Thursday, October 26, 2017
HGB Ep. 229 - Haunted Cemeteries 5
Moment in Oddity - Piano Playing Teens Get Chlorosis
A German physician named Dr. F. Waetzold published a short essay in 1899 in which he claimed that young girls who played the piano had an increased chance of developing mental disorders. According to Dr. Waetzold, his research had uncovered some alarming links between piano-playing and neurotic disorders. One disorder was chlorosis or ‘green sickness’, which is today known as hypochromic anemia and causes a greenish hue to the skin. The Doctor claimed that girls who studied the piano before the age of 12 were six times more likely to contract chlorosis or neuroses than girls who did not play the piano. He wrote, “It is necessary to abandon the deadly habit of compelling young girls to hammer on the keyboard before they are 15 or 16. Even at this age the exercise should be permitted only to those who are really talented and possessed of a robust temperament.” Apparently, the piano was not the only dangerous musical instrument. He claimed “studying the violin appears to produce even more disastrous results." Either Dr. Waetzold was surrounded by young musicians whose playing hurt his ears to the point he needed an excuse to make them stop or something about his research was decidedly very odd!
This Month in History - Inaugural Voyage on the Erie Canal
In the month of October, on the 26th, in 1825, New York Governor DeWitt Clinton made the inaugural voyage on the Erie Canal. Ground was broken on the canal in 1817. It took eight years to complete at a cost of $7 million and stretched for 363 miles. It was the second longest canal in the world at that time. The canal linked Lake Erie to the Hudson River and Governor Clinton predicted that it would create "the greatest inland trade ever witnessed." Many called the Erie Canal, "Clinton’s Folly" or "Clinton's Big Ditch." It took the Governor nine days to complete his trip along the Erie Canal and at the end he poured a barrel filled with water from Lake Erie into the Atlantic and called it a "wedding of the waters." His prediction about the Canal was right. Shipping costs dropped by 90 percent, settlers flooded west and the canal paid for itself in nine years.
Haunted Cemeteries 5
The three cemeteries we are featuring in this episode are some of the most well known cemeteries in the world. They also happen to be famously haunted. Each has beautiful and ornate monuments and have become favorite spots for taphophiles. Hollywood Forever has become the final resting place for a plethora of deceased celebrities. Some of them haunt the cemetery even today. Greyfriar's Kirkyard has a long history that includes Bloody Mackenzie who apparently still haunts the cemetery. Highgate Cemetery has gorgeous Gothic architecture and a story about a vampire that calls the graveyard its home. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of these three unique haunted cemeteries!
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery sits on 62 acres with over 80,000 gravesites. The cemetery is one of the oldest in Los Angeles and it is the only one in Hollywood. It was founded in 1899 by the Hollywood Cemetery Association and originally called Hollywood Cemetery. At that time there were 100 acres in total, but RKO Studios bought 40 of the acres and built a studio that eventually became Paramount Studios. The graveyard is a veritable who's who of dead celebrities. These celebrity burials include Mickey Rooney, Douglas Fairbanks, Jayne Mansfield's cenotaph, Cecil B. DeMille, Rudolph Valentino, Peter Lorre, Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, Judy Garland, Bugsy Siegel and two of the Little Rascals, Alfalfa and Darla Hood. *Fun Fact: Our moderator Ronda was attacked by the guard duck that is at Johnny Ramone's grave.* There are more than celebrities here. Important historic figures in the building of Los Angeles have their final resting place here as well.
A convicted felon named Jules Roth purchased a 51 percent stake in the cemetery in 1939 and he proceeded to use cemetery funds for personal expenses and luxuries for the next six decades. One of those luxuries was a yacht he claimed would be used for spreading ashes, but it actually became a party boat. The cemetery fell into disrepair and it was so bad that when Cass Elliot was being cremated in 1974, several of the crematory bricks collapsed around her body. Relatives of the interred began moving the bodies of their loved ones and in 1986 a class action lawsuit was filed against Roth. Roth also was racist and would not allow minorities to be buried at the graveyard and this included Hattie McDaniel of "Gone with the Wind" fame. In 1998, Roth died bankrupt. After his burial, it was discovered that the cemetery endowment fund was missing about $9 million.
In 1998, Tyler and Brent Cassity purchased the property for $375,000 and they invested millions in renovations and renamed the site Hollywood Forever. One of the items they added was a granite monument for Hattie McDaniel. The cemetery has become a cultural center and every year features a Dia de los Muertos Festival. Controversy still continued for Hollywood Forever though. Brent Cassidy and his father were indicted for a Ponzi scheme in which they stole $450 million from a funeral company they ran selling pre-burial expenses. The renovation funds for Hollywood Forever came from those stolen funds. The men went to prison in 2010. Tyler Cassity was not charged in the case and his brother Brent sold his interest in Hollywood Forever to a family-owned trust.
We wanted to mention a burial that is special to us and that is Maila Nurmi's grave. She became the first ever television horror host in the 1950s. We all know her as the fabulous Vampira. Vampira was born when Nurmi attended Choreographer Lester Horton's annual Bal Caribe Masquerade in a costume inspired by Morticia Addams in 1953. She made her skin pale white and wore a tight black dress. Television producer Hunt Stromberg, Jr. saw her and knew she would be perfect to host horror movies on the Los Angeles television station KABC-TV. Nurmi's husband Dean Riesner came up with the name Vampira. Nurmi's characterization of Vampira was inspired by the Dragon Lady from the comic strip Terry and the Pirates and the evil queen from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She hosted "The Vampira Show" from 1954-1955. She also appeared in Ed Wood’s cult film, "Plan 9 From Outer Space" among other films. She died of natural causes in 2008 and was buried in the Griffith Lawn section at Hollywood Forever.
Hollywood Forever is incredibly haunted. Many ghosts apparently walk the grounds. One of these spirits belongs to William Randolph Hearst. He isn't buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, but the grave of his mistress Marion Davies is located there and he likes to visit in the afterlife. Rudolph Valentino's grave is the site of an apparition of a woman in a black dress and many claim this woman is Ditra Flame. Ditra had been seriously ill in the hospital when she was a little girl. Valentino was freinds with her mother, so he showed up at the hospital bearing a single red rose. He whispered to her, “You’re not going to die at all. You’re going to outlive me by many years. But one thing for sure—if I die before you do, will you please come and stay by me because I don’t want to be alone either. You come and talk to me.” Valentino was right. Ditra got better and he died a few years later from complications from gastric ulcer surgery. As an adult, she brought red roses to his crypt every year on his death date. She died in 1984 and ever since then, people claim to see a ghost woman in black kneeling in front of Valentino’s tomb. Some visitors have seen a rose just appear in the vase on the wall. Disembodied footsteps have been heard and there is a feeling as though being watched by someone unseen.
Clifton Webb was an actor who appeared in the films "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Laura" and he played Mr. Belvedere in "Sitting Pretty," "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College" and "Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell." He died of a heart attack at the age of 76. He is buried in crypt 2350 in the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum. Visitors claim to see his apparition in a suit at the crypt and to hear whispering voices and see strange flickering lights there as well. There are occasional reports of a cold swirling draft that leaves behind the scent of cologne.
Virginia Rappe was a silent film actress who also was an alcoholic. She died after attending a party hosted by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Her bladder ruptured while at the party and she was rushed to the hospital and died a few days later. The rumors swirling around were that Arbuckle had raped her at the party and that because of his size and the violence of the encounter, her bladder was ruptured. He was even tried for rape and murder. He was acquitted, but his life was ruined. What really happend to Rappe is a mystery. Some say she had a botched abortion. Others claim that she tickled Arbuckle and he accidently kneed her in the abdomen when he jumped. She was buried at Hollywood Forever and it is believed that her spirit is at unrest there because of her tarnished reputation and unsolved death. Witnesses feel cold spots and hear the sounds of a woman sobbing.
Edinburgh, Scotland is considered one of the most haunted cities in all of Europe, particularly with Edinburgh Castle sitting above the city as a type of haunted sentinel. The Castle is said to be the most haunted location in Edinburgh, but Greyfriar's Kirkyard could give the Castle a good fight for that title. Burials have taken place here since the 16th century and the cemetery sits between an old melancholy hospital and a menacing looking prison. The tombstones and statuary are ornate and beautiful. The term "kirk" means "church" and so a kirkyard is a churchyard. A churchyard is a cemetery that is on church property. The church that sits here is named for the Franciscan Friary that originally was located here and managed by the Greyfriars, an order of Franciscan monks. The Franciscan Order originally landed in Canterbury from Italy in the 13th century and spread across what we call the United Kingdom today. The Order was later split into two different groups known as the Conventuals - friars that were in the cities - and the Observants - who wanted to keep the old more isolated ways. The Franciscans in Great Britain became known as Greyfriars.
Roman Catholicism was pushed out of Scotland in the 16th century. A group of people signed covenants in Scotland binding themselves to maintain Presbyterian doctrines and denouncing the Pope and the Catholic Church. They became known as Covenanters and they proved to be a big issue for King Charles I. The National Covenant was signed at Greyfriar's Kirk in 1638 and it was an oath to maintain the reformed religion and reject all superstition of the Catholic Church. When King Charles tried to push new reforms on the Covenanters, they revolted and defeated the King in the Bishops' War. Wars continued and the Covenanters became the de facto government of Scotland. Later, Oliver Cromwell, fighting for the English Parliament, would defeat the Covenanters and by 1652, they were decimated. In 1679, another rebellion was formed, but it was knocked down once again and 1200 Covenanters were taken prisoner and put into the Covenanters' Prison at Greyfriar's Kirkyard. Conditions were awful and many were executed. By the end of their imprisonment, only 400 Covenanters were alive and they were sold into slavery, most of them dying when the ship transporting them wrecked.
Sir George Mackenzie, who was a Scottish lawyer, became the Lord Advocate implementing the reforms of King Charles II in Scotland and he was the one who not only imprisoned the Covenanters, but had most most of them executed earning him the title of "Bloody Mackenzie." Prior to this, Mackenzie had been involved in witch trials. Mackenzie died in 1691 and is buried, ironically, in Greyfriar's Kirkyard in a large mausoleum. Reports of Mackenzie's ghost haunting Greyfriar's Kirkyard began in the 20th century after a homeless man decided to seek shelter in Mackenzie's Mausoleum during a rain storm. He had noticed that he could get through an opening in the back of the structure. After he entered, he began to rummage through the coffins like a grave robber and he fell through the flooring that had rotted away, into a pit full of bones. This pit was where plague victims were buried. As is the case in so many cities in earlier centuries, it was impossible to do individual burials during times of plague and so mass burials were conducted. The homeless man ran screaming from the building and now the poltergeist of Mackenzie has been taking out his rage about this desecration on visitors. The ghost injures people to the point of cuts, bruises and even broken bones. Most of these attacks happen in the Covenanter's Prison area, so apparently Bloody Mackenzie has returned to his roots. There is a mausoleum inside the prison called the Black Mausoleum and this is where much of the activity occurs. And if the hundreds of personal reports do not convince people the place is haunted, perhaps the true story of how the Exorcist Colin Grant died shortly after trying to cleanse the entire kirkyard, and particularly the Black Mausoleum, might convince them.
Greyfriar's Bobby is another famous resident at the kirkyard. The story is told of a night watchman named John Gray who took on a Skye Terrier as his partner and named him Bobby. Gray eventually contracted Tuberculosis and succumbed to the disease in 1858. He was buried at Greyfriar's Kirkyard and Bobby took up vigil at his master's grave. He refused to leave, even in bad weather and so the townspeople took care of the dog, bringing him food and water and Bobby would sometimes leave to have a meal at a nearby shop. Bobby kept vigil for fourteen years and then he was buried in the kirkyard and a monument was erected in his honor. The accuracy of this story has been questioned for years and some have surmised that Bobby was just a stray dog that had taken up residence in the graveyard. At the time, many strays would live in graveyards. Whatever is the case, a beautiful monument was built for the dog.
Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839 outside of London. Churches at that time were having a hard time dealing with all the burials, so a plan was implemented to build more cemeteries known as the Magnificent Seven. Highgate was one of them and it was designed by Stephen Geary. The cemetery was dedicated to St. James by Right Reverend Charles Blomfield and burials were sold to people for a limited period or for perpetuity. The graveyard is very Victorian in style with Gothic tombs and it became a very fashionable place to be buried and people enjoyed visiting. Wildlife and wild flowers have made the cemetery home. Notable areas are Egyptian Avenue and Circle of Lebanon and notable burials are Jane Arden, Karl Marx, Elizabeth Siddal, Ellen Wood, Feliks Topolski and William Michael Rossetti. By World War II, the cemetery was abandoned for the most part.
For all of its beautiful monuments and ostentatious memorials, Highgate has a dark side. Rumors of Satanic ceremonies and cult meetings have been rampant. And tales of ghostly experiences have been received by the local newspapers. One man wrote that his car broke down outside of the cemetery. He got out of his car and looked towards the gates of the cemetery and saw an apparition with red eyes. The spirit appeared to be glaring at him and the man was terrified. Some have referred to this as the Devil Ghoul. A spirit on a bicycle was seen by a woman. She was frightened as she watched him make his way up a steep incline. Another ghost was said to be seen wading in a pond. Our infamous Lady in White appears here as well. Could she be the one who is the wailing banshee that many have reported? Another man was knocked to the ground by a creature that swooped down from a wall of the cemetery while he walked down Swains Lane. The creature then disappeared as the headlights from a passing car shone into the cemetery.
Several similar experiences are shared in Westwood and Simpson's The Lore of the Land, "My fiancee and I spotted a most unusual form about a year ago. It just seemed to glide across the park. I am glad someone else has spotted it." And, "To my knowledge the ghost always takes the form of a pale figure and has been appearing for several years." And, "Suddenly from the corner of my eye I saw something move, which seemed to be walking towards us from the gates, and sent us running up Swains Lane as fast as we could."
The most bizarre story about Highgate features a vampire. The Highgate Vampire story dates back to the 1960s. A group of paranormal enthusiasts started investigating the cemetery in the late 60s. One of their members named David Farrant decided to stay overnight on December 21, 1969. Farrant claims in interviews that he saw a very tall and pale figure that appeared to be inhuman with hypnotic eyes. Some time later, a man named Sean Manchester claimed to see a similar supernatural entity. He also said that he found the carcasses of foxes, drained of blood in the cemetery. Manchester came up with an idea that a vampire had been brought to England in a coffin in the 18th century and interred at Highgate. All of the Satanic rituals that took place later, woke up the vampire. Manchester and Farrant became rivals and a public interview of the two caused a frenzy of people vampire hunting in the cemetery. the police had to intervene and kick people out of the cemetery. Both men continued to return to the cemetery with their supporters to find the vampire.
Do several spirits wander around the cool mists of these three cemeteries? Are the ghosts of celebrities hanging out in Hollywood Forever? Is Bloody Mackenzie at Greyfriar's Kirkyard in the afterlife? Does Highgate have a vampire hiding in the darkness? Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!
Saturday, October 21, 2017
HGB Ep. 228 - Poasttown Elementary
Moment in Oddity - El Santo Reveals Face and Dies
Rodolfo Guzman was a Mexican wrestler who went by the stage name El Santo. He competed in the Mexican version of professional wrestling known as lucha libre. In this fast-paced form of wrestling, wrestlers wear colorful masks as part of their persona. El Santo wore a silver mask. In lucha libre, losing ones mask is the ultimate defeat and El Santo took this to the extreme. He wore his mask all the time. His fans, collaborators and crew did not know what he looked like without his mask. He would go so far as to book a different flight for himself than that of his crew to avoid them seeing his face. He also had a special "mealtime" mask with the mouth cut away so that he could eat. He became a cultural figure and symbol of Mexico and the people adored him. El Santo also became a movie star, appearing in 50 movies. Those movies included Santo Faces Death, Santo Vs. the Zombies, Santo Vs. Frankenstein’s Daughter, and Santo Vs. the Vampire Women. In 1984, El Santo finally removed his silver mask publicly, revealing his face to the world on a talk show called "Contrapunto." Not removing his mask for all those years is definitely unusual, but even stranger is the fact that he died 10 days after revealing his face and that, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Mata Hari Executed
In the month of October, on the 15th, in 1917, World War I spy Mata Hari was executed by a French firing squad at Vincennes Barracks, outside Paris. Mata Hari was born Margaretha Gertruida Zelle in 1876. Her father left the family and her mother died when Mata was 15. She married Rudolph John MacLeod, an officer in the East Indies Army, when she was 18. He was abusive and she wrote of him that he “came close to murdering me with the bread knife. I owe my life to a chair that fell over and which gave me time to find the door and get help.” She left him and went to France to start a new life. That new life found her working as a prostitute and exotic dancer. She took the name of Mata Hari at this time for the stage. The legend of Mata Hari claims that she was a femme fatale who spied for the Germans during World War I leading to the deaths of thousands of Allied soldiers. The truth is that she did not divulge any important information to the Germans. But her travels and relationships put her under scrutiny and the fact that she had relationhips with French officers may have led the French to arrest her and perhaps decide to rid themselves of her. She was found guilty and sentenced to die by firing squad. When she faced the squad on the October day, she denied a blindfold and stared steadfastly at her firing squad. She did not move a muscle.
Poasttown Elementary (Suggested by listener Angela Boley)
Poasttown Elementary School was dedicated in 1937 in Middletown, Ohio. Before a school was located on this spot, there was a train wreck with casualties within a mile of the property. There was no hospital close by, so the field where the school now exists was set up as a triage center. Many believe that the spirits of those who died from the accident still remain on the land and now haunt the school there. Angela Boley is an artist, psychic and paranormal investigator with Big Country Paranormal. She joins us to share a little about the history of the school and a lot about her paranormal experiences inside the school.
On August 18, 1936, the voters of Madison Township passed a bond issue for a consolidated elementary school at Poasttown to replace the township's one-room school. On September 7, 1937, the new school on Franklin-Trenton Road opened although not all the construction was completed The school wouldn't be officially dedicated until April 15, 1938. Pupils were assigned to the new school from Upper and Lower Browns Run, Dubbs, Pike and old Poasttown. There were 200 students at that time.The schoolhouse has a history that is relatively peaceful. One young girl fell three floors down a stairwell and was killed by a serious head injury. Her name was Sarah. The school eventually closed and the building is now owned and operated by Darrell and Brenda Whisman.
The claims of hauntings are numerous. Angela wrote us, "I am with Big Country Paranormal and we have seen full bodied apparitions, (7 foot tall) a door to the roof open and slam shut, black floating masses, white mists, voices, strange glowing lights floating through the rooms, and even a gremlin-like creature! It was built on the ground once used to temporarily lay the dead from a fatal train accident. The janitor died in a fire and it is said a child had a fatal fall near the stairs. There is so much more to tell you and even an episode of Ghost Brothers was filmed there. I saw a full bodied apparition and a goblin like creature while on my first visit! Love to tell you more."
It is hard to believe that an elementary school could be so haunted. Are there both friendly and malevolent spirits walking the halls of the former school? Is Poasttown Elementary haunted? That is for you to decide!
Monday, October 16, 2017
HGB Ep. 227 - Hinsdale House
Moment in Oddity - Air Bombs Reason Behind Bermuda Triangle Disappearances
Suggested by listener Annji Taft
The University of Colorado in Boulder has some scientists who think they have cracked the secret behind the Bermuda Triangle. The culprit behind all of the mysterious disappearances over the decades could be these atmospheric disturbances called air bombs. The meterologists were studying satellite weather images and noticed these unusual hexagonal clouds in them. Clouds don't usually form straight edges, which is what caught their attention. These clouds in the Bermuda Triangle are an exception to that rule. It is thought that these clouds are the air bombs, which are deadly blasts of air that can easily exceed 170 miles per hour. These winds can generate waves of more than 45 feet in height. This would go along with theories that rogue waves might be causing boats to disappear in this region. Is it possible that these winds are breaking up boats and planes so thoroughly that nothing is left behind? And for people who think that the Bermuda Triangle is a thing of the past and no longer relevant, the last disappearance was just in 2015 when the cargo ship "El Faro" disappeared. More research needs to be done on air bombs, but it's a fascinating theory and certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Janis Joplin Found Dead
In the month of October, on the 4th, in 1970, singer Janis Joplin is found dead. Joplin was born in 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas. She loved music and enjoyed singing and joined the band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966. Joplin was wild with a very distinctive and raw voice. She brought attention to the group and got them a recording contract. Their first big hit was "Piece of My Heart." And while the band and Joplin were rising to the top of rock stardom, Joplin was falling heavily into drugs and alcohol. Her drug-fueled performances mesmerized fans, but her band mates were not pleased. Soon Big Brother and Joplin parted ways. She continued with her success as a solo act. Her most popular songs were "Down on Me", "Ball 'n' Chain","Summertime","Me and Bobby McGee","Mercedes Benz" and "Piece of My Heart." The road manager for the band she was recording with before her death, went to the Landmark Hotel to see why she hadn't shown up at the studio and he found her dead on the floor in her hotel room. She had overdosed on a potent hit of heroin. Even though she passed away at the age of 27, she is still one of the top-selling musicians in the United States with 15.5 million albums sold in the USA.
A rather nondescript and falling apart farmhouse in Hinsdale, New York has been described as one of the most haunted places in the state. The house has a mysterious history and unexplained paranormal activity that eventually led to an exorcism being performed. Many families have tried to live in the house, but not many have stayed. The experiences of one of those families, the Dandys, was featured on a 2006 episode of "A Haunting." Paranormal Investigator and co-host of the Curiosity Radio Show Tim Shaw joins us again to talk about this creepy location. Tim was actually featured on the Paranormal Lockdown episode about Hinsdale House.
Clara and Phil Dandy moved into the farmhouse with their children in 1973. They stayed for a little over a year and in that time, they experienced some crazy paranormal activity if they are to be believed. Initially, the sounds that they heard didn't bother them. They figured it was an older farmhouse settling. As activity started to ramp up, they thought that perhaps their imaginations were a little over active. Then they started seeing full-bodied apparitions that included our infamous Lady in White. Stranger still are the claims by the family that they saw bizarre animal-human hybrids. The haunting then turned violent with objects levitating and throwing themselves. On one occasion, a lamp threw itself at one of the Dandy's daughters.
One of the more frighting stories the family would go on to tell was of a night when they noticed a group of strange faces staring in their windows. However, when Mr. Dandy ran outside to chase away the trespassers, the faces reversed and were then peering back at him from the inside of the house. They eventually called the Catholic Diosese and Father Alphonsus, a priest from St. Bonaventure University, came to the house to perform an exorcism. A paranormal investigation group joined him and all the witnesses claimed that the paranormal activity was the strongest that it had ever been during the exorcism. When it didn't work, he returned again and performed another cleansing. None of the exorcisms eradicated whatever spirits were haunting the place and the Dandy's finally gave up on their dream home. A 2006 episode of "A Haunting" on the Discovery Channel, featured the Dandy's experiences with the Hinsdale House.
Author Paul Kenyon befriended the family and became a caretaker at the house after they left. He documents the Dandy's story and his own experiences in a book he published in 2009 called "You Know They're Here." He returned to the house as he was writing the book and the current owners at that time said they had some activity, but nothing like what the Dandy's described. He writes in the book about a phenomenon we had never heard of before: ground lights. Here is what he wrote, "One puzzling new development, very puzzling for myself, which has been experienced by many is that of strange ground lights that appear. They are extremely bright and either fade out slowly or are gone in the blink of an eye.The lights mainly appear on the ground with no apparent source and are totally baffling. We experienced one recently only 15 feet from us at the edge of the road. Two of us ran directly toward it as it began to fade out. There was absolutely no source whatsoever for this strange light and we stood in the exact spot it had appeared."
Kenyon also goes on to talk about connections to the land that could be causing the haunting. There is a hanging tree on the property from which a woman was hanged. He also claims 1,100 Indians were murdered on the premises long ago and that a shaman burial site is located just above the Hinsdale House. A stagecoach way station also used to be near the hanging tree and it toppled over in 2007. An innkeeper murdered people there. The last people to physically live in the Hinsdale House were Joe and Florence Misnik. They left the house when they both passed away, which they did just a few months apart from each other. They didn't seem to have any experiences. This maybe backs up the idea that it is the land and not the house that is haunted.
Few paranormal investigators have entered Hinsdale House without having some kind of experience. Is it possible that something connected to the land has taken up residence in the home? Is Hinsdale House haunted? That is for you to decide!
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
HGB Ep. 226 - The Legend of Lilith
Moment in Oddity - How Whitstable Came To Be
There was a time long ago, when Canterbury was a great center of pilgrimage. With the arrival of so many people, came lots of money. And sometimes lots of money brings sin. For Canterbury, it became quite rich and very sinful. It was so bad there that the Devil himself felt justified in carrying the village off to Hell. But he was unable to do that for one reason. Prayers were being offered up at the shrine of Thomas a Becket. One night, the priests were derelict in the duties and forgot to pray. The Devil took his chance and swooped up a great number of homes and dropped them into the sea on the north coast of Kent. He grabbed a second armful and dumped them in the same place. Now the cathedral had these bells in it and one was called the Great Harry. St. Thomas himself ran to the Sacristan and told him in a vision to ring that bell. The man obeyed and the sound startled the Devil, causing him to drop his third armful of homes. These landed on the coast. This became the town of Whitstable and they say you can still see the other homes that were dropped under the water. There are many stories of sunken cities in history, but the Devil being the actual cause is strange. And while this might be legend, people have inhabited the Whitstable area since Paleolithic times, so the fact that they even made up this legend about their origins, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - The Twilight Zone Premieres
In the month of October, on the 2nd, in 1959, the television show "The Twilight Zone" premiered. The show was an anthology series, featuring a different story each week with a host of famous actors starring as various characters. The series was created by Rod Serling who was a screenwriter, playwright and producer and has become most well known for his narration of The Twilight Zone. Serling had developed a pilot for what would become The Twilight Zone and submitted it to CBS. It was called "The Time Element" and featured a man who had vivid nightmares of the Pearl Harbor Attack. A twist at the end reveals that the man had died at Pearl Harbor and a psychiatrist that he was talking to is actually having the dreams about him. CBS didn't think the premise would do well, so they handed it over to Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball for their "The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse." Television watchers went nuts and gave CBS so much positive response that they agreed to let Serling go ahead with the pilot for The Twilight Zone. The series aired for five seasons with 156 episodes. most written by Serling. There have been attempts to revive the series, but none has been successful. The series continues to run in syndication.
The Legend of Lilith
Lilith is an enigma. Did she ever actually exist? And if she just was a mythological character, which description of her is accurate? Was she just the shunned first wife of Adam? Was she a demon hellbent on killing babies? Was she a demon in the form of a succubus? Was she a vampire? Or is she simply a model of feminist power worthy of worship in goddess religious practices? On this episode, we are joined by listener Jaime Burcham to explore the different theories on Lilith and get to the heart of the legend of Lilith!
In many circles, Lilith is the oldest female spirit in the world. The most ancient culture to have written records is that of the Sumerians. The Sumerians emerged in Southern Mesopotamia around 5,000 years ago. They were named for their area of habitation, Sumer. Sumer was divided into states and each had its own temple dedicated to a specific patron deity for that state. It is thought that Lilith's name has its origin in the Sumerian language. They called her "Lilitu," which means wind spirit. This was not a good spirit. She was thought to be a demon. The first literary appearance of Lilith is in Tablet XII of the Epic of Gilgamesh that dates back to 2100 BC. In the tale, Lilith is one of three creatures who haunt a great Huluppu tree that could be found in a garden made for the gods. The other two creatures are a bird and a snake. The bird is at the top, Lilith is in the middle and the snake is at the foot of the tree. The hero of the story, Gilgamesh, kills the snake and frightens the other creatures who flee the garden. It's possible that the idea that Lilith was the serpent in the Garden of Eden and that she can fly like a bird with wings, comes from the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Robert Graves and Raphael Patai wrote in the book The Hebrew Myths, ''Adam complained to God: 'I have been deserted by my helpmate.' God at once sent the angels Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof to fetch Lilith back. They found her beside the Red Sea, a region abounding in lascivious demons, to whom she bore lilim at the rate of more than one hundred a day. 'Return to Adam without delay,' the angels said, `or we will drown you!' Lilith asked: `How can I return to Adam and live like an honest housewife, after my stay beside the Red Sea?' 'It will be death to refuse!' they answered. `How can I die,' Lilith asked again, `when God has ordered me to take charge of all newborn children: boys up to the eighth day of life, that of circumcision; girls up to the twentieth day. None the less, if ever I see your three names or likenesses displayed in an amulet above a newborn child, I promise to spare it.' To this they agreed; but God punished Lilith by making one hundred of her demon children perish daily." So basically, the angels decided to not return Lilith to Adam because she would kill his offspring.
Jewish tradition makes her far more than just a tempting snake. She was the first wife of Adam, created in the same way that he was, from the dust of the Earth. This made her equal to him. She demands to be treated equally and when Adam tries to subjugate her, she rebels and is either thrown out of the garden or leaves of her own will. This is not what makes Lilith go to the Dark Side, so to say. It seems that her very essence was infiltrated by darkness from her creation. As though some bit of filth was mingled in with the dust from which God created her. For this reason, she is not only seen as independent in sexuality and spirit, but she brings with her, terror. In this Jewish tradition, her name means "the night."
This darkness within manifests in Lilith's sexuality. She is either thought to have mothered demons by mating with the Devil or fertilized herself in some way with male sperm to create demons. Legend claims that she has mothered hundreds of demons. There are claims that she could cast spells on people and brings with her chaos. Muslim beliefs go with the story that Lilith left Adam and slept with Satan, creating the Djinn. The Testament of Solomon is an apocryphal book and not consider canon, but there is a reference to Lilith within that continues the idea that Lilith is some kind of demonic force. The book was written between 200 and 600 AD. Lilith is portrayed as a demon who strangles children during childbirth. Solomon gets a hold of her and strips her of her power by binding her hair. He then hangs her before all the people. Lilith is also mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran. The Qumran sect was fascinated by demonology and thus, Lilith appears in the Song for a Sage, which was thought to be a hymn used during exorcisms. Here is that passage: “And I, the Sage, sound the majesty of His beauty to terrify and confound all the spirits of destroying angels and the bastard spirits, the demons, Lilith. . ., and those that strike suddenly, to lead astray the spirit of understanding, and to make desolate their heart.”
Numerous examples of talismans and amulets exist that were intended to protect babies from Lilith. Frequently amulets were place in the four corners and throughout the bedchamber. If a child laughed while sleeping, it was taken as a sign that Lilith was present. Tapping the child on the nose, it was believed, made her go away. her daughters the lilim haunted men for over a thousand years. It was well into that Middle Ages that Jews still manufactured amulets to keep away the lilim. Supposedly they were lusty she-demons who copulated with men in all their dreams, causing nocturnal emissions.
Incantation bowls feature Aramaic spells inscribed on them to provide protection from Lilith. One of these bowls is now on display at Harvard University’s Semitic Museum and reads, “Thou Lilith. . .Hag and Snatcher, I adjure you by the Strong One of Abraham, by the Rock of Isaac, by the Shaddai of Jacob. . .to turn away from this Rashnoi. . .and from Geyonai her husband. . .Your divorce and writ and letter of separation. . .sent through holy angels. . .Amen, Amen, Selah, Halleluyah!” The inscription is meant to offer a woman named Rashnoi protection from Lilith. The Greeks adopted the belief of the lilim, calling them Lamiae or Daughters of Hecate. Likewise the Christians adopted the belief, calling them harlots of hell, or succubi, the counterpart of the incubi. At one time, monks protected themselves from these Lilith-like creatures by sleeping with their hands over their genitals and clutching a crucifix.
Lilith started making appearances later in art. For example, Michelangelo portrayed her as a half woman, half serpent being. He placed her at the Tree of Knowledge. Dante Gabriel Rosetti portrayed her as the most beautiful female being in the world. The White Witch in ''The Chronicles of Narnia'' was inspired by the legend of Lilith. The White Witch is the daughter of Lilith and thus she is focused on killing the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. In our modern era, Lilith has enjoyed a resurgence and has become a symbol of feminine power and is worshiped in some circles of Pagan spirituality, particularly Wicca. Astrology interprets Lilith as signifying one's hidden nature, so most likely, their dark side. It is said that she is in the unconscious where psychic demons breed in the darkness of ignorance. When Lilith appears in the natal chart, it is to be used to bring to the conscious mind, any self-defeating patterns of behavior.
Did Lilith ever actually exist? Could she have formed as some kind of tulpa because of the stories and beliefs about her that have carried through for centuries? What are your thoughts about Lilith? Is she some kind of demonic vampire hellbent on killing babies or is she a symbol of female power that scared patriarchal societies? Could she be both? That is for you to decide!
Friday, October 6, 2017
HGB Ep. 225 - Asylum 49
Moment in Oddity - Chinese Guardian Spirit Zhong Kui
Many Chinese households and businesses have the image of a guardian spirit painted upon their gates as a form of protection. That guardian is Zhong Kui and he is a part of Chinese mythology. He is considered a vanquisher of evil beings and ghosts. He is so powerful that it is said he can command 80,000 demons. According to folklore, Zhong Kui traveled with a friend from his home town, Du Ping, to take part in the imperial examinations at the capital. Zhong Kui received high marks, but there was a problem. He was horribly disfigured and so the Emperor stripped him of the title his marks had earned. The young man became angry and committed suicide upon the palace steps by hurtling himself against the palace gate until his head was broken. His friend Du Ping buried him. Zhong Kui was damned to Hell. There, the Hell King saw potential in Zhong Kui when he was judging him. The Hell King gave him the title, King of Ghosts, and he was ordered to forever hunt, capture, maintain and manage ghosts. He returned to his hometown on the Chinese New Year's Eve. To repay Du Ping's kindness, Zhong Kui gave his younger sister in marriage to Du Ping. In America, painting the image of a mythological figure on our homes and businesses for protection against ghosts would certainly be considered, odd.
This Month in History -Tunnel 57 Leads East Germans to Freedom
In the month of October, on the 5th, in 1964, 57 East German refugees ran for freedom under the Berlin Wall and they were successful. This was the largest mass escape at the time, and the most daring. The refugees made their way nervously past a checkpoint and entered a home after giving "Tokyo" as the password. The group removed their shoes and padded silently through the house to a back courtyard where they were directed to enter a disused outside lavatory. Inside was a hole just big enough for a man to fit inside and then that man had to crawl along a tunnel that was two feet high and three feet wide. It was a terrifying journey, but the refugees knew freedom was on the other end. They were fleeing the Communist regime that had taken over East Germany and erected the Berlin Wall, cutting the country off from the world. The tunnel came to be known as Tunnel 57 for the number of refugees who used it that evening to escape. The Berlin Wall finally came down on November 9th in 1989.
Asylum 49 (Suggested by Joe Tamulonis and Robert Foster)
The city of Tooele in Utah has a history of mining, industry and bloody conflicts. The original Mormon pioneers who settled here were not on friendly terms with the local Native Americans. Conflicts arose and much blood was spilled. Over seventy years ago, the Tooele Valley Hospital was built for citizens and military members stationed there. It was closed in 2002 and is now the home for Asylum 49, a haunted house attraction. When the owners of Asylum 49 bought the property with the intention of creating the attraction, they had no idea that their business would literally be haunted. And Asylum 49 is not just a little haunted. It is a lot haunted! The spirits here are friendly, chilling and malevolent. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Asylum 49.
Tooele (too elah), Utah is about thirty minutes southwest of Salt Lake City. Mormon pioneers were the first white men to come to the area and they used it as a wintering ground for their herds. They arrived in the late 1840s and eventually more families joined them and they set up a city along a small stream. There was an issue though. The Goshute tribe was already here. The two groups were soon clashing with each other and the Mormons accused the tribe of rustling their cattle. They decided to attack and both sides lost much blood. Eventually, the Tooele City Corporation was organized in 1853. During the Civil War, the Goshutes were attacked and killed by soldiers led by General O'Connor and they were forced into a peace treaty. They soon were moved off to reservations. The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad brought a line to the town in 1905 and with it came industrialization. Soon a smelter was built and immigrants came from several countries to work there. They built a section of Tooele that they called "New Town." In 1942, the Tooele Army Depot was built to store war reserve and training ammunition. In 1949, the Tooele Valley Hospital was built for the Depot.
The Tooele Valley Hospital was the first modern, state-of-the-art medical facility in the city of Tooele. the hospital opened to fanfare in 1953. Now remember that this state-of-the-art was for the 1950s. So medical care had a long way to go. And even though residents got excellent care, the hospital soon took on an ominous nickname, "Hospital of Death." The Tooele City Cemetery sits next door and it took in plenty of people who passed at the hospital. By the 2000s, it was becoming apparent that the infrastructure was falling apart. Nobody wanted to put money into updating the hospital when a new one could be built, so the building was abandoned in 2002. And when we say abandoned, that means that everything was left in the building as though it were still an operating hospital. Part of the building was re-purposed as a nursing home. The rest sat abandoned until Kimm and Cami Andersen, Dusty Kingston and Sonja Andersen bought the property with the intention of creating a Halloween haunt that is full contact. They named it Asylum 49 and it opened in 2006.
Asylum 49 is full of fake haunts during the Halloween season, but year-round, it is full of real haunts. There are many ghosts here. Some of the spirits seem to belong to people who met their final end here at the hospital, some seem to have enjoyed their jobs here so much that they have returned in the afterlife, others may be venturing over from the nearby cemetery and some may be angry spirits that are attached to the land because of the violent past.Visitors and employees alike have all had experiences. The Andersen family, who owns the property, have experienced strange occurrences from the first day of ownership. Kimm Andersen was walking through the property alone when he ventured into the conference room. As he surveyed the remnants of a previous haunted house hosted by the nursing home, he felt a tugging on his shorts. He looked down and saw with his own eyes, his shorts moving outward as though something invisible were tugging at them. Something the size of a child. He ran from the room.
There are child spirits reputed to be at the former hospital. The main hallway of Asylum 49 is carpeted in green and connects the ER to the maternity wing. Several rooms are off the hallway including the conference room. One of them has made the conference room her home base. This specter is said to belong to a little girl and she has not only made her presence felt by touching people, she has been seen multiple times. Customers at the haunted house will remark how truly creepy the little blonde girl in the conference room is and, of course, no children are employed by Asylum 49. Or perhaps there is one that is employed by the haunt. Kimm, the owner, shares an incredible experience he had with a child ghost during the Halloween season.
He was doing an initial walk through one evening before opening and he couldn't find any of the actors in their spots. He finally found them all huddled together at the nurses' station. They said they were terrified and didn't want to work in this area of the hospital that night. They claimed that they had seen a ghost. Kimm went to find this ghost and he was stunned when he really did find the ghost. She was wearing a white lacy gown and she was covering her face with her hands and crying. His paternal instinct kicked in and he asked her what was wrong. She said, "I want to scare people too." Kimm explained that he didn't want her to scare his employees., but that it was okay for her to scare the visitors. She continued to wail and so Kimm thought up a new angle. They were in a room full of hospital beds and so he told her that she could help out and scare people, but that he wanted her to hide and not let anyone see her. He suggested she hide under a bed and grabbed at people's legs. Now, while all you listeners think to yourself, this has got to turn out to be a real kid, Kimm claims that she evaporated into a black mist that floated down under a bed. He returned to his actors and told them that there was nothing out there and they went back to work.
Even more compelling is that a short time later, Kimm was flagged down by a couple of his security guards. They explained to him that two female performers that had been assigned the job of laying on beds and popping up to scare customers had come running to them terrified. They claimed to have seen a black mist floating in the room, moving under the beds. Kimm's wife Cami was skeptical about this story. The next season, she met the little girl when she whispered in her ear, "You scared me." The ghost was referring to an actress at the end of the hall pretending to be a girl possessed by a demon. This actress was saying in a sinister voice, "Daddy...you scared me." Later in the evening, when they were locking up, Cami saw an ethereal light in the hallway. When she turned to see what was causing the light she witnessed something that chilled her to the bone. Richard Estep writes in his book, The Haunting of Asylum 49, "Silently coming up behind them with outstretched hands was the figure of a little girl in a long, lacy white night gown. Her stringy long black hair hung over a pale gray face in a manner reminiscent of the entity featured in the horror movie The Grudge. Then the silence was broken. As Cami strained her ears to listen, she could hear Sara faintly whispering, 'Daddy...you scared me.'"
Sara had been a patient here who died from pneumonia. She is one of the most active and most seen entities. A couple visiting the haunted house claims that they ran into Sara in the hallway and they thought she was an actress until she told them she couldn't find her mommy. The woman grabbed Sara's hand and told her that they would find her mother for her. They pulled her along as they continued to make their way through the house. They were nearly to the end when they realized that Sara had disappeared. They weren't sure if Sara had been a ghost until they decided to do a ghost tour at Asylum 49 the next year. During the presentation, a photo of Sara was shown and the woman gasped. They knew then that the child had not been real.
The hallway has its own spirits. One of them is a shadow figure that people have named Robert. He is tall and broad. The shadow is occasionally seen with a cane when he walks across the hallway. He has cracked jokes on EVPs and playfully jumped out from around corners. He responds to requests to move in order to prove that he is not just a shadow. A psychic has told the owners that she believes Robert is a protective spirit who watches over the child ghosts here like the little blonde girl and another child spirit that is a shy boy named Thomas. He stays in Room One and likes to hold people's hands. He likes to ball-up the sheets on the beds too. There is also Tabitha in the nursery. Tabitha wears a yellow dress and has told a psychic that something was wrong with her brain and that is why she died. She likes to participate in the haunted house and seems sad when the season is over. Members of the staff visit in the off season and bring toys with them to keep the children company.
Several ghosts belong to former doctors and nurses and other hospital staff. Peter Hansford was an X-ray technician at the Tooele hospital. He seems to have loved his job so much, that he has returned after his death. The reason why the owners and investigators are confidant of this fact is that an EVP was captured of a male voice saying Peter's full name when asked what was his name. The specters of a doctor and nurse are said to be in the nursery. No one knows the name of the nurse, but the doctor is named Nicholas. Neither of them seems to be aware that they are dead. They continue to do their work, but not in a residual way. Dr. Nicholas has been seen on security cameras standing behind an actor doctor while the haunt is in full swing. He is probably perplexed as to what the maniacal doctor is doing.
Bonnie is a former patient who died from cancer and now roams the nursery wearing a hospital gown and pulling along an IV tower. She claims to be looking for her husband and wants to see the babies even though the nursery obviously has no babies anymore. The Mirror Maze seems to be the place with the most activity and perhaps this is because of the mirrors. EVPs that have been captured include, "I'm here now," "You'll be mine," "We died here," "Caught a bullet," and "I'm going with you." Eva is an elderly ghost whom has been seen in Room Two. She seems to like to play cards and investigators have used a flashlight to get her to indicate which card she wants to play. She only usually hangs around to play for a few hands as though she is easily bored.
Photos have captured a tall male figure that is creepy as hell. Upon enlarging the picture, one can see that the face is almost cartoonish in appearance with raised eyebrows and a grin that would be at home on a caricature. This is thought to be Jeremy, a burn patient who had to wear a mask to protect his face. He had been covered in third degree burns before he died. Female staff members claim that he is a pervert. And investigators claim that he likes to play the imposter, pretending to be one of the other spirits at Asylum 49. A smoky smell accompanies his manifestations and he prefers to hang out in the staff lounge and kitchen. That is generally how they figure out that Jeremy is not one of the other ghosts he is claiming to be.
Room Six and been renamed Room 666 and it once was home for along-term patient named Westley. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. He died here when he was 90. Interactions with his spirit are as varied as they were when he was alive. He can be warm and charming or aggressive and confused. Ghost Adventures featured Asylum 49 on an episode and Zak Bagans provoked an extreme reaction from Westley that left Zak pinned up against a wall. It knocked the wind out of him. Others have experienced violence and anger in this room. Whether it is Westley or some other entity, no one knows for sure, but most people find Room 666 to be unsettling.
After the Halloween season is over, the attraction is dismantled and the hospital is returned to its normal state and opened up for paranormal investigation. The stories of haunting experiences are plentiful here. This seems to be one of the most haunted places we have ever talked about on the podcast. Is it possible that this old hospital could really be this haunted? Are there really over a dozen ghosts hanging around? Is Asylum 49 haunted? That is for you to decide!
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