Wednesday, March 30, 2016

HGB Ep. 115 - North Brother Island

Moment in Oddity - Planets Make Noise

For anyone who has been scuba diving or snorkeling, you know that the ocean is a noisy place. The same is true for outer space. The movie Alien had the tagline, "In space, no one can hear you scream." But does that really mean space is silent? In actuality, interstellar space can be quite noisy. Space sound comes in the form of waves of electrons in plasma. Humans cannot hear the plasma waves, but space probes like Voyager can pick up the waves and transmit them in frequencies that we can detect. Solar events usually are the catalyst for these plasma waves, but NASA has also released the sounds of planets. That's right! Planets make noise and these waves are creepy as hell! Here is Uranus...and then there is Jupiter...and here is Neptune...and then even our home Earth has a noise. The fact that space is noisy and planets make noise, certianly is odd!

This Day in History - Assassination Attempt on President Ronald Reagan
by: Steven Pappas

On this day, March 30th, in1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot by a would-be assassin. The .22 caliber bullet pierced his chest and hit his left lung, narrowly missing his heart. Secret Service men jumped on top of the President and threw him into the Presidential limosine. At first, no one knew that Reagan was hit. The president thought he had a broken rib. A secret service agent saw blood on Reagan's lips. They rushed him to the hospital. In an amazing feat of resilience, he walked into George Washington Hospital under his own power,even though he was a 70 year old man who had a collapsed lung. As he was being prepared for surgery he was reported to be in good spirits. He told his wife Nancy, "Sorry Honey. I forgot to duck" and told his surgeons he hoped they were Republicans. He resumed some of his duties from his hospital bed the next day, before returning to the White House on April 11. Press Secretary James Brady was shot as well and left in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The shooter was arrested and was found to be 25-year-old John Hinckley, Jr. He argued for insanity and was institutionalized after being found not guilty by reason of insanity. His motive was to impress actress Jodie Foster with whom he was obsessed and whom he had been stalking. Hinckley is still in an institution, but he gets to leave on unsupervised visits with his family.

North Brother Island (Suggested by listener Amy Consolacion and Researched by April Rogers-Krick)

North Brother Island has a rich history that is still reflected in its abandoned landscape and buildings. This is an island off of New York and now owned by New York. New York City saw the worst tragedy in American history on September 11, 2001. Before that day, the worst tragedy was the sinking of the General Slocum, which has connections to North Brother Island. The island also was home to Riverside Hospital, a quarantine hospital for those suffering from horrible and contagious diseases like small pox. Many died there. And for twenty-three years, Typhoid Mary called this island home. There are rumors that the island is not completely abandoned. Spirits seem to have remained. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of North Brother Island.

North and South Brother Island or "The Brothers" as they are commonly called, are a pair of islands located in New York City’s East River between Rikers Island and the Bronx. In 1614, both islands were claimed by the Dutch West India Company and were named “De Gesellen," which means “the companions” in English. South Brother Island was privately owned until the city bought it in 2007. North Brother Island is currently uninhabited and is a designated bird sanctuary. In 1614, after the Dutch West India Company claimed North Brother Island, it remained uninhabited because of the strong currents near the island that were dangerous.

In 1871, the city of Morissanina, located in the Bronx, purchased North Brother Island and The Sisters of Charity built a tuberculosis hospital there.  The hospital was closed in 1885 when New York City purchased the island and built Riverside Hospital to treat all manner of quarantinable diseases including typhoid, typhus, yellow fever, diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever, polio, and tuberculosis. All would be housed in separate pavilions. Many of the patients from Renwick Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island were relocated to North Brother Island once the new facility was built.  A ferry located at 132nd street in the Bronx transported staff, patients, and supplies to the island.  Still the island remained extremely isolated. Telephone and telegraph lines were not installed until as late as 1894. 

There were many dangers transporting stricken patients in the winter, and much criticism was voiced after a six-month old baby infected with measles perished en route to the island.  During the turn of the century, overcrowding was a major issue when outbreaks occurred, and large outbreaks of highly contagious diseases were common place at this time.  Everyday medical instruments were in short supply and were not cleaned or sterilized properly between frequent uses.  Tents were used when no more beds could fit in the pavilions: the cloth enclosures were precariously heated with wood burning stoves during the harsh New York winters, and a few eventually wound up in flames.  The hospital had about 1200 people in quarantine during an 1892 typhus outbreak.

In 1905, a steamship called the General Slocum caught fire near the island.  The General Slocum worked as a passenger ship, taking people on excursions around New York City.  The ship had once been a grand steamship.  But by the early 1900’s it was in quick decline. The General Slocum was an all-white, three decker vessel, with large passenger salons, large passenger windows and a hurricane deck with a three-foot rail for maximum viewing. On Wednesday June 15, 1904, St. Marks Evangelical Lutheran church had charted the steamship for the day. Passengers numbered 1400 and most of them were women and children and from the same German neighborhood. As the ship passed East 90th street, a fire started in the Lamp Room in the forward section.  No one knows for sure what started the fire.  A young boy of about 12 was the first to discover the fire and he tried to warn the captain.  The captain yelled at the boy to leave him alone and continued on without checking on the claim.

The General Slocum was in poor condition and safety equipment had not been maintained.  Fire hoses had rotted and fell apart when the crew tried to put out the fire.  The ten lifeboats had been wired to the wall and then painted over, so that they were rendered useless. Survivors reported the life preservers were useless and fell apart in their hands.  Desperate mothers placed life vests on their children and tossed them into the water only to watch them sink instead of float.  Like most Americans of the time, the women and children on board could not swim, not to mention that the period clothing of the time was not well suited to swimming.

Instead of immediately running aground, the captain decided to continue the course. His reasoning involved insurance. There were gas tanks and lumber yards near the shoreline where he could bring the ship to shore. The winds fanned the flames as the burning vessel continued sailing forward. By the time the General Slocum sank in shallow water at North Brother Island, 1021 people had either burned to death or drowned.  There were only 321 survivors.  There were many acts of heroism among the passengers, witnesses, and emergency personnel.  Staff and patients from the Riverside Hospital participated in the rescue, forming human chains and pulling victims from the water.  This remained one of the largest losses of life at one time for America until September 11, 2001.

The most infamous patient at Riverside Hospital was a women named Mary Mallon, who came to be known as “Typhoid Mary.” Mary Mallon immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1883 at the age of 15.  She lived with her aunt and uncle for a short time until she found work as a cook for affluent families.  From 1900 to 1907 Mary worked in the New York City area for seven different families. Beginning in 1900, Mary worked for a family in Mamaroneck, New York.  Within two weeks of her employment, people developed typhoid fever.  In 1901, she had moved to Manhattan, where again members of the family she worked for developed fevers and diarrhea, and the laundress died. She then went to work for a lawyer; she left after seven of the eight people in the household became ill.

She then took a position in Oyster Bay, Long Island in 1906.  Again, within two weeks, 10 out of the 11 family members were hospitalized with typhoid fever.  She changed jobs and at three more households the same thing happened.  A wealthy New York banker, Charles Henry Warren hired her as a cook for his family when they rented a house in Oyster Bay for the summer of 1906.  From August 27 to September 3, six of the 11 people in the family came down with typhoid fever.  At the time, typhoid was considered “unusual” in Oyster Bay, according to three medical doctors who practiced there.  Mary was subsequently hired by many other families, and outbreaks of typhoid followed each of her employments. And through all this, Mary herself never became ill.

Late in 1906, one of the families hired a typhoid researcher, George Soper to investigate the outbreak.  Soper discovered that an Irish female cook, who fit the physical description he was given, was involved in all of the outbreaks.  The cook was described as an Irish woman about 40 years old, tall, heavy, walked with a manly gate, unmarried and seemed to be in perfect health.  The woman was hard to locate as she generally left after an outbreak began and never left a forwarding address. Soper learned of an active outbreak in a penthouse on Park Avenue, and discovered the cook was Mary Mallon.  Two of the household servants were hospitalized, and the daughter of the family died of typhoid fever.  When he approached Mary about her possible roll in spreading typhoid, she adamantly refused to give blood, urine and stool samples. He then compiled a five-year history of Mary’s employment.  Soper found that seven of the eight families that had hired Mary as a cook claimed to have contracted typhoid fever.  Again he tried to get samples from Mary, even bringing another doctor with him.  Again she turned him away.

Finally, the New York City Health Department sent a female physician, Sara Josephine Baker to talk to Mary.  Dr. Baker said that by that time, Mary was convinced that the law was only persecuting her when she had done nothing wrong. She refused to cooperate in any way. A few days later, Dr. Baker arrived at Mary’s place of employment with several police officers, who took her into custody. Mary admitted to poor hygiene, saying she did not understand the purpose of hand-washing because she did not pose a risk. She was not sick and therefore did not understand how she could have anything to do with the typhoid outbreaks. In prison, she was forced to give blood, urine and stool samples.  Doctors found a significant nidus of typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder. She became the first documented case of a seemingly healthy person being a carrier of the typhoid bacteria. It was suggested that she have her gallbladder removed.  The surgery would have basically cured her but Mary refused because she did not believe she carried the disease.  Mary also refused to stop working as a cook. 

Eventually the New York Health Inspector determined Mary was a menace and needed to be quarantined.  Under sections 1169 and 1170 of the Greater New York Charter, Mary was held at a clinic located on North Brother Island in isolation for three years.  Eventually, the New York State Commissioner of Health, Eugene H. Porter, decided that disease carriers should no longer be kept in isolation.  Mary could be freed if she agreed to stop working as a cook and take reasonable steps to prevent transmitting typhoid to others.  Mary agreed that she was “prepared to change her occupation and would give assurance by affidavit that upon her release she would take such hygienic precautions as to protect those with whom she came in contact, from infection.”  She was released from quarantine and returned to the mainland on February 19, 1910.

Mary was given a job as a laundress, which paid less than cooking.  After trying unsuccessfully for several years working as a laundress, she changed her name to Mary Brown, and returned to cooking. No one had told her that she couldn't change her name and she needed to make more money.  For the next five years, she worked in a number of kitchens and wherever she worked there were outbreaks of typhoid once again. Mary started another major outbreak in 1915, this time at Sloane hospital for women in New York City.  Twenty-five people were infected and two died. She left her job, but the police were able to locate and arrest her when she brought food to a friend on Long Island. On March 27th after arresting her, public health authorities returned her to quarantine on North Brother Island.  Still unwilling to have her gallbladder removed Mary remained confined to the island for the remainder of her life. 

Mary did have her own little cottage and a dog.  She was allowed to garden and cook only for herself.  Eventually she gained trust and was given a job in the hospital laboratory washing glass bottles.  She was allowed to take short day excursions off the island and into the city to shop and visit family and friends.  She was required to return to the island each evening.  On Christmas Day 1932, a man delivering a package to Mary found her lying on the floor of her cottage unable to walk.  She had had a stroke.  For the next six years Mary remained in the hospital until her death in 1938. 

During the 1930’s, new hospitals that were more equipped to deal with patients with contagious diseases sprang up all around on the mainland. With the development of better medications and medical practices people with contagious diseases no longer needed to be quarantined for such long periods of time.  The large number of outbreaks that had plagued the city in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century were no longer a problem. A large tuberculosis pavilion was constructed on the island in 1943. Due to the lack of staff and personnel required to operate the additional facility, the pavilion was never used to house tuberculosis patients. This building is the only one that is not horribly deteriorated. The island was then leased to the state and the building was used as a dormitory to house veterans and their families after returning from service in World War II.  By 1951, the buildings once again stood empty as the veterans and their families grew sick of the daily commute and had moved off the island where cheaper housing had been found for them.

In 1952, the city once again took control of the island.  Plans were made to use the hospital as a rehabilitation center for heroin addicts.  The idea was to get adolescents far away from the overcrowded jails and hospitals filled with hardened criminals, with a maximum stay of six months.  The tuberculosis pavilion was converted to treat 100 boys and 50 girls, placed there by their parents or the court system.  New admissions were searched for drugs and bathed, then they were placed in observation wards as they went through withdrawal “Cold Turkey.” If the symptoms were too severe, they were tapered off the drug. The doors to many of the rooms had heavy deadbolts and sheet metal reinforcement added to them to seclude the patients and help manage them during withdrawal. In 1963, Riverside Hospital closed. The city had decided it was impractical to continue operations there.  The official word was that it was too expensive, and there was plenty of cheaper locations available on the mainland.  When the last inhabitants, (drug patients, doctors and staff) left the island, it once again became uninhabited and mother nature took over. 

Once the island was abandoned it became a bird sanctuary. From 1980 to sometime in the 2000s the island was a nesting ground to the Black Crowned Night Heron, but by 2008 for unknown reasons the Heron also abandoned the island and no longer nests there. Did something scare the endangered birds away? The hospital and pavilions, elementary school with school items still in the building, nurse and physician housing, and a tennis and hand ball court are still standing on the island although they are in differing states of decay. In 2014, a group of city officials ventured to the island.  Their objective was to evaluate the situation and determine if the island could possibly be cleaned up and opened as a public park.  It was determined that further evaluation was needed to see if the buildings could be salvaged. Although the island is not open to the public at this time it is open to the city parks department for maintenance.  Recently the parks department has cleared a new path around the entire island.  Someday they hope to open the island buildings and woods as a park for the public to enjoy.

North Brother Island seems to have not been entirely abandoned. Spirits from the past have quite possibly made this island their home in the afterlife. The most famous of these is Typhoid Mary. She felt she was not dealt with in a fair manner and that may be why her spirit has remained behind. New York alone had an estimated 90 healthy carriers of the disease each year. And several of those people led to others getting sick and even some deaths. Tony Labella is thought to have sickened 122 people, while Mary only passed the disease on to 47. Why was she treated more harshly? Many think it was because she was considered a nobody and she was Irish. Because of this, one can imagine that her spirit is angry. Her cottage had been demolished upon her death and so she walks the halls of Riverside Hospital. Trespassers have claimed to see a woman who wanders the corridors and rooms of the crumbling hospital. But even before that, when the hospital was still in use, staff members claimed to see a strange woman in the hospital wearing clothes from another era. An orderly once followed the woman down a hall and watched her walk into a room. He assumed one of the patients had gotten out of their rooms. He entered the room and much to his shock, no one was in there.

Abandoned places are spooky and creepy in and of themselves. The tragedy of the General Slocum has made North Brother Island that much creepier. People who lived on the island for the years following the disaster, claimed to see shadowy and haunting figures walking the beaches and wandering the grounds of Riverside Hospital. They wept as they seemed to look for loved lost ones and perhaps for their own lost lives. Some were more clearly seen then others.

Was the woman seen in the hospital Typhoid Mary? Are the victims of the General Slocum tragedy still looking for their loved ones in the afterlife? Is North Brother Island haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Bowery Boys Episodes to check out :
#166 The General Slocum Disaster 1904 (June 12, 2014)
#190 The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary (September 17, 2015)

Friday, March 25, 2016

HGB Ep. 114 - USS Lexington

Moment in Oddity - Gate of the Sun
Suggested by Toby Hessenauer and researched by: Bob Sherfield

Standing at some 12,500 ft above sea level, high in the Andes of Bolivia, is the pre Columbian city of Tiwanaku.  The city, located on what was once the historic shore line of Lake Titicaca was one of the most important in ancient South America; it is believed to be the Capital of an Empire that stretched across Bolivia and into Peru and Chile. Though the people who in habited this site left no written history, Oral tradition and legends hold that the area around Lake Titicaca was the cradle of life for the first humans on Earth. It is said that the creator god, Viracocha, rose from the waters of the lake, at Tiwanaku to create the Sun, the Moon and the Stars and to breathe life into stone to create mankind. Sometime between 300BC and 300AD Tiwanaku became a moral and cosmological centre for the Empire that surrounded it, a place of pilgrimage for many people. A temple complex grew up, centred around a cross shaped pyramid structure called Akapana, 257m wide and 16.5m tall. Surrounding this pyramid are a ceremonial courtyard, a 5m tall raised terrace called Pumapunku, 167m long and 116m wide and the Kalasasya, a large 91 meter long courtyard. It was within this area that 19th century European explorers rediscovered the Gate of the Sun. The Gate of the Sun is 3m tall and 4m wide and constructed from a single piece of stone weighing an estimated 10 tons.  When rediscovered it was lying horizontally, and a large crack had split it into two pieces. It has now been erected, though archaeologists believe that the place it was found in is not its original location. That site remains uncertain. The Gate is heavily engraved with symbols that are believed to hold astronomical and or astrological significance. It has been theorised that these carvings may have served as a calendar. Carved into the lintel, surrounding a central figure are 48 squares, each of which contains a winged effigy, 16 with the head of a condor, and 32 with human faces. The central figure, who so far hasn’t been identified, is that of a man whose head is surrounded by 24 rays, perhaps representing the rays of the sun (this has led to him being labelled as The Sun god). In his hands he holds staffs symbolising Thunder and Lightening. Whilst the gate may appear to represent a calendar, it is not possible to fit its 290 days, divided into 12 months of 24 days into the solar year. Other, more radical theories have suggested that it was once a portal to another dimension or the ‘land of the gods.' Now that certainly is odd!

This Day in History - Martin Luther King, Jr. Marches to Montgomery
by: Jessica Bell

On this day, March 25, in 1965, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 marchers to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama to protest the denial of voting rights to African Americans. Martin Luther King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, where local African Americans, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had been campaigning for voting rights. King told the assembled crowd: ‘‘There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger at the side of its embattled Negroes’’. During this final rally, held on the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, King proclaimed: ‘‘The end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man’’. On August 6th, in the presence of King and other civil rights leaders, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

USS Lexington (Suggested by listener David Robinson and Research Assistant Steven Pappas)

During the second world war, sea battles became a much more prevalent and impactful form of warfare. Great battleships and aircraft carriers became massive assets and a nation with an abundance of them was a power to be feared. This was proven in December of 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor which forced the hand of the US Government and set off America's involvement in WWII. Many ships were lost to the sea during battle, but one ship's legacy carried on in an interesting way. Another ship was named for it, and this ship went on to be the oldest working aircraft carrier in the US Navy. Something else continues on in the afterlife. There are many reports of unexplained happenings aboard the carrier. Join us as we explore the history and the hauntings of the USS Lexington.

World War II is considered to be the most destructive war in history. This war was the gathering of the perfect storm. As Germany's economy crumbled helping Adolph Hitler rise to power, Japan was seeking a rise in power as well and on a quest for empire while Mussolini had brought facism to Italy. These three realized they all had the same goal for world domination and they joined forces. The war lasted from 1939 to 1945 and nearly every nation on Earth was involved. World War II made the declaration that World War I was the "War to end all wars" preposterous. When looking at deaths caused by this war, including civilians during both battles and because of famine and disease caused by war, nearly 80,000,000 people died world wide.

During World War II, the Battle of the Coral Sea lasted for four days and it was the first air-sea battle in history.  Allied forces had intercepted a message that revealed that the Japanese were planning to invade Port Moresby in southeast New Guinea. This would give Japan control of the Coral Sea. The Japanese were surprised by an attack of American planes from aircraft carriers when they entered the area. Both sides would suffer losses, but the victory went to the Allies because the Japanese were left without enough planes to carry out the invasion on Port Morseby. This strategic victory would also help the Allies in the future Battle of Midway. That battle would end Japan's advance and lead to the final surrender of Japan.

On May 8th, 1942, during the Battle of the Coral Sea, tragedy struck the US naval fleet. The USS Lexington, hull number CV-2, was sunk. "Lady Lex", as the ship was known, had been launched in 1925 and was a very early aircraft carrier for the US Navy. It was originally meant to be a battlecruiser, but when a treaty cancelled the production of batlecruisers, the Lexington was converted into an aircraft carrier. This was an advantage because ships could hold up better under torpedo attack than carriers that were specifically built as carriers could.  The Lexington could carry up to 78 aircraft at one time and therefore was a huge asset in the Pacific campaign of WWII. It had been lucky enough to be at sea during the Pearl Harbor attacks, but it unfortunately only sailed for a few months before being sunk during this battle. 2,735 members of the crew were evacuated and 216 were killed in the sinking. Their legacy and that of the USS Lexington did not end there though.

The USS Cabot was laid down in Quincy, MA on June 15, 1941. This was the same harbor that the previous USS Lexington had been laid down in, some 16 years earlier. The Cabot was a mighty carrier with the ability to carry up to 110 aircraft and travel up to 20,000 miles at 15 knots. Her maximum speed was 33 knots, roughly 38 MPH. It was still under construction when the tragedy at the Battle of the Coral Sea took place, and the workers put in a request with the Government to rename the Cabot, the new USS Lexington. It was renamed as the fifth USS Lexington on June 16, 1942 and was hull number CV-16. She launched on September 23, 1942, with the crew of 3,000 ready to carry on the legacy of the previous USS Lexington. *Fun Fact: The crew daily consumed 660 pounds of meat, 164 gallons of milk and 97 dozen eggs.*

The ship traveled through the Panama Canal to join the pacific fleet. Unfortunately on the way, a test flight off deck went wrong and one of the pilots, 1939 Heisman trophy winner Nile Kinnick, was killed. The ship continued on to Pearl Harbor and then participated in Raids on the air bases on Tarawa. The Battle of Tarawa took place in November of 1943. The goal was to seize the island of Betio, which was under the control of Japan. Things started out rough because low tides kept American ships from clearing coral reefs that surrounded the island. The Marines sent to take the island ended up having to wade in through chest-deep water while being shot at by the Japanese. The battle lasted for 76 hours and was bloody, but the US Marines finally took the island.

The Lexington then went on to the Raid at Wake Island. This raid would help America to decide on the best way to win the war in the Pacific based on how effective the new faster carriers and the Hellcat Fighters would prove to be. The Lexington returned to Pearl Harbor after Wake Island to gear up for the next operation at the Gilbert Islands. The Lexington sailed for a raid on Kwajalein on December 4, 1942. At this raid, the Lexington was responsible for damaging two cruisers and 30 aircraft before being struck by a torpedo, which knocked out its steering capabilities. Admiral Charles Pownall was in charge at this time and he had told his crew not to fire at night because he didn't want to give their position away. That plan backfired and the Admiral would later be replaced. An emergency hand-operated steering mechanism was built and the holes in the hull were welded shut with heavy steel plates. The ship managed to escape, but was later reported sunk to the Japanese military. In actuality, the ship was very much afloat and made it to Washington state for repairs before being sent back out. This false reporting of the Lexington being sunk, occurred multiple times, earning it the nickname which it is most well known by, "The Blue Ghost." The Japanese forces referred to it as such, because they said it had a knack for reappearing after it had been sunk. The carrier was painted in a dark blue camoflauge to make it hard to see, which is where the blue part of the nickname comes from.

The USS Lexington went on to participate in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which was Japan's attempt to get back on the offensive side of things. They failed miserably with inexperienced fighter pilots and far less planes than the Americans brought. Japan's aircraft losses were large and they had little success in hitting any battleships or carriers. The next battle for the Lexington was at Leyte Gulf. This was the first hit by the Allies as they battled for the Phillipines. Japan's forces were disjointed and not together as a fleet, so each ship had to fight independently. It did not go well for Japan. At both the Battle of the Phillipine Sea and Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Lexington was reported as having sunk, holding up its ghost ship reputation.

The Lexington spent 21 months in combat and helped destroy 847 enemy aircraft, 15 of which were shot down by the carrier's guns. She had participated in neary every battle in the Pacific Theater. After the war, the ship was decommissioned and in 1947 it joined the national reserve fleet. The ship was recommissioned as an attack carrier in 1955 and served in various capacities, including being involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis, until it made port in Pensecola, FL. In 1969, it began operating as a training ship both here and at its current place of port, Corpus Christi, TX. It served this way for 22 years. In 1980, it was the first aircraft carrier to have women stationed on it as crew members, and it was finally decommissioned permanently on November 8th, 1991. In her time, the carrier had set more records than any other Essex Class carrier in the history of naval aviation. In 1992, she opened as a museum and to date, over 5.5 million people have visited the ship.

With all of the action this ship saw in a terrible war, it is no wonder there are reports of hauntings on board the ship. Many guests have claimed to see a WWII era man standing on the deck of the ship before quickly fading away. Oddly enough, he is seen near where a plane collided with the ship causing multiple casualties. People have reported residual hauntings as well. Many people claim to hear disembodied shouts, cries, and screams coming from other areas of the ship. Some even report hearing what sounds like distant gunfire or naval artillery going off. Many guests, including a member of the crew for one of the ghost hunting shows, report feeling highly uncomfortable in areas of the ship like the switch room. Some even report to feel sick. While it is odd, there is a lot of machinery in that room and it could just be EMF issues.

Museum guests have on occassion gotten a tour from a blue-eyed tour guide dressed in a white naval uniform. He is a polite young man and knows a lot about the Engine Room. Everybody calls him Charly. The only problem is that Charly is not part of the staff. He's also not part of the land of the living. It is believed that he is a former crew member who died after a Japanese Kamakazi attack on Halloween in 1944 off the coast of the Phillippines. And for those of you open minded skeptics out there like us who find this hard to believe, on a Corpus Christi Caller-Times web site, as many as 200 visitors have reported encounters with Charly. A tour guide at the Lexington named David Deal said, "This apparition told things about the engine that I don't even know." Deal had actually served on the Lexington as both an airman and a catapult chief and retired in 1976.

The Director of Operations and Exhibits at the museum, M. Charles Reustle, has had many strange experiences. He has heard the rustling of clothes and footsteps behind him as he has walked out of his office on seperate occassions. There was never anybody behind him. During restoration, a crew was in the middle of painting when they took a break for linch. Upon their return, they found the painting done for them. A couple visiting the ship saw an apparition of a dark haired man wearing dungarees and a white work shirt jump to the deck below. They thought surely he must be injured and they ran to help him. He was nowhere to be seen. Museum staffers have reported seeing two specters. One was a man dressed in a naval uniform and the other was dressed in a Japanese pilot's uniform. Both spirits disappeared.

Many individuals report hearing screams of pain and terror in the engine room. This is the room that was hit by a kamikaze pilot during the war, causing many deaths. This was probably when Charly died. A ghost cam has been installed in the Engine Room because of all the activity. A worker also reported seeing something odd on the ship one night. A storm was rolling into the area where the ship is anchored. When there was a particularly bright flash of lightning across the sky, the worker says he saw several men in naval uniforms running across the deck of the ship. Another bolt of lighting flashed and the Navy seamen were no longer there. Along with lights flashing on and off, there are reports of full bodied apparitions below deck as well.

With all of tragedy surrounding the second world war, it is no surprise that we get reports of strange happenings all around the locations in which it was fought. Many people valiantly gave their lives and their legacy lives on today through museums, films, and history books. So do these men and women still man their posts in the afterlife? Are they still seen protecting the port at Corpus Christi? Is the USS Lexington haunted? That is for you to decide!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

HGB Ep. 113 - Eastern State Penitentiary

Moment in Oddity - The Underwater City of Yonaguni Jima, Japan
Suggested by: Toby Hessenauer

Did you know there was a Japanese Atlantis? That is how some refer to a mysterious underwater city found near Yonaguni Jima, Japan. It is believed that the city was above water until an earthquake 2,000 years ago caused it to sink. The largest building in the underwater city is a megalithic stepped pyramid. The ruins were first discovered in 1985 by a local diver. Some believe this is the lost city of Mu, which has been thought to just be a legend. Masaaki Kimura is a marine geologist who has studied the site for 15 years. He claims that the stone appears to have quarry marks and etchings that could only have been made by humans. He has identified 15 structures including five temples, a large stadium, a triumphant arch and a castle. He even claims that there are formations that seem to resemble animals and that a relief featuring a cow-like creature is on the wall of a structure. The Japanese government has done nothing to preserve the site or draw attention to it because there is some controversy over whether this really is an underwater city. And therein lies part of the mystery. Not only is the city itself and whoever created it a mystery, but there are those who claim that the city is actually just a result of natural formations. Some scientists claim that earthquakes and tsumanis could have helped shape the sandstone under the water, so that it appears to be manmade. Whether it is manmade or natural made is still up for debate, but if this truly is the remains of some Atlantis-like ancient city, that would certainly be odd!

This Day in History - First Woman Executed in Electric Chair
by: Steven Pappas

On this day, March 20th, in 1899, Martha M. Place became the first woman to be executed by electric chair. Born September 18th, 1849, Martha was a typical girl. At the age of 23 she suffered a blow to the head, which her brother said she never fully recovered from. She became unstable. She eventually married Willliam Place in 1893. She was said to be jealous of her new step daughter Ida and the police were called on multiple occasions when Martha became violent. In February of 1898, William was attacked by Martha, who was wielding an ax. He managed to escape and go for help, but Ida was killed by Martha. Martha then tried to commit suicide by starting a gas leak, but was hospitalized and arrested. She pleaded innocence, but was found guilty and sentenced to die by electric chair. She was the third woman to be sentenced to death by this method, but because of the brutality of her crime, was the first for whom the sentence was carried out.

Eastern State Penitentiary (Suggested by listener Steven Fitzgerald, Research Assistant April Rogers-Krick)

Eastern State Penitentiary was built to start a reformation when it came to America's penal system. Prison was making the move from a place of punishment to a place of reform. Eastern State became the most expensive building in America when it was built in the late 1800s and it was the most famous prison in the world. Al Capone even spent time here. Officers and inmates have reported haunting activity for decades at the prison and this activity seems to have only increased since the penitentiary was closed to inmates for good. The reputation of the prison makes it a perfect place for the haunted house attraction it becomes every Halloween. But the ghosts here are very real. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Eastern State Penitentiary!

The period after the American Revolution was considered a time of Enlightenment in America. Great American thinkers like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin were challenging traditional beliefs when it came to religion, science and politics. Six major ideas to come out of the Enlightenment were deism, conservativism, liberalism, toleration, republicanism and scientific progress. The adoption of rational and humanistic principles developed during the Enlightenment affected prison reform and design. As we know from previous podcasts on prisons, many of these institutions were basically large holding pens where all genders and ages were thrown in together. Abuse by prison guards was the norm. With prison reform came changes to the American prison system.

In 1829, the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons opened Eastern State Penitentiary, an experiment in correcting behavior through solitary confinement and reform instead of punishment.  The Society began in 1787 and met in the home of Benjamin Franklin. The group was led by Benjamin Rush and he expressed a desire that the group made a goal of having Philadelphia become the place known internationally for prison reform. The group believed that causing prisoners to have penitent hearts would lead to them reforming. That is why this prison was called a pentitentiary. Advocates for the system believed that if inmates were left alone for long enough, away from the dirty outside world, a criminal’s innate morality would prevail and straighten them out. Eastern State  was considered the world’s first true penitentiary.  Its system of incarceration was considered revolutionary, dubbed the “Pennsylvania System” or separate system.  Inmates were held in separate confinement as a form of rehabilitation.  The warden was legally required to visit every inmate every day and the overseers were mandated to see each inmate three times a day. Eastern State was designed by John Haviland and opened its doors on October 25, 1829.

Originally, inmates were to be housed in cells that could only be accessed by entering through a small exercise yard attached to the back of the prison.  A small portal, just large enough to pass meals, opened onto the cell blocks. This design proved impractical, and in the middle of construction, cells construction was changed to allow prisoners to enter and leave the cell blocks through metal doors that were covered by a heavy wooden door to filter out noise. The halls were designed to have the feel of a church. It was believed by some that the doors were built small, so that prisoners would have a harder time getting out, thus minimizing an attack on a security guard.  Others have explained that the small doors forced the prisoners to bow while entering their cell.  This design forced the appearance of penance and ties to the religious inspiration of the prisons.  The cells were made of concrete with a single glass skylight, representing the “Eye of God”, suggesting to the prisoners that God was always watching them. Fear was a key to instilling in prisoners a desire to never return to jail. Early Prisoners were petty criminals, muggers, purse-snatchers, pickpockets, burglars, etc. First time offenders often only served two years.  Eastern State was intended to move the criminal toward spiritual reflection and change and not simply punishment.  Proponents of the system believed that the criminals if exposed, in silence, to the thoughts of their behavior and the ugliness of their crimes, would become penitent.

There was an individual area for exercise outside each cell. High walls enclosed each yard so prisoners could not communicate.  Exercise time was synchronized so that no two prisoners next to each other would be out at the same time.  Prisoners were allowed to garden and to keep pets in their exercise yards.  A hood was placed over the head of a prisoner by a guard when he left his cell.  This was to prevent the prisoners from recognizing one another. Each individual cell had a faucet with running water over a flush toilet, as well as curved pipes along part of one wall, which served as central heating during the winter months. Hot water would be run through the pipes to keep the cells reasonably heated.  Toilets were remotely flushed twice a week by the guards of the cellblock. The original design of the building was for seven one-story cell blocks, but by the time cell block three was completed, the prison was already over capacity.

All subsequent cell blocks had two floors.  Toward the end, cell blocks 14 and 15 were hastily built due to overcrowding.  They were built and designed by prisoners.  Cell block 15 was for the worst behaved prisoners and the guards were gated off from them entirely. Inmates were punished with the “individual-treatment system.”  At the time, this form of punishment was thought to be most effective. Due to overcrowding, the solitary confinement system eventually collapsed.  By 1913, Eastern State officially abandoned the solitary system and operated as a congregate prison until it closed in 1970.  After a riot at Holmesburg Prison in 1971, Eastern State was used briefly to house city inmates. Eastern State was one of the largest public-works in the early days of the United States.

The reality of Eastern State was anything, but reformatory.  The guards and councilors designed a variety of physical and psychological torture regimens for various infractions. Prisoners would be doused in freezing water outside during winter months. The Iron Gag was an iron collar strapped around the tongue and chained to the inmate's wrists in a fashion such that struggling against the chains could cause the tongue to tear. Many inmates bled to death during this punishment. Other prisoners were strapped into the Mad Chair with tight leather restraints that prevented any movement and cut off circulation for days on end and given no food. The worst behaved prisoners were put into a pit called “The hole”, which was an underground cell dug under cell block 14 where they would have no light, no human contact, and little food for as long as two weeks at a time.

In the 19th century, Eastern State was a tourist destination. Charles Dickens and Alexis de Tocqueville were two of the most notable visitors. Visitors were able to speak with prisoners in their cells, proving that inmates were not isolated. However, prisoners themselves were not allowed to have any visits from family or friends during their incarceration. In 1831, after visiting Eastern State, Alexis De Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont wrote in their report to the French government: "Thrown into solitude... [the prisoner] reflects. Placed alone, in view of his crime, he learns to hate it; and if his soul be not yet surfeited with crime, and thus have lost all taste for any thing better, it is in solitude, where remorse will come to assail him.... Can there be a combination more powerful for reformation than that of a prison which hands over the prisoner to all the trials of solitude, leads him through reflection to remorse, through religion to hope; makes him industrious by the burden of idleness.."

Charles Dickens did not agree.  He visited Eastern State in 1842 and in chapter seven of his travel journal, "American Notes for General Circulation," Dickens writes, "In its intention I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, and meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who designed this system of Prison Discipline, and those benevolent gentleman who carry it into execution, do not know what it is that they are doing....I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body; and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye,... and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment in which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay."

Some of America’s most notorious criminals were held at Eastern State.  Gangster Al Capone found himself in front of a judge for the first time in May 1929 and was sentenced to one year in Eastern State for a concealed weapons charge.  He spent most of that sentence in relative comfort.  Capone was allowed to furnish his cell with antique furniture, oriental rugs, oil paintings and a cabinet radio.   He was allowed special privileges, like being allowed to conduct business through the warden. There was also Morris "The Rabbi" Bolber. He was the leader of an arsenic murder ring. People referred to him as "a veteran witch doctor and compounder of charms." Their main clientele were women who wanted to kill their husbands for insurance money. The group had killed 30 people. The Rabbi was serving a life sentence at Eastern State. Leo Callahan was arrested for assault and battery with intent to kill. He was the only inmate to successfully escape Eastern State and stay at large. He was never recaptured. He used a makeshift wooden ladder to accomplish this feat. The five Buzzard brothers all served time at the prison. Joe Buzzard was one of the best horse thieves in the country. There were women at the prison for 100 years and Freda Frost was the last female at the jail. She had poisoned her husband and killed him.

Bank Robber Slick Willie Sutton was apprehended on February 5, 1934 and sentenced to serve 25 to 50 years in Eastern State, for the machine gun robbery of the Corn Exchange Bank in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  On April 3, 1945 Sutton was one of 12 convicts who escaped the institution through a tunnel.  Sutton was recaptured the same day by Philadelphia police officers; this had been his fifth escape attempt at Eastern State. Willie Sutton claimed to be the mastermind of the tunnel escape. The truth is that the escape was planned and largely executed by Clarence “Kliney” Klinedinst, a plasterer, stone mason, burglar, and forger who looked a little like a young Frank Sinatra and had a reputation as a first-rate prison scavenger.  Willie Sutton said, “If you give Kliney two weeks, he could get you Ava Gardner.  If you give Kliney a year, he could get you out of prison.”

Like something out of the Shawshank Redemption, the escapees used spoons and flattened cans as shovels and picks, the tunnel crew, who worked in two-man teams for 30 minute shifts, slowly dug a 31-inch opening through the wall of cell 68.  They then dug twelve feet straight down into the ground, and another 100 feet out beyond the walls of the prison.  They removed dirt by concealing it in their pockets and scattering it in the exercise yard.  They shored it up with scaffolding, illuminated, and even ventilated the tunnel.  At about the halfway point, it linked up with the prison’s brick sewer system and the crew created a working connection between the two pipelines to deposit their waste while ensuring the noxious fumes were kept out of the tunnel.  The tunnel escaped inspection several times thanks to a false panel Kliney treated to match the plaster of the cell and concealed by a metal waste basket.

After months of painfully slow labor, the tunnel was ready.  On the the morning of April 3, 1945, the 12 prisoners made their escape, sneaking off to cell 68 on their way to breakfast.  After all the designing, carving, digging, and building, Kliney made it a whole three hours before getting caught.  He had faired better than Sutton who was free for only three minutes.  By the end of the day, half the escapees were returned to prison while the rest were caught within a couple months. The first few escapees to be captured, including Sutton, were put in the Klondikes. The Klondikes were illegal confinement cells that were completely dark and had been secretly built by guards in the mechanical space below one of the cell blocks.  These spaces were miserable, tiny holes that weren’t big enough to stand up in or wide enough to lie down.  The tunnel itself was analyzed and mapped and then guards filled it with ash and covered it with cement. Until 2005 the location of the tunnel was lost.  A non-profit dedicated to preserving the landmarked prison completed an archaeological survey to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the escape.  To find the tunnel, the group created a search grid over the prison grounds near the entrance, the location of which was known from old photos.  Using ground penetrating radar, the team was able to create vertical sections though the site in increments corresponding to the suspected width of the tunnel.  After a couple failed attempts, the archaeologists detected a section of the tunnel that hadn’t collapsed and hadn’t been filled-in by the guards.  A year later, a robotic rover was sent through the tunnels, documenting its scaffolding and lighting systems.

Although there were riots in 1919, 1924 and 1923, it was the riot of 1942 they saw the loss of life. All the riots were started due to a lack of quality food and poor conditions and the inmates were demanding better. In 1942, Eastern State instituted a cutback of food items, some of which included sugar and coffee.  Because of these reductions, some of the inmates started to protest.  During the meal periods, inmates implemented their own form of a hunger strike by refusing to eat anything but coffee.  When their demands were not met, mattresses were set afire and the riot began.  Because of heavy rain, smoke from the fire was driven down the ventilation shaft to where an inmate named Joseph Anncenski was and asphyxiated him.  Two more inmates were overcome by the fire and one was killed during the riot.

By the 1960’s, Eastern State was in very bad shape.  The cost of repair was too high and by 1970 the doors were closed.  The city of Philadelphia bought Eastern State in 1980 and planned to refurbish and re-purpose the building. That was unsuccessful and the Pennsylvania Prison Society took over the prison in 1994 and opened it for tours. In 1997, it was turned into a museum. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. took over management in 2001. Every Halloween the prison is opened as a haunted house attraction. Many people believe that Eastern State is Haunted. As early as the 1940’s guards and inmates reported mysterious visions and eerie experiences.  The reports have only increased since the closing in 1970.

A locksmith was working in Cell Block #4 to remove a 140-year-old lock from the cell door. He suddenly was overcome by some kind of force that seemed to possess his body. He was unable to move. It was similar to sleep paralysis, only the locksmith had not been sleeping. Legend has it that when the locksmith removed the lock, he opened a gateway for spirits to come through. Almost as if the spirits of the jail had been locked up here. The negative energy pulled the locksmith towards it. He claimed to see hundreds of distorted forms and faces filled with anquish on a cell wall. Every time he recalled the experience, he shuddered.

You might remember that we touched on a haunting involving Al Capone at Eastern State in our St. Valentine's Massacre episode (No. 28) Other inmates said they could hear Capone screaming at somebody named Jimmy in his cell to go away nd leave him alone. He was tormented every night. The prisoners assumed he was talking to the ghost of James Clark, a man who he murdered at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.  James Clark was the brother-in-law of Bugs Moran.

Cellblock 12 has disembodied voices that echo through the block and occasionally cackling is heard. On the third floor of that same block, a tour guide claims that the cell doors were closed one minute and then wide open the next minute. Cellblock 6 features several shadowy figures that dart along the walls.  Wails, whispers and footsteps are heard in many areas and there is never anyone there to make the sounds. There is a guard tower that has had a shadowy figure visible inside of it on occasion.

Eastern State has seen much pain and loneliness in its time. Are the spirits of former inmates still here in the afterlife? Are there dark and evil entities within the walls of the jail? Is Eastern State Penitentiary haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Mark Nixon/Shadow at the Door Kickstarter:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

HGB Ep. 112 - Fremantle

Moment in Oddity - McLean Residences Part of Start and End of Civil War
 by: Bob Sherfield

 Born in May 1814, Wilmer McLean of Virginia is know as the man of which the American Civil War "started in his front yard and ended in his front parlour." When the opening engagement of the First battle of Bull Run took place on July 21, 186,1 Wilmer Mclean’s house, located in William County, just south of Washington DC, was being used as Confederate Brigadier General Beauregard’s headquarters. As the General and his soldiers were preparing to have dinner, a cannonball ripped through the wall of the kitchen, and landed in the fireplace. Of the event, General Beauregard noted in his diary "A comical effect of this artillery fight was the destruction of the dinner of myself and staff by a Federal shell that fell into the fire-place of my headquarters at the McLean House." This shot was part of the opening salvo of what would become the First Battle of Bull Run. McLean had been a Major in the Virginia Militia, but at 47 had retired and was too old to return to active duty at the outbreak of the Civil War, so during the conflict Mclean worked as a sugar broker providing the Confederate Army with this and other supplies run through Union blockades, whilst renting the 1,200 acre plantation to the Confederate forces, who converted the barn to a military hospital, and then a detention centre for Union soldiers. The Second battle of Bull Run in 1862 left his property a shambles. The fact that he was living in an area of Northern Virginia heavy with Union troops, whilst his commercial activities were mostly in Southern Virginia caused his businesses to suffer. This, coupled with a desire to protect his pregnant wife and family and avoid exposing them to any more war, led them, in the spring of 1863, to move 120 miles south to a settlement centred around the Appomattox Court House. Wilmer Mclean may have hoped that this moved would be the end of his involvement with the war, but he would be wrong. In April 1865, as the war drew towards it conclusion, General Robert E Lee was on the verge of surrendering to his Union counterpart Ulysses Grant. In preparation for this, a messenger searching for a suitable location conversed with McLean who offered the use of his own house. On Palm Sunday, April 9th 1865, Lee resplendent in new uniform sat down with a mud spattered and travel weary Grant in the parlour of the property and surrendered. Almost as soon as the ceremony was over, Union officers that were present began to buy the furniture that was in the parlour. The desk on which Grant drafted the surrender document ended up in the possession of a certain General G Custer. By the end of the day, Mclean’s house had been nearly picked clean by souvenir hunters. The fact that the McLeans lived in two different houses that eventually marked the beginning and then the end of the Civil War, certainly is odd!

This Day in History - John Snow Born
 by: Jessica Bell

On this day, March 15, in 1813, John Snow, an English physician and epidemiologist, was born in York, England. Dr Snow is known for being a leader in medical hygiene and for the adoption of anesthesia techniques. John Snow was one of the first physicians to study and calculate dosages for the use of ether and chloroform as surgical anesthetics, allowing patients to undergo surgical and obstetric procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience. He designed the apparatus to safely administer ether to the patients and also designed a mask to administer chloroform. He personally administered chloroform to Queen Victoria when she gave birth to the last two of her nine children, Leopold and Beatrice, leading to wider public acceptance of obstetric anesthesia. Dr Snow was also responsible for tracing the source of a cholera outbreak in London in 1854. Dr Snow did not believe that cholera was an airborne disease, which was the theory at the time and instead he examined a public water pump in London based on cholera outbreaks nearby. Once the pump was shut down, the cholera outbreak ceased. Upon further examination it was then learned that the water pump had been dug only 3 feet (0.9 m) from an old cesspit, which had begun to leak fecal bacteria. These findings then played a role which lead to changes in the water and waste systems of London, which also led to similar changes in other cities, and a significant improvement in general public health around the world.

Fremantle (Suggested and researched by: Jennilee Watt)

Australia is a rugged land and due to the fact that much of the country started as a series of penal colonies, it is no wonder that gaols have become an intregral part of its history. Fremantle is a major port city located in Western Australia, which is the biggest territory in Australia at 2,529,875 square km (976,790 sq ml.) Jennilee Watt is a tour guide in Fremantle and she is going to take us on a journey to three key locations in Fremantle: Round House, Fremantle Gaol and the Lunacy Asylum. There is more to these locations than just a long history in Australia. These locations all seem to have supernatural activity. Join us as we explore some of the highlights of Fremantle in Western Australia!

The first inhabitants of Australia were the Indigenous Aboriginals and they arrived around 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. The first recorded European to visit Western Australia was Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, who landed on an island off Cape Inscription on October 25, 1616. That island came to be known as Dirk Hartog Island. The coastline of Western Australia is very hard to navigate, which is evidenced by the number of ship wrecks that dot the coastline. For this reason, not many explorers or colonists came to this area for the next 200 years. Western Australia was established as the Swan River Colony on May 2, 1829. It wasn’t until January 1, 1901 that Western Australia became part of the Australian Federation. Western Australia is a little different than the rest of Colonial Australia because the Swan River settlement was intended to be a convict free settlement.

The traditional owners of the land on which Fremantle now stands are the Whadjuk Noongar people, who called the area Walyalup, which translates into ‘the crying place’ or the ‘place of crying’.  Fremantle is an important place for the Noongar people as it is a place of meeting, trading and ceremonies. The Round House was the first permanent building erected in the Swan River colony and is the oldest building in Western Australia.  It was built in 1830 and opened in 1831 and is situated on a limestone hill, known as Arthur Head.  The Round House was used as a prison for colonial and indigenous prisoners until Fremantle Gaol was constructed. It has twelve sides that gives it a rounded appearance, thus the name Round House. It was used until 1886 to house prisoners. Later it was a police station for the Water Police and eventually used for storage for the ports. In 1900, a ceremonial ball drop became a standard part of Round House to help navigators know what time it was. Today, the ceremony is still conducted as a re-enactment.

The first person of European decent executed in Western Australia was executed at the Round House. That prisoner was a 15 year old boy named John Gavin. Gavin was a convict who was transported to Western Australia as a Parkhurst Apprentice aboard the ship "The Shepherd" The ship landed in October of 1843. Parkhurst Apprentices were juvenile prisoners from the Parkhurst Prison who had their prison term transported to either Australian or New Zealand between 1842 and 1852.  On arrival the prisoners were sent to be apprenticed for the term of their sentence. Gavin was tried and convicted of the murder of his employer’s son, George Pollard, while he slept. Although Gavin confessed to the murder, he never gave a rational motive. Gavin was hung at public execution outside the Round House on the 6th of April 1844. Because he was such a young man and didn’t weigh a lot, it is said that the executioner had to weight his legs down with chains. A death mask was made and his brain studied before he was buried in the sand hills.

One for the most noted prisoners of the Round House is Yagan, who was an indigenous Australian warrior of the Noongar people. He played a key role in early resistance against British settlement. Yagan is thought to have been in his mid 30’s when the Swan River settlement began. For the first two years, the relationship between the settlers and the Noongar people was quite good. The Noongar people actually thought the setters were the Djanga, the return of the spirits of their descendants. It wasn’t until the settlers started erecting fences to create farming and grazing land that destroyed the land used by the Noongar people as hunting grounds, that they started to figure out that these people were not their ancestors. The Noongar people were denied access to areas which they had hunted for thousands of years and as a result, had to resort to buying cattle and the like from the settlers to survive. The Noongar practice of Firestick farming, where the bush was set alight to not only flush out game but to also encourage the germination of undergrowth to sustain the environment, threatened the farming and housing of the settlers.

Between 1831 and 1832 Yagan and his father lead a number of resistance attacks against white settlers, which led the settlement to declare Yagan an outlaw and to offer a reward of 20 pounds for his capture.  He managed to avoid capture until December 1832 and he was taken to the Round House. Yagan was sentenced to death because of the number of settlers who were killed during the resistance. A settler named Robert Lyon was able to save Yagan from death by arguing that he was simply defending his land and thus he should be treated as a prisoner of war. As a form of punishment, Yagan and his men were sent to Carnac Island with John Septimus Roe, who was the Surveyor General of Western Australia. Roe thought he could teach Yagan British customs and convert him to Christianity. The two men did in fact teach each other quite a bit about their individual customs. Roe learned the Noongar language during that time. Yagan and his men escaped back to the mainland after about a month, but they were not pursued.

For a while after this, Yagan was accepted into the colony and was actually given permission to host a Corroboree in Perth. You may remember that term from another Australia podcast. This was a traditional ceremony and dance conducted by the Noongar. The event was documented by the Perth Gazette and they wrote that Yagan was "a master of ceremonies and acquitted himself with infinite grace and dignity." This time of peace between Yagan, the Noongar people and the settlers was not to continue for long and there were a number of attacks committed by both the settlers and the Noongar. In April of 1833, a party of Noongar broke into a store room in Fremantle to steal flour and food, and were shot at by the caretaker Peter Chidlow. Yagan’s brother, Domjum, was shot and later died of his injuries in jail. Yagan was said to have vowed for vengeance for the death of his brother and a party of Noongar that was 50 to 60 strong, ambushed a settlers provision cart and killed two settlers, John and Tom Velvick. Tribal law indicated that vengeance could be sought by killing only one person. So killing two sttelers was seen as wrong. Some historians have stated that the Velvick’s were actually targeted because they had previously attacked and assaulted aboriginals, Chinamen and coloured seamen.

For the killing of the brothers, the Lieutenant Governor Frederick Irwin declared Yagan, his father Midgegooroo and another tribe member, Munday, outlaws. There was a 20 pound ransom for the capture of Midgegooroo and Munday and a 30 pound ransom dead or alive on Yagan. Midgegooroo was captured and executed by firing squad after a very short trial and Munday appealed his conviction.  Yagan wasn’t caught for two months, but he was eventually discovered by William and James Keates, who tried to convince Yagan to stay with them so avoid capture but actually planned on killing Yagan for the reward. William Keates shot Yagan, and his brother shot another Noongar named Heegan, who was trying to defend Yagan. James was able to escape but William was killed. Settlers later came upon the three and found Heegan still alive, but badly injured. The settlers killed him. In order to claim the reward, the settlers cut off Yagan’s head and skinned the part of his back that had tribal markings. They kept the skin as a trophy. James Keates did actually claim the reward, but his actions were widely criticized. In fact the Perth Gazette referred to Yagan’s killing as “a wild and treacherous act… it is revolting to hear this lauded as a meritorious deed.” It is said that Keates left the colony shortly thereafter, perhaps in fear of retaliation. In Jennilee's opinion, she doubts very much that the Noongar would have allowed him to live.

To add insult to injury, Yagan's head was preserved by smoking. Governor Irwin traveled to London with the head to give his own opinion of the events that lead to the killings. While in London the head changed hands a number of times, and was known as an “anthropological curiosity.” Eventually, Yagan’s head became part of Thomas Pettigrew’s collection. Pettigrew was known for hosting house parties where he would dissect a number of Egyptian Mummies. Pettigrew had Yagan's head examined and a pamphlet about it made. He then had the head adorned with a feather head piece made from the tail feather of a red tailed black cockatoo. The head then came into the Liverpool Museum collection, although it was never on display. In 1964 the head was buried with that of a Maori head and a Peruvian Mummy, in Everton cemetery. In 1980, the Noongar people began to petition for repatriation of Yagan’s head. They stated “ it is Aboriginal belief that because Yagan’s skeletal remains are incomplete, his spirit is earthbound. The uniting of his head and torso will immediately set his spirit free to continue its eternal journey.” The repatriation of the head took a number of years because of ongoing conflicts, as well as the issue that the rest of the body could not be found. Eventually the head was reburied in a private ceremony attended only by Noongar elders on the 10th of July 2010.  The site that was chosen was believed to be near the rest of his body. The burial coincided with the opening of the Yagan Memorial Park.

Fremantle Prison, sometimes referred to as Fremantle Gaol, is a former Australian prison in Fremantle, Western Australia. The six-hectare (15-acre) site includes the prison cellblocks, gatehouse, perimeter walls, cottages, and tunnels. Initially known as the Convict Establishment or The Establishment, it was constructed with the use of convict labour between 1851 and 1859. The prison was transferred to the colonial government in 1886 to use for locally-sentenced prisoners. Punishments varied over the years, with flogging and time in irons eventually replaced by lengthening of sentences and deprivation of visitors or entertainment. More than 40 hangings were carried out at Fremantle Prison, which was Western Australia's only lawful place of execution, between 1888 and 1984. Prominent escapees included Moondyne Joe, as well as John Boyle O'Reilly and six other Fenians in the 19th century, and Brenden Abbott in 1989. There have been various riots and other disturbances throughout the prison's history with major riots causing damage in 1968 and 1988.

Since 1991, Fremantle Prison has been conserved as a recognized heritage site, and various restoration works have been undertaken. New uses have been found for some buildings within the prison, which has also become a significant tourist attraction. The process of obtaining World Heritage listing as part of the Australian Convict Sites submission focused historical interpretation and conservation efforts on the prison's convict era (1850 – 1886), at the expense of its more recent history, including Aboriginal prisoners held there. Fremantle Prison was built on a land grant of about 36 acres (15 ha) from limestone quarried on-site. A 15-foot (4.6 m) tall boundary wall encloses the prison grounds, with a gatehouse in the centre of the western wall, facing The Terrace. Cottages, which housed prison workers and officials, are located outside the wall on either side of the gatehouse. Inside the walls, the parade ground is located east of the gatehouse. Beyond it is the Main Cell Block, which is at the centre of the site and contains two chapels. North of the main block is New Division, and west of that, in the north-western corner, is the former Women's Prison, previously the cookhouse, bakehouse and laundry. The hospital building stands in the north-eastern corner, while the former workshops are located in the south-eastern corner, as well as to the north of the gatehouse. A system of underground tunnels, constructed to provide fresh water from an aquifer, runs under the eastern edge of the site.

Fremantle Prison was partially used as a military prison during both world wars for the detention of military personnel, as well as an internment centre. From 1940 until 1946, it was one of more than 50 military prisons across Australia holding a combined total of more than 12,000 enemy aliens and prisoners of war. Fremantle accommodated up to 400 military prisoners and up to 160 civilian prisoners by October 1945. The World War II takeover necessitated the commissioning of Barton's Mill Prison in 1942. In the convict era, particularly during Hampton's term as Governor, misbehaving prisoners were punished with flogging, solitary confinement, and working in chain gangs at gunpoint. Particularly difficult prisoners were put to work hand pumping groundwater into the prison's reservoir. Known as cranking, it was especially despised by the prisoners. Staff disliked giving the lashings. In 1851, out of a total of 400 lashings ordered, 150 were remitted as the superintendent could not find anyone to undertake the task. The role was so disliked that inducements were offered, including extra pay or improved lodgings.

By the 1880s, punishments also included a restricted diet of bread and water (for a short time span), time in irons, and a lengthening of a prisoner's sentence by a visiting magistrate. The cat o' nine tails, which had been used since the early days of the prison, was abolished during the post-1911 Royal Commission reforms. Flogging was discontinued in the 1940s, with the last incident occurring in 1943. From that decade, punishments were decided by the superintendent after hearing the case against a prisoner, or by a magistrate for grievous violations. Lesser transgressions could result in solitary confinement, or restriction from visitors, education, and concerts. Serious offences were punishable by the cancellation of any remission earned and a bread-and-water diet, normally over a two-week period.

As soon as Fremantle Prison came under local control in 1886, a refractory block with gallows was planned. It was completed in 1888, and first used in 1889 to execute a convicted murderer, Jimmy Long, a Malayan. The gallows room was the only lawful place of execution in Western Australia between 1888 and 1984. At least 43 men and one woman were hanged in this period. Martha Rendell was the only woman to be hanged at the prison, in 1909. Her crimes were heinous. She killed three of her common law husband's children. We'll discuss this further a little later. The last person to be hanged was serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke, executed in 1964. He had commited a series of murders and attempted murders from 1959 to 1963 using both a gun and a knife. He was known as the Night Caller. His defense tried to claim he was schizophrenic, but the court wouldn't hear it. He did seem to have brain damage from abuse and there have been several serial killers that had started their killing after having their brain damaged. Cooke was 33 when he was hanged. When serial killers David and Catherine Birnie were caught there was outcry from the public to have them executed, but they were not. Their crimes are known as the Moorhouse Murders because their house was on that street. They abducted five women, chained them to a bed and David repeatedly raped them. A couple were taken to other locations and murdered while a couple others were killed at the house. The couple was arrested after their final victim escaped. The Fremantle Gaol actually had to build a room for David Birnie in the public places of the prison, the dining area, and laundry etc, because the other inmates hated him so much and wanted him dead.  

From the day of sentencing to death, prisoners were kept in a concrete-floored cell in New Division. They were vigilantly observed to prevent them from commiting suicide. With hangings taking place on Monday mornings at 8:00 am, condemned prisoners were woken three hours earlier, and provided with a last meal, shower, and clean clothes. Afterwards, they were handcuffed and moved to a holding or "condemned cell" nearby the gallows, and allowed a couple of sips of brandy to calm their nerves. Shortly before 8:00 am, they were hooded, led up to the execution chamber that could hold as many as eleven witnesses, placed over the trap door with a noose put around their neck and were hanged by dropping through the opening trap door. After medical examination, the deceased was removed for burial.

Prisoners did manage to escape from Fremantle Gaol. One of the most infamous prisoners of the jail was Moondyne Joe, who was famous because he managed to escape from the prison a number of times. Moondyne Joe was born Joseph Bolitho Johns and is consider WA’s best known bushranger. He was transported from England to WA as a convict, his charge being thievery. He spent a number of years in jail in England first and was actually given ticket of leave once he landed in WA for good behavior.  This good behavior wouldn't last though and in 1861 he found an unbranded horse and gave it his brand. This was considered stealing and he was imprisoned in Toodyay lock up. That night he broke out and stole a horse along with the local magistrate’s new bridle and saddle. He was caught the next day, but only received 3 years for escaping jail and not 10 for stealing the horse. He had killed the horse and cut off the brand, so there was no evidence. Joe was then convicted of killing a steer belonging to his boss, a crime for which he was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years penal servitude. Joe always protested his innocence to this crime and was determined to not serve out his sentence for a crime he was adamant he didn’t do.

He escaped again while on a work party with another prisoner and they were on the run for a month. During this time they committed a number of crimes, which added more time onto their sentences. After a failed attempt at escaping by breaking his door lock, he managed to escape once more with the idea to run off to South Australia. However, he was captured once again and had an additional 5 years attached to his sentence. This time they were determined to not have him escape. They created a unique cell for him at Fremantle which was considered escape proof.  The stone-walled cell was lined with jarrah sleepers and over 1000 nails, and was almost air-proof and light-proof. Moondyne Joe was kept in the cell on a bread and water diet, with only one to two hours of exercise a day. In early 1867, due to his diminishing health, Moondyne Joe was set to work breaking stone in the open air, but rather than permit him to leave the prison, the acting comptroller-general ordered that the stone be brought in and dumped in a corner of the prison yard, where Moondyne Joe worked under the constant supervision of a warder. Governor John Hampton was so confident of the arrangements, he was heard to say to Moondyne Joe: "If you get out again, I'll forgive you". The rock broken by Moondyne Joe was not removed regularly and eventually a pile grew up until it obscured the guard's view of him below the waist. Partially hidden behind the pile of rocks, he occasionally swung his sledgehammer at the limestone wall of the prison. On 7 March 1867, Moondyne Joe escaped through a hole he had made in the prison wall. Despite an extensive manhunt, no sign of him was found, and he would not be recaptured for nearly two years. He did not return to any of his old haunts, and he committed no crimes, so the authorities received very little information about him.

Many convicts were encouraged by Moondyne Joe's audacious escape and a number of escapes were attempted in the following months, so that he was quickly forgotten. A few days before the second anniversary of his escape, Moondyne Joe tried to steal some wine from the cellars at Houghton Winery. By chance, the owner had been helping with a police search and afterwards invited a group of police back to the vineyard for refreshments. When the owner entered the cellar, Moondyne Joe assumed that he was discovered and made a dash for the door into the arms of the police. He was returned to prison and sentenced to an additional 12 months. On March 22, 1869, he was sentenced to an additional four years in irons for breaking and entering. Moondyne Joe made at least one more attempt to escape in February of 1871. He created a key for his cell in the carpenter's workshop, but was unsuccessful.

Eventually in April of 1871, Comptroller General Wakeford heard from Moondyne Joe of Hampton's promise. After verifying with Superintendent Lefroy that those words were spoken, Wakeford informed the current governor, Frederick Weld, of the promise and it was agreed that further punishment would be unfair. Moondyne Joe was given a ticket of leave in May of 1871. To this day, you can visit the cell while on tour, the room itself has a horrible feel, it would not have been a comfortable place to live. The room isn’t considered haunted but the vibe you get from it isn’t pleasant. There is actually a pub in Fremantle named after Moondyne and also a number of books and songs named after him.

The Fremantle Arts Centre is a multi-arts organisation, offering a program of exhibitions, residencies, art courses and music in a historic building in the heart of Fremantle, Western Australia. The building was built using convict labour between 1861 and 1868 and was used as a psychiatric hospital, initially called the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum, and later known as the Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The first mentally ill patients in Western Australia were cared for in temporary accommodations, including the wreck of the Marquis of Anglesey, the Round House and the Colonial Hospital, until the asylum was built. When convict transportation began in 1850, the numbers of people with mental illnesses in the colony began to increase. Official care began with the transfer of ten convicts from Perth Gaol to a new asylum located in Scott's Warehouse (corner of Croke and Cliff Streets) in November 1857.

The imposing building on the 2.4 hectares (5.9 acres) site overlooks the harbour city and was the largest public building constructed by convicts in the State after the Fremantle Goal which had been built in the 1850s. The design is in the colonial gothic style and was by Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Edmund Henderson, the Comptroller-General of Convicts in Western Australia, It was built to accommodate 50 people. Construction began in 1861, under the supervision of James Manning - Clerk of Works to the Convict Establishment and the Twentieth Company of Engineers - who provided instruction and technical expertise to the convict labourers. The building took four years to complete. The first patients were brought into the asylum in July 1865.

In 1886, the responsibility for public buildings shifted to the newly created Public Works Department, under the Superintendent of Public Works, George Temple-Poole. Poole was responsible for the design of the north east wing, facing Finnerty Street (completed in 1886) and the southern wings (completed in 1890 and 1894 respectively). Following the gold rushes in the 1890s, the Asylum became drastically overcrowded, forcing a reorganisation of facilities, including the purchase of Whitby Falls as an asylum farm in 1897. The Asylum continued to operate for its intended purpose through to the early 1900s when, following two suspicious deaths which provoked comment from the local press, the Government set up an enquiry which concluded with a recommendation that the building " demolished as unfit for purpose for which it is now used." Patients were then moved to alternative locations in the metropolitan area between 1901 and 1909, including the newly constructed Claremont Hospital for the Insane.

The building was used shortly thereafter for housing for homeless women and later as a midwifery school. Until World War II it was known as the Old Women's Home. During World War II it became the headquarters for the American armed services based in Western Australia, who built the asbestos-clad laundry building on the north-east corner of the site.

All three locations are quite haunted. One of the inmates who is said to haunt the Fremantle Prison is the only woman executed at the prison, Martha Rendell. This women makes the evil step mothers of Disney look sweet and caring. She was convicted of murdering her de facto husband's son, Arthur Morris, in 1908. She was also suspected of killing his two daughters, Annie and Olive, by swabbing their throats with hydrochloric acid. Although the children died slow and agonizing deaths, they had been treated by a number of doctors during their illness, only one of whom expressed any doubts about their deaths. Rendell brutally abused Morris' children, once beating Annie so brutally that she could not walk. Arresting officer Inspector Harry Mann said "she delighted in seeing her victims writhe in agony, and from it derived sexual satisfaction". Rendell killed 7-year-old Annie first. Her method was to put something in the child's food that would result in a sore throat. It was alleged that she killed the children by swabbing hydrochloric acid on the backs of their throats, claiming it was medicine. This would inflame the throat until the child could no longer eat, and thus would starve to death. Annie died on 28 July 1907. Dr. Cuthbert issued a certificate stating the cause of death was diphtheria. After killing Annie, she turned her attention on Olive, aged 5. Olive died on 6 October 1907, and again Cuthbert issued a certificate stating the cause of death was diphtheria. In the winter of 1908 Rendell tried the same method on Arthur, the third son and youngest child still alive. Arthur, who was 14, took longer to succumb to the treatment, finally dying on 6 October 1908. Cuthbert asked permission for an autopsy. Rendell said she wanted to be present during the investigation. She stood by as the autopsy was performed, and the doctors found nothing to incriminate her.

In April 1909, she turned her attention to the second son, George. It didn't take long for the second son to complain of a sore throat after drinking a cup of tea. Rendell coated his tonsils with the syrup, frightening the boy, who ran to his mother's place some streets away. Neighbours would enquire as to the boy's whereabouts; however, his father Thomas Morris would state that he did not know. Neighbours went to the police, and inspector Harry Mann conducted inquiries. Mann heard repeated references to the children having their throats painted, and Rendell's apparent indifference to their pain. One neighbour claimed he often peeked in the windows to see Rendell standing in front of the screaming victim, rocking back and forth as if in ecstasy. Mann located George Morris, who had claimed to have run away because his stepmother had killed his siblings and was trying to poison him with spirits of salts (i.e. hydrochloric acid.) Nobody at the time knew what spirits of salt could do so experiments were conducted on animals. The children were exhumed and autopsies revealed the kids had the same problems as the animals. Rendell showed no remorse and gave no motive. Rendell and Thomas Morris were both charged with murder, the former being sentenced to death by hanging. Rendell protested her innocence, maintaining that she was treating the children for diphtheria. Although Thomas Morris was also charged with the murders, he was acquitted; it was believed that, although he had purchased spirits of salts, he had not been aware of the crimes until after the children's deaths. The jury wanted to find him guilty of being an accessory after the fact, but this was not allowed.

Rendell's crimes aroused considerable public outrage at the time; the press portrayed her as a "scarlet woman" and "wicked stepmother". She was hanged at Fremantle Prison on 6 October 1909. She is buried at Fremantle Cemetery, in the same grave where serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke was interred more than half a century afterwards. Martha Rendell was the last woman executed in the state of Western Australia. An illusion appears on one of the prison windows which can only be seen on the outside of the window. From inside, the glass is smooth and even, with no unusual shape or texture. Urban legend has it that this illusion is the portrait of Rendell, who watches over the prison.

ABC in Perth, Australia reported, "Two separate pairs of women gave independent descriptions of what they felt when inside a cell that was used to isolate one of the sexual offenders imprisoned at Fremantle. 'Pressure, like it was warm and it surrounded you,' one describes before her friend adds, "it was like a steam cloud condensing in on me." A third recounts she felt, 'a feeling of cloudiness, and Helen felt like she was being dragged down to the bed.'"

Jennilee used to run tours of the cemetery and she says it is very haunted. The grave site of Rendell and Cooke, is very creepy and she had an experience there. She says, "I was walking back from the site and I heard some humming. I looked around making sure there was no one around and I saw light one top of the site and it moved across over other graves and then out of site. It wasn’t a light, like a reflection, it was more an orb, but it was purplish colour. The fact that I heard humming is what makes me think it’s related to Rendell, as she was reported to hum and sing to herself in the hours before she was executed. It was definitely one of the more creepy experiences."

The gallows where Rendell and the others were executed, is not a place for the sensitive.  The bars on the windows are made from iron and aren’t just there to prevent prisoners from escaping, but also to stop evil spirits from escaping. Jennilee said, "While there on tour in middle school, I found it very hard to be in this room and ended up waiting outside by myself instead of going in. A friend of mine said that she felt someone touching her when they went down stairs and looked up through the dead man’s trap of the gallows. I considered this just her over active imagination, but years later I learned while on tour that women would often be touched in this part of the gallows." Others have heard the tinkling of keys on a ring and the sounds of a scuffle near the gallows.

People often talk about being touched and poked in the prison.  It is not unusual to see shadows and hear footsteps. In fact, one of the stories they tell on the tour is about a guard, when the prison was still in use, who heard footsteps walking along the second story path way. He waited for the person to come into the guard house as that was the only place he could come. After a few moments the guard opened the door to check, only to find no one there. If the person had gone back down he would have heard him on the stair case, but he hadn’t. Apparently this guard didn’t stay working in that prison for long and opted to be transferred.

As would be expected based on previous episodes dealing with asylums, the former Lunacy Asylum is very haunted. American soldiers who were staying there would often tell stories about a phantom kisser, who would kiss their necks and cheeks. They also spoke of disembodied voices and footsteps as well as doors opening on their own. There was a lady who was sent to the asylum by her husband. Their daughter had been kidnapped and was believed dead as she was never found. The woman was said to have gone insane because of the grief. She is thought to haunt the stair case of the building. Women and teenage girls are said to have their skirts pulled as well as their hair. Apparently, she has a thing for red heads as she likes to touch them. Some people who work at the building now claim they have heard a women singing.

Ghost hunters and a psychic did an investigation, (which you can watch on YouTube) and did get some  EVP’S which said “ those are chains” when the investigators  stood next to a cabinet which had leg chains from the convict era. Anthony Grzella, who is known as the Australian Ghost whisperer, saw a full length apparition while he was conducting this investigation. Anthony said that the ghost wasn’t an inmate but a warden and or nurse who wasn’t very nice. Anthony said he made him feel ill and at unease. Perhaps this was one of the men who was charged with abusing the inmates in the early 20th century, shortly before it was forced closed. Anthony later learnt that the security guards did not like to visit this part of the building as a few guards were pushed down the stair case. The building also has a number of phantom smells. One lady smelt lavender and another a sweet lemon smell. While some people (including Anthony and Jennilee) smelt burning hair and meat. Jennilee said, "When I asked the tour guide what the smell was, he said that some people pick up on the smell of the electric shock treatment done on site. I was actually annoyed at this, I would much rather had smelt the lavender."

Hauntings at the Round House tend to focus on an unknown woman who was said to have been assaulted at the jail. The room that she is said to have been assaulted in is the room which a number of people are said be overcome with a sad or uneasy feeling.  There are also a number of windows in the upstairs of the Round House, all of which are covered with spider webs, except one. Tour guides tell of the family who lived in the Round House in the 1890’s. They supposedly had a child who liked to keep the windows clean. Jennilee said that before she became a tour guide she visited the Round House with her father and younger brother. She said, "I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching me from the windows. I was actually so freaked out I made my brother come outside with me. It wasn’t until years later that I found out the story and I wish I knew which window it was that freaked me out so."

Another haunting centers around the young boy mentioned earlier, who had been executed here. He is said to haunt the shipwreck gallery, rather than the Round House.  The ship wreck gallery is a museum and is less then 200m from the Round House and it is said to be built on top of the boy's unmarked grave. It is thought that John Gavin was actually innocent of his crime. There is some evidence that the mother of the murdered boy suffered from postpartum depression.  Workers at the museum are said to hear footsteps and other strange noises, including crying and groaning. Although this might also be because of the skeleton they have on display, which is the remains of a man said to be from the mutiny of a ship off the coast. The tunnels underneath the Round House, created by whalers in the 1800’s, are also said to be haunted and you can take tours of the tunnels.

Fremantle has a deep history and although convicts were not suppose to be a part of that history, they certainly did become part of that history. Have some of them decided to stay on in the afterlife? Have spirits of those locked up in the Asylum decided to stay? Are the Round House, Fremantle Gaol and the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Fremantle Tram Ghost Tour: