Wednesday, October 31, 2018

HGB Halloween Special 2018

On this episode, we share lots of listener true tales of paranormal activity! Also, the history of haunted house attractions. When and where did these start?

There are over 2500 haunted house attractions in the world and they are big money makers. People love to be scared, especially in a place where they are assured that they cannot be touched and what they are about to see is not real. The Egyptians were the first to come up with the idea of planning elaborate mazes and scares with the purpose of keeping body snatchers from raiding burials. They would put these scares around the outside of burials and filled them with traps, snakes and insects, moving walls and self-opening doors. Unfortunately, these scares were not as good as our modern day ones and most tombs were raided. Greeks and Romans are known for their mythological monsters and stage performances in which they used fog, fake blood and ghosts to scare audiences. So none of these are exactly like the haunted house attractions of today, but they show that humans have always looked for a way to scare and be scared.

The use of theater to scare people would continue into the late 19th century at the Grand Guignol Theater in Paris. Stage performances featured graphic dismemberment and it had a reputation of people passing out during plays. The first haunted house would start at an English fairground called Liphook in 1915. Patrick Collins was a carnival creator and he built the "Haunted Cottage" for his wife Flora at the fairground. This was during World War I and people were seeking a way to escape, so the haunted house was very popular. The scares were pretty tame and included a maze of rocking floors, vibrating walls and air blasts from below that took place in the dark. The cottage is called the Orton and Spooner Ghost House and still runs today at the Hollycombe Working Steam Museum in Liphook. The outside features the original artwork displaying ghosts, spiders, cobwebs, skeletons, Frankenstein’s Monster and Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera.

Amusement parks started hosting funhouses with dark mazes, weird mirrors and loud noises and this spilled over into small haunted houses that played up more of the creeps. Haunted Houses started appearing in America during the Great Depression just as trick-or-treating was getting started as well. It was thought that the haunted houses would distract the kids from getting into mischief. Most of them were hosted in people's basements. A 1937 pamphlet describes how parents could create these scares: "An outside entrance leads to a rendezvous with ghosts and witches in the cellar or attic. Hang old fur, strips of raw liver on walls, where one feels his way to dark steps....Weird moans and howls come from dark corners, damp sponges and hair nets hung from the ceiling touch his face....Doorways are blockaded so that guests must crawl through a long dark tunnel....At the end he hears a plaintive ‘meow’ and sees a black cardboard cat outlined in luminous paint...” (Fun Fact: I made haunted house with some friends down in one of their basements one year. Didn't know I was honoring an old tradition at the time.)

In 1969, Disneyland premiered their Haunted Mansion with lots of special effects that featured dancing ghosts in a ballroom, transforming portraits, pop-up monsters in a cemetery, a spectral sea captain and a headless horseman. The original idea was to make it a walk through attraction, but when people lingered to long looking at exhibits, doombuggy cars were introduced to keep the crowds moving at a steady pace. Today's haunted houses fall back on the walk through attraction. The Jaycees started making charity haunted houses and soon other amusement parks started incorporating haunted houses during October that continues all the way up to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. The haunted houses of the 1980s and 1990s featured a lot of connections to Hollywood's craze of slasher movies.

Today, the industry is worth $300 million dollars. Home haunters have gotten into the game, turning their homes into mini haunted attractions for Halloween. Have you been to a haunted house and which has been your favorite?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Ep. 280 - The Legend of the Hitchhiking Ghost

Moment in Oddity - Pumpkin Races

October is the time of year when our attentions turn to pumpkins. Pumpkins signal fall and, of course, Halloween. The German city of Ludwigsburg hosts the largest pumpkin festival in the world, which is held annually from early September to November. The festival includes more than 400,000 pumpkins representing 450 species of pumpkins. There is a really unique twist to this pumpkin festival though. This festival has its very own pumpkin race. This is a race held on water with huge hollowed out pumpkins that weigh at least 550 pounds. And while you might think it strange for people to watch a bunch of pumpkins race each other in water, imagine that each is like its own kayak being piloted by a human. The race covers a course measuring 115 feet and the prize is money that is awarded in six categories. Competitor Mailin Matuschek said, "It was hard fighting against the wind to get anywhere, but when you are in the groove it works. I imagined it would be more difficult.” We love pumpkins around here, but sitting in one on the water and paddling to win a race, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Calliope is Patented

In the month of October, on the 9th, in 1855, Joshua C. Stoddard patented the calliope. A calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas, steam or compressed air, through large whistles. These large instruments can be played mechanically via a music box drum or manually via a keyboard. A calliope can be quite loud and the whistles are tuned to a chromatic scale, although steam calliopes can be inaccurate with tuning since the temperature of the steam affects the pitch. J.C. Stoddard was a beekeeper from Massachusetts and he loved the sound of locomotive whistles. He took 15 train whistles and attached them to a steam chest, with a music box cylinder or roller to open the valves. The valves admitted steam into the whistles. He intended for his calliope to replace the church bells. Instead, the calliope became the famous sound of riverboats and circus parades. All of the working steamboats still around today have steam calliopes. These boats include the Delta Queen, the Belle of Louisville, and President. Their calliopes are played regularly on river excursions. Most calliopes disappeared in the mid-20th century and only a few survive today. You can still see a very elaborate one at Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World.

The Legend of the Hitchhiking Ghost

Roadside apparitions have been witnessed by thousands of motorists and there seems to be a legend of a hitchhiking ghost in every state in America. Many countries around the world have these hitchhiking ghost tales as well. These tales are haunting and tragic. They usually involve a young woman standing on the side of the road, appearing to be in distress or in need of a ride and after being noticed or picked up in a vehicle, she disappears. There is a level of trust and intimacy in giving someone a ride in your car, particularly a stranger. In our modern era, it just isn't save to be either the driver or the hitchhiker. And maybe that is why these types of tales are so prevalent. There already is a basic level of fear involved in the act of hitchhiking. This episode can't possibly cover every single legend out there involving hitchhiking ghosts, but we will touch on several that include tales from across America and from several countries. Join me on the roadside as we search out the legend of the hitchhiking ghost.

Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand wrote “The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings” in 1981. The book traces the origin of the urban legend of the hitchhiking ghost  back as far as 1876, with the ghost of a girl appearing on a roadway after being killed in a carriage accident. For myself, the idea of a hitchhiking ghost was introduced to me as a child. One of my favorite rides in the world is the Haunted Mansion and it is inside this house that riders meet three strange characters known as the hitchhiking ghosts. There is Ezra who is the skeleton, Phineas who is the traveler and Gus who is the prisoner. They all thumb for a ride aboard your doombuggy at the end of the ride and one of them joins you in that doombuggy, carrying on with some kind of shenanigans. It all seems rather fun. But the true tales of hitchhiking ghosts range from the shocking to the truly terrifying.

Blue Bell Hill, United Kingdom (Suggested by Emma Pett)

Blue Bell Hill is a historic chalk hill in Southern England that has been designated a site of scientific interest. People have reported seeing ghostly hitchhikers here since the early 1970s. A man reported seeing a young girl appear in the road ahead of his car in 1974. She collapsed as his car approached and he slammed on his brakes and rushed to give her help. He found her bleeding as though she had been a victim of a hit and run accident. The legend claims that she asked him”why did you hit me?” He covered her with a blanket he had in his car and drove away to get the police. By the time the police got to the scene the girl was gone, but the bloody blanket remained.

White Woman of Belchen Tunnel in Switzerland

The white woman of Belchen Tunnel is a tale that started in Switzerland in the early 1980s. This hitchhiking ghost is an old woman that appears in the road ahead of lonely drivers at night. Drivers slow down and pick her up and take her a few miles before she suddenly vanishes from the car. Apparently the woman looks sick and tired. If a driver asks if she is okay, she responds by telling them something terrible is about to happen.

McAlester, Oklahoma (suggested by Jayna Fields)

Jayna's sister told her a tale about a hitchhiking ghost in the 1980s. The story takes place on a highway that passes Gowen Mountain near McAlester, Oklahoma. One evening, a hitchhiker became very tired as he wandered down the road. He decided that he needed to take a nap, but he didn't want to wander away from the road so he curled up very close to the roadway. Unfortunately, he rolled a bit while sleeping and ended up on the road. A car hit him and killed him. Not long after that, he began appearing in the back seat of cars that drove down the road. Jayna's sister had a friend that claimed that her hair was pulled by something unseen when she was on the road one time.

Ft. Myers, Florida (Suggested by Jaime Michelle)

In 1913, McGregor Boulevard was built. The construction workers used shells to pave the road and one night a skull rolled to the feet of a workman. This began an effort to dig up the rest of the skeleton and before long, 103 skeletons were unearthed. The thought was that this was a Native American burial site, but a medical examiner found that the bones were not those of native people and that is when historians claimed that the bones probably belonged to pirates. A pirate ship named the Gasparilla was captured by the United States Navy and they massacred the entire crew. The bodies were buried here and since there are no laws about disturbing pirate bones, the road was allowed to continue being paved. Drivers claim to see several people on the road that cars just pass right through.

Niles Canyon, California

The tale that comes out of Niles Canyon in California is not as well known. There was a young girl who died in a car crash on her way to her high school prom. The car crashed into the canyon somewhere and was never recovered, meaning that the body of the girl was never recovered. She died on February 26th and that is the day that people claim to see her ghost as she seems to return to the scene of her death on the anniversary. Witnesses claim to see her wandering the road in her dress and many stop to pick her up. She tells them where she lives and they agree to drive her there, but she disappears soon after that. When the drivers visit the address she has given them, they find an abandoned house.

Parkway Phantom of Exit 82 in New Jersey (Suggested by Jeanne Naurez)

The Garden State Parkway was completed in 1955. From that time until the present, people have claimed to witness an apparition that has come to be known as the Parkway Phantom. He is generally seen at Exit 82 at Route 37 in Toms River. The Phantom is described as a man crossing the road and waving his arms at night. The waving arms resemble a bizarre football cheer. He is very tall and wears a long topcoat that is belted at the waist. According to the State Police, this area of road has seen more than its fair share of car accidents.

From the Weird NJ website: "We all work as paramedics in Ocean County, and we see a lot of fatal accidents. About five years ago, on a rainy night along the spot on the GSP where it is also US 9, there was a guy whose car broke down on the curve. He pulled off to the side and began to walk along the shoulder when a driver hit him, throwing him into the woods and killing him. When the paramedics got there they knew someone had been hit, but due to the darkness and rain they could not find him. They finally did and tried to revive him, but it was too late. Several weeks later the same medic crew was coming back from Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, heading toward Toms River, when they saw someone on the side of the road waving them down. By the time they were able to pull over and back up to the spot the man was gone, but they noticed it was in the same spot where the man was hit only weeks before. They just blew off the event until another crew reported a similar event in the same area. To date about three teams have seen this." –SeanEms17

Roseman Covered Bridge (Suggested by Brandon Marsh)

If you've seen the movie "Bridges of Madison County" you will be familiar with the Roseman Covered Bridge featured in the film. The bridge is rectangular shaped and brick red in color and spans the Middle River. It's located southwest of Winterset in Madison County, Iowa and is one of six remaining covered bridges in the area. The bridge was built in 1883 and it is this same year that the haunting connected to this bridge originates. An inmate escaped from the Madison County Jail in 1883 and ran to the bridge thinking he could get away, but the sheriff and a posse he formed caught up to the convict there. They trapped the man by blocking both sides of the bridge. Somehow, someone's gun discharged and the convict cried out in pain. The story gets really weird here as the inmate just seemed to disappear after he cried out. The sheriff and his men found no trace of the man. There have been reports of cold spots on the bridge and people hear disembodied voices. Sometimes the bridge shakes. An EVP was captured by Central Iowa Paranormal Investigators of a voice telling them to leave. And there is a hitchhiking ghost that people see when crossing the bridge. Could this be the spirit of the convict?

Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to people jumping off the bridge to their deaths. The bridge rises to 197 feet above the water, so most who jump from the bridge do not survive. Over 200 people have taken that leap. The original two-lane bridge opened in 1954, and officials built an addition in 1971. Two tragedies are connected to the bridge. On January 28, 1980, a buoy tender and a tanker collided while attempting to pass beneath the bridge and 23 servicemen were killed. That same year, in May 9, a freighter collided with one of the Skyway’s support columns and part of the bridge fell into the water taking eight vehicles, including a Greyhound bus full of college students. Thirty-five people died in the collapse. The bridge has been the scene of several paranormal happenings, one of which is a hitchhiking ghost. This spirit is believed to belong to a young woman who probably threw herself off the bridge sometime in the 1960s. In the 1960s and 70s, authorities received multiple calls from motorists claiming to have seen a young woman preparing to jump from the bridge, but upon investigation no woman was found. This same spirit or perhaps another female spirit has also been seen on the side of the road looking very troubled and sobbing. At other times, people have picked up the hitchhiking ghost only to have her break into sobs as they approach the summit of the bridge. When they turn to console the woman, she disappears. Motorists have spotted the hitchhiker on both the old bridge and the new one that was built to replace the one damaged in the collisions.

Highway 94 in New Zealand

This story of a highway in New Zealand features a Maori woman. It is said that the entire 160 miles of the highway is haunted by this spirit and that she is seen holding a frightened kitten. She appears to be hitchhiking by the roadside, so drivers pull over to give her a ride. But just as the car stops, the woman and the cat completely disappear.

Jenny Dixon Beach and Wilfred Barrett Drive (Suggested by Rachel Hore)

Creek Road in Ojai, California

Creek Road is a lonely stretch of road that branches off Highway 33 just outside of Ojai, California. It is a winding road full of ghost stories. There are several spirits that are seen along the road that could all be considered our hitchhiking ghost. There is a decapitated motorcyclist who wanders the road headless as though he is looking for his head. A bloodied bride is said to appear on the road on the anniversary of her death and there is another spirit that is just known as the Vanishing Hitchhiker. The creepiest apparition here belongs to a badly burnt male figure that locals call Char-Man. He is seen near the Creek Road bridge and so locals call it the Char-Man Bridge. He is most known for scaring anyone brave enough to walk or drive the bridge at night. No one is sure what happened to him, but the theory is that he died in a fiery crash or a brushfire.

Highway 666 in New Mexico (Suggested by Jessica Berry)

US Highway 491 is the former Highway 666. Obviously, with an unfortunate name like that, one would expect the highway to be haunted and they would be right. This stretch of roadway has several apparitions taking on the role of hitchhiking ghost. The first is a female apparition that lingers by the roadside. She not only appears once and then disappears as a car approaches, she continues to appear and disappear as they travel down the highway. Another spirit belongs to a little girl. She is seen wearing a pale dress and wanders along the roadside. People stop for her, worried that a child is all alone out there. Once they stop, she disappears. Some of the creepier hitchhikers here have no faces. They are actually hitchhiking, thumbing for a ride, but disappear when approached. And the infamous Skin Walkers have been known to frequent this stretch of highway.

Hotrod Haven near Louisville, Kentucky (Suggested by Michael Renegar)

There is a stretch of Mitchell Hill Road in Kentucky known to local folks as "Hotrod Haven." Between the 1940's and the 1970's, the road was a popular spot for teenagers to test their racing skills. This was not the wisest place to race because the road twists and winds. In fact, at least 25 people have lost their lives on the road. Two of those people include a couple. On September 23rd, 1946 Roy Clarke and Sarah Mitchell were on their way to a school dance when Roy lost control of the car and crashed at the curve. Both  of them were pronounced dead at the scene. There is a cemetery at the top of Mitchell Hill where the couple is buried today under a single stone. It is Sarah who seems to be our hitchhiking ghost on this roadway. Reports have been made over the decades of motorists seeing a girl wandering the roadway and aimlessly strolling the cemetery at the top of the hill. She vanishes after a time leading to her being nicknamed the "Vanishing Hitchhiker."

Bristol, Pennsylvania (Suggested by Deana Marie of TwistedPhilly Podcast)

This is the story of  Gertrude Spring from Bristol, PA, which is in Bucks County about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia (and it was founded in 1681, one year before William Penn came to the new world and founded Pennsylvania!)

Deana found a newspaper article about the death of Gertrude Spring. She is buried in St. James Episcopal Cemetery on Cedar Street in Bristol, PA.  No one knows why she's considered the hitchhiking ghost , but her name has been synonymous with the ghost of a young woman who is often seen on Bordentown Road and along nearby roads in Bristol and Bucks County. 

Years ago a truck driver picked up a young woman on Bordentown Road wearing a fancy pink gown. The dress looked old fashioned, and she seemed out of place particularly because she was wandering a dark road late at night, alone.  He picked her up and after a while he turned to talk to her but the young woman in the beautiful dress was gone. The only sign of her was a puddle on the passenger seat. The truck driver called the police to report what happened but what could they do about a young woman who disappeared (no proof of a report like this was made to the Bristol police, or when it might have happened.) 

Why was the seat wet?  It's believed Gertrude Spring drowned in Van Sciver Lake  under the Bordentown Road bridge when she died in 1935. There's an old story that one night Gertrude and a date were driving home from a night out and his car went off the bridge on Bordertown road.  The car and the boy were pulled from the lake, and although neither she nor her companion survived, Gertrude's body was never found. At least according to the legend, but the article Deana found clearly says something else.

Bristol, New Hope, that area is very old, there are so many ghost stories besides the story of Gertrude Spring, who is also called the Lady of the Lake due to her manner of death, and Midnight Mary because it's usually late at night when her ghost is spotted (although I think so many female hitchhiking ghost stories are called Midnight Mary.)  When people see Gertrude, it's often on the bridge of Bordentown Road, she's wandering in a pink gown, disoriented, and although she isn't hooking her thumb, it does seem she's looking for a ride somewhere.

Here's the myth buster - according to St. James Cemetery where Gertrude is burried, Gertrude Spring died from a skull fracture she sustained during an automobile accident in 1935.  Gertrude was born in 1909, making her 26 years old when she died.  The legend of her body never being found in the lake, well, her body was buried in St. James cemetery with other members of the spring family and she had a full church service.  The cemetery has no idea why Gertrude is considered the hitchhiking ghost.  I included a map of Bordentown Road in Bristol, PA.  Pennsbury Manor was William Penn's home - it's a historic site operated as it was in the late 1680s and you can tour it, churn your own butter - it's amazing.  You can also see how close this area is to New Jersey, and that section of the Delaware River isn't far from where George Washington made is famous crossing! 

Gertrude's tombstone is very simple, doesn't even have her last name listed, I think it's in a family plot.  The St. James cemetery dates back to the early 1700s and there are so many people buried there with ties to the revolutionary war and our earliest settlers in Pennsylvania.

White Rock Lake, Texas

White Rock Lake is a large reservoir in Texas. It’s a fairly normal lake other than the bizarre legend surrounding it. Legend tells that the area surrounding the lake is haunted by ‘the lady of White Rock lake’. She died during the 1930s at the young age of 20. To suit this, she can be seen wearing an old-fashioned dress soaked through with water. Like every other “Vanishing hitchhiker” on this list, she hitches a ride with kind strangers. A few minutes into the journey she tells the driver that she was just involved in an boating accident. Seconds after telling this, she completely disappears. Apparently she left behind a soaking wet book. The book contained no words – just blank pages.

Lydia of Jamestown, North Carolina (Suggested by Lisa Weaver and Michael Renegar)

June 20th of this year, 2018, marked the 98th anniversary of the crash that killed the woman known as the infamous Lydia who is the Jamestown Hitchhiker. Writers and ghost hunters Michael Renegar and Amy Greer wrote the book, “Looking for ‘Lydia:’ The Thirty-Year Search for the Jamestown Hitchhiker.” They think they have found the true identity of the spirit. The story of Lydia is very similar to all the other hitchhiking ghost stories. She is a beautiful woman who seems sad and just wants a ride home. She hangs out by Lydia's Bridge, which is actually an abandoned underpass about a hundred feet from where the present railway bridge crosses over East Main Street. The story goes that this woman was named Lydia and that she died at the underpass in a car accident after having been at a dance. Stories about Lydia mirror those of Resurrection Mary. She flags down a car, hops into the back seat, she gives her home address and then seems lost in another world, not open to conversation. She vanishes when the driver arrives at the address she has given. This story and the experiences have continued for nearly 100 years.

And while Michael and Amy believe the stories of the hitchhiking ghost, they think the information is wrong about Lydia. The main point being that her name was not Lydia. They believe she is Annie L. Jackson and that she was 35 years old when she died. Michael says that Annie's maternal grandmother Lucinda was known as Ludia, and that this was probably Annie's middle name. Ludia (Loodia) sounds similar to Lydia. And since Annie was 35, she certainly wasn't a young girl on her way home from a school dance. She was actually in a car with a male driver and another couple when the car flipped on a curved road in June of 1920. Only Annie was killed. A Greensboro Patriot article was written about the wreck back when it happened.

The legend usually claims that Lydia wants to be taken to her mother’s house in High Point, but Michael and Amy found that Annie Jackson’s parents died years before she did and that the house she wants to be taken to is that of her maternal first cousin and aunt whose house was in Jamestown near the underpass where Annie Jackson died.The story has been told and retold so many times that it eventually morphed into a young woman waiting in the rain for a ride to her mother's house after attending a dance. Based on the years of research that Michael and Amy have done, it would seem that Annie or Lydia was once a real person and could very possibly still be wandering the road where she died.

Resurrection Mary of Chicago, Illinois (Suggested by Kristin Swintek and Bonnie Nelson)

Archer Avenue in Chicago, Illinois is said to be one of the most haunted strips of road in America. One of the most famous hitchhiking ghosts calls this road home and that is Resurrection Mary. I've driven Archer Avenue and followed the path that Resurrection Mary took on the evening she died. I've also been to the cemetery where she is reportedly buried. Mary’s tale begins in the 1930’s. She went dancing with a date at the O Henry Ballroom, later known as the Willowbrook Ballroom. This location was still standing when I visited Chicago three years ago, but sadly, it burned to the ground in October of 2016. Mary and her boyfriend get into a fight sometime that evening and she stormed out of the dance hall. The evening was cold as Mary started making her way home up Archer Avenue. The evening was dark and a passing motorist didn't see Mary walking on the side of the road until it was too late. She was struck and killed and the driver fled the scene. Her parents had her buried in Resurrection Cemetery.

Some time after that, motorists started seeing a woman in white on the roadway. She looked very real and many of them would stop to offer her a ride. One such person was a taxicab driver who was traveling Archer Avenue in late December on the south side of Chicago. He noticed a young woman on the side of the road wearing what looked like a white cocktail dress and a thin shawl. She was not dressed for the elements and he pulled over to offer her a ride, which she accepted. Her hair was damp and she looked disheveled. She hopped into the back seat and told the driver to just continue down Archer Road. He tried to make small talk with her, but she wasn't interested in conversation.  A little ways down the road, the woman tells the driver to stop the car and that this is where she wants to stop. "You can’t get out here," he says to the young woman, "this is a cemetery!" She had been sitting in the back seat and when he glanced back at her, he sees that she is gone.

Mary was also said to appear at the O Henry Ballroom. A young man might dance with her for a while and then offer to give her a ride home. She would always accept and offer vague directions that would end up at the gates of Resurrection Cemetery. She would then disappear. More reports continued to come of people giving a young woman a ride, only to have her vanish.The more distressing stories featured Mary being in the road and getting hit, usually as she bolted out of the cemetery and into the roadway. When the motorists would stop to offer help, they would find no body. Some drivers claimed that their car passed right through the girl's body. Because the girl was thought to be Mary and since she was clearly connected to Resurrection Cemetery, the legend now calls her Resurrection Mary.
There are several theories as to who Mary really could have been. Some say that she is Mary Bregovy who was killed in an auto accident in 1934. The only problem is that she died on Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. The car that she was riding in collided with an elevated train support and she was thrown through the windshield, so clearly this is not a woman who was walking down the side of the road and killed in a hit-and-run. Others have claimed that Mary was actually the ghost of a young woman named Mary Miskowski, who was killed crossing the street one night in October 1930 on her way to a costume party. No one knows for sure who Mary was, but the stories about her seem to be more than legend.There have been so many witnesses and the dates and times have been recorded, that this seems to be more than just an urban legend.

A man named Jerry Palus had one of the most credible stories. He claimed to have met Mary in 1939 and the encounter was so memorable that he still recalled it until his death in 1992. He appeared on a number of television shows sharing his experience. This is what happened. He went to the Liberty Grove and Hall, a dance hall that was near 47th Street and Mozart, and met a beautiful girl there. He asked her to dance and the couple spent several hours together. He noticed that this girl who called herself Mary had cold skin and when he leaned in to kiss her, her lips were cold and clammy. She seemed distant most of the evening as well. At the end of the evening, the young woman asked Palus for a ride home and she told him to drive down Archer Avenue. As they drove down the street, they approached the gates to Resurrection Cemetery and she asked him to pull over because she had to get out there. Palus was reluctant to leave her outside the cemetery and told her he would only let her out  if she allowed him to walk her across the street. She refused and said, "This is where I have to get out, but where I’m going, you can’t follow."

Palus watched as she quickly exited the car and ran towards the cemetery. Before she got to the gate, she disappeared before his very eyes. He was clearly shocked. The next day, he visited the address that the girl had told him the night before when he had asked where she lived when they were dancing. The woman who answered the door told him that he couldn’t have possibly been with her daughter the night before because she had been dead for several years. She invited him in and showed him a family portrait. There he saw the girl he had been dancing with and whom he gave a ride to the cemetery.

The most bizarre story occurred in 1976. A driver was passing by the cemetery around 10:30 one evening when he happened to see a girl standing on the other side of the gates. He said that when he saw her, she was wearing a white dress and grasping the iron bars of the gate. He didn't stop, but he went to the local police station and told them that a woman had been locked into the cemetery. An officer responded to the call, but when he arrived there was no one there. He went over to the gate for a closer look and he found that two of the bars in the gate had been pulled apart and bent at sharp angles. Even stranger was that at the points on the green-colored bronze where they had been pried apart there were blackened scorch marks. The marks had a skin texture and handprints seared into the metal. The marks of the small hands made big news and curiosity-seekers came from all over the area to see them. In an effort to discourage the crowds, cemetery officials attempted to remove the marks with a blowtorch, making them look even worse. Finally, they cut the bars off and installed a wire fence until the two bars could be straightened or replaced.

On September 5, 1980, a young man was leaving a softball game and driving down Archer Avenue. As he passed the Red Barrel Restaurant, he spotted a young woman standing on the side of the road in a white dress. He stopped the car and offered her a ride and she accepted, asking that he take her down Archer. He tried to draw her into conversation, even joking that she looked like "Resurrection Mary", but she was not interested in talking. He tried several times to get her to stop for a drink, but she never replied. He was driving past the cemetery, never having stopped or even slowed down, when he looked over and saw that the girl was gone. She had simply vanished!

Reports of Resurrection Mary continued into the 1990s, but nothing more recent has been reported. I myself saw no sign of Mary in either the cemetery or on Archer Road.

The stories about hitchhiking ghosts are so plentiful that it seems that some of them must be true. And if that is the case, why do so many spirits wander the roadways and why do so many take a ride in a car? For those that speak, we know they are intelligent and since they are not locked into some time/space continuum that is residual, why are they damned to walk the same road where they died? Do they vanish because they reach the limits of their boundary and can go no further? For those that leave their grave, is it truly because they need a ride back because the walk is too far? Are there really hitchhiking ghosts out there in the world? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ep. 279 - Ferry Plantation House and the Virginia Witch

Moment in Oddity - Flaming Hole Opens Up in Arkansas

There is a curious hole in Arkansas that opened up in September of 2018. What makes this hole in the ground so bizarre is the fact that it had 12 foot flames shooting out of it. The phenomenon lasted for only 40 minutes and in that time, several people witnessed this flaming hole. The hole opened up on someone's private property and it has stumped investigators. Some have reasoned that it was space junk that fell from the sky and made a hole, while others think it was a gas leak. None of these theories seemed possible since the hole has actually been around for over ten years. So I guess we're left with the only plausible explanation, could it be Satan?  Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he had ruled out Satan stating, "As far as the spiritual Satan goes, we've ruled that out. ... He didn't come up and stick his pitchfork in the ground and blow that hole out." Investigators are sending out soil samples to see if they can find any answers. One thing is for certain, a mysterious flaming hole opening up in Arkansas, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - William H. Eddy Dies

In the month of October, on the 25th, in 1932, William H. Eddy passed away.William and his brother Horatio were born in Chittenden Vermont and even though they had humble beginnings, they would soon become famous for their abilities as mediums. Henry Olcott was sent by New York's Daily Graphic to investigate the amazing reports about the Eddy Brothers. He spent ten weeks living with the brothers and was present at multiple seances where he claims to have seen extraordinary things. Olcott told the story over fifteen articles. Olcott claimed that he saw about 400 apparitions of all sizes, sexes, and races come out of a cabinet the brothers used during seances. He tested everything, measured everything and looked for all forms of trickery and could find nothing. He was convinced the Eddy Brothers were the real deal and said that William Eddy had a real knack for producing apparitions. The two main spirits William would produce were a Native American chief named Santum and a Native American woman named Honto. Many believe Olcott was gullible and the Eddy Brothers were just good tricksters. William broke away from his brother Horatio and had nothing to do with spiritualism again. He never married and when he died in October of 1932, he was 99 years old. To hear more about the famous brothers, check out Episode 191.

Ferry Plantation House and the Virginia Witch

The site where the Ferry Plantation House stands in Virginia Beach was once the scene of a trial for a woman accused of practicing witchcraft. That woman was Grace Sherwood and it would be her neighbors that claimed she was a witch who had bewitched their land and animals. She underwent the test of ducking to see if she was, indeed, a witch. Over the years, several houses stood on the site, falling victim to fires. The most recent house is a great example of Federal architecture and features a glimpse of Colonial life. This home also features ghostly activity produced by reputedly many apparitions. The Ferry Farm is said to be one of the most haunted locations in Virginia. Listener Whitney Zahar joins me to discuss the life of Grace Sherwood and the history and haunts of the Ferry Plantation House!

Rabbit hole on bikes: Some historians credit the invention of the pedal bicycle to Kirkpatrick MacMillan. He was a Scottish blacksmith who added pedals to the bicycle in 1839. Before that, people did the Flinstones thing, propelling forward with their feet. The Boneshaker Bike - Many historians credit Pierre and Ernest Michaux as being the true inventors of the modern bicycle. These two were carriage makers who were father and son and they first assembled a two-wheeled vélocipède, or what came to be known as The Boneshaker, around 1867. This bike was propelled like a tricycle, with its cranks and pedals connected to the front wheel. The design to the U.S. in 1863.

The Ferry Farm sounds like a wonderful place to visit and it is nice to hear that Grace Sherwood finally got her deserved pardon. Is there some kind of energy left over from this superstitious time that feeds into the paranormal activity at the site? Are there really nearly a dozen ghosts here? Is the Ferry Plantation House haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ep. 278 - Edinburgh Vaults

Moment in Oddity - The Winsted Wildman

There is a legend out of Connecticut that is a variation on the Bigfoot legend and this is the story of the Winsted Wildman. This creature was first reported in 1895 in the Winsted Herald as "a large man, stark naked, and covered with hair all over his body, [who] ran out of a clump of bushes." The person to witness the wildman was town selectman Riley Smith. He had been out in the woods looking for berries with his bulldog when the creature appeared terrifying both the man and his dog. Smith described it as "a wild, hairy man of the woods, six feet in height,"and "the man’s hair was black and hung down long on his shoulders, and that his body was thickly covered with black hair. The man was remarkably agile, and to all appearance was a muscular, brawny man, a man against whom any ordinary man would stand little chance." Two other men saw the Winsted Wildman and speculation started as to who or what this thing could be with the Winsted Herald speculating that the Wildman may have been Arthur Beckwith, an escaped mental patient from the nearby Litchfield Sanitarium. The  Winsted Wildman seemed to disappear until eighty years later when he was seen again in 1972. The Hartford Courant reported that a "strange, man-like creature" was observed by two young men on Winchester Road, near Crystal Lake Reservoir. They described it as "eight feet tall and covered with hair" that walked upright and finally disappeared into the woods. People said it was just a bear, but the two men were emphatic that "it was no bear." The Wildman was seen again in 1974 by two couples parked at night. They said they saw a "six-foot, 300-pound creature covered with dark-colored hair." Police could find nothing. There are those who claim the story was just made up by Louis Timothy Stone, the editor of the Winsted Herald in order to sell papers. This seems to be something he did quite a bit. But how to explain the more recent sightings? If the Winsted Wildman was anything more than just a bear, that would certainly be odd!

This Month in History - Serial Killers William Burke and William Hare Kill Their Final Victim

In the month of October, on the 31st, in 1828, William Burke and William Hare kill their final victim. The Judgement of Death Act of 1823 required judges to enter a sentence of death on the court record, but they could then commute the sentence to imprisonment. Medical and anatomical schools were only allowed to use the bodies of condemned criminals for dissection. This act made the availability of bodies very limited and thus the unscrupulous practice of grave robbing took root. William Hare immigrated to Scotland from Ireland and eventually became keeper of a lodging house in Edinburgh. William Burke was also Irish-born and he arrived at the lodging house in 1827. An old pensioner died in the house and so his rent went unpaid. Hare was upset about losing the money and stole the body from its coffin with the help of Burke and sold it to a surgeon named Robert Knox. The men were happy with their profit and decided to do more of this, only they didn't grave rob, they just murdered people and sold the bodies. It's believed they killed 15 unknown wayfarers who stayed at the lodging house. They would get the men drunk and smother them. Their last victim was Marjory Docherty, whom they killed and hid under a bed on Halloween. They tried to keep the guests who were staying in that room from entering, but they entered anyway and discovered the body. Burke's wife tried to bribe them to be quiet, but it was reported and soon the multiple murderers were discovered. Hare turned king’s evidence and was released and disappeared. Burke was tried for murder, found guilty and hanged. The Burke and Hare case inspired the horror films The Body Snatcher from 1945 and The Flesh and the Fiends from 1959.

Edinburgh Vaults

In the late 18th century, two bridges were built in Edinburgh to help the city to expand over the hills that were part of the area, the North Bridge and the South Bridge. The South Bridge linked the Old Town’s High Street with the University buildings on the south side of the city and housed a number of chambers that were first used for businesses and later became a seedy part of the city. These chambers are known today as the Edinburgh Vaults. Because of some of the illegal activity and the living conditions in the vaults, they are reputedly the most haunted site in Scotland. Join me as we explore the history and hauntings of the Edinburgh Vaults!

The Edinburgh Vaults of the South Bridge are located within chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the bridge. Construction on the vaults began in 1785 and was completed in 1788. The bridge consisted of 19 stone arches, hit 31 feet at its highest point and spanned a chasm just over 1000 feet long. There were three levels to the bridge. The street level had store fronts that included taverns and markets. The level below the street was used for cobbler and other tradesmen's workshops and storage. The third level contained 120 rooms, which were used for living space. This arrangement lasted for thirty years. The red light district would form after this time, but even before that there were some operations starting that were outside of the normal businesses like this report on Saturday 1 July 1815 in The Edinburgh Evening Courant,
"On the 24th inst. Mr McKenzie, supervisor, accompanied by Mess. Gorie and McNaugton, officers, discovered a private distillery, of considerable extent, under the arch of the South Bridge, which has been working these 18 months past, to the great injury of the revenue. The particulars of this seizure are worthy of notice, from the great pains which had been taken to prevent disclosure. The original door to the place where the operations were going forward had been carefully built up and plastered over, so as to prevent any appearance of an entrance. Behind a grate in the fireplace of a bed-room, an opening had been made, and fitted with an iron door and lock, exactly fitting the grate, which could only be seen by being removed; and this passage led to the flat above by a trap-door and ladder, where the still was working. This place again was in one of the deaf arches, immediately adjoining the middle arch of the bridge, (now The Caves venue), and the person had found means to convey a pipe from one of the town’s branches, which gave a plentiful supply of water. A soil pipe was also got at, and a hole broke through into a neighbouring vent to carry off the smoke. Besides the still, a considerable quantity of wash, and some low wines, were found in the premises; also many casks, mash ton, large tubs, etc. The spirits were said to have been conveyed away in a tin case, made to contain two or three gallons, which was again put into a green bag, and carried out by a woman under her cloak."
Things for the vaults changed after huge cracks began to form in the bridge. The South Bridge that had been considered an engineering marvel was actually flawed and these cracks that formed allowed water and waste from the city to flow into the vault’s lower levels. The conditions deteriorated rapidly and the businesses left in the 1820s. They were replaced with the poor and homeless of the city moving inside the vaults and in 1845, the vaults were overwhelmed with Irish immigrants trying to get away from the potato famine. Slum lords took advantage of the desperate people and would cram as many people into a space as they could, which usually amounted to 10 people living in a space meant for one person. Conditions were so bad that the residents began moving out in the 1860s. Proof that people once lived here was found during excavations in 1985. There were dishes, medicine bottles, toys and other household goods. Before this time, many people didn't believe that anybody had lived in the vaults. The reason why excavations needed to be done is because the vaults had been filled in with rubble to prevent squatters and effectively passed out of memory.

After the tradesmen left, disreputable businesses moved in and crime became the norm in the vaults. A vast red-light district took hold, smuggling operations were carried out and people were murdered. The cramped spaces became a hiding place for body snatchers who needed dark places to come and go more easily. There are even rumors that in the 1820s, the infamous serial killers William Burke and William Hare lurked within the vaults and may have killed some of their 16 victims there. I have found no evidence to back that up and as the Month in History details, the murders seemed to have happened at the boarding house, not the vaults. Add in the rampant disease and the vaults were a dangerous place to enter and live. So the South Bridge had a horrible reputation as being a slum.

There was a decades old belief that the bridge was cursed and the reason that it was cursed was because of the first person to cross the expanse. It was decided before the bridge was completed that a well known and respected judge's wife should be the first to cross. Several days before the bridge was opened, the woman passed away. The city fathers felt that they should keep up their end of the deal and so they decided to carry the woman's coffin across the bridge. The people of Edinburgh were a very superstitious people and they felt that carrying a dead woman across the bridge was bad luck and that the bridge was now cursed. But was this just superstition or could it really be true? And what of the claim that the Edinburgh Vaults are the most haunted place in Scotland?

One of the main areas that ghost tours in Edinburgh visit is the Blair Street Vaults, which are part of the South Bridge and can be entered through Barrie's Close. (For those who don't know, a close is basically an alleyway.) Let me give you a visual of what the vaults are like today and then imagine that this place is full of people, some with harmful intent for you. The air is dank and damp and cold. The dark grey walls seep water and are crumbling. Those decaying walls covered in slime, press in causing claustrophobia before eventually opening into cavernous spaces. This is an underground labyrinth of twists and turns. It is easy to get lost.

Mercat Ghost Tours guide Nicola Wright, who has worked in and around the Vaults for 11 years, said, “We do get an awful lot of activity and the reports have been getting more frequent in recent weeks. This is a very sinister place. There are lots of dark, dark spirits down here...Lots of guides have experiences. I train a lot of the guides and often when they are new we get a lot of activity, because the spirits aren’t used to them. They hear things, they get pushed, they hear footsteps, they see faces. Tourists feel things as well. Temperature changes - quite often the temperature will drop suddenly. We had reports of footsteps last night, people seeing figures. A lot of time people are taking pictures and they tell me ‘you realise there’s a woman standing behind you?’ but I’m fine with it.” The tours have recorded some unexplained activity. I had a friend take one of these tours several years ago and they captured a weird green mist in a couple of photos that was not visible with the naked eye. They also had a young boy on the tour who screamed in terror and wanted out of the vaults. He complained that his back hurt and upon lifting up his shirt, they discovered a red hand print as though someone had hit him.

Other visitors to the vaults have experienced the full array of ghostly activity from disembodied voices to strange sounds to cold blasts of air to full-bodied apparitions. The Wine Vault is said to be teeming with activity. The ghost of young boy named Jack is said to be here and he is known to grab the hands of visitors. The Occult Chamber is one of the creepier areas and is rumored to have been a place where satanic rituals and other occult practices were conducted. One legend that seems rather outlandish was that a woman was sacrificed on a mysterious square brick in the center of the chamber after being tortured for days.

Mr. Boots is the most well known ghost haunting the vaults. He is described as a shabby and tall man who likes to keep to the back section of the vaults. He throws stones at visitors to get their attention and occasionally pushes them. People hear his heavily booted disembodied footsteps and his voice cursing throughout the chambers. The White Room is the abode of the spirit that is thought to be the worst here and that is the Watcher. This spirit instills feelings of dread into most people, especially psychics. This specter gives the chilling feeling of being watched, which is where his nickname comes from. The tour guide Nicola says she won’t go into The White Room and that "people have come out of the room and found they had scratch marks or bruising, they’ve had their clothes torn, they feel very nauseous. If you take photographs quite often faces will appear in them. I won’t go into that particular room. He warns people not to enter, he shouts at people, he pushes people."

In 2003, a BBC Radio producer named Debbie McPhail wanted to cover the history of the vaults and she took the Edinburgh Vaults’ owner down into the underground to conduct the interview. When she returned to the BBC offices and began going through the audio, she noticed that there was another voice on the tapes that did not belong to her or the owner. This voice told the two to “get out.” McPhail told reporters, “When I was listening back to it, I could hear Norrie Rowan [the vault owner] chatting and then I heard another voice. It was close by to the microphone because you can tell if voices are far away or not. I knew it wasn’t the presenter or Norrie because the voice had a slightly Irish accent. But I couldn’t understand why no-one responded to it. When the presenter came back up I asked him who they had met in the vault and he said nobody. My husband thought it could be Gaelic and I asked a colleague who spoke the language and she said they could be saying ‘get out’ or ‘go away’. I have no reason to doubt it. You could sit forever and make explanations for it, but it’s there on the disc and that’s good enough for me.”

A bartender from a bar right next to the Vaults claims that he left an orange on the bar and when he came back, it had been perfectly peeled and no one was in the bar with him. Joe Swash spent a night in the vaults by himself in 2009 for a BBC program and picked up the EVP of a Catholic priest reciting the last rights for 20 minutes. A journalist for The Scotsman reported some experiences they had during a ghost hunt, "In another vault [our guide Ewan] sensed a room that was at one time used as a men-only drinking tavern. Ewan explained that every tour party he brings into this room splits immediately into male and female groups which, he said, was possibly due to previously being a male-dominated environment. A look around the room confirmed this to be true. The final room we entered featured a number of large stones laid out in a circle on the floor. We were told that this room had once been used by the witches who still practise today in a specially fitted-out room in the vaults. The witches had sensed a mischievous spirit in the room and had conducted a sermon to trap whatever was lurking within inside the stone circle.Those who have entered the circle are said to wake up with scratches on their legs the next morning."

The Edinburgh Vaults have an old and dark history. Many people probably lost their lives here through illness and murder. Is it possible that some of their spirits remain in the underground? Are the Edinburgh Vaults haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Mercat Ghost Tours:

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ep. 277 - Iron Island Museum

Moment in Oddity - The Koreshan State Historic Site

Many people have heard of the Hollow Earth Theory, but not many know that a cult of followers of this belief had once built their very own Utopia. Today, that Utopia is known as Koreshan State Historic Site. Cyrus Teed was born in 1839 and he became a physicist and alchemist. One day, Teed claimed that God spoke to him and told him to start a new religion. Teed was to take the name of Koresh and call this new religion Koreshanity. The core belief of the group was that the Earth and sky existed inside the inner surface of a sphere, which is one unique interpretation of the Hollow earth Theory. Teed claimed that Jesus was the sixth messiah and that he himself was the seventh messiah. In 1894, the group moved to the small Florida town of Estero and began building what they called "New Jerusalem." At their peak, the community had 250 residents. Teed died in 1908 and the group's numbers began to decline and the finally Koreshan died in 1961. The community was deeded to the state of Florida before that and was turned into a state historic site. So today, you can canoe the river near the Seven Sisters' Planetary Court and stop in to see the models of the Universe that have the Earth inside a concave sphere and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - First Double-decked Steamboat Arrives in New Orleans.

In the month of October, on the 7th, in 1816, the first double-decked steamboat, named the Washington, arrived at New Orleans. Henry M. Shreve designed The Washington and that design would prove to be ideal for western rivers. That original design included elements that we associate with the classic steamboat powering up the Mississippi: a two-story deck, a stern-mounted paddle wheel powered by a high-pressure steam engine, a shallow, flat-bottomed hull, and a pilothouse framed by two tall chimneys. The currents of the mighty Mississippi were tackled in record time for the Washington, which managed to reach Louisville in only 25 days after leaving New Orleans. The flat-bottomed hull was perfect for the shallow western rivers and The Washington started offering cargo and passenger service. Soon other paddlewheelers were produced and at the peak of the era, there were 740 steamboats traveling the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The boom ended by the late 19th century as the railroad started taking over.

Iron Island Museum

The Iron Island Museum is said to be the perfect spooky spot for anyone in western New York to enjoy a little Halloween fun. For those of us who celebrate Halloween year round, this museum is the perfect spot for a ghostly encounter. The tales of experiences are numerous and this location has been featured in multiple paranormal television shows. The museum showcases the charming and proud history of the Lovejoy neighborhood in Buffalo. The memorabilia is a sight to see and the place is crammed so full, it takes several hours to enjoy it all. And perhaps this is why the place is so haunted, all that memorabilia. Or could it be the former use for the building causing the hauntings? Join me as I explore the history and hauntings of the Iron Island Museum.

Hearing the name Iron Island probably immediately makes one think that this location is located on an island somewhere, but that is not the case. Iron Island is the name given to the Lovejoy neighborhood in Buffalo, New York because it is bordered on its perimeter by railroad tracks. The neighborhood was settled by Italian, German and Irish immigrants. Migrants from the rural south would come later, but the area is dominated by Italians. The neighborhood gets its name from Sarah Lovejoy who was an American killed during the War of 1812 in December of 1813 during a British-Indian raid on Buffalo. Most of the men from the settlement went to Black Rock to defend against the British attack and Sarah remained behind with her 12-year-old son, Henry. When the British Native Americans arrived in Buffalo, Sarah sent Henry into the woods because she figured it would keep him safe from being kidnapped and that the raiders would not harm a woman. The Native Americans ransacked the house and Sarah fought with them as she tried to save her property. Legend claims she stated, “When my property goes, my life shall go with it.” During the melee, she was stabbed with a tomahawk and her body was dragged into the yard. The neighbors put her body in the house after the troops left, but the next day the British burned much of the settlement and Sarah's body was burned up with her house. There is a cenotaph in Forest Lawn Cemetery to honor Sarah and also a memorial in Mumford Rural Cemetery near her parents.

The Iron Island Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Lovejoy neighborhood and it has its home in a building donated in August of 2000 by businessman Anthony Amigone. The building was formerly a church and a funeral home that dates back to the late 1800s. He decided to donate the property when he read about the efforts of the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy, Inc. The preservation society was formed in 1994 with the mission "to preserve and beautify the Iron Island neighborhood and improve the quality of life for the residents." They've done a lot of fundraisers to beautify the parks and held various events. The museum celebrated its grand opening in October of 2000 and features military uniforms, railroad memorabilia, a wooden altar from a neighborhood 1896 church and a model of the New York Central Terminal.

The history of the building starts with a small wooden church on the site in the late 1800s and a parsonage erected to the west at 994 Lovejoy Street. The brick church that is there now was erected in 1883 and opened in 1885 by a Methodist-Episcopal church. For some reason, the church building was abandoned for a short while starting in the 1940s and then bought in 1956 by a funeral director who used it as a funeral home, known as Church Funeral Home. An area with three viewing rooms was added inside and an apartment was attached. Three different funeral directors ran the home up until it was donated. Iron Island Museum has a well-known reputation for being haunted and they embrace it offering ghost tours and overnights. Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters have featured the location on episodes as well.

There are several ghosts here with the most famous being Edgar Zernicke. Edgar was 87 when he died in 1992. His remains were cremated and when the funeral home was closed, the remains of Edgar along with seven others were left in the basement in quart-sized paint cans. Nobody had claimed them.  Edgar had been a Marine who fought in the Sandino Rebellion in Nicaragua in 1928 and he later joined the Navy in the early 1930s. He eventually moved to Buffalo and he lived in the East Delavan area working as a tool and die maker. Once it was realized that his remains were left in the basement, he was given a full military burial at Bath National Cemetery in September of 2010. The discovery of Edgar as the ghost and owner of these cremains was made by Chip Coffey who visited the museum with Ghost Hunters. He told Linda Hastreiter, co-owner of the Iron Island Museum, that the ghost's name started with the letter "E," and then later he got the name Edgar. Later, Hastreiter was going through the list of names from the cans that had been left behind by the funeral home in the basement closet and she saw the name "Edgar Zernicke." She was able to identify the other soldiers in cans and all of them were escorted with Edgar by Patriot Guard Riders to the cemetery. This did not put Edgar to rest though. He still haunts the building.

Speaking of Linda, her first ghost experience in the building happened in December of 2000. The museum was hosting a Christmas party and Linda was in the kitchen prepping stuff when she heard tables and chairs being moved around in the front room. Not a problem if you have a group setting up, but when you are in the building alone? Linda made her exit quickly and called a volunteer to join her in checking the building. They found nothing moved.

Visitors and employees claim that there are also two spirits of 6-year-old boys who had been waked at the funeral home hanging around the museum. There wakes took place in the 1960s. EVP have captured spirit voices and entities have been caught in photos and in videos. The psychic Karyn Reece visited for a lecture and during her talk she mentioned that an orb was hovering over a man in the back. He was a skeptic and shrugged his shoulders unconcerned of her observation. He got a little nervous though when someone turned and snapped his picture and the orb was clearly visible above his head in the picture.

When Ghost Hunters was there, they captured evidence and had experiences. One of the investigators was standing in the hall speaking to another team member when she saw a shadow shape move in front of the door and then the door opened and closed. This was a door that had been locked. Grant climbed the ladder to the old church attic and he saw a dark figure and a voice seemed to emanate from it. The group captured disembodied footsteps and voices and some EVP.

Cindy from Ontario posted on TripAdvisor: "I was taking pictures with my cellphone in the attic room when it inexplicably took 2 pictures automatically in slow succession. I swear I did not do anything to my phone to make it take those pictures and my friend witnessed the whole thing as well. A few of the girls felt the 'spider web' feeling brushing against their arms a few times. We also think we caught an EVP while recording our conversation. Sounds like a male voice but cannot clearly make out what was said. Not sure if any of these things were truly paranormal ... my husband is still a huge skeptic lol. Mind you, he wouldn't go down in the basement by himself in the dark. All in all we had such a fun and enjoyable evening and would recommend this experience to others."