Wednesday, April 26, 2017
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
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
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!
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.
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!
All pictures courtesy of Emily Ridener
Saturday, April 15, 2017
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
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
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!