Thursday, November 30, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Judge Crater Goes Missing
Joseph Force Crater had been born to Irish immigrants in 1889 and he went on to getting his law degree from Columbia University in 1916. This would start his path to becoming a New York Supreme Court Justice. He was named to the bench in April of 1930 by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Crater was a corrupt man and it is believed that he had paid off the Tammany Hall political machine to get his position. On August 6, 1930, Crater reportedly went to his office and destroyed several documents. He took several portfolios of other papers to his Fifth Avenue apartment. He took out $5,000 from his bank account as well. He had dinner with a friend and a showgirl names Sally Lou Ritz. He told them he had tickets for the Broadway comedy "Dancing Partner" that evening. He bid them farewell and they watched him walk down the street, presumably heading for the play. He was seen hailing a cab and was never seen again. News of his disappearance broke on September 3rd and launched a massive investigation that captivated the nation. Crater came to be known as “the missingest man in New York.” Because of his activity on the day of his disappearance, some claimed he left the country with a mistress. Others claimed that he was feeding the fishes after crossing the Tammany Hall bosses.His wife requested he be declared legally dead in 1939. In 2005, new evidence emerged. a woman claimed that her husband and several other men, including a police officer, had murdered Crater and buried his body beneath a section of the Coney Island boardwalk. That site had been excavated during the construction of the New York Aquarium in the 1950s, but no human remains were found at the time. The disappearance of Judge Crater is still a mystery and, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Congress Creates the Committee of Secret Correspondence
In the month of November, on the 29th, in 1775, Congress creates the Committee of Secret Correspondence. The Second Continental Congress had met in Philadelphia to establish the Committee of Secret Correspondence. The committee’s goal was to solicit aid for the Revolutionary War from European nations by sending them a Patriot interpretation of events in Britain’s colonies. The committee members were Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison, John Dickinson, John Hay, Robert Morris and Silas Deane. Deane was a Connecticut delegate and he left for France on the secret mission on March 3, 1776. The group managed to negotiate with the French, unofficial assistance. This assistance came as military supplies aboard ships and military expertise from the Marquis de Lafayette. Full support did not come until the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. French naval fleets proved critical in the defeat of the British during the American Revolution, which was assured after the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781.
Haunted Calico (Suggested by listeners Lianna Sapien, Anna Prado-Frias and Laura Rey)
The Calico Mountains rise out of the Mojave Desert, painted in a variety of colors, which is how they got their name. These mountains are home to Calico, a ghost town that was once a thriving mining town. As was the case with so many other mining towns, once the price of silver dropped, people started leaving. The gunfights, gambling and mining of the past just faded away. Today, it is a tourist attraction that seems to still be home for some of the spirits of its former residents. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the town of Calico.
In 1881, a group of prospectors discovered silver in the Calico Mountains. They laid claim to their find and built the Silver King Mine. This mine would become California's largest silver producer in the mid-1880s. The town of Calico grew slowly, but by 1882 it was big enough to establish a post office. Next came the Calico Print, a weekly newspaper. Calico hit its height of silver production from 1883 to 1885 and during that time the town added five general stores, three hotels, several bars, boarding houses and brothels, a meat market, Wells Fargo Office and a school. The town also had a deputy sheriff, two constables, five commissioners, two lawyers, a justice of the peace and two doctors. There were residents here from all over the world including Ireland, England, France, Greece, China and the Netherlands. The population hit 3,500 people.
When silver mining was at its pinnacle in Calico, there were over 500 mines and the most important were the Waterloo, Oriental, Burning Moscow, Bismarck and Garfield. A narrow gauge railroad was constructed in 1888 to bring ore from the Waterloo and Silver King mines to the mill in town. There was more than just silver adding to Calico's fortunes. The borate mineral colemanite was discovered in the mountains a few years after the settlement of the town. Unfortunately, fortunes turned for Calico with the enactment of the Silver Purchase Act. This drove down the price of silver and by 1896, its value had decreased to $0.57 per troy ounce. Within two years, the post office had closed and that was soon followed by the school. Borax mining ended in 1907 and Calico became a virtual ghost town. By the time it was abandoned, the mines of Calico had produced between $13,000,000 and $20,000,000 worth of silver. For a time in the 1930s, the Zenda Gold Mining Company mined the silver from the Calico mines. There is still low grade silver in the mines of Calico.
Walter Knott was born in San Bernandino County and grew up in Pomona. He tried his hand at farming and didn't have much luck until he started working with boysenberries. They thrived under his care and the family started creating jams and pies from the berries and selling them at a roadside stand. Before long, they opened a restaurant that also featured his wife's fried chicken dinners. Lines wrapped around outside the building. Knott got the idea that it would be fun to open a park to entertain the people waiting for food. He started relocating old buildings from ghost towns to his farm and named the park Knott's Berry Farm. Knott had a real love for Old West towns and in 1951, he purchased Calico. He had once lived in Calico with his uncle and he restored the town back to its former glory and opened it as a tourist attraction. The buildings had originally been constructed from adobe brick because there wasn't much lumber in the area. Knott had cement used in the restoration to keep everything looking as close to the original as possible. In 1966, Knott donated the town to San Bernardino County, and Calico became a County Regional Park.
Visitors who come to Calico get to see what the town looked like in its heyday and they get to experience some of the things that took place here like panning for gold and gunfights. There are tours of the mine and visitors can ride aboard the narrow gauge Calico & Odessa Railroad. Many of the original buildings had to be replaced. The newer buildings are in the Gingerbread architectural style and there are some false fronts as well. Some of the structures that date back to the silver rush era are the Lane home that is now a museum, Lil's Saloon, the town office, courthouse and post office, the general store, Joe's Saloon and Smitty's Gallery. The schoolhouse is a replica, but stands on the site of the former building.
There is a cemetery here that has over 160 burials. Despite their best efforts, historians and researchers have been unable to identify who is buried in the cemetery. Only about 20% of the plots have been identified. One of the people buried here is Harry Dodson who robbed the Runover Mine's superintendent James Patterson at gun point. He nabbed around $4400 and ran out of town. A posse was formed and they caught up to Dodson pretty quickly because he was on foot. He was just hiking up from a watering hole when he saw the posse and started shooting. The posse returned fire and hit him twice, killing him. Anastacio Rubio was buried here after he came to a sad end. He had gotten a great haul in the mines and announced in one of the local saloons that drinks were on him. When he left the bar that night, he was shot and robbed by an unknown assailant. His murder remains unsolved to this day.
We did an episode on the ghost town Bodie and that is the Official State Gold Rush Ghost Town of California. Calico was named the Official State Silver Rush Ghost Town. There are reportedly several spirits in this ghost town, making that description of the town legitimate. Ghost tours are offered every Saturday night. One of the haunted locations here is the Calico School House. Claims have been made that this building is haunted by both teachers and students. Could one of these teachers be Margaret Kincaid Olivier who is buried in the cemetery? Visitors claim to see the apparitions of school teachers peering out at them from the windows. A moving ball of red light has been seen inside the schoolhouse on multiple occasions. The apparitions of children have been seen inside here as well, but the most frequent spirit belongs to a girl that appears to be eleven or twelve years old. She only makes herself known to other children. Sometimes she is mistaken by the children who see her as being a real kid, until she disappears.
John and Lucy Lane ran the general store in Calico. When people started moving out, they decided to leave too. They missed the old town and returned in 1919. Lucy lived into her 90s and she died there. Her former home has been turned into a museum and visitors claim to see her apparition walking from the home to the general store as though she is heading off to work. She is always seen wearing a black lacy dress and there are claims that she was buried in the dress. Visitors and investigators have seen her rocking chair moving on its own in the house.
“Tumbleweed” Harris is buried in the Calico Cemetery. He was the last marshal of Calico and served in that position for seven years. Visitors claim to see his spirit walking along the boardwalks on Main Street. He is described as a rather large man with a flowing white beard. Arthur wrote, "I work at the restaurant here in Calico and live in the town as well. One morning before daylight I was making coffee in the restaurant and felt as if someone was standing behind me. I turned and glimpsed a man with a white beard for a split second and then he disappeared. It jumped me right out of my shoes must have been Marshall Tumbleweed."
Calico has its own Lady in White who is seen on the outskirts of town. The Calico Corral has a residual haunting that sounds like a crowd of people celebrating. This was used for dances and the sounds of ghostly music are also heard sometimes. Music is also heard at Lil’s Saloon. The music sounds like an old-style piano and the noises of a rowdy crowds have been heard when no one was in the building. Employees claim to hear the jingle of spurs and other noises that can’t be explained. The building that once housed the town theater, which is now the R&D Fossils & Minerals Shop, is said to be haunted by a female ghost named Esmeralda.
Another famous ghost belongs to a dog named Dorsey who carried mail around the town. Postmaster Jim Stacy found Dorsey in 1883. He was a black and white shepherd who was hungry and limping. Stacy adopted him and put him to work carrying messages back and forth from the mines to town. This moved into mail carrying and he was soon carrying all the mail from Calico to Bismarck, bearing his load in little pouches strapped to his back. Dorsey did this for three years. His legend was immortalized in a 1972 album entitled "The Ballad of Calico” by Kenny Rogers. The song was called "Dorsey, the Mail Carrying Dog.” Dorsey continues on as a spectre and his shadow-like apparition has been seen at the cemetery and near the Print Shop that is located where the post office used to be.
Hank’s Hotel once belonged to a cowboy named Hank. He was apparently an angry man and he has carried that on with him into the afterlife. His ghost is said to have punched a man in the leg who was standing on his fence. Others report feeling a tugging on their wrists and clothing. There is said to be a child of four or five that hangs around outside the hotel on the boardwalk and some of the clothes tugging could be a result of his activity.
The Maggie Mine was started by the Mulcahy Brothers in 1881. Thirteen million dollars worth of silver ore was pulled from this mine. Visitors are invited to tour the mine and many visitors have reported feeling extreme cold spots throughout the mine and eerie feelings. It is believed the Mulcahy Brothers, who made the mine their home, are haunting the mine. To add to the weird feelings, a couple of mannequins are a part of the props here.
Ghost towns are a wonderful way to immerse oneself into the old west of yesteryear. Calico has a colorful name to go with its colorful past and some of that past continues on today. Not just in the fake gunfights and false facades, but through the spirits who have remained here when everyone else had abandoned the town. Is Calico a haunted town? That is for you to decide!
Friday, November 24, 2017
Moment in Oddity - The Acheri
The Acheri are a part of the mythology of the country of India. The Acheri is able to entice people because this is a spirit or ghost that appears in the form of a little girl. They are said to live in the mountains and for this reason they are sometimes referred to as "Hill Faeries." They wander into villages at night and when they come, they bring sickness with them. Generally, the Acheri preys on children. The interesting part of their appearance is that descriptions of them resemble those of black-eyed children because the Acheri has dark eyes that appear unnatural. The Acheri will also attack the elderly and for them, the sickness brought is certain death because they have weak immune systems. The only protection that is offered, is forpeople to wear a red ribbon tied around their neck. For some reason, this repells the Acheri. This is just a piece of legend from India, but it certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Queen Elizabeth Marries Prince Philip
In the month of November, on the 20th, in 1947, England's Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten. Elizabeth was the first child of King George VI and became Queen Elizabeth II upon the death of her father in 1952 And Philip was Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. The couple originally met in 1934 at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark and Prince George, Duke of Kent. When they met again later in 1939,Elizabeth was only 13-years-old, but she fell madly in love with Philip and they began exchanging letters. Elizabeth's father did not want her engaged before she was 21, so the couple had to keep their engagement a secret for a year. The wedding took place at Westminster Abbey. The couple had four children. This year, 2017, marks their Platinum Anniversary, meaning they have been married for 70 years.
Haunted Cemeteries 6
Most cemeteries are peaceful final resting places, but occasionally these graveyards have spirits at unrest for a variety of reasons. On this episode, we have three cemeteries that we will be visiting. Paranormal investigator Peter Dowling joins us to discuss Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek, New York. Then we venture to Ohio and visit Chestnut Grove Cemetery that is the final resting place of the victims of one of the most horrific train wrecks in the history of the United States. And finally we head to one of the most haunted cemeteries in America and that is, yet another cemetery named Greenwood, in Decatur, Illinois. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of these graveyards.
Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek
(Suggested by: Peter Dowling)
Peter Dowling has been into the paranormal since he was a kid. He joined Eastern Shore Paranormal Research back in 2001 and worked his way to Preisdent, which he held until 2013. In 2003, he earned a Certificate by Psychic Circle as a Paranormal Investigator in Sandy Creek, NY. He has made appearances on Coast to Coast both with Art Bell and George Nory. He contacted us to suggest some haunted locations he has investigated, and one of those was Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek, New York. The town of Sandy Creek was first settled in 1803. It became official in 1825 as it was incorporated out of the town of Richland. In 1820, the Woodlawn Cemetery was established as a burial ground for the Presbyterian Church. There are over 5,000 burials here. In 1866, Union Cemetery Association was formed to maintain the cemetery. Around the turn of the 20th century more land was added and again in 1965 a small tract was purchased.
One of the burials here is for Harrison Cole who was born in 1840. He was the leader of the 3rd Brigade Band during the Civil War. Several members of that Army band were killed at Gettysburg and Cole narrowly escaped capture by the Confederates. In 1880, he put together his own band and named it Cole’s Cornet band. He died in 1916.
A. Jasper Moore was born in 1868 and died in 1906. He has an interesting epithet that reads, "When the fitful fever is ended; and the foolish wrangling of the market and forum is closed; grass heals over the scar which our descent into bosom of the earth has made; and the carpet of the infant becomes the blanket of the dead."
Dr. J. Lyman Bulkley was born in 1832. He was not only the local doctor, but he owned the Bulkley Opera House and the Corner Drug Store. In 1894, he was shot and stabbed by an inmate of an insane asylum. He managed to live and the inmate, Gaylord Williams, shot and killed himself.
The Salisbury family were prominent members of the community and several are buried here. Members of the family have served in several wars starting during the Civil War and on through World War II. Moreau Salisbury is one of those members and he served during the Civil War. He was wounded at the Battle of Antietam. A bullet went through his ankle and left him with a painful limp for the rest of his life. His boots that he wore during the war are at Sandy Creek's History Center archives. Charles M. Salisbury was Vice President of the Lacona Bank in the 1930s. In 1936, he was killed in a bank hold up.The men who committed the crime were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Peter shared with us the experiences and evidence collected at the cemetery. He told us, "Woodlawn Cemetery in Sandy Creek is very haunted. Always got EVP's, strange mists, apparitions, floating faces and red orbs visible at times with the naked eye. There is intelligent haunting going on there. EMF readings are off the chart. You go through a lot of batteries during a investigation. I have brought many there who wanted to know what it was like to be a Paranormal Researcher and be a part of my investigation. Many got there wish to experience a spirit. Like I've always said in the past... " Be careful what you wish for." I have brought a ghost home with me from there. I was getting EVP'S at the house I was living at the time. Bed used to shake at night. I would see floating mists go through rooms in the house. ( I put my hand through one apparition.) I've been kissed one night and slapped another night. Once in a while I would hear footsteps on the floor at my house and loud banging on the doors and walls of the house. Woodlawn is haunted no doubt and many of my EVP's I had played on Coast to Coast AM came from there."
Chestnut Grove Cemetery
(Suggested by: Rebecca Heffner)
Chestnut Grove Cemetery is located in Ashtabula, Ohio. There are over 5,000 burials here. Ashtabula's name was derived from the Lenape tribe word ashtepihəle, which means "always enough fish to be shared around." These indigenous people were pushed out of the area by the Northwest Indian War that took place after the Revolutionary War. European Americans started settling here in 1803. Ohio was a free state during the Civil War and Ashtabula became a main stop on the Underground Railroad due to its proximity to Lake Erie. The city was officially incorporated in 1891. The city came to be known as a port city and railways were constructed to connect the city to a national network to make importing and exporting easier.
In April of 1868, the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad merged with the Lake Shore Railroad to form the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway. A later merger gave this company the entire route from Buffalo to Chicago. A bridge was built over the Ashtabula River by the Lake Shore and Michigan railroad and was the joint creation of Charles Collins, the Engineer, and Amasa Stone, the Chief Architect and Designer. Collins felt that Stone’s bridge design was “too experimental," but he approved it because there was a lot of pressure to get it done. The bridge was never properly inspected. This would come to light on December 29, 1876 when Train No. 5, known as The Pacific Express, was about 1,000 feet from the Ashtabula train station. The bridge gave way beneath the weight of two locomotive cars that were hauling eleven railcars. There were 159 people aboard the train.
The Chicago Tribune ran the following article on December 30, 1876:
"The proportions of the Ashtabula horror are now approximately known. Daylight, which gave an opportunity to find and enumerate the saved, reveals the fact that two out of every three passengers on the fated train are lost. Of the 160 passengers who the maimed conductor reports as having been on board, but fifty-nine can be found or accounted for. The remaining 100, burned to ashes or shapeless lumps of charred flesh, lie under the ruins of the bridge and train.Charles Collins was said to be a broken man over the tragedy. He was called to testify before the State Legislature Committee. The Monday before this, he had tendered his resignation to the Board of Directors of the railway company, but they refused to accept it. Days later, Collins was found dead in his bedroom of a gunshot wound to the head. Initially it was thought to be a suicide out of guilt, but later a second bullet was found in the wall and it was ruled a homicide that was never solved. Documents discovered in 2001 and another examination of Collins' skull back up the theory that he was indeed murdered. Amasa Stone committed suicide seven years after Collins death when he started experiencing financial troubles with his foundries. This seemed to compound his guilt over the train disaster. Modern day investigations have theorized that it was not the design that was the problem, but fatigue in the cast-iron lug pieces which were used to anchor the wrought-iron bars of the truss together. Shims of metal were needed to reinforce them because they were poorly made.
The disaster was dramatically complete. No element of horror was wanting. First, the crash of the bridge, the agonizing moments of suspense as the seven laden cars plunged down their fearful leap to the icy river-bed; then the fire, which came to devour all that had been left alive by the crash; then the water, which gurgled up from under the broken ice and offered another form of death, and, finally, the biting blast filled with snow, which froze and benumbed those who had escaped water and fire. It was an ideal tragedy.
The scene of the accident was the valley of the creek which, flowing down past the eastern margin of Ashtabula village, passes under the railway three or four hundred yards east of the station. Here for many years after the Lake Shore road was built, there was a long wooden trestle-work, but as the road was improved, this was superseded about ten years ago with an iron Howe truss, built at the Cleveland shops, and resting at either end upon high stone piers, flanked by heavy earthen embankments. The iron structure was a single span of 159 feet, crossed by a double track seventy feet above the water, which at that point is now from three to six feet deep, and covered with eight inches of ice. The descent into the valley on either side is precipitous, and, as the hills and slopes are piled with heavy drifts of snow, there was no little difficulty in reaching the wreck after the disaster became known.
The disaster occurred shortly before eight o'clock. It was the wildest winter night of the year. Three hours behind its time, the Pacific Express, which had left New York the night before, struggled along through the drifts and the blinding storm. The eleven cars were a heavy burden to the two engines, and when the leading locomotive broke through the drifts beyond the ravine, and rolled on across the bridge, the train was moving at less than ten miles an hour. The head lamp threw but a short and dim flash of light in the front, so thick was the air with the driving snow. The train crept across the bridge, the leading engine had reached solid ground beyond, and its driver had just given it steam, when something in the undergearing of the bridge snapped. For an instant, there was a confused crackling of beams and girders, ending with a tremendous crash, as the whole train but the leading engine broke through the framework, and fell in a heap of crushed and splintered ruins at the bottom. Notwithstanding the wind and storm, the crash was heard by people within-doors half a mile away. For a moment there was silence, a stunned sensation among the survivors, who in all stages of mutilation lay piled among the dying and dead. Then arose the cries of the maimed and suffering; the few who remained unhurt hastened to escape from the shattered cars. They crawled out of windows into freezing water waist-deep. Men, women and children, with limbs bruised and broken, pinched between timbers and transfixed by jagged splinters, begged with their last breath for aid that no human power could give.
Five minutes after the train fell, the fire broke out in the cars piled against the abutments at either end. A moment later, flames broke from the smoking-car and first coach piled across each other near the middle of the stream. In less than ten minutes after the catastrophe, every car in the wreck was on fire, and the flames, fed by the dry varnished work and fanned by the icy gale, licked up the ruins as though they had been tinder. Destruction was so swift that mercy was baffled. Men who, in the bewilderment of the shock, sprang out and reached to solid ice, went back after wives and children and found them suffocating and roasting in the flames. The neighboring residents, startled by the crash, were lighted to the scene by the conflagration, which made even their prompt assistance too late. By midnight, the cremation was complete. The storm had subsided, but the wind still blew fiercely, and the cold was more intense. When morning came, all that remained of the Pacific Express was a winrow of car wheels, axles, brake-irons, truck-frames and twisted rails lying in a black pool at the bottom of the gorge. The wood had burned completely away, and the ruins were covered with white ashes. Here and there a mass of charred, smoldering substance sent up a little cloud of sickening vapor, which told that it was human flesh slowly yielding to the corrosion of the fires. On the crest of the western abutment, half buried in the snow, stood the rescued locomotive, all that remained of the fated train. As the bridge fell, its driver had given it a quick head of steam, which tore the drawhead from its tender, and the liberated engine shot forward and buried itself in the snow. The other locomotive, drawn backward by the falling train, tumbled over the pier and fell bottom upward on the express car next behind. The engineer, Folsom, escaped with a broken leg; how, he cannot tell, nor can anyone else imagine.
There is no death-list to report. There can be none until the list of the missing ones who traveled by the Lake Shore Road on Friday is made up. There are no remains that can ever be identified. The three charred, shapeless lumps recovered up to noon to-day are beyond all hope of recognition. Old or young, male or female, black or white, no man can tell. They are alike in the crucible of death. For the rest, there are piles of white ashes in which glisten the crumbling particles of calcined bones; in other places masses of black, charred debris, half under water, which may contain fragments of bodies, but nothing of human semblance. It is thought that there may be a few corpses under the ice, as there were women and children who sprang into the water and sank, but none have been thus far recovered."
Because of the fire from the disaster, it was impossible to identify 25 of the victims and they were buried in a mass grave at Chestnut Grove Cemetery. There is a towering obelisk to mark their final resting spot and it is ringed with flowers. Other victims were buried at the cemetery as well. Charles Collins, ironically, was laid to rest just a few feet from the victims' mass grave. The Chestnut Grove Cemetery is still actively burying people. The grounds are beautiful and well kept.
Stories abound of hauntings connected to the train disaster and the cemetery. Apparitions believed to belong to the victims are seen near the mass grave memorial and stories claim that they make their way to the area of their death near the river on the anniversary of the accident. Not all sightings entail sad ghosts. Some scenes are of children laughing and playing and there have been ghostly picnics. A feature written in the Cleveland Digital City for Halloween of 2002, discusses several legends connected to the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster and Chestnut Grove. Lisa Galloway writes, “Reports of wraiths near here are many… witnesses mention families dressed in period dress — always warm winter clothes — wandering together, often carrying carpetbags and baskets. Screams are heard late at night, many visitors say a charred odor pervades the grounds and near Collins’ crypt a man can be seen weeping bitterly, crying out over and over, 'I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.'”
The city of Decatur in Illinois is named for Stephen Decatur, a naval hero of the War of 1812. This was the first home of Abraham Lincoln and he argued five cases here in the log building that served as a courthouse at the time. In the southern part of the city, near Decatur Lake, is a burial ground that dates back more than 160 years. Greenwood Cemetery was incorporated in 1857 and is possibly one of the most haunted cemeteries in America. The cemetery has not been well cared for through the years and has at times been overgrown. And even worse, grave robbing was common. The Sangamon River feeds into Lake Decatur and runs right by the cemetery. One year, many years ago, the river swelled and ran into the cemetery. The force of this washed out several graves and carried the coffins away. The bodies were eventually recovered, but it was impossible to identify the remains. It was decided that the only option was to rebury the bodies in a mass grave. We know that handling remains in this way can sometimes result in strange activity and that is the case here. Ghost lights in the area that had been washed out are seen and dark misty and shadowy figures have been seen floating there.
There was a large public mausoleum located in the cemetery that fell into disrepair as the rest of the graveyard became unkempt. Pieces of the building began to fall off and by the 1960s, it was in such bad condition that it was decided to demolish the structure. Family members were asked to claim the remains of their loved ones and relocate them. Anyone that was not claimed was buried in yet another mass grave. In 1967, the mausoleum was torn down and not replaced. Before being destroyed, rumors circulated about paranormal activity inside of the mausoleum. Crying and anguished screams were heard reverberating inside and ghost lights danced about the structure, inside and out. This activity did not stop after the mausoleum was no more. Visitors still claim to hear faint screams and to see strange lights in the area where the mausoleum once stood.
There is a third mass grave here. This one holds the bodies of Confederate soldiers. These men were been transported by train to a POW camp when many of them fell ill with yellow fever. Several of them died and the train was stopped near Greenwood Cemetery, so the bodies could be offloaded. The bodies were then taken to the cemetery and buried in a mass grave. The work was done hastily and as you can probably already guess, not all the soldiers were completely dead and they were buried alive. From that time, apparitions of Confederate soldiers have been seen in the cemetery. One man reported his experience after encountering a soldier at the cemetery. The soldier was standing among the tombstones and gestured for the man to come over to him. The man could see that the uniform was tattered and he had a look of confusion on his face. "Can you help me?" the soldier asked. He continued, "Where am I?" The man stood in shock, unable to speak. The soldier then said, "I just want to go home." He then disappeared.
As if this haunting activity isn't enough, there are two more legends here at Greenwood. These are the legends of the Barrackman Staircase and the Greenwood Bride. The Greenwood Bride is our Lady in White at this location. Her figure has been seen wondering among the headstones and the story is that she is looking for her fiancé who was murdered before their wedding. He apparently was a bootlegger who was killed by a rival bootlegger. No one knows who she is, but people like to say that she drowned herself in the river over her grief. Greenwood Cemetery is like many cemeteries in that it has many rolling hills. The Barrackman family has their final resting place on one of these hills and they had five stairs installed that lead up to the plot. At sunset, on some evenings, a ghostly figure appears at the top of the stairs with her head bowed and she appears to be crying. She disappears as the sun sinks below the horizon.
Do some spirits feel so attached to their human body, that they are unable to leave the body after death? Could that be why some cemeteries seem to be haunted? Are these four cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Pawapicts
(Suggested by listener Annjanette Beth)
There are many tales told in the Utah Valley about Pawapicts, which are also called Water Babies. The stories about these creatures originated with the Ute tribe. They believed the Pawapicts came in various shapes and sizes. Some were described as being the size of a man's hand, the size of a three or four-year-old child or the size and shape of a full- grown woman. Pawapicts had long black hair, were found near water and they cried like babies, which is where the term water babies comes from. The tales of their origins are as varied as their shapes and sizes. One account claims that Pawapicts came into existence as the result of a wrestling match between Pahahpooch, a man, and Wildcat. Pahahpooch had never lost a match. The two opponents met near a large expanse of water. Wildcat managed to throw Pahahpooch into the middle of the lake and said, "You will stay in the water all the time now and people will call you Water Indian." Eventually, Pahapooch convinced other tribal members to come into the water and become Water Indians like him. Then they all would lure more people into the water. A Ute named Red Sunrise who had a friend that did not believe in Water Babies. The two men went fishing in the Utah Valley. They came upon some Water Babies drying their hair on a flat rock. They were crying like babies and the friend became a believer. The men went nearer to get a closer look. The Water Babies saw them and jumped into the river. Their long hair floated on top of the water and then the river started to rise and come nearer to the men. Luckily, the two ran away before the water pulled them in and Red Sunrise never saw a Water Baby again. If Water Babies are not just a legend, they certainly are odd!
This Month in History - First Opium War Starts
In the month of November, on the 3rd, in 1839, the first Opium War between China and Britain began after British frigates blew up several Chinese junks. In the 1830s, China had an isolationist trade policy that created a trade imbalance with Britain and America. British and American merchants decided to fire back by importing the one product that the Chinese did not themselves have, but which many of them wanted: opium. Soon ninety percent of all Chinese males under the age of forty were smoking opium. China decided that it needed to suppress the opium trade. The Chinese government confiscated and destroyed more than 20,000 chests of opium, which angered the British side. Some drunken British sailors killed a Chinese villager in retaliation. The British government would not hand the men over to the Chinese for punishment. British frigates blew up a Chinese blockade and started the first Opium War, which lasted for two years. It ended with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842.
Saltair Resort (Suggested by and research help from listener Annjanette Beth)
Along the shores of the Great Salt Lake in Utah stands The Saltair Resort. The resort has three separate incarnations and seems to have been plagued with a curse of sorts, because the first two Saltair resorts were destroyed by fire and the third has suffered flooding. This originally was a family place for fun similar in style to Coney Island with carnival rides and games and today is a place that hosts concerts and other events. Historic events were hosted here and famous people visited. Tragedy has been a part of the story and this seems to have led to spirits. While the first two locations are abandoned, they still seem to host spirits and according to guests and employees, the third version of Saltair is quite haunted. Our listener Annjanette Beth suggested this location and helped with research. She joins us to share the history and hauntings of the Saltair Resort.
To those unfamiliar with the Great Salt Lake, the sight can be both alien and eerie to behold. Sparse grass and sagebrush grow beyond the highest water lines for they cannot handle the high salt content, either. This inland sea is the remnant of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville. It is the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere, covering an average of 1700 square miles. The lake located in the middle of a desert, has no outlets and has three major tributaries. The result is a large body of water with a very high mineral content. The Salt content is 3 to 5 times saltier than the Ocean and has second highest salinity content in the world - The Dead Sea having the highest salinity. The salt content is so high, that in the dry season, salt formations can be clearly seen. The shore lines and salinity of the water can vary greatly from season to season and year to year. The salty waters do not freeze in the winter season, although fresh water coming from the inlets have been known to create icebergs that float on top. The saltwater and high winds make it challenging to maintain buildings and equipment. Its waters are inhospitable to all waterlife other than brinshrimp and brinflies. Thousands of shorebirds dine on these aquatic critters each year during nesting season. Otherwise, there is very little wildlife.
This was a place for fun, but as is the case with these types of places, tragic events, accidents and deaths do occur. The first fatality occurred in 1896 when Charles Monica suffered a heart attack and died while swimming in the lake. With the spotlight on this location, it was the perfect place to host a popular boxing match between Pete Sullivan and “Cyclone” Johnny Thompson in 1910. After the fight, the audience rushed to catch the first train home and the stairs collapsed under the weight. Hundreds of people fell into the lake. Dozens were injured, seven of them seriously, but no one died. Freakishly high winds destroyed 327 of the bath houses and tore up 100 yards of railroad trestle. The following year, in 1911, a bullfight was held. Several bullfighting experts were brought in from Spain and Mexico for the event and the matadors used wooden swords and spears. Four of the men were gored by the bull and it was declared the winner.
The first fire at Saltair occurred in 1916 and was caused by hot coals spilling from the steam engine. The resort repaired the damage and started looking into electric trains to replace the steam ones. A second fire hit on April 22, 1925 in the Ali Baba Cave concession. The fire spread to the other buildings and burned the Leviathan to the waterline. Most of the pavilion was destroyed. The midway, several bath houses, and some of the railway line were also affected. In all, the cost of the damage was $750,000. Because of the cost of the damage and competition from Lagoon, a resort only a few miles to the North, there was no real backing to implement a rebuild at the location. This was the end of what is known as Historic Saltair.
Then in July of 1931, Saltair caught fire again, this time in the Funhouse area. Seven different amusement areas caught fire. A gust of wind pushed the fire to the Great Racer roller coaster. Ten lines from two water pumps were needed to put the fire out. This time the damage cost $100,000. Workmen were repairing the roller coaster the following year when a 70 mile an hour wind blew down the scaffolding. Planks of wood that were 20 feet long were blown more than 100 feet from their location. Many of the workers fell into the lake and two of the men died in the accident.
In the 1930s, multiple sewage companies contaminated the lake, especially near the shore of Saltair. Adding further to its troubles, the water levels dropped significantly in 1933 creating a longer walk to the shoreline. By the beginning of World War II, the resort was closed to visitors. The resort reopened after the war, but struggled further. Another fire broke out in 1957, starting in the boiler room. On August 30, 1957, the remains of the roller coaster was blown down by 70 mile per hour winds, but nobody was riding it at the time. It was devastating for the resort because it was the biggest attraction. The doors closed again and were only opened occasionally for performances and special events. In 1962, director Herk Harvey discovered the shell of Saltair and used it in the filming of the cult-classic, Carnival of Souls. Herk Harvey claimed that the “place was so scary that he felt as though the ghosts of the place that had been partying there had just left for the night.” The book Lost Landscapes: Utah’s Ghosts, Mysterious Creatures, and Aliens claims that orbs and ecto-mists were caught during the filming process. An arson fire was set on the dance floor and Saltair II burned to the ground. The pylons still remain, along with a section of railway.
In 1983, Saltair III was built as a concert house about 2 miles West of the original sites. Salvaged Air Force aircraft hanger parts were used to build the new resort. Moorish style turrets reminiscent of the original Saltair were apart of the architecture on this one as well. Unfortunately, the resort had the bad luck of flooding shortly after construction was complete. Concerts and raves are held here during the summer months. Most days, the only human life are a handful of tourists and one or two employees. The beach is over a mile away as of August 2017. At night, when the concerts and raves are not being held, there is very little around to make noise.
Annji talked to several employees to get reports of hauntings. She shared several on the episode. In 2000, the skeletal remains of a woman were found near Interstate 80. She was the apparent victim of a homicide and was dubbed Saltair Sally. It took 12 years before she was identified. The employees told me that Saltair Sally had been seen haunting the place, until she was identified and finally laid to rest. An older woman’s ghost is seen walking between the two Saltair locations. A little boy’s ghost bounces a ball against the wall of the men’s restroom. Children ghosts play hide-and-seek outside during Raves. A demon is said to reside on the third floor of the building. Ghost hunters have said that that this entity never lived a human life. A man’s ghost spends time at the top of the stairs that came from the downtown hotel. Did he follow the staircase here?
Many employees refuse to be in the building alone because of what they have experienced.
One employee told me that she was cleaning the woman’s restroom late one night and thought someone was banging the bathroom doors in the men’s restroom. She went to investigate and found no one was there. She returned to cleaning only to have the experience repeat. Eventually, she realized that someone was running along the walkway that is directly above the bathrooms. No one else was there with her that night. Ghost hunters often visit near Halloween and successfully communicate with the entities there. Annji is convinced that the employees believe these hauntings are real, though it was difficult to get details. Her young son Jarod joined us to tell about an experience he had at Saltair where he thought he saw a pair of red eyes staring at him from the window in the kitchen door. When he looked back at the window later, those eyes were gone.
I will say that my visit to the ladies room did give me an eerie and uncomfortable feeling.
Annji shared the story of Jean Baptiste with us:
In 1862, a man came to Salt Lake City to claim the body of his brother, intending to transport it back East to be reburied in the family plot. After exhuming his brother’s body, they opened the coffin to find something quite shocking. His brother had apparently been dumped into the coffin unceremoniously, face down and… naked. The local authorities decided to keep an eye on the a gravedigger by the name of Jean Baptiste. They discovered him coming out of a shed with a body naked and face down in a wheelbarrow. After further investigation, they discovered barrels of clothing waiting to be boiled and either worn or sold to second hand stores. The jewelry of the dead had been sold off. And worst of all, this man had necrophilia. He was having intercourse with dead bodies. Over 350 bodies of men, women, and children had been mishandled by this man.
The community was obviously very upset. Not only was the public threatening to form a lynch mob, but his prison mates were also very upset with him. For his safety, they decided to exile him.
First, they put him onto Antelope Island, but a few days later they moved him because they were worried that he would easily get on the lake’s shores due to low water levels. They moved him to Fremont Island. Two weeks later, some cattle ranchers found he had helped himself to one of their herd. Three weeks later, he had disappeared all together. They found signs that Jean Baptiste had tanned some of the hide and stolen planks of wood from their ranch house. Some theorize that he built a raft to escape. He was never seen again… or was he? Several have reported to see his ghost on the Southern shores of the lake, wearing wet clothing and looking for redemption. He is most likely to be seen during a full moon.
Do all the tragedies that have struck Saltair indicate some kind of curse? Have the ghosts from the other Saltair location traveled to Saltair III? Did a ghost travel to Saltair III with the staircase from downtown Salt Lake City? Has the energy from the past imprinted itself here? Is Saltair and the surrounding area haunted? That is for you to decide!
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Hypha Tombicina Makes Mummies
Hypha Tombicina is a microscopic, parasitic bacteria that has an unusual effect on human bodies after death. The parasite dehydrates the bodies before decomposition can even begin. The result is a perfectly mummified body. A place where this phenomenon has been observed is in Venzone, Italy. Bodies have been buried in the tombs beneath the Cathedral of Venzone for hundreds of years. It was in these tombs that townsfolk started noticing that the bodies of their loved ones were not decomposing. The bodies would be perfectly preserved and almost recognizable. The family members started a weird tradition of taking their deceased loved ones out of the tomb on occasion to talk to them and have them in attendance at various events. It would be scientists studying this phenomenon that would discover that there was no miracle taking place here to keep the bodies intact, but rather that Hypha Tombicina was the culprit. We're not sure which is weirder, that a little bacteria was able to make mummies or that townspeople took their mummified relatives out of their tombs to socialize, but both certainly are odd!
This Month in History - Mary Jane Kelly Killed by Jack the Ripper
In the month of November, on the 9th, in 1888, Jack the Ripper would claim his final victim, Mary Jane Kelly. Jack the Ripper, as he called himself, killed and mutilated at least five prostitutes in the White Chapel area of London from late August 1888 to November 1888. Kelly had claimed to be born in Ireland and that her parents had moved to Wales when she was young. It was in the early 1880s that she ended up in Cardiff and it is believed she started prostitution at this time. She was poor and a widow and there were not many other ways to make money at the time. She moved to London in 1884. She was described as a beautiful and buxom girl and she loved to sing Irish songs when she was drunk. And it was when she was drinking that she became an abusive woman who many referred to as Dark Mary. Kelly's death was the most gruesome of all the Ripper killings because the Ripper was able to take his time with her body because she had invited him back to her room. Dr. Thomas Bond wrote in his notes of the scene, "The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone. The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus and kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot, the liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side and the spleen by the left side of the body. The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table. The bed clothing at the right corner was saturated with blood, and on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about two feet square. The wall by the right side of the bed and in a line with the neck was marked by blood which had struck it in several places. The face was gashed in all directions, the nose, cheeks, eyebrows, and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched and cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin." Jack the Ripper was never arrested and his identity remains a mystery today.
Haunted Whitby, Ontario
Whitby, Ontario is in southeastern Ontario and is what we would consider a suburb of Toronto. The name is Danish and means "White Village." The original surveyor of the area chose the town names here from towns in northeastern England, so Whitby is named for the seaport in Yorkshire. Camp 30 was an urban explorers playground with several abandoned, crumbling buildings just waiting to be explored. This was a former school for delinquent boys and World War II prisoner-of-war camp that housed Nazis. While things were good for the prisoners, life at the school for the boys was horrible and several died. This has left behind some spiritual residue.The Whitby Psychiatric Hospital was run like many of the asylums in America. Abuses and deaths here seem to have led to hauntings. The Centennial Building is a former courthouse that now seems to be a haunted theater. The Trafalgar Castle School is built to look like a castle and just like so many castles, it seems to be home to some spirits. Join us and Karen Wickiam, host of the STAT podcast, as we look at several locations in Whitby, Ontario that have a reputation for being haunted!
In 1922 Mr. John H. H. Jury owned a farm known as Darch Farm that spanned 300 acres. He donated the land to the government so that a school for delinquent boys could be built. Construction was completed in 1927 and it was run as a school until the outbreak of World War II. It was at this time that the British government needed a place far away to house Nazi prisoners. The government ordered the school to shut down in 1941 and refurbish to become a suitable prison. Most boys were sent back home, but a few were relocated to the "Rathskamoray." The transformation took seven months and included the installation of wire fencing, guard towers, barracks and gates. The first P.O.W.s arrived in October 1941.
One of these prisoners was General Johann von Ravenstein, second-in-command to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. He was captured in the desert of North Africa and had on him at the time several maps with orders from Adolf Hitler himself. Another prisoner was General Artur Schmitt who was captured in Africa as well. A third Nazi general here was General Georg Friemel, who was captured during the Blitzkrieg. Otto Kretschmer was a famous Korvettenkapitan who was captured and brought to Camp 30 in 1941. He had sunk more tonnage than any other U-Boat Commander. He was awarded the ‘Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords’ for his efforts.
These tunnels Karen has referenced were dug in an ingenious way. They were started in the summer of 1943 and work on them was done round the clock. The prisoners tunneled fifteen feet beneath the building. The dirt was removed in bags that were placed on a trolley track and lifted from one person to the next until it made its way to the attic of Haus IV. A prisoner in the attic would then empty the bags, sprinkling the dirt over the rafters. The tunnel ran three hundred feet and passed under Lambs Road and into a cornfield.
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
|Photo: Karen Wickiam|
Whitby Psychiatric Hospital
The Whitby Psychiatric Hospital was built in between 1913 and 1916. It was set up much the same way as most asylums at that time, as a self-sustaining community. A network of tunnels was built underneath the many buildings to facilitate movement.
Reports of hauntings at the location from the Cold Spot website:
"A few of my friends and I went there in the summer of 2004, we were curious about it. We went into the building called the Children’s Ward. We had to crawl in through a basement window. The second we got in I got a terrible vibe from the place. I mean it was really, really creepy. Anyway I noticed that throughout the building there was an area where it was cold or there was a breeze. At one point I swore I heard children laughing. Only me and my friend Sam heard it, Sarah and Tiff didn’t hear anything. I really wanted to leave after that, but they insisted we keep looking around. We went into one room and there was whispering and foot steps. We all heard it this time, it was quite terrifying. We all made haste and left after that. On our way out I kept on hearing footsteps following us, and not just one set, like a lot of them. Anyway it’s 100% haunted by my books, and by lots of other people I know who have gone.”
“I was a guard at Whitby Psychiatric Hospital in 1988 to 1989. One night I got a call that a doctor’s dog was going crazy when the elevator went by in Building 30. Her office was located on the second floor. I went in, saw that the elevator was on the 3rd floor, called it and went to the 2nd floor. The doctor explained that her dog normally ignores the elevator (it had a habit of starting up on its own and travelling the floors) but that night was an exception. After I asked to borrow the dog, we went up to the 3rd floor. I was about half way around the floor when the dog stopped at a door. The dog started sniffing and I said “What do you hear Max?” The dog looked at me and turning back at the door started pawing it. I got my keys, put the key in the lock and all I had to do was turn the key and the door was open. I felt a sudden wave of terror go through me and my hand would not obey the signal from my brain to open the door. I pulled the key out and tugging on the dog’s leash said “Let’s go Max!” I had to get out of there really fast! The dog wouldn’t leave that door and I had to drag him away with all my strength. (Max was a medium sized dog). After the dog was about ten feet from the door, he finally came with me. I headed back to the doctor’s office, handed the dog over, said “Found nothing, gotta go now!” and headed out of that building as quickly as I could. I started feeling like a coward and returned. The doctor had left for the night although she appeared to be ready to work through the night and I left. The next day, I retraced my steps and found the drag marks on the floor. I opened the door, looked inside and found only undisturbed dust. I heard later that years previously, a patient had murdered a nurse on the third floor and then committed suicide. He has been known to scream at the guards telling them to get out of his building.”
The Toronto Ghosts website received this report from a reader who lived near the old psychiatric hospital site:
"About 2 years ago, while I was home alone I was going upstairs to go to bed and when I got to the top of the stairs, I turned to go into our bedroom, I saw a woman in a red satin dress or nightgown lying on my side of the bed. She had strawberry blonde hair and I would say that she was around (5 foot 3) thinking about the amount of space she took up on the bed. I would say that she was probably in her 30s though I didn't get a really good look at her features. I can't remember positively, but I think she turned to look at me. I only saw her for milliseconds though. I was very shocked and after catching my breath, I turned back and she was gone. After some time had gone by and nothing more happened, I figured that it had been my mind playing tricks on me. But last night, my husband had gone upstairs briefly and when he came down, I knew something was wrong. He told me he'd seen a woman lying on my side of the bed and described her as I have."
The Centennial Building is the former Ontario County Courthouse, which was built in the 1850s. Frederick Cumberland and Wallace Storm were the architects who designed the building. Trials were held here starting in 1854 and the courthouse was in use until 1964. After that time, the building was used as a community center that eventually became home to the Whitby Courthouse Theatre, county archives, banquet facility and meeting rooms. In 1979, the Centennial Building was designated as a Heritage Structure under the Ontario Heritage Act.
One tragic event that occurred here, happened during a trial in 1873. A man by the name of Jack was sitting in the courthouse watching the trial of his son. The young man was accused of rape. Jack was very agitated and became even more stressed after the jury came back with their verdict. As the judge was preparing to read the verdict, Jack jumped to his feet and ran through a set of doors in the courtroom that led to a balcony. Once the judge read that the verdict was "guilty," Jack threw himself over the balcony and died. It is his spirit that is believed to haunt this location.
Custodians and other workers in the Centennial Building say that lights go on and off by themselves and that they have seen a shadow person in the hallways. Many times, custodians have locked up a room only to pass it later and see the lights back on in that room. This happens often in the Regal Room. One custodian witnessed an apparition in the upper balcony of the theatre, which then stepped down 15 feet onto the floor below. The building has been investigated several times by various groups with each reporting that they have captured EVPs and that members of their teams have experienced strange feelings up on the balcony that have left them dizzy.
The Canadian Paranormal Seekers did an investigation here in 2005 and claimed to capture what appeared to be a ghost on video. They also said that their psychic tried communicating with Jack and that he was angry and wanted to know why they were there. In a picture taken of her while channeling, there is an orb and they claim there are hands overlapping her hands, but we didn't see that.
Trafalgar Castle School
The Trafalgar Castle School is home to one of the finest private girl schools in Ontario. It was originally built in 1859 for the sheriff of the county, Nelson Gilbert Reynolds. The term castle in the name refers to the buildings structure, which was inspired by an Elizabethan castle. It was built from limestone and took three years to complete at a cost of $70,000. At the time, this was the largest private home in North America. There is reportedly a legendary "hidden chamber" and a secret tunnel. Reynolds lived at the Castle until 1874. Financial difficulties caused him to sell the property for just $35,000 in 1874. The Methodist Church bought the property and opened it as the Ontario Ladies' College, which changed names in 1979 to Trafalgar Castle School.
It's only fitting that a school that looks like a castle would have ghosts. Students throughout the years have claimed to hear phantom footsteps and seen doors open and close by themselves. One legend from the school involves an elderly woman's visit to the school. It was night and she told the caretaker that she wanted to see her granddaughter's room, which was Room 232. The caretaker leads the woman towards the room and when he turned to tell her that they had arrived, the woman had disappeared. The Toronto Ghosts website reports that in 2008 someone wrote them and said, "Because I work in law enforcement, I'd prefer to remain anonymous. I just finished three nights of working at Trafalgar Castle School and I feel pleased to offer you a new story. This happened my first night there. At about 9:30 PM, I was starting to write a report in the green gym office area when I saw a brunette about 15 years old in white gym clothes (tshirt, shorts) walk down a staircase, turn right and vanish from sight. She was in the building where the fitness room is, located behind the Chapel. Since I hadn't toured the grounds yet, I didn't think anything of it. The students are free to go in and out until 10:30 PM. Then I went for a walk and I quickly realized that there was no door where the girl turned and left my sight. 24 hours later, a friend was talking to my husband quite casually about TCS being haunted. Apparently this is old news to those who live nearby."
It would seem according to these stories and the stories that Karen told us, that some unexplained activity is going on in Whitby. Every town seems to have its share of ghost tales. Are these locations in Whitby, Ontario haunted? That is for you to decide!
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Moment in Oddity - Flathead Lake Monster
Flathead Lake can be found in northwest Montana, on the southern tip of the Rocky Mountain Trench. It is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. Flathead Lake is also home to a creature that is named for the lake. Those who have seen the Flathead Lake Monster describe it looking similar to the Lockness Monster with an eel-like or snake-like body. There are other reports that compare the monster to a giant sturgeon. Some say it is brownish in color, others say it is blue-black. The first sighting was recorded in 1889 by Captain James C. Kerr and his passengers as he steered the steamboat U.S. Grant around Lake Flathead. There is an average of one to two sightings a year. In 1993, a person reported seeing two monsters in Big Arm Bay. That same year, there were thirteen reported sightings. The most recent sighting was in the summer of 2016. If there is some kind of sea monster in the waters of Flathead Lake in Montana, that would certainly be odd!
This Month in History - Invention of Insulin
Suggested by listener Lori Gunter in honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month
In the month of November, in 1922, Eli Lilly Chemist George B. Walden discovered isoelectric precipitation, which made it possible to produce large quantities of highly refined insulin. The discovery of Insulin and the road to its man-made production dates back to 1869 when a medical student in Berlin named Paul Langerhans discovered tissue clumps in the pancreas, which were named for him, the Islets of Langerhans. Dr. Frederick Banting and his assistant, Charles Best, began experiments at the University of Toronto in a lab provided by J.J.R. Macleod in 1921 to see if they could isolate what substance was produced by the pancreas. Dr. Banting figured out that it was connected to the Islets of Langerhans and he began tests on dogs that eventually confirmed the existence of Isletin or what we now call Insulin. Dr. Banting and Best injected a severely diabetic dog with pancreas extract and prolonged its life. A biochemist named James Collip worked with the men to purify the substance and they tested it on a 14-year-old boy named Leonard Thompson. He had a severe allergic reaction and Collip purified the Insulin further. It worked like a charm. Eli Lilly then collaborated with the University of Toronto to figure out a way to produce Insulin commercially. Lilly research chemist George Walden developed the pure, stable form of insulin and a way to produce it in large quantites with isoelectric precipitation. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 1923 to Dr. Banting and J.J.R. Macleod. Dr. Banting was infuriated that Best was not mentioned in the award and he split his prize with the assistant. MacLeod split his prize with the biochemist Collip.
Legends of Malaysia (Suggested by listener Courtney Weaver)
Sabah is one of two Malaysian states located at the northern tip of Borneo. The island is shared with Brunei, Indonesia (Kalimantan), and the second Malaysian state, Sarawak. This is home to over forty different ethnic groups. Beaufort is a town located in Sabah and this is where our guests join us from. They attend SMKBeaufort and it is one of the oldest in town. There are many legends of ghouls, ghosts and creatures in Malaysia. Some of these are similar to ones discussed in our Legends of Indonesia episode. We are joined on this episode by our listener Courtney Weaver and her students Siti Nur Waheedah Binti Mat Lazim, Ainur Nadiah Binti Jaafar, Ila Afirah Binti Rozland and Ifi Aleeya Binti Rozland. These ladies will share these legends and some of their own paranormal experiences.
Brief history of Sabah: Tribal until it was annexed by the sultanate of Brunei. Brunei then leased the eastern section of Sabah to the Filipino Sulu Sultanate (leading to continuing conflicts in claims to this day.) British North Borneo Company and the Japanese occupation during WWII. Beaufort is a town located in the southern part of Sabah around the Padas River. It was established by the British North Borneo Company as a center of trade for rubber production. Along with Labuan, central to the Allied strategy to reclaim North Borneo from Japanese occupation. One of the towns most heavily impacted by fighting during this campaign. SMKBeaufort (our school) is one of the oldest in the town. It’s important to note the ethnic makeup of Beaufort, as this will influence the stories that we’ll be sharing. Beaufort is home to several communities including Bisaya, Tatana, Bajau, Murut, Buginese, Om, Brunei, and Dusun. There are also several Sarawakian (Sabah’s fellow Malaysian state on the island.) For example, Buginese and Om have Indonesian origins so you’ll be hearing some stories also common in Indonesia! Many of these stories have evolved as cultures have mixed in Sabah.
There are many legends in Malaysia, some of which are similar to Indonesia. Here are many of them:
Balan Balan - a living, vampiric creature that detaches its head at night and goes in search of menstruating and pregnant women. When the head is detached, the internal organs of the balan balan trail beneath it as it flies around. If the balan balan drinks your blood, you will become sick; unceasing menstruation or possibly a miscarriage. The best way to rid yourself of a balan balan is to find and burn the body while the head is detached; then the head will have nothing to return to and will be vulnerable to sunlight. These creatures pass as humans, and it is a genetic condition passed from generation to generation. There are two schools as to where the balan balan came from; one camp says that they have always existed; another claims that a pact made through black magic was broken and a family was cursed. Because the condition is genetic, the creatures spread across Sabah as the family moved. The origin of the balan balan is thought to be Kota Belud.
Gimbaran/Sahak - family spirits. A member of the family makes a pact with a spirit in exchange for protection and prosperity. However, if the master of the spirit passes, or the spirit feels disrespected, it can turn on the family. In this case the family is vulnerable to possession; in which case an exorcism will need to be performed. If you’re interested in learning more about this, watch Jangan Pandang Belakang (Don’t Look Back) , available on YouTube with English subtitles. ○ Malaysian exorcisms v. the exorcist. Several of the girls have experienced this type of haunting, and even witnessed the possessions.
Tambuakar - A creature unique to the Padas River in Beaufort; with a few similarities to the Loch Ness Monster or Champy in Lake Champlain. The creature is supposed to look something like a dragon; and its anger is what can cause the Padas River to flood (Beaufort is extremely susceptible to flooding!). Often this is caused by the accidental consumption of the tambuakar’s children, which often appear like fish.
Pontianak - a female vampiric spirit believed in Beaufort to be the spirit of a woman who died while pregnant. They are supposed to have the appearance of a pale woman with long dark hair, red eyes, and wear white clothing smeared with blood. They are beautiful until they reveal their true form. They enjoy hanging out and in the leaves of banana trees during the day. As far as we can tell, this is in keeping with Indonesian tradition; however in Sabah the spirit preys on pregnant women in order to attack/steal their unborn children.
Langsuir - similar to the pontianak; only this is the spirit of a woman who suffered as a result of betrayal or heartbreak (murder/suicide). They haunt men; known to rip out their insides. If a man looks at a langsuir, she can suck out his eyes (for lack of a better term).
Penunggu/Djinn - The girls can better explain this; but there are many types of djinn; some good, some bad. I’ve been told that they can move into a home or building that has been unoccupied.
Toyol - a goblin like creature that commits minor thefts and petty crimes for the benefit of their owner. Mainly they’re only capable of low level crime but can be induced to murder with special rituals. They look like small bald children with greyish green skin, pointy ears and rows of sharp teeth. It’s essential to keep the toyol happy, or they will cause chaos in your life. There’s debate about whether, when the master dies the contract ends or if the contract is passed down from generation to generation. A person can be released from a contract through the work of a bomoh. There are stories of toyol sucking blood through the toes of their owners to gain strength.
Pocong - the soul of a dead person wrapped in its burial shroud. The pocong will come to people for help. However, as the spirit is wrapped in the burial shroud (tight around the legs and feet) they must hop or jump in order to move. Some believe that if you say the name, the ghost will get one hop closer to you. Some believe that this ghost appears 40 days after burial, the traditional mourning period, to tell loved ones that their spirit still has not been released.
Hantu Raya - a spirit similar to the Christian concept of a demon; acts as a double for a practitioner of black magic. The master of the Hantu Raya either made a pact with the spirit or inherited it from previous generations. The master must provide for the spirit and appoint it a new owner before their own death. Those who fail to do so will suffer in death or even become a zombie-like creature. The Hantu Raya will assume the form of this master forever after.
Mempagar Possessions - several of the girls’ previous school experienced a series of possessions they’re willing to discuss. They also discuss some school hauntings.
Bomoh/Bobohizan - witches or witch doctors in Sabahan culture. Bomoh is a more general name, while bobohizan are exclusively for Dusun. Visiting a bomoh or bobohizan is forbidden in Islam, however they can be visited for various spells and curses. There are good bomoh and bad bomoh. ○ 2015 Earthquake in Kundasang
In 2015, ten foreign tourists summiting Mount Kinabalu thought that it would be a good idea to strip off their clothes and pose naked at the peak of the mountain. Mountains are considered sacred places to Kadazan Dusuns; especially Gunung Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Sabah and all of Southeast Asia. The mountains are considered resting places for spirits. ○ Climbing Gunung Wakid, the third tallest mountain in Sabah, I was told that I must be quiet and not speak ill of the mountain or the experience. Three days later there was a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Kinabalu and the Kundasang region, killing 18 people. Bobohizan and other tribal leaders were brought to the mountain in order to conduct cleansing ceremonies to pacify the spirits that the tourists had disrespected.
Bunian - “hidden people”; they’re almost exactly like people, only they live in a different dimension. They can cause people to become lost in the forest, and on a full moon, the bunian can dance in a circle around a person; preventing them from ever returning to our dimension. They live in homes much like traditional Malaysian style.
Mak Lampir - A witch known for her large (long) breasts; stories differ in that she may smother children with them. She is also known to hide children and kidnap them from their homes. Their location can only be revealed by prayers of an imam.
Head Hunting - The tribes in North Borneo (Kadazan, Dusun, Murut, Rungus in particular) were famous during the days of colonialism for practicing head hunting. There’s an awesome exhibit at the Sabah Museum in Kota Kinabalu devoted to the practice. From what I’ve gathered, heads were taken for several different reasons: prove victory in battle, as a manhood rite of passage, or for religious reasons. In some bands, a man could not marry until he had taken a
certain number of heads. Heads were displayed in places of prominence (homes or specified places in the kampung; in Kampung Sunsuron, near Tambunan, you can still see at the entrance to the kampung the reliquaries, for lack of a better term, where heads were kept to this day) and treated with great respect; following rituals for purification and welcoming the spirit were often treated as a member of the kampung’s ancestral spiritual community. They could be called on to aid the community in times of great need.
There are some specific time periods that spirits are said to be particularly active; one is around the time of Hari Raya, or Eid Aidilfitri. Another is around the time of the azzan (azzan being the call to prayer) for Maghrib (normally around sunset, the fourth of the five prayers). It is said that the ghosts do not cannot stand the sound of the azzan, and the howling and whining of dogs around this time is evidence of the spirits fleeing its reach.
Ghosts of WWII - during WWII, the Japanese occupied Sabah to access its natural resources as well as use it as a location for concentration camps. Sabah (Ranau/Kundasang) was the site the Sandakan Ranau Death March. Beaufort itself, being a railroad town close to Labuan, was key to the Allied strategy to reclaim Sabah from the Japanese. As such, there are stories of Japanese ghosts haunting the town.
This was a fascinating and fun cultural experience hearing about the legends of Malaysia from our SMKB Horror Club Creepy Girls! Are these just traditional stories handed down through the generations or did some of these creatures actually exist at one time. Do they still exist? That is for you to decide!