long-missing vase inexplicably placed on a window table that had just been set; a diner who fled after he was sure he saw an old woman hugging a shawl disappear into a wall." When the Fire and Ice Lounge was here, Crow claims that he watched a hanger straighten itself and then rock like a seesaw on a door handle. The wife of his business partner was in the restaurant late at night and she heard a door shaking. She went to the door and put her hand on the door and it stopped shaking. When she pulled her hand away, it started shaking again. Crow decided to call in a Shaman and the Shaman claimed there were 19 ghosts in the building. The Shaman blessing did little to help. A pastry chef was working at 2am and witnessed a female apparition in an "unearthly white linen dress" float by. A restaurant manager claimed to see the same apparition at a different time. Michelle Mace, a former Fire & Ice manager who worked many late nights, said, "You always feel someone is there and no one is there."

The bartenders at Kells claim to see glasses move across the bar top all on their own and sometimes even slide off, crashing to the floor. Karen McAleese tells a story about a mirror in the bar. They came in to the pub early in the morning and they see the mirror on the floor shattered, but none of the pieces of the mirror had scattered. The mirror was still all together. Karen also said that they were watching security footage one day to see who had gotten into the pub at night. Their camera was motion sensitive and would come on if triggered. It was triggered many times, but they never saw anybody in any of the recorded footage. Karen has seen two full-bodied apparitions. She told the Seattle Times that on All Saint’s Day in 2005 she saw "a tall man who looked like he was part black, with a suit jacket on. He had very thin hands. He walked to the end of the bar and just kind of faded.” And she also saw the little girl. She described her as wearing a red taffeta+ dress carrying a Raggedy Ann type of doll.

A few people have seen hands pressed upon the windows that leave behind dirty hand prints even though there is no person attached to any of this. Mercedes Carraba, had run the Market Ghost Tours and she claimed to have spotted a pair of muddy, dirty hands pressed up in the windows of the First Avenue entrance to the building. Carraba says that area outside of the bar was near a Duwamish burial site and that a 19th-century settler’s graveyard is just a block away and perhaps this spirit is connected to either of those things. The Duwamish were the area's only indigenous tribe. There may be other spirits here though too. After all, how many bodies came through this place? Candles are kept all around a small, ornate whiskey bar in a back corner of the restaurant and they often all light up by themselves. Silverware levitates and a chef who worked at Cafe Sophie claims that he set a knife down on the butcher block and it started spinning around on its own. He took off his apron, threw it on the ground and left, never returning. And the stairs in the back seem to have a lot of activity. People catch orbs and hear disembodied voices. A contractor was once up on a ladder changing a light in the chapel and when he looked down, he witnessed a parade of people walk through the chapel as though it were a funeral procession and then it all just disappeared.

Ghost Adventures investigated the building during Season 4. As happens so often when Zac is interviewing owners, the guys had an experience. Nick Groff was running the camera and he thought he saw a male figure peek out from behind a corner that was down a hallway from where Zac and the owner were standing. They all thought that maybe it was the audio guy until he stepped out from where he was on the other side of a wall, which had no access to where Nick had seen the figure. They captured an EVP that said, "Get off that thing." Zac claimed that some people have seen the ghost of a miner on the upper floor and they used some gold they panned earlier as a trigger object. Nothing really happened with that. Karen joined the guys for an EVP session in the chapel and they captured an EVP that she actually was able to decipher and she thought it said, "Get me outta here."

I watched a video featuring a tour guide who regaled her tour group with a bizarre story. The Fire and Ice Restaurant had signed a seven year lease for the building. They lasted nine months. On their final night of business, something so horrifying happened that the owners ushered the patrons all out of the restaurant while they were still eating and they locked up the doors. People passing by for a time afterward could look in the windows and see the meals still sitting on the tables. Every one, including employees had left the restaurant in a hurry. Mercedes tried to find out what happened and they would not tell her.

Kells looks like a great Irish Pub to hang out at and have a pint and with a great history connected to mortuary history, it's right up our alley. Is the Butterworth Building haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

HGB Ep. 402 - Virginia Military Institute

Moment in Oddity - Dentures (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Many people erroneously believe that President George Washington had wooden teeth. His dentures were actually made with ivory from hippos and elephants, real human teeth, rivets, gold and spiral springs. Some of the first dentures were found in Mexico in 2500 BC and they were made from wolf teeth. Italy had dentures made from both animal and human teeth in 700 BC. Japan was the first country to fashion wooden dentures. Carved ivory and bones, along with human and animal teeth were what dentists of the 18th century experimented with. Dentists weren't the only profession working on dentures. Ivory Turners, Goldsmiths and Barber-Surgeons all got in on the action. A man named Alexis Duchateau had dentures made from hippopotamus, but they rotted so he joined forces with a dentist and they created the first porcelain dentures in 1770. In the 1850s, dentures started to be made from a hardened rubber called Vulcanite that was teamed with porcelain teeth. Celluloid was the first type of plastic used for false teeth and eventually was replaced by polymethylmethacylite in 1938 and is still used today. The history of dentures, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - James/Younger Gang Attacked by Townspeople

In the month of September, on the 7th, in 1876, the James-Younger Gang was attacked by an angry mob of townspeople while trying to rob a bank. Jim, Cole and Bob Younger joined forces with Bill Chadwell, Clell Miller and Jesse and Frank James to form the James-Younger Gang with the purpose of robbing banks. And that is what they were doing that September day. Five of the men galloped into town, firing their pistols and whooping and hollaring to create a distraction while three other members of the gang entered the Northfield Minnesota First National Bank. Jesse James ordered a cashier to open the bank safe, but the cashier stalled claiming that the safe was on a timer. A teller made for the back door and was shot in the shoulder on his way out. He cried for help from the townspeople and the citizens came running with their guns. Clell Miller was shot dead by a medical student and Bill Chadwell was mortally wounded by a nearby business owner who used a rapid-fire Remington repeater rifle. All three of the Youngers were badly wounded and Frank James was shot in the leg. Jesse shot the cashier in the head and ran out of the bank, managing to get on his horse without getting shot. What was left of the gang, rode out of town and the James brothers made off on their own. They escaped to the Dakota Territory and eventually reformed a new bank robbing gang in Nashville, Tennessee.

Virginia Military Institute (Suggested by and research assistance: Jules Schlosser)

Virginia Military Institute holds the distinction of being the oldest state-supported military college in the United States. This was founded over 180 years ago and the institute takes pride in having a competitive educational program that also develops cadets to be citizen soldiers and many have gone on to be officers in the various branches of the military. One of the members of the faculty was Stonewall Jackson and there are those who claim his spirit haunts the place. That's not the only ghost here though. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Virginia Military Institute!

Virginia Military Institute is located in Lexington, Virginia, which is in the Shenandoah Valley. The Cherokee and Monacan tribes had settled here, but left after European settlers came to the area. The city was named in 1778 after Lexington, Massachusetts in honor of that city being the place where the first shot in the American Revolution was fired. A fire in 1796 almost destroyed the city and it would also come under fire during the Civil War. Texas hero Sam Houston was born here in 1793. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee would have their final resting places here. And it was here that Virginia established a military school.

Virginia Military Institute or VMI was established in 1839 and one of the traditions started at that time is still carried on today: walking guard duty as a sentry. Every cadet that has come through the school has experienced this tradition. We love that the first cadet assigned this duty was named John B. Strange. But before this first official guard duty, there had been other "guards" here. What prompted the establishment of the institute was a desire by the citizens of Lexington to get rid of the riff raff that they had guarding the local arsenal that had been built during the War of 1812. The soldiers sent to protect this arsenal were apparently a bunch of party animals that created more trouble than they were worth. But the citizens wanted to keep their arsenal. An idea was put forward to establish something like West Point Academy. 

Lexington attorney John Thomas Lewis Preston took up the reigns and lead the charge by writing three anonymous letters in the Lexington Gazette in 1835. Preston put forward the idea that students getting a liberal education while learning military discipline would not only protect the arsenal, but give the state the ability to have trained officers for the state's militia. Preston got local business owners to join him and they managed to get the Virginia legislature to pass a bill authorizing the school's formation in 1836. The Governor signed it into law and a board was formed to organize the school. Preston came up with the name Virginia Military Insitute and Claudius Crozet became the first president of the board. He had been an engineer in Napoleon Bonaparte's army and Thomas Jefferson referred to Crozet as "the smartest mathematician in the United States." The initial plan for the school was to open as a military and engineering school, rather than offering a liberal education.

The first graduating class consisted of 16 cadets who graduated in 1842. Something that has kept VMI unique is that unlike other senior military colleges in America, VMI enrolls only cadets and only offers bachelor degrees. Over the years, degrees have been offered in engineering, science and liberal arts and all cadets have to be a part of ROTC. In 1851, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson became a part of the faculty. He was a major at that time and taught Natural and Experimental Philosophy. In 1859, he led a group of VMI infantry and artillery units in traveling to Charles Town, Virginia to witness the execution of John Brown. Shortly thereafter, the Civil War started and VMI cadets were pulled into active duty. Many served with the Confederacy and many of the VMI alumni were considered the best officers in both armies, with 15 graduates attaining the ranks of general in the Confederate Army.

One of those to obtain general during the Civil War was Thomas Jackson, who also earned his nickname "Stonewall" at that time too. He would also die during the war at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Before fighting began, Jackson saw that many of the men under him were from VMI and he declared, "The Institute will be heard from today." Jackson was hit by friendly fire the evening of the battle. He and his staff were returning to camp when another regiment thought it was a Yankee trick and that men from the Union cavalry were sneaking in for a surprise attack. The General was hit in the left arm twice and once in the right hand. He was not given care right away and by the time he got help, his arm had to be amputated. He developed pneumonia and died from it eight days after being shot. His doctor, Henry McGuire, said of Jackson's death, "A few moments before he died he cried out in his delirium, 'Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks—' then stopped, leaving the sentence unfinished. Presently a smile of ineffable sweetness spread itself over his pale face, and he said quietly, and with an expression, as if of relief, 'Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.'" On May 15, 1863, the Corps of Cadets escorted Jackson’s remains to his grave in Lexington. His arm didn't make the trip. It was buried at the field hospital. Perhaps that is why he is at unrest, but more on that later.

The cadets of VMI were called into service again during the Civil War for the Battle of New Market. This campaign helped turn the tide in favor of the Confederacy. Two hundred forty-seven cadets marched 80 miles from Lexington to New Market before the battle started on May 15, 1864. The VMI cadets held the line and pushed the Union forces back over an open muddy field, capturing Union artillery along the way and securing a victory. Ten of those men would perish and 47 were wounded. Six of the dead are buried on the VMI grounds behind a statue named "Virginia Mourning Her Dead" by sculptor Moses Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a cadet at VMI and wounded in that battle. The American Battlefield Trust recognizes this as the only time in US history that a student body from an operating college fought as a unit in pitched combat in battle. In all, VMI cadets were called into action fourteen times. And on that term pitched battle, we weren't sure what that was, but apparently it is like a date. A very bad date. Worse than a blind date because there will be causalities. This is a planned battle where both sides commit to it with the option of pulling out before the battle begins. So this differentiates it from an ambush or a meeting engagement, which is at an unexpected time and location. The Institute would suffer its own damage during the war when it was shelled and burned on June 12, 1864. This was only a temporary set-back as the damage was repaired and the Institute was reopened on October 17, 1865.

The school would continue to grow and expand, educating more and more cadets into the early 1900s. Fourteen hundred thousand alumni would serve during World War I and cadets at the school practiced building trenches and conducting trench warfare where Foster Stadium would eventually be built. After the war, the library was added as well as a new engineering building. Special training programs were added during World War II and more than 4,000 alumni served during the war. So many veterans of the war wanted to use their GI Bill at VMI, that a new barracks needed to be built. However, like so many other areas, VMI was slow to diversify their cadet body. The first cadets were strictly from Virginia and numbered twenty-three. It wasn't until 1857 that the institute was open to all residents of America. And it wouldn't be until 1972 that the first black cadets would graduate. Back in 1991, VMI was taken to court because it would not admit women. The Justice Department said that it was unconstitutional for tax payers to support a school that didn't allow women while the school argued that "admitting women would destroy the camaraderie among men that is at the heart of its military training." Women won and the first female cadets entered the Corps in 1997. Today, women comprise about 8 percent of the 1,600-member cadet Corps. 

Since the Mexican-American War, VMI cadets have served in every war involving the United States. During World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, over 300 alumni were killed; during Operation Desert Storm two alumni were killed; two VMI alumni were killed on September 11, 2001 in the terrorist attacks on America and twelve alumni were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another well known graduate of VMI was General of the Army George C. Marshall who graduated in 1901 and served as the World War II Army Chief of Staff. He was architect of the Marshall Plan, which was named for him and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Marshall Plan was an economic plan for Europe to rebuild after World War II and was enacted in 1948. The plan also wanted to halt the spread of communism and led to the start of the Cold War and called for the formation of NATO.

Another well known graduate was Jonathan M. Daniels who graduated in 1961 as valedictorian. After Daniels graduated, he realized he was called into the ministry and attended the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He heard Dr. Martin Luther King calling for clergy to become involved in the Civil Rights movement and Daniels went to Alabama to help register black voters. He was arrested for doing that. After being released, he accompanied a Catholic priest named Richard Morrisroe and two black teenagers named Joyce Bailey and Ruby Sales to a store to buy some sodas. A man named Tom Coleman, who was the part-time deputy sheriff, stopped them on the steps of the store. He held a shotgun and aimed it at sixteen-year-old Ruby Sales. Daniels pushed Ruby down and stepped in front of her, taking the shot from the gun, killing him instantly. Coleman fired again, seriously wounding the Catholic priest. Martin Luther King, Jr. said of the incident, "One of the most heroic Christian deeds of which I have heard in my entire ministry was performed by Jonathan Daniels." Daniels would eventually be named a Lesser Saint of the Episcopal Church for his sacrifice.

There are several legends and ghosts reputedly that are connected to the military institute. The first legend is connected to the Virginia Mourning Her Dead Statue for the fallen students from the Battle of New Market. Cadets claim to have heard cries coming from the statue. And there have even been real tears reported to be coming from the eyes. One of the ghosts at VMI is also connected to the Battle of New Market. Cadet William Hugh McDowell from North Carolina started at VMI in August of 1863. He was killed on May 15, 1864 at the battle while serving as a cadet Private in Company B. (You know who else was a part of Company B: the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy!) Private McDowell's remains were taken to his father, along with his effects. His father noticed that a gold watch he had given his son was not among those effects. Nobody knows what happened to the watch, but the cadet seems to be at unrest over that. People claim to see the ghost cadet walking around as though he is looking for something on the battlefield.

There are claims of a helpful ghost who knocks on the doors of cadets that are set to do guard duty. It is as though the spirit is making sure they are not late for sentry duty. And another ghost seems to belong to a hanged man and there is a story told about a cadet who hanged himself from the balcony at JM Hall. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson also seems to be hanging out here in the afterlife. Some of his possessions and the bones of his war horse Little Sorrel are on display at the campus chapel. This was only one of two Civil War horses that were mounted when they died. Jackson's body laid in state in his classroom. Many people have witnessed a blue light that drifts through the hallways and goes into Jackson's old classroom. They believe that blue light is Jackson's spirit.

The most disturbing spirit here is called The Yellow Peril. This figure appears on the third floor of the barracks and got its name because it has a bony and yellow face. The best narrative about this entity we found on Reddit by poster libertyordeath11, "I have had a couple of different experiences/encounters at VMI, but none compare to this one. There was a story about a ghost/poltergeist called The Yellow Peril. Apparently it was a ghost that was only seen on the 3rd floor near a particular stairwell inside the barracks that had a yellow face with a bloody gash down the center. (I’m literally getting chills as I write this…) Anyway, there were a couple of cadets and faculty that had claimed to have seen it. Always the same description, same location, and always at around 0330 at night. (This is also the time when drum-outs take place; when a cadet is dismissed for an honor violation). Everyone who said they saw it always said that they were walking the stoops when they got the powerful feeling that they were being watch or that someone was following them. When they turned around, there it was, the yellow face with a bleeding scar, staring right at them.

Anyway, one night when I lived on the 3rd floor of the barracks (I was a sophomore cadet at the time, and all sophomores live on the 3rd floor), I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. (Cadet rooms do not have bathrooms, and you have to leave your room and walk on the outside stoop to go to one.) I remember looking at my clock and it said 0329, but I didn’t think anything of it. Well I went to the bathroom and was walking back to my room, passing by that particular staircase, when every hair on my body stood up. (Again, I’m getting chills right now just writing this.) I have never before nor since had such a strong “sixth sense” feeling like it, and I can actually remember an internal voice in my head telling me that if I turned around, I was going to see something I did not want to see. Well, I’d love to tell you that I was brave and turned around, but I didn’t, and instead I pulled my bathrobe up over the back of my head and walked as swiftly as I could back to my room. Everything in me wanted to run, but I knew that if I did that, I would panic. The whole way back I felt like I was being followed, even once I got into my room. I went to go lay down in my rack, pulled my blanket over my head, and tried to go back to sleep.

Here’s where it gets even creepier… A couple of months later I was doing some personal research in the bottom level of the library in the section on VMI history (which is rather extensive). Anyway, I found this book called “Memories of VMI” or something like that, published in 1937. It was a collection of different stories from alumni around the turn of the century, some comical, some not so. Well, as I was flipping through the various chapters/stories, I saw one titled “The VMI Phantom”. It sounded interesting, so I began to read it. It was a story from an alumnus who was talking about an event back when he was a cadet. He said that one morning a sophomore cadet seemed pretty shaken during breakfast, and his roommates were trying to find out what was wrong. After a while, he finally told them that the night before, around 0330, he awoke in his bed to the feeling that he was being watched. When he looked up, he saw standing over him a ghost with a yellow face and a bleeding scar… (More chills.) His roommates all laughed at him and told him that he was just dreaming. Well, a few nights later two other sophomore cadets said they both woke up in the middle of the night after feeling the sensation that they were being watched, and both saw the ghost with a yellow face and bleeding scar. Word traveled through barracks about the apparition, and a number of cadets decided to try to “catch” the spirit. The next night two cadet roommates who were on the football team woke up and saw the ghost. Both apparently leapt at the ghost and tried to pin it to the wall with a chair. One cadet was flung over a table by the ghost and the other broke his arm. After that, the entire barracks was in a state of panic. Cadets slept with their rifles, bayonets, and a few kept pistols underneath their pillows. Officers who normally performed midnight checks to make sure cadets were in their beds after lights out were apparently rushing along the stoops as quickly as possible, completely neglecting to even look into rooms. After a time, the ghost hadn't been seen for a while, and everything went back to normal…

After finishing the chapter, I was utterly stunned. Here was a story, written from a no doubt honorable man, almost 100 years prior, describing the exact same ghost, with the same descriptions and in the same location, that cadets and faculty were seeing today. No one I talked to ever knew anything about “the yellow peril” having been seen decades before, and the book I found probably hadn’t been read for well over 50 years. After that, I knew that what I felt on the 3rd stoop that night wasn’t my imagination. It was the same ghost that has been haunting that area of the old barracks for a hundred years. I never walked anywhere near that part of the barracks after dark for the rest of my cadetship." 

In 2019, LuckySquirrel 21 wrote on Reddit, "I remember when I was a cadet there. I was on guard one foggy night and I was walking along my assigned route. It was dead silent. All of a sudden I thought I heard foot steps behind me. I looked back but no one was there. I kept walking and I heard them again. Again, I turned around, no one there. I was pretty scared at this moment so I thought I’d play a trick. I walked a couple of steps and then suddenly stopped before my foot touched the ground, AND I SWEAR TO THIS DAY I HEARD A STEP BEHIND ME! Also, I remember hearing a story from an alumni, class of ‘76 who heard this story from another alumni, class of ‘47. He told me that him and his roommates were up late one night in their room studying, when all of a sudden the door flew open in a gust of wind and a ghostly cadet dressed in civil war style clothes walked in carrying a lantern. All he said was “turn out your candles” before he disappeared." 

Jkinster shared his experience on Reddit 11 years ago, "First let me begin by saying that I am a Cadet at the Virginia Military Institute and am bound by the nations strickest code to tell things how they truly happen, not loaded with a bunch of half truths and what not. Having said that, my first encounter, if you will, happened oh about 2 years ago in my second year here at the I. I was the corporal of the guard that night, 2nd relief and my shift ran from 220 to 440 in the morning. So one night as I was making my nightly check of the Jackson Memorial Chapel, I noticed a thick fog setting in over the parade ground, which is never very settling at 330 in the morning. Anyway, my job was to ensure that all the doors were locked and no one was in there after hours. Well I checked the three main entrances in front of the building, all locked, and made my way to the one door behind the chapel which happened to be down two stories of concrete stairs that ran along the outside of the building. Being in uniform for guard includes a dark grey blouse, starched white pants, and thick soled leather low quarters which make a very distinct sound hitting concrete pavement. As I was walking down these stairs, I could feel chills running down my spine and noticed my flashlight trembling from my hands shaking so badly, which is no normal occurrence for me. I reached the last step and reached for the door when as I stopped moving heard two more clacks of low quarters hitting pavement as clear as day come down the stairs right behind me. Shaking I spun around saw nothing and proceeded to run back up to the ground level dropping my flashlight behind the chapel. As I was moving back to the guard room at a rather brisk pace, I looked across the parade deck and noticed what looked like a deer grazing just inside the fog line. Weird for 330 AM. But I kept moving and after a few more steps looked again and saw its head perked up staring directly at me, now this animal was about 100 yards away in fog but I could clearly see it on all fours and the faint outline of its head perked up in my direction. And after what just happened, I was a little spooked until I saw it rear up on two legs and dart in the opposite direction into the fog... I'm not sure if this has any historical occurrence here at VMI, but I know what I saw and I was terrified, so I ran back into the guard room and stayed put til my shift was over...

Another odd occurrence was with what my roommate and I believed to be the legendary yellow peril of VMI, said to haunt the third stoop in a corner of barracks with a not so bright history. The yellow peril is said to take the form of a cadet in a dark grey blouse wearing a garrison cap with the brim pulled down over his eyes and a faint yellow tinted face with a gash strewn across it. So one night during Virginia's biggest wind storm in the past decade, My roommate and I were sitting our room when we heard a loud screech coming from the wind rattling the window panes in the windows when all of a sudden the windows slammed shut, which open inward and the transom above our door slammed shut which also opens inward. That alone was enough to worry us when as we moved towards the door to see what happened we both saw crystal clear a figure without a face in a cadets uniform walk past the door window looking in. We realized it was around 2 AM so we looked to see who it was and saw nothing, looked in rooms to our left and right and saw no one awake. came back to our room and saw no one there. Petrified, we both sat for a while staring aimlessly out the doorway until we both eventually fell asleep. If any of you aver get a chance to talk to a VMI alumni, ask him what hes seen, it'll blow your mind." 

Another Redditer wrote, "I've had some weird shit happen to me and one of my roommates in that corner of Old Barracks. We were in room 121 and squatted there from 3rd class year till 1st class. So two stories. 1: My roomie and I were up late cramming for a statics final 3rd class year while our other two roomies were out in scott ship doing whatever it is LA majors do. It's just a bit before 2am and we're tired and decide to call it quits for the night. Lights go out, pillow over the head, and I'm drifting to sleep. A few minutes later the light of one of our other roommates turns on, there was no audible flick of the switch or anything. It wakes us both up and we have a minor "Yo wtf just happened" moment. Eventually we calm down and get back to snoozing. A few nights later, we're studying some more late at night and the same thing happens. This time we're both still up and visibly saw it. The switch indeed did not move, the light just turned on. We really freaked out this time and didn't fall asleep for the rest of the night. Left for winter furlough the next day.

2: First class year I woke up around 3:30 having the urge to take a massive piss. I get myself out of bed, through my bath robe and warm comfy slippers on, and stumble over to that small men's room in the corner. Relief washes over me as I execute and exquisite midnight pee. After I wash my hands and dry them, I walk out of the bathroom. As my eye's are adjusting from the bright light inside to the almost pitch black of old barracks, I make out the shape of someone coming into the bathroom through that really narrow entryway. So I go sideways and reach out to pat him on the back and guide myself around him. Except my hand goes through him. If I had not just used the restroom I would have pissed myself in shock. I ran back to my room and was awake all night from the adrenaline."

A cadet named James D. Hankins wrote in a letter in 1921 to a friend named Florence about a spook haunting the Old Barracks. In the letter he tells the woman that the ghost has them all so scared that they are sleeping with loaded pistols on their tables and bayonets under their pillows. He remarks, "Poor Old Ghost." (Citation: James D. Hankins papers. Manuscript # 0144, Virginia Military Institute Archives https://archivesspace.vmi.edu/repositories/3/resources/224 Accessed September 10, 2021.) Clearly, the Institute has a firm place in military history. Is Virginia Military Institute haunted? That is for you to decide!