Saturday, October 21, 2017

HGB Ep. 228 - Poasttown Elementary

Moment in Oddity - El Santo Reveals Face and Dies

Rodolfo Guzman was a Mexican wrestler who went by the stage name El Santo. He competed in the Mexican version of professional wrestling known as lucha libre. In this fast-paced form of wrestling, wrestlers wear colorful masks as part of their persona. El Santo wore a silver mask. In lucha libre, losing ones mask is the ultimate defeat and El Santo took this to the extreme. He wore his mask all the time. His fans, collaborators and crew did not know what he looked like without his mask. He would go so far as to book a different flight for himself than that of his crew to avoid them seeing his face. He also had a special "mealtime" mask with the mouth cut away so that he could eat. He became a cultural figure and symbol of Mexico and the people adored him. El Santo also became a movie star, appearing in 50 movies. Those movies included Santo Faces Death, Santo Vs. the Zombies, Santo Vs. Frankenstein’s Daughter, and Santo Vs. the Vampire Women. In 1984, El Santo finally removed his silver mask publicly, revealing his face to the world on a talk show called "Contrapunto." Not removing his mask for all those years is definitely unusual, but even stranger is the fact that he died 10 days after revealing his face and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Mata Hari Executed

In the month of October, on the 15th, in 1917, World War I spy Mata Hari was executed by a French firing squad at Vincennes Barracks, outside Paris. Mata Hari was born Margaretha Gertruida Zelle in 1876. Her father left the family and her mother died when Mata was 15. She married Rudolph John MacLeod, an officer in the East Indies Army, when she was 18. He was abusive and she wrote of him that he “came close to murdering me with the bread knife. I owe my life to a chair that fell over and which gave me time to find the door and get help.” She left him and went to France to start a new life. That new life found her working as a prostitute and exotic dancer. She took the name of Mata Hari at this time for the stage. The legend of Mata Hari claims that she was a femme fatale who spied for the Germans during World War I leading to the deaths of thousands of Allied soldiers. The truth is that she did not divulge any important information to the Germans. But her travels and relationships put her under scrutiny and the fact that she had relationhips with French officers may have led the French to arrest her and perhaps decide to rid themselves of her. She was found guilty and sentenced to die by firing squad. When she faced the squad on the October day, she denied a blindfold and stared steadfastly at her firing squad. She did not move a muscle.

Poasttown Elementary (Suggested by listener Angela Boley)

Poasttown Elementary School was dedicated in 1937 in Middletown, Ohio. Before a school was located on this spot, there was a train wreck with casualties within a mile of the property. There was no hospital close by, so the field where the school now exists was set up as a triage center. Many believe that the spirits of those who died from the accident still remain on the land and now haunt the school there. Angela Boley is an artist, psychic and paranormal investigator with Big Country Paranormal. She joins us to share a little about the history of the school and a lot about her paranormal experiences inside the school.

On August 18, 1936, the voters of Madison Township passed a bond issue for a consolidated elementary school at Poasttown to replace the township's one-room school. On September 7, 1937, the new school on Franklin-Trenton Road opened although not all the construction was completed The school wouldn't be officially dedicated until April 15, 1938. Pupils were assigned to the new school from Upper and Lower Browns Run, Dubbs, Pike and old Poasttown. There were 200 students at that time.The schoolhouse has a history that is relatively peaceful. One young girl fell three floors down a stairwell and was killed by a serious head injury. Her name was Sarah. The school eventually closed and the building is now owned and operated by Darrell and Brenda Whisman.

The claims of hauntings are numerous. Angela wrote us, "I am with Big Country Paranormal and we have seen full bodied apparitions, (7 foot tall) a door to the roof open and slam shut,  black floating masses, white mists, voices, strange glowing lights floating through the rooms, and even a gremlin-like creature! It was built on the ground once used to temporarily lay the dead from a fatal train accident. The janitor died in a fire and it is said  a child had a fatal fall near the stairs.  There is so much more to tell you and even an episode of Ghost Brothers was filmed there. I saw a full bodied apparition and a goblin like creature while on my first visit! Love to tell you more."

It is hard to believe that an elementary school could be so haunted. Are there both friendly and malevolent spirits walking the halls of the former school? Is Poasttown Elementary haunted? That is for you to decide!

Monday, October 16, 2017

HGB Ep. 227 - Hinsdale House

Moment in Oddity - Air Bombs Reason Behind Bermuda Triangle Disappearances
Suggested by listener Annji Taft

The University of Colorado in Boulder has some scientists who think they have cracked the secret behind the Bermuda Triangle. The culprit behind all of the mysterious disappearances over the decades could be these atmospheric disturbances called air bombs. The meterologists were studying  satellite weather images and noticed these unusual hexagonal clouds in them. Clouds don't usually form straight edges, which is what caught their attention. These clouds in the Bermuda Triangle are an exception to that rule. It is thought that these clouds are the air bombs, which are deadly blasts of air that can easily exceed 170 miles per hour. These winds can generate waves of more than 45 feet in height. This would go along with theories that rogue waves might be causing boats to disappear in this region. Is it possible that these winds are breaking up boats and planes so thoroughly that nothing is left behind? And for people who think that the Bermuda Triangle is a thing of the past and no longer relevant, the last disappearance was just in 2015 when the cargo ship "El Faro" disappeared. More research needs to be done on air bombs, but it's a fascinating theory and certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Janis Joplin Found Dead

In the month of October, on the 4th, in 1970, singer Janis Joplin is found dead. Joplin was born in 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas. She loved music and enjoyed singing and joined the band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. Joplin was wild with a very distinctive and raw voice. She brought attention to the group and got them a recording contract. Their first big hit was "Piece of My Heart." And while the band and Joplin were rising to the top of rock stardom, Joplin was falling heavily into drugs and alcohol. Her drug-fueled performances mesmerized fans, but her band mates were not pleased. Soon Big Brother and Joplin parted ways. She continued with her success as a solo act. Her most popular songs were "Down on Me", "Ball 'n' Chain","Summertime","Me and Bobby McGee","Mercedes Benz" and "Piece of My Heart." The road manager for the band she was recording with before her death, went to the Landmark Hotel to see why she hadn't shown up at the studio and he found her dead on the floor in her hotel room. She had overdosed on a potent hit of heroin. Even though she passed away at the age of 27, she is still one of the top-selling musicians in the United States with 15.5 million albums sold in the USA.

Hinsdale House

A rather nondescript and falling apart farmhouse in Hinsdale, New York has been described as one of the most haunted places in the state. The house has a mysterious history and unexplained paranormal activity that eventually led to an exorcism being performed. Many families have tried to live in the house, but not many have stayed. The experiences of one of those families, the Dandys, was featured on a 2006 episode of "A Haunting." Paranormal Investigator and co-host of the Curiosity Radio Show Tim Shaw joins us again to talk about this creepy location. Tim was actually featured on the Paranormal Lockdown episode about Hinsdale House.

Clara and Phil Dandy moved into the farmhouse with their children in 1973. They stayed for a little over a year and in that time, they experienced some crazy paranormal activity if they are to be believed. Initially, the sounds that they heard didn't bother them. They figured it was an older farmhouse settling. As activity started to ramp up, they thought that perhaps their imaginations were a little over active. Then they started seeing full-bodied apparitions that included our infamous Lady in White. Stranger still are the claims by the family that they saw bizarre animal-human hybrids. The haunting then turned violent with objects levitating and throwing themselves. On one occasion, a lamp threw itself at one of the Dandy's daughters.

One of the more frighting stories the family would go on to tell was of a night when they noticed a group of strange faces staring in their windows. However, when Mr. Dandy ran outside to chase away the trespassers, the faces reversed and were then peering back at him from the inside of the house.  They eventually called the Catholic Diosese and Father Alphonsus, a priest from St. Bonaventure University, came to the house to perform an exorcism. A paranormal investigation group joined him and all the witnesses claimed that the paranormal activity was the strongest that it had ever been during the exorcism. When it didn't work, he returned again and performed another cleansing. None of the exorcisms eradicated whatever spirits were haunting the place and the Dandy's finally gave up on their dream home. A 2006 episode of "A Haunting" on the Discovery Channel, featured the Dandy's experiences with the Hinsdale House.

Author Paul Kenyon befriended the family and became a caretaker at the house after they left. He documents the Dandy's story and his own experiences in a book he published in 2009 called "You Know They're Here." He returned to the house as he was writing the book and the current owners at that time said they had some activity, but nothing like what the Dandy's described. He writes in the book about a phenomenon we had never heard of before: ground lights. Here is what he wrote, "One puzzling new development, very puzzling for myself, which has been experienced by many is that of strange ground lights that appear. They are extremely bright and either fade out slowly or are gone in the blink of an eye.The lights mainly appear on the ground with no apparent source and are totally baffling. We experienced one recently only 15 feet from us at the edge of the road. Two of us ran directly toward it as it began to fade out. There was absolutely no source whatsoever for this strange light and we stood in the exact spot it had appeared."

Kenyon also goes on to talk about connections to the land that could be causing the haunting. There is a hanging tree on the property from which a woman was hanged. He also claims 1,100 Indians were murdered on the premises long ago and that a shaman burial site is located just above the Hinsdale House. A stagecoach way station also used to be near the hanging tree and it toppled over in 2007. An innkeeper murdered people there. The last people to physically live in the Hinsdale House were Joe and Florence Misnik. They left the house when they both passed away, which they did just a few months apart from each other. They didn't seem to have any experiences. This maybe backs up the idea that it is the land and not the house that is haunted.

Few paranormal investigators have entered Hinsdale House without having some kind of experience. Is it possible that something connected to the land has taken up residence in the home? Is Hinsdale House haunted? That is for you to decide!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

HGB Ep. 226 - The Legend of Lilith

Moment in Oddity - How Whitstable Came To Be

There was a time long ago, when Canterbury was a great center of pilgrimage. With the arrival of so many people, came lots of money. And sometimes lots of money brings sin. For Canterbury, it became quite rich and very sinful. It was so bad there that the Devil himself felt justified in carrying the village off to Hell. But he was unable to do that for one reason. Prayers were being offered up at the shrine of Thomas a Becket. One night, the priests were derelict in the duties and forgot to pray. The Devil took his chance and swooped up a great number of homes and dropped them into the sea on the north coast of Kent. He grabbed a second armful and dumped them in the same place. Now the cathedral had these bells in it and one was called the Great Harry. St. Thomas himself ran to the Sacristan and told him in a vision to ring that bell. The man obeyed and the sound startled the Devil, causing him to drop his third armful of homes. These landed on the coast. This became the town of Whitstable and they say you can still see the other homes that were dropped under the water. There are many stories of sunken cities in history, but the Devil being the actual cause is strange. And while this might be legend, people have inhabited the Whitstable area since Paleolithic times, so the fact that they even made up this legend about their origins, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Twilight Zone Premieres

In the month of October, on the 2nd, in 1959, the television show "The Twilight Zone" premiered. The show was an anthology series, featuring a different story each week with a host of famous actors starring as various characters. The series was created by Rod Serling who was a screenwriter, playwright and producer and has become most well known for his narration of The Twilight Zone. Serling had developed a pilot for what would become The Twilight Zone and submitted it to CBS. It was called "The Time Element" and featured a man who had vivid nightmares of the Pearl Harbor Attack. A twist at the end reveals that the man had died at Pearl Harbor and a psychiatrist that he was talking to is actually having the dreams about him. CBS didn't think the premise would do well, so they handed it over to Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball for their "The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse." Television watchers went nuts and gave CBS so much positive response that they agreed to let Serling go ahead with the pilot for The Twilight Zone. The series aired for five seasons with 156 episodes. most written by Serling. There have been attempts to revive the series, but none has been successful. The series continues to run in syndication.

The Legend of Lilith

Lilith is an enigma. Did she ever actually exist? And if she just was a mythological character, which description of her is accurate? Was she just the shunned first wife of Adam? Was she a demon hellbent on killing babies? Was she a demon in the form of a succubus? Was she a vampire? Or is she simply a model of feminist power worthy of worship in goddess religious practices? On this episode, we are joined by listener Jaime Burcham to explore the different theories on Lilith and get to the heart of the legend of Lilith!

In many circles, Lilith is the oldest female spirit in the world. The most ancient culture to have written records is that of the Sumerians. The Sumerians emerged in Southern Mesopotamia around 5,000 years ago. They were named for their area of habitation, Sumer. Sumer was divided into states and each had its own temple dedicated to a specific patron deity for that state. It is thought that Lilith's name has its origin in the Sumerian language. They called her "Lilitu," which means wind spirit. This was not a good spirit. She was thought to be a demon. The first literary appearance of Lilith is in Tablet XII of the Epic of Gilgamesh that dates back to 2100 BC. In the tale, Lilith is one of three creatures who haunt a great Huluppu tree that could be found in a garden made for the gods. The other two creatures are a bird and a snake. The bird is at the top, Lilith is in the middle and the snake is at the foot of the tree. The hero of the story, Gilgamesh, kills the snake and frightens the other creatures who flee the garden. It's possible that the idea that Lilith was the serpent in the Garden of Eden and that she can fly like a bird with wings, comes from the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Robert Graves and Raphael Patai wrote in the book The Hebrew Myths, ''Adam complained to God: 'I have been deserted by my helpmate.' God at once sent the angels Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof to fetch Lilith back. They found her beside the Red Sea, a region abounding in lascivious demons, to whom she bore lilim at the rate of more than one hundred a day. 'Return to Adam without delay,' the angels said, `or we will drown you!' Lilith asked: `How can I return to Adam and live like an honest housewife, after my stay beside the Red Sea?' 'It will be death to refuse!' they answered. `How can I die,' Lilith asked again, `when God has ordered me to take charge of all newborn children: boys up to the eighth day of life, that of circumcision; girls up to the twentieth day. None the less, if ever I see your three names or likenesses displayed in an amulet above a newborn child, I promise to spare it.' To this they agreed; but God punished Lilith by making one hundred of her demon children perish daily." So basically, the angels decided to not return Lilith to Adam because she would kill his offspring.

Jewish tradition makes her far more than just a tempting snake. She was the first wife of Adam, created in the same way that he was, from the dust of the Earth. This made her equal to him. She demands to be treated equally and when Adam tries to subjugate her, she rebels and is either thrown out of the garden or leaves of her own will. This is not what makes Lilith go to the Dark Side, so to say. It seems that her very essence was infiltrated by darkness from her creation. As though some bit of filth was mingled in with the dust from which God created her. For this reason, she is not only seen as independent in sexuality and spirit, but she brings with her, terror. In this Jewish tradition, her name means "the night."

This darkness within manifests in Lilith's sexuality. She is either thought to have mothered demons by mating with the Devil or fertilized herself in some way with male sperm to create demons. Legend claims that she has mothered hundreds of demons. There are claims that she could cast spells on people and brings with her chaos. Muslim beliefs go with the story that Lilith left Adam and slept with Satan, creating the Djinn. The Testament of Solomon is an apocryphal book and not consider canon, but there is a reference to Lilith within that continues the idea that Lilith is some kind of demonic force. The book was written between 200 and 600 AD.  Lilith is portrayed as a demon who strangles children during childbirth. Solomon gets a hold of her and strips her of her power by binding her hair. He then hangs her before all the people. Lilith is also mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran. The Qumran sect was fascinated by demonology and thus, Lilith appears in the Song for a Sage, which was thought to be a hymn used during exorcisms. Here is that passage: “And I, the Sage, sound the majesty of His beauty to terrify and confound all the spirits of destroying angels and the bastard spirits, the demons, Lilith. . ., and those that strike suddenly, to lead astray the spirit of understanding, and to make desolate their heart.”

Numerous examples of talismans and amulets exist that were intended to protect babies from Lilith.  Frequently amulets were place in the four corners and throughout the bedchamber. If a child laughed while sleeping, it was taken as a sign that Lilith was present. Tapping the child on the nose, it was believed, made her go away. her daughters the lilim haunted men for over a thousand years. It was well into that Middle Ages that Jews still manufactured amulets to keep away the lilim. Supposedly they were lusty she-demons who copulated with men in all their dreams, causing nocturnal emissions.
Incantation bowls feature Aramaic spells inscribed on them to provide protection from Lilith. One of these bowls is now on display at Harvard University’s Semitic Museum and reads, “Thou Lilith. . .Hag and Snatcher, I adjure you by the Strong One of Abraham, by the Rock of Isaac, by the Shaddai of Jacob. . .to turn away from this Rashnoi. . .and from Geyonai her husband. . .Your divorce and writ and letter of separation. . .sent through holy angels. . .Amen, Amen, Selah, Halleluyah!” The inscription is meant to offer a woman named Rashnoi protection from Lilith. The Greeks adopted the belief of the lilim, calling them Lamiae or Daughters of Hecate. Likewise the Christians adopted the belief, calling them harlots of hell, or succubi, the counterpart of the incubi. At one time, monks protected themselves from these Lilith-like creatures by sleeping with their hands over their genitals and clutching a crucifix.

 Lilith started making appearances later in art. For example, Michelangelo portrayed her as a half woman, half serpent being. He placed her at the Tree of Knowledge. Dante Gabriel Rosetti portrayed her as the most beautiful female being in the world. The White Witch in ''The Chronicles of Narnia'' was inspired by the legend of Lilith. The White Witch is the daughter of Lilith and thus she is focused on killing the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. In our modern era, Lilith has enjoyed a resurgence and has become a symbol of feminine power and is worshiped in some circles of Pagan spirituality, particularly Wicca. Astrology interprets Lilith as signifying one's hidden nature, so most likely, their dark side. It is said that she is in the unconscious where psychic demons breed in the darkness of ignorance. When Lilith appears in the natal chart, it is to be used to bring to the conscious mind, any self-defeating patterns of behavior.

Did Lilith ever actually exist? Could she have formed as some kind of tulpa because of the stories and beliefs about her that have carried through for centuries? What are your thoughts about Lilith? Is she some kind of demonic vampire hellbent on killing babies or is she a symbol of female power that scared patriarchal societies? Could she be both? That is for you to decide!

Friday, October 6, 2017

HGB Ep. 225 - Asylum 49

 Moment in Oddity - Chinese Guardian Spirit Zhong Kui

Many Chinese households and businesses have the image of a guardian spirit painted upon their gates as a form of protection. That guardian is Zhong Kui and he is a part of Chinese mythology. He is considered a vanquisher of evil beings and ghosts. He is so powerful that it is said he can command 80,000 demons. According to folklore, Zhong Kui traveled with a friend from his home town, Du Ping, to take part in the imperial examinations at the capital. Zhong Kui received high marks, but there was a problem. He was horribly disfigured and so the Emperor stripped him of the title his marks had earned. The young man became angry and committed suicide upon the palace steps by hurtling himself against the palace gate until his head was broken. His friend Du Ping buried him. Zhong Kui was damned to Hell. There, the Hell King saw potential in Zhong Kui when he was judging him. The Hell King gave him the title, King of Ghosts, and he was ordered to forever hunt, capture, maintain and manage ghosts. He returned to his hometown on the Chinese New Year's Eve. To repay Du Ping's kindness, Zhong Kui gave his younger sister in marriage to Du Ping. In America, painting the image of a mythological figure on our homes and businesses for protection against ghosts would certainly be considered, odd.

This Month in History -Tunnel 57 Leads East Germans to Freedom

In the month of October, on the 5th, in 1964, 57 East German refugees ran for freedom under the Berlin Wall and they were successful. This was the largest mass escape at the time, and the most daring. The refugees made their way nervously past a checkpoint and entered a home after giving "Tokyo" as the password. The group removed their shoes and padded silently through the house to a back courtyard where they were directed to enter a disused outside lavatory. Inside was a hole just big enough for a man to fit inside and then that man had to crawl along a tunnel that was two feet high and three feet wide. It was a terrifying journey, but the refugees knew freedom was on the other end. They were fleeing the Communist regime that had taken over East Germany and erected the Berlin Wall, cutting the country off from the world. The tunnel came to be known as Tunnel 57 for the number of refugees who used it that evening to escape. The Berlin Wall finally came down on November 9th in 1989.

Asylum 49 (Suggested by Joe Tamulonis and Robert Foster)

The city of Tooele in Utah has a history of mining, industry and bloody conflicts. The original Mormon pioneers who settled here were not on friendly terms with the local Native Americans. Conflicts arose and much blood was spilled. Over seventy years ago, the Tooele Valley Hospital was built for citizens and military members stationed there. It was closed in 2002 and is now the home for Asylum 49, a haunted house attraction. When the owners of Asylum 49 bought the property with the intention of creating the attraction, they had no idea that their business would literally be haunted. And Asylum 49 is not just a little haunted. It is a lot haunted! The spirits here are friendly, chilling and malevolent. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Asylum 49.

Tooele (too elah), Utah is about thirty minutes southwest of Salt Lake City. Mormon pioneers were the first white men to come to the area and they used it as a wintering ground for their herds. They arrived in the late 1840s and eventually more families joined them and they set up a city along a small stream. There was an issue though. The Goshute tribe was already here. The two groups were soon clashing with each other and the Mormons accused the tribe of rustling their cattle. They decided to attack and both sides lost much blood. Eventually, the Tooele City Corporation was organized in 1853. During the Civil War, the Goshutes were attacked and killed by soldiers led by General O'Connor and they were forced into a peace treaty. They soon were moved off to reservations. The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad brought a line to the town in 1905 and with it came industrialization. Soon a smelter was built and immigrants came from several countries to work there. They built a section of Tooele that they called "New Town." In 1942, the Tooele Army Depot was built to store war reserve and training ammunition. In 1949, the Tooele Valley Hospital was built for the Depot.

The Tooele Valley Hospital was the first modern, state-of-the-art medical facility in the city of Tooele. the hospital opened to fanfare in 1953. Now remember that this state-of-the-art was for the 1950s. So medical care had a long way to go. And even though residents got excellent care, the hospital soon took on an ominous nickname, "Hospital of Death." The Tooele City Cemetery sits next door and it took in plenty of people who passed at the hospital. By the 2000s, it was becoming apparent that the infrastructure was falling apart. Nobody wanted to put money into updating the hospital when a new one could be built, so the building was abandoned in 2002. And when we say abandoned, that means that everything was left in the building as though it were still an operating hospital. Part of the building was re-purposed as a nursing home. The rest sat abandoned until Kimm and Cami Andersen, Dusty Kingston and Sonja Andersen bought the property with the intention of creating a Halloween haunt that is full contact. They named it Asylum 49 and it opened in 2006.

Asylum 49 is full of fake haunts during the Halloween season, but year-round, it is full of real haunts. There are many ghosts here. Some of the spirits seem to belong to people who met their final end here at the hospital, some seem to have enjoyed their jobs here so much that they have returned in the afterlife, others may be venturing over from the nearby cemetery and some may be angry spirits that are attached to the land because of the violent past.Visitors and employees alike have all had experiences. The Andersen family, who owns the property, have experienced strange occurrences from the first day of ownership. Kimm Andersen was walking through the property alone when he ventured into the conference room. As he surveyed the remnants of a previous haunted house hosted by the nursing home, he felt a tugging on his shorts. He looked down and saw with his own eyes, his shorts moving outward as though something invisible were tugging at them. Something the size of a child. He ran from the room.

There are child spirits reputed to be at the former hospital. The main hallway of Asylum 49 is carpeted in green and connects the ER to the maternity wing. Several rooms are off the hallway including the conference room. One of them has made the conference room her home base. This specter is said to belong to a little girl and she has not only made her presence felt by touching people, she has been seen multiple times. Customers at the haunted house will remark how truly creepy the little blonde girl in the conference room is and, of course, no children are employed by Asylum 49. Or perhaps there is one that is employed by the haunt. Kimm, the owner, shares an incredible experience he had with a child ghost during the Halloween season.

He was doing an initial walk through one evening before opening and he couldn't find any of the actors in their spots. He finally found them all huddled together at the nurses' station. They said they were terrified and didn't want to work in this area of the hospital that night. They claimed that they had seen a ghost. Kimm went to find this ghost and he was stunned when he really did find the ghost. She was wearing a white lacy gown and she was covering her face with her hands and crying. His paternal instinct kicked in and he asked her what was wrong. She said, "I want to scare people too." Kimm explained that he didn't want her to scare his employees., but that it was okay for her to scare the visitors. She continued to wail and so Kimm thought up a new angle. They were in a room full of hospital beds and so he told her that she could help out and scare people, but that he wanted her to hide and not let anyone see her. He suggested she hide under a bed and grabbed at people's legs. Now, while all you listeners think to yourself, this has got to turn out to be a real kid, Kimm claims that she evaporated into a black mist that floated down under a bed. He returned to his actors and told them that there was nothing out there and they went back to work.

Even more compelling is that a short time later, Kimm was flagged down by a couple of his security guards. They explained to him that two female performers that had been assigned the job of laying on beds and popping up to scare customers had come running to them terrified. They claimed to have seen a black mist floating in the room, moving under the beds. Kimm's wife Cami was skeptical about this story. The next season, she met the little girl when she whispered in her ear, "You scared me." The ghost was referring to an actress at the end of the hall pretending to be a girl possessed by a demon. This actress was saying in a sinister voice, " scared me." Later in the evening, when they were locking up, Cami saw an ethereal light in the hallway. When she turned to see what was causing the light she witnessed something that chilled her to the bone. Richard Estep writes in his book, The Haunting of Asylum 49, "Silently coming up behind them with outstretched hands was the figure of a little girl in a long, lacy white night gown. Her stringy long black hair hung over a pale gray face in a manner reminiscent of the entity featured in the horror movie The Grudge. Then the silence was broken. As Cami strained her ears to listen, she could hear Sara faintly whispering, ' scared me.'"

Sara had been a patient here who died from pneumonia. She is one of the most active and most seen entities. A couple visiting the haunted house claims that they ran into Sara in the hallway and they thought she was an actress until she told them she couldn't find her mommy. The woman grabbed Sara's hand and told her that they would find her mother for her. They pulled her along as they continued to make their way through the house. They were nearly to the end when they realized that Sara had disappeared. They weren't sure if Sara had been a ghost until they decided to do a ghost tour at Asylum 49 the next year. During the presentation, a photo of Sara was shown and the woman gasped. They knew then that the child had not been real.

The hallway has its own spirits. One of them is a shadow figure that people have named Robert. He is tall and broad. The shadow is occasionally seen with a cane when he walks across the hallway. He has cracked jokes on EVPs and playfully jumped out from around corners. He responds to requests to move in order to prove that he is not just a shadow. A psychic has told the owners that she believes Robert is a protective spirit who watches over the child ghosts here like the little blonde girl and another child spirit that is a shy boy named Thomas. He stays in Room One and likes to hold people's hands. He likes to ball-up the sheets on the beds too. There is also Tabitha in the nursery. Tabitha wears a yellow dress and has told a psychic that something was wrong with her brain and that is why she died. She likes to participate in the haunted house and seems sad when the season is over. Members of the staff visit in the off season and bring toys with them to keep the children company.

Several ghosts belong to former doctors and nurses and other hospital staff. Peter Hansford was an X-ray technician at the Tooele hospital. He seems to have loved his job so much, that he has returned after his death. The reason why the owners and investigators are confidant of this fact is that an EVP was captured of a male voice saying Peter's full name when asked what was his name. The specters of a doctor and nurse are said to be in the nursery. No one knows the name of the nurse, but the doctor is named Nicholas. Neither of them seems to be aware that they are dead. They continue to do their work, but not in a residual way. Dr. Nicholas has been seen on security cameras standing behind an actor doctor while the haunt is in full swing. He is probably perplexed as to what the maniacal doctor is doing.

Bonnie is a former patient who died from cancer and now roams the nursery wearing a hospital gown and pulling along an IV tower. She claims to be looking for her husband and wants to see the babies even though the nursery obviously has no babies anymore. The Mirror Maze seems to be the place with the most activity and perhaps this is because of the mirrors. EVPs that have been captured include, "I'm here now," "You'll be mine," "We died here," "Caught a bullet," and "I'm going with you." Eva is an elderly ghost whom has been seen in Room Two. She seems to like to play cards and investigators have used a flashlight to get her to indicate which card she wants to play. She only usually hangs around to play for a few hands as though she is easily bored.

Photos have captured a tall male figure that is creepy as hell. Upon enlarging the picture, one can see that the face is almost cartoonish in appearance with raised eyebrows and a grin that would be at home on a caricature. This is thought to be Jeremy, a burn patient who had to wear a mask to protect his face. He had been covered in third degree burns before he died. Female staff members claim that he is a pervert. And investigators claim that he likes to play the imposter, pretending to be one of the other spirits at Asylum 49. A smoky smell accompanies his manifestations and he prefers to hang out in the staff lounge and kitchen. That is generally how they figure out that Jeremy is not one of the other ghosts he is claiming to be.

Room Six and been renamed Room 666 and it once was home for along-term patient named Westley. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. He died here when he was 90. Interactions with his spirit are as varied as they were when he was alive. He can be warm and charming or aggressive and confused. Ghost Adventures featured Asylum 49 on an episode and Zak Bagans provoked an extreme reaction from Westley that left Zak pinned up against a wall. It knocked the wind out of him. Others have experienced violence and anger in this room. Whether it is Westley or some other entity, no one knows for sure, but most people find Room 666 to be unsettling.

After the Halloween season is over, the attraction is dismantled and the hospital is returned to its normal state and opened up for paranormal investigation. The stories of haunting experiences are plentiful here. This seems to be one of the most haunted places we have ever talked about on the podcast. Is it possible that this old hospital could really be this haunted? Are there really over a dozen ghosts hanging around? Is Asylum 49 haunted? That is for you to decide!

Friday, September 29, 2017

HGB Ep. 224 - Haunted Cemeteries 4

Moment in Oddity -Viking Leader Killed by Tooth in Severed Head

Sigurd Eysteinsson was a prominent Viking leader who ruled Scotland's Orkney Islands in the late 800s. He was the second Viking Earl of Orkney and had succeeded his brother Rognvald. He was a fierce warrior and led the Viking conquest of what is now northern Scotland. Though he agreed to a peace meeting with Maelbrigt Earl of Scots, the meeting soon devolved into a fight and the two men battled each other fiercely. Eysteinsson finally defeated Maelbrigt and with a final swing of his sword, he decapitated his rival. He grabbed the severed head and attached it to his saddle as he road away. He wanted it prominently displayed and wanted to be able to see his handy work. There was just one problem with the placement of the head. It was positioned in such a way that Maelbrigt's long teeth were able to dig into Eysteinsson's leg as his horse galloped. This caused a wound on his leg that later became infected. That infection eventually killed the Viking and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - First Multi-page American Newspaper Published

In the month of September, on the 25th, in 1690, the first multi-page American newspaper was published. That paper was called Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick and there was only one edition printed. It appeared in Boston, Massachusetts and was edited by Benjamin Harris and printed by Richard Pierce. The paper was intended to be pulished monthly, but British authorities declared the paper offensive and ordered its immediate suppression. The order read, "Whereas some have lately presumed to Print and Disperse a Pamphlet, Entitled, Publick Occurrences, both Forreign and Domestick: Boston, Thursday, Septemb. 25th, 1690. Without the least Privity and Countenace of Authority. The Governour and Council having had the perusal of said Pamphlet, and finding that therein contained Reflections of a very high nature: As also sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports, do hereby manifest and declare their high Resentment and Disallowance of said Pamphlet, and Order that the same be Suppressed and called in; strickly forbidden any person or persons for the future to Set forth any thing in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to grant the same." Did any of you understand that? Yeah, me neither.

Haunted Cemeteries 4

Many cemeteries have been designed to serve as parks. They have many features that we would find in large public parks like statuary, stone architecture, large trees, lush landscaping and beautiful flowers. For taphophiles, cemeteries offer a place of adventure and discovery, whether it is seeking out a specific burial plot or figuring out the meaning of the symbology we find there. For geneologists, cemeteries offer a way to track down ancestors and trace their movements. For historians, cemeteries are a giant story and record of an area. On this episode we are going to discuss cemeteries in general, including the architecture found there, the meaning of the symbols, the materials used and why we love them so much. We also will share the history and hauntings of a couple of cemeteries in Windham, Maine: Chute Road and Anderson, and Hookman's Cemetery in Connecticut. Joining us on this episode is author and historian Annette Student. Listener Suzanne Silk suggested the topic of cemetery symbology and designed our Cemetery Bingo Cards.

Graveyard Symbology

We had members of the Spooktacular Crew share some of their favorite headstone symbols that they have captured in pictures.

Heather Williams - Jamaica
The Egyptian symbolism found in several cemeteries harkens back to a time when Egyptian styles were all the rage.
Heather Williams - St. Louis

Kathy Webb-Thomas - Highgate
Kathy Webb-Thomas - Highgate

Kathy Webb-Thomas - Savannah
 A modern day interpretation of St. Francis:
Lorelie Mitchell - Naperville, IL.

Shaking hands - symbol of matrimony. Can tell gender by looking at the sleeves. Historically general neutral sleeves represent a welcome into heaven or goodbye from loved ones:
Kathy Webb-Thomas - St. Augustine
Jeanne Nauerz

There are a couple of symbols here. The draped urn and wreath of flowers:
Nicole McFadden
Jules Havlicek - Germany

Jules Havlicek - New Mexico

Jules Havlicek - Whidbey Island

Jules Havlicek

Jules Havlicek

Jules Havlicek
 Woodman symbology
Jules Havlicek - Nebraska
HollyAnne Prater - Wyandot, Ohio

 Skull symbology
Kathy Webb-Thomas - Gloucestershire UK

Katrina Ray-Saulis - Salem

Katrina Ray-Saulis - Salem

Tammie McCaroll-Burroughs - Spring Grove in Cincinnati
April Barber - Virginia
Anna Prado-Frias - Riverside (nursery)

Tammy McCarroll-Burroughs - Richmond

Tammie McCaroll-Burroughs - Atlanta
Anna Prado-Frias - Riverside

Wrought-iron designs:
Tammie McCarroll-Burroughs - Selma
Masonic symbology:
Ronda Borgen - Virginia City

Lisa Linderman - Grandmother

Lisa Linderman - Grandfather
Patrick Keller - Natchez

Ronda Borgen - Prague

Ronda Borgen - Salzburg

Ruth Schulte - South Dakota
April Barber - Virginia
 Gypsy Queen graves:
HollyAnne Prater - Marion, Ohio
Katrina Ray-Saulis - York, Maine
Tavia Theresa-Zaldivar - Key West
Denise Moormeier - Gracie at Bonaventure

Denise Moormeier - Bonaventure

Denise Moormeier - Bonaventure

Denise Moormeier - Bonaventure
Denise Moormeier - Sleepy Hollow
 Anchor symbology:
Denise Moormeier - Mount Feake

Love the name on this headstone from Matawan, New Jersey:
Jeanne Nauerz
Emblems available for military headstones:

Hookman's Cemetery (Suggested by listener Joe Costa)

Hookman's Cemetery is located in Seymour, Connecticut, just off Cemetery Road. The town of Seymour is in New Haven County and was named for Governor Thomas H. Seymour. It was incorporated in 1850. This is a relatively small cemetery with burials dating back to the 1800s. What makes this graveyard haunted is the legend that is told about the man for whom it is named. The man's last name was Hookman and he was accused of a crime that he claimed he did not commit. The locals took justice into their own hands and decided to hang him. It is said that he was hanged on one of the large trees at the back of the cemetery. From that time forward, he has haunted the land here and his apparition has been seen roaming the cemetery. People who see or feel him, claim that he is an angry spirit. Locals claim that if you are driving on the road next to the cemetery at night, that your car willstall and you will hear faint scratching sounds on the outside of the car.

Amanda posted on the Ghost Towns website, "I went with a few of my friends and took some pictures there and out of a 24 exposure roll, I had 11 pictures with very distinct human forms. This was my first time ever doing anything like this. My pictures were extremely close up to the form. In some of them you can actually see a human form. There are some distinct ones of faces and in one of the shots, I had my three friends stand in a group and although it was a clear night, the picture features a thick cloud over their heads. I took a picture of one of the grave stones and there was a large cloud of what looked like fog around it. I think this one was an evil spirit because the fog had a purple tint to it and the others were grey." Now we're not sure what the color purple had to do with evil, but we found a similar story and an actual picture on the Ghostwatcherz website of a white mist. The author of the blog post claimed that it was a clear night as well and that he was not a smoker, so he has no idea where the mist came from.

Windham, Maine Cemeteries

The township of New Marblehead, which was the original name of Windham, was granted in 1734 by the Massachusetts General Court to Abraham Howard, Joseph Blaney and 58 other men from Marblehead, Massachusetts. A fort was built here in 1744 by order of the Massachusetts General Court. This was during the King George's War. The fort was a 50-foot square blockhouse constructed of 12-inch thick hewn hemlock. Water power was plentiful and many mills were built. The Cumberland and Oxford Canal brought the ability for exporting and importing. By 1859, Windham had 8 sawmills, a corn and flour mill, 2 shingle mills, a fulling mill, 2 carding mills, a woolen textile factory, a barrel factory, a chair stuff factory, the gunpowder factory and 2 tanneries. Later, a railroad brought more industry. The town is still fairly small today with a population under 20,000.

Chute Road Cemetery  

Halfway down Chute Road in Windham, Maine is the Chute Road Cemetery. It's an old unkempt graveyard with different material like stone, wood and chicken wire creating fencing. This was originally meant to be the Chute family graveyard, but a few other families have been buried here as well. There are also the Cobb, Kingsbury and Swett families. The first man to settle New Marblehead was Captain Thomas Chute and he established the New Marblehead Plantation in 1737. He was born in London in 1690. He had been married with two daughters and was killed in Falmouth in 1767. He is not buried here though. There is a just a monument to his memory that was funded by his great-grandson, George Chute. There is a monument here for George as well. He is the one who bought the plot for his family to be buried. Josiah Chute is buried here. He received a Revolutionary War Land Grant after fighting in it as a teenager. He was shot in the shoulder with a musket during the war. He lived to the age of 75 and died in 1834 at age 75.

The tales of a haunting at this cemetery have nothing to do with the Chutes though. Apparently, two young girls who lived near the cemetery went missing. Some people believe that they fell into a well or mine shaft.They were never found. It was assumed that they had died and so two tombstones were erected here in their memory. No one knows why, since they are not actually buried here, but people claim to see the apparitions of two young girls playing in the cemetery and sometimes right outside of it.

Smith-Anderson Cemetery

The formal name for this cemetery is the Old Smith Burial Ground. This is one of the oldest graveyards in the town of Windham. It is found on a dirt road across from the Parson Smith Homestead on the River Road. Some of the areas earliest settlers are interred here. There is the Anderson Family crypt and something called the Stone Den. This den is said to be home to a male spirit. There are stories of full-bodied apparitions being seen, weird mists, various light phenomenon and shadow figures. People who visit the cemetery, return to their parked cars only to find that they have moved as much as 5 or 6 feet forward or backward. Sometimes the car doors are wide open. Maine Ghost Hunters has been out to the cemetery to investigate. The conducted Ghost Box sessions and other EVP sessions and it was clear when they were in the Stone Den that they were not welcome. They captured a picture of a red orb inside the den that did not look like other sunspots that they had captured in pictures. They said they were skeptical of orbs, but that this one was strange.

One of the investigators wrote, "At one point I asked the name of the spirit I was speaking with at the time.   Flash forward to a couple of days later when I was reviewing the evidence. For this particular batch of evidence I decided to review the audio evidence first and the visual evidence last. So I sifted through the different aspects of audio, wrote notes, and bookmarked the actual files, etc... In one particular spot, the point where I asked the spirit what it's name was, I thought I may have heard a response of 'Matthew.'  This was observed before I had looked at any of the video, or any of the photographs we had taken.  After I finished with the audio, almost all of which I found to be less than impressive, and less than persuasive, I sifted through the photos when lo' and behold I came across a somewhat recent headstone (within the last 40 years) that said "Matthew" on it. It struck me immediately.  Every now and again, as an investigator, you come across a piece of evidence, such as the EVP I thought may have been saying "Matthew" but wasn't sure, that seems insignificant until you find another separate piece of evidence that corroborates what you thought might have been "slightly possible".  When this happens to me it sometimes sends a shiver up my spine, lol.  I remember looking at this headstone thinking "I wonder why, of all the headstones, why is there a picture of this.... Matthew" and then it hit me.  There are those who believe that not much in this life happens by accident.  "There are no accidents"...  Maybe they're right?  I don't know.  It was just... very coincidental."

Learning about cemetery symbology is fascinating. The way that we as humans have memorialized our dead is one of the most fascinating pieces of history. These headstones remind us that this person once lived. And in some cases, that person's spirit is still hanging around the cemetery. Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

HGB Ep. 223 - Old Idaho State Penitentiary

Moment in Oddity - Bug Spray Attracts Bigfoot

Do mosquitoes tend to bug you when you are searching for Bigfoot in the woods? Are you having trouble attracting Bigfoot to come out of hiding? Well, a woman in North Carolina has solved your problems with her Bigfoot Juice. It would seem that Allie Megan Webb created her environmentally safe, Bigfoot attracting bug repellent quite by accident. Her husband, who is a member of Bigfoot 911, asked his wife if she could make her home brewed bug spray less "feminine smelling." She tried a few concoctions to get a woodsy smell. Bigfoot 911 tried out the bug repellent several times and Webb noticed that there was a direct correlation between the use of her bug spray and Bigfoot sightings reported by the research group. She figured it must attract Sasquatch and when asked how she knows it works, she said, "How do you know it doesn’t work?” Good question, although we have to admit that it couldn't be that simple to finally get Bigfoot to come out of hiding. If it is, then that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Kennedy/Nixon Debate Televised

In the month of September, on the 26th, in 1960, the first-ever televised presidential debate occurred on CBS between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. During the 1960 presidential election, America was engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Nixon was a seasoned lawmaker while Kennedy was a young senator. When the two men met before the cameras, Nixon had a slight lead in the polls. His experience was a plus and the fact that Kennedy was a Catholic caused some people to not want to vote for him. But Nixon was older and he had suffered an infection that landed him in the hospital prior to the debate. When he was released, he had lost weight and looked frail. Nixon was offered make-up, but he refused to wear any. Kennedy had a nice tan, which could even be seen on the black and white television. Nixon sweated profusely, while Kennedy looked freshed-face and young. People who listened to the debate on the radio, thought that Nixon had won, while those who watched it on television thought Kennedy had won. The damage was done for Nixon because most Americans gravitated towards Kennedy after the debate. Today, it is standard for debates to be televised and most Americans would probably agree that there are far too many.

Old Idaho State Penitentiary

The Old Idaho State Penitentiary was in use for over a hundred years and had more than 13,000 prisoners pass through the gates. As was the case in most prisons that were built in the 1800s, conditions were brutal with a complete lack of sanitation and ventilation. All variety of criminals were housed here and many were executed on the gallows that were set up first in the Rose Garden, and later inside the prison walls. Violent riots have had their place in the prison's history. All of this negative energy seems to have absorbed into the sandstone walls and now reflects back haunting energy. Guests and employees claim to have experienced paranormal activity. On this episode, we are joined by the hosts of the Not Alone Podcast, Sam Frederickson and Jason Moitoso, to discuss the history and hauntings of the Old Idaho State Penitentiary.

Boise is located in southwestern Idaho, about 41 miles east of the Oregon border. It is believed that French Canadian trappers named a river for which the city of Boise in Idaho derives its name. The river was called "La rivière boisée", which means "the wooded river." The federal government later established Fort Boise here when it was still a territory. The area was near the Oregon Trail and the fort was meant to protect the trail. Boise was incorporated as a city in 1863.

In  1867,  the  United  States  Congress  provided  for  the construction of the Idaho Penitentiary and the Idaho assembly codified it into territorial law in 1869. In September 1870, the Idaho Statesman reported, "The penitentiary looms up like the frowning walls of some impregnable  fortress. Distance  lends  enchantment. This building will be ready for the reception of guests in a very little while. The man who would commit a felony within sight of its gloomy walls ought to spend the remainder of his days within them." Construction began outside Boise City on the prison in 1870 and took two years. It was built from sandstone that was quarried from the nearby ridges using convict labor. Initially, the prison was a single cell house known as the territorial prison. A 17-foot high wall was built around the perimeter. The first prisoners were eleven inmates that were brought over from the Boise County Jail.

The jail was clearly too small and construction on other buildings began. A new cell house was built in 1889 and had three tiers with cells built from steel. The third tier was used to house inmates on Death Row because it was closest to the future Rose Garden where the gallows were located. The Administration Building was completed in 1894 and this housed the armory, a visitation room and the warden's office. A year later, the building that housed the commissary and blacksmith shop was completed. It would be renovated in the future to include a barber shop starting in 1902 and a hospital in 1912. The Dining Hall was built in 1898 and in 1899, Cell House 2 and 3 were finished. These houses featured cells that could hold two men, their bunks and a honey bucket for their waste.

Women were brought to the Idaho Penitentiary as well. There was no separate place for them, so the male inmates built a wall around the old warden's home and the woman stayed in there. There were seven two-person cells inside along with a kitchen and bathroom facilities. The 1920s brought more expansion with a Multipurpose Building that had a bakery, shoe shop, license plate shop, shirt factory, laundry and recreation room. There were also communal showers here. The Cooler was built at this time as well. It had cells that could hold four to six men, but it was used for solitary confinement. Siberia was added in 1926 with 12 3'x8' cells that were designed to hold one man. Cell House 4 was added in 1952 and Cell House 5 was completed in 1954. This building was used for Maximum Security inmates and the gallows was moved inside of this building. There were ten executions at the prison. Six of them were held outside where the Rose Garden is located today. The other four took place inside Cell House 5.

Conditions throughout the years were poor, especially in the very beginning. The sandstone walls were bad insulation. The sandstone retained the heat in the summer and was bitterly cold in the winter. As we mentioned earlier, the toilets in the cells were just buckets. Plumbing didn't reach the prison until the 1920s. There was no real sanitation then and with no proper ventilation, disease spread easily. Add to that the brutal nature of inmate on inmate abuse and abuse from the guards. The prisoners fought back in the 1970s with two violent riots. The first occurred in 1971 and lasted three hours. There was $25,000 in damage and one inmate was killed. The riot that followed in 1973 was far worse and ended with a fire that destroyed many of the buildings. The original building that the prison started with eventually became the chapel in the 1930s. Prisoners burned that chapel and then the dining hall to the ground. After the riot, the prisoners were moved to a more modern penitentiary and the Old Idaho Jail was closed down.

It was almost as if the jail was frozen in time. Visitors can see paintings that inmates created on their cell walls, calendars still hang on some of the walls, the walls are still discolored from the smoke and fire and other belongings were left behind. The Penitentiary was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers tours and is a museum today. There are thirty historic buildings on the site and several special exhibitions are offered, one of them being the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit of Arms and Armaments. Events and programs are held year round and these include Halloween events. The prison was featured in 2017 on an episode of the Lowe Files.

Several infamous inmates spent time here. One of them was Lyda Southard, otherwise known as Lady Bluebeard. She was one of America's first female serial killers. She was an insurance killer much like HH Holmes. She killed four of her husbands, her daughter and a brother-in-law. She used flypaper to make arsenic and that is how she killed her victims. A chemist who was related to her first husband began to suspect foul play when other husbands started dying and he asked another chemist and a doctor to help him test the body. With their findings, they convinced the Twin Falls County Prosecutor Frank Stephan to exhume the other bodies. Lyda was living in Honolulu with her fifth husband when she was arrested. She was extradited to Idaho. Her trial lasted 6 weeks and she was convicted of second degree murder. Her sentence was ten years to life. She escaped from prison and ran to Denver where she took on a false identity and worked as a housekeeper for a man she eventually married. He would be the one to lead the police to her and she was arrested again and returned to the Old Pen. She later was out on probation and eventually died of a heart attack in 1958.

Another was Raymond Allen Snowden, who was dubbed "Idaho's Jack the Ripper." Snowden was convicted of murder in 1956 and sentenced to death by hanging at the Old Pen. He had murdered a woman named Cora Dean. She was local and a single mother to two children. Snowden claimed that the couple fought, he backhanded her and she then kicked him. He completely snapped after that and used his two-and-a-quarter-inch pocketknife to stab Cora 35 times. Before his hanging, Snowden confessed to murdering two other women. He met his fate a little after midnight on October 18, 1957.

Harry Orchard was an inmate who died in the prison in 1954. He had been in the prison for 50 years. He had been convicted of the murder of Gov. Frank Steunenberg. During his trial he confessed to many crimes. He claimed to have been a union terrorist and his deeds had killed 17 people. He also claimed to be an alcoholic, a bigamist, womanizer and gambler. The calm way he reported all of this, stunned the courtroom room. Although sentenced to death, a judge recommended his sentence be commuted to life in prison, and the Board of Pardons agreed. His sentence was the longest sentence served by any Idaho State Penitentiary inmate.

An interesting death was that of Douglas Van Vlack. He had received the death penalty for the kidnapping and murder of his estranged wife.  He was sentenced to hang at the prison on December 10th in 1937. He visited with his mother on December 9th and then shortly thereafter slipped past the guards and climbed into the rafters of his cellhouse. When the guards found him, he shouted, "My  mother  told  me  it  was  all right for me to choose the way I wanted to die.  I’ll never hang on that  rope." He then dove head first   onto the concrete below and died several hours later. Van Vlack is believed to haunt the former Death Row and is usually seen as a greenish ball of light. Batteries drain quickly in here.

All variety of paranormal activity has been reported at the prison. Employees report feeling negative energy, weird noises and shadow figures. The most active location is Cell House 5 where inmates were executed and the many spirit hanging out here seems to belong to Snowden. Solitary Confinement is the next most active area. Cold spots are a common occurrence and people claim to have seen full-bodied apparitions. The Rose Garden has spirit reports and cold spots as well attributed to the inmates hanged on the gallows here.

Is the Old Idaho Penitentiary haunted? That is for you to decide!