Tuesday, May 30, 2017

HGB Ep. 204 - Earnestine & Hazel's Juke Joint

 
Moment in Oddity - New Jersey's Clinton Road

There is a twisty stretch of road about 55 miles northwest of NewYork City in New Jersey known as Clinton Road. It's only ten miles long, but its reputation is much bigger than that, with lots of people claiming that this is the most cursed road in America, if not the world. There are stories of an old castle, Cross Castle, being used by devil worshipers, haunted houses and hell hounds. There is a story that if you toss coins off of a bridge on the road, a young boy who drowned in the creek below will appear as a ghost and throw them back to you or leave them in the middle of the road. Strange creatures are said to lurk in the woods. And there are even claims of snow falling here in July. A menacing black truck appears out of nowhere and tailgates aggressively while flashing its lights and then just as you pull aside, it disappears. Lights have been reported over Clinton Reservoir and claims of UFO sightings have occurred as well. This road has just about every bizarre type of legend out there connected to it. That includes its very own Deadman's Curve. Are any of these claims about Clinton Road true? We're not sure, but the road that runs parallel to Clinton Road and seems more desolate, has no legends about it and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Lindbergh & Earhart Cross the Atlantic

During the month of May, on the 20th, aviation logged two amazing feats, one in 1927 and the other in 1932. Charles Lindbergh was a 25-year-old aviator when he took off at 7:52 a.m. from Roosevelt Field in Long Island on May 20th, 1927. He was aboard a plane called the Spirit of St. Louis and he was attempting to win a $25,000 prize for the first solo nonstop flight between New York City and Paris. The journey was 3,600 miles and he accomplished it in thirty-three hours, landing in Le Bourget, Paris. He was called "Lucky Lindy" and become a worldwide hero after that feat. On May 20th in 1932, Amelia Earhart would follow in the footsteps of Lindbergh as she began a trip that led her to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She departed from Newfoundland, Canada and flew 2,026 miles to Londonderry, Ireland. She did that in thirteen hours.

Ernestine & Hazel's Juke Joint (Suggested by listener Ivy Johnson)

Memphis, Tennessee is home to the Blues and it is only fitting that it is full of bars and juke joints where one can hear live music or spin a record on a jukebox. Earnestine & Hazel's Juke Joint is one such establishment. It is said to be the best dive in Memphis and maybe even in Tennessee. The bar was once a place to buy dry goods before transitioning to a cafe and then the current bar. For part of its history, the second floor served as a bordello. The dive has been featured in multiple movies, been written about in Esquire and Playboy Magazines and hosted celebrities. Music itself has an enduring history at this little establishment and something else that endures here, are spirits. There seem to be several that manifest on occasion in various ways. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Earnestine & Hazel's Juke Joint!

The Mississippian Culture were the first people in the Memphis area. They were mound builders who formed trading villages throughout the Midwest near the Mississippi River. The culture died out around 1600 AD, with a bit of it remaining near Natchez, Mississippi until the 1800s. The Chickasaw arrived after that time. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto was the first European to explore the Memphis area. The French followed in the 1680s. For the most part, Memphis was disorganized and remained the land of the Chickasaw until the Jackson Purchase in 1818. Shortly thereafter, Memphis would be a departure point along the Trail of Tears. Andrew Jackson joined fellow investors James Winchester and John Overton in founding Memphis on May 22, 1819. They named the city for the ancient Egyptian capital on the Nile River. It was incorporated as a city in 1826. The city grew to be a major market for the cotton business, in fact the largest inland cotton market in the world, and thus it was a slave market. The Memphis & Charleston Railroad came to town in 1857 and facilitated the export of cotton. During the Civil War, Memphis was a Confederate stronghold until the Union won the Battle of Memphis and the Union remained until the end of the war.

After the war, Memphis suffered a series of blows. Yellow Fever nearly wiped out the entire population. People fled the city and there was an economic collapse that led to bankruptcy. It lost its charter and became a taxing district in 1879. Robert Church, Sr. was a wealthy black businessman and he would breathe life back into the city after buying large pieces of land, primarily on Beale Street. Beale Street would become a central gathering place for blacks and Church built Church Park and Auditorium. His son, Robert Church, Jr., began the NAACP in Memphis in 1917. He also founded the Solvent Savings Bank, which became the largest black-owned bank in the world by 1921. In the late 1800s, a church was built in downtown on South Main Street.

The church thing never really worked out and the two story building opened as a sundry shop and pharmacy owned by Abe Plough. Abe was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1892. His father, Moses, moved the family to Memphis the next year. When Abe was sixteen, his father lent him $125 to start his own business, which he opened as the Plough Chemical Company. He had learned the drug business working for free at George V. Francis Drug Store. His first product was an antiseptic healing oil he created himself. Success came quickly and soon Abe branched into cosmetics. Aspirin was also added and Abe 's drug business even grew during the Depression. Abe would eventually incorporate and go on to build an empire that would merge with the Schering Corporation to become Schering-Plough. While at the Main Street location, Plough created a product that could “straighten the hair out.” The product was a sensation from New York to New Orleans. People liked something that allowed them to slick back their hair. *Fun Fact: Abe developed Coppertone suntan lotion.* With all this success, he decided to sell the building to two sister hairstylists who were running their salon upstairs, Earnestine Mitchell and Hazel Jones.

Earnestine and Hazel decided that they would turn the place into a cafe. Since they had been renting space upstairs, they kept in mind that they could turn around and do the same thing now that they owned the building. And they had a good idea of what would bring in some good money. They invited some ladies of the evening to run the upstairs as a brothel. Earnestine's husband was a music producer and promoter known as Sunbeam, and he opened Club Paradise near his wife's cafe. He booked little known acts such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry. Then the acts and crowds would head over to the cafe for after parties filled with food, booze and some fun with the ladies upstairs. Many of these acts would stay two blocks away at the Lorraine, which is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. This little dive developed a strong history with blues music. According to legend, Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper put together two of their biggest hits here:  Mustang Sally and The Midnight Hour.

Club Paradise shut down in the 1970s, but Earnestine and Hazel's Cafe kept on running. The brothel probably did a lot to keep the place open. By the 1980s though, Earnestine and Hazel were getting older and it was harder for them to run the place. A man named Russell George bought the place in 1992 after a friend took him there for some food. He convinced George that it would make a great bar. George was born and raised in Memphis and although he was a white boy, he had a lot of soul. His parents raised him to be a dancer and he had all kinds of moves. He could keep his torso upright and move his legs around like James Brown or Elvis. George even entered the James Brown Dance Contest at the Mid-South Coliseum when he was ten-years-old. He was the only white kid there and he was the one James Brown chose as the winner. His passion for dance moved to bar keeping and by the time he was fifteen, he had opened a not-legal bar in an apartment that he dubbed Jefferson in the Rear.

When he was in his twenties, George helped open Murphy’s Oyster Bar on Madison Ave. He also joined the R&B band The Memphis Icebreakers as a dancer and became their manager. Now he was the new owner of the building on South Main Street and he envisioned a place where B.B King, Bo Diddley and Jackie Wilson types would perform. He kicked out the prostitutes and restored the building. He decided to use the grill behind the bar to offer a one-item menu and that was his famous Soul Burger. It was a standard burger, but what made it unique was its Soul Sauce, which is proprietary. George no longer runs Earnestine and Hazel's because he committed suicide upstairs in 2013. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. George had been a skeptic when it came to ghosts before he owned the juke joint. But after only a short time there, he realized something weird was going on. It started with the haunted jukebox.

Now most people might be tempted to claim that perhaps there is an electrical issue that causes the jukebox to play when no one has made a selection. But how does one explain how well these songs match up with events inside the bar? Employees tell stories about women coming in after getting divorces and Tammy Wynette's “D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” Lynard Skynard's "That Smell" played after a businessman came in and told an employee how bad it smelled after his co-worker threw up in a cab.

The group Paranormal Inc. investigated the bar and caught an EVP of a moan near the piano and they also caught another moan on the recorder that was also audible to the investigators at the time. They do emphasize that the bar is similar to Bobby Mackey's in that it is very old with uneven wood floors and stairs and that this can unsettle equilibrium and make people feel out of sorts. Perhaps this causes a feeling that something paranormal is occurring. Memphis Paranormal Investigations have declared on their web site that Ernestine and Hazel's is one of the most haunted places in Memphis. They claim to have captured on film the transparent face of a man at the top of the staircase. Another transparent man was filmed walking in front of the building and then entering the front door. The door of a second floor bedroom had a woman's face on it in another picture.

A bartender who has worked at Earnestine & Hazel's for over a decade named Karen Brownlee wrote an article for Munchies in 2016. In this article, she shared that bizarre and unexplained stuff have happened at the bar the entire time she has worked there. The piano has played by itself and she hears the sound of people walking around upstairs when no one is up there. She wrote, "There was this guy who used to work here for 15 years. He went upstairs one day, and I swear, he came running down through the bar, out the door, all the way home. He will not go upstairs to this day. He saw something in here that scared him to death, man. He couldn't explain what it was." A cleaning guy claims that he hears voices all the time. Many times, the voices say "Here he is again" when he enters a room.

Brownlee also backs up the stories about the jukebox. She claims it has come on by itself many times and played what seems like a random song, but then she and her customers will realize that the song pertains to something that they are discussing. She said, "One time, my coworker and I were talking about James Brown on the day that he died. All of the sudden, the jukebox blared on out of nowhere, scared me half to death, and started playing "I Feel Good." Another time, a paranormal investigator was in here talking about exorcism and stuff with Russell, and all of the sudden the song by the Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil," started playing on its own, I swear."

Brownlee says that none of this activity scares her. There was one situation that did unnerve her though. One time, she felt something touch her while she was standing near the jukebox. She warns people to not diss on the sisters when at the bar because one time some patrons did just that and all the lights started getting brighter, dimmer, brighter, dimmer, until the bar ended up as bright as the sun. The people quickly left. Money bags have gone missing, apparitions and orbs have been witnessed and disembodied whispers are heard. The most bizarre money bag story involved an incident that happened twice in one week. Someone was shooting pool and accidentally shot the cue ball off the table and it rolled under a couch. When the couch was lifted, a dusty and cobwebbed money bag was found. What makes this really weird is that the very next Saturday, another pool ball ended up under the couch and when it was lifted, the same money bag was there again.

There are stories that more than one prostitute killed herself upstairs. Russell George also killed himself upstairs. Earnestine and Hazel loved their little place. Could any or all of these people still be walking the rooms and hallways of this bar in the afterlife? Is Earnestine & Hazel's Juke Joint haunted? That is for you to decide!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

HGB Ep. 203 - Haunted Ships of Baltimore

 
Moment in Oddity - Organized Crime's Bee Heist of 2017

Lloyd Cunniff owns bees. He loans his bees out to farmers in order to facilitate pollination. It is really an uneventful process, but this year, 2017, a very strange thing happened. In January, as Lloyd's bees were heading to an almond farmer, they disappeared. These weren't a few bees. This was a whole tractor trailer full of bee hives. Four hundred eighty-eight of them. It meant about $400,000 in lost income. Lloyd's bees weren't the only ones to disappear. Other hives across California went missing. Here in the month of May, it was discovered what happened to the bees and about two-thirds of them were recovered. The culprits were a Ukrainian-Russian mob and they were re-renting the bees, earning around $100,000. The idea that an organized crime ring kidnapped a bunch of bees to fund their criminal activities, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Kehoe Commits Deadliest School Mass Murder

In the month of May, on the 18th, in 1927, Andrew Kehoe committed the deadliest school mass murder in American history. Kehoe was fifty-five and had just lost the election for township clerk in in Bath Township, Michigan. He was angered over this loss and about increases to his taxes and financial issues leading to foreclosure on his home. Kehoe started his killing spree by murdering his wife Nellie. He then denoted several explosives on his homestead shortly before 9am. Almost at the same time, a huge explosion rocked the Bath Consolidated School. Kehoe had spent months planting dynamite in the school and he used a timer  to set off the explosion. As emergency crews arrived on the scene, Kehoe drove up in his truck. He pulled out a rifle and shot at explosives in his truck, killing himself, the school superintendent and several others nearby. The horrible attack injured 58 and killed six adults and 38 children.

Haunted Ships of Baltimore (Suggested by and research help from listener Sarah Gunther)

There is a retired fleet of ships now docked at the Baltimore Maritime Museum, each with its own history of battle and death and now with a legacy of hauntings. The USS Torsk is a Tench Class submarine emblazoned with the fierce grin of a shark that became the Galloping Ghost of the Japanese during World War II. The USCGC Taney is a Coast Guard Cutter that is the last ship floating that fought at Pearl Harbor and it participated in the search for Amelia Earhart. The USS Constellation has the distinction of being the first ship built for the Unites States Navy and it also has the distinction of being one of the most haunted locations in Maryland. That is probably because it not only fought in several wars, but it was involved in battling against pirates and the slave trade in Africa. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of these haunted ships of Baltimore!

USS Torsk

The USS Torsk is one of two Tench Class submarines still located inside the US. Submarines used to be named for fish and that is where the name Torsk originates. It is Norwegian and refers to the gadoid fish, which is a cod-like fish found in the North Atlantic. The submarine was known as SS-423 and was built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire with the keel laid in June of 1944. That December it was commissioned and sailed down to Florida, around to Panama and then to Pearl Harbor. From there, the Torsk moved to patrol the Pacific war zone.

It was during this service in World War II that the Torsk earned the nickname the Galloping Ghost of the Japanese. The Torsk sank one cargo vessel and two coastal defense frigates with the second one being the last enemy ship sunk by the US Navy in WWII. After the war, the Torsk made her way to Connecticut where she went into training activities and she became the divingest (apparently that IS a word) submarine in the fleet. In 1951, the submarine underwent a Fleet Snorkel Conversion, which meant that she could stay underwater for longer periods of time because a long tube snorkel extended above the submarine allowing for fresh air to flow into the diesel engines. This helped charge the batteries and gave her greater speed. This meant that rather than the typical 24 hours underwater, the Torsk could remain submerged for several days.

The Torsk was officially decommissioned in 1968 and she underwent modifications at the Boston Navy Yard. so that she could be used in training reserves. She was moved to the Washington Navy Yard. In 1972, the submarine was turned over to the state of Maryland to be used as a museum ship in Baltimore's Maritime Museum and that is where she is today. One tragic event  occurred abaord the Torsk and it seems to have led to a haunting. Joseph Grant Snow was a soldier standing on the deck of the Torsk when it suddenly needed to dive and he was killed. It seems that his ghost has been trying to get back aboard the ship ever since.

USCGC Taney

The US Coast Guard Cutter Taney's keel was laid on May 1st in 1935 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The Taney is of the Secretary/Treasury Class of cutters and measures 327 feet long. She originally was meant for peaceful missions such as search and rescue and law enforcement, so she only carried two deck guns and two 6-pounder saluting guns. The Taney was commissioned on October 24th in 1936 and was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1937, she took an active part in the search for Amelia Earhart and her plane when it disappeared in the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.

World War II broke out and the cutter was upgraded to become a wartime ship with another deck gun and three 3”/50 caliber dual purpose guns, capable of shooting at both surface and airborne targets. Depth charges and .50 caliber machine guns were added, along with sonar so that submarines could be detected. Her crew remained a Coast Guard though. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Taney engaged with Japanese planes flying over Honolulu and started submarine patrols when the attack ended. These patrols continued until the fall of 1943. At this point, the Taney was transferred to the Atlantic Theater where she served as Flagship of Task Force 66, US Atlantic Fleet. She traveled between the US and North Africa and narrowly missed being sunk several times by torpedoes.

In 1945, the cutter was reconfigured into an Amphibious Command Ship. She destroyed four Kamikaze planes and 1 “Betty” bomber during 119 separate engagements back over in the Pacific theater and when the war ended she evacuated Allied prisoners of war from Japan. The Taney would serve again during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Her non-wartime duties included Ocean Weather Patrol in the Pacififc, search and rescues around the world and fisheries patrols in the Bering Sea. She came to be known as the "Queen of the Pacific." She also was referred to as the "Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor."

In 1969-70, during the Vietnam War, TANEY participated in “Operation Market Time” in the South China Sea. As a unit of Coast Guard Squadron III, TANEY interdicted illegal arms and supplies along the coast of South Vietnam , fired over 3,400 rounds of 5”/38 ammunition in support of American and South Vietnamese troops, and provided medical assistance to more than 5,000 Vietnamese civilians. In February 1972, TANEY was reassigned from the 12th Coast Guard District in San Francisco to the 5th Coast Guard District in Virginia. From 1973 to 1977, TANEY carried out Ocean Weather Patrol at Weather Station HOTEL, some 200 miles off the coast of New Jersey, as well as “hurricane hunting” for which she received a special Doppler weather radar installation atop her pilot house. In September 1977, TANEY had the distinction of completing the Coast Guard's last ocean weather patrol when she closed out Ocean Weather Station HOTEL. From 1977 until 1986, TANEY carried out search and rescue duties, fisheries patrols in the North Atlantic, drug interdiction patrols in the Caribbean, and summer training cruises for the Coast Guard Academy. During this period she made 11 major seizures of illegal drug including a 1985 bust which netted 160 tons of marijuana – the largest in US history.

On December 7th in 1986, after more than 50 years of continuous service, TANEY was decommissioned at Portsmouth, Virginia, and donated to the City of Baltimore to serve as a memorial and museum. She also serves as home to some spirits.  Disembodied footsteps are heard as well as whispered voices. One of those voices seems to be speaking Japanese and it is thought that this spirit belongs to a Japanese pilot taken aboard for medical attention during World War II. The galley had doubled as a medical ward and that is where the voice is heard. Voices come over the ship's PA system at times and that system is no longer in operation, so it should not happen. It can't be someone playing a trick. No machines run on the ship anymore either, but that hasn't stopped people from hearing mechanical sounds in the boiler room. There are shadows seen in the berthing area and lockers open and close on their own. People walking by at night claim to hear the warning bell sound.

Near the Chief's Mess and damage control office is where most of the activity takes place.Sarah Rauscher is the Taney's Education Coordinator and she said, "I, personally, have never experienced anything, but we get a lot of reports and some of the workers swear they’ve seen something. Overnight workers doing rounds will walk by the Chief’s Mess and see someone inside the room, which isn’t possible because all of the rooms on display like this are under lock and key.” She also said, "A parent was sitting in the crew’s mess area and saw someone standing in the passageway by the damage control office. The parent got up to check, only to realize no one was actually there."

Ghost Hunters featured the Taney in Season 8. They caught voices coming over the inoperative PA system. Grant and Jason heard a whistle coming from above them when they were in the captain's quarters. They also heard an obnoxious laugh that did not dcme from any of their team. A scratching noise was heard in the berthing room, as well as what they surmised was a coin rolling. They felt there was some kind of haunting going on.

USS Constellation

The USS Constellation served for over a century. She was originally constructed in 1854 as a sloop-of-war and named for an earlier frigate that bore the same name. That frigate had been built in 1797 and served until 1853. She fought in the West Indies against the French and served in the blockade of Tripoli in 1802. She saw service in the War of 1812 and protected the Hawaiian Islands right before sailing to Norfolk where she was retired and broken up. Some of the wood from this original Constellation is part of the construction of the Constellation moored at the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

The second Constellation was designed by John Lenthall and commissioned July 28, 1855. A unique claim to fame for the Constellation is that it was the last sail-only warship designed by the Navy. Her first duty was to sail to Spain to protect American interests during a revolution there. By 1859, the ship was part of the African Squadron and stationed off the Congo River. She repeatedly captured ships that were sailing under no flag and without papers. Each of these ships carried hundreds of slaves. The slavers, as these ships were called, would be impounded and sold at auction. Slaves would be freed and taken to Liberia where the crew would be paid a bounty for each freed slave, which ran around $25. That is around $700 today!

The Constellation went on to serve during the American Civil War and one of her sailor's described their work as "trying to capture Rebel privateers and cruisers and blockade runners. The process of reasoning ... seems to be that our ship is supposed to be in European waters, and there is no United States warship resembling her cruising about here, and consequently she might approach closely to a Rebel vessel or blockade runner without exciting suspicion." She finished the war as a Receiving Ship and then worked in training missions. In the late 1800s, the Constellation had several interesting missions. She carried exhibits to France for the Paris Exposition, carried supplies to Gibraltar for the Mediterranean Squadron and she carried relief supplies to victims of famine in Ireland. The ship carried over 2,500 barrels of potatoes and flour to Ireland. The ship carried works of art for the Columbian Exposition after that and then returned to Norfolk and placed out of commission.

She went back into service again as a training ship, particularly during World War I, until the 1920s when sailing ships were no longer used. She was re-commissioned during World War II for use as a relief ship and as a national symbol. She was docked as a permanent exhibit in the Chesapeake Bay in 1955 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Today, the Constellation is the last intact naval vessel dating back to the Civil War. She was restored to look like the original frigate Constellation and underwent significant restoration in 1999 after dry rot nearly destroyed her. She is today a museum with some unliving crew members aboard. The Constellation is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the state of Maryland. There are reports of many spirits lingering on the ship.

The ghosts seem to be most active around midnight and they seem to really like Christmas and New Year's Day. There is reputedly the scent of gunpowder just before an apparition materializes. Interestingly, many of the ghosts date back to the days of the original Constellation and seem to have carried on here even after the rebuild. So the ship was already haunted in its second incarnation.  It would be the crew of the Navy submarine Pike that was docked next to the Constellation in the 1950s that would be the first to officially report strange things occurring on the sloop. They claimed to see ghost lights, heard strange noises and witnessed apparitions.

One of the spirits is said to belong to a sailor named Neil Harvey. He left his station during a battle with the French. He was court-martialed in 1799 for cowardice and the punishment was harsh and deadly. He was tied to the front of a canon and blown to bits under the order of Captain Thomas Truxton. The spirit appears as a shimmering mass and indicates that it wants to be forgiven via EVPs. The next ghost is said to belong to Captain Truxton himself, so we have an interesting interaction here with ghosts. Is he here because he regrets his actions against Neil Harvey? The Captain served as an officer during the Revolutionary War and is recognized because of his old navy uniform. He was photographed by a Lieutenant Commander on the Pike during an appearance and he had a bluish-white radiancy. He appears most often on the forecastle decks. Powder Boys would carry gunpowder to the soldiers during battles and one of them that was killed seems to still be on board as a ghost.

Another young spirit belongs to an eleven-year-old boy who served as a surgeon's assistant from 1820-1822. He was murdered by two sailors and now seems destined to walk the ship in the afterlife. This spirit was identified by a psychic who had joined Hans Holzer on board for an investigation. A despondent sailor hanged himself aboard the ship and appears as a sad entity, floating across the gun and forecastle decks. And finally, there is Carl Hansen who served as a watchman on the museum ship until 1965. He absolutely loved the ship and that is why people believe he is still here. He is said to like to play cards and has given the occasion tour to guests whom have no idea that Carl is dead. One such person was a priest. A Halloween party hosted on board had him sitting next to a girl and smiling at her.

Each of these ships played a key role in America's war history. A lot of death was witnessed by these ships, both on board and out on the sea. Have some spirits of those who died on these vessels continued on in the afterlife? Are these ships at the Baltimore Maritime Museum haunted? That is for you to decide!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

HGB Ep. 202 - Appalachian State University

 
Moment in Oddity - Venezuela's Everlasting Storm
Suggested by Michael Rogers

The Guinness Book of Records claims that the highest incidence of lightning in the world takes place in an area at the mouth of the Catatumbo River in the western Venezuelan state of Zulia. It has been called "Venezuela's Everlasting Storm." There is so much lightning that residents of the nearby Lake Maracaibo need to shut their blinds against the flashes of light around 300 nights each year. They also refer to the ongoing storm as "River of Fire in the Sky." The lightning has become part of the identity of the state of Zulia and so they added a large lightning bolt to their flag. Scientists believe that the reason why the region has so much electricity in the air is because the conductivity of the air is increased from large supplies of methane coming from one of South America's largest oil fields. How much lightning does it take to get into the record book? Venezuela's Everlasting Storm is estimated to give off an incredible 3,600 flashes per hour and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Hindenburg Disaster

In the month of May, on the 6th, in 1937, the airship Hindenburg catches fire and crashes, killing 36 people. LZ129 Hindenburg was built by the Zeppelin Company in 1931 in Germany. This was the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, which was the longest class of flying machine and the largest airship by envelope volume. It had 15 Ferris wheel-like bulkheads and the gas cells were a new innovation by the Goodyear Company. There were small passenger quarters, a dining room and a large public area. The airship was originally designed to use helium, but export bans forced a redesign to hydrogen. Hydrogen was extremely dangerous, but no German airship had ever had an issue. That all changed on that fateful day in 1937. The destruction of the dirigible would cause Herbert Morrison to declare, "Oh, the humanity!" The Hindenburg was attempting to dock at a Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey at 7:25pm. No one knows where or how, but fire broke out and the Hindenburg was quickly engulfed in flames. The tail crashed into the ground first. Total crash time from start of fire to bow hitting the ground was around 30 seconds. There were 61 crew members and 36 passengers on board. Thirty-five people on the airship were killed along with one man on the ground. This brought to an abrupt end, the Airship Era.

Appalachian State University (Suggested and researched by listener Steven Pappas)

Boone, North Carolina is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, in an area of the state locals refer to as the "High Country". Known for it's beautiful climate, easily accessible outdoor activities, and easy-going attitude, Boone is a major vacation destination for those in NC and from all throughout the southeast United States. While many know it for its autumn views and its deep roots in the bluegrass community, there are those who know that there is more to this town than advertised. Boone and the surrounding areas seem to be a hotbed for strange occurrences, tragic deaths, and hauntings almost as chilling as the mountain air. One of these locations is Appalachian State University. Executive Producer and listener Steven Pappas joins us to share his experiences as a student there.

The settlement of the high country of NC is thought to date back as 13,500 years. Artifacts have been discovered that have matched dates reaching this far back and serve as an indicator of tribal activity in the mountains of the state. During Colonialism this was an area inhabited by the Cherokee and Shawnee tribes of American Indians, who were known to use the NC mountains for summer hunting. A treaty signed in 1770 between the British and the Cherokee prohibited the settlement of most of this region, however, settlers poured in anyway. In 1780, a British Militia leader named Major Patrick Ferguson ordered for the illegal settlers to lay down their weapons and vacate the area. This did not go over well with those who lived in the area. They formed a militia which they named the "Overmountain men" and marched against Ferguson's troops on October 7,1780 in Kings Mountain, NC which is located on the NC/SC border. It was a decisive victory for the settlers and the battle is credited with causing general Cornwallis to pull out of NC. This preceded the American victory at the battle of Yorktown in 1781. After the revolution, many veterans were given land as payment for their service and they returned to continue settling the area.

People continued to flock to the area in the years following the revolution. There was plenty of game, resources, and cheap land to be had. It seemed everyone wanted a piece of the area. The settlers set up an economy trading hides, and other resources like timber and stone across the state borders with TN and VA. Daniel Boone, though born in PA, had moved with his family to the Yadkin Valley area of NC as a young man in 1750. He became a long hunter and chose to spend mush of his time hunting in the high country. He set up camp in a small town named Meat Camp just north of modern day Boone, NC. Between 1750 and 1779, Daniel Boone hunted in this area, until moving with his wife and children to Kentucky. Due to his impact on the area, the town of Boone, NC was formed in 1872.

Modern day Boone, NC sits on the banks of the Watauga river (which in Cherokee means "Beautiful Water"). It is the county seat of Watauga county and sits at an elevation of 3,332ft. It was serviced by a small railroad that cut through the town (nicknamed Tweetsie) until a large flood in 1940. Most of the tracks were washed away by the flood waters and it was decided that they would not be replaced. Boone now has a local theme park, open in the summer, called Tweetsie Railroad. It is an attraction primarily for small children that essentially acts as an interactive cowboy town. Boone also plays host to "Horn in the West". This is an outdoor drama that depicts the lives of early settlers in the area, as well as explores the history of Daniel Boone himself.  This production as been put on every summer since 1952. Boone is also the center of bluegrass music and culture in NC. Doc Watson, one of the most pivotal bluegrass creators in music history, was a native of Boone. Old Crow Medicine Show was also discovered in Boone. While many may not know their name, they wrote a song that was covered by a successful country artist in 2011, which reached the top of the country charts. It is titled "Wagon Wheel".

At the center of the town sits Appalachian State University. Blanford B. Dougherty and his brother Dauphin D. Dougherty, recognized that northwestern North Carolina did not have a good place of education. They gathered a group together to work towards building a school. They convinced their father, Daniel B. Dougherty, and another man named J. F. Hardin, to donate land for the building of that school. They constructed a wood frame structure that cost them $1,000, which they raised from nearby citizens. The Dougherty Brothers decided to co-principal the school and it opened in the fall of 1899. They named it Watauga Academy. The academy offered three grades and enrolled 53 students that first year. Dauphin was convinced that they could eventually get the state to fund a bigger institution. He went to the capitol, pleaded his case and the Appalachian Training School for Teachers was established. The school opened on October 5, 1903 with $2,000 from the state and 325 students.

In 1925, the school name was changed to Appalachian State Normal School. This was a two year school for educating teachers. It later expanded to four years and again had the name changed to Appalachian State Teachers College. Through all these changes Blanchard Dougherty was there. He presided over the school for fifty years. Dr. William H. Plemmons became president of the shcool in 1955 and he oversaw the transformation from a single-purpose teachers college into a multipurpose regional university. Twenty-five construction projects took place during his tenure and he became known as the builder president. Enrollment grew to 5,000 students at this time. In 1966, fire destroyed the administration building and in 1971 the university became part of the University of North Carolina system. Dr. Herbert W. Wey became president around that time and the innovation he brought earned Appalachian State national recognition as an institution of change and enrollment was doubled to 9,500.

The university would eventually garner recognition in U.S. News & World Report and other publications as a top comprehensive university. The university’s emphasis on international education led the American Council on Education to recognize Appalachian as a model institution for international studies. TIME magazine named Appalachian a “College of the Year” in 2001. Today, the university has one of the highest elevations among American schools and enrolls around 18,000 students. 

There are many hauntings in the high country of NC that are well known. We have already covered the Moses Cone Manor in episode 62 of this show. While that is a story everyone in town talks about, there are others that are equally as eerie. The Green Park Inn is located about 10 minutes outside of Boone and about 2 Minutes from the Moses Cone Manor. It was built in the 1880s and operated continuously until 2009. At this point it was bought out, renovated, and has now reopened. Gone with the Wind was written by Margaret Mitchell at the inn as well as hosting Herbert Hoover and Annie Oakly. The inn is supposedly home to the apparition of a woman who was killed in the hotel. The third floor has seen all kinds of strange activity, but the most common are reports of a woman in room 318. She is seen at night by many guests. This just so happens to be the room where a young woman committed suicide after a fight with her partner. People also smell pipe tobacco in this room, leading them to believe it is residual energy from the lover who drove her to her death. There have been so many sightings that the employees keep a "ghost log" at the front desk for visitors to write down experiences.

While there are other hauntings in the high country (Such as a dorm haunting at Lees-Mcrae college or an abandoned hospital in Jefferson, NC), many stories come out of Appalachian State University itself. Over it's years of operation, it has been the host to plenty of tragedy, which may explain why there is so much going on here. Many people have blamed the long winters and periods of extended cold and darkness for the number of suicides and deaths on the campus. (I know the year after I graduated they had 11 deaths, 9 of which were suicide. One girl went missing for a month before they found here hanging in the University woods. Just heartbreaking stuff.) The most famous paranormal activity on campus is in East hall. As a student I heard stories of a suicide pact where 6 students killed each other in the basement to open a portal to hell. Turns out, from talking to historians on campus, a student killed himself in the basement. There are reports of odd footsteps which seem like they are coming from inside walls or where there is no hallway. There is the apparition of a young man who has been seen in the 3rd floor bathroom causing all sorts of panic. There are also reports of floating lights seen hovering in the windows of the basement.

Across the road from East used to be Cofey hall. It has since been torn down, but when I was there I was told about a ghost who the professors called Max. He had hung himself in his room on the second floor in the 1970s. In that room, I think it was 204, anyone who lived there reported the lights turning on and off in the middle of the night, the TV volume shooting up and down, or the the TV coming on and off all night too. They considered Max a friendly spirit, but just a little mischievous. No reports in the building that now stands in its place.

I lived in Eggers hall my freshman year, and I was told by a school historian, that a girl had thrown herself from the 9th floor in the mid 1990s. While I was there, friends who lived upstairs told me about all kinds of problems with showers turning on and off and doors slamming. Also that year, a large crack appeared in the building around the 9th floor. The worked on it for about 5 months, during which time they built us a wooden tunnel to walk through because bricks were falling left and right. I didn't participate, but people made all kinds of morbid jokes about the sound of the bricks hitting the tunnel being the young woman throwing herself off the building again.

IG Greer is a classroom building that has a large auditorium in it. This is now used for large classes, but it used to be the original school of music on campus. The story goes, there was a young couple who was engaged to be married. She was a piano major and her fiance would sit in the same seat every time she had a recital to ease her nerves. She could always look up, see him, and relax. Well, he had to go down to Wilkesboro for a wedding related meeting on the day of one of her recitals, but he assured her he would be back in time. Right before the show, she saw him slip in and sit in his seat. She went on with the performance, but afterward she received word that he had been killed in a car accident on the way back to Boone that evening. Eerie right? Well now that seat behaves oddly. It doesn't seem to go up and down at the will of the person trying to sit in it and, without fail, people report getting sick after sitting in it during classes or movies.

Last, but not least, we have the one I have some experience with. During my time at App, I was a leader in my campus ministry. We had a small building on campus and it is where we spent the majority of our down time playing ping pong, or watching TV. It's where I met my wife. Anyway, while it wasn't supposed to be shared with incoming students, we all knew the building had a bit of a dark history. The campus minister who came before the minister who preceded ours had died in the building. He had hung himself in the stairwell one night, and the students found him the next day. Well, let's just say weird stuff went on there sometimes. Just sounds that came from nowhere more than anything, but God help you if you were in the building alone at night and had to go up the stairs. I always felt something watching me, or like I wasn't alone in that stairwell. It still gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

Is Appalachian State University haunted? That is for you to decide!

HGB Ep. 201 - Shilo Inn

 
Moment in Oddity - Gobekli Tepe Pillar Depicts Comet Strike
Suggested by: Bob Sherfield

There are theories that a comet struck the Earth thousands of years ago and this wiped out creatures like the woolly mammoth. Civilizations began to rise after this event. Gobekli Tepe is an ancient archaeological site atop a mountain ridge in Turkey. It is believed that the site is a neolithic sanctuary used for ceremonies. Experts at the University of Edinburgh analyzed mysterious symbols that appeared to be animal carvings on a pillar known as the vulture stone. These engineers realized that the creatures were actually astronomical symbols, which represented constellations and a comet. This comet is thought to be the cataclysmic one that led to an ice age.  Dr Martin Sweatman, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, who led the research, said: "I think this research, along with the recent finding of a widespread platinum anomaly across the North American continent virtually seal the case in favor of a Younger Dryas comet impact. Our work serves to reinforce that physical evidence. What is happening here is the process of paradigm change. It appears Göbekli Tepe was, among other things, an observatory for monitoring the night sky. One of its pillars seems to have served as a memorial to this devastating event – probably the worst day in history since the end of the ice age.” The Younger Dryas time period is when agriculture emerged and the first Neolithic civilizations started. The idea that a pillar at Gobekli Tepe records such a monumental event and that it has latest until today, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Explorer Robert E. Peary is Born

In the month of May, on the 6th, in 1856 Explorer Robert E. Peary was born in Pennsylvania. He led eight Arctic expeditions and claimed to reach the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909. There is some controversy as to whether he really did reach it, with some claiming he was about 60 miles away. Other accomplishments from his expeditions were that he proved Greenland is an island, the polar ice cap extends beyond 82° north latitude and he discovered the Melville meteorite, which is an island off of Greenland. Another interesting fact about Peary's expeditions is that the man who accompanied him on all of them serving as his assistant and First Man, who was the critical part of the team, was Matthew Henson, a black man. Meaning that everything Preary accomplished in his expeditions, was also accomplished by a black man. Henson was eventually honored by being re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery in 1988.

Shilo Inn of Salt Lake City (Suggested by Kaz Linza)

The Shilo Inn in Salt Lake City has been through a series of name changes. It started as the International Dunes Hotel, then became the Shilo Inn and is today a part of the Holiday Inn Express chain. From the outside, the building appears to be a non-distinct hotel, but it carries the heavy burden of a horrible family tragedy. And that tragedy seems to have led to hauntings. Kaz Linza created the Cemetery Society on Facebook, which is a page dedicated to cemeteries, haunted history, conspiracy theories, serial killers and Halloween. He joins us to share the story behind the hauntings at Shilo Inn and experiences that people claim to have had there.

The International Dunes Hotel was built in the 1970s in Salt Lake City. One of its features was an external glass elevator that carried guests along the twelve floors. This offered great views of downtown Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountain Range. The Shilo Inn hotel chain bought the property at some point and that is the name it is mainly known by when talking about hauntings. Neon red lights ran up and down the building during this phase. In 2014, the Burgess Investment Group bought the Shilo Inn and did a complete revamp, dismantling the neon lights and overhauling the 200 guest rooms and lobby. It was reopened as a Holiday Inn Express with what they call the new Formula Blue look.

Charles Bruce Longo was born in Yonkers in 1938 to a wealthy doctor and his wife. He joined the Marine Corps after high school and while he was in the Marines, friends acquainted him with the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He decided to convert from Episcopalian to the Mormon faith in 1958 and Longo became an LDS youth leader and assistant Boy Scout leader. In 1960, he accepted a Mormon missionary assignment to Uruguay. He learned Spanish and could quote the Book of Mormon from memory. Things were going really well, until he started hearing voices. He returned to Yonkers and was hospitalized for hepatitis and mental illness. He moved to Utah in 1961 and attended Brigham Young University. He met a Swedish immigrant there named Margit Birgitta Ericsson. They eventually married and had three children before Longo graduated from BYU in 1965. They would eventually have seven children in total. After this, Longo had a vision that he was going to become a powerful leader in the church.

He came to believe that he was a prophet of God. Eventually, he moved into thinking that he himself was god. He began to ramble to other Mormons about impending calamities. The Mormon church finally excommunicated Longo in 1969. He decided to form his own religious group and changed his name to Immanuel David. He called his cult the Family of David and moved them into a commune in Manti, Utah. Immanuel David wrote to the Israeli Knesset in 1973, "I am the Father of Jesus Christ that you slew. I am the only one that can deliver you. Without me you will perish. I am the father of Israel and the blood of Israel runs through my veins." He wrote another letter claiming that he was the new president of the Mormon church and that the current president in 1977, Spencer Kimball, was an "evil shepherd." He told the church, "Your people are perishing in their ignorance and unbelief."

Maybe Immanuel David was a true believer in his godhood, but he definitely was a believer in the power of his influence to get money. He began embezzling funds and obviously he was a fraud. He committed wire fraud and tax evasion as well. The FBI started paying attention.The warped beliefs of the cult included the claim that the Star of David belongs to Immanuel David and not to Jews.They claim white people are the real Israelites and the true children of God. They point to the Lost Books of the Bible as their proof for this. Followers believed they were reincarnated biblical figures like Moses, Abraham, Adam, Eve, and others.   

On August the 3rd in 1978, in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, on the 11th floor (rooms 1105 and conjoining room 1106) at the International Dunes Hotel, a horrific tragedy would unfold. Rachel David and her seven children had been living at the hotel, on the 11th floor for more than a year. Rachel, who was recently made a widow just three days earlier, was the wife to the late self-proclaimed God and prophet, Immanuel David. Immanuel David had taken his life in his car, three days earlier. The authorities had been closing in on his fraudulent cult activities. His cult was under investigation by the FBI for fraud and embezzlement. It is rumored that the Feds were close to making an arrest before his apparent suicide. He died in his car of carbon monoxide poisoning after running a hose from his tail pipe to his driver’s side window. Immanuel’s passing from this world would seem peaceful compared to the fates of the rest of his doomed family.

On this particular morning, Rachel was busy preparing her children to be with their father once again. One by one, six of the children, and their mother Rachel all fell 11 stories to their grisly death. The oldest of the children survived. She has been bound to a wheelchair and brain damaged since the horrific event occurred. She is still firm in her belief that her father is the almighty God and his resurrection is nye. The details of the event on that fateful morning are not exactly known. Some say that Rachel threw each one of her young children from their 11th story balcony to their deaths, while the lone surviving member of the David family, maintains that the children voluntarily jumped. All that remains to this day are the questions why and supposedly the spirits of the young children!

No longer the International Dunes Hotel, nor the Shilo Inn, it has been renamed and revamped into the Holiday Inn Express. It is still the home to the disembodied children that met their end just outside their hotel home. Guests check into the 11th floor and quickly learn that they are intruding on this ghostly playground. People hear children playing, laughing, running down the halls, and knocking on the unassuming guest’s doors at all hours of the night. When management receives complaints, they are forced to reveal the truth of their residual residents. Now the childish tomfoolery is not limited to the 11th floor. They young ones are quite at home in the hotel swimming pool. Their splashing, laughing, and wet footprints are often present.

This is not where our ghostly tale ends. It is a common knowledge around Salt Lake city that legendary musician Danny Elfman is a frequent visitor of the 11th floor! His love affair with the hotel and it’s occupants started in 1984, when he was with the up and coming band, Oingo Boingo. In fact, his first visit inspired him to compose the 80s classic hit, “Dead Man’s Party”! It is also believed that he was so fond of his young friends, that he came back to stay at the hotel while he composed the music and lyrics for “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

An article reported in 2008 that the Family of David Cult was re-emerging with sects in Denver and Spokane. There were only a handful of followers and we hope it remains that way as this cult led to this horrible tragedy. Is the Shilo Inn harboring the spirits of the David children? Is the Shilo Inn haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
The Cemetery Society on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CemeterySociety1/  (Page)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/146660595737733/  (Group)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

HGB Ep. 200 - The History of Ghost Hunting

Moment in Oddity - The Big Chicken
Suggested by Brianne Barre

Marietta, Georgia has one of the most unique roadside attractions in the United States and it happens to be attached to a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. The large monstrosity is known affectionately as “The Big Chicken.” The KFC is located at Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road. The chicken was not built for the KFC though. Originally, the Big Chicken was built for Stanley R. "Tubby" Davis and his Johnny Reb's Chick-Chuck-N-Shake restaurant. The Big Chicken rises to seven stories, is steel-sided and has a moving beak and eyes. A few years after it was completed, Davis sold Johnny Reb’s to his brother who turned it into a franchise of KFC. The landmark was almost razed in 1993, but the public convinced KFC to restore the structure to its former glory. A Big Chicken roadside landmark, certainly is odd!

This Month in History- Francis Gary Powers Shot Down Over the USSR

In the month of May, on the 1st, in 1960 an American U-2 spy plane flying at 60,000 feet was shot down over central Russia on the eve of an American/Soviet Summit. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was supposed to meet with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, but the summit was quickly cancelled after the event and heightened Cold War tensions. The pilot of the plane was a CIA agent named Francis Gary Powers. He survived the crash and was captured by Soviet agents. Powers was tried and convicted for spying and was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Russian court. America captured a Soviet spy and arranged an exchange for Powers after he had been in prison for two years. The American public was hostile to him upon his return because they thought he should not have allowed himself to be captured. He later died in a helicopter crash in 1977.

The History of Ghost Hunting (Suggested by: Sylvia Mason and Aimee Sandoval)

Supernatural activity has been a part of the human experience since the dawn of mankind. Our fascination and for some, reverence of this activity has lasted into our modern era. The desire to understand where this phenomenon originates and to somehow prove its existence via scientific means has come to be known as paranormal investigation or simply, ghost hunting. While we encourage people to not tempt the spirits, we are just as fascinated with the paranormal and it would seem only natural for us to explore the history of ghost hunting in our more recent history. On this episode, we will delve into the history of ghost hunting, explore the different techniques and equipment employed and discuss tactics that can be used to protect yourself from spiritual attachment and attack.

As we discussed in our Spiritualism episode (no. 191), modern day ghost hunting originated within the Spiritualism Movement of the 1800s. One of the first famous reports of ghost hunting dates back to 1834. Major Edward Moor was a British soldier who had written the book, "The Hindu Pantheon." He moved into the Bealings House in Great Bealings in Suffolk, England when he retired. This house was reputedly haunted with various phenomenon that started with the ringing of the servants' bells all on their own. For a two month period, the bells in the dining room and kitchen would ring erratically. Moor watched them and tried to recreate the experience by various means. He studied the system for flaws as well. He never found a rational explanation. After investigating the activity, he reported his experiences and findings in his 1841 book, "Bealings Bells."

A pamphlet titled “Authentic Account of a Visit to the Haunted House at Willington near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne” features a reported haunting at a house in the village of Willington in the mid-1800s. The story featured the experiences of Dr. Edward Drury as he conducted an overnight ghost hunt at the home. The haunting became famous and the story was reprinted by William Howitt in the May 22, 1847 issue of Howitt’s Journal of Literature and Popular Progress. Drury was a novice ghost hunter. He surveyed the entire house before he spent the evening inside it in July of 1840. Drury wrote, "I sat down on the third story landing, fully expecting to account for any noises that I might hear, in a philosophical manner. This was about eleven o’clock p.m. About ten minutes to twelve we both heard a noise, as if a number of people were pattering with their feet upon the bare floor, and yet so singular was the noise that I could not minutely determine from whence it proceeded. A few minutes afterwards we heard a noise as if some one was knocking with his knuckles among our feet; this was followed by a hollow cough from the very room from whence the apparition proceeded. The only noise after this was as if a person was rustling against the wall in coming upstairs...In taking my eyes from the watch, they became riveted upon a closet door, which I distinctly saw open, and saw also the figure of a female attired in grayish garments, with the head inclining downwards, and one hand pressed upon the chest, as if in pain...the right hand—extended towards the floor, with the index finger pointing downwards. It advanced with an apparently cautious step across the floor towards me; immediately as it approached my friend, who was slumbering, its right hand was extended towards him; I then rushed at it, giving, as Mr. Procter states, a most awful yell; but instead of grasping it, I fell upon my friend, and I recollected nothing distinctly for nearly three hours afterwards. I have since learnt that I was carried down stairs in an agony of fear and terror." The Spiritual Magazine later called Drury a “ghost detector” in 1860.

Sir William Crookes was a British physicist and chemist who invented the Crookes Tube. The Tube was used to discover the properties of the cathode rays, which led to those rays being called electrons. Crookes was fascinated with Spiritualism and psychical phenomenon. In 1870, he began experiments to help facillitate his study of paranormal phenomena. His fellow scientists thought he was crazy, but Crookes believed that if something really was going on, it was the duty of science to study it and perhaps prove that it was real. He spent much of his life trying to find what he called "an outside intelligence." He began his experiments with no preconceptions, but when he died, he firmly believed in the paranormal. He set the conditions for testing mediums. They had to come to his house and he chose the appartus he used for testing. He studied several well known mediums like Daniel Dunglas Home, Florence Cook and Kate Fox, of the Fox Sisters. One of the things that Daniel Home was known for was levitation. It was said that he once floated out of a window and then back in another window on the third floor of a home. Crookes witnessed rappings, levitation, luminous objects and apparitions. He then published a report of his findings in 1874. The science community outright rejected his report.

Another key point in ghost hunting history is the formation of The Ghost Club in 1862 in London, England. It began as a social discussion group at Cambridge University in 1855. Fellows at Trinity College decided to discuss paranormal phenomenon, which was reaching popularity through Spiritualism. The Club was formally launched in London in 1862. It seemed to dissolve in the 1870s, but relaunched in 1882 when the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) began. A.A. Watts helped to revive the club with a medium named the Reverend Stainton Moses. The Ghost Club differed from the SPR because members believed in the paranormal, whereas the SPR was more devoted to conducting scientific research. Attendance at meetings was obligatory and membership remained small for the next 54 years with only 82 members. The names of members alive and dead were recited every November 2nd, the Feast of All Souls. There were those who claimed that deceased members made their presence known during the recitations.

The organization served as a place of refuge for some controversial figures. Attendance fell starting in the 1930s and Harry Price, Bligh Bond and a handful of surviving members agreed to wind up the Club in 1936 after 485 meetings. Within eighteen months, the Ghost Club was opened again. The club's membership has gone up and down and there was political turmoil in the 1990s. After this, the Club was opened to the public. Before, it had been invite only. Studies into other paranormal phenomenon like cryptozoology also began at this time. Today, the Ghost Club is the oldest organization in the world associated with psychical research. The Club moved from just discussing the supernatural to studying it via ghost hunting. Overnight investigations have been conducted at hundreds of sites for decades. They merely study and do not perform clearings or exorcisms. They are very serious about their work and have an elite list of former members including Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, Harry Price, Donald Campbell, Peter Cushing, Peter Underwood, Maurice Grosse, Sir Shane Leslie, Eric Maple and the aforementioned William Cookes.

The Society for Psychical Research, SPR, was founded in London in 1882 by Henry Sidgwick, Frederic Myers, and Edmund Gurney. The SPR went forward with the purpose of "investigating mesmeric, psychical and ‘spiritualist’ phenomena in a purely scientific spirit." Leaders of the group created a framework with which to go forward with study and they started a scholarly journal for reporting their research. Most members were prominent figures in science and philosophy. Coming from this scientific basis, the group became adept at spotting fake mediums and were not misled by tricks. Investigations were conducted into all varieties of psychical phenomenon from hypnotism to mental telepathy to apparitions to haunting activities. The first volume written on this research, "Phantasms of the Living,"  was published in 1886. Seven hundred personal experiences were cataloged in the book and Edmund Gurney concluded that most were a form of telepathically-generated hallucination caused by life-threatening situations.

The Census of Hallucinations was the next project tackled by the SPR and today is still the largest survey of its kind ever to have been attempted. This research delved into whether the crisis apparitions discussed in the Phantasms book could just be a matter of coincidence. Their equations ruled out coincidence. Nearly every physical medium that the group studied was found to be a fraud. One of those declared a fake was Helena Blavasky who founded Theosophy and inspired Aleister Crowley. Mental mediums fared better and they regarded as trustworthy, Leonora Piper of Boston, Gladys Leonard and Winifred Coombe Tennant (‘Mrs Willett’) of London. Three years after the SPR was founded, they would have an American counterpart.

The American Society for Psychical Research was founded in 1885 by Harvard psychologist William James. Early members of the club included Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung. The American society worked closely with their European counterpart and both groups worked with other scientists that were not members, but they coordinated methodology together. These scientists included French Professor Charles Richet and American Botanist J.B. Rhine, who founded a parapsychology lab at Duke University in the 1930s. These two men developed test criteria in controlled environments for psychic testing. One of the most fascinating conclusions to some out of much of this research came through a series of automatic writings done by mediums that featured allusions to Greek and Latin literature. The key here was that the mediums had not studied these languages, but the researchers had and they understood what the references were about. This left the scientists with the impression that there was an organized intelligence that they could not see. Even further, they began to become aware that founding members Gurney and Sidgwick, who had passed by this time, were probably responsible for the writings and were trying to provide proof of survival after death. These correspondences continued for thirty years and are still debated to this day.

Harry Price was born in London on January 17, 1881. He would become the real father of ghost hunting. He was a writer who became a psychical researcher and he for this reason, he documented much of his work in books and articles. One of his first interests was magic and he himself became an amateur conjurer, joining the Magic Circle in 1922. This would help him to identify fraud in mediums. Price joined SPR in 1920. He spent most of his life investigating hauntings and psychical phenomenon. Many of his cases are still famous to this day, including Gef the Talking Mongoose and the haunting at Borley Rectory. He also investigated other mundane things like fire-walking. He was controversial not only for his work, but he also championed legislation to regulate psychic practitioners. One of his greatest contributions to ghost hunting was his development of a ghost hunting kit.

One of the first cases he took on was in regards to the spirit photography of William Hope. The way that Price unmasked Hope as a fraud was very simple. He secretly marked Hope's photographic plates with the logo of the Imperial Dry Plate Co. Ltd. Hope's photos would then be marked with this logo. The photographer was unaware that the plates had been altered and he went forward with taking photographs as part of his SPR testing. Hope later handed over his photos to the SPR and they contained spirits in the pictures. Price knew that Hope was a fraud after this because none of those pictures had the logo on them. It was clear that Hope had exchanged the materials provided by Price with his own prepared materials containing the fake spirit images. Price wrote in his SPR report "William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own plates for those of a sitter ... It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes."

It would be the haunting at Borley Rectory in Essex that would capture his lifelong obsession. He first visited the location in 1929 after hearing about the phantom of a nun appearing in the garden at the house. Other reports included disembodied footsteps, various apparitions, including the man who built the rectory, and ghost lights. He asked a local for directions and the man said, "Oh, you mean the most haunted house in England?" Price would name his first volume about Borley Rectory just that, "The Most Haunted House in England," which was published in 1940. He lived at the rectory for a year in the late 1930s. Many believe that the wife of Rev. Lionel Foyster, who lived at the rectory from 1930 to 1935, had faked the paranormal activity that Price was following up on and members of SPR claimed that Price faked phenomenon while he lived at the house. Their later studies came to the conclusion that any weirdness was caused by natural things like rats. But before one writes off the haunting at Borley Rectory, consider that Price came to know the nun spirit as Marie and she told him that one day the rectory would burn and that proof of the fact that she was murdered would be found. The house did indeed suffer a fire that gutted it and when Price excavated the basement, female bones were found.

One of the next famous ghost hunters would be Austrian born Hans Holzer. He emigrated to America in 1938 with his family when he was eighteen. His paranormal investigations took him all over the world and he eventually wrote more than 140 books on the paranormal. Some claim that Holzer came up with the term "ghost hunter," but H. Addington Bruce wrote a book in 1908 titled “Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters.” One of Holzer's most famous cases was the Amityville Horror house. For those who don't know, this home was the scene of a horrific murder. Nearly the entire Defeo family was slaughtered and the eldest son, Ronald Jr., was charged with the crime. He claimed that the Devil made him to do it. It was in January of 1977 that Holzer first entered the house in Amityville, New York. He took with him a psychic he trusted, medium Ethel Meyers. Meyers told him the house was built on a Native American burial ground and that spirits of the dead had taken over Ronald's body. There never was any proof of the burial ground and the historical society denied the claim. Holzer believed that something was going on at the house and he was a true believer. The SPR thought Holzer's claims were dubious and they disliked his use of psychics. But he is still considered an authority even today, nearly ten years after his death.

Probably the most famous couple in ghost hunting is Lorraine and Ed Warren. The paranormal investigators have received a resurgence into popular culture with the success of recent horror films like Annabelle, the Conjuring and the Conjuring 2 that feature cases with which the Warrens are connected. The Warrens are also a very controversial couple. Ed is no longer alive, but Lorraine is and she lives in New England where she had run the couple's Occult Museum featuring haunted items like the Annabelle doll. Ed was a demonologist and Lorraine is a trance medium. For fifty years they investigated all manners of hauntings and generally held to the belief that paranormal activity was demonic in nature. The couple began investigating early in their relationship. Ed had grown up in a haunted house and he was fascinated by what he experienced as a child. Any time he heard that a house was haunted, he dragged Lorraine along to check it out.

Their most famous cases were the Amityville House, Annabelle the haunted doll (which we covered in our haunted dolls episode), the Perron Home, which is what the Conjuring is about and the Enfield Poltergeist, which is featured in the Conjuring 2. The couple began the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952. They claimed to have done 10,000 investigations. What makes them controversial are their claims of hauntings in places that seem to have been invented, possibly for money. It is thought by most today that the Amityville Horror was an entirely made-up event. Those who worked directly with the Enfield Poltergeist claim the Warrens spent one day at the house and had no real involvement, while the Conjuring 2 movie makes it seem as though this was entirely their case. For us, the jury is still out. They seem to have found some real evidence in their time and they seem to have helped some people with problematic spirits. They definitely were pioneers in the field of ghost hunting.

Our modern era has witnessed a saturation of paranormal investigative shows. Before these was "In Search Of" hosted by Leonard Nemoy in the 1970s. "Unsolved Mysteries" followed in the late 1980s and then there was "Sightings" in the 1990s. But it has been the paranormal reality TV that began in the early 2000s that really made popular the idea that the average person on the street could be an amateur ghost hunter. Since then, hundreds have formed or joined their own teams, made the t-shirts and conducted their own investigations.

TV Shows:

Ghost Hunters (TAPS)
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Lab
Haunted Collector
Ghost Mine
Fact or Faked
Destination Truth
Paranormal Witness
Celebrity Ghost Stories
Ghost Asylum
My Ghost Story
Ghost Brothers
Kindred Spirits
Dead Files
Most Haunted
Haunted Highway
Paranormal State
Paranormal Lockdown

Equipment:

EMF Meters (K2) - These meters measure the rate of change of the surrounding magnetic field, so they are sensitive to changing magnetic fields. Those fields have frequency above 0 hertz. EMF Meters are designed to measure many frequency ranges, which you will hear as ELF, visible light and X-Rays. Most meters read frequencies of about 30 - 10,000 hertz. It is believed that ghosts use electrical activity for energy and so they will cause spikes in EMF detectors. Most EMFs that you have seen have color zones ranging from green to orange to red,with a red spike indicating a spirit nearby.

EDI Meters - An all in one device (EDDY). This has an EMF Meter, a temperature gauge, humidity gauge and geophone vibration detection. A geophone converts ground movement into voltage. These vibrations are caused by seismic waves.

EVP Recorder - This is a digital recorder like a Zoom H1 or various version thereof like a Sony or Olympus. Somehow, a spirits vocal cues are picked up by the digital recording and can only be heard during playback. There is a version of recorder that provides Real-Time recording meaning that it rewinds and plays back as you go, so that you can listen while investigating. The EVPs have three rankings: Class A voices are very clear and easily understandable, Class B voices are fairly loud and clear and are sometimes audible without headphones and Class C voices are very soft and often indecipherable.

Ghost Boxes or Shack Hacks - At a basic level, a ghost box is a broken AM/FM radio. It is modified so that it continuously scans the radio bands and when a spirit uses this to communicate, words can be heard, sometimes even a full sentence. The theory is that the white noise is manipulated by spirits to form words.

FLIR Thermal Cams - FLIR is the name of the company that makes these thermal cams. They call themselves the world's sixth sense. Their cameras detect infrared light and thermal patterns. Our vision detects a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thermal energy has a much longer wavelength than visible light, which makes it impossible for us to see it. Thermal imaging allows us to see thermal energy emitted from an object. In the infrared world, everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat. It works with light or dark.

MEL Meter - Gary Galka created the MEL Meter after his daughter passed away as something to communicate with his daughter's spirit. It is named for her. These meters are handheld and show EMF and ambient temperature.

REM-Pod - The REM circuit was originally developed to be part of the Mel Meter Series. The REM-Pod uses a mini telescopic antenna to radiate its own independent Magnetic Field around the device. When something electrical gets close to the device, it gives off an alarm and LED lights flash on. It also can detect vibrations.

Full Spectrum Video Camera - Our eyes can't see ultraviolet or infrared light. A Full Spectrum camera detects all of these levels of light. The theory is that ghosts show themselves in UV or IR light ranges. These cameras are the best to use because they give you the most light possible.

Laser Grid - Green is the most visible color of laser, so generally that is the color grid chosen. This is a device that you face towards a wall or open area like a small room and hallway. When on, it throws a grid pattern up like small squares or dots of light. What hunters watch for are shadows to pass through the grid.

Flashlights - The best flashlight to use are the kind that twist. You twist until it just goes off and then set it alone. Ask the spirit to respond by clicking the light on and off.

Ovilus - An Ovilus reminds me of a Speak & Spell. This device converts environmental readings into words. It was created by Bill Chappell and he devised a synthesizer chip that modulates energy changes into audible speech. The device has seven modes of operation. Dictionary mode contains 512 stored words. Phonetic mode sounds out words by syllable. A combination mode puts those both together. There is a “yes” or “no” mode. An electromagnetic field (EMF) mode that verbally outputs EMF levels in milligauss. A level mode that graphically displays EMF levels. Finally there is a dowsing mode that simulates virtual dowsing rods.

Dowsing Rods - They are also known as divining rods and were used in the past to detect water beneath the ground. They also can detect gemstones and metals. Basically, they are moved by energy. Ghost hunters use them to get responses from spirits by asking yes and no question and then if the rods cross, it indicates an answer to a question.

Protection against attachment and hauntings:

-First and foremost, we are Christians, so when people ask us what to do for protection, our go-to is prayer and for us, specifically calling on the name of Jesus.
-Positivity. Negative entities will be attracted to negative thoughts. If feeling depressed, tired or sick, you should stay away from anything that is reputed to be haunted.
-Be of sober mind. It's not just a Biblical recommendation. When high or drunk, the human mind is susceptible to attack because your defenses are down.
-Speak authoritatively directly to the spirit. Take control of the situation and tell them to leave, leave you alone or quit doing whatever they doing.
-Salt is a very powerful weapon and it comes up in the Bible more than people might think. It was a symbol of friendship and integrity when shared between people. The Disciples were called to be the Salt of the Earth. That means not bland, but most importantly, not contaminated. Also, we believe that demons are without a body and out in the desert if you will. They seek bodies so that they can have water again. The human body is mostly water. What does excessive salt do to water. It dehydrates. A thirsty spirit wants nothing to do with salt. Salt on window sills and doorways is thought to keep evil from passing through. We have also heard that you should do this at the four corners of your home.
-White Sage for Smudging. Dried sage can be found at metaphysical stores and can be used as a repellent to spirits. The most common practice is to light the sage so that it smokes. Crack a window in each room of the house and start at the furthest point from the window, waving the smoke from the sage in all the corners and sweeping it across the room towards the window. The thought is that if a spirit is in a room, the sage will cause it to flee out the window.
-Blessed water and oil. Some believe you need a priest to bless the water or oil, but we believe you can bless the water yourself in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Putting these in the four corners of the house is said to be effective as well as the thresholds of a home and on a person, the forehead is usually where the mark is made in the sign of the cross.
-Burning lavender incense
-Covering mirrors at death
-Exorcism in extreme cases.
-Most important, don't tempt the spirits.

After decades of scientific research and probably what amounts to millions of paranormal investigations, we really have no substantive proof that there are ghosts or what ghosts may be and perhaps that is what keeps us all so passionate about the subject. Perhaps it would actually be a sad day if we ever found all the answers.And that is why we always end our episodes with the question about whether a place is truly and leave it to the listener to decide. Do ghosts exist? That is for you to decide!