Friday, August 18, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Ghost Cemetery Guide
(Story shared by listener Chelsea Bishop)
Our listener Chelsea shared this odd experience at the Los Angeles National Cemetery:
"To be honest, I am not completely sure if this cemetery is haunted. Although there are many soldiers buried here (my grandfather and great grandfather are one of the many). We have visited this cemetery once a year (mostly on Memorial day), but one year my mom had this strong feeling that she needed to go back and visit her dad's grave stone again. Oddly enough the day that she went with my dad was Mother's day and the place was packed. It is a pretty large cemetery and unless you have done research ahead of time, you can easily get lost looking for a certain head stone. This is exactly what had happened to my mom and dad. They had to park and were about to looking for the row number of my grandfather's head stone when they realized... the paper was left back at home, an hour away. Not wanting to leave after taking so long to arrive, my parents decided they would separate and search (then call each when one of them found it). Just when my mom was completely frustrated, she heard someone call her. She looked up to see an elderly woman with a cane walk over to her. The woman asked if she could help my mom. My mom told her that she was lost looking for her father, the woman responded, "ask God to help you." Now my mom believes that there is a greater power but not that much. She rolled her eyes and then glanced on the ground. Sure enough my mom was standing right next to her dad's grave stone. When she looked up to thanked the elderly woman... the woman was gone. Immediately my mom called my dad, he wanted to explain away the situation with, "well the place is packed, maybe you misplaced her?" But whoever the woman was, she did not seem to be the type to easily take off and start running away. Maybe there is a helpful guide at this cemetery? I'm not sure, but whoever helped, my family is truly grateful." A ghost cemetery guide, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Jamaica's Second Maroon War
In the month of August, in 1795, Jamaica's Second Maroon War began. The Maroons of Jamaica were escaped slaves who ran away from the Spanish-owned plantations that they worked on when the British wrested control of Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655. Maroon means mountain and that is where the slaves ran and hid: to the mountains of Jamaica. The government felt that the Maroons were a threat and the two sides began the first Maroon War in 1728. They made peace in 1739, but it did not last, at least not with all of the Maroons. A new governor decided to forget about the treaty that had been signed and arrested two leaders of the Maroons of Trelawny Parish. This started the Second Maroon War. The Maroons held off the British soldiers, which had 4500 men to their 300. The Governor offered a new peace treaty if the Maroons laid down their arms. They did, but the offer was a trick. The Maroons were arrested and sent to Nova Scotia. In 1800, many of them would be shipped to Sierra Leone. Trelawny is now known as Maroon Town even though there are no longer any Maroons there.
Haunted Cemeteries 3
We love to visit cemeteries. They are so peaceful and many of the older ones are like parks. We will be talking about a couple of these park-like cemeteries today. We'll be in New York to check out a graveyard that inspired Central Park, Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Then there is Spring Hill Cemetery in West Virginia that is home to victims of epidemics and a plane crash. Indiana's Clark County has several old cemeteries with unique legends and finally our listener Dannah Jones joins us to discuss Maple Hill Cemetery and its creepy legend that will make you think twice about the swings at the playground. All of these places of rest have several spirits at unrest!
Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery (Suggested by Margo Donohue of Book vs. Movie Podcast)
This wasn't always a peaceful spot. The Battle of Long Island was fought here in 1776. Battle Hill is in fact, the highest point in Brooklyn. Frederick Ruckstull made a Revolutionary War monument named Altar to Liberty: Minerva, which was erected in 1920 and faces towards the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The Battle of Long Island or Brooklyn, as it is sometimes called, was fought on August 27, 1776. This was the first battle of the American Revolution after the Declaration of Independence was issued and it was the largest battle of the war. The Americans saw Battle Hill in the distance and saw the strategic importance so 300 soldiers went to grab the hill, but the British beat them to it and fired upon them. The Americans pressed forward and eventually took the hill even though they were outnumbered. The British lost 400 men, but the Americans suffered over 1,000 casualties and the battle was considered a loss for the Americans and the British eventually took New York City.
There are 560,000 people buried here. Some of the notable people buried here include Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, several Civil War generals, baseball legends, inventors, entertainers, politicians and artists. Boss Tweed should not have been buried here because he died in the Ludlow Street Jail and at the time there was a regulation in place at Green-Wood that no one could be buried there if they executed for a crime or died in jail. Somehow his family circumvented the rule. Another criminal who found his way here was John Torrio, a notorious gangster who mentored Al Capone. Roland Burnham Molineux was a chemist in Brooklyn who was angry with Harry Cornish, the director of his local athletic club, and he decided to poison the man. He mailed him a bottle of Bromo-seltzer laced with cyanide. Unfortunely, the woman providing lodging to Cornish took the Bromo-seltzer to relieve a headache and she died. Molineux was arrested and convicted, but was later acquited. He is buried here at Green-Wood. And important to our audience is the grave of Margaret Fox, the mother of the Fox Sisters, who helped make Spiritualism so popular. An obelisk near the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street marks the burial site of 103 unidentified victims of the 1876 Brooklyn Theater Fire. On September 27, 2006, Green-Wood was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior.
The cemetery made news in 2014 when a man dressed as a creepy clown was seen holding a fistful of pink balloons clambering through the graveyard. He wore a polka-dotted outfit and multi-colored shoes. He was captured on a couple of YouTube videos, but not arrested. There are more than just pranksters making this cemetery a creepy place at times. Green-Wood is reputedly haunted. A photo was taken by a visitor named Mark and it seems to reveal a misty apparition that looks like a skeletal female. He said of the experience, "While visiting the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY today, I was peeking into a crypt and trying to see in. It was too dark to see anything. The only opening was this cross in the door so I tried using the camera flash to light up the inside. The flash went off but it didn’t seem to do anything but bounce off the stone. Then when I got home I uploaded the photo and saw this smoke-like image inside the tomb. I don’t know whose tomb it is, I didn’t even think to look when I was there. I will have to go back and see if I can find it. This cemetery is massive."
Many visitors to the cemetery claim to capture weird, ghost-like images in their pictures. The ghost of Mabel Douglass is seen roaming the graveyard. She disappeared on Lake Placid and her body was found at the bottom of the lake, petrified and perfectly intact 30 years later. She was buried at Green-wood. Revolutionary-era soldiers have been seen in the cemetery from both sides of the war. One ghost story is connected to someone buried at Green-Wood, John Anderson. He was a wealthy tobacconist who was suspected of killing Mary Rogers, a young woman found dead in the Hudson. She had been hired by Anderson to attract customers to his store. It is said that he cut a backroom deal and thus never faced prosecution. He claimed to be haunted by the ghost of Mary Rogers. An interesting aside to this is the events were covered by a young writer named Edgar Allan Poe in his story, “The Mystery of Marie Roget.”
Link to a fun video tour taken by ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/video/historic-haunts-tour-brooklyns-green-wood-cemetery-34682101
Spring Hill Cemetery (Suggested by listener Victoria Brooke)
Spring Hill Cemetery is located in Huntington, West Virginia. Holderby's Landing was the first permanent settlement in the area of the future Huntington. It was founded in 1775. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway came to town and this became a major hub for the railway when it was completed in 1873. Collis P. Huntington was one of four men who established western railroading and he built the Central Pacific Railroad. He wanted this hub to be the western terminus for the line and established a city with Delos W. Emmons and they named it for Huntington. The C&O eventually merged with other lines and is today known as CSX Transportation. Huntington was incorporated in 1871 and was the second American city to feature electric street cars after San Francisco. The first major tragedy for the city came with the Great Flood of 1937, which killed five people.
The second tragedy came in 1970 when a plane crash took the lives of 37 football players, five coaches, two athletic trainers, the athletic director, 25 boosters from the Marshall University Thundering Herd team. Five crew members were also killed. The Marshall team was returning home from a loss to the East Carolina Pirates and were flying aboard Southern Airways Flight 932 from North Carolina bound for Huntington Tri-State Airport in West Virginia. The plane collided with the tops of trees on a hillside during final descent into the airport and the plane burst into flames. The investigation was never able to figure out the cause, but many believe water seeped into the plane's altimeter and gave improper altitude readings leading the pilots to believe they were higher than they were. It was night and they were unable to see the danger that they were in leading this to become the deadliest tragedy to affect any sports team in US history. The movie "We are Marshall" was based on this event. Many of the dead were buried at Spring Hill Cemetery.
When Huntington was first established, the city set aside 30 acres for use as a public cemetery. The cemetery derives its name from the nearby Old Spring House. The first burial was in 1838 and is the grave of Elizabeth Prosser. Josephine Webb who was buried in 1873 is considered the first official burial.Three hundred Civil War soldiers are here. There is a small potter's field and many of those buried here are from the 1903 smallpox and the 1918 flu epidemics. It is from the burial of one of these 1903 smallpox victims that we have our first story connected to Spring Hill. William Alfred Bias was set to be buried in a mass grave and no funeral service was allowed due to contagion concerns. His sons showed up and watched from outside of the fence. The boys said a few prayers as he was put in the ground and then they noticed a ball of light hovering over his grave. It slowly rose and floated away. The boys followed it and it led them back home, where it went through the front door of the house with a thud.
Most of the ghostly apparitions are attributed to victims of the epidemics because of improper burial. The Huntington Paranormal Research Society conducted an investigation and have several videos on YouTube with their evidence. They got several EMF hits, particularly after asking for the unseen thing to touch the device. They also captured EVPs, one of which asked the investigators their names and said the word "Congress." They also captured a glowing blue orb in several consecutive pictures that were interesting.
Cemeteries of Clark County in Indiana (Encyclopedia of Haunted Indiana)
Sellersburg is named after one of the men who founded the town, Moses W. Sellers. He and a man named John Hill originally platted out the village in 1846 and they did it in a very irregular way. None of the forty-two lots have a right angle. The Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis railroad passes by the east side of the village. Sellers opened the first store and cement mills employed many of the village residents. The Essroc Cement Plant is about five miles from Brick Church Road Cemetery.
- Brick Church Road Cemetery is located in Sellersburg on Brick Church Road east of Tom Combs Rd. There is reputedly a tombstone that glows green sometimes, but no one can pinpoint which tombstone this is and it seems to change. The creepier haunting here features transparent cloaked figures walking in the cemetery and inside the church at the cemetery. People claim these are Druids.
- St. Joe Road Cemetery is located in Sellersburg on SR 111 east on St. Joe Road. This cemetery is part of St. Joseph Hill Catholic Church. There is a tree in the middle of the cemetery that had once been used for public hangings. Visitors to the cemetery claim that they have seen one or more men hanging from the tree on certain nights.
Henryville, Indiana's claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The village was founded in 1850 and was originally named Morristown. Pennsylvania militia colonel Henry Ferguson purchased the land upon which Morristown was established and he convinced the Pennsylvania Railroad to bring a line to Clark County. For his efforts, the village was named in his honor in 1853.
- Mount Zion Cemetery is in Henryville and located at the east end of Blue Lick Rd. and Mt. Zion Rd. The haunting at this cemetery is connected to a woman who was killed on the road just outside the cemetery on Blue Lick Road. She manifests as a full-bodied apparition enveloped usually in a green haze and she walks through the cemetery. She seems to enjoy jumping on cars and drivers who have experienced this, claim that she leaves behind a sticky residue.
- Mountain Grove Cemetery is also known as Cemetery Hill in Henryville. It's located at the corner of Pixley Knob Rd. and Mountian Grove Rd. Daniel Guthrie was murdered and his body was buried at this cemetery. But it was not buried in a ceremony. The murderer buried the body here to hide it and it was not discovered for a year. When he was found, Daniel was buried at the Mount Zion Cemetery. Dan's spirit is not at rest probably because his murder was never solved. People who live near the cemetery, claim to hear disembodied footsteps and see the spectre of a young man with a handlebar moustache. Some of them even claim to see his footprints in mud outside of their windows. Investigators have captured EVPs in the cemetery of a male voice crying for help and screaming. One group even captured what sounds like the actual stabbing. They likened the sound to a knife going in and out of a pumpkin. A shadowy figure has been seen in the cemetery and on the nearby roadway.
Maple Hill Cemetery (Suggested by listener Dannah Jones)
Maple Hill Cemetery is one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in Alabama and was founded in 1822, but records indicate that it was a place of burial for some time before that. LeRoy Pope was a planter who owned the land and he sold it to the city of Huntsville for use as the cemetery. Inside the cemetery is Drost Park, which has some legends connected to it. There are several unexplained occurrences there and the cemetery itself is home to many hauntings. Our listener Dannah Jones joins us to share the history and hauntings of Maple Hill.
Cemeteries are meant to be places of rest. And many of them are completely peaceful. But every so often, we run across one with shadows lurking among the headstones. These cemeteries harbor some fascinating and creepy stories of hauntings. Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Mummified Bodies Discovered in Alps Glaciers
The Alps are giving up their dead. Last month, July of 2017, climbers traversing the Hohlaug glacier in the Saas Valley were surprised when they came across a hand and two shoes protruding from the ice and snow. Excavation took a couple hours and when it was done, the body of a man who had been missing for 30 years had been recovered. The remains were identified via DNA in Bern and revealed the man to be a German citizen who went missing in 1987. These have not been the only remains found, with several discoveries coming over the past few months all across the Alps in Switzerland and France. Also in July, a Swiss couple's mummified corpses were discovered in the Tsanfleuron glacier. They had been reported missing in 1942. Fifty years ago, an Air India plane crashed into the French Alps and the dismembered remains of two of those passengers had recently been discovered on Mount Blanc. The Swiss glaciers are retreating and it is believed that hundreds of mummified corpses will begin to emerge from the ice and snow of the Alps. That means that hiking the Alps could turn into a grim and horrifying adventure and that, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Arthur Murray Comes Through Ellis Island
In the month of August, in 1897, a two-year-old boy passed through inspection at Ellis Island with his mother Sarah. He was born Moses Teichman in Austria-Hungary and he and his mother were meeting his father Abraham, whom already had a house waiting for them in the Lower East Side of Manhatten. Moses would grow up there and at the age of 14, his friend Joe would teach him some dance steps. Moses took to it and started finding weddings to crash, so that he could practice his dance steps. He started work as a draftsman at the age of 17, but he held on to his first love of dance and taught dance classes at night. He won his first dance contest at the Grand Central Palace and since there was only the one silver cup awarded, he let his partner have it and soon it was a pawn shop. This made Moses promise himself that any contest he ran would make sure that everyone who won received a prize or award. He continued teaching dance lessons and wondered how he could expand into a business. One night William Jennings Bryan said to him, "You know, I have a fine idea on how you can collect your money. Just teach 'em with the left foot and don't tell 'em what to do with the right foot until they pay up!" This inspired Moses to start a mail order business that supplied people with dance step footprint diagrams. Within a couple of years, over 500,000 dance courses had been sold. Moses married and he and his wife started a dance school offering personal instruction, which soon branched into classes at hotel chains under the name he had taken on for himself, Arthur Murray. The franchise of Arthur Murray Dance Studios expanded until over 3,500 of them were in the country. They have since declined, but we have one right here in Clermont, Florida. Arthur Murray's franchise is the second-oldest franchise company right behind A & W Restaurants. Murray passed away in Hawaii in 1991 at the age of 95.
Conrad Mansion Museum (Suggested by Tammie McCarroll-Burroughs)
Montana is known as Big Sky Country and one tends to think of wide open spaces when picturing the state. The state was formerly part of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition left their mark here, literally, with Clark inscribing his name and the date on a pillar northeast of modern day Billings. Explorers, frontiersmen, miners and businessmen all flocked to Montana. One of those men was Charles Conrad. He was a pioneer, businessman and banker who founded the city of Kalispell in Montana with his own money. He built his home in Kalispell and today it is known as the Conrad Mansion Museum. The mansion is a great example of a turn of the century home in the Northwest and it is reputedly haunted. The spirits seem friendly as they belong to members of the Conrad family. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Conrad Mansion Museum!
Kalispell, Montana was founded by the Kalispell Townsite Company, which was formed by four men headed by Charles Conrad. The Flathead Nation were the early settlers here and are known today by that name because that is what the white people who came to region called them. They refer to themselves as the Salish. The word means "the people." The first time the tribe was written about was during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Kalispell Townsite Company platted out the future town and started selling lots in 1891. The city of Kalispell was officially incorporated in 1892. It has grown to be the largest city in Northwest Montana.
Charles E. Conrad was born in 1850 on the Conrad family plantation in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia. Charles served with the Confederacy during the Civil War in the guerilla cavalry of Mosby's Rangers. Colonel Mosby was known as the Gray Ghost and his men hid among the civilians and worked like a band of thieves destroying Union supply lines. This is why they were referred to as guerrillas rather than soldiers and Mosby himself did not generally use troops or soldiers when referring to his men, which were actually the 43rd Battalion of the Virginia Calvary. The Civil War changed things for the Conrad family and left them in poverty. Charles turned eighteen three years after the end of the Civil War and he left Virginia with his older brother William and the duo headed to Fort Benton in the Montana Territory to make their fortune in shipping. And they did just that turning Fort Benton into the largest shipping point west of the Missouri. Routes extended north into Canada and as far west as Walla Walla in the Washington Territory. The railroad arrived twenty-three years later and the shipping business started to flounder, so the brothers split their fortunes and invested in banking, real estate, mining and cattle.
At some point in the 1870s, Charles married a Native American woman named Sings-In-The-Middle-Woman and they had a son named Charles E. Conrad, Jr. in 1876. She was from the Blackfeet tribe and eventually returned to her people, leaving her son with his father. She died from influenza sometime after that. Charles later married Alicia Davenport Stanford in 1881. She went by the nickname Lettie. The two had met through her brother who was a member of the Northwest Canadian Mounted Police. The couple had three children: Charles Davenport in 1882, Catherine in 1884 and Alicia Ann in 1892. Charles decided to head to Spokane, Washington to check out business opportunities, but he took his wife Lettie and their children to Flathead Valley in Northwestern Montana for a vacation that lasted several weeks. Lettie fell in love with the area and the couple decided to make this their home.
It was at this time that Charles joined with the three other businessmen to form the Kalispell Townsite Company. Kalispell is a Salish word that means flat land above the lake and that is where the name came from because the Native Americans in the area referred to the area by this name. Charles convinced the railroad baron Jim Hill to bring a route of his rail line north of Flathead Lake. The Conrad family began construction on their mansion in 1892 and they contracted the famous Spokane architect Kirkland Cutter to design the home. The house is shingle style with Norman influences, particularly inside. The mansion is 13,000 square feet with 26 rooms spread out over three floors and there are 8 sandstone fireplaces. There was a carriage house and stable built outside and a dry stone fence with iron gates surrounded the three acres of land upon which the mansion was built. The grounds were well manicured with annual and perennial flower beds, pruned hedges and evergreens and a manicured lawn.
The interior of the home was beautiful with German immigrant craftsmen being brought in to fashion the oak trim and paneling. Electricity was installed with a carbide gas back-up system. The windows were made out of a variety of glass including tinted and clear bottle glass, diamond-paned leaded glass and the second floor has panels of Tiffany-style stained glass. The architect was known for including arches in his design s and the house has several. The mansion not only was updated with electricity, but it had a freight elevator, dumbwaiter, built-in fire hoses, an intercom, elecric call box, a speaking tube and a radiator warming oven. Additional luxuries included a wall-mounted 1895 Spaulding exercise machine and two Italian onyx cold water drinking fountains. The music room was decorated with a hand painted linen border next to the linen ceiling. There was also a game room that featured a billiard table, window seats, oak paneling and a large bank of windows. There were nine bedrooms and they each had a walk-in closet and their won marble sink. It took three years to complete the home. The family moved in around Thanksgiving 1895. *Fun Fact: Teddy Roosevelt stayed at the house.*
Charles would not live long in his dream mansion. Seven years after moving in, he died at the age of 52 from complications of diabetes. He and Lettie had taken a horseback ride out to an area of their property that was a promontory east of the Mansion and Charles told her, "I can think of no more peaceful and lovely spot for a final rest." It would be this spot where she founded the C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery in keeping with his desire. A mausoleum was completed in 1908 and Charles was placed inside. There are several members of the Conrad family laid to rest at the cemetery. Lettie remained in the home until her death there as well in 1923. The property then passed on to their youngest child, Alicia Ann Campbell. She remained in the mansion until 1964. She and her husband started having financial problems and they could no longer maintain the home, so they moved into a trailer on the property and just used the mansion for storage. It fell into disrepair and by the 1970s it was in a sad state, overgrown and deteriorating.
Campbell convinced the city of Kalispell to take the mansion and they took it over in 1974. The Conrad Mansion Board of Directors was formed and they gathered groups of volunteers to help restore and maintain the property and by 1976, the Conrad Mansion Museum was open for business and the mansion was on the National Register of Historic Places. Campbell had saved her family's property and today the museum is filled with 90% of the original family furnishings. This includes collections of books and artwork, family firearms, children's toys and dolls and even their clothing dating from the 1880's - 1940's. Tours are given May through October and start at the top of every hour. Occasionally, fun nooks and crannies tours are offered that take guests to areas not regularly seen and they even reveal some of the secret hiding places that family had for valuables, some of which are hidden furniture compartments.
The Conrad Mansion houses more than the family's former furnishings. Spirits of the family seem to have lingered past their deaths. There are three of them in particular here. Both Charles and his wife Lettie died in the home and reputedly haunt it and their daughter Alicia Ann who was the last family member to live in the mansion. Her haunting is peculiar in that she appears as she did when she was a little girl growing up in the house. Experiences run the typical gamut of cold spots, lights flickering off and on and full-bodied apparitions. No one has reported anything threatening. A heartwarming story connected to the mansion was told by Lettie's brother Harry. He had come to the house because she was having trouble breathing and the family thought she was going to die. She sat up when her brother arrived and seemed to be much better. She looked towards a window that faced east and held out her arms as she exclaimed, "Oh Charlie, you came for me." She laid back down and died.
The Montana Paranormal Society has investigated the property as has Blackfoot Paranormal Investigations. The latter posted a video featuring several EVPs they caught while investigating. A former director of the museum was cleaning one afternoon when she had a spooky experience. She was running the sweeper when she saw the resident stray cat named Sweety Pie run up the stairs. She decided to finish vacuuming and then she would chase the cat back down the stairs. Suddenly, the cat came tearing down the stairs. Before the Director could even wonder what was up with the cat, she saw the full-bodied apparition of Alicia Campbell as a little girl come running after the cat. The girl had owned 13 cats when she lived in the mansion. At that point, the Director decided she was done cleaning and she would not return for two days.
There was a gentleman who spent a lot of time painting the mansion during the restoration and he witnessed a rocking chair rock by itself when he was alone in the house. He tried to tell himself it was nothing and compared to what was about to happen to him, it was. He continued painting and then he heard the distinctive sound of boots coming down the hallway. he thought it was odd because no one was suppose to come by the house. He looked up to greet the visitor and saw the semi-transparent figure of a woman, wearing a Victorian style dress with her hair piled up on top of her head. He recognized her from pictures he had seen. It was Lettie Conrad. She stopped at the opening of the door to the room he was painting and looked in at him as though she were inspecting his work. She then continued down the hall, down the stairs and he watched as she headed for the kitchen. He immediately dropped his brushes in the paint bucket without bothering to clean up and ran two steps at a time out the front door. He actually did return to work and never saw anything again.
A mirror in the billiards room has occasionally reflected the image of Charles Conrad smoking a cigar. Alicia has been seen in a room that has pictures of her and she likes to rock in the rocking chair while reading a book. During a holiday bazaar that is hosted at the mansion, vendors have had items move around. Kate's Room has had poltergeist type activity with candles being thrown across the room. The attic has poltergeist activity and workmen repairing the roof saw the apparition of a little girl thought to be Alicia. She waved at them. A tour guide was backing into the attic and bumped into something unseen that prevented her from going further and this was witnessed by her entire tour group.
Executive Director Gennifer Sauter has never experienced anything, but she heard about the tour guide's experience, “One experience that sticks out in my mind was when one of our guides backed up into someone while giving a tour, but when she said ‘Excuse me’ and turned around, no one and nothing was there. We’ve [also] heard many, many reports of a little girl on the third floor. That’s actually a very common one.” Sauter also claims that something sets off the motion alarm frequently at night. A local photographer told Sauter that once time she felt someone running down the stairs next to her and decribed it as resembling excited children running down the stairs on Christmas morning. Sauter added, “It’s kind of neat to think they’re around here and looking out for the place. And neat to think that maybe there’s something beyond.”
Are members of the Conrad family still living in their home after death? Were they so attached to the home and land they loved that they are unable to let go? Is the Conrad Mansion haunted? That is for you to decide!
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Wang the Human Unicorn
Human unicorns have been reported throughout world history. The term describes exactly what you might think. This is a human with a horn growing out of their head. Before 1900, there were over one hundred documented cases of humans growing horns. Elderly females cases were the most prevalent. One human unicorn that was made famous by Robert Ripley was a Chinese farmer named Wang who was from Manchukuo. He was discovered in 1930 by a Russian banker who took a picture of him and sent it to Ripley. The picture showed Wang sporting a fourteen-inch spire-like horn growing from the back of his head. Ripley tried to find Wang and bring him to his Odditorium, but no one could find the man. Ripley even offered a huge cash reward. These horns that grow from human unicorns are not really horns. Most of them are caused by benign calvarial tumours. This is due to an aggressive variant of a condition known as cornu cutaneum. These horns can grow on any part of the body. It was actually very rare for them to just appear on the head. Today, there are nearly no cases of people growing horns because modern medicine stops them before they can become a problem. Humans growing horns from their bodies, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Anne Frank's Last Diary Entry
In the month of August, on the 1st, in 1944, Anne Frank penned her last entry into her diary. Three days later, a car pulled up outside of a spice warehouse at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. Inside the car were an Austrian Gestapo officer and some Dutch soldiers. They had come to arrest the eight Jews hiding in the attic of the warehouse. One of those Jews was Anne. In her last entry she had written in part, "I'm afraid that people who know me as I usually am will discover I have another side, a better and finer side. I'm afraid they'll mock me, think I'm ridiculous and sentimental and not take me seriously. I'm used to not being taken seriously, but only the 'lighthearted' Anne is used to it and can put up with it: the 'deeper' Anne is too weak. Believe me, I'd like to listen, but it doesn't work, because if I'm quiet and serious, everyone thinks I'm putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I'm not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be sick, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can't keep it up anymore, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside g out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I'd like to be and what I could be if… if only there were no other people in the world." Anne would be taken to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany and die there at the age of 15 from typhus in March of 1945. We'd like to believe that Anne became exactly whom she could be because her diary survived and has sold more than 30 million copies.
Haunted Derby (Suggested by listener Nellie Johnson)
Derby has been described as the "Ghost Capitol of England." The city claims to have 159 known ghosts. The center of the city lies on a series of rolling hills and claims a history that goes back to Roman occupation and forts. While it was once a place of strife and fortification, it became a center for the Industrial Revolution. The vast number of pubs still located in Derby serve as a testament to the value given to public houses for centuries here. And just under the din of the night life are the stories of those things that go bump in the night. Come with us as we do a pub crawl and travel to a gaol and hotels in search of spirits to find out if Derby really is one of the most haunted cities in Britain!
The Derby area was first settled by the Romans. They began to build a series of of forts to protect the boundary of this newly conquered area. One of those forts was across the Derwent River on the east side and they called it Derventio. A civil settlement grew up around the camp and the Romans stayed for over three centuries. The Saxons were the next group to arrive and many historians believe that the Vikings were here at the same time and that both groups co-existed. The Saxons changed the name of the fort to Little Chester and it still has that name today. The name Derby came around this time and is derived from the Danish words deor, which means deer settlement. The settlement grew from a place of fortification to one of trade and by the 10th century it had a mint and a market. The town was filled with blacksmiths, carpenters and comb makers. Derby was about mid-sized with a population of about 2,000 by 1086.
The Domesday survey said of the town, "Derby was a self contained agricultural community grinding it's own corn, fattening it's own livestock, shaping its own crude farm implements, weaving it's own cloth and even catching it's own fish from the Derwent and eels from Sinfin." Domesday also mentions six churches in the region: All Saints, which became Derby Cathedral in 1927, St. Alkmunds, St. Michaels, St. Peters, St. Werburghs and St. Marys. In the early part of the 13th century the Market Place of Derby was a busy commercial center with shops and stalls. The reign of Henry VIII would change things in Derby with the King closing the priory, the leper hostel and the friary in the 1530s. A tower was added to the All Saints church at that time. During Bloody Mary's reign, a woman named Joan Wast was burned for heresy in Derby. Severe outbreaks of plague hit in 1636 and 1665.
The town later became a center of defense with Sir John Gell becoming Governor of Derby in 1643 and he set up a garrison of Parliamentary troops that helped defend Nottingham during the Civil War of 1642–1646. These troops took part in the defense of Lichfield, Hopton Heath, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire. Bonnie Prince Charlie would set up his camp in Derby a hundred years later and his council of war room that was at Exeter House has been set up as a replica at the Derby Museum in the city center. From the middle of the 18th century porcelain was made in Derby. Gas began lighting the streets of the town in 1821 and the railway arrived in 1839. A new town hall was constructed in 1842 and a hospital for sick children was opened in 1877, followed by the Derby School of Art in 1878 and a public library and museum was built in 1879. Electric lights were switched on in 1894 and railway engines workshops employed much of the population. Derby would be awarded city status by Queen Elizabeth II on June 7, 1977. It was one of the few towns that still did not have city status up until then even though it had a cathedral. Today, Derby is a city full of historical buildings and also apparently full of ghosts.
Most of the paranormal activity in the city occurs in buildings situated alongside the old A6. There are reputedly ley lines here and some claim it is the psychic energy of these lines that draws spirits. Richard Felix is a leading paranormal researcher in the area and he thinks there is another reason why there are so many hauntings here. He said, "So many things have happened, so many people have passed though, so much energy has been expelled here We have the last hanging, drawing and quartering in England and the only Peer to be hanged for murder." A woman named Jenny Richards owns a terrace house on the outer edge of Derby. She is certain that she and her son share a home with the ghost of an old man. She has been touched by him and her son has seen him. There are several private homes that are haunted, but some of the most haunted places in Derby are its pubs. Pubs have always been plentiful and popular in the town. It is said that in 1588 there was one Ale House to every forty people and by 1688 one ale house to every thirty people. By 1633, Derby had an estimated population of 85,574 and around 541 pubs.
The Fat Cat
The Fat Cat Pub used to be called Tonic. It is spread over two floors and stands over what is believed to be a former stable. The haunting connected to this pub is on the outside where a few witnesses claim to have heard the sounds of horses and actually seen the apparition of a man trying to catch a horse. A ghostly horse and carriage has been seen making its way past on Friar Gate.
Seymours Bar is known for being a small cozy place with an indie music jukebox. There is a large outdoor drinking area adjacent to St. Werbergs churchyard. And that may just be the problem for this little bar because it reportedly is haunted. Employees claim that the spirit of a friendly elderly woman dressed in grey haunts this pub. The smell of lavender accompanies her presence. There are reports of mild poltergeist behaviour that involve the disappearance of small items, that generally show up again a few days later.
The Silk Mill Ale & Cider House
The Silk Mill Ale & Cider House was built in 1928 to replace an older pub that had the same name. It looks similar to the Olde Dolphin Pub with a Tudor style. The Silk Mill name was inspired by a nearby iconic Industrial Revolution mill where silk was first spun on John Lombe's factory system in 1722. That Silk Mill is said to be haunted by a young boy worker who was kicked down the stairs for not working hard enough. This Silk Mill pub features three areas: a central bar, a dining area at the rear and the Offilers' Lounge through an arched opening to the right of the bar. The pub is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Jacobite who was billeted there in the 18th century.
Seven Stars Pub
The Seven Stars Pub is very old and is known to locals as “Seven Seats.” The resident ghost here is known as George. He used to manifest as a shadow figure in the attic, but now is heard as a whispered cacophony of disembodied voices and he manifests with poltergeist activity . He switches off the lights and beer taps. There was a mysterious well found under the pub in the 1960s and some wonder if this is where George's spirit has come from. Did he perhaps fall into this well?
Falstaff Public House
The Falstaff Public House is a smaller and quieter bar tucked back off Silverhill Road. It was formerly the Falstaff Hotel and looks like a hotel still being that it is two story and rather big for a pub. It is built from red brick and has several fireplaces. There are three separate rooms: a cozy snug, a small yard with an impressive modern sculpture and the main bar. The pub is full of Offilers' Brewery memorabilia and other artifacts.This pub claims to be haunted by four separate ghosts; a young boy, an ex-landlord, an Irish prize-winning bare knuckle fighter and a sergeant-major. These apparitions are seen full-bodied, but there are other paranormal occurrences that entail lights turning off and on by themselves and objects moving about the bar unassisted.
Jorrock's, the former Lafferty's Pub, was featured on the UK series Most Haunted during the second season. The pub had previously been the George Inn. The George Inn was one of the most famous coaching inns in Derby and was built in 1693. During the 1745 uprising, the inn housed the Duke of Devonshire's headquarters. A skull dating back to 917 was found on the property. A poltergiest plays havoc here with drinks, moving them around and dumping them out on the floor.
Ye Olde Dolphin Pub
The Ye Olde Dolphin stands at the junction of Queens and Full Streets. The Tudor style building was erected in 1530 and that makes this Derby's oldest public house. The Dolphin brewed its own ale early on, but no longer does that today. There are four separate rooms that make up the pub including the Main Bar, the Offilers Bar or Offilers Brewery, the Lounge bar that is covered in oak and has an open hearth and the "Snug," which is described as a room that "has a warmth and character of its own, many conversations and debates have been had in this quirky little gem of a room and in winter there is no better place when the coal fire is at full blaze." Years ago the cellar of the Dolphin was used as a mortuary to keep the bodies of those executed by hanging in the market place. Another legend claims that stolen bodies were kept here by a physician, so he could practice dissection. For this reason, it is said that the cellar is haunted by the spirits of some of these people. The resident ghost here is known as the Grey Lady or the Blue Lady and the current landlord, Jim Harris, has seen her himself. It is thought that she was the mistress of Dick Turpin. The Flying Scotsman is suppose to be one of the ghosts here and there is a small girl spirit that sits on the stairs leading up to the restaurant.
Another legend connected to the cellar has led to it being called "The Vault of Terror." A young doctor wanted to practice his dissection skills in the 18th century and the cellar was the perfect place. He secretly had the body of a dead girl delivered in the dead of night. There was just one problem. The young woman was not dead. He had begun to cut open her abdomen to remove her entrails when her eyes snapped open and she leapt up from the table screaming. She tried to return her intestines to the inside of her body, but she soon lost consciousness and died from loss of blood. It is said that this drove the doctor mad and his hair turned white. He was locked up in an asylum for the rest of his days. They say the agonized, horrified screams of the girl can still be heard in the dead of night just below the lounge. The pub features Medium Nights on occasion for those wishing to talk with the spirits here.
The Friary Pub opened in 1996 and is located near Friargate and also houses a late night music venue named Scream. The building was originally the Friary Hotel that had been opened by the Whittaker family in 1922 and features a grand pillared entrance. Before the hotel, this was the residence of Samuel Crompton and was built in 1730 using many of the bricks of the building that was here before that, a Dominican friary. That friary had been founded in the 13th century. It was called the Black Friary because the monks there wore black robes. The monks here did not believe in seclusion and actually went out to the people to preach. Legend claims that a black-robed friar haunts the pub’s basement. One of the monks died from a serious illness in 1257 and the circumstances of his passing were odd. His name was Frate Ruffolo and while he was given last rites and the holy sacraments, he cloased his eyes and smiled and exclaimed, "The glorious King St. Edmund has entered his cell and the whole chamber is filled with angelic spirits...the Virgin Mary, our great and blessed Lady, has come." Apparently he saw Jesus Christ who had come to judge him and Frate Ruffolo screamed in mortal agony, while breaking out in a powerful sweat and shaking from head to foot. He then said,"It is true, O my Jesus, pardon that offense, for it was slight." and then he finally died after exclaiming, "Assuredly, He (Jesus) is merciful, and I have tasted of His mercy." Could this be the monk roaming the rooms here? Another headless monk has been seen as an apparition as well. The former friary burial ground was on this property at one time and bones were recovered during rebuilds. Henry Mosley owned the hotel in the nineteenth century and he committed suicide by shooting himself. His unhappy spirit has apparently been spotted in the bedrooms upstairs.
Derby's Guildhall and Tiger Bar
The entrance to the Tiger Bar is very simple. The name Tiger Bar on a green background with the words, "Good food served daily." It's a standard old coaching inn, but the location is unique. The pub is situated in Lock-Up Yard and if one walks through to a back room of the bar, they can access a network of tunnels that run beneath Derby’s Guildhall that were once used to transport prisoners between the police station and the courts. Only part of the tunnels can be accessed today, but apparently they snake out beneath large portions of the city. One of the ghosts that apparently haunts the tunnels belongs to a twelve-year-old boy who is seen wearing rags for clothes. Workmen first spotted him in the 1970s and when they asked what he was doing down there he answered, "I live here." No one knows for sure what the story is behind this apparition. Another spirit belongs to a condemned prisoner named Richard Thorley. He was sentenced to die after slitting his girlfriend's throat in a rage. He was the last public execution in Derby and that took place in 1862. He is not only seen in the tunnels, but on Asgard Street as a chained man and his victim is sometimes seen with him, wearing a blue dress. Alice Wheeldon was an anti-war campaigner and she was convicted of trying to kill Prime Minster David Lloyd George in 1917. Some say she was unjustly convicted, so perhaps that is why she haunts these tunnels as well. One of the guides that takes people into the tunnels is paranormal investigator Richard Felix, whom some of you may know from the UK's Most Haunted television program. He runs the ghost walks in town and also owns the Derby Gaol Museum.
The first order to build a gaol in Derby came in 1166, but it was not followed through with because it was deemed unnecessary since most prisoners were taken to Nottingham Castle and judged there. When Henry VIII cam to power, he put out another order for a Gaol and so one was erected across the width of the Cornmarket. It was not a great location as the prisoner cells were built level with Markeaton Brook, which ran alongside the Gaol and served as Derby's sewer. The foul smell and deaths due to disease forced officials to move the Gaol to a new location. They chose Nun's Green outside of town to the west. It seemed perfect since this was the execution grounds. Architect William Hirons designed the structure and much of the stone from the original gaol was used to build the new one. Derby Gaol opened in 1756 with room for 29 prisoners. As you can already guess, this would not be nearly enough room.
The law of Derby was called the Bloody Code and included everything from murder and treason to stealing to being seen on the street with a sooty face. Executions were carried out at the gaol. Jeremiah Brandreth, Isaac Ludlam and William Turner were some of the first to be executed for High Treason. Their sentence was to be Hanged, Drawn and Quartered. This was the last time an axe was used to behead in Derby. The next group of men accused of High Treason were the Cato Street Men - Arthur Thistlewood, John Thomas Brunt, Richard Tidd, James Ings and William Davidson - and their sentence was to commuted hanging and beheading only and this was done by knife by a surgeon. We all know that in our past human history of public executions, such events became a family affair for entertainment. Pack a picnic and watch an execution. It was the same in Derby, only things got far more gruesome and morbid. The law declared that after hanging “the body shall be given over to the surgeons for dissection and a body shall not be suffered to be buried until it has been dissected or anatomised.” So basically, mom, dad and the kids would watch the hanging and then follow the criminals body that was being carried in a cart to Shire Hall in St. Mary’s Gate, where they then could watch the dissection. The mutilated body would then be put on public display for a couple of days in hopes that it would prevent further crime.
Prison cells were never cleaned out at the Gaol and became quite rank. Any prisoners not sentenced to die were allowed to roam the corridors and most did to avoid their noxious cells. John Howard instituted prion reform in 1787 and the Gaol was cleaned up. There were many attempts for escape, but few were successful and the punishment if you were caught was harsh. You would be sentenced to be hanged. Because of the horrid conditions and the amount of death that the Derby Gaol housed, it now seems to be haunted and many say that it is the most haunted location in Derby.
Richard Felix himself has had numerous experiences since he bought the gaol. He witnessed a human-like grey misty form walk down a corridor past him and then it disappeared at the end of the hall. During renovations, a construction worker claimed that a cell door closed by itself while he was working in the cell and while he worked in the cell, he was overcome by nauseous several times. This same cell has made numerous investigators and visitors sick. Another visitor saw the horrific vision of two men hanging from a fixed beam inside of a cell. The Derby Gaol website reports an experience two women had, "Two ladies on one occasion, left the Gaol in tears clutching their throats and feeling unable to breathe. The had felt that 'something' was around their neck. On the way out of the Gaol, they passed a figure standing by the door, whom they incorrectly assumed was an actor. He was bald and was wearing a sleeveless leather outfit which the ladies described as looking like a bodywarmer type garment. This same figure has also been seen in the dayroom, quite disturbing one of the female eyewitnesses who described it as 'evil' and 'a murderer'."
A female ghost was seen in the Gaol when it served as a pub called "The Secret Place." Three men saw her apparition walk down a corridor and up some stairs and when they followed her, they found that she had disappeared. They opened the door that they thought she had gone out and a fresh blanket of snow revealed no footprints. Another visitor saw the body of someone hanging in a doorway and he figured it was a fake scare that had been installed. When he mentioned it to the people around him, they gave him a strange look because none of them saw a body hanging anywhere. Poltergiest activity is prevalent with articles flying through the air or moving and artifacts from the museum go missing, only to return a couple months later. Cell doors are heard opening and closing on their own all the time. Other specters that have been seen are two children, a young blonde woman lying on a bed in one of the cells, a man in a scarlet coat and shadow figures.
Pickford House Museum
Joseph Pickford was an architect who built his home in Derby in 1770. Today it is run by the Derby Museums Trust as the Pickford's House Museum. It is a Georgian styled house built from red brick. Most homes that Pickford designed were in the Palladian style and many of his clients belonged to the Lunar Society, which was a group of prominent and intellectual men who met each month on the night of the full moon. Pickford left the home to Reverend Joseph Pickford and he extended and divided it into two properties. The house went through a series of owners until the Derby City Council bought it in 1982. The museum is decorated as it might have appeared in the early 1800s. *Fun Fact: It houses a collection of toy theaters.* There are three ghosts reputedly here. One is believed to belong to one of the Pickford children who is seen dancing in the house. The other two are servants, a woman who is seen in the kitchen and a gardener who is seen walking along the lawns he once worked so hard on.
As we mentioned, a city was not considered a city without a cathedral. During the late 19th and early 20th century, England began transforming churches into cathedrals. The All Saints Church in Derby became Derby Cathedral in 1927. The church was originally founded in 943 AD by King Edmund. Throughout the years it was rebuilt and added to with King Henry VIII adding the 212 foot tower during his reign. The church was demolished in 1723, leaving only the tower and then rebuilt under the design of James Gibbs. The new church featured memorial carvings and ornate wrought iron screens. Something else seems to have been added to the cathedral and that is hauntings. Many spirits have been seen in the vicinity of Derby Cathedral. One spectre belongs to Charles Edward Stuart. He has been seen wearing Jacobite clothing and entering the cathedral. Bonnie Prince Charlie reputedly haunts the premises. We have our infamous "Lady in White" here and she appears to be crying and walks the stairs at the back of the building.
The Old Bell Hotel
The Old Bell Hotel was originally a coaching inn built around 1650 making this Derby's oldest hotel, bar and restaurant. It was the main stop over for people traveling by coach through the country. At the time, there were 50 guest rooms. The Old Bell Hotel is believed to be haunted by several ghosts. One of the most famous spirits belongs to a former linen maid named Mabel. Linen maids stripped beds, washed the sheets and then remade the beds. She had taken up with a young man in town and became pregnant. He was taken off to fight in a war and was killed. She was so distraught upon hearing of his death that she hanged herself in Room 6. Her ghost has been witnessed in the bar area and in Room 6. Guests have come back to their room to find their clothes neatly folded at the bottom of their beds and when they inquire if a member of the staff has done this, no one claims to have done it and the management is said to tell guests that the staff are lazy and would never do such a thing. A staff member claims to have caught Mabel's apparition in a photo.
People are not sure if Mabel is the poltergeist that is experienced in the dining room or if someone else is haunting the restaurant. One waitress claimed that after she set the tables in the restaurant, something moved the silverware into a different order. A barmaid was once hit on the back of her head by a wooden coat hanger when no one else was anywhere near her. Another upstairs room is haunted by a servant girl who appears when children are present. It is thought she was murdered by the Jacobites in 1745. She is seen dressed in 18th century clothing with a white cap. Another sighting of this woman was in the 1930s by a landlord whose son was suffering an asthma attack and was choking. He ran into the boys room and discovered a lady dressed in an 18th century costume bending his son over and patting him on the back. As the boy's father took over, the mysterious figure simply vanished before his eyes. And again in the 1950s, this same woman was seen standing over a baby in this same room that was being used as a nursery. The mother thought she was going to pick up the baby and she rushed over only to watch the spirit fade away.
There are so many places in Derby that are said to be haunted. Is there really a division of Roman troops still marching along Chester Green? Does PC Joseph Moss, the first police officer killed in Derby, haunt the Fish Market that stands over the former police station where he served? Does a ghost sporting a long black overcoat walk between the walls of a McDonald's and Foot Locker on St. Peter's Street? Are any of the previous locations we covered in this episode haunted? Is Derby really one of the most haunted city's in Britain? That is for you to decide!