Sunday, May 29, 2016

HGB Episode 127 - Ben Lomond Hotel

Moment in Oddity - Holger Danske
Suggested by listener: Lisa Nielsen (Denmark)

One of Denmark's national symbols is a hero named Holger Danske. Much of what is known about Holger is drawn from legend, although it is believed that he could be based on an actual historical figure. In the epic, "The Chivalry of Ogier of Denmark," Holger is the son of the Danish King Godfred who died in 810. Their enemy was Charlemagne of France. He took Holger as prisoner and Holger performed many amazing tasks for Charlemagne. Eventually though, Holger would join the Francs in battle. It is said that Holger came to the end of his days, but that he did not die. Rather, he fell into a twilight sleep and slumbers to this day at Kronborg Castle. Hans Christian Anderson wrote of Holger Danske and here is a translation of that poem, "But the fairest sight of all is the old castle of Kronborg, and under it sits Holger Danske in the deep, dark cellar which no one enters; he is clad in iron and steel and rests his head on his stalwart arm; his long beard hangs down upon the marble table where it has become stuck fast; he sleeps and dreams, but in his dreams he sees everything that comes to pass in Denmark. Every Christmas Eve an angel of God comes to tell him that all he has dreamed is true, and that he may go back to sleep again, for Denmark is not yet in any danger! But if it should ever come, then old Holger Danske will rouse himself, and the table will break apart as he pulls out his beard! Then he will come forth, and strike a blow that shall be heard throughout all the countries of the world." Many Danes hold fast to this legend and have believed through the centuries that when they need him, Holger will awaken. That a hero of legend has become a national symbol, basically giving him life whether he ever truly lived before, some people might think that it certainly is odd!

This Day in History -Women Lose Jobs Over Turkey Trot
by: April Rogers-Krick

On this day, May 29th, in 1912, fifteen women lost their jobs for dancing the “Turkey Trot.” The women worked for Curtis publishing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company was a powerhouse in the flourishing magazine industry.  Curtis published the Saturday Evening Post, which featured popular cover art by Norman Rockwell.    They also published the Ladies Home Journal, the first magazine to have one million subscribers. The Ladies Home Journal had the widest circulation of a group of periodicals known as the “Seven Sisters.” They targeted a middle-class women’s audience, and included titles such as McCall’s, Women’s Day, and Good House Keeping.  All still very popular today.  The magazines featured stories on home making, including how-to articles and advice columns. Edward W. Bok was the editor of the Ladies Home Journal and he heard that fifteen of his employees had been dancing the “Turkey Trot” on their lunch break.  He felt that this behavior did not fit into his magazine’s ideas of the proper behavior of women.  The Vatican had condemned the ragtime dance as too suggestive.  Some dancehalls had banned the step, but censorship only served to make it more popular with young people. Bok fired all fifteen of the women when he found out about the dancing.  The magazine went on to rail against future dance crazes and in 1921 an article declared “The road to hell is too often paved with Jazz steps.”

Ben Lomond Hotel (Suggested by listener Jon Mueller & Dean Carrington, Research Assistant Kristin Swintek)

The Ben Lomond Hotel is located in the Historic Downtown of Ogden, Utah. This is one of the last three “Grand Hotels” in Utah that still operates as a hotel. Built in the latter part of the Victorian Era, the hotel has changed over time. The original five stories now rise to eleven. Ogden was a major railroad junction and brought people from all over. And while a hotel is meant to be a place of comfort, the Ben Lomond seems to be a place of death and this has lead to stories of strange happenings. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Ben Lomond Hotel.

The city of Ogden is in what is known as the Great Basin., which is the largest contiguous endorheic watershed in North America. Endorheic means that it is closed and does not flow out into rivers, but rather forms lakes. Since these watersheds are filled by rain, they tend to be arid areas. To give the listeners an idea of an endorheic landscape, the Salt Flat where speed records are set is one of these areas. Because of the lack of precipitation, people had to be hardy to live here. The first known groups here were the Fremont Culture. Numic language speakers followed and this indigineous group would become our present day Western Shoshone and Paiute tribes. The Great Basin was home to the Ute's Bear Dance and two Paiute tribal elders introduced our favorite named dance, The Ghost Dance. It is believed that when this dance is done properly, the spirits of the dead can be reunited with the living. There was a primary reason for this dance's creation and that was that native people believed that the dead would fight on their behalf and help drive white settlers off the land. This is interesting to consider when looking at hauntings. Many times we talk about native burial grounds causing hauntings, but what if rituals have spawned these hauntings dating back centuries?

The first European settlers in the area built Fort Buenaventura in 1846. A trapper named Miles Goodyear established the permanent settlement and it served as a trading post. Mormon settlers bought the property in 1847 and it was renamed Brownsville after Captain James Brown. The name Ogden would follow and the name was chosen in honor of Hudson Bay Company's brigade leader Peter Skene Ogden who had been an early trapper here and was a Canadian explorer. By 1869, Ogden became a railroad hub of commerce and travel when the transcontinental railroad was built. The city’s motto was “You can’t get anywhere without coming to Ogden.” Ogden would eventually grow to become the second largest city in the state of Utah.

In 1891, the five-story Reed Hotel was built in Ogden. The ground floor of the hotel was occupied by the Ogden State bank which was owned by A.P. Bigelow. Bigelow saw Ogden as a very important city in the Western US and bought the hotel in 1926, which he had razed. On the foundation of the former Reed Hotel, he built an eleven-story hotel and named it after himself, The Bigelow Hotel. The new structure was meant to be more modern and specifically, fireproof. Hodgson & McClenahan drew up the plans and it was built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. The exterior is highly ornamental and covered in a terra cotta finish. The Bigelow was meant to reflect the wealthy of the community in the early 20th century. The hotel boasted five private themed dining rooms including the Shakespeare Room, which featured murals painted by LeConte Stewart, a Utah artist. Other themed rooms were the Florentine style ballroom, English Room with wood paneling based on Bromley Castle, an Arabian coffee shop and a two-story penthouse.

In 1928 the hotel hosted the Democratic National Convention. Leading up to this big event, Time Magazine featured the Bigelow Hotel in their October 3, 1927 issue, which garnered the hotel national attention. In 1933, the hotel was sold to Marriner Eccles when Bigelow’s bank failed after the 1929 stock market crash. The Eccles family renamed the hotel The Ben Lomond, after the mountains in the Highlands of Scotland. The family had emigrated to America from Scotland. Marriner served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency and the Federal Reserve Headquarters in D.C.bears the name Eccles. (He was a millionaire by age 22.) After WWII, highway construction ramped up and rail travel dwindled, so the town of Ogden was no longer a travel destination and the hotel was affected financially. During this time, the Ben Lomond went against the tide of segregation in Salt Lake City and welcomed black celebrities like Louis Armstrong and Jackie Robinson to stay at the hotel.

There were gangsters at this hotel and plenty of booze running during Prohibition. There was a tunnel that ran underneath the hotel and traveled down 25th Street to various points in Ogden. The underground tunnel was used to smuggle alcohol, but also led to opium dens and gambling halls. The tunnels were eventually cemented shut by the city. In December of 1948, the hotel was caught up in a prostitution scandal. Several businesses on the same street had been closed because prostitution had been found going on inside. A prostitute and what the Ogden Standard-Examiner referred to as her "hustler" were arrested at the Ben Lomond during a raid. Closing the hotel was discussed at a commission meeting at that time.

After the hotel was no longer profitable, the Eccles family sold the property in the 1960’s. After the sale, some of the hotel was occupied as County offices, but the building soon fell into disrepair. In the 1980’s, the hotel was renovated and much of the original grandeur was kept intact, including the chandeliers in the ballroom, the ornate ceilings and the marble floors. The 350 rooms in the hotel were converted to a 120 suite condo-hotel. Today, the Ben Lomond features two restaurants, 12 Short stay suites with full kitchens, 23 corner suites, 6 two-bedroom suites, 58 standard suites, and 6 meeting rooms. The hotel is currently a part of the Choice Hotels’ Ascend Collection.

There are tales of strange occurrences at the hotel and these could possibly be attributed to the fact that several bizarre and gruesome deaths, including many suicides have happened at the Ben Lomond. The eleventh floor is the central hub of paranormal activity. The first story of deaths on this floor is not substantiated and could just be legend. This story involves rooms 1101 and 1102. A women was spending her honeymoon at the hotel and was staying in room 1102. During her stay, she drowned in the bathtub. After her death, her adult son came to the hotel to collect her belongings. He checked himself into room 1101, the room next to where is mother had died. The son was so distraught over his mother’s death that he took his own life. Guests who have stayed in rooms 1101 and 1102 have reported water in the tub running all on its own. Some report that they have been pushed by an unseen force. In room 1102, guests have reported hearing disembodied voices and seeing apparitions.

Room 1106 has been the scene of another death. A woman was living in that room while she awaited her son's return from fighting during World War II. She received word that he had been killed in action and she died either from natural causes or a broken heart. Phone calls are received in the lobby originating from rooms on the eleventh floor that are unoccupied. The scent of old perfume is smelled and the elevator goes up and down with no one inside, usually stopping on the tenth or eleventh floor. The night staff has reported the elevator doors in the lobby opening on their own.

On March 9, 1929 the hotel hosted the Utah Canners Association’s annual convention. One of the convention attendees, Dan Rowland, invited some friends up to his room for drinks. Earlier, he had met another man staying at the hotel named Edward Spelman and invited him to the room as well. One of the women in the group had too much to drink and opted to stay in the room to lie down when the group decided to go down to the ballroom for dancing. When Rowland returned to his room later that night, he found Spelman “attacking” the woman. Rowland tried dragging Spelman down to the lobby and the two started fighting in the hallway. Rowland struck Spelman on the chin causing him to fall back. He hit his head on the wall and died instantly. Rowland was charged with Spelman’s murder, but was later acquitted when it was discovered that Spelman died from a ruptured artery and not the blow to the head.

In another bizarre story, in 1939, two young men came to the hotel by cab, argued with the bellman outside the hotel and took the elevator to the top floor. The owner of the hotel felt there was something odd about these gentlemen, so she followed them to the top floor and brought them back down to the lobby. She looked around for some help and the two men ran off again, returning to the top floor where they jumped out of a window at the end of a hallway to their deaths.

Another suicide occurred around noon on July 16, 1951. Donna Anderson, a local teacher for 20 years, leapt to her death from a ninth story window. A Deseret News article reported that Anderson's friend, Leora McBeth, discovered her with her wrists slashed in her ninth floor suite. Anderson was still conscious and she ran past her friend and jumped out of the suite’s north facing window. Anderson had recently been in ill health and she had been nervous on the morning of her death.

Henry Topping, Jr. was a night clerk at the Ben Lomond Hotel. On August 24th in 1976, a 15-year-old man named Johnny Perez entered the hotel in an attempt to rob the hotel. Perez ended up stabbing Topping forty-four times, killing the man. A jury of eleven men and one woman found him guilty of first degree murder. Topping is believed to haunt the hotel. Is he the reason for the cold spots in the lobby?

Now remember, there was a hotel on this spot before the Ben Lomond Hotel. The Reed Hotel has its own stories to tell that could very well be contributing to the haunting activity. Three days before the hotel opened, the first death or eight occurred. The brother of the proprietor had just moved to the area because he had tuberculosis and he was staying in a room at the Reed. He succumbed to the disease on June 30, 1891. A woman named Helen Van Alen was staying at the Reed Hotel in 1902 with her husband. She had suffered from various ailments for a number of years. He husband left for work and she shot and killed herself. She was only 38 years old. On September 26, 1921 a newly hired cook named Asugi Nakano was waiting for the freight elevator. The doors opened and he stepped in, unaware that the car was not there and he fell three stories down the elevator shaft to his death.

Mrs. Van Alen had been staying in an apartment on the third floor when she shot herself. A security guard recalled an incident in the third floor hallway where a door handle began to shake violently as he passed a room. Upon further inspection, he found the room unoccupied. The security guard also said that the staff receives noise complaints and movement from empty rooms and/or hallways at least once a week.

In the comments of a blog post on, a reader named Joanna Zobell writes of her experiences at the hotel, “My husband and I stayed last February. And experienced some creepy things. While talking to the front desk I noticed the elevator doors opening and then closing and going to the 5th floor, then back down to open again while no one was in it. We also smelled a faint scent of perfume inside. At night while I was sleeping I woke up thinking my son was pulling my arm talking to me I saw some kind of shape like a man wearing a hat bent over me and we also captured an orb flying across my husband’s face in a photo.”

The history on this spot is home to so much death. Is there a reason why? Fortunately, no one has described any dark experiences with these unseen entities. And have all these deaths led to strange happenings? Have guests decided to remain here even after death? Is the Ben Lomond Hotel haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:

Utah Stories Article about Ben Lomond Suites by Paige Wiren, 2015

Rogers, R. (2002, March 16). 'Hunter' stalks ghosts in Ben Lomond Hotel. Desert News. Retrieved May 14, 2016, from

Ben Lomond Hotel - Utah's Haunted Hotel. (2013, December 13). Retrieved May 14, 2016, from

Ben Lomond Hotel - Ogden, Utah. (2013, January 31). Retrieved from

Hearing set for Ogden youth. (1976, December 2). Desert News, p. 27.

Organ Teacher Dies in Plunge. (1951, July 16). Desert News, p. 8.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

HGB Episode 126 - Driskill Hotel


Moment in Oddity - Mannequins Move at John Lawson House
Suggested by listener: Anna Prado-Frias

There is a bizarre and mysterious thing happening at the John Lawson House. The house is located near the New Hamburg train station in New York. Pass by the porch and you'll do a double take. Those people sitting on the porch seem inhumanly still. Indeed, they are not real, they are mannequins. But these mannequins are not like your run-of-the-mill store mannequins. Because these mannequins are only still when you are looking. Otherwise, they seem to be quite capable of moving. At night, the mannequins change clothes and positions. No living person has been seen at the house, so how are the mannequins being moved? Could they be moving on their own? Or is there something else going on here? Perhaps something paranormal? The John Lawson House was built in 1845. A massive fire destroyed nearly every other house in the area. In the Winter of 1871, a train crashed about 200 feet from the house. Twenty-two passengers were killed on impact. Could these incidents have led to this mystery beginning. The mannequins are observed many times pointing in the direction of the train crash. Many times, the mannequins are holding strange objects like birdcages. They also hold brushes and books and they disappear from the front porch in rain. Curtains are drawn in the windows, so no one can see inside the abandoned house, but occasionally a sliver of light is seen. A vegetable garden is maintained in the back. Is someone moving the dolls when no one sees? Are they enchanted somehow? Whatever the truth may be, the John Lawson House is not only creepy, but it certainly is odd!

This Day in History - Peruvian Soccer Match Becomes Riot
by: April Rogers-Krick

On this day, May 24th, in 1964, a referee’s call in an Olympic qualifying soccer match between Peru and Argentina erupted into a riot. More than 300 fans were killed and another 500 people were injured in the violent melee that followed at National Stadium in Lima, Peru. With only six minutes left in an Olympic qualifying game, Argentina lead Peru 1-0. Peruvians were fiercely cheering on their team in hopes of a win to take them to the Finals in Tokyo. The Uruguayan referee disallowed what would have been a tying goal scored by Peru. National Stadium was filled with 40,000 fans when the call was made causing fans to erupt in anger a riot ensued. The angry mob started breaking down barriers and swarmed the field causing the players and officials to abandon the game. In an effort to stop the rioting, police threw tear gas and released dogs into the crowd.  Hundreds of spectators were crushed and trampled as the crowd charged towards the exits to escape.  Children and women were thrown to the ground, but the uncontrolled mob pushed on.  Some fans broke down a section of the wire barrier surrounding the pitch and set fire to benches and terraces. A wall was kicked down in an attempt to invade the field and get at the referee.  The pitch was littered with stones, bottles, and cushions.  A group of people set fire to buses and cars but scattered when police rode in on horseback.  Soon reinforcements arrived for the outnumbered police and a large number of arrests were made. For three hours, youths rioted and set fire to houses and businesses. Twenty-one prisoners managed to escape from the Lima prison.  Thousands of people swarmed hospital entrances looking to see if their loved ones were among the dead or injured.  The extent of a disaster like this at a soccer match has only been surpassed once and that was at a game in Moscow in 1982.

The Driskill Hotel ( Suggested by and researched by Whitney Land)

The Driskill Hotel was built in Austin, Texas and it's no surprise that this location was chosen as it is the terminus of the Southern most route of the Chisolm Trail. The hotel was built in the late 1800s and serves guests to this day. It emanates a timeless charm and the hotel claims that "every room tells a story." There are stories here for more than just the living. Some consider this to be the most active paranormal location in Austin. There is a legend of suicidal brides and there are spirits of others who have died here. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Driskill Hotel.

Austin is the capitol of Texas. The earliest residents here were believed to be the Clovis Culture who lived here during the Ice Age. The Tonkawa Tribe were here before the first immigrants arrived from Sweden, Germany and Mexico. The original settlement was named Waterloo. Texas fought for its independence from Mexico in 1835 and 1836 and became its own country after winning. In 1839, the government of Texas decided to find a place to establish its capital and Waterloo was chosen and the name was changed to Austin. A fourteen block grid plan was platted out and a one-story capitol was built. Disputes with the nearby Native American tribes ended and growth began to expand the town.

Jesse Lincoln Driskill was born in 1824 in Tennessee. The family was Irish and descended from the O'Driscolls. Jesse moved to Missouri when he was 23 and he met and married his wife Nancy there. They relocated to Bastrop, Texas and got into the merchandising business.That lasted for a short time and the Civil War began, spurring him to enter the cattle business in 1857. He provided the Confederate Army with meat throughout the Civil War, almost going broke after being paid for his product in Confederate dollars. But Driskill built back up his herds and became a well known cattle baron. This helped him to purchase land. He purchased an entire city block that was a corner plot of land located at Brazos and Pecan, modern day 6th street, in Austin for $7,500. This would be the site for his "Hotel of Dreams."

The four story Romanesque style hotel, built by Jesse Lincoln Driskill in 1886, was designed to be the "Finest Hotel South of St.Louis." Half a block in size, it's design features three arched entry ways and carved limestone busts of Driskill and his two sons- Bud and Tobe. Six million bricks went into the building facade plus additional limestone accents. The main hotel has sixty rooms, with twelve corner rooms that each have their own attached baths (an almost unheard of feature for hotels of the region and time). The lobby of the hotel was designed in grand Southern style, with mounted taxidermy adorning the walls, as well as carpet that bears the emblems of different cattle brands. Driskill hired the finest builders of the time, accruing a cost of $400,000!

After completion, a room was available for between 2.50 and 5.00 dollars a night, which was rather steep in comparison to other hotels of the time. The Austin of this era was still very much a frontier town. Native Americans were still living in the area and mostly everything to the West was wild country. The inhabitants of the city of Austin included cattle drivers, cowboys, outlaws and all kinds of miscreants. This might help listeners to understand why the hotel was built with a completely separate entrance for women, enabling them to avoid the rough-and-tumble cattlemen who notoriously occupied the main lobby!

Driskill's success was not long lasting, however. In 1887, barely a year after opening, the hotel was forced to close after half of the staff was poached by the Galveston Beach Hotel. In 1888, adding insult to injury, a late spring freeze on the Northern Plains killed off most of Driskill's remaining cattle. It devastated his finances and his family lost their fortune. Three thousand head of cattle perished and he could no longer afford to keep up his payments. Legend has it the hotel was gambled away in an 1888 game of poker with his brother-in-law, Jim Day, who became the hotel's second owner. Jesse Driskill never recovered from this devastating loss, dying of a stoke only two years later.

The hotel changed hands many times over the years, going through drastic improvements and still always being sold at a loss. In the 1930s, the hotel underwent renovations that led to the construction of an additional 13 story tower that still exists and is in use today. In 1950, air conditioning was added and the grand sky-lit rotunda that had provided ventilation previously, was removed. It wasn't long, however, before the hotel faced one of it's biggest problems yet. Demolition. In 1969, it almost faced the wrecking ball after a planned renovation fell through. Last minute, a non-profit group raised the needed $900,000 to save the hotel and had it designated as a historical landmark. The hotel re-opened in 1972 and has been successful ever since. In 2013, the hotel was purchased by Hyatt Hotels and they continue to operate it under the name Driskill. It is a grand and beautiful hotel that includes elaborate bridal suites, vast ballrooms, and two restaurants. It was used in the movie Miss Congeniality, being represented as the St.Regis in Manhattan.

The Driskill has had it's share of important visitors over the years. These visitors include Amelia Earhart, Louis Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Paul Simon, Sandra Bullock, and the Dixie Chicks. President Johnson and his wife “Ladybird” had a life-long love affair with the hotel and went on their first date in the cafe downstairs. LBJ made the Driskill his election headquarters and awaited the results of his presidential election in the Jim Hogg suite.

While famous guest are interesting, one of the more fascinating pieces of history is the fact that two attempted murders occurred at the Driskill. In 1903, there was the attempted assassination of ex-governor James Steven Hogg in the rotunda of the hotel. It was a poor attempt by a drunken assailant who was a well known rail road attorney. He was angry at having been called a lobbyist. He was apparently disarmed and sent back to his room at the hotel, where he was staying. The second attempt came a few years later, in 1908. Two lawyers had angered each other the previous day in court and after knocking back a few drinks at the hotel bar, they drew their guns and shot at each other in the lobby. They both managed to hit each other, but they survived. Hotel guests are said to have hid behind the large columns in this area of the hotel during the shoot out.

Arguably one of the most beautiful rooms of the hotel- the Maximilian room was originally the men's smoking lounge. In the 1930s eight beautiful mirrors were purchased from an antique shop in San Antonio. These mirrors were originally intended as a gift for the Empress Carlota, from her husband, then Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian the I. His Mexican empire was short lived, however, and many governments refused to recognise him, including the United States, considering his rule of Mexico to be a puppet regime of France. French armies withdrew from Mexico in 1866 and Max's empire collapsed. He was captured in 1887 and executed by Benito Juarez, the president of the Republic of Mexico. His wife fled and their home and belongings were looted.

Carlota apparently loved her husband deeply, and after he was executed,  her mental state rapidly declined. She lived the rest of her life in seclusion in what is now Italy, and then Belgium. She loved her late husband until her death. All this time reportedly treasuring every item that her and Maximilian had shared together. Reports of her insanity vary and are hard to verify. But it is said that as she aged her illness receded. Carlota was struck down by an influenza induced bout of pneumonia at the age of 86, in 1927. It would be only three years until the Driskill would acquire the mirrors that were intended to be gift to Carlota from her beloved husband. Eight gold leaf, sterling and crushed diamond mirrors that now hang in the grand Maximilian ballroom, each one bearing the bust of a young, beautiful Carlota.

And this is where our ghost stories begin. There are tales of Carlota's ghost haunting the Maximilian room. A wedding photographer setting up his equipment one day thought a bride had entered the room prematurely. Wondering why she was wearing a period costume instead of traditional bridal wear he turned again to speak with her, but she was gone. It was then that he couldn't help but notice the young ladies resemblance to the busts that adorn each mirror.

The spirit of “The Colonel” (a nickname bestowed upon Driskill by the Confederates during the war) supposedly still haunts the hotel. He leaves behind the smell of lingering cigar smoke in guests rooms. He has appeared to a few guests as a full bodied appartion as well. He apparently appears to show himself to females. He even has a song attributed to him. In 1992, Concrete Blonde released their album- Walking in London, which included a song called “Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man”. This song is a musical homage to Col. Driskill. The band's lead singer, Johnette Napolitano, recounted in an interview with the Houston Press, that she told her band the hotel was haunted because someone kept turning the lights in her room on and off when she stayed there. Incidentally, the drummer for Sting was hanging out with the drummer from Concrete Blonde in the hotel bar and said that he'd heard a woman tell the exact same story the night before, except this woman said the ghost had grabbed her.

Napolitano is not the only musician to have experiences of a supernatural nature at the Driskill. Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics tells a story about staying at the Driskill while on tour. Having laid out two different dresses on the bed, unable to decide which to wear that night, she took a shower. Upon getting out she discovered only one dress on the bed, the other now packed away. She took this as a sign and wore the dress left out on the bed. And one has to wonder who made that choice for her.

One of the most prevalent, yet hard to verify stories, is about room 525 and it's double suicide brides. The brides took their lives, both in the same room, yet twenty years apart. The first story goes that following her groom calling off the wedding, a Houston bride drove his car to Austin and rented a room at the Driskill. She then went on a shopping spree with his credit card. Guests reported seeing a woman overloaded with shopping bags exiting the elevator on her floor. That was the last time she was seen alive. A few days later a hotel maid, noting that the woman had not left or been seen in several days, went into room 525. Upon entering the bathroom she found the bride, dead in the tub. Apparently of a self inflicted gunshot wound that she muffled with a pillow. Adding credibility to this story are the hotel's 18 inch thick walls, which Driskill built for privacy as well as fire prevention.

Her ghost has been seen by guests at the hotel when that area was under renovation. Two women saw a female guest, overloaded with shopping bags making her way to the room on a floor with heavy construction going on. One of the women asked her “Doesn't all the noise bother you?” to which she replied “no, it doesn't”. Upon checking out she asked the front desk why someone would be staying in a part of the hotel undergoing renovations he assured her that no one would be staying there. Insistent that she saw someone enter a room, and now becoming alarmed, the desk clerk took her to the room to investigate. Upon opening the door there was no furniture and everything was covered in plastic.

The second suicide bride is from an earlier time. This is the best we could do as the hotel does not give specific dates for either of the infamous jilted brides. She was staying at the Driskill in preparation of her wedding. Her husband-to-be called everything off the night before they were supposed to be married and she hung herself in room 525. Whitney also found Room 427 in some resources. This room of the hotel was sealed off for many years due to “renovations” but is now available again to stay in. The brides are believed to have taken their lives in the bathroom and this is where most people claim to have experiences. Room 525 is rumored to be the most haunted area of the hotel.

One of the most famous ghostly tales claims that in 1887, a senator's four year old daughter named Samantha was playing with a ball on the main staircase when she fell to her death on the marble floor below. Guests report hearing a child's laughter and what sounds like a ball bouncing near that staircase. There is a painting of a pretty young girl in the hotel that is linked to this tale. It's said that it was commissioned and hung after she died, but this painting is a modern day replica of another painting called “Love Letters” by British artist- Charles Trevor Garland. Replicas of it can be found on many items, including mouse pads. People claim that staring at the portrait makes them nauseous and some claim they feel as though they are lifting upward.

Another suicide is reported to have happened at the hotel on the fourth floor. It was apparently a woman, but no one knows which room or why she killed herself. Guests report hearing a woman whispering on the fourth floor when there is no one around. Hotel staff claim that they hear the disembodied cried of a woman on that floor. The spirit of a female is glimpsed out of the corner of the eye by many people.

The Driskill Hotel has stood here for well over a century and despite many times when it could have been lost to the wrecking ball, it has survived as a Texas landmark. Its legends have survived as well. Does the man who built the hotel of his dreams still stay here in the afterlife? Are there ghosts of jilted brides here? Is the Driskill Hotel haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:

Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man video-

Thursday, May 19, 2016

HGB Episode 125 - Golden Lamb Inn

Moment in Oddity - Ruston Triangular Lodge
by: Bob Sherfield

Sir Thomas Tresham was a Roman Catholic during a period of English history when to hold such beliefs and refuse to convert to Protestantism was a crime. During the latter years of the 16th century, Tresham spent almost 15 years imprisoned for being a recusant as well being fined a figure of some £8000 (equivalent to £1.6 million today.) Upon his final release from imprisonment in 1593, Tresham decided he wanted to construct a building that would act as a protestation of his faith. And so Rushton Triangular Lodge was conceived. He didn’t build an extravagant stately home or romantic country manor house, but rather, internally at least, a plain and compact building, suitable for a gamekeeper or someone of similar social standing. Built to represent his belief in the Holy Trinity, the number 3 reoccurs time and again in the design and construction of the folly. Its 3 sides are each 33 feet long with 3 gargoyles mounted at roof level. Its has 3 floors, each with 3 triangular windows and triangular chimneys.  Running around the exterior of the building are 3 Latin inscriptions,
1.    (Isaiah 45:8) Aperiatur terra & germinet Salvatorem:[1] "Let the earth open and … bring forth salvation"
2.    (Romans 8:35) Quis separabit nos a charitate Christi?:[2] "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
3.    (a paraphrase of Habakkuk 3:2[3]) Consideravi opera tua, Domine, et expavi : "I have contemplated thy works, O Lord, and was afraid"
Above the entrance to the lodge is engraved the number 5555. Though the number seems to have no specific meaning, it has been noted that, if you subtract 1593, the year its construction began, you are left with 3962, the date, in BC, which according to the Venerable Bede, the Flood occurred. Numerous other religious carvings adorn the structure, including the seven eyes of God, a pelican in her piety and the Hand of God touching a globe. The chimney displays a lamb and cross, a chalice and the monogram IHS. On each floor the main room is hexagonal, leaving triangular shaped rooms in each corner. The rood of the building features three gables on each side, which are surmounted by three sided obelisks. While it wasn’t unusual for Elizabethans to incorporate “messages” in to their buildings, that a man, who had been fined and imprisoned for his beliefs, would go on to build such a public demonstration of them with such a bizarre structure, certainly is odd.

This Day in History - Anne Bolelyn Executed
by: April Rogers-Krick

On this day, May 19, in 1536, Anne Boleyn knelt upright on a scaffold in the Tower of London on the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII.  Looming over her was an expert swordsman, Jean Rombaud, who had been brought over from France for just this execution. A single stroke from Rombaud’s weapon sliced her head from her body. The date of Anne’s birth is unknown, but on the day of her beheading she was only in her late 20s or early 30s and had been Queen of England for three short years. Anne was just a teenager when King Henry VIII fell in love with her.  At the time he was married to Queen Catherine of Aragon and had been for 24 years.  Catherine had failed to produce a male heir.  Becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of a male heir, Henry started looking for a different woman to mother a son.  In 1525, he began to pursue Anne, who was one of the Queen’s maids.  Unlike the numerous other girls, including her sister Mary, Anne refused Henry’s advances. At this time England was still Catholic and Henry had to ask Pope Clement VII to annul his marriage to Catherine.  The Pope refused. Making a long story short, Henry severed ties with the Roman church and declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England.  Now he reigned oved England’s political and religious lives.  In 1533 he divorced Catherine. Henry and Anne finally married, after eight years of political and religious turmoil.  Anne quickly became pregnant but later that year when the baby was born a red-haired girl, Henry was devastated.  Anne’s intelligence, wit and political nous did not make things easier for her.  The public felt Catherine was the rightful Queen, and Anne was nothing but a whore who had bewitched the King.  Many miscarriages followed and this served as proof to the public that she might just be a witch or the Lord had cursed their union. The King’s advisors were no help.  They created an atmosphere of mistrust, whispered betrayals, religious superstition, and plotting.  Anne knew her downfall was inevitable she had no son to protect her and the King becoming increasingly desperate lost interest in her.  Wanting to be rid of Anne, outrageous charges of high treason, incest and adultery were made up.  What was to be a travesty of justice Anne was found guilty.  The only mercy Henry showed was to have her executed in the swift and humane sword-swinging French style rather than a drawn out and nasty burning of the stake. With no other way for a savvy, spirited woman to better herself other than marriage, Anne was a victim of the men who surrounded her.  She was used as a pawn by her father as he sought power of his own, used by the King to mother sons, and used as a scapegoat by the villainous self-serving court. Regardless of being executed by beheading Anne got the last laugh.  She became a hugely influential figure in English history. She rose from commoner to Queen in a man’s world.  She was the mother of what some consider the finest monarch England has ever had.  She was the reason for England’s break from Catholicism.

Golden Lamb Inn (Suggested by listener Stefanie Martin, Research Assistants Annette Student & Sharon Spungen)

The Golden Lamb Inn is the state of Ohio's oldest hotel. The hotel has been the gathering place for residents of Lebanon for over 200 years. Through the years, it has changed ownership and names and hosted a variety of presidents and famous people. But the one constant has been the symbol for which it is named: the Golden Lamb. The deep history of this inn includes a connection to war, stage coaches and much more, which has led to rumors of hauntings at the establishment. For some guests, more than just their signature's remain at the inn. Their spirits seem to have remained. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Golden Lamb Inn.

Ichabod Corwin, Silas Hurin, Ephraim Hathaway, and Samuel Manning founded Lebanon, Ohio, in 1802. When they platted the town, made up of 100 lots, only two cabins had been built. Ichabod Corwin's cabin, built on Broadway, was Lebanon's first home. In 1802, Ephraim Hathaway purchased the structure from Corwin and opened Lebanon's first business, The Black Horse Tavern, a stagecoach stop along the way to Cincinnati, in the building. In 1826, Hathaway replaced the log cabin with a brick building. At different times it was known as the Ownly Hotel, the Bradley House, Lebanon House, and the Stubbs House. When added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 12, 1978, it was called the Golden Lamb.

In 1803, Jonas Seaman and his wife, Martha, along with their children arrived in Lebanon. Seaman was born in New Jersey, where his father, William, owned a tavern in Hopewell. After his arrival in Lebanon, Seaman built a two-story log building on lots he purchased from Ichabod Corwin. The lots were located on Broadway, at the crossroads of the north-south and east-west route through town, making it an ideal stagecoach stop. On December 23, 1803, Seaman paid $4.00 to secure a license from the Warren County Court, to operate a house of Public Entertainment. It's unknown when the tavern was first named The Golden Lamb. It was a common practice for early businesses to hang gaily painted signs to attract travelers. Since many people could not read, the signs were often pictorial, often with animal illustrations, such as geese, pigs, and sheep, so having a golden lamb on a sign was not unusual. Martha, who was industrious, thrifty, and a good cook, helped the inn become successful. They employed a few servants to help with spinning and weaving, churning, soap making, washing, and ironing. They had vegetable gardens, pig-pens, and chicken-houses behind their inn. Guests were served plentiful, good, pioneer food obtained from the Seaman's vegetable gardens, pig-pens, and chicken-houses behind the inn, along with deer, bear, wild turkey, hot corn bread, and old fashioned apple butter. The inns stables, which faced Main Street, provided shelter for guests horses. They soon became known as a good place for a meal and to spend the night. After Lebanon's first court house was built across from the inn in 1805, the Seaman's tavern became even more popular. It was a gathering place for lawyers and politicians, some of them prominent in Ohio's legislature and courts. The taverns public rooms became a gathering place where world news was exchanged and discussed and where messages and letters could be sent and/or received.

Financial problems plagued the nation in the nineteenth century. The cost of living continued to rise. Tavern licenses, which cost $4 in 1803, rose to $10 in 1805. Debts and the ability to collect them concerned all businessmen, including tavern and inn keepers. Despite the success of his tavern, Seaman had a lot of outstanding debt, which prevented him from paying his debts. In an attempt to collect the outstanding debts, Seaman put an advertisement in The Western Star in 1807, but it proved unsuccessful. He was forced to take out a mortgage, but still was unable to pay his debts, so in 1809 a public sale was held. Lebanon became a meeting place for troops raised in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont, and Warren during the War of 1812. The added activity and apparent prosperity did not help the Seamans, who were forced to finally give up their tavern.

Ichabod Corwin purchased the Seaman's tavern and in 1815, replaced the log structure with a brick building to house his tavern. For short periods over the next five years, Ephraim Hathaway, A. Hill, and several others operated the tavern. After their arrival in Lebanon in early 1820, Henry and Mary Share became the proprietors of the famous and successful hotel and tavern. They operated it together until Henry's death in 1830; then Mary operated it alone for seven years. By this time, the tavern had truly become a house of public entertainment. Advertisements announced plays, animal acts, and freaks performing at the tavern. Since Lebanon had no theatre and not many public buildings where entertainers could perform, the tavern became the town's first theatre. Plans for Ohio's canals, good roads, railroads, and bridges were discussed in the hotel's parlors. Celebrations and political rallies were common occurrences. For a week in 1827, the hotel housed three prominent foreign guests: Lord Demnan and Lord Dennison, members of the House of Lords in England, and The Earl of Derby, who was Lord Stanley at the time, and later Prime Minister of England.

For many years, the Golden Lamb had competition from The Indian Chief, a tavern located on Main Street behind the Court House. William Ferguson was proprietor of The Indian. Both hotel/taverns were stage stops. Coaches from Sandusky to Cincinnati stopped at The Golden Lamb and coaches from Lancaster to Cincinnati stopped at The Indian. After Ferguson's death in 1831, The Golden Lamb once again became the premier hotel in town, with professional men and tradesmen locating their businesses near the hotel.

In 1837, Mary sold The Golden Lamb to John and Aaron Pauly, who kept it for only a short time. One of the biggest events during the tavern's early history was the elaborate dinner served on June 9, 1840, to celebrate the arrival of the first canal boat in Lebanon. Isaac Stubbs purchased the tavern in February 1841, for $3,150. One month later, he sold it to Calvin Bradley for $6,700, and the tavern became known as The Bradley House. Bradley was well-known and remembered for many years after his death as being a genial host, who provided fine food, splendid banquets, and gracious hospitality. One of his famous early guests was 30-year-old Charles Dickens, who arrived by coach from Cincinnati on April 20, 1842, with his wife, Catherine and her maid. Dickens kept a journal of his first trip to America, which later became the basis of his book, American Notes, published that year in October. He noted in his journal, that they arrived at The Bradley House around 1 p.m. and dine shortly after with the boarders in the hotel. Beverage choices were coffee and tea, because it was a Temperance Hotel. After ordering a Brandy and being refused, Dickens wrote in his journal, This preposterous forcing of unpleasant drinks down the reluctant throats of travelers is not at all uncommon in America. After the meal and a change of horses, the Dickens' party continued its all night long journey to Columbus, Ohio.

In 1846, Bradley moved to Cincinnati, where he opened the Western Hotel. Isaac Stubbs reposed the building, which he and his heirs owned until 1914. Stubbs, a Quaker from Georgia, was a prosperous businessman, who was engaged in many ventures. On March 7, 1845, he placed the following advertisement in The Western Star, "That Valuable Tavern Stand, long known as The Golden Lamb Hotel, now The Lebanon House, in the town of Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, is now for rent, or for sale. The House has lately been enlarged, and is in the first state of improvement. The Stabling, which is new, is large and commodious, and the whole premises well worth the notice of those who may wish to purchase or rent property of this kind." Stubbs, also advertised that a considerable amount of furniture used in the house could be purchased.

On August 6, 1847, Samuel Egbert advertised that he was the manager of The Golden Lamb and on October 29, 1847, E. A. Wiles, advertised he was the manager of The Lebanon House. Business apparently was prosperous, because new additions were frequently made over the years. In April 1854, Stubbs added a three-story wing on the north side of the original building. The 1860 U.S. Census lists Abner S. Ross, Jr., as the hotel manager. In November 1865, the newspaper announced a change of managers. In 1870, the newspaper announced William H. Hart secured a long term lease for The Lebanon House, then a little later announced that Hart was retiring and John Evans assumed the lease for The Lebanon House. Evans informed the paper he was selling the hotel. In order for the hotel to be a profitable operation, Isaac Stubbs realized an owner-manager was essential, so his son, Albert, became the manager and was associated with the hotel for 36 years. He called it  The Stubbs House for awhile, but changed it back to The Lebanon House, which was more familiar to the traveling public.

In 1878, Stubbs added a fourth story to the hotel to accommodate men building the railroad. The hotel's popularity continued to grow over the years. Over the years, 12 Presidents have either eaten or stayed at the hotel. President John Quincy Adams and President Martin Van Buren were the only presidents who visited after their term in office. Other Presidents who visited were: Rutherford B. Hayes during his first campaign for Governor of Ohio;  James A. Garfield and William McKinley visited the hotel several times during their Presidential campaigns; Warren G. Harding visited twice - once during his unsuccessful run for governor of Ohio and then for his successful run for United States Senator; 17-year-old Ulysses S. Grant visited Lebanon while tour Ohio before attending West Point in Spring 1839; William Howard Taft, visited Lebanon to attend the funeral of Justice George R. Sage and served as one of 12 honorary pallbearers; while governor of California, Ronald Reagan visited to campaign for Congressman Donald E. Buz Lukens re-election; and George W. Bush, Jr. is the only president who visited The Golden Lamb during his term in office. He told a crowd in front of the hotel, I am proud to be the first sitting president to have visited here - actually I'm the first standing president today. While campaigning for her husband, George W. Bush, Sr.'s first campaign for president, Barbara Bush spent a night in The Golden Lamb. Other famous people who visited the hotel are: Former U.S. Senator, mayor of New York, and governor of New York DeWitt Clinton; author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain; poet James Whitcomb Riley; author Harriet Beecher Stowe; education reformer and a Massachusetts politician Horace Mann; Jeremiah Morrow, represented Ohio in the United States House of Representative, was a U.S. Senator, and governor of Ohio; and artist Marcus Mote.

Robert Jones and a partner leased The Lebanon Hotel in 1926 and by 1927, he and another partner purchased the hotel. By the end of the year, Jones was the sole owner. His heirs continue to own the hotel today. Jones changed the name back  to The Golden Lamb. The hotel, which had 42 guest rooms and a dining room, was renovated into a restaurant with 10 dining rooms and 18 guest rooms, each named after a U.S. President or prominent person, who visited the hotel. Jones and his wife, Virginia, once again made The Golden Lamb a well-known hotel and restaurant. When the couple retired in 1969, the hotel was leased to the Comisar family, who at the time owned Cincinnati's Maisonette restaurant.Jones died in 1996 and Virginia died in 2004. Their only child, Joan Jones Portman, died in 1994. Her husband, William C. Portman, died 2010. His three children: U.S. Senator Rob Portman, Virginia Portman Amis, and William C. Portman III inherited hotel building, which they still own. Stevens Hospitality, run by Steven W. and Steven D. Mullinger, became the owners and operators of The Golden Lamb Hotel and Restaurant. The Mullingers and Portmans invested over $7 million in renovations, including a new kitchen. The Golden Lamb is currently being managed by The Phoenix Restaurant Group from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Many of the guests and employees at the Inn have had strange experiences, leading many to believe that the hotel is haunted. Two night auditors have had paranormal encounters. One witnessed several chairs in the closed dining room fall over all at once. The other auditor looked over at the staircase one evening while working and saw a little girl standing there. The site was unusual for the middle of the night as there were no adults around. Suddenly, the child disappeared. The Golden Lamb is believed to be haunted by a little girl. Some believe her to be Sarah, the niece of the Inn's manager Isaac Stubbs, others think she is Henry Clay's daughter Eliza who did expire at the Inn due to a terrible fever. One housekeeper is confident that Sarah is the spirit. She heard a tricycle coming down the hall one day. A young voice said, "Sarah's back." She ran to the hall, but saw no one and nothing out there. An employee named Geri told Cincinnati's City Beat that she had heard an authoritative disembodied male voice call out, "Sarah!" She was sure it was Sarah's grandfather. The strange thing is that Sarah did not die at the Inn. She grew up, got married and died at a ripe old age. Was her stay here imprinted on the location somehow? Many items are heard falling off the walls in Sarah's Room as well.

Clement Vallandigham was a political force in Ohio during the Civil War Era. He was a Democrat who opposed President Lincoln and he believed that the South should be allowed to secede. He did not believe that violence should be used to keep the nation together. The Democrats who supported this position were called Peace Democrats. General Ambrose Burnside issued an order in Ohio that outlawed anyone showing sympathy to the enemy violating the freedom of speech of fellow Americans. Vallandigham was found in violation and Burnside had him arrested. He was sentenced to jail until the war ended, but President Lincoln commuted the sentence to exile in the Confederacy to prevent Peace Democrats from rising up. Vallandigham left the Confederacy after a few weeks and headed to Canada. He returned before the war ended and later headed the Ohio Democrat Party. He was a lawyer as well and would meet his ultimate end while defending a client. Vallandigham was discussing the case with an associate.He had two guns on the table, one loaded, the other not. A local paper describes what happened next, “[He] picked up a revolver and putting it in his right pocket, drew it out far enough only to keep the muzzle touching his body and snapped the hammer. The weapon exploded and sent its deadly missile into the abdomen at a point almost corresponding with that in which Meyers was shot. Mr. Vallandigham exclaimed that he had taken up the wrong pistol.” He died the next morning on the second floor in a parlor at the Golden Lamb Inn. Vallandigham was trying to prove that his client did not murder the victim and that rather, the victim had shot himself accidentially. His demonstration, while fatal, did result in the acquittal of his client.The spirit of the lawyer seems to have remained. His profile has appeared in a photo taken of a second story window. A manager believes she has heard the spirit sigh behind her. The manager said, “I turned around fast because it scared me, but there was no one there. The server hadn’t seen or heard anything, but I know what I heard. It was a human sound, maybe a man. After all these years something finally happened to me. I couldn’t believe it.” A server and a housekeeper saw full bodied apparitions of a man resembling Vallandigham.

Civil War General, William Sherman has a connection to the Golden Lamb. His father, Charles R. Sherman, was an Ohio Supreme Court Justice when he stayed at the Inn in 1929. He died suddenly during his stay at the age of forty-one. He left his wife and eleven children penniless and she had to give most of the children up for adoption. General Sherman was one of those children. He was raised by a neighbor named Thomas Ewing. Could this fact have left his father guilt-ridden and thus trapped here in the afterlife? Visitors sometimes claim to see a gaunt grey man and smell cigar smoke that is attributed to his spirit.

The gift shop has had its share of unexplained occurrences. One employee thinks she attracts spirits to her. There is a shelf in the shop lined with stuffed animals. Many times when this employee would pass the shelf, those stuffed animals would launch themselves toward her. And not just one at a time. It would be the entire shelf full all at once. This was witnessed once by another shop employee. This witness had an experience involving the cash register. She was talking to a guest about the supposed ghosts at the hotel and she said she did not believe there really were any ghosts. All of a sudden, the register started spitting out a receipt with a bunch of gibberish key strokes.

A blogger at the website All Stays wrote, "In addition, we not only experienced some "weird lighting effects" in our room when we stayed there, but we believe we brought home an other-worldly visitor from TGL, who spent a month or more hiding--and then replacing--various things from our home until, on a hunch, we finally asked it to stop! (It complied and/or left our home immediately after that request...)"

Chris Moody, who spent a night in the Harriet Beecher Stowe room at The Golden Lamb, wrote about his stay on the Internet on August 8, 2012. He wrote that Sarah Stubbs original room was the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, located at the top of stairs on the fourth floor, but she was forced into a different room and was furious and has since returned to haunt her childhood home. Moody's only ghostly experience were loud footsteps on the floor in the room above his. On the way to his room, he passed a busy maid, who immediately spotted his voice recorder and notepad. "Are you a ghost hunter?" she asked, and offered a word of caution. "The doors to the TV case pop open all the time and it's not the latch," she warned. "Because I've had the maintenance man check the latch. The phone in the haunted room doesn't work either, the maintenance guy has checked that, too."

There were only a few people staying in the entire hotel that night, including one person sleeping in The Ronald Reagan Room on the fourth floor with Moody. While having dinner in the hotel restaurant, Moody quizzed the staff about their experiences with haunts at The Golden Lamb. His waitress showed him her hand with a nasty scar that stretches across three fingers, which were sliced open when a porcelain sink collapsed on her in the basement. She had just finished telling her colleagues about how all the ghost talk was hogwash when the sink came crashing down. Now she's a believer and keeps her distance. She said she wouldn't go upstairs, downstairs, in the tunnels, nothing. She said, No, thank you. Everybody knows, they don't ask me anymore because I'm not going.

By the end of his stay, Moody met three staff members who refused to venture to the top floor. The manager told Moody that one night, 40 glasses were destroyed when they suddenly fell from the cupboard and crashed onto the ground. She said, I can't explain that one. It was past midnight and the few guests staying overnight have gone to bed and the night auditor is sitting by himself downstairs listening to piano music from the kitchen. Suddenly the peace is broken by the sudden sound of Thump! Thump! Thump! above Moody's head. It stops for a moment and then starts again. He wrote that he had heard stories of past guests saying they hear footsteps in the same room. He was on the top floor of the hotel, but it sound like someone is stomping around directly above him through the ceiling. Then it stopped and didn't happen again.

Are the experiences of all these people just really their overactive imaginations getting the best of them? Are the spirits of some of the guests still checked in? Is the Golden Lamb Inn  haunted? That is for you to decide!