Wednesday, April 26, 2017

HGB Ep. 199 - Philadelphia City Hall

 
Moment in Oddity - The Bleeding House on Fountain Drive
Suggested by: BriAnne Barre

Detective Steve Wright arrived at 1114 Fountain Drive in Atlanta on a warm evening in September of 1987. It was just after midnight and the precinct had received a very unusual phone call. Minnie and William Winston were an older couple and not given to weird imaginings. Minnie had called and reported that their were weird red blotches appearing on the walls of their home. The red liquid seemed to be oozing from the house. Detectives searched the house and were very concerned as they recognized that the substance was blood. There was so much blood everywhere, from the hallways to the bathrooms to the kitchen, even under appliances, that the detectives believed someone had been bleeding profusely in the house. Neither member of the septuagenarian couple was bleeding and they had no visible wounds. Samples were collected and sent to a lab for testing. The blood was found to be human in origin and was Type O. Neither of the Winstons had that blood type. The press and people started hounding the couple when news broke that their house had spontaneously bled. The incident only happened that one evening and the police were never able to figure out where the blood originated. A bleeding house, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Buchenwald Liberated by U.S. Troops

In the month of April, on the 10th, in 1945 the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald was liberated by U.S. troops. The SS began construction on Buchenwald in July of 1937 outside of Weimar in Germany. This would be one of the first camps of its kind and was meant to hold criminals at first, but when World War II started in 1939, Buchenwald imprisoned Jews, gays, Jehovah's Witnesses, political prisoners and homeless people. German companies used the prisoners as slave labor. A total of 238,980 people were held at Buchenwald and 56,545 perished. By the end of the war, Buchenwald was the largest concentration camp. After the liberation, the supreme commander of the Allied Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower, wrote, "Nothing has ever shocked me as much as that sight." U.S. Troops forced German civilians from nearby towns to visit the camp so they could see the carnage in their own backyards.

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia is the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania and is known as the "City of Brotherly Love." In 1871, construction on the beautiful and uniquely designed Philadelphia City Hall began. It took thirty years to complete and was topped with a statue of the man who founded Philadelphia and for whom Pennsylvania is named, William Penn. American history has its heart in Philly. This is where the Founding Fathers gathered to declare the country's independence. It is only fitting that the city would be represented with a magnificent city hall. Deana Marie of the TwistedPhilly Podcast joins us on this episode to share her love of this city, the history of this building and the hauntings that are taking place within its walls.

Is Philadelphia's City Hall haunted? That is for you to decide!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

HGB Ep. 198 - Shakespeare and Ghosts

 
Moment in Oddity - Handsome Devil Puppets

The Handsome Devil Puppets are a creepy assortment of puppets created by an artist named Han. They are hand-sculpted and decorated with antique lace, real human hair, remnants from a grandmother's jewelry box and bones. Han started creating these puppets to help her deal with life and death. They are inspired by horror films and mysterious famous personalities. The clothing Han dresses her creations in, is historically accurate and hand-stitched. She says, "I have a longstanding fascination with Victorian mourning practices and memento mori. After a traumatic, life-threatening event in my life, I seemed to lose the ability to process the idea of death and loss. Studying the practice of post-mortem photography and the way they so embraced and normalized the idea of death made me feel a little less like I'd gone crazy. Their use of mourning jewelry containing the hair of the deceased has carried over to my use of trinkets of the deceased and human hair in my puppets." Han's puppets are some of the creepiest we have seen and they certainly are odd!

This Month in History - Max Ernst is Born

In the month of April, on the 2nd, in 1891, Max Ernst was born in Germany. He also died in April, on the 1st, in 1976. His father taught him to paint at an early age. He was forced to join the German army during World War I. The trauma of war affected him greatly and he turned to his art to help him cope. Ernst would be a founding member of the Dada Art movement and surrealism. He would create collages from various materials like illustrated catalogs, manuals and paint. it was this collage style that inspired other painters and surrealists. He created his own world of fantasy. Ernst came through Ellis Island in 1941 and eventually made his way into the New York art scene through his third wife, Peggy Guggenheim. Jackson Polluck became a follower of Ernst. Eventually, Ernst moved to Paris, where he eventually passed away.

Shakespeare and Ghosts

There are those who believe that Shakespeare is not the author of the plays attributed to him. There is a Renaissance Conspiracy Theory that claims it was someone else. And there is not just one theory in regards to this. On today's episode, we are hosting a round table with listeners Angie Reynoso Akbarzad, Bob Sherfield, Ronda Borgen and Emily Ridener. They are going to present the different theories and their thoughts in regards to them. If Shakespeare was who history claims he was, what are the details of his life? There are no tales of his spirit still walking the earth, perhaps because he was someone else, but he used ghosts in several of his plays. What were those plays and what part did they play in his works? Join us as we explore the life of Shakespeare, the theories about his identity and the ghosts he used as characters in his plays!

Stratfordian Theory: Shakespeare was Shakespeare and he wrote all his plays. Bob Sherfield researched the life of Shakespeare and shares it on this episode:

William Shakespeare was born in the April of 1564 to John and Mary Shakespeare (nee Arden) residents Stratford upon Avon, a market town some 100 miles northwest of London. His birthday, whilst not know precisely is taken to be April 23rd, possibly because that would match up with the date of his death, and also it fits in with the recorded date of his baptism, April 26th. April 23rd also happens to be St George’s day, the patron saint of England. His Father John was a successful glove maker, and his Mother, Mary was from the Arden family, who were, or had ancestral links to the local gentry. John Shakespeare was a prominent member of Stratford society and held a number of offices including alderman (meaning he sat on the local council) and then bailiff or mayor in 1568. He would also have a justice of the peace. , before falling on hard times in 1576.

Interestingly it was during his time as Bailiff that touring companies of players were first allowed to perform in Stratford, a license that would have been granted by John Shakespeare. William’s education history is a matter of speculation as no records for the town guild school survive, the school was free to male children (as long as they could read and write) in Stratford at that time, and given his fathers positions it is fair speculation that he would have attended. At this school he would have been educated in Latin grammar, literature & classical plays and though the standard level of teaching required a deep understanding of Latin, he would probably have not learnt much else.

The next time we see William Shakespeare recorded is on the occasion of his marriage to Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a local farmer on 28 Nov 1582. Anne was some 8 years his senior, and the marriage was conducted in some haste, as special permission was gained for the wedding bans to only be read once, rather than the usual 3 times. This was probably due to the fact that Anne was already pregnant as their first child; Susanna was born only six months later in the May of 1583.
Two further children would follow in 1585, twins Hamnet and Judith, though Hamnet, his only son would die young in 1596 at the age of 11.

Baring a lawsuit, Shakespeare then disappeared for 7 years between 1585 & 1592, when he was called an Upstart crow by Robert Greene. All that can be assumed to have occurred during this period is that he began his career as an actor and playwright. Some legends to exist, an early biography claimed he fled the town to avoid charges of deer poaching. Another has him working as a schoolmaster in Lancashire, and indeed a William Shakeshaft (his father was from the county, and that was how his grandfather spelt the surname) is recorded working for the Hesketh family (interestingly the same family had links to the Globe theatre.) Now that he was married, Shakespeare would have been ineligible to attend university and also barred from taking up indentured apprenticeship. Thus many of the normal routes to employment would have been closed to him.

By 1594, Shakespeare had become a part owner in the acting company know as The Lord Chamberlains men, know as such due to taking the name of their aristocratic sponsor.
In fact they were so popular, that under the reign of James 1 they became the Kings men.
It is during these years that many of the plays were written, whilst Shakespeare acted at court, and also at the Globe and Blackfriars theatres in London, although it seems that he had moved back to Stratford full time by 1608. It was here that the later plays would have been written. By the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, Shakespeare was wealthy enough to purchase the second largest house in Stratford, New Place, as well as substantial parcels of land in the area of Stratford, as well as an apartment in the gatehouse of the former Blackfriars priory.

Shakespeare appears in a series of legal documents in the years up to 1614, including as a witness in a court case, and a case of slander against his daughter Susanna. His death came April 1616 at the age of 52. The cause of his death is not recorded, but it could possibly have been influenza, or if the vicar of Stratford, writing some 50 years later is to be believed, he caught a fever after a drinking session with Ben Jonson and another actor. He was buried in the chancel, beneath the high altar, or Holy Trinity Church.

Oxfordian Theory: Was it Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford? De Vere did have a degree from Oxford University and a solid grounding in the law that would explain the number of Tudor legal phrases in Shakespeare's plays. He also lived in Italy for a few months--the setting of many Shakespearean plays such as Othello and Romeo and Juliet. He served as a soldier, and he was the nephew of a literary pioneer who helped popularize the sonnet in English. Another of de Vere's uncles translated Ovid's Metamorphoses, the source of many allusions in the Shakespearean plays. Edward de Vere's crest has a lion holding out a paw and shaking a spear (thus a pun on "Shakespeare"). His copy of the Geneva Bible has passages underlined in it that also appear in the Sonnets, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and a Falstaffian speech. The hardest part to swallow is that de Vere died in 1604. Some of Shakespeare's later plays were written after this time and Oxforians claim these plays are misdated.

Queen Elizabeth Theory: Was it Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boylen. She took the throne in 1558, with her coronation on January 15, 1559. She was his patron, did she ghostwrite some of the works. Several were published after her death, but there are those who maintain several authors were Shakespeare. Was she one of them?

Baconian Theory: Was it Sir Francis Bacon?  Some arguments are based on anagrams or hidden messages in the plays. Cryptography and anagrams are especially popular with the Baconian school. But there really is no proof to back up this theory.

The Wild Goose Club Theory: Shakespeare's plays were written by a group of about twenty famous writers (all Freemasons, incidentally), including Ben Jonson, Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe and Edmund Spenser. They called themselves "The Wild Goose Club" and would meet for dinner once a month at a particular inn where William Shakespeare was their usual waiter. Shakespeare's plays were thus all an elaborate practical joke designed by the nefarious secret society on some unfathomable lark requiring over twenty years of collective labor (labor which continued somehow to produce plays long after the deaths of the purported perpetrators of the hoax, apparently).

Marlovian Theory: Was it Christopher Marlowe? Calvin Hoffman, in The Murder of the Man who was "Shakespeare," argues that Christopher Marlowe did not die in a knife fight in 1593 (as listed in historical records). The whole affair was a hoax supposedly. Once believed dead, Marlowe could assume the nom de plume of "Shakespeare" and keep writing while he hid from the public. 

There was a lot of superstition in the Elizabethean Era and even MacBeth has a weird curse circulating about it. Shakespeare’s Macbeth was supposedly cursed due to the playwright’s having given away a few more of the secrets of witchcraft than the weird sisters may have approved of. For a time, productions experienced an uncanny assortment of mishaps and injuries. Even today, it is often considered bad luck for members of the cast and crew to mention the name of the production, simply referred to as the Scottish Play. Ghosts were recognized by the Elizabethans in three basic varieties: a visual and subjective ghost, a ghost who has not an opportunity for repentance and a ghost that can masquerade as anything. Critics are not sure how to classify the ghosts in Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Richard III, or Hamlet. Shakespeare's ghosts and witches were very popular.

Richard III (Ghosts of his victims)

The earliest Shakespeare play in which ghosts appear is Richard III. As Emily shares, the victims of Richard, return in spirit to seek vengenance against him. Each ghost visits him one at a time, as a parade of spirits. They each predict his defeat and death and all of them end their visits with ‘Despair and die.’ These same ghosts visit the Earl of Richmond, who is the leader of the army opposing Richard, and they tell him to ‘Live and flourish.’ This visit to the enemy solidifies that Richard III has not just dreamed this. In Shakespeare’s source story in Holinshed’s Chronicles, Richard is said to have had a terrible dream of ‘images like terrible devils’ on the night before the battle, but there is no mention of ghosts. This parade of the dead come back to life is entirely Shakespeare’s creation.

Hamlet (Ghost of his father.)

Hamlet's ghostly encounter seems most plausible. The ghost that appears to Hamlet is his father, the dead king. He almost seems residual in form in that he has a nightly ritual of walking about his former castle. Several people see the spectre, from Horatio to the guards. The ghost will only speak to Hamlet. The two carry on a heavy conversation. The dead king calls for vengeance. The ghost claims that he is forced to walk the Earth, which backs up the belief in Purgatory and he demands that his son get revenge to help bring him peace. Hamlet slips into depression  and madness after his father's ghostly visit and he eventually dies. The whole family is consumed with a need for revenge. Horatio begins the play doubting the existence of the ghost that Barnardo and Marcellus claim to have seen on two previous nights. Horatio eventually sees the ghost. When Hamlet finally confronts his mother in the so-called closet scene, the ghost comes back, but only the Prince can see or hear him. ‘You do bend your eye on vacancy’ (3.4.117), says Gertrude. Yet the ghost does not only appear, it speaks.

MacBeth (Ghost of Banquo.)

Macbeth invites his friend Banquo to dinner, but has him dispatched while in route. Banquo later manifests as a ghost and this has a connection to some Scottish folklore that Shakespeare may have been inspired by. In that folklore it is said, "Untimely dead often return in search of food or hospitality denied them in life and must be satisfied" and that ghosts "keep appointments made when living." Banquo had an invite to dinner and he was going to keep it , so he manifests at Macbeth's dinner. But only Macbeth can see him and thus the guests begin to question the sanity of Macbeth. Lady Macbeth apologizes for his odd behavior explaining that he is tired and sick. Macbeth thinks he sees a bloody dagger and solidifies that thought that he is crazy. The comparison between Macbeth and Banquo seeing the Weird Sister witches at the beginning of the play and him seeing the ghost alone seems to solidify that the witches were real, but the ghost was not there.

Julius Caesar (Ghost of Caesar.)

Brutus has helped to murder Julius Caesar and he is sitting at a table by the dying flame of a lamp when the spirit of Caesar manifests to him. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that a ghost would appear in whatever state of decomposition the body happened to be in. Caesar wants revenge and has returned to fulfill a vendetta as he confronts his murderer. He informs Brutus that he will be defeated at Philippi. The ghost is described as monstrous. As the battle turns against him, Brutus cries:

    O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet!
    Thy spirit walks abroad, and turns our swords
    In our own proper entrails. (5.3.94–96)

This helped illustrate how ghosts were mostly used to warn of impending doom or to seek revenge. Shakespeare was inspired by the book "The Discovery of Witchcraft" by Reginald Scot written in 1584. Scot was a skeptic and he felt that ghosts were a form of mental disorder that came from melancholy, timidity, drunkenness and false reporting. Shakespeare draws upon these traditions and makes something new with his ghosts. Unlike the emotional and moaning ghosts of the Middle Ages, Shakespeare's are reasoning entities.

Is the man we have been taught was Shakespeare the real man? Did he write all of his works? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

HGB Ep. 197 - Mackinac Island

 
Moment in Oddity - The Groom of the Stool

A most unpleasant job of the royal court was created during the reign of King Henry VIII. That job was serving as the King's Close Stool or the Groom of the Stool. The unfortunate requirement of this job was to assist the king during his bowel movements. The Stool was a portable toilet made with a velvet cushioned seat that had a large hole in the center. The Groom carried it around, along with water, a wash bowl and towels. The Groom would keep track of the king's daily meal times and coordinate it with his normal bowel movements. That way, the Groom was always prepared with the commode.While many might think that this was the worst job in history, it was a highly coveted position and gave the the man who held this title, much power. He was generally the king's confidante and helped with other personal and private tasks. It was common for the sons of noblemen or members of the gentry to be awarded the job. Mad King George III employed the most Grooms during his reign. The role continued through to 1901 when King Edward VII abolished the position. The fact that a job that would seem humiliating to us was held in such high regard, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The First American School for the Deaf Founded

In the month of April, on the 15th, in 1817, the first American school for the deaf was founded by Thomas Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc in Hartford, Conneticut. Thomas was visiting his family when he noticed that a young girl was not playing with his brothers and sisters. He went over to her and realized she was deaf. He pointed to his hat and then wrote H-A-T in the dirt. The girl smiled and nodded and he was inspired to teach the deaf communication. Her father financed a trip for Thomas to go to England to study the deaf schools there. Those schools used an oral method of education that required students to learn to read lips and talk. He was not satisfied with that method and sought out Abbe Sicard, the director of the Institut Royal des Sourds-Muets in Paris, France. He joined the director back in Paris, along with two faculty members from the school named Laurent Clerc and Jean Massieu. He asked Laurent to accompany him back to America. As they traveled back, Laurent taught Thomas sign language and Thomas taught him English. They decided to start their own school and established the American School for the Deaf in 1817. Laurent Clerc became the first deaf teacher of deaf students in the United States.

Mackinac Island (Suggested by listeners: Christy Kostaken and Emily Ridener)


Mackinac Island truly is a place lost in time. This is an island without vehicles and the hustle and bustle of our modern era. People flock to this popular Michigan tourist destination for relaxation in a place where lodgings are family owned and the fudge recipes date back to the 19th century. But beneath the exterior of beauty and sun and calm, lies an undercurrent. Legends, fables and mysticism spawn tales of creepy phenomenon and haunting circumstances. There is a deep tribal history here, long ago forgotten. There are deeds that took place here that rival the witch hunts of Salem. Ghosts are reputed to wander many of the locations of the island as if they cannot rest because their tales have yet to be told. Join us and our listener Emily Ridener as we explore the history and hauntings of Mackinac Island!

Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron between Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas. Europeans arrived in the 17th century, but before that, the Odawa tribe lived here. Odawa means "traders" or "to trade" in Algonquin. Native tribes living in the area date back to 900 A.D. and archaeologists believe that the Anishinaabe, which were groups of Algonquin tribes that included the Odawa, treated Mackinac as a sacred center, even believing that the Gitchie Manitou or Great Spirit inhabited the island. (Manitou means spirit or deity in Algonquin.) This was the center of the creation of the world and the island had the shape of a turtle, which fit with their legends of a turtle that would carry the weight of the world on its back. Michabo (mih-shah-boze) is the Great Hare and he is a hero in the Algonquin culture. He usually takes the form of a rabbit, but does occasionally show up in human form. He is credited with forming Mackinac Island.  The island became a sacred burial place for the tribal leaders for this reason.

As for the name Mackinac, it is derived from Michillimackinac or Mishinimakinago, which was the name given to a native people group that the Ojibwe described as strange and they claimed that this group would row through the woods, sometimes shooting, but they were never seen. There are a couple of reasons why they were not seen. One theory has a historical basis. The Mishinimakinago were nearly exterminated by the Naadwe, which were a group related to the Iroquois. Two members of the nation survived, a man and woman, and they had children and the entire group shunned humanity and hid. The other theory is more mystical and claims that the Mishinimakinago ended up becoming a race of supernatural beings now called Bgoji-nishnaabensag or "Little People." These supernatural beings are considered spirits and because their origin is the island, it is another reason why it is considered sacred.

The French were the first Europeans to arrive here and they set up a trading post for their fur trade. The British came and defeated the French and used the island as a strategic port. Above the limestone Straits of Mackinac, sits Fort Mackinac built from the limestone of the bluffs. It was built in 1780 by the British, who held it during the American Revolution. In 1796, the fort officially was handed over to the United States. That lasted until the War of 1812 when the British took back the fort. It was under the command of American Leiutenant Porter Hanks. He was greatly outnumbered with about 200 men facing eighty British and Native American canoes and small boats. He surrendered without a fight fearing his men would be massacred. The Treaty of Ghent signed in 1815, put Fort Mackinac back in American hands.


It's not surprising that Fort Mackinac is reputedly haunted. Typhoid Fever ripped through and killed as many as thirteen children living at the fort. These children are seen as full bodied apparitions and their toys are sometimes found strewn about. There are also the haunting sounds of babies crying. In the Guard House, people claim to feel cold spots and orbs have been seen and photographed. In the Officer Hills Apartment Quarters, furniture moves on its own and the security motion detectors are set off when nobody is inside. The hospital reportedly has one of the creepiest supernatural occurrences. Phantom limbs are seen. Apparitions also are seen at the North Sally Port Entrance Gate and Wall and the haunting sounds of a fife playing have been heard here too. A soldier was hanged on Rifle Range Trail for shooting and killing another soldier. The story claims that he was framed and perhaps that is why he is seeking vengeance and haunts the trail. People claim to feel bullets whizzing past their ears and their hair is pulled. The sounds of crunching leaves and snapping twigs are heard even though nobody is seen walking nearby. And there have been a couple of visitors who have been thrown to the ground.

Industry came after the war, headed by John Jacob Astor. He founded the American Fur Company on Mackinac Island and it exported beaver pelts for thirty years. The Agency House for that company was built in 1820 and was home to the company's Mackinac Island agent, Robert Stuart. It is now open to the public as a fur trade museum. Commercial fishing also became prominent and eventually replaced the fur trade as the island's primary industry. Tourism would take over after the Civil War and the nation's second national park was established here as "Mackinac National Park." Summer cottages were built along the island's bluffs and shops popped up to sell wares to the tourists. There has been a historical ban on motor vehicles in place on the island since 1898 that remains today. The famous Grand Hotel was built in the late 1880s and has become one of the most prominent landmarks on the island.



The Grand Hotel is Victorian in style and officially opened in 1887. The Michigan Central Railroad, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company form the Mackinac Island Hotel Company and buy the land upon which to build the hotel. Construction begins immediately on what had been...a graveyard. The name really fits this magnificent place of lodging. The front is styled with a long columned porch that is the longest in the world and it is from here that one can board a horse and buggy to visit the rest of the island. The porch becomes a place for gathering. After opening, Grand Hotel Manager James “The Comet” Hayes invites an agent of Edison Phonograph to conduct regular demonstrations of the new invention. Mark Twain once gave a lecture in 1895 at the Grand Hotel Casino.

Rates at the hotel in the 1890s ran from $3 to $5. By the early 1900s, it cost $6 a night. A desk clerk who started at the hotel in 1919 named W. Stewart Woodfill, became sole owner of the Grand Hotel in 1933. In 1935, a radio salon was added to help patrons enjoy radio programs like Jack Benny's and others. Dan and Amelia Musser bought the hotel in 1979 and in 1980, they opened the doors to the Hollywood production of the movie "Somewhere in Time" starring Christopher Reeves, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer. The hotel hosts a weekend every year for fans of the movie. Grand Hotel became a National Historic Landmark in 1989. The hotel has been consistently renovated and wings have been added with the latest being the Millennium Wing in 2001. In July of this year, the Grand Hotel will celebrate its 130th anniversary.

During the construction, workers found so many skeletons, they lost count and since they didn't know what to do with them, they put most of them back and just covered them over. This could be one reason why the hotel has a reputation for being haunted. Two maintenance workers were surveying the hotel’s theatre stage when they got that unmistakable feeling that they were being watched and they met up with a dark entity. A dark mass formed across from them on the stage and two red glowing eyes appeared at the top of the massive shadow figure. The figure remained in place for a moment and then suddenly moved quickly towards one of the workers, knocking him from the stage. He was rushed to the hospital unconscious and when he awoke, he swore he would never go back to the hotel. And he never did.

There is an apparition that has made appearances on the second floor at the piano bar. He is seen wearing a top hat and smoking a cigar. Even after he disappears, the distinctive smell of his cigar wafts through the room. The employee housing is haunted by the ghost of a woman wearing Victorian clothing. She sometimes curls up in bed with the terrified employees.





The Drowning Pool is located between Mission Point Resort and downtown Mackinac. There is a 20-foot drop off a cliff. It was the perfect spot for torturing women accused of witchcraft. Many may not think of Mackinac Island when one talks of witchcraft trials and hysteria, but it did happen here. While Salem seems to have had its witchcraft trials evolve around the use of natural remedies and a desire to rip property out from under the control of women, accusations of witchcraft at Mackinac seem to have a basis in shutting down brothels and going after prostitutes.

There were many brothels that sprang up around the island with the popularity of tourism that began in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The blame for men finding themselves in these dens of iniquity was placed squarely on the women. Their ability to seduce men to come inside was attributed to witchcraft. The Drowning Pool was used in the same way as water tests in other places like Hanover, Salem, New York and villages in Europe. Rocks were tied around these women’s ankles and they were thrown into the lagoon. If they floated, they were declared a witch. If they sank, they were innocent, but also dead. The Drowning Pool is said to be haunted to this very day by the women who lost their lives in this barbaric practice. Shadows come out of the water and the water remains unstirred, no splashes and no ripples.

Inn at Stone Cliff: D. Schaefer wrote, "My wife and I stayed at the Inn at Stone Cliff. The first night we were in a room on top of the stairs that we were told the staff used as an area to fold clothing and such. We had things move on us while we slept about 3am that morning including my luggage being unzipped and a wine bottle breaking open when we slept. Needless to say I had a sleepless night after, and the bed and breakfast staff didn't want to talk about paranormal activity although at least one other guest experienced something that night."

Bogan Lane Inn: The ghost of a little girl reportedly haunts this location. Staff and guests have seen and heard her ghost and they describe her as having long hair. She plays with the piano and has been heard saying that she wants to go home.

Mission Point Resort is said to be the most haunted place on the island.  The first structure here was built in 1782 by British Captain Daniel Robertson after he became the commander of Fort Mackinac. It was a small house about a mile from the fort and the Captain used it to entertain his fellow officers. He had brought two of his slaves with him, Jean and Marie-Jean Bonga. He freed them when he was reassigned. After several years, the outcrop where the house was built collapsed and people started calling it Robertson's Folly, which over time changed to Robinson's Folly. A Mission House was built in the area in 1825 by the Protestant church and a school was opened. That is how the location came to be known as Mission Point.

The mission shut down in 1837 when the State of Michigan was admitted to the United States. A man named Edward Franks bought the unused Mission building in 1845 and decided to open a hotel. He added a third story and reopened it as Mission House Hotel in 1849. The Franks family ran the hotel until 1939 when they sold the property. It was re-established as a boarding house. In 1946, a judge named Miles Phillimore bought the property and offered it as a summer place for the Moral Re-Armament Movement. The “Moral Re-Armament Movement” began in England in 1908 under a man named Frank Buchman. In the 1920s, it gained a foothold in the universities of the United Kingdom and it was finally given the name The Oxford Group. It changed its name to Moral Re-Armament Movement in 1938 and this is when the ideology really had its heyday, up until the 1950s.

The ideology held to Christian beliefs and pushed for people to "clean up all that is in you, which is in conflict with Christian belief and mirror yourself in The Oxford Group’s four absolutes: love, purity, honesty and selflessness. Open yourself up to divine guidance and share your sins with someone you trust, and through this you will find a healthy and lasting freedom." At its core, the MRA had the makings of a cult and it chose Mackinac Island as a place to set up its world conference center. It used the Mission Point Resort for that purpose in the 1950s. The MRA built a Great Hall Complex that is the largest single indoor space on the island and is meant to resemble a teepee. The structure features 51-foot logs cut from one of the last stands of virgin Norway pine. The MRA claimed that they were inspired to build the teepee-like building by a native legend that said the Great Spirit would gather all the nations in a giant teepee one day and they would all find the secret of peace.

Even though the group still exists today as Initiatives of Change, it lost much of its influence by the 1960s and in 1966, the buildings were donated to Mackinac College. The college did not last long and only graduated one class in 1970. The property than became the Mackinac Hotel and Conference Center in the 1970s. John Shufelt bought the property in 1987 and changed the name to Mission Point Resort. Smaller buildings were torn down, new ones were built, the front lawn was placed and the Point's famous Adirondack chairs were added as were several restaurants. Mission Point Resort was purchased in 2014 by a couple from San Antonio, Texas, Dennert and Suzanne Ware. They are planning a multimillion-dollar renovation over the next few years.

As we said, this location is considered the one to have the most supernatural activity on the island. Harvey is the most famous ghost at this location. He was a student at the college who fell madly in love with another student. He asked her to marry him, but she refused. He walked off into the woods despondent and committed suicide. He was declared missing in February and his body was found in July. He had apparently shot himself, but there were two gunshots to his head. And there was no gun found by the body. This has caused many to believe that he was actually murdered, but his death was officially ruled a suicide.

Mission Point has a theater that is now used as the Center for the Arts at Mission Point Resort and is operated by the Mackinac Arts Council. This theater has a ghost that likes to play around. He plays practical jokes on men and flirts with the ladies, pinching and poking them. He also has been seen wandering the resort and paranormal investigators have caught EVPs of a young male voice and humming. A child's voice has been heard calling for people that are assumed to be the parents, a woman's voice has been heard singing and humming and Native American apparitions have been seen inside and outside of the resort.

The legends and lore of Mackinac Island are captivating. The beauty of the island is an intense draw and for those of us who love to embrace the past and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is perfect. But something from the other side seems to be stirring here. Are there really that many spirits at unrest here? Is Mackinac Island haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
All pictures courtesy of Emily Ridener

Saturday, April 15, 2017

HGB Ep. 196 - Coe College

 
Moment in Oddity - Anti-revenant Practices From the Medieval Era

Back in the 1960s, some human bones were excavated from the medieval English village Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire. They had peculiar marks on them that indicated the bones had been broken, chopped and burned post-mortem. Recently, researchers have begun new studies of these bones and reported their findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science. The report indicated that people believed in revenants, which are re-animated corpses, all the way back to the 11th century. They believe that these markings indicate some kind of practice to keep dead people from rising. This would be the first evidence of such practices. The bones date back to between the 11th and 14th centuries and indicate they had all been decapitated and dismembered. Some might argue that this is actually evidence of cannibalism, but experts point out that the cuts do not line up with butchery for survival cannibalism. The cuts do not occur at the joints and animal bones found in the same areas do not have these distinctive markings. Head researcher Simon Mays said, "It shows us a dark side of medieval beliefs and provides a graphic reminder of how different the medieval view of the world was from our own." Our listener Jenni from Australia points out that "they chopped up their dead to rush the decomposition. They believed that the soul was released when the body was skeletons. I studied these when I completed my thesis on deviant burials. Whatever the case may be, medieval beliefs certainly were odd.

This Month in History - Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes

In the month of April, on the 18th, in 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes conducted the Midnight Ride to warn patriots that the British were coming. The two men rode out of Boston about 10 p.m. heading for Lexington and Concord. Concord was the temporary home of the Provincial Congress. A large armory stored munitions here as well and Revere and leaders in the patriot movement suspected that the British were planning a raid there. A plan was laid out for Revere to arrange for the placement of signal lanterns in the belfry of Old North Church. This spot could easily be seen across the Charles River. The signal would be that if one lantern was lit, then the British were coming by a land route. If two lanterns were lit it meant that the British were coming by boat on the Charles River. Early on the evening of April 18th, a stable boy informed Revere that the British were preparing boats for crossing the Charles. Revere was joined on his run by a young shoemaker named William Dawes. They split up to ensure one of them made it. Revere narrowly escaped capture by two British soldiers and Dawes slipped past the guards on Boston Neck. A third man named Dr. Samuel Prescott joined them later and he split off at a roadblock. He knew the countryside intimately. He was the only one of the three to make it all the way to Concord and raise the alarm.

Coe College (Suggested by: Zoe Timmerman)

Coe College is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The college began in the 1850s in of allplaces, the parlor of a reverend. The school grew from religious studies to a liberal arts college that was a pioneer in the education of women. The college suffered growing pains through the years and nearly closed, but today it thrives. There are tales of hauntings on the campus, with the most well known being the story of Helen and her spirit. Our listener Zoe Timmerman joins us to share her experiences. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Coe College.

Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in Iowa. It was originally the territory of the Fox and Sauk tribes. The Fox or Meskwaki tribe had lived in the Great Lakes area, but French colonization pushed them south. The first settler to establish himself in Cedar Rapids was Osgood Shepherd in 1838. He built a log cabin home for his wife and children and father. People coming to the area would stop here because of its position on the east bank of the river and people started calling the homestead “Shepherd’s Tavern.” While Shepherd was an accommodating host, rumors circulated that he entertained horse-thieves and that perhaps his affinity for these villains was that he himself stole horses. Some years later he was arrested in another state for horse stealing and sent to the penitentiary. He reformed and became a religion professor. William Stone arrived in the area in 1838 as well and he named the town Columbus. It was renamed in 1841 for the Cedar River that was nearby. It had rapids and so the city became Cedar Rapids. It was incorporated on January 15, 1849.
 *Fun Fact: Cedar Rapids is the largest corn-processing city in the world and former home to Grant Wood who painted American Gothic.*

Speaking of art, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art had a ghost visitation at one time. The building had been Cedar Rapids town library until 1985. A woman named Hazel frequented the library in the 1960s. So it was not unusual for her to visit the library, but on this particular day, it freaked out patrons and employees. The reason why was because Hazel had died in a fire at 4 a.m. that same morning. She was not seen again. Another haunted place in the city is Oak Hill Cemetery. The ghost of a little Czech girl named Tillie has been seen in the cemetery and she is usually carrying a lit candle. There is a mausoleum that she favors and people claim that she attempts to pull visitors into that mausoleum.

The location that harbors the most famous haunt in Cedar Rapids is Coe College. The college began in of all places, the home of a reverend. Williston Jones was a Presbyterian pastor and he invited a young man named George Carroll to study in his parlor. Soon, seventeen other men joined Carroll. He called his school "The School for the Prophets." In 1853, he asked the congregation to help raise $1500 to send three of the boys to seminary. A farmer named Daniel Coe approached Rev. Jones and suggested he open his own seminary. Coe gave him the money, some of which he had to borrow, with two stipulations. The seminary had to have a farm, so the students could support themselves and the education had to be opened up to women as well. There is also a legend about the money that claims the money that was raised came from New York west, sewed into the petticoat of a woman who arrived in Iowa by stagecoach. Coe's money was used to buy two downtown lots for the school and 80 acres of land for the farm outside of town. The school was incorporated in 1853 and was known first as Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute. In 1868, the trustees for the school hoped to acquire the Parsons estate and they changed the name to Parsons Seminary. That attempt failed and the college suffered financial difficulties. In 1875, the school became the Coe Collegiate Institute to honor Daniel Coe.

By 1875, the school was almost defunct and a push was made to change the school from a private institution to a public one. With all of the college's early trouble, it took 31 years before it graduated any students. Those students were E. Belle Stewart and Stephen W. Stookey. By 1901, the college had three buildings: Old Main (1868), Williston Hall (1881) and Marshall Hall (1900). Williston was a red brick dormitory for the women that had a veranda and hot and cold running water. Old Main housed mainly administrative and classrooms. Marshall was named for the second president of the school and was emblazoned with a Latin statement that meant "No Day Without a Line" and it housed classrooms. The gymnasium was constructed in 1904. By 1909 there was a real need for another building that was mostly financed by Andrew Carnegie. This would be the Science Hall.

The T. M. Sinclair Memorial Chapel was built in 1911. It was gothic in style and became the heart of the campus. T. M. Sinclair was the founder of the Sinclair Meat Packing Company. He used his wealth to liquidate the debt from Parsons Seminary and the Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute. The property was then handed over to the Iowa Presbyterian Synod. The school was then known as Coe College. *Fun Fact: Coe College claims the shortest name of any American institution of higher education.* In 1907, Coe earned accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities. The widow of Ralph Voorhees financed the building of a new female dormitory that would carry the Voorhees name. It was completed in 1918 and had a drawing room, student suites and a swimming pool. Up to this point, the men had no dormitory, but it was decided that one should finally be built after Voorhees Hall was done. Greene Hall was completed in 1938 for this purpose. The Robert W. Stewart Memorial Library was built in 1929. Peterson Hall was built in the 1960s and since the late 1980s, the campus has doubled in size. McCabe Hall was built in 2005 and is named for former Coe President Joseph E. McCabe.

We are joined by former Coe College alumni Zoe Timmerman and she is going to share the haunting legend of Helen from the college.

Is the spirit of Helen still wandering the dorm hallways and does she haunt the old grandfather clock that was given to the school as her memorial? Is Coe College haunted? That is for you to decide!

Monday, April 10, 2017

HGB Ep. 195 - Summerwind Mansion

 
Moment in Oddity - Father and Son, First and Last Deaths at Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam was originally known as Boulder Dam when it was built to lock in Lake Mead at the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam constructed from 1931 to 1936 and provided hundreds of jobs during the Great Depression. The dam was dedicated on September 30, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Over one hundred men lost their lives while building the dam. The United States government sent in the Bureau of Reclamation to do geological surveys before construction began. J.G. Tierney was working for the survey aboard a barge on the Colorado River. He accidentally fell overboard and drowned. He is considered the first death in association with the dam. This happened on December 20, 1922. The dam was nearly completed when the last death to occur during construction happened. This death took place thirteen years to the day of J.G. Tierney's  on December 20, 1935. A young man working on one of the massive intake towers fell to his death. This event was not only bizarre because of the date, but because the young man who died was Patrick Tierney. So the first and last death associated with the Hoover Dam occurred on the same day, thirteen years apart, and involved a father, J.G., and his son, Patrick, which certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Pickett Defeated at Battle of Five Forks

In the month of April, on the 1st, in 1865, during the Battle of Five Forks, General George Pickett was defeated hastening the end of the Civil War. General George Pickett was a Confederate General who is famously known for the disastrous Pickett's Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. He also was known for executing deserters, which he did at the Battle of New Bern in 1864. He ordered 22 Confederate deserters executed there. The Battle of Five Forks took place in Virginia and Pickett was cut off, which sealed the fate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's armies at Petersburg and Richmond. Pickett feared prosecution for his execution of deserters and temporarily fled to Canada after the Civil War ended. He came back to America in 1866 and died in Virginia in 1875. It is said that he was a bitter man who dwelt extensively upon the loss of his men at Gettysburg.

Summerwind Mansion (Suggested by Joshua Chaires, publicist for Summerwind Restoration Society)


Summerwind Mansion is a ruined mansion in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin. It dates back to the early 1900s and served as a fishing lodge originally. Later the Lamont family would turn the lodge into a mansion. It changed ownership several times until it finally burned to the ground in 1988. The mansion has a deep history of haunting activity to the point that it is considered one of the most haunted locations in Wisconsin.We are joined by Craig Nehring who is the founder of the Fox Valley Ghost Hunters and co-founder of the Summerwind Restoration Society. Craig grew up in Wisconsin near the Summerwind Mansion and he joins us to talk about the history and hauntings of this location.

Summerwind Mansion is a ruined mansion that was built in 1914, by a man named John Frank. Originally it was called West Bay Lake Fishing Lodge. It was designed to be a local bed and breakfast for fisherman that needed a place to stay. Two years later, Mr. Frank sold the fishing lodge to US Secretary of Commerce Robert Patterson Lamont. Mr. Lamont employed famous Chicago architects Thomas Tallmadge and Vernon to convert the fishing lodge into a mansion. The Tallmadge and Watson architectural firm designs are all over Chicago. Those renovations took two years. Once it was converted West Bay Lake Fishing Lodge became Summerwind Mansion/Lilac Hills Mansion. The house is considered by many to be one of the most haunted mansions in the world.

In the 1920's the Lamont family lived there with some servants. The servants/employees of Summerwind would tell Mr. Lamont there was something strange about the house. They told Mr. Lamont that the house was haunted. It is rumored that former Presidents Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover stayed there as well. Mr. Lamont told the employees and servants to grow up. According to "The Carver Effect: A Paranormal Experience", one night Mr. Lamont and his wife were at the table eating dinner. The basement door rustled revealing the ghostly form of a man. Mr. Lamont grabbed his black powered pistol fired two shots at the door and never returned. After Mr. Lamont's death in 1948 the property was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Keefer in an attempt to improve it.

It wasn't until the summer of 1969 when the Hinshaw family moved in, that another family would occupy the house. Mr. and Mrs. Hinshaw and their six children wanted to make Summerwind their home. Once the Hinshaw's moved in they reported seeing vague shapes, shadows, and figures flickering through the hallway. As soon as they would walk in a room the noises would stop. The windows of the mansion would open and close on their own without any scientific explanation. Mr. Hinshaw had to resort to nailing all of the windows shut.  On another reported occasion when Mr. Hinshaw went to work his car was reported to have burst into flames for no reason at all. He had not started the car, or opened the door at all.  A few weeks later the family saw the figure of a black haired woman in the dining floating back and forth behind the doors that lead to a different room. The family decided to take on renovations a few weeks after this reported occurrence.

One day Arnold decided to renovate a room in the house and removed a drawer from a fitted closet. He had shined a torch into the back of the closest and to his surprise there was skeletal remains of an animal back there. He was to big to go through there, so he sent his step daughter April into the crawl space. April went there and screamed when she saw a skull of a human with black hair. After this occurrence things began getting worse at Summerwind. Arnold had began to plan the Hammond B3 organ late at night, claiming the spirits had asked to play these frightening melodies. The family had to resort to staying in one room of the house, because they were to terrified to sleep alone. Ginger tried to commit suicide, but instead called her father and asked to pick her up. The family left Summerwind and never returned. Arnold committed himself to a mental institution. Ginger moved into her parents house in Granton,Wisconsin.

Summerwind was sold back to the Keefer family, but then her father Raymond Von Bober. Sr. purchased the house. Ginger begged her father not to purchase the house, but Ray Sr. thought her stories of a haunting ridiculous. The Bober's plan was to turn it into a bed and breakfast. Much like the Hinshaw's they ran into similar problems. Tools would often disappear on their own, and reappear in another location when contractors would try to renovate the house. The rooms would change lengths and widths on a daily basis. It seems Summerwind would change all the time. The Bober's gave up on Summerwind and never returned again.

After the Hinshaw's and Bober's abandoned Summerwind, Mrs. Keefer died in 1985. The house was purchased by Harold Tracy in 1986 as a wedding anniversary present to his wife Babs. Unfortunately lightning and burnt Summerwind Mansion to the ground on June 19, 1988. The Fox Valley Ghost Hunters have had rock throwing incidents there, to EVP's captured, to shadow people recorded on camera by their associates the Northern Wisconsin Paranormal Society,  It wasn't until 2014, that plans to rebuild Summerwind became a reality again. Paranormal publicist Joshua Chaires, and Wisconsin Ghost Hunter Craig Nehring created the Summerwind Restoration Society in July of 2014. It's goal is to use the original 1916 blue prints of Summerwind Mansion to rebuild it into a museum/haunted bed and breakfast. This would be made possible by 501 (c) (3) donations.

After hearing these stories and firsthand accounts of Summerwind Mansion, it is hard not to believe that something unexplained is happening at this property. Is Summerwind Mansion, or what is left of it, haunted? That is for you to decide!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

HGB Ep. 194 - Filipino Legends

 
Moment in Oddity - Mother Believes Son is Reincarnated Lou Gehrig
(Suggested by: Tim Sscott of History Dweebs)

Christian Haupt is an eight year old boy living in California who is considered a baseball protege and there just may be a very unusual reason why he is so skilled at baseball at such a young age. His mother believes that he is the reincarnation of New York Yankees first baseman, Lou Gehrig. Gehrig was a baseball star during the 1920s and '30s. He was known as the Iron Horse and held the consecutive games played until it was broken in 1995. He played even with breaks in his hands and back issues. He was finally sidelined in 1939 by a neurological disease that would eventually be named for him: Lou Gehrig's Disease or ALS. He died two years later. Christian told his mother when he was only two years old that he "used to be a tall baseball player" and that he died because his "body stopped working." He told his mother that he would travel to hotels by train. His mother researched things he would tell her about his past life and she would find that they would match up with details about Gehrig's life. A picture of Babe Ruth and Gehrig was shown to Christian and he quipped that the two didn't speak to each other, which matched up with the fact that the two had been friends who had a falling out. When she asked how he knew these things, he would answer, "I just know." Christian never used Gehrig's name though. He has become a baseball protege that was the youngest person to ever throw a first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, which he did when he was three and he was featured in the 2014 MLB All Star Game pregame show at the age of five. If Christian really is the reincarnation of Lou Gehrig, that would certainly be odd!

This Month in History - President William Henry Harrison Dies in Office

During the month of April, on the 4th, in 1841, President William Henry Harrison dies in office after only serving for 32 days. He holds the unfortunate honor of being the president to have held the office for the shortest length of time. Harrison ran on the Whig Party ticket with John Tyler. They ran an unconventional campaign, distributing free bottles of hard cider in little log cabin-shaped bottles to the public. It worked and they won. Harrison had a love of oration and that became his undoing. On Inauguration Day in 1841, it was bitterly cold as President Harrison stepped up to the podium. He delivered the traditional inaugural address. His would be the longest inaugural address in history at one hour and 45 minutes. He developed a cold quickly that eventually became pneumonia. Some historians believe that he had hepatitis, which weakened his immune system and he was unable to fight off the pneumonia. Upon his death, John Tyler became President. Harrison left behind a wife and three children, one of whom would father Benjamin Harrison, who went on to become the 23rd president of the United States in 1889. He served out his full term.

Filipino Legends (Suggested by April Garaci)

The Philippines is made up of thousands of islands. Together, they are an enchanting country of beautiful beaches and enchanting opportunities for outdoor adventure. The Philippines was under Spanish rule for 350 years and much of the country is Catholic because of that beginning. The influence is still seen today in the numerous historic churches and in the Spanish colonial architecture. The people of this land embrace spirituality and there is a rich culture of mythology and folklore here. The Philippines Pantheon is vast and there are dozens of creatures that are found in the local lore. Some seem silly, while others are truly terrifying. Our Filipino listener April Garaci joins us to share stories of folklore and some haunting experiences that she has experienced. Join us as we explore the legends of the Philippines!

Some of the legends and stories that April shared with us:

One Filipino "monster" is a Kapre. Its a big hairy man that lives at the top of big trees in the Philippines. He is usually depicted smoking a cigar and that he isnt usually an evil being per say but he does cause trouble for people that are traveling through the forests and gets them disoriented and lost.

When I was young my family would Drive 5-8 hours (it depends on the traffic and Philippine  traffic is horrible) to visit my great grandparents and other extend family in the province I always looked forwards to those trips since I Love playing with my cousins and my great Grand parents always had the best ww2 stories.My Great Grand parents also had the best house it was old fasioned and was designed to look like it was built during the Spanish occupation. They also had a really great back yard. It was big and had a small bamboo hut we use to play house in. The one thing that spoiled my fun was that when the sun sets we need to be inside ASAP because of the "Kapre" in the big tree in the backyard. You have to understand that since this is a very small town back then and that the electricity wasn't  centralized yet so up and down the street all you can see is the main street lights and a few house lights in the area. So I kinda understand why my parents were protective then since the backyard was pitch black and we were in a rural area.

But enough with my descriptions. One evening when most of all the parents were out and about me and my cousins were playing hide and seek in the back yard. it was getting dark but since this was our last game of the day we decided to risk it and finish the game. My cousin that was chosen to be "it" was counting down when he stopped altogether and started to point up at the tree. The brave kids that we were we went out of our hiding places and looked at the spot that he was pointing at. That was when we spotted a small orange circular object in the tree. I was about to dismiss it as a firefly when the tree leaves started to shake like someone was on the branches and since it was a hot summer that did not have any winds that day we made a wise decision and ran out off there and straight back to house. Looking back on it now I still don't know what it was but my family can never cut down that tree because when try weird and strange things happens and my family gave up altogether  and just accepted it as part of the backyard big and sprawling.

But here's a another story from my school in the Philippines. There is a restroom that all students and most teachers avoid going to we call it the black restroom. It is a bathroom that has no mirrors and any reflective surface in it and has all the stall doors  painted black. We (the students) think that black paint serves as a warning. There is a rumor that has been going around since my aunt was going to that school. The story goes is that the reason there is no mirrors in the restroom was that the person's reflection almost always does a different action then what that person is doing. My aunt told me that one of her school friends went inside and used the restroom and that she came out running because while she was using the toilet she can feel someone or something looking at her.

Do any of these legendary creatures of the Philippines actually exist? That is for you to decide!

Friday, March 31, 2017

HGB Ep. 193 - Legend of the Faeries

 
Moment in Oddity - Mother Ludlam's Cave
(Suggested by: Rachel Thomson)

There is a small grotto in Surrey, England that has many local legends told about it. This grotto is known as Mother Ludlam's Cave. Early stories claim that monks found the cave and the spring inside, which was used for drinking water. It was thought that the spring had healing properties and was named Lud after the Celtic god of healing. The most interesting story related to the cave is the legend of Mother Ludlam. Mother Ludlam was a white witch who would help out the local townspeople. She would lend them whatever they needed, but it was always with the stipulation that it had to be returned in two days. Villagers would approach the cave and ask Mother Ludlam for what they needed and when they returned home, that item would be sitting on their front stoop. One man borrowed a cauldron. He forgot to return in within the two days and Mother Ludlam flew into a rage. She went seeking him and when he found out, he took the cauldron and hid in Frensham Church. That is one version of the story. The most told tale is that it was not a man who came to borrow the cauldron, but the Devil himself. Mother Ludlam saw the Devil's hoofprint and she refused to give him the cauldron, so he stole it. It is said that as he ran, he leapt over the ground forming hills that are known as the Devil’s Jumps near Churt. He finally dropped the cauldron (or kettle) on the last one which is called “Kettlebury Hill” today. Mother Ludlam retrieved the dropped cauldron and hid it in the Frensham Church where the Devil wouldn't look for it. These sound like fun legends about a real cave, but the cauldron actually can be seen to this very day at Frensham Church and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Johann Sebastian Bach is Born

In the month of March, on the 31st day, in 1685, Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany. Bach began school at the age of seven. He studied Latin and received religious studies in the Lutheran faith. His faith would influence his future musical career. Tragedy struck for him at the tender age of ten when both his parents died and he found himself an orphan. There would be a silver lining as his older brother, Johann Christoph, took him in and raised him. Christoph was a church organist in Ohrdruf and he taught Bach how to play. Bach lived with him until he was fifteen. He went away to a school in L√ľneburg where he had won a spot because of his beautiful soprano singing voice. His voice changed later and Bach decided to switch to playing instruments. He chose the violin and the harpsichord. Bach became a composer, but during his lifetime, he was more known for his organ playing than his composing. Some of his famous compositions include "Toccata and Fugue in D minor," "Mass in B Minor," the "Brandenburg Concertos" and "The Well-Tempered Clavier." He died in Leipzig on July 28, 1750. Today, he is considered one of the greatest Western composers of all time.

Legend of the Faeries (Suggested by Vicki Luther and Amy Harris Martinez)

A belief in Faeries has existed for centuries and stretches all around the world. Early stories of faeries originate in medieval Western Europe and this is where we get the term "Fairy Tales." The roots of the oldest tale of fairy creatures comes from a folktale named “The Smith and the Devil.” Some fairy tales are thought to be up to 6,000 years old. Stories of faeries traveled with the colonists to America and are still strong in Appalachian and Ozark lore. There are many theories as to what faeries may be and because of this, they take many forms in folklore. And while most people believe that faeries are not real, the belief in these creatures is very real. And there are tales that go beyond superstition and leave open the possibility that faeries may just exist. Join us as we explore the folklore about these fascinating beings and examine some of the tales that are told about them!

When it comes to appearances, most of us grew up with the image of a cute little winged pixie that was little more than a human butterfly. Ask someone what a fairy looks like and they most likely will describe Tinker Bell from "Peter Pan." But faeries come in a variety of forms and are generally much larger than the six inch image most of us have. The smallest faeries are described as little more than balls of light, similar to fireflies, but these orbs of light can be as large as two to three inches in diameter. They are referred to as Will o' Wisps many times. Then there are the "gnome-sized" faeries, equated with little people, that run between two and three feet tall and they like to wear the color red and green. Human-sized faeries are not as common and usually appear more shadowy in somber colors, occasionally wearing cloaks. All sizes have been described as winged, but faeries do not necessarily all have wings. They have fair skin, which can come in a variety of pastel coloring. All faeries are thought to be magical creatures.

There are many theories as to the origins of faeries. There are beliefs that they have descended from the ancient race of elves and so they have a similar look, but with the upgrade of being able to fly. Elementals are spirit creatures of air, water, fire and earth and there are some that believe that faeries are really elementals. It's important to note that some spiritual practices see elementals as branching out into pixies, sprites, devas, elves, brownies, leprechauns, gnomes, merfolk, kelpies, hobgoblins and faeries. Even more interesting is that there are those who classify faeries as these individual creatures, making faeries the top classification. So pixies are really a race of faeries, as are leprechauns and so on. Perhaps because of the wings, faeries are thought to be a type of angel. Early Christian beliefs held that if someone died without being baptized, then they would become a faery creature. It was taught that the fallen angels that went with Lucifer became faeries when God stopped them in mid-flight on their way to Hell. They were told to stay right where they were, which is why some are in the air, some are in the water and some are in the earth. These accounts are found in Irish, Scottish and Scandinavian folklore. Others think they are souls caught between heaven and Hell in some kind of limbo. And still other tales claim that faeries are the offspring of demons and angels coming together. 

These beliefs in early Christianity were adapted from pagan beliefs, which is where faeries have their true origins. All branches of the Celtic families adopted stories of faeries and those beliefs spread to the British Isles and on to France and Germany. The Welsh had a matriarchal society and they called faeries "The Mothers" coming down from the Mother Goddess they worshipped. Faeries in their lore were always depicted as females living in Fairyland, which was also known as the Land of Women. An interesting incorporation of faeries in the pagan pentagram, makes faeries seem to be a spirit type elemental. The five points of the pentagram are air, water, fire, earth and spirit, with faeries being the spirit incarnate. One of the reasons why it is rare to see a faery is because of this spirit nature and the idea that they live in a different world or what we might term in our modern language, a different dimension. This dimension is sometimes referred to as the land of Tir na nog which is the Land of Eternal Youth. The veil between these worlds seems to be thinner at twilight and this is when these creatures are most likely to be seen. If a human tries to pass into Tir na nog and actually accomplishes this feat, they will never return, at least not alive.

As we covered on our episode about Icelandic folklore, Icelanders are superstitious about elf rocks where they believe elves live. Those rocks are not to be moved. Other countries have similar beliefs about faery domiciles, which makes sense when considering that elves and faeries may be one and the same. The Irish have burial mounds they call sidhe, which means fairy mound, because they believe faeries live in these mounds. Hundreds of these still dot the Irish landscape. So the Irish believe that faeries are connected to the deadlands and that they can go back and forth from earth to heaven to the underworld. This is interesting when thinking of faeries as spirit beings. At Samhain, faeries leave their fairy hills according to Irish lore.

The purpose of faeries really depends on the faery. Some are mischievous imps leading travelers astray in the woods, while others are helpful and bring food for those lost in the woods. If you awaken with tangled hair, those could be elf-locks that a faery has twisted into your hair as you slept. They occasionally help themselves to small items. Consumption was blamed on faeries in some places as it was thought that they were keeping these people awake all night, mostly dancing and such, and the lack of sleep was wasting them away. Most faeries were thought to be hard workers, but shy and diminutive in stature. It is thought they raised animals to be of smaller stature as well. Brownies, for example, were welcome around farms and the house because they were happy to help with chores. There is historical evidence of little people races in Europe and the British Isle, which could be what spawned stories of faeries.

There is a sinister side to faeries though, that involves changelings. Many of you have probably heard of changelings. These are faery babies that have been substituted for human babies. You may not know; however, why faeries exchange babies. Female faeries have great difficulty in carrying babies and even more difficulty giving birth. If they manage to carry a baby to full term, it is generally deformed in some way. There is actually a genetic reason for this because faery races are small in number and so inbreeding is common. They bring these sickly and deformed faery babies into the human world and exchange them for a healthy human baby. They are then taught the faery ways and strengthen the blood lines. Adult humans can be exchanged with a changeling too. It is rare, but has happened according to lore. These humans are trapped with faery magic for a length of time to help them forget their former lives. Then they are used to produce healthy faery babies. (This seems similar to tales of aliens using humans for breeding purposes.) The changeling left behind usually gives itself away because of its ill tempered nature.

There are things that humans can use to keep faeries away. Faeries do not like iron, particularly if it is cold iron that has yet to be heated for shaping. Steel is an alloy of iron and is said to weaken faeries, although it is not toxic to them like iron. Charms made from salt, herbs like rosemary, St. John's Wort and dill, gravesoil and rowan wood weakens faeries. Planting a rowan tree near the door works best. Newfoundland folklore claims that bread can keep the beings away. Holy water can make them ill and if you know the faeries real name, you have power over them, which is similar to a belief that knowing a demons name gives one power over them. Horseshoes are not just a symbol of good luck, they apparently are a faery deterrent, particularly if made from iron. A row of iron nails would be hammered into the headboard of a bed where a new mother would lie down with her baby and Scotland held the belief that if the father's pants were hung at the foot of the bed, it would frighten the faeries. Wrapping the baby in the father's shirt would have the same effect. And remember that a faery is like a vampire in that it cannot enter your home without being invited.

In Thailand, they have a fairy-like creatures that they call Naree Pon. They are said to be a combination of plant and animal. They stand less than three feet tall and have female bodies with a camouflage coloring to their skin. Locals sometimes refer to them as the Thai Flower Pod Women. In Buddhist folklore, the Naree Pon come to Buddha as he meditates and they distract him. This happens mostly during the day, as they hide in the trees at night. The legends also describe the Naree Pon as fruit on trees that become alive after falling from the trees and live for a week. After the week is over, their bodies whither into little carcasses that can be held in the hand. A temple outside of Bangkok has a couple of them on display. They have unusually long arms and a plant-like structure on their heads. Syfy’s Destination Truth went out in search of them on an episode, but did not find any.

One of the events that caused many to lose faith in faeries were the hoax photos that came out in the early 1900s known as the "Fairies of Cottingley Glen." There were five photographs in the collection that were captured by two cousins named Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright. The girls appeared in the photos with these tiny human-like creatures who had period style haircuts, wore flowing gowns and had large wings on their backs. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in the authenticity of the pictures wholeheartedly. He published two of them with a piece he wrote for "The Strand" in 1920. He then authored a book about the Cottingley Fairies and his belief in them named "The Coming of the Fairies." City News wrote of the story in 1921, "It seems at this point that we must either believe in the almost incredible mystery of the fairy or in the almost incredible wonders of faked photographs."

Now, we have referred to these photos as a hoax, but Harold Snelling, who was a fellow spiritualist and also an expert on photographic retouching, said, "These dancing figures are not made of paper nor any fabric; they are not painted on a photographic background — but what gets me most is that all these figures have moved during the exposure." Snelling reprinted and retouched the negatives to get crisper images. Those images looked even more real than the originals. He and Doyle agreed that the girls were too young to pull off such a hoax. The two girls grew into women and they were hounded several times in iradult lives to tell the truth. They were always very evasive with their answers until they were older women in their 70s and 80s. They professed that "the fairies in the photographs were actually drawings Elsie had made, cut out and set in place with hatpins." They traced them from "Princess Mary's Gift Book" and placed cardboard behind them that was fastened with zinc oxide bandage tape. Frances wrote in 1983, "I'm fed up with all these stories... I hated those photographs and cringe every time I see them. I thought it was a joke, but everyone else kept it going. It should have died a natural death 60 years ago." What is fascinating about this story is that although the women admitted the pictures were a hoax, they maintained that they really saw faeries and interacted with them. And this, they both maintained until their deaths. In the 1980’s, Ronnie Bennett, a forester in Cottingley Woods, came forward with a fairy encounter he had while working there: "When they showed themselves about nine years ago there was a slight drizzle around. I saw three fairies in the woods and I have never seen them since. They were just about ten inches tall and just stared at me. There is no way the Cottingley Fairies is a hoax."

William Blake was a poet and an artist and apparently, a believer in faeries. It is said that he had the following conversation with a woman:
"Did you ever see a fairy's funeral, madam?" said Blake to a lady who happened to sit next to him.
"Never, Sir!" said the lady.
"I have," said Blake, "but not before last night."
And he went on to tell how, in his garden, he had seen "a procession of creatures of the size and colour of green and grey grasshoppers, bearing a body laid out on a rose-leaf, which they buried with songs, and then disappeared".
The Fairy Flag of Dunvegan Castle is a very interesting story. Dunvegan Castle, on the isle of Skye, is the ancestral home of the MacLeod clan. The family came into possession of the flag, when the Fae wrapped the infant MacLeod in it when he was at the point of death. The family was told that they could wave the flag two more times when they were in distress and the Fae would come to help. The second time it was waved was at a battle in Waternish in 1520 and it was used to rally MacLeod's men. The flag was later cut into small pieces and carried by the MacLeod Warriors during World War II. The soldiers believed the flag would give them magical protection. Those who carried a piece of the flag were said to have come home alive. What is left of the Fairy Flag is preserved under glass on a wall at Dunvegan Castle. There is still one more wave of the flag left.

William Butterfield was the keeper of Ilkley Wells in West Yorkshire, England and he claimed to have a fairy encounter in 1815, “As he drew near the wells he took out of his pocket the massive iron key, and placed it in the lock; but there was something “canny’ about it, and instead of the key lifting the lever it only turned round and round in the lock. He drew the key back to see that it was alright, and declared, “It was the same that he had on the previous night hung up behind his own door down at home. Then he endeavored to push the door open, and no sooner did he push it slightly ajar than it was as quickly pushed back again. At last, with one supreme effort, he forced it perfectly open, and back it flew with a great bang! Then ‘whirr, whirr, whirr’, such a noise and sight! All over the water and dipping into it was a lot of little creatures, all dressed in green from head to foot, none of them more than eighteen inches high, and making a chatter and jabber thoroughly unintelligible. They seemed to be taking a bath, only they bathed with all their clothes on. Soon, however, one or two of them began to make off, bounding over the walls like squirrels. Finding they were all making ready for decamping, and wanting to have a word with them, he shouted at the top of his voice—indeed, he declared afterwards, he couldn’t find anything else to say or do—”Hallo there!” Then away the whole tribe went, helter skelter, toppling and tumbling, heads over heels, heels over heads, and all the while making a noise not unlike a disturbed nest of young partridges. The sight was so unusual that he declared he either couldn’t or daren’t attempt to rush after them. He stood as still and confounded, he said, as old Jeremiah Lister down there at Wheatley did, half a century previous, when a witch from Ilkley put an ash riddle upon the side of the River Wharfe, and sailed across in it to where he was standing."

Janet Bord wrote "Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People." She reported that in 1968, contractors in Donegal would not cut down a gnarled tree that stood in the way of a new road they were building because it was believed that the tree was a fairy tree. One of the contractors said, "There is something uncanny about it.The roots are not more than a couple of feet below ground - yet it defied a hurricane seven years ago." There are multiple stories of people getting sick after cutting fairy thorns and putting up buildings across fairy paths. People living in homes blocking a  fairy path would open their windows at night so that the faeries could pass through and then the occupants would not become ill. A girl became lost in 1935 on Lis Ard, which was a fairy fort in County Mayo. There was a gap to the outer bank that she should have been able to pass through, but some kind of external force kept her from passing. This force turned her round so that she was walking back into the fort. She tried again and again, but it was as if there was an invisible wall and it felt hostile to her. Later, the barrier disappeared and she was able to leave. Bord also writes of an impossibly tiny shoe found in Ireland and a large group of tiny people seen playing in a Fairy Bog in Wales.

A Somerset farmer's wife  claimed in 1962 that she had lost her way at Berkshire Downs and was put on the right track by a small man in green who appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared after pointing her in the right direction. A woman in Cornwall also claimed to see a small green man with a pointed hood and pointed ears as she was making her way to the ferry. Her daughter saw the same creature and they made a mad dash for the ferry, totally terrified.

Danica wrote, "I do believe in fairies. My daughters and I rented a trailer in El Cajon, California in 2010. One morning we were all eating breakfast in the kitchen, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a fairy floating in the air. It was a female about three feet in height sprinkling gold dust all around her. At the same time, my oldest daughter said, 'Mommy , mommy, there is a fairy sprinkling gold dust everywhere over by the window.' My daughters and I also experienced some other unexplained phenomena in that trailer. It was getting a little too scary for us. We only stayed living in that trailer for 10 days and moved out as quickly as we could. I think my daughters and I somehow attract the unexplained, paranormal, whatever you want to call it, because we have encountered several more experiences with the paranormal that were scary. Thankfully, it has been almost a year that we have not encountered anything. We have seen things that no one would believe. Prayer and faith have kept us safe."

Did faeries actually exist? Is it possible that they still exist today? Most of the former Celtic nations of Brittany, Germany, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have people who believe that faeries still exist. There is a theory that they are rarely seen because they are a dying breed. Still others reason that the creatures are disappearing because we fail to believe in them. Do you believe in faeries? That is for you to decide!

Monday, March 27, 2017

HGB Ep. 192 - Penn State University

 
Moment in Oddity - Lord Tod Wadley
(Suggested by: Kelly Helter)

Lord Tod Wadley was a doll made by the Steiff Toy Company. The company was based in Germany and started by Margarete Steiff in 1880 and specialized in plush toys like teddy bears. Lord Tod Wadley was a male doll that stood over a foot tall. He was given to Marion Barbara 'Joe' Carstairs by her girlfriend, Ruth Baldwin. Joe Carstairs was a British eccentric heiress to the Standard Oil family who made a name for herself in power boat racing in the 1930s. In her day, she was known as the fastest female speed boat racer in the world. Before she got into that, she served during World War I in France with the American Red Cross, driving ambulances. She helped rebury the war dead after the war ended and later in Dublin, during the Irish War of Independence, she served with the Women's Legion Mechanical Transport Section. She was very different for her time. She tattooed her arms, dressed like a man and was openly gay. She had affairs with numerous famous women including Dolly Wilde - who was Oscar Wilde's niece - Greta Garbo, Tallulah Bankhead and Marlene Dietrich. She bought an island named Whale Cay to retire on and she ruled there like a queen. But what truly made her unique was Lord Tod Wadley. Joe was never without the doll, unless she was racing, because she feared losing him. She treated the doll as though it were a living child. And she spoiled it with gifts. She bought him cowboy outfits, dolls of his own, Italian made shoes, a small wristwatch, sailor suits, revolvers, a Bible and suits from Savile Row. Sculptures were made in his honor, along with portraits. One portrait featured Lord Tod Wadley before a mirror with his reflection that was titled "Narcissus." Joe talked to the doll and when she finally died in Florida at the age of 93, she had the doll cremated with her. Having dolls and toys as an adult is normal, but keeping a doll and caring for it as if it were a living child and as your only companion, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Nazi General Rudolf Freiherr von Gersdorff Attempts to Assassinate Hitler

In the month of March, on the 21st day, in 1943, Nazi General Rudolf Freiherr von Gersdorff attempts to assassinate Hitler. Throughout World War II, there were many attempts to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Nazi General Gersdorff was one of those men who participated in an elaborate plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The Nazis had intercepted a bunch of Soviet weapons and they were stored at an armory in Berlin. Gersdorff was a weapons expert, so he was tasked with taking Hitler on a guided tour of the former Soviet arsenal. He realized that this was a great opportunity to try to kill the Nazi leader since he would be right there next to him. Gersdorff stuffed two bombs in his pockets and began the tour. This was going to be a suicide mission. The plan was to ignite the fuses, which would take ten minutes to detonate and before they exploded, Gersdorff was going to lock Hitler into an embrace. As it turned out, Hitler was in a big hurry when he arrived at the armory. He had no plans to stay for ten minutes and so there was not enough time to detonate the bombs. Gersdorff had to make a mad dash for the toilet where he secretly detonated the bombs and his plan remained unknown to Hitler, who would have had him killed. Gersdorff spent much of the rest of his service supervising the construction of mass graves following a series of mass executions of Poles perpetrated by the NKVD, which was a clandestine Soviet police organization.

Penn State University

Penn State University is a part of the Big Ten East and has 24 campuses across the state of Pennsylvania. Not bad for a school that had small beginnings and only 64 undergraduate students. Penn State was one of the first land grant universities in America and was founded as an agricultural school. The main campus is situated in the Nittany Valley between Nittany Mountain and Muncy Mountain. The university sits on a limestone shelf, which lends itself to capturing energy and it is said that this may be one of the most haunted universities in America. Matt Swayne, author of America's Haunted Universities, joins us to share stories of spirits that continue here in the afterlife. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Penn State!


Pennsylvania State University has meager beginnings as a farmer's college. A man named James Irvin was a prominent ironmaster and agriculturalist in the 1800s. He entered politics and was elected twice as a representative to Congress for the 14th congressional district in Pennsylvania. He ran for governor of Pennsylvania in 1847, but did not win. Irvin was also a landowner and had several acres in Centre County. He donated 200 acres for the founding of the Farmer's High School, which was chartered in 1855 by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was one of the nation's first colleges of agricultural science. The land was located at the junction of Penns, and Nittany Valleys near the geographical centre of the State. Irvin was passionate about mixing agriculture and science and had a certain vision for the new school.

Irvin wrote to the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society that "If we would add dignity to Manual labor, if we would have it held in honor by the Community; we must associate it with Science, and if we would lessen the expense of acquiring scientific knowledge, so as to bring the Cost within the means of the farming Community, we must connect its acquisition with manual labor – These as I understand are leading objects of the Farmers High School of Pennsylvania; and if, as has been suggested such an institution properly organized, with the aid of the Surplus funds of your Society and a reasonable appropriation from the State, can afford to the young men of Pennsylvania, able and willing to work, (when work is required of all, and esteemed honorable) a scientific practical education, at an expense of less that Seventy five dollars per annum, it will be productive of benefits to the community, the full extent of which time only can develop, and future generations only tell."

Evan Pugh was the founding president. He planned a curriculum based on the scientific education he had received in Europe. He joined other leaders in supporting the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act through Congress in 1862. The act enabled states to sell federal land, invest the proceeds, and use the income to support colleges "where the leading object shall be, without excluding scientific and classical studies ... to teach agriculture and the mechanic arts [engineering] ... in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in all the pursuits and professions of life." The Farmers High School would then become Pennsylvania's land-grant institute and the name was changed to Agricultural College of Pennsylvania. In 1874, the college would become Pennsylvania State College. The mission of Penn State has been research, teaching and public service and you will hear Matt talk about that a little later.

In the 1880s, Penn State expanded the curriculum to include far more than just agricultural science. Liberal arts were introduced, along with engineering. This was championed by then president George W. Atherton. He and his wife will come up again later when we get into talking about hauntings. The early 1900s brought cooperative extension and outreach programs, which grew into other campuses branching out across the state. This would give students a better chance of attending the university during the Great Depression. In the 1950s, research brought advances in building insulation, dairy science, diesel engines and other specialized fields. It was also in the 50s when Penn State would officially become a university under President Milton S. Eisenhower, who was the brother President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1967, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was established as a college of medicine with a hospital in Hershey.

In 2000, Penn State merged with the Dickinson School of Law and it also graduated its first students enrolled in the World Campus. The university has had a huge influence in the state. It is the largest school in the state and has the second-largest impact on the state economy, generating an economic effect of over $17 billion on a budget of $2.5 billion. A main outreach of the university is philanthropy as well. Its Grand Destiny campaign raised over $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, Penn State has a black mark in its recent history because of an assistant football coach employed by the university named Jerry Sandusky. As a time stamp on this episode, just this last week in March of 2017, former Penn State President Graham B. Spanier was found guilty of child endangerment related to Sandusky's crimes. Those crimes were sexual abuse on boys that he had groomed thorough a charity he started called The Second Mile. The scandal broke in 2011, but Sandusky's crimes went on for decades. And several university officials were implicated for covering up or not reporting the crimes. As was the case with the former President.

Now we are joined by Matt Swayne who works at the university and has documented the hauntings going on there:

The hauntings according to Matt Swayne:
"Penn State's haunted heritage goes way back—the whole way back to one of the oldest buildings on campus, in fact. Old Botany, the quaint, red brick cottage tucked off of Pollack Road, looks innocent enough, but masks, if you believe some ghost-hunting buffs, a range of supernatural phenomena. In one legend, Frances Atherton, the wife of George Atherton, uses the windows in the top floor of Old Botany to keep an eye on her husband’s grave, which rests across the street from Old Botany. As students trudge along Pollock Road—one of the busiest walkways through campus—they cast an eye on the upper-floor windows, half-expecting to see the worried gaze of Frances looking back at them.

One of the most haunted spots on the University Park campus is Schwab Auditorium, a theatre that seats a little more than 900 people with enough room left over for at least two or three ghosts. People have reported spotting a few apparitions—including the ghost of a janitor—in the auditorium over the years, according to Rachel Moeser, president of the 40-member Paranormal Research Society, one of the nation's first university clubs formed to study the paranormal. Her team has scoured the theatre looking for evidence of the haunting and who's behind it. She says that some speculate that Charles Schwab—the industrialist, not the stockbroker—is haunting the auditorium. A former Penn State trustee who funded the construction of the auditorium, Schwab loved supporting the arts and going to the theatre so much that he has stuck around long after his lifetime passes expired, or so the theory goes. The theatre isn’t haunted only by industrialist-sized theatre goers, though, according to Moeser. "I think Schwab [Auditorium] is active," says Moeser. "There seems to be the ghost of a janitor, and we think there is a female spirit in the theatre." Over the years, students, staff, and faculty claim to have heard strange noises echoing from the building’s upper floors. They say they hear footsteps, feel scratches, and see objects moving across the floor. When someone goes upstairs to check, there is no sign of a presence—at least a human presence. Because of the confusion about exactly who—or what—is doing the haunting in Schwab, students gave the auditorium’s paranormal presence a generic nickname, “Schwaboo.”

While ghost stories about university presidents, founders, and donors haunting the halls of campus buildings are not unique in higher education ghost-lore, Penn State has a spirit that separates it from the rest of its collegiate competition—the ghost of a mule.
 Born in 1855, the same year as Penn State’s traditionally observed founding, Old Coaly traveled from his native Kentucky to, among many other duties-as-assigned, labor tirelessly at lugging limestone blocks from a quarry at the corner of what is now the southeast corner of the Old Main lawn to the construction site of the original Old Main.The mule quickly became a favorite of the students at the Farm School—which was what most people called the University at the time—and almost became the school’s mascot. It’s true that, but for a twist here or there in campus history, we may be watching the Nittany Mule do pushups at Beaver Stadium during home football games. Old Coaly was so loved and appreciated by the entire University community that his bones were preserved once he shuffled off to the great pasture in the sky on New Year’s Day of 1893. But he wasn’t quite ready to retire. It seemed every place where Old Coaly’s bones were displayed—in Watts Hall, for example—ghost stories would follow. Students claimed to hear, usually during the dead of night, the sound of plodding hooves thudding down dark, empty halls and the occasional braying of a mule echoing through the silence. Most people suspected a prankster was behind the "paranor-mule" phenomenon. The spirit of Old Coaly, by the way, seems pretty content now in his current resting spot in the HUB-Robeson Center. At least, no one has reported seeing the ghost of a mule, or heard the rumble of hooves in the HUB so far."
Are there spirits wandering around Penn State, that include a donkey? Is Pennsylvania State University haunted? That is for you to decide.