Thursday, December 28, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley Die on Same Date
Suggested by: Lindsey Sutton
In the mid 1980s, a musical subculture started in the Northwest that came to be known as Grunge. Two prominent voices arose during that time, Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley. Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of the band Nirvana and Layne Staley was the lead singer of Alice in Chains. The details of Cobain's death are mysterious. Officially, his death was ruled a suicide by shotgun and he had high levels of heroin and diazepam in his system. There are some who believe that his death was staged to look like a suicide and that he actually was murdered. Staley died of what was officially ruled an accidental overdose of cocaine and heroin, known as a speedball. What is odd about both of these men's deaths is the fact that they both died on the exact same day, April 5th, eight years apart. And they both were found days after they died. Cobain was discovered three days after his death by an electrician at his house. Staley was discovered two weeks after his death. Was it just a coincidence that two of the most influential voices in Grunge died on the exact same date? One thing is for sure, it certainly is odd!
This Month in History - First Car Number Plate Issued in England
In the month of December, on the 24th, in 1903, the first car number plate was issued in England. In the beginning of the 1900s, more and more people were becoming owners of cars in Great Britain. With more cars on the road, auto accidents began to increase. The Motor Car Act of 1903 made it compulsory for every motorcar to be registered with a number plate to make it easier to identify cars. Registration began on January 1, 1904. The first car plate number issued was, of course, A1. It was registered to Earl Russell who had camped out all night to ensure that he received the first plate. The registration system has changed four times since then to accommodate all the vehicle registrations through the decades. Numbers were initially made up of a local council identifier code of up to 3 letters, followed by a random number, like ABC 123.
Emlen Physick Estate (Suggested by Becki Fleming)
Cape May in New Jersey is considered to be America's oldest seaside resort and while the word "cape" is part of its name, Cape May is actually an island. Dr. Emlen Physick, Jr. built his home on Cape May at the age of 21 and he spent his entire life there. The estate is gorgeous with a unique "Stick-Style" Victorian architecture style. The doctor clearly loved the home that he shared with three other family members. They all died here and perhaps that is why it is believed that all of their spirits have remained here as well. Join us and Deana Marie of the TwistedPhilly Podcast as we discuss the history and hauntings of the Emlen Physick Estate!
The Kechemeche Indians of the Lenni-Lenape tribe were the first people in the Cape May area. Sir Henry Hudson discovered the island in 1609 and Cornelius Jacobsen Mey explored it in 1621. English colonists settled and built the island into a prosperous fishing and whaling colony. By the mid 1700s, Cape Island, as it was called at the time, became a popular place for vacationing. Visitors were brought in from Philadelphia by sloops, schooners, horse-drawn wagons and stagecoaches. There were no official inns at the time, so guests were housed in residential homes and taverns.
By 1834, there were six boarding houses and people were coming from many east coast big cities. Bigger hotels were built, like the New Atlantic, and by 1852, the Mt. Vernon Hotel was under construction. The plan was to accommodate 3500 guests at the hotel, making it the largest hotel in the world. It was consumed by fire in 1856, before it was completed. The Cottage Era began in the 1860s. This was a time when land was parceled out for Philadelphia families to build summer homes. A devastating fire broke out in 1878 and destroyed 35 acres of the heart of the island. Cape Island was rebuilt in a scaled-down version with architecture following the Gothic, Queen Anne and American bracketed styles. One of the new homes built at that time in 1879 was the Emlen Physick Estate.
The 18-room home was built for Dr. Emlen Physick, Jr. He hired renowned architect Frank Furness to design the home and is thought to be one of the best American examples of the Victorian style of building known as "Stick Style." The style was influenced by Tudor-style construction that featured exposed half-timbering and heavy oak framing. Decorative facades were used in stick-style to emphasize the basic wood frame structure underneath. The Emlen Physick features this style through decorative structural overlay, steeply gabled roofs, extended rafters with brackets to support the overhanging roof, decorative brickwork panels and large brackets that form curved diagonal braces along the porch. The interior features dark, ornately carved wood, Victorian wallpaper and a broad staircase.
Dr. Physick lived with his widowed mother, Mrs. Frances Ralston, and his Aunts Emilie and Isabelle, at the mansion. He never married. The Physick family's roots ran deep in Philadelphia and his grandfather was Dr. Philip Syng Physick, whom is referred to as the father of American surgery. He was also the inventor of the stomach pump in 1812. Dr. Emlen Physick studied medicine to carry on in the family tradition, but he actually never practiced. He enjoyed being a country gentleman and loved his dogs. His mother would not allow the dogs in the house, but her sister Aunt Emilie would sneak the dogs in whenever Mrs. Ralston was away.
Dr. Emlen Physick was 58 when he died on March 21, 1916. His Aunt Emilie was the last family member left and she stayed in the house until her death in 1935. The house was willed by Emilie to the neighbor who took care of her, Frances Brooks. Drs. Harry and Marian Sidney Newcomer purchased the house around 1946 from Frances Brooks. Marian died in 1949 and her husband remarried and stayed in the house until his new wife could no longer bear the haunting activity going on in the house. They moved to an apartment and sold the house to Cape May Inns, Inc. in 1967. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) was formed in 1970 and it saved the estate from demolition and restored it. The city of Cape May eventually purchased the estate and MAC leases it from the city. The organization operates the Victorian historic house as a museum and offers guided tours year-round. The entire estate covers four-acres and features not only the main house, but a Carriage House, the Carroll Gallery, a museum shop, the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom and Hill House.
The mansion is thought to be the most haunted location on Cape May. There are claims that Dr. Physick, his mother, his aunts and his dogs all haunt their former home. The paranormal hot spot in the house is Mrs. Ralston's room on the second floor. She died an agonizingly slow death in there from cancer in 1915. The bed there belonged to her. Dr. Newcomer would tell his friends that even though he was a man of science, he believed there were ghosts in the home. He heard footsteps and noises that he could not explain. Cleaning crews would complain about noises and disturbing events that had many of them leaving the house and not returning. Isabelle had been sickly and in a wheelchair and the family is said to have hid her away from the public for this reason. She died in 1883 in the house and it is believed that feelings of sadness in the house could be attributed to her. *Fun Fact: Isabelle was so hidden, that the house tours used to not even mention her.*
Craig McManus is a psychic who leads ghost tours and seances in the home and he has interacted with all of the family spirits and claims that other spirits show up on occasion as well. Craig's first visit to the house was not by his choice. A friend who loved history dragged him along and he says of that, "I am so glad I listened to Kathy! My experiences with the old house, from that day onward, have been some of the best paranormal times of my career." Craig claims that there is also a spirit in the carriage house that might have been Dr. Physick’s driver. Dr. Physick had the first automobile in Cape May. Guests claim to be touched during ghost tours and many have seen the apparition of a woman in vintage clothing wandering around the house.
The author of The Blog on the Borderland website attended a seance at the estate and wrote, "At some point, in the midst of all this, a woman to my left asked, 'Did anyone hear that sigh?'...I realized that I had indeed been hearing a sigh for some period of time—a beat, a few seconds, a moment—but it took a bit longer for my brain to catch up to what was happening. And then I thought, 'Yes, I did hear that sigh. I have been hearing it.' (but for how long?) And it wasn’t just any sigh, either. It hung in the air, just off my left shoulder. It was not a typical, weary sigh, not an exasperated or wistful sigh, but a long, breathy, drawn out sound. Sort of like wind, or the opening of an air lock. Or like the spooky respiration of some unnamed person on the other end of the phone line. It had a physical quality that pricked my skin. It seemed to occupy both a space in the room and some other void. I looked around and try to figure out if anyone around me could be doing all that sighing, but I couldn’t tell for sure. Then, the sound moved. It migrated up and to the rear, and I heard it just behind and above my head, near the door. And there was definitely no one standing back there."
Many people claim to have had experiences at this historic home. Have they really experienced something or is it just the power of suggestion? Has the psychic Craig McManus actually made contact with the former residents of the home in their spirit forms? Is the Emlen Physick Estate haunted? That is for you to decide!
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Brazilian Treehopper
There are around 3200 species of the treehopper insect. One of these is the Brazilian Treehopper, which seems to be a part of the Addams Family branch of the insect family. This is an insect that leads a solitary life in treetops, feeding off the sap in leaf stems. Pretty normal bug stuff, until you see the thing. The Brazilian Treehopper has an odd antenna-like appendage that sticks up out of its body and this antenna has four round appendages coming off of that. Each of those have little hairs covering them. They look almost like four eyes looking off in different directions. There is also a long spike shaped piece that comes off the rear of this attachment. Scientists are unsure if they actually have a purpose, such as to scare off predators, or if they are meant to be ornamental. Now you know you want to go Google an image, so do it. We think you will agree that the Brazilian Treehopper, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Silver Bridge Collapses in Point Pleasant
In the month of December, on the 5th, in 1967, the Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River in Point Pleasant, West Virginia collapses. The Silver Bridge was an eyebar-chain suspension bridge that was built in 1928. The bridge got its name from the silver paint that was painted on its aluminum frame. Just before sundown on that cold December 5th day, commuters were making their way home from work either driving back across into Ohio or West Virginia. An eyebar that helped suspend the bridge fractured, and the 1800 foot structure fell into the river. Forty-six people lost their lives and nine others were seriously hurt. One of the survivors was Charlene Wood, who was pregnant at the time and driving a 1967 Pontiac. She said of the event, “As I was approaching the bridge, the light changed. When it went to green, I started over the bridge and there was a terrible shaking of the bridge. My father was a riverboat captain and had talked about barges hitting the bridge and the pier, so when I heard that, I automatically put my car in reverse.” Her car stalled, and she continued, “by the time I got my car stopped, mine was on the very edge where it broke off.” Many people believe the legendary Mothman either caused the tragedy or brought a warning that it was going to happen when he is rumored to have appeared before the bridge collapsed.
Gettysburg College (Suggested by listener Kaydi Bigelow)
Gettysburg is a town in Pennsylvania that is well known for its haunts. The place is steeped in history from the bloody Battle of Gettysburg to one of the most well known Presidential speeches of all time, the Gettysburg Address given by President Abraham Lincoln. So it only makes sense that spirits would be alive and well here. One location that is overshadowed by the Gettysburg Battlefield, but which seems to be just as haunted, is Gettysburg College. The college was founded before the Civil War in 1832. Fighting forces would cross the campus and several buildings would become field hospitals during the Battle of Gettysburg. Listener and Executive Producer Kaydi Bigelow suggested this location and she shares with us her experience of growing up in Gettysburg and attending Gettysburg College, along with the stories of the many spirits that still seem to be hanging around the campus in the afterlife.
Anti-slavery theologian Samuel Simon Schmucker founded Pennsylvania College in 1832. In 1837, the college moved into Pennsylvania Hall. This hall was built on land donated by abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. Stevens was a lawyer for many years in Gettysburg before getting involved in politics. He eventually became the largest landowner in Gettysburg. He was fiercely against slavery and after the Civil War, he made it his goal to get African-Americans their Civil Rights during Reconstruction. He obtained this goal when he authored the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed full civil rights to citizens of all states. It is only fitting that the most important battle of the Civil War would be fought in Gettysburg and it was a great Union victory.
The college expanded and grew over the years after the war. In 1921, Pennsylvania College became Gettysburg College. The campus now stretches over 225 acres and sits adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park. There are over 90 buildings on the main campus. Pennsylvania Hall still stands and serves as the Administration Building. There is the College Union Building, Eddie Plank Gym, Masters Hall, Briedenbaugh Hall, Musselman Library, Weidensall Hall, McKnight Hall, Glatfelter Hall, Schmucker Hall, Brua Hall and various dorms and fraternities. The Quad is located outside of the library and is nicknamed "Stine Lake." There is no lake here, but several decades ago, a large muddy pond would form in this area due to bad drainage. That issue had been taken care of, but the nickname has remained.
Kaydi shared many tales of haunting experiences people have had throughout the years at the college. Are these students and faculty just imagining these occurrences? Is Gettysburg College haunted? That is for you to decide!
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Foxfire
Anyone who has walked through a wet, deep forest has more than likely noticed that mushrooms have an affinity for growing on rotting wood. In some forests these mushrooms give off an eerie bioluminescent glow that has been nicknamed "fairy fire." The more formal name is Foxfire, but the fox part is not representative of the animal. The term refers to the French word fols, which means "false." So basically the name means false fire. It is believed that the bluish-green glow of the mushrooms is from luciferase, which is an oxidative enzyme. The glowing attracts insects to spread spores and keeps animals from eating it. Documentation of this glowing oddity dates back to Aristotle in 382 B.C. Foxfire is mostly found in the tropics and just last year, a new variety was discovered at Ribeira Valley Tourist State Park near Sao Paulo, Brazil. Foxfire makes fungus beautiful, but it certainly is odd!
This Month in History - First Permanent Artificial Heart Implanted
In the month of December, on the 2nd, in 1982, the first permanent artificial heart was implanted in 61-year-old Barney C. Clark by Dr. William De Vries at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Clark was a Seattle dentist who was suffering congestive heart failure at the age of 61. His illness was so severe that he was not a candidate for a heart transplant. The FDA had just approved an artificial heart for human implantation. The device was named the Jarvik 7 after Dr. Robert Jarvik who was one of its key developers. The Jarvik 7 employed a heart-shaped pump that had an external pneumatic compressor that connected to the pump by tubes running through the chest wall and this regulated blood flow. The threat of infection was high though. Clark knew that he would probably not live long, but he wanted to further science. He managed to live for 112 days with the artificial heart, but it was an awful time for him. He suffered mutliple infections and strokes and begged to be allowed to die. He finally did die on March 23, 1983.
Haunted Cemeteries 7
The final resting places we are covering in this haunted cemeteries episode are all very different with one thing in common, they are all haunted. The Waldheim Cemetery is a large conglomeration of several cemeteries within one cemetery that was set aside for the Jewish dead of Chicago. The famous specter here is a hitchhiking ghost. La Recoleta Cemetery is a graveyard that Denise has visited in Buenos Aires, Argentina and she was amazed by the beauty of the architecture of the over 4,000 above-ground crypts found here. Old Gray Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in Knoxville, reputedly home to another Black Aggie. And Stull Cemetery illicits chills from just the mention of the name because people who know the legend here knows that it involves portals to Hell and visits from the Devil. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of these four cemeteries.
Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois
Forest Park is a village and suburb of Chicago. The village was originally part of the larger city Harlem. It was incorporated in 1907. The history of Forest Park is of great interest to taphophiles because it was once considered a city of the dead because there were so many cemeteries here at one time that there were more dead residents than living one. One of those dead residents is nearly as famous as her counterpart Resurrection Mary. This hitchhiking ghost has the nickname Melodie Millie having been named after the nearby Melody Mill. The cemetery that she asks to be dropped off at is named Waldheim Cemetery.
Waldheim Cemetery is a Jewish Cemetery that was established in Forest Park in 1870. The cemetery was divided into 288 separate sections with each one representing a family group or a synagogue or an organization. Each of these sections had their own prices, rules, regulations and individual caretakers. Most of the ornate entrances and dividing fences still exist today. There are reportedly 300 gates. The first Jewish interment was held in 1873. In those earlier days, a funeral procession would take quite some time to make its way to the cemetery. This all changed in 1914 when the Metropolitan Elevated L Tracks began a special funeral route train. That route ran until July 13, 1934. Immigrant based Jewish organizations kept up the care of the cemetery, but over the decades, these organizations faded away and before long, Waldheim began to look neglected. Today, it has recovered with new efforts by the Waldheim Cemetery Company to upkeep the beautiful historic cemetery. There are estimated to be around 150,000 Jewish burials in the cemetery.
There are a couple of famous burials here. The first is Clara Peller. That name might not ring a bell until you hear that she was the little old lady made famous as the Wendy's spokesperson who asked, "Where's the beef?" She was plucked from obscurity to star in the commercials and it was a boon for Wendy's. She was born in 1902 and worked as a manicurist until she retired. And that was when Wendy's came calling. She actually was fired from her spokesperson job after doing a commercial for a spaghetti sauce. She passed away in 1987. Another famous burial belongs to Michael Todd who was a motion picture innovator and producer in the 1950s. He's probably most famous for being married at one time to Elizabeth Taylor. He died in 1958. Albert Weinshenker is buried here as well. He was a gangster who worked for Bugs Moran and he was one of the victims in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Melody Mill was known to the locals simply as "The Mill." The Mill was a dance hall that opened in the 1930s and hosted young people until it closed in 1984. The young woman who haunts the road from The Mill to Waldheim Cemetery is unknown, but her legend predates that of Resurrection Mary. That legend first began in 1933 and rose to prominence in 1938 when a bandleader named Tiny Hill told the story on a WGN radio show. He had been performing at The Mill and heard the story there. Apparently, a young woman had been dancing with three young men who all offered her a ride home. She accepted and they got in the car that was one of the young men's and they drove towards Waldheim Cemetery. She asked them to stop the car right outside of the cemetery. She got out and headed into the cemetery. Two of the men followed after her, maybe because they feared for her safety or perhaps they had ill intentions. Either way, those two men were found the next day in the cemetery, alive but driven insane by whatever they saw in the cemetery. Their driver friend who had remained with the vehicle was dead at the wheel. The story continues that a purse was left in the car and the police found an address inside. They took the purse to the home and were shocked when the woman living there told them the purse belonged to her daughter...who had died three years earlier. Even though there has to be a name connected to this legend, it has been lost to time.
La Recoleta Cemetery
There are many diverse burials at La Recoleta Cemetery and many are very ornately decorated. A few have fallen into disrepair revealing the brickwork beneath the marble. Different architectural styles found here are Baroque, Neo-Gothic, Art Deco and Art Nouveau. It was after the Argentinian War for Independence that a plan was put forward to create a cemetery worthy of the wealthy elites living in Buenos Aires. The location that was chosen had been a former monastery to the Order of the Recoletos. This order was part of the Franciscan Order and the Recollect Fathers had established the neighborhood of Recoleta in the 18th century. Their chapel, Our Lady of Pilar, was built in 1732 and still stands. The graveyard opened in 1822 and encompassed 14 acres that was designed by French civil engineer Próspero Catelinand. His design has the cemetery broken into areas similar to city blocks with wide, tree-lined walkways. The entrance features tall Doric columns and neo-classical gates. The cemetery was initially named Cementerio del Norte and was on one of the highest points in the city. The name was later changed to Cementerio de la Recoleta.
There are around 4,000 burials with many important and famous burials that include Argentinian presidents, the founder of the Argentine Navy, Nobel Peace Prize winner Luis Federico Leloir, the illegitimate granddaughter of Napoleón Bonaparte named Isabel Walewaski Colonna and Eva Peron made famous in the play Evita. Eva Peron was born in 1919 as Eva Maria Durate. Her early life was one of poverty and she moved to Buenos Aires as an adult, so she could pursue acting and singing. She met Colonel Juan Peron in 1944 and the two married in 1945. Juan was elected President of Argentina in 1946 and Eva got heavily involved with politics at this time as well. She spoke on behalf of labor rights, women's suffrage, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation and founded the Female Peronist Party, the nation's first large-scale female political party. She decided to run for the office of Vice President of Argentina in 1951 and she received wide support. The nation's military and elite opposed her though and when she was diagnosed with cancer, she withdrew her candidacy. The cancer eventually killed her at the age of 33 in 1952 and Eva Perón was given the title of "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" by the Argentine Congress. Her corpse was put on public display for two years, disappeared for 16 years, was shipped to Spain where Juan and his new wife kept it in their dining room on a platform and finally was buried in the Durate family crypt.
There are several spirits who haunt the cemetery. One of these spirits is said to belong to a former grave digger at La Recoleta named David Alleno. He loved the cemetery and all the beautiful architecture of the various tombs. He himself wanted to have a grand final resting place and so he would put all his earnings toward his burial plot. When he had enough, he commissioned and Italian sculpture to make a statue in his likeness. After everything was completed, Alleno committed suicide. It is believed that his spirit roams the cemetery because of the suicide. Visitors claim to hear the jingle of his keys echoing throughout the property.
Another of the ghosts is believed to belong to a woman named Rufina Cambeceres. She was the nineteen year-old girl of a wealthy family living in Buenos Aires in the late 1800s. Rufina had been getting ready for a night out on the town when she died suddenly. She was put in a casket, taken out to the cemetery and put in the family's mausoleum. Cemetery workers were doing a regular patrol of the grounds and when they looked in the Cambeceres Mausoleum, they saw that Rufina's coffin had been moved and the lid was no longer properly set. This made them believe that grave robbers had come to take away the jewelry that Rufina was wearing. They opened the casket and saw that her jewelry was still there. But her body was in a sad state. She was covered in bruises and there were scratch marks all over the inside of the casket. She had actually been alive and just in a coma when she was placed in the coffin. Theories claim that she had suffered from cataplexy brought on by narcolepsy. Cataplexy is a sudden weakening of the muscles caused by the destruction of the neurotransmitter hypocretin. Hypocretin regulates the awake cycle. So poor Rufina was conscience of everything going on around her, but unable to respond. And when she was able to respond, it was after she was already suffocating in the casket. It is for this traumatic reason that people believe she walks the graveyard at night. Some believe she is trying to unearth bodies to make sure no one else has been buried alive. The mausoleum is beautiful and features a stone statue of the young woman leaning upon its door.
Judy wrote of her visit to the cemetery, "For those of you sensitive to different energies, I can tell you that at least a part of this cemetery is haunted. The energy was extremely heavy and very uncomfortable. Some of the spirits aren't friendly. I told my friend and we walked to a different area, & the negativity didn't follow. Unfortunately, I didn't protect myself well enough and woke up the next morning sick. If you're sensitive to energy, take some precautions to protect yourself!"
Old Gray Cemetery (Suggested by Tammie McCarroll-Burroughs)
Old Gray Cemetery is located in Knoxville, Tennessee and it is the second oldest cemetery in the city. The graveyard was incorporated in 1850 and is the final resting place of many prominent people from Tennessee. The architecture here is Victorian in style and thus, this is also a garden cemetery. Victorian angels make up the bulk of the statuary and there are many obelisks as well. The winding avenues spread out over 13 acres. Old Gray is named in honor of Thomas Gray who was an English poet during the 1700s. He wrote the poem, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." Mrs. Henrietta Brown Reese, who was the wife of the first president of the cemetery board of trustees, suggested the name Gray. It was called simply Gray Cemetery until a newer cemetery was built in 1892 and then this became Old Gray. Old Gray was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
The first person buried in the cemetery was William Martin. An exploding cannon fired during a July 4th celebration killed him and he was buried in the northwest corner of Old Gray on July 15, 1851 before the cemetery was completely laid out. The cemetery is the final resting place of over 9000 people. These people include those who died during Knoxville's 1854 cholera outbreak and victims of the 1904 New Market Train Wreck. This wreck involved two Southern Railway passenger trains that collided at high speed near New Market, Tennessee. This occurred on Saturday, September 24, 1904 and killed at least 56 passengers and crew and injured 106 people. The crash was heard as far as fifteen miles away.
Old Gray Cemetery is part of the Civil War Heritage Trail and there are many dead from both sides buried here. The Horne monument has a life-sized sculpture of a Confederate soldier and marks the graves of two Confederate veterans, William Asbury Horne, an assistant quartermaster with the 42nd Georgia Infantry, and John Fletcher Horne, who was a sergeant with the Kansas Bottom Tennessee Artillery. One of the more well known Tennesseans buried here is William Rule who was an American newspaper editor and politician. He founded the Knoxville Journal, which was published from 1870 until 1991. Rule served as mayor of Knoxville twice and published the city's first comprehensive history. Eldad Cicero Camp, Jr. was an American coal tycoon, attorney and philanthropist, who lived in Knoxville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was president of the Coal Creek Coal Company and was one of the wealthiest men in East Tennessee. Charles McClung was an American pioneer and surveyor who platted out Knoxville. "Lizzie" Crozier French was an American educator, women's suffragist and social reform activist who was one of the leaders for the push for women's rights in Tennessee in the early 1900s, and helped the state become the 36th state to certify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
One of the spirits at Old Gray is believed to belong to Herb Evers, who was a cowboy that died in Knoxville's first and only duel on Market Square. Apparently, the duel was over a fight between Evers and his neighbor. The neighbor was having relations with one of Evers' sheep and he was angry. Since he lost the duel, he is even angrier and so his spirit roams the cemetery looking to settle the score. East Tennessee Paranormal Society member Eric Huckabee claims to have captured a picture of Evers using a Sony Mavica digital camera. He said, "I snapped the photo and ran like hell back to the safety of the nearest street lamp."
Another supernatural being that roams the cemetery is a dark shadowy figure known as the "Black Aggie." This is not the same spirit as the one we covered on an earlier episode. This mysterious shadow weaves between the tombstones at night and it seems residual as it rarely interacts with people who see it in the cemetery. Still others claim that Black Aggie is an aggressive spirit and has chased after them.
Stull, Kansas was founded in 1856 and originally called Deer Creek. German and Pennsylvania Dutch were the first settlers here and they erected the Evangelical Emmanuel Church on land donated by Jacob Hildenbrand. He later donated land to be used as a cemetery. Sylvester Stull ran the post office when it was opened in April of 1899 and residents started referring to their town as Stull. The name stuck and even when the post office closed in 1903, the town continued to be called Stull. Stull was never big and the population never exceeded fifty residents. In the early 20th century, many businesses tried to start in the town, but eventually people just moved away and today the church and its cemetery, known as Stull Cemetery, are abandoned. There are still a few homes here and around twenty residents.
Legends abound about the tiny church and abandoned cemetery. Stories incorporate witchcraft, Satanic rituals, haunting experiences and the infamous "Seven Gateways to Hell." A haunting wind is a popular legend. One story claims two young men were visiting Stull Cemetery one night and became frightened when a strong wind began blowing out of nowhere. They ran to their car and found that it had been moved and turned around. Another man claimed to experience the same wind inside of the abandoned church. He said it felt sinister and knocked him to the ground. The wind then held him down.
The student newspaper at the University of Kansas is believed to have started many of the legends. In the November 1974 issue of the University Daily Kansan, an article claimed that the Devil himself appeared in Stull twice a year: once on Halloween, and once on the spring equinox. Following this story, rumors started circulating that there were seven gates to Hell within the graveyard. Students have made it a rite of passage to visit on Halloween and the Spring Equinox to see the Devil. They have done a lot of damage and now the police arrest anyone trespassing. *Fun Fact: The season 5 finale of Supernatural is set in Stull cemetery and the creator of the series, Eric Kripke, claims he had made Lawrence, Kansas the hometown of Sam and Dean Winchester because of the city's closeness to Stull.
Why would the Devil choose such a small town? Apparently, there was an event in the 1850s when “a stable hand allegedly stabbed the mayor to death in the cemetery’s old stone barn. Years later, the barn was converted into a church, which in turn was gutted by fire. A decaying wooden crucifix that still hangs from one wall is thought to sometimes turn upside-down when passersby step into the building at midnight." But there is more than just that.
An old tombstone near the church bears the name “Wittich” and a tree that used to stand nearby had supposedly been used as a gallows for condemned witches. A grave in the cemetery is said to hold the bones of a “child of Satan”, who was born of the Devil and a witch. The child only lived a few days due to his deformities. People claim its ghost hangs out here, but has grown to the size of a boy that someone claims to have captured a picture of and that he resembles a “werewolf-like boy” peering out from behind a tree.
Each of these cemeteries features at least one haunting tale. As is the case with so many cemeteries, legends abound, most of which have no basis in fact. Are these cemeteries truly haunted? That is for you to decide!
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Moment in Oddity - The Skadegamutc
A Skadegamutc (skuh-deh-guh-mooch), is known as a ghost-witch. In the lore of the Micmac, the Passamaquoddy and Abenaki tribes, the Skadegamutc is an undead monster that is created out of the dead body of an evil magician who refuses to stay dead. This undead creature comes to life at night and lurks about seeking humans to throw curses at and humans to kill and eat. The only way to stop a ghost witch is to burn it by fire. The following story was told by Beulah Tahamont, a sixteen-year-old Abenaki from Lake George, New York: "An old shaman was dead, and his people buried him in a tree, up among the branches, in a grove that they used for a burial-place. Some time after this, in the winter, a Native American and his wife came along, looking for a good place to spend the night. They saw the grove, went in, and built their cooking fire. When their supper was over, the woman, looking up, saw long dark things hanging among the tree branches. 'What are they?' she asked. 'They are only the dead of long ago,' said her husband, 'I want to sleep.' 'I don't like it at all. I think we had better sit up all night,' replied his wife. The man would not listen to her, but went to sleep. Soon the fire went out, and then she began to hear a gnawing sound, like an animal with a bone. She sat still, very much scared, all night long. About dawn she could stand it no longer, and reaching out, tried to wake her husband, but could not. She thought him sound asleep. The gnawing had stopped. When daylight came she went to her husband and found him dead, with his left side gnawed away, and his heart gone. She turned and ran. At last she came to a lodge where there were some people. Here she told her story, but they would not believe it, thinking that she had killed the man herself. They went with her to the place, however. There they found the man, with his heart gone, lying under the burial tree, with the dead 'witch' right overhead. They took the body down and unwrapped it. The mouth and face were covered with fresh blood. The legend of the Skadegamutc certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Lady Nancy Astor Becomes the First Woman in the British House of Commons
In the month of December, on the 1st, in 1919, Lady Nancy Astor became the first woman in the British House of Commons. She was born as Nancy Lanhorne in Virginia. She married her first husband in 1897 at the age of 18. The marriage was an unhappy one due to her husband's alcoholism and she divorced him after four years. She went on a tour of England and fell in love with the country and so she decided to move to England. Nancy was 26 at the time. She met Waldorf Astor there and the two married. They were very similar people and even shared the exact same birth day.including the year. And both were expatriates. Waldorf succeeded to the peerage and became a part of the House of Lords. Nancy became interested in politics at this time and in 1919 she won his former seat in Plymouth as a member of the Conservative Party. She then became the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. She served until 1945, when she was persuaded to step down.
Manresa Castle (Suggested by listener Jen Morgan)
Port Townsend claims to be one of the coolest small towns in America. The city had its heyday during the Victorian era and several of the historic buildings here are Victorian in design. Many of the earlier settlers envisioned the seaport becoming the largest harbor on the west coast. One of the prominent families in Port Townsend were the Eisenbeis and they built their home in 1892 in the style of a castle that is today known as Manresa Castle. This is a hotel, restaurant and lounge that not only provides accommodations for the living, but a couple of ghosts as well. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Manresa Castle!
In 1791, British Royal Navy Captain George Vancouver led an expedition from England with two ships, the Discovery and Chatham. The plan was to explore the Northwest Coast of North America. By May 1792, Vancouver's expedition had entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca and was exploring the northern side of the Olympic Peninsula. Captain Vancouver made it a practice to name the points that they mapped out on their journey for his friends, patrons and crewmembers. One of the places he named was Port Townsend, which was named for the Marquis of Townshend. The name was originally spelled ending with -shend, but today, the h has been dropped. Before the Europeans arrived, several tribes lived here: the Chimakum (or Chemakum), Hoh (a group of the Quileute), Klallam (or Clallam), Quinault, and Twana (the Kilcid band — Anglicized: Quilcene).
Port Townsend was called the "City of Dreams" because it was considered a safe harbor with the promise of being the largest harbor on the west coast of the United States. It did become a very active seaport. Port Townsend was founded as a city in the 1850s. Four men, Alfred A. Plummer, Loren B. Hastings, Charles Bachelder and Francis W. Pettygrove, met in a cabin that two of them had built on the beach below Point Hudson and they agreed to establish the town together and named it for Port Townsend. Soon thereafter, the town became the site of the U.S. Customs port of entry and the county seat of Jefferson County. Many homes were erected at this time as the population grew and railroads decided to add an extension of rail lines to the seaport. Those plans fell through though when the Depression hit and the rail lines stopped on the east side of the Puget Sound. The decline for Port Townsend was rapid as people moved away.
Other economies developed in the future with the installation of a paper mill and the Naval Magazine Indian Island, which is the US Navy's primary munitions-handling dock on the Pacific coast. More people started moving here in the 1970s and Port Townsend has developed into a tourist destination. They host blues and jazz festivals and in 1999 they launched an annual international film festival. Many people come to the town to see all of the Victorian architecture. Because so much of the town was abandoned and the economy was dying, no one tore down any of the buildings and built over the sites. So in essence, the Victorian buildings were preserved because of a lack of growth. Today, many have been restored as their value is appreciated.
One of these grand structures is the Manresa Castle. The castle was built in 1892 by Charles and Kate Eisenbeis. Charles Eisenbeis was a German emigrant who arrived in Rochester, New York in 1856. He learned baking from his family and worked doing that for a while. The Gold Rush was reaching its peak on the west coast and Charles decided to head west. He boarded a ship that sailed around Cape Horn, heading for Puget Sound. The weather was rough when they arrived at the Sound and the ship decides to dock at Port Townsend. The year is 1858 and this is where Charles decides to stay. His brother was traveling with him and the two men do odd jobs saving up money to open up their own bakery. They called it the Pioneer Bakery and they specialized in making bread for ships. the business was very successful and he became a very prominent man. So prominent that he became a part of the Big Five Syndicate, which was five men that control the entire economy of Port Townsend. When Charles first arrived in Port Townsend, he was married to a woman from Prussia named Elizabeth. She died in 1882 and he remarried a woman named Kate.
Twenty years after arriving in the town, Charles was elected the town's first mayor. He built several properties in Port Townshend: the Mount Baker Block, the Eisenbeis Building, a hotel, a brickyard, lumberyard, a brewery and the Eisenbeis Castle that was his home. The hotel was a grand structure with 120 rooms, but it never opened as the promise of the coming railroad was never realized. It burned down in a fire of mysterious origin. The Eisenbeis Castle was the largest residence in Port Townsend at the time and had 30 rooms. The home was constructed from brick and had a slate roof. The inside was designed and built by German artisans and featured finely crafted woodwork and tiled fireplaces. He didn't get to enjoy his home for long. Charles died in 1902. He was buried in nearby Laurel Grove Cemetery. The whole town turned out to see his burial. His casket is within a subterranean vault and was placed next to the Victorian glass-top coffin of his first wife, Elisabeth.
Kate remarried in 1905 and she abandoned the castle to a caretaker, who was the only one to live there for twenty years. In 1925, a Seattle attorney bought the Castle and turned it over to nuns teaching in Seattle schools to use as a vacation home. The nuns didn't use it much and so Jesuit priests moved in in 1927 and used it as a training college. The priests spent their sixteenth and final year of training here studying ascetic theology. The Jesuits added a large wing housing a chapel and more rooms in 1928 and installed an Otis elevator. The outer bricks were stuccoed over to give the building a uniform look and they called the building Manresa Hall, after a town in Spain where Ignatius Loyola had founded the Jesuit order.
The Jesuits left in 1968 and the building became a hotel with the new name changing to Manresa Castle taking inspiration from the original home and the name the Jesuits used. Three other owners have held the building since 1968. Each has done renovations and brought the hotel up to modern standards. The Victorian elegance has been kept though. Some of those modern amenities include more bathrooms. There were only three during the Jesuits time and there are now 43. The Castle Key Seafood Restaurant has been added and offers the best in Northwest recipes and is open Tuesday to Sunday. There is a banquet room, several suites and romantic gardens making it the perfect setting for weddings. Another unique feature of Manresa Castle is, of course, the ghosts.
There seem to be three rooms that are haunted and they are all on the third floor. Rooms 302, 304 & 306 are reported to be home to two ghosts. One is a young lady thought to be named Kate, who is waiting for her beloved to come back to her after fighting in a war. He was killed in the war, so he could not come back to her and when she heard about that, she threw herself out the window. The other ghost belongs to a Jesuit monk who hung himself in the attic. Haunting events feature footsteps walking across the attic when no one is up there, drinking glasses in the chapel/cafe explode both when just sitting on the bar and also in people's hands and empty glasses are turned upside-down on their own. People claim to see writing on the mirrors with messages like, "Get out." And the full-bodied apparition of the female ghost has been seen many times. There are room journals where guests record their experiences.
One of the entries in the journal related, "At midnight, we heard singing coming from the bathroom. It was a woman's voice singing a ghostly tune. Well, needless to say, we all woke up. If we had known she was coming at midnight, we would have stayed up and waited on her. I got up to go to the bathroom and see who was in there and then the door eerily came open. There was a swish of cold air and a glowing light and then all the lights came on. After that we saw nothing else. We didn't get much sleep the rest of the night."
One family shared the following experience that they had, "The next morning James, 13, went down to use the restroom down the hall (Room 303 bathroom) and came back concerned that he heard a woman crying mournfully in the 305 bathroom, but the lights were out in that room. He brought his dad down the hall to show him and he heard it also. I, Lori, then went down there, but by the time I got there, she was no longer crying. I did; however, hear movement coming from inside the room. When I knocked on the door and asked if someone needed help, the response was two knocks back from whoever was in there. At that point we decided to call the front desk to tell them what was going on. They sent up four maids to check the situation out. When they opened the door it was dark inside and no one was in there. But the maid commented that 'someone had sure been into the Kleenex.' It had been strewn about. [The door was never left unattended the whole time of our experience.]"
Another family wrote, "Finally around 11:30pm, we started hearing things! Earlier we were looking forward to hearing things, but when we actually did hear things, we were huddled with the blankets to our noses! There wasn't really anything in the room. It was in the hallway! Definite dragging and walking sounds. They would stop right at the door. It was so scary. Then scratching and scraping sounds at the door. It was like someone was right on the other side and would open or come through the door. This all went on for about an hour and a half!"
Ghost Adventures visited the hotel during their eleventh season. Jody Reuther is the Front Desk Manager and she claims to have been a nonbeliever when she first started working there, but she has had enough experiences that she believes there are ghosts there. One day she was making up the bed in Room 310 with a housekeeper and she noticed that the maid went white looking at something behind Jody. Jody spun around and saw a woman pass the door to the room and Jody ran out to the hallway to confront her because nobody should have been in the hotel. She saw that the woman was wearing period clothing and then see noticed she could see the fire escape through the woman. And then she disappeared. The Breakfast Room has many strange occurrences and one of these was a door opening on its own while Zac interviewed Jody about the building. Mardella is a housekeeper who had a violent experience in the laundry room. She was left with a small handprint bruise on her leg, but she did not feel anything touch her. When she told the ghost out loud that she wanted to be left alone, something unseen punched her very hard in the face.
There seems to be unexplained activity in this hotel. While there are claims that there are only two ghosts, is it possible that there might be more? And are these ghosts or just the products of overactive imaginations? Is Manresa Castle haunted? That is for you to decide!
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Judge Crater Goes Missing
Joseph Force Crater had been born to Irish immigrants in 1889 and he went on to getting his law degree from Columbia University in 1916. This would start his path to becoming a New York Supreme Court Justice. He was named to the bench in April of 1930 by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Crater was a corrupt man and it is believed that he had paid off the Tammany Hall political machine to get his position. On August 6, 1930, Crater reportedly went to his office and destroyed several documents. He took several portfolios of other papers to his Fifth Avenue apartment. He took out $5,000 from his bank account as well. He had dinner with a friend and a showgirl names Sally Lou Ritz. He told them he had tickets for the Broadway comedy "Dancing Partner" that evening. He bid them farewell and they watched him walk down the street, presumably heading for the play. He was seen hailing a cab and was never seen again. News of his disappearance broke on September 3rd and launched a massive investigation that captivated the nation. Crater came to be known as “the missingest man in New York.” Because of his activity on the day of his disappearance, some claimed he left the country with a mistress. Others claimed that he was feeding the fishes after crossing the Tammany Hall bosses.His wife requested he be declared legally dead in 1939. In 2005, new evidence emerged. a woman claimed that her husband and several other men, including a police officer, had murdered Crater and buried his body beneath a section of the Coney Island boardwalk. That site had been excavated during the construction of the New York Aquarium in the 1950s, but no human remains were found at the time. The disappearance of Judge Crater is still a mystery and, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Congress Creates the Committee of Secret Correspondence
In the month of November, on the 29th, in 1775, Congress creates the Committee of Secret Correspondence. The Second Continental Congress had met in Philadelphia to establish the Committee of Secret Correspondence. The committee’s goal was to solicit aid for the Revolutionary War from European nations by sending them a Patriot interpretation of events in Britain’s colonies. The committee members were Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison, John Dickinson, John Hay, Robert Morris and Silas Deane. Deane was a Connecticut delegate and he left for France on the secret mission on March 3, 1776. The group managed to negotiate with the French, unofficial assistance. This assistance came as military supplies aboard ships and military expertise from the Marquis de Lafayette. Full support did not come until the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. French naval fleets proved critical in the defeat of the British during the American Revolution, which was assured after the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781.
Haunted Calico (Suggested by listeners Lianna Sapien, Anna Prado-Frias and Laura Rey)
The Calico Mountains rise out of the Mojave Desert, painted in a variety of colors, which is how they got their name. These mountains are home to Calico, a ghost town that was once a thriving mining town. As was the case with so many other mining towns, once the price of silver dropped, people started leaving. The gunfights, gambling and mining of the past just faded away. Today, it is a tourist attraction that seems to still be home for some of the spirits of its former residents. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the town of Calico.
In 1881, a group of prospectors discovered silver in the Calico Mountains. They laid claim to their find and built the Silver King Mine. This mine would become California's largest silver producer in the mid-1880s. The town of Calico grew slowly, but by 1882 it was big enough to establish a post office. Next came the Calico Print, a weekly newspaper. Calico hit its height of silver production from 1883 to 1885 and during that time the town added five general stores, three hotels, several bars, boarding houses and brothels, a meat market, Wells Fargo Office and a school. The town also had a deputy sheriff, two constables, five commissioners, two lawyers, a justice of the peace and two doctors. There were residents here from all over the world including Ireland, England, France, Greece, China and the Netherlands. The population hit 3,500 people.
When silver mining was at its pinnacle in Calico, there were over 500 mines and the most important were the Waterloo, Oriental, Burning Moscow, Bismarck and Garfield. A narrow gauge railroad was constructed in 1888 to bring ore from the Waterloo and Silver King mines to the mill in town. There was more than just silver adding to Calico's fortunes. The borate mineral colemanite was discovered in the mountains a few years after the settlement of the town. Unfortunately, fortunes turned for Calico with the enactment of the Silver Purchase Act. This drove down the price of silver and by 1896, its value had decreased to $0.57 per troy ounce. Within two years, the post office had closed and that was soon followed by the school. Borax mining ended in 1907 and Calico became a virtual ghost town. By the time it was abandoned, the mines of Calico had produced between $13,000,000 and $20,000,000 worth of silver. For a time in the 1930s, the Zenda Gold Mining Company mined the silver from the Calico mines. There is still low grade silver in the mines of Calico.
Walter Knott was born in San Bernandino County and grew up in Pomona. He tried his hand at farming and didn't have much luck until he started working with boysenberries. They thrived under his care and the family started creating jams and pies from the berries and selling them at a roadside stand. Before long, they opened a restaurant that also featured his wife's fried chicken dinners. Lines wrapped around outside the building. Knott got the idea that it would be fun to open a park to entertain the people waiting for food. He started relocating old buildings from ghost towns to his farm and named the park Knott's Berry Farm. Knott had a real love for Old West towns and in 1951, he purchased Calico. He had once lived in Calico with his uncle and he restored the town back to its former glory and opened it as a tourist attraction. The buildings had originally been constructed from adobe brick because there wasn't much lumber in the area. Knott had cement used in the restoration to keep everything looking as close to the original as possible. In 1966, Knott donated the town to San Bernardino County, and Calico became a County Regional Park.
Visitors who come to Calico get to see what the town looked like in its heyday and they get to experience some of the things that took place here like panning for gold and gunfights. There are tours of the mine and visitors can ride aboard the narrow gauge Calico & Odessa Railroad. Many of the original buildings had to be replaced. The newer buildings are in the Gingerbread architectural style and there are some false fronts as well. Some of the structures that date back to the silver rush era are the Lane home that is now a museum, Lil's Saloon, the town office, courthouse and post office, the general store, Joe's Saloon and Smitty's Gallery. The schoolhouse is a replica, but stands on the site of the former building.
There is a cemetery here that has over 160 burials. Despite their best efforts, historians and researchers have been unable to identify who is buried in the cemetery. Only about 20% of the plots have been identified. One of the people buried here is Harry Dodson who robbed the Runover Mine's superintendent James Patterson at gun point. He nabbed around $4400 and ran out of town. A posse was formed and they caught up to Dodson pretty quickly because he was on foot. He was just hiking up from a watering hole when he saw the posse and started shooting. The posse returned fire and hit him twice, killing him. Anastacio Rubio was buried here after he came to a sad end. He had gotten a great haul in the mines and announced in one of the local saloons that drinks were on him. When he left the bar that night, he was shot and robbed by an unknown assailant. His murder remains unsolved to this day.
We did an episode on the ghost town Bodie and that is the Official State Gold Rush Ghost Town of California. Calico was named the Official State Silver Rush Ghost Town. There are reportedly several spirits in this ghost town, making that description of the town legitimate. Ghost tours are offered every Saturday night. One of the haunted locations here is the Calico School House. Claims have been made that this building is haunted by both teachers and students. Could one of these teachers be Margaret Kincaid Olivier who is buried in the cemetery? Visitors claim to see the apparitions of school teachers peering out at them from the windows. A moving ball of red light has been seen inside the schoolhouse on multiple occasions. The apparitions of children have been seen inside here as well, but the most frequent spirit belongs to a girl that appears to be eleven or twelve years old. She only makes herself known to other children. Sometimes she is mistaken by the children who see her as being a real kid, until she disappears.
John and Lucy Lane ran the general store in Calico. When people started moving out, they decided to leave too. They missed the old town and returned in 1919. Lucy lived into her 90s and she died there. Her former home has been turned into a museum and visitors claim to see her apparition walking from the home to the general store as though she is heading off to work. She is always seen wearing a black lacy dress and there are claims that she was buried in the dress. Visitors and investigators have seen her rocking chair moving on its own in the house.
“Tumbleweed” Harris is buried in the Calico Cemetery. He was the last marshal of Calico and served in that position for seven years. Visitors claim to see his spirit walking along the boardwalks on Main Street. He is described as a rather large man with a flowing white beard. Arthur wrote, "I work at the restaurant here in Calico and live in the town as well. One morning before daylight I was making coffee in the restaurant and felt as if someone was standing behind me. I turned and glimpsed a man with a white beard for a split second and then he disappeared. It jumped me right out of my shoes must have been Marshall Tumbleweed."
Calico has its own Lady in White who is seen on the outskirts of town. The Calico Corral has a residual haunting that sounds like a crowd of people celebrating. This was used for dances and the sounds of ghostly music are also heard sometimes. Music is also heard at Lil’s Saloon. The music sounds like an old-style piano and the noises of a rowdy crowds have been heard when no one was in the building. Employees claim to hear the jingle of spurs and other noises that can’t be explained. The building that once housed the town theater, which is now the R&D Fossils & Minerals Shop, is said to be haunted by a female ghost named Esmeralda.
Another famous ghost belongs to a dog named Dorsey who carried mail around the town. Postmaster Jim Stacy found Dorsey in 1883. He was a black and white shepherd who was hungry and limping. Stacy adopted him and put him to work carrying messages back and forth from the mines to town. This moved into mail carrying and he was soon carrying all the mail from Calico to Bismarck, bearing his load in little pouches strapped to his back. Dorsey did this for three years. His legend was immortalized in a 1972 album entitled "The Ballad of Calico” by Kenny Rogers. The song was called "Dorsey, the Mail Carrying Dog.” Dorsey continues on as a spectre and his shadow-like apparition has been seen at the cemetery and near the Print Shop that is located where the post office used to be.
Hank’s Hotel once belonged to a cowboy named Hank. He was apparently an angry man and he has carried that on with him into the afterlife. His ghost is said to have punched a man in the leg who was standing on his fence. Others report feeling a tugging on their wrists and clothing. There is said to be a child of four or five that hangs around outside the hotel on the boardwalk and some of the clothes tugging could be a result of his activity.
The Maggie Mine was started by the Mulcahy Brothers in 1881. Thirteen million dollars worth of silver ore was pulled from this mine. Visitors are invited to tour the mine and many visitors have reported feeling extreme cold spots throughout the mine and eerie feelings. It is believed the Mulcahy Brothers, who made the mine their home, are haunting the mine. To add to the weird feelings, a couple of mannequins are a part of the props here.
Ghost towns are a wonderful way to immerse oneself into the old west of yesteryear. Calico has a colorful name to go with its colorful past and some of that past continues on today. Not just in the fake gunfights and false facades, but through the spirits who have remained here when everyone else had abandoned the town. Is Calico a haunted town? That is for you to decide!
Friday, November 24, 2017
Moment in Oddity - The Acheri
The Acheri are a part of the mythology of the country of India. The Acheri is able to entice people because this is a spirit or ghost that appears in the form of a little girl. They are said to live in the mountains and for this reason they are sometimes referred to as "Hill Faeries." They wander into villages at night and when they come, they bring sickness with them. Generally, the Acheri preys on children. The interesting part of their appearance is that descriptions of them resemble those of black-eyed children because the Acheri has dark eyes that appear unnatural. The Acheri will also attack the elderly and for them, the sickness brought is certain death because they have weak immune systems. The only protection that is offered, is forpeople to wear a red ribbon tied around their neck. For some reason, this repells the Acheri. This is just a piece of legend from India, but it certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Queen Elizabeth Marries Prince Philip
In the month of November, on the 20th, in 1947, England's Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten. Elizabeth was the first child of King George VI and became Queen Elizabeth II upon the death of her father in 1952 And Philip was Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. The couple originally met in 1934 at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark and Prince George, Duke of Kent. When they met again later in 1939,Elizabeth was only 13-years-old, but she fell madly in love with Philip and they began exchanging letters. Elizabeth's father did not want her engaged before she was 21, so the couple had to keep their engagement a secret for a year. The wedding took place at Westminster Abbey. The couple had four children. This year, 2017, marks their Platinum Anniversary, meaning they have been married for 70 years.
Haunted Cemeteries 6
Most cemeteries are peaceful final resting places, but occasionally these graveyards have spirits at unrest for a variety of reasons. On this episode, we have three cemeteries that we will be visiting. Paranormal investigator Peter Dowling joins us to discuss Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek, New York. Then we venture to Ohio and visit Chestnut Grove Cemetery that is the final resting place of the victims of one of the most horrific train wrecks in the history of the United States. And finally we head to one of the most haunted cemeteries in America and that is, yet another cemetery named Greenwood, in Decatur, Illinois. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of these graveyards.
Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek
(Suggested by: Peter Dowling)
Peter Dowling has been into the paranormal since he was a kid. He joined Eastern Shore Paranormal Research back in 2001 and worked his way to Preisdent, which he held until 2013. In 2003, he earned a Certificate by Psychic Circle as a Paranormal Investigator in Sandy Creek, NY. He has made appearances on Coast to Coast both with Art Bell and George Nory. He contacted us to suggest some haunted locations he has investigated, and one of those was Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek, New York. The town of Sandy Creek was first settled in 1803. It became official in 1825 as it was incorporated out of the town of Richland. In 1820, the Woodlawn Cemetery was established as a burial ground for the Presbyterian Church. There are over 5,000 burials here. In 1866, Union Cemetery Association was formed to maintain the cemetery. Around the turn of the 20th century more land was added and again in 1965 a small tract was purchased.
One of the burials here is for Harrison Cole who was born in 1840. He was the leader of the 3rd Brigade Band during the Civil War. Several members of that Army band were killed at Gettysburg and Cole narrowly escaped capture by the Confederates. In 1880, he put together his own band and named it Cole’s Cornet band. He died in 1916.
A. Jasper Moore was born in 1868 and died in 1906. He has an interesting epithet that reads, "When the fitful fever is ended; and the foolish wrangling of the market and forum is closed; grass heals over the scar which our descent into bosom of the earth has made; and the carpet of the infant becomes the blanket of the dead."
Dr. J. Lyman Bulkley was born in 1832. He was not only the local doctor, but he owned the Bulkley Opera House and the Corner Drug Store. In 1894, he was shot and stabbed by an inmate of an insane asylum. He managed to live and the inmate, Gaylord Williams, shot and killed himself.
The Salisbury family were prominent members of the community and several are buried here. Members of the family have served in several wars starting during the Civil War and on through World War II. Moreau Salisbury is one of those members and he served during the Civil War. He was wounded at the Battle of Antietam. A bullet went through his ankle and left him with a painful limp for the rest of his life. His boots that he wore during the war are at Sandy Creek's History Center archives. Charles M. Salisbury was Vice President of the Lacona Bank in the 1930s. In 1936, he was killed in a bank hold up.The men who committed the crime were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Peter shared with us the experiences and evidence collected at the cemetery. He told us, "Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek is very haunted. Always got EVP's, strange mists, apparitions, floating faces and red orbs visible at times with the naked eye. There is intelligent haunting going on there. EMF readings are off the chart. You go through a lot of batteries during a investigation. I have brought many there who wanted to know what it was like to be a Paranormal Researcher and be a part of my investigation. Many got there wish to experience a spirit. Like I've always said in the past... " Be careful what you wish for." I have brought a ghost home with me from there. I was getting EVP'S at the house I was living at the time. Bed used to shake at night. I would see floating mists go through rooms in the house. ( I put my hand through one apparition.) I've been kissed one night and slapped another night. Once in a while I would hear footsteps on the floor at my house and loud banging on the doors and walls of the house. Woodlawn is haunted no doubt and many of my EVP's I had played on Coast to Coast AM came from there."
Chestnut Grove Cemetery
(Suggested by: Rebecca Heffner)
Chestnut Grove Cemetery is located in Ashtabula, Ohio. There are over 5,000 burials here. Ashtabula's name was derived from the Lenape tribe word ashtepihəle, which means "always enough fish to be shared around." These indigenous people were pushed out of the area by the Northwest Indian War that took place after the Revolutionary War. European Americans started settling here in 1803. Ohio was a free state during the Civil War and Ashtabula became a main stop on the Underground Railroad due to its proximity to Lake Erie. The city was officially incorporated in 1891. The city came to be known as a port city and railways were constructed to connect the city to a national network to make importing and exporting easier.
In April of 1868, the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad merged with the Lake Shore Railroad to form the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway. A later merger gave this company the entire route from Buffalo to Chicago. A bridge was built over the Ashtabula River by the Lake Shore and Michigan railroad and was the joint creation of Charles Collins, the Engineer, and Amasa Stone, the Chief Architect and Designer. Collins felt that Stone’s bridge design was “too experimental," but he approved it because there was a lot of pressure to get it done. The bridge was never properly inspected. This would come to light on December 29, 1876 when Train No. 5, known as The Pacific Express, was about 1,000 feet from the Ashtabula train station. The bridge gave way beneath the weight of two locomotive cars that were hauling eleven railcars. There were 159 people aboard the train.
The Chicago Tribune ran the following article on December 30, 1876:
"The proportions of the Ashtabula horror are now approximately known. Daylight, which gave an opportunity to find and enumerate the saved, reveals the fact that two out of every three passengers on the fated train are lost. Of the 160 passengers who the maimed conductor reports as having been on board, but fifty-nine can be found or accounted for. The remaining 100, burned to ashes or shapeless lumps of charred flesh, lie under the ruins of the bridge and train.Charles Collins was said to be a broken man over the tragedy. He was called to testify before the State Legislature Committee. The Monday before this, he had tendered his resignation to the Board of Directors of the railway company, but they refused to accept it. Days later, Collins was found dead in his bedroom of a gunshot wound to the head. Initially it was thought to be a suicide out of guilt, but later a second bullet was found in the wall and it was ruled a homicide that was never solved. Documents discovered in 2001 and another examination of Collins' skull back up the theory that he was indeed murdered. Amasa Stone committed suicide seven years after Collins death when he started experiencing financial troubles with his foundries. This seemed to compound his guilt over the train disaster. Modern day investigations have theorized that it was not the design that was the problem, but fatigue in the cast-iron lug pieces which were used to anchor the wrought-iron bars of the truss together. Shims of metal were needed to reinforce them because they were poorly made.
The disaster was dramatically complete. No element of horror was wanting. First, the crash of the bridge, the agonizing moments of suspense as the seven laden cars plunged down their fearful leap to the icy river-bed; then the fire, which came to devour all that had been left alive by the crash; then the water, which gurgled up from under the broken ice and offered another form of death, and, finally, the biting blast filled with snow, which froze and benumbed those who had escaped water and fire. It was an ideal tragedy.
The scene of the accident was the valley of the creek which, flowing down past the eastern margin of Ashtabula village, passes under the railway three or four hundred yards east of the station. Here for many years after the Lake Shore road was built, there was a long wooden trestle-work, but as the road was improved, this was superseded about ten years ago with an iron Howe truss, built at the Cleveland shops, and resting at either end upon high stone piers, flanked by heavy earthen embankments. The iron structure was a single span of 159 feet, crossed by a double track seventy feet above the water, which at that point is now from three to six feet deep, and covered with eight inches of ice. The descent into the valley on either side is precipitous, and, as the hills and slopes are piled with heavy drifts of snow, there was no little difficulty in reaching the wreck after the disaster became known.
The disaster occurred shortly before eight o'clock. It was the wildest winter night of the year. Three hours behind its time, the Pacific Express, which had left New York the night before, struggled along through the drifts and the blinding storm. The eleven cars were a heavy burden to the two engines, and when the leading locomotive broke through the drifts beyond the ravine, and rolled on across the bridge, the train was moving at less than ten miles an hour. The head lamp threw but a short and dim flash of light in the front, so thick was the air with the driving snow. The train crept across the bridge, the leading engine had reached solid ground beyond, and its driver had just given it steam, when something in the undergearing of the bridge snapped. For an instant, there was a confused crackling of beams and girders, ending with a tremendous crash, as the whole train but the leading engine broke through the framework, and fell in a heap of crushed and splintered ruins at the bottom. Notwithstanding the wind and storm, the crash was heard by people within-doors half a mile away. For a moment there was silence, a stunned sensation among the survivors, who in all stages of mutilation lay piled among the dying and dead. Then arose the cries of the maimed and suffering; the few who remained unhurt hastened to escape from the shattered cars. They crawled out of windows into freezing water waist-deep. Men, women and children, with limbs bruised and broken, pinched between timbers and transfixed by jagged splinters, begged with their last breath for aid that no human power could give.
Five minutes after the train fell, the fire broke out in the cars piled against the abutments at either end. A moment later, flames broke from the smoking-car and first coach piled across each other near the middle of the stream. In less than ten minutes after the catastrophe, every car in the wreck was on fire, and the flames, fed by the dry varnished work and fanned by the icy gale, licked up the ruins as though they had been tinder. Destruction was so swift that mercy was baffled. Men who, in the bewilderment of the shock, sprang out and reached to solid ice, went back after wives and children and found them suffocating and roasting in the flames. The neighboring residents, startled by the crash, were lighted to the scene by the conflagration, which made even their prompt assistance too late. By midnight, the cremation was complete. The storm had subsided, but the wind still blew fiercely, and the cold was more intense. When morning came, all that remained of the Pacific Express was a winrow of car wheels, axles, brake-irons, truck-frames and twisted rails lying in a black pool at the bottom of the gorge. The wood had burned completely away, and the ruins were covered with white ashes. Here and there a mass of charred, smoldering substance sent up a little cloud of sickening vapor, which told that it was human flesh slowly yielding to the corrosion of the fires. On the crest of the western abutment, half buried in the snow, stood the rescued locomotive, all that remained of the fated train. As the bridge fell, its driver had given it a quick head of steam, which tore the drawhead from its tender, and the liberated engine shot forward and buried itself in the snow. The other locomotive, drawn backward by the falling train, tumbled over the pier and fell bottom upward on the express car next behind. The engineer, Folsom, escaped with a broken leg; how, he cannot tell, nor can anyone else imagine.
There is no death-list to report. There can be none until the list of the missing ones who traveled by the Lake Shore Road on Friday is made up. There are no remains that can ever be identified. The three charred, shapeless lumps recovered up to noon to-day are beyond all hope of recognition. Old or young, male or female, black or white, no man can tell. They are alike in the crucible of death. For the rest, there are piles of white ashes in which glisten the crumbling particles of calcined bones; in other places masses of black, charred debris, half under water, which may contain fragments of bodies, but nothing of human semblance. It is thought that there may be a few corpses under the ice, as there were women and children who sprang into the water and sank, but none have been thus far recovered."
Because of the fire from the disaster, it was impossible to identify 25 of the victims and they were buried in a mass grave at Chestnut Grove Cemetery. There is a towering obelisk to mark their final resting spot and it is ringed with flowers. Other victims were buried at the cemetery as well. Charles Collins, ironically, was laid to rest just a few feet from the victims' mass grave. The Chestnut Grove Cemetery is still actively burying people. The grounds are beautiful and well kept.
Stories abound of hauntings connected to the train disaster and the cemetery. Apparitions believed to belong to the victims are seen near the mass grave memorial and stories claim that they make their way to the area of their death near the river on the anniversary of the accident. Not all sightings entail sad ghosts. Some scenes are of children laughing and playing and there have been ghostly picnics. A feature written in the Cleveland Digital City for Halloween of 2002, discusses several legends connected to the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster and Chestnut Grove. Lisa Galloway writes, “Reports of wraiths near here are many… witnesses mention families dressed in period dress — always warm winter clothes — wandering together, often carrying carpetbags and baskets. Screams are heard late at night, many visitors say a charred odor pervades the grounds and near Collins’ crypt a man can be seen weeping bitterly, crying out over and over, 'I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.'”
The city of Decatur in Illinois is named for Stephen Decatur, a naval hero of the War of 1812. This was the first home of Abraham Lincoln and he argued five cases here in the log building that served as a courthouse at the time. In the southern part of the city, near Decatur Lake, is a burial ground that dates back more than 160 years. Greenwood Cemetery was incorporated in 1857 and is possibly one of the most haunted cemeteries in America. The cemetery has not been well cared for through the years and has at times been overgrown. And even worse, grave robbing was common. The Sangamon River feeds into Lake Decatur and runs right by the cemetery. One year, many years ago, the river swelled and ran into the cemetery. The force of this washed out several graves and carried the coffins away. The bodies were eventually recovered, but it was impossible to identify the remains. It was decided that the only option was to rebury the bodies in a mass grave. We know that handling remains in this way can sometimes result in strange activity and that is the case here. Ghost lights in the area that had been washed out are seen and dark misty and shadowy figures have been seen floating there.
There was a large public mausoleum located in the cemetery that fell into disrepair as the rest of the graveyard became unkempt. Pieces of the building began to fall off and by the 1960s, it was in such bad condition that it was decided to demolish the structure. Family members were asked to claim the remains of their loved ones and relocate them. Anyone that was not claimed was buried in yet another mass grave. In 1967, the mausoleum was torn down and not replaced. Before being destroyed, rumors circulated about paranormal activity inside of the mausoleum. Crying and anguished screams were heard reverberating inside and ghost lights danced about the structure, inside and out. This activity did not stop after the mausoleum was no more. Visitors still claim to hear faint screams and to see strange lights in the area where the mausoleum once stood.
There is a third mass grave here. This one holds the bodies of Confederate soldiers. These men were been transported by train to a POW camp when many of them fell ill with yellow fever. Several of them died and the train was stopped near Greenwood Cemetery, so the bodies could be offloaded. The bodies were then taken to the cemetery and buried in a mass grave. The work was done hastily and as you can probably already guess, not all the soldiers were completely dead and they were buried alive. From that time, apparitions of Confederate soldiers have been seen in the cemetery. One man reported his experience after encountering a soldier at the cemetery. The soldier was standing among the tombstones and gestured for the man to come over to him. The man could see that the uniform was tattered and he had a look of confusion on his face. "Can you help me?" the soldier asked. He continued, "Where am I?" The man stood in shock, unable to speak. The soldier then said, "I just want to go home." He then disappeared.
As if this haunting activity isn't enough, there are two more legends here at Greenwood. These are the legends of the Barrackman Staircase and the Greenwood Bride. The Greenwood Bride is our Lady in White at this location. Her figure has been seen wondering among the headstones and the story is that she is looking for her fiancé who was murdered before their wedding. He apparently was a bootlegger who was killed by a rival bootlegger. No one knows who she is, but people like to say that she drowned herself in the river over her grief. Greenwood Cemetery is like many cemeteries in that it has many rolling hills. The Barrackman family has their final resting place on one of these hills and they had five stairs installed that lead up to the plot. At sunset, on some evenings, a ghostly figure appears at the top of the stairs with her head bowed and she appears to be crying. She disappears as the sun sinks below the horizon.
Do some spirits feel so attached to their human body, that they are unable to leave the body after death? Could that be why some cemeteries seem to be haunted? Are these four cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Pawapicts
(Suggested by listener Annjanette Beth)
There are many tales told in the Utah Valley about Pawapicts, which are also called Water Babies. The stories about these creatures originated with the Ute tribe. They believed the Pawapicts came in various shapes and sizes. Some were described as being the size of a man's hand, the size of a three or four-year-old child or the size and shape of a full- grown woman. Pawapicts had long black hair, were found near water and they cried like babies, which is where the term water babies comes from. The tales of their origins are as varied as their shapes and sizes. One account claims that Pawapicts came into existence as the result of a wrestling match between Pahahpooch, a man, and Wildcat. Pahahpooch had never lost a match. The two opponents met near a large expanse of water. Wildcat managed to throw Pahahpooch into the middle of the lake and said, "You will stay in the water all the time now and people will call you Water Indian." Eventually, Pahapooch convinced other tribal members to come into the water and become Water Indians like him. Then they all would lure more people into the water. A Ute named Red Sunrise who had a friend that did not believe in Water Babies. The two men went fishing in the Utah Valley. They came upon some Water Babies drying their hair on a flat rock. They were crying like babies and the friend became a believer. The men went nearer to get a closer look. The Water Babies saw them and jumped into the river. Their long hair floated on top of the water and then the river started to rise and come nearer to the men. Luckily, the two ran away before the water pulled them in and Red Sunrise never saw a Water Baby again. If Water Babies are not just a legend, they certainly are odd!
This Month in History - First Opium War Starts
In the month of November, on the 3rd, in 1839, the first Opium War between China and Britain began after British frigates blew up several Chinese junks. In the 1830s, China had an isolationist trade policy that created a trade imbalance with Britain and America. British and American merchants decided to fire back by importing the one product that the Chinese did not themselves have, but which many of them wanted: opium. Soon ninety percent of all Chinese males under the age of forty were smoking opium. China decided that it needed to suppress the opium trade. The Chinese government confiscated and destroyed more than 20,000 chests of opium, which angered the British side. Some drunken British sailors killed a Chinese villager in retaliation. The British government would not hand the men over to the Chinese for punishment. British frigates blew up a Chinese blockade and started the first Opium War, which lasted for two years. It ended with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842.
Saltair Resort (Suggested by and research help from listener Annjanette Beth)
Along the shores of the Great Salt Lake in Utah stands The Saltair Resort. The resort has three separate incarnations and seems to have been plagued with a curse of sorts, because the first two Saltair resorts were destroyed by fire and the third has suffered flooding. This originally was a family place for fun similar in style to Coney Island with carnival rides and games and today is a place that hosts concerts and other events. Historic events were hosted here and famous people visited. Tragedy has been a part of the story and this seems to have led to spirits. While the first two locations are abandoned, they still seem to host spirits and according to guests and employees, the third version of Saltair is quite haunted. Our listener Annjanette Beth suggested this location and helped with research. She joins us to share the history and hauntings of the Saltair Resort.
To those unfamiliar with the Great Salt Lake, the sight can be both alien and eerie to behold. Sparse grass and sagebrush grow beyond the highest water lines for they cannot handle the high salt content, either. This inland sea is the remnant of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville. It is the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere, covering an average of 1700 square miles. The lake located in the middle of a desert, has no outlets and has three major tributaries. The result is a large body of water with a very high mineral content. The Salt content is 3 to 5 times saltier than the Ocean and has second highest salinity content in the world - The Dead Sea having the highest salinity. The salt content is so high, that in the dry season, salt formations can be clearly seen. The shore lines and salinity of the water can vary greatly from season to season and year to year. The salty waters do not freeze in the winter season, although fresh water coming from the inlets have been known to create icebergs that float on top. The saltwater and high winds make it challenging to maintain buildings and equipment. Its waters are inhospitable to all waterlife other than brinshrimp and brinflies. Thousands of shorebirds dine on these aquatic critters each year during nesting season. Otherwise, there is very little wildlife.
This was a place for fun, but as is the case with these types of places, tragic events, accidents and deaths do occur. The first fatality occurred in 1896 when Charles Monica suffered a heart attack and died while swimming in the lake. With the spotlight on this location, it was the perfect place to host a popular boxing match between Pete Sullivan and “Cyclone” Johnny Thompson in 1910. After the fight, the audience rushed to catch the first train home and the stairs collapsed under the weight. Hundreds of people fell into the lake. Dozens were injured, seven of them seriously, but no one died. Freakishly high winds destroyed 327 of the bath houses and tore up 100 yards of railroad trestle. The following year, in 1911, a bullfight was held. Several bullfighting experts were brought in from Spain and Mexico for the event and the matadors used wooden swords and spears. Four of the men were gored by the bull and it was declared the winner.
The first fire at Saltair occurred in 1916 and was caused by hot coals spilling from the steam engine. The resort repaired the damage and started looking into electric trains to replace the steam ones. A second fire hit on April 22, 1925 in the Ali Baba Cave concession. The fire spread to the other buildings and burned the Leviathan to the waterline. Most of the pavilion was destroyed. The midway, several bath houses, and some of the railway line were also affected. In all, the cost of the damage was $750,000. Because of the cost of the damage and competition from Lagoon, a resort only a few miles to the North, there was no real backing to implement a rebuild at the location. This was the end of what is known as Historic Saltair.
Then in July of 1931, Saltair caught fire again, this time in the Funhouse area. Seven different amusement areas caught fire. A gust of wind pushed the fire to the Great Racer roller coaster. Ten lines from two water pumps were needed to put the fire out. This time the damage cost $100,000. Workmen were repairing the roller coaster the following year when a 70 mile an hour wind blew down the scaffolding. Planks of wood that were 20 feet long were blown more than 100 feet from their location. Many of the workers fell into the lake and two of the men died in the accident.
In the 1930s, multiple sewage companies contaminated the lake, especially near the shore of Saltair. Adding further to its troubles, the water levels dropped significantly in 1933 creating a longer walk to the shoreline. By the beginning of World War II, the resort was closed to visitors. The resort reopened after the war, but struggled further. Another fire broke out in 1957, starting in the boiler room. On August 30, 1957, the remains of the roller coaster was blown down by 70 mile per hour winds, but nobody was riding it at the time. It was devastating for the resort because it was the biggest attraction. The doors closed again and were only opened occasionally for performances and special events. In 1962, director Herk Harvey discovered the shell of Saltair and used it in the filming of the cult-classic, Carnival of Souls. Herk Harvey claimed that the “place was so scary that he felt as though the ghosts of the place that had been partying there had just left for the night.” The book Lost Landscapes: Utah’s Ghosts, Mysterious Creatures, and Aliens claims that orbs and ecto-mists were caught during the filming process. An arson fire was set on the dance floor and Saltair II burned to the ground. The pylons still remain, along with a section of railway.
In 1983, Saltair III was built as a concert house about 2 miles West of the original sites. Salvaged Air Force aircraft hanger parts were used to build the new resort. Moorish style turrets reminiscent of the original Saltair were apart of the architecture on this one as well. Unfortunately, the resort had the bad luck of flooding shortly after construction was complete. Concerts and raves are held here during the summer months. Most days, the only human life are a handful of tourists and one or two employees. The beach is over a mile away as of August 2017. At night, when the concerts and raves are not being held, there is very little around to make noise.
Annji talked to several employees to get reports of hauntings. She shared several on the episode. In 2000, the skeletal remains of a woman were found near Interstate 80. She was the apparent victim of a homicide and was dubbed Saltair Sally. It took 12 years before she was identified. The employees told me that Saltair Sally had been seen haunting the place, until she was identified and finally laid to rest. An older woman’s ghost is seen walking between the two Saltair locations. A little boy’s ghost bounces a ball against the wall of the men’s restroom. Children ghosts play hide-and-seek outside during Raves. A demon is said to reside on the third floor of the building. Ghost hunters have said that that this entity never lived a human life. A man’s ghost spends time at the top of the stairs that came from the downtown hotel. Did he follow the staircase here?
Many employees refuse to be in the building alone because of what they have experienced.
One employee told me that she was cleaning the woman’s restroom late one night and thought someone was banging the bathroom doors in the men’s restroom. She went to investigate and found no one was there. She returned to cleaning only to have the experience repeat. Eventually, she realized that someone was running along the walkway that is directly above the bathrooms. No one else was there with her that night. Ghost hunters often visit near Halloween and successfully communicate with the entities there. Annji is convinced that the employees believe these hauntings are real, though it was difficult to get details. Her young son Jarod joined us to tell about an experience he had at Saltair where he thought he saw a pair of red eyes staring at him from the window in the kitchen door. When he looked back at the window later, those eyes were gone.
I will say that my visit to the ladies room did give me an eerie and uncomfortable feeling.
Annji shared the story of Jean Baptiste with us:
In 1862, a man came to Salt Lake City to claim the body of his brother, intending to transport it back East to be reburied in the family plot. After exhuming his brother’s body, they opened the coffin to find something quite shocking. His brother had apparently been dumped into the coffin unceremoniously, face down and… naked. The local authorities decided to keep an eye on the a gravedigger by the name of Jean Baptiste. They discovered him coming out of a shed with a body naked and face down in a wheelbarrow. After further investigation, they discovered barrels of clothing waiting to be boiled and either worn or sold to second hand stores. The jewelry of the dead had been sold off. And worst of all, this man had necrophilia. He was having intercourse with dead bodies. Over 350 bodies of men, women, and children had been mishandled by this man.
The community was obviously very upset. Not only was the public threatening to form a lynch mob, but his prison mates were also very upset with him. For his safety, they decided to exile him.
First, they put him onto Antelope Island, but a few days later they moved him because they were worried that he would easily get on the lake’s shores due to low water levels. They moved him to Fremont Island. Two weeks later, some cattle ranchers found he had helped himself to one of their herd. Three weeks later, he had disappeared all together. They found signs that Jean Baptiste had tanned some of the hide and stolen planks of wood from their ranch house. Some theorize that he built a raft to escape. He was never seen again… or was he? Several have reported to see his ghost on the Southern shores of the lake, wearing wet clothing and looking for redemption. He is most likely to be seen during a full moon.
Do all the tragedies that have struck Saltair indicate some kind of curse? Have the ghosts from the other Saltair location traveled to Saltair III? Did a ghost travel to Saltair III with the staircase from downtown Salt Lake City? Has the energy from the past imprinted itself here? Is Saltair and the surrounding area haunted? That is for you to decide!