Thursday, May 23, 2019

HGB Ep. 298 - Haunted Ybor City

The Moment in Oddity - The Bloody Pit

The Hoosac Tunnel took twenty-four years to complete at a cost of $21 million. It is a railroad tunnel that stretches nearly 5 miles in western Massachusetts. Many people have nicknamed the tunnel, The Bloody Pit. Construction was started in 1851 and you can imagine at that time that cutting through a mountain was quite the feat. Techniques that are used today for tunnel drilling were created at this time and in 1975 the tunnel was made an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Workers would pay a hefty price in creating this marvel. One hundred ninety-six of them would die from accidents. One accident trapped thirteen men who lived long enough to make a raft to keep from drowning when the pumps failed and water rose in the shaft in which they were trapped. They eventually suffocated. Another accident left two men dead after an explosion. A third man that was with the other two men, Kelly Ringo, escaped the explosion even though he was the one to actually set it off on accident. A little over a year later, Ringo was working in the tunnel again. He was found later strangled to death. No one was ever caught in connection to his murder. Legend claims that the two men who died in the blast he triggered had come back to exact their revenge. And it's easy to believe because there are many supernatural things that happen here from lanterns swaying on their own to disembodied voices to shadow figures. The ghosts of two men killed in a construction accident coming back to get the man who caused it, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Balloon Bomb Killed Six Near Bly
Suggested by: Shelley Emary

In the month of May, on the 5th, in 1945, six people were killed by a balloon bomb near Bly, Oregon. It was a beautiful day, the perfect day for a picnic. Reverend Mitchell and his wife decided to head to a wooded area along Leonard Creek to do just that. They invited five kids from their Sunday school class to join them. The Reverend dropped everyone at the picnic spot and then drove away to park the car. The Reverend describes what happened as he got out of the car, "As I got out of the car to bring the lunch, the others were not far away and called to me they had found something that looked like a balloon," Mitchell said. "I heard of Japanese balloons so I shouted a warning not to touch it. But just then there was a big explosion." Balloon bombs were constructed by the Japanese during World War II and they made as many as 9,000 of them. At least 285 of them made it all the way to the west coast of America. The balloons were made of paper and inflated with hydrogen. Each balloon carried a variety of bombs. Mitchell ran to where he had dropped his pregnant wife and the children. There was a crater a foot deep and 3 feet wide and everyone was dead. The victime were his pregnant wife; Dick Patzke, 14; Jay Gifford, 13; Edward Engen, 13; Joan Patzke, 13; and Sherman Shoemaker, 11. This was the only enemy-inflicted attack that caused casualties on the U.S. mainland during World War II. Be careful! Some bombs were never found and could still be out there and as proof of that, one was found in British Columbia in the Monashee Mountains in 2014.

Haunted Ybor City

When people claim that a town was the wildest in the west, we have certain images that come to mind. We envision gunfights in the street, brothels, saloons, cowboy hats and spurs. But what about a city that was dubbed the "Wild West of the South?" Change those cowboy hats to gangster fedoras and the spurs to cigars and you get Ybor City. This neighborhood just outside of Tampa, Florida has an amazing history, which has led to some interesting haunts. Join me as I explore the history and hauntings of Ybor City.

A small group of us took the Ybor City Ghost Tour a couple of weekends ago and our minds were blown about the history going on in this town. When you drive down the main drag, 7th Avenue, it becomes clear that this truly is Cigar City, but then you notice something else peculiar. There are Mardi Gras beads hanging from trees and littering the roofs of the businesses. That is because this city is built to reflect the French Quarter in New Orleans and in many ways, it does. Bars dot the landscape and the roads are built from brick. But rather than having the scent of stale beer and urine in the air, there is the sweet pungent smell of cigar smoke. And everybody smokes big stogies here, including that seventy-something woman we just passed, sitting outside of one of the haunted locations here. A must here is to watch a cigar being hand rolled. This street was named as one of the "10 Great Streets in America" in 2008. Another nod to New Orleans is the street trolley that runs up and down the street.

 Ybor City was founded by a group of cigar manufacturers looking for a place to relocate. They were originally located in Key West, a place that presented higher costs and transportation issues. Tampa was still near enough to Cuba to keep the price of the Cuban tobacco low and it also had the plus of new railroad lines being built throughout the state of Florida to facilitate transportation of the cigars to the rest of the United States. There was also the plus of lots of land. Key West was small and land poor, but in Tampa, workers could actually buy land and build their own homes. So workers migrated from Key West to Tampa. The leader of this group of cigar manufacturers was Vincente Martinez-Ybor and he built his workers homes and sold them for basically cost. The area was founded in 1885 and named for Ybor. The success of the city led Tampa to annex it in 1887. This was the state's first industrial town.

Ybor's cigar factory was the largest brick building in Florida. Immigrants came from everywhere to work here. The city took on a European atmosphere as these immigrants arrived from Germany, Romania, Italy and Spain. And, of course, many Cubans arrived too. Each group had their own club and all array of ethnic holidays were observed. These different groups brought their own specialties and soon shops were popping up all over Ybor City, as well as restaurants. German lithographers invented the cigar label. This made Ybor City pretty special. The ethnic clubs provided social outlets as well as healthcare for their members and workers were happy as they were not beholden to a company. This sounds like a company town, but it wasn't since the workers could own their own property. And what also makes this area great is that so many of these buildings - the factories, social clubs and balconied storefronts - still exist today.

So Ybor City sounds like a great place to work and live, but this area was called the Wild West of the South for a reason. There was no law here. When Prohibition was enacted throughout America, Ybor City completely ignored it. The taps here continued to run. Tunnels were built under the city and these were not constructed to facility the sewage system. These tunnels helped crime run rampant. They were used for transporting illegal goods or to help criminals escape when nightspots were raided. The lawlessness attracted the mob and gangsters. Speakeasies popped up everywhere, along with brothels and murder and mayhem were rampant. Organized crime ran a gambling game called Bolita, which is Spanish for little ball.  This is a game of chance like a lottery. A bag is filled with small numbered balls and one is pulled at random and this is the winning number. A notorious gangster named Charlie Wall ran many of the Bolita games and he used the proceeds to fund his criminal projects. As the 1930s rolled into the 1940s, residents of Ybor City took to calling it the "Era of Blood." The city continued to deteriorate and the buildings were abandoned. In the 1980s, the neighborhood took on new life as an artist colony developed in Ybor City. Soon bars and restaurants and stores moved in and the nightlife has been alive ever since. Also alive here, as remnants of the crazy past, are spirits.

Fun Fact: This is the only place where you actually can stand in Cuba while still being in America. There is a park dedicated to Cuban poet and revolutionary Jose Marti in Ybor City and it is owned by Cuba. The United States does not maintain it, so volunteers in the Cuban community take care of it. 

King Corona Cigars Cafe and Bar

Our first stop is the King Corona Cigars Cafe and Bar. The outside patio area along the street is dotted with tables and people sit here sipping wine or a craft beer and puffing on cigars. The cafe and bar were founded in 1998 by Don and Brenda Barco and they both have run it through all these years until Don passed away this past March 2019. The building has housed other businesses previously though. I believe the original store was a dress shop opened by Raul Vega and he ran that for sixty years. The twelve years following that, it was a women's upscale store called La Nica Fashions. And then the building was empty for two years until Don bought it. His family had been in the cigar business for five generations. The building needed a lot of renovations and Don enlisted some friends to help him. This is when they would discover that there was something other than dust left behind.

Joe Howden was one of those friends helping Don and he was there late one night by himself. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was not really by himself. He grabbed a hammer and walked towards the back of the building where he saw a very large man standing there. Joe didn't want a confrontation, so he held the hammer in front of his body and backed up towards the front door, hoping to run away. It turned out that he wouldn't have to run because the large man just evaporated into thin air. This large man was not the only spirit here. Another friend helping renovate was named Sarah. She was painting the walls when she saw a young girl at the back of the store. The girl just stared at Sarah and Sarah could see that she was wearing a period dress. Sarah said "Hello" but got no response. As she approached the girl, she disappeared. Patrons and workers have experienced disembodied voices and strange, unidentifiable sounds.

Mediums who have visited the cafe have seen the large man spirit and claim that it belongs to Raul Vega. One medium, named Joanne, walked to the back of the store and claimed to see a lot of blood everywhere as though someone had been killed here. She also claimed to see the spirit of a young girl cowering in a back storeroom and that this child spirit was terrified of something. The energy was so negative around her that Joanne ran from the room and would not go back inside. A few years later, another medium named Sheila joined writer Dave Lapham at the cafe. She saw the same pools of blood in the back of the store and Dave had told her nothing about the place. And she saw the little girl ghost cowering in the corner too.

Don Vincente de Ybor Historic Inn

Casa Ybor is the former Don Vincente de Ybor Historic Inn, which was established in 1895. The man who founded Ybor City built this building and did it in the Mediterranean style. Today, it offers retail, residential and office spaces, but it is best remembered as the Don Vincente de Ybor Inn and that is what it was when Dead Files visited. Originally, this was a real estate office, Ybor Land and Improvement Company, a planning and development office for the community and then it transformed into El Bien Publico Clinic, a medical clinic, in 1903. It would change names to The Gonzalez Clinic after the El Bien Publico closed in 1973. This would run until 1980. The building sat empty for 18 years and then Jack Shiver bought it in 1998 and fully refurbished the interior into a beautiful period decorated inn. It took two years and two million dollars. The beautiful staircase was restored as was the hand carved wooden bar and the brass and blush pink light fixtures. Persian rugs, beautiful French chandeliers and antiques were added. One of which was an imposing grandfather clock that was the grand prize winner at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco. The basement had been a speakeasy at one time and was renovated to be a large gathering place. The Inn closed in May of 2015 and is now Casa Ybor. Darryl Shaw had bought the building for $2.2 million in 2014, so he probably decided it was worth more to have it as offices. It still was not open and was being renovated when we went by it.

During the clinic time, this was really a celebrated hospital. There was a man named Jose Luis Avellanal who had been born in Tampa in 1903. His father had founded the first clinic in the building. One of his father's first patients was a young boy that Jose had shot in the eye. Jose was a really bad kid and he was going to grow into a really bad guy. He would develop what he called an electric chair when he was young and confinced a neighborhood boy to help him test it. Needless to say, this would be another patient for his father. His father put him in solitary confinement hoping it would straighten him up, but he just escaped and stole his dad's car. He was shipped off to military school. He moved around when he became an adult with a stop in tennessee where he was charged with possession of drugs and kidnapping a woman. When he returned to Ybor City, he claimed that he was a doctor, but many feel the diploma was fake. He set up shop at El Pasaje Hotel where he conducted bizarre and macabre experiments. He told people he could raise the dead and even tried to publish articles on resurrecting the dead. Apparently, he was bringing dead cats back to life. At least, that was his claim. He also experimented with cryogenics. He practised as a plastic surgeon and gynocologist, so I can only imagine what kind of a horror show that was. He also established Southern University, which was really only a diploma mill and he was charged with fraud. He visited Mexico and returned claiming that he had been given the title of lieutenant general and he was often seen in full uniform around town. He eventually died in 1982. An interesting note, as if the rest of this wasn't, is that Jose wrote a suicide note. In it, he claimed to have had 500 sexual relationships. The note was nine pages of rambling and disturbing narcissism. 

Locals have called this location, Hotel Hell. Dead Files on the Travel Channel featured this in the first season and Amy really didn't like the place. The first entity she experiences is a nurse who worked in the clinic. She sees the spirit going back and forth over and over in what seems to be a residual manner as she continues to do her work in the afterlife. The nurse's name is thought to be Tabby.

There were 16 rooms in all and the two main haunted rooms in the inn were Room 303 and Room 305. The water is said to come on by itself and footsteps are heard. Outside of Room 305, Amy thought she saw the body of someone lying face up. When she entered the room, she felt a very negative energy and she felt sick. She felt like a murder-suicide had happened in the room. But this incident did not happen while this was an inn. Did it happen in the clinic? The front desk clerk, Ray, and he said a woman told him that she saw a ghost that stared at her in Room 305.

Tessa is the daughter of Jack Shiver and she helped run the inn. She was scared of the basement and always took the stairs two at a time when she was going up. She told Steve about a terrifying experience she had one day in the restroom down in the basement around 2:30 in the afternoon. She looked up into the mirror and saw a woman in a Spanish veil standing behind her. She could see right through the woman. She fell backward screaming in terror, spilling her purse and all its contents everywhere.

Jack Shiver himself had experiences too. He was down working in the basement and he saw a light and then a very small lady. There are no windows in the basement. The woman looked back at him and he thought she was a Spanish woman too. He could see through her, so he knew she wasn't human.

The basement had served as a speakeasy at one time and Amy could see that there were many people there. She had to leave the area after she was overwhelmed by at least twenty entities. She said that it felt as though many of them had killed somebody at some point. Some had crushed faces and they were vibrating. It all sounded very weird. She could sense the tunnels coming to the basement. Remember that Ybor City had these tunnels everywhere. So was this facilitating bringing in alcohol during Prohibition? Keep in mind that anything went in this city, so they really didn't need to hide stuff in tunnels. These tunnels could have helped Jose to move bodies as well. Did that happen? Amy thinks that perhaps her visions of people in the walls down in the basement was actually a morgue.

It will be interesting to hear what happens after the offices open. Will people in Casa Ybor experience the same things as though who ran and visited the inn that was here before?

The Cuban Club

In 1902, the Cuban immigrants in Ybor City formed El Circulo Cubano, which means Circle of Cubans. The original Cuban Club was made of wood and burned down in 1916. The club was quickly rebuilt in the same spot at the corner of Palm Avenue and 14th Street and this time they used brick, but not any old brick. They used yellow brick because it was three times the price of red brick and they wanted to one-up the Spanish Club and show off their wealth. The style was neoclassical and the club was opulent, boasting a gym with the latest exercise equipment of the time, a running track, a basketball court, a bowling alley, a pharmacy, a library and a swimming pool. Now the pool was only 10 ft. x 10 ft. and 10 feet deep, so it was more like a spa, but it was the only pool in Ybor City. There is a theater here with the ceiling painted like the sky. There is a small balcony and a little ticket booth just outside the doors. The dressing rooms are off to one side backstage and are small. The Grand Ballroom had elaborate murals painted on the ceiling and Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Campbell played their Big Band tunes there. The building was decorated with imported tile floors, stained-glass windows and elaborately carved scraffito spandrells. The fortunes of the club waned in the 1960s, but the Cuban Club Foundation bought the building and have preserved it.

Our tour guide told us that there were 300 known ghosts here. I'm skeptic, so obviously I find that to be a stretch, but there definitely do seem to be a few spirits here. EMF detectors were handed out and they went off most of the time we were in the building. I personally feel that much of the issue was electrical. There was wiring in the columns, people didn't have their cell phones on airplane mode and who knows what the wiring was like throughout the building.

The first spirit is a little boy named Jaime who drowned in the pool. This reminded me of the Queen Mary and the little girl who drowned and haunts the pool there. The pool had been down in the basement, but it is no longer there. Ghost Hunters visited in 2009 and they communicated with Jaime via the flashlight experiment. But no right away. They tried for an hour with no luck and then it occurred to them  that maybe Jaime doesn't understand English. Once they started asking questions in Spanish, they started getting responses. A few years ago, the tour guide had a woman with the group who had an infant with her. While everybody was walking around the basement with their EMFs, she stood off to the side to cradle her baby to sleep. She snapped a few pictures of the room while she stood in the corner and when she got home, she discovered that one of the pictures had what looked like the head of a little boy peering over a counter. The guide showed us the picture and it does indeed seem to be the head of a young person looking over a counter. The picture is grainy, but I found it interesting. There was something interesting here with a ball in the basement as well. (EVP of Jaime caught by Yoselis Ramos in 2014 - Saying Hi?) Photo of possible ghost by stairs where pool used to be:

Photo by Patty Summers
There is a Lady in White here. She was a young girl who was the bell of the ball, around sixteen years of age. She had caught the eye of a gangster and he pursued her heavily. She wanted nothing to do with him and rejected his advances several times. This angered him and if he couldn't have her, nobody would. When he found her out on the balcony patio, he picked her up and threw her off the top of the club. Her brother stabbed the gangster to death outside the club that evening. The tour guide had a group of five nineteen and twenty year old girls he was touring through the Cuban Club. They were up on the fourth floor where the ballroom is and he counted six silhouettes. When they got downstairs, there were only five women again. He is positive that he saw a sixth figure with the girls. This woman is seen in a white dress and red heels and is often seen walking up and down the stairs.

The theater is haunted by a young man who wanted to be an actor and a director. It took him two years to write and develop his original play. In 1919, he rented the theater and had his family and all the Cubans in the city come to see his debut. Halfway through the play, he forgets the lines to his own play. He is laughed off the stage and he runs away. He still had the keys to the theater, so he returns at four in the morning. He walked up on the stage, put a rope over the center beam and tied a noose on the end. He stands on a chair with the noose around his neck and finishes the play. The young man then stepped off to his death. His spirit haunts the theater and usually shows up around 4am. He is most often heard reciting his lines in Spanish. In the 1920s a member of the board was killed by another member during a heated argument. That murdered board member's ghost is said to walk throughout the building. A piano has been heard playing by itself in the theater as well.

Ybor City is a great place to visit. If you are coming to Tampa, make time to visit this neighborhood and walk those brick streets. Are these locations in Ybor City haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Ybor City Ghost Tours:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

HGB Ep. 297 - St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Moment in Oddity - Birmingham's Balloon Parade

The year was 1966 and Birmingham Alabama's Downtown Action Committee decided they wanted to have an animated balloon parade to celebrate the Christmas holidays. The Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade had these huge balloon figures and they wanted to do the same thing. They really hoped they could outdo Macy's efforts. They had plans for several blow-up balloons, many of which would be very unique, including monkeys, dogs and serpents. It was a grand plan. There was just one teeny, tiny little problem. You've seen the Macy's Parade on TV. Those balloons fly pretty high up in the air and many stand several stories high. I remember that there have been years that the balloon wranglers on the ground have had to keep the balloons held closer to the ground because of wind. But they have never had to keep the balloons low because of power lines or traffic signals. Unfortunately for Birmingham, their overhanging power lines and traffic signals were not conducive to floating balloons, so they had to mount the balloons on platforms and wheel them along the route. The first parade was themed as Fairyland and included Peter Pan, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast and of course, a vampire and Frankenstein's Monster...well, okay, I know that sounds weird, especially for Christmas, but here at HGB that sounds mighty fine to me! Hosting a balloon parade with all the balloons wheeled down the street, certainly is odd! 

This Month in History - Jim Thorpe Born

In the month of May, on the 22nd, in 1887, Jim Thorpe was born. Thorpe was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation and his Native American name was Wa-Tho-Huk, which meant Bright Path. And he did have a bright path in front of him when it came to sports. Thorpe grew up in Oklahoma and attended school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where he became All-American twice for the football team. He was a versatile athlete and competed in the US Olympic Track Finals to compete in the 1912 Olympics hosted in Stockholm, Sweden in the pentathlon and decathlon, which were being introduced for the first time. He went to the Olympics and made a record in the decathlon that would last for two decades. Thorpe won eight of the 15 individual events comprising the pentathlon and decathlon and took home the gold in both. And then things started to go downhill. He lost his gold medals because of the amateur rule in place at the time for Olympics. Thorpe had received meager pay playing professional baseball before the Olympics. He would marry three times, two of them ending in divorce. He had eight children, one child dying in childhood. He retired from sports at 41, just as the Great Depression hit, and he could not find work. He fell into alcoholism and died in poverty at the age of 65 from heart failure. Thorpe was a victim of racism. The New York Times even ran a headline that read, "Indian Thorpe in Olympiad; Redskin from Carlisle Will Strive for Place on American Team." In 1983, Thorpe's medal placement was reinstated, but not the original gold medals because they had been stolen. His children were presented with commemorative ones. He is listed as a gold medalist by the IOC, but his 1912 reults are not restored to the official Olympic record.

St. John's in Newfoundland and Labrador (Dedicated to Robyn and Chris White)

St. John's is one of the oldest cities in North America and is found in Newfoundland and Labrador on the coast of Canada. Based on my personal experience, these oldest cities have a plethora of ghost stories. And St. John's is said to be the most haunted city in Canada. There are numerous historic locations here with a haunted reputation and we are going to look at several of them. Join me as I explore the history and hauntings of St. John's!

Newfoundland and Labrador are a province of Canada. Newfoundland is an island and Labrador is a part of mainland Canada, found to the East of Quebec and above Nova Scotia. There are 10 provinces in Canada and this is the newest, having only joined in 1949. It was initially named Newfoundland having been coined New Found Launde by King Henry VII after John Cabot discovered it in 1497. The name Labrador is thought to have been coined by a Portuguese explorer named João Fernandes. He was a landowner, which in Portuguese is "llavrador" and people started calling the coast he explored in Greenland "the labrador's land." Labrador was once part of Greenland. The name was officially changed in 2001 to Newfoundland and Labrador. The people here are from indigenous, French, Irish and English backgrounds. *Fun fact: On the coast of Labrador, the Maritime Archaic Indians left behind a burial mound that dates back 7,500 years and this is said to be the oldest known funeral mound in North America. The capital city of the province is St. John's and it is found in Newfoundland on the southeastern end. As I said before, this is a really old city.

From the beginning, St. John's was a prominent harbor known for its fishing in the North Atlantic. The Spanish, Portuguese, Basques, French and English all came with the British rising in power in the area. The first permanent settlers set down roots in the early 1600s with a family named Oxford building a plantation. The oldest commercial street known as Water Street was established shortly thereafter. Along this path were bars, storehouses, warehouses and shops that drew traders, fishers, captains, naval officers and even pirates. St. John's was a major commercial center and for this it became a prime location for attack. Many of these attacks started as early as the mid 1500s. The last attacks came in 1762 when the British recaptured St. John's from the French. Municipal government would be set up in 1888 and the population would rise to 30,000. Electric street lights came along with electric street cars. St. John's would be incorporated in 1921 and today is the financial and commercial center for Newfoundland and Labrador and, of course, the capital of the province.

So many historic cities have stories of big fires. They were so common because most everything was built from wood early on and most cities did not have great resources for fighting fires. St. John's had several big fires and then a great fire. The Great Fire of 1892 broke out on July 8th and was the worst disaster to ever hit the city of St. John's. On that fateful day, a strong wind was blowing out of the northwest and the city was extremely dry as there had been little rain for days. Work on the water main made the water pressure insufficient. It was the perfect conditions for a fire and one was about to start. At the top of Carter's Field, on Freshwater Road, stood Timothy Brine's stable. A pipe was dropped there, and although a pipe is a small thing, the stable lit up. It was around 4:45 in the afternoon. The relatively small fire did not initially cause alarm, but since the conditions were ripe, the fire quickly spread.

Once the residents realized that they would not be able to contain the fire, they decided to use their energy to move their valuables to stone buildings, which they thought would be protective. Obviously, that was not the case. One of these locations was the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. A description of what happened to the cathedral reads, "With one fearful rush the demonic fire seized upon the doomed cathedral, and sooner than tongue could tell the immense edifice, a gem of Gothic architecture, the masterpiece of Sir Gilbert Scott and the pride of every Newfoundlander, was a seething mass of flame. With a crash, heard even above the din of the elements the roof fell in, and the result of the labors and offerings of thousands for many years vanished in a cloud of smoke and dust." The fire ravaged the business district along Water Street and Duckworth Street.

The cries of terror from women and children and the frantic attempts to quench the flames did not end until the next morning. As the smoke cleared, the residents were able to see the destruction. Few walls stood and those that did were tottering. Chimneys stood as the last remnants of homes. There was 13 million in losses with very little covered by insurance. Money from Britain, the United States and the rest of Canada poured in and St. John's rebuilt. Most of the old buildings here date back to this time and have a Second Empire styling. That's why so many have mansard roofs with bonnet-topped dormers.

St. John's is the city of legends. Many of the buildings in this city have ghost stories attached to them and I am going to share many of them with you. So put on your walking shoes and let's go see haunted St. John's!

290 Duckworth Street

As I mentioned, the businesses along Duckworth Street were devastated by the fire. Our first stop is at 290 Duckworth Street at the corner of Cathedral Street. The building is large, standing four stories tall with the back of the building curving up a hill. This was originally a doctor's office that was much like a hospital because surgeries were conducted here. Later, it would run as a funeral parlor and then the Victoria Station Inn. More recently it went through a series of restaurants: Chez Briann, The Vinyl Room and the Reluctant Chef, which is now closed. Last I saw, the property is listed as a rental for office space. Paranormal experiences include some really creepy apparitions. One is a woman who seems to be sporting her autopsy scars and another is a young woman whom is paralyzed with coins over here eyes.

Duke of Duckworth

The Duke of Duckworth is said to be the best pub in town. The pub has been in business for 25 years and is located at 325 Duckworth Street. I've heard they have the best fish and chips in town. They also have a spirit here that has been affectionately named the Duke. I'm not sure why they call him The Duke because no one knows his story or who he is. The ghost seems to be friendly and is usually seen as an apparition looking out the window and waving. A local artist painting a picture of this and it can be seen hanging in the pub. Staff members claim that he has other antics like moving glasses and hiding things. So you can go for a pint and maybe even have a specter to share it with.

Anglican Cathedral Graveyard on Church Hill

The Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is the oldest Anglican cathedral in all of Canada and found at 16 Church Hill. The Anglican Parish was originally established in 1699. The first stone church was built in 1843 and was heavily damaged during the Great Fire of 1892. It took 10 years to repair the damage. Disembodied voices are heard within the cathedral. The ghost of a young stone worker who had helped with repairing the cathedral is said to haunt the church. He fell to his death from scaffolding. It is said that he was unable to leave his work unfinished. Many of his co-workers saw his ghost around the job site. Even more shocking, in 1850, a picture was taken of all the workmen after they repaired the nave. They were wearing their Sunday finest and stood in front of the cathedral. The deceased man showed up in the picture, wearing his work clothes.

South of the church is the Anglican Cathedral Graveyard. There are tales of apparitions seen floating around the cemetery. There is a legend here about a man who refused to be buried. This man was believed to be a merchant who had sailed into St. John's. His body was found in a downtown lane in the late 1800s. He was brought to the Anglican cemetery for burial. His casket was lowered into the grave,but about halfway through, the gravediggers heard a knocking coming from the coffin. They quickly shoveled out the dirt and called the doctor. He came and declared that the man was indeed dead, so they started to bury him again. The knocking was heard again. They repeated the process of unburying the man and having a doctor check him again. He was pronounced dead once again and the reburial began with the doctor standing by. The knocking happened again, but the doctor refused to let the men unbury him and the knocking eventually stopped. Strange knocking sounds are heard in the cemetery to this day.

The Captain of Queen's Road

This legend dates back to 1740. There was a captain of a ship who made regular rounds between England and Newfoundland and he had taken up with a woman who lived along Queen's Road in a home later owned by a man named Samuel Pettyham. The captain did not know that he was not the only suitor of this woman. She had a jealous lover and one night he ambushed the captain and killed him. And then he beheaded the captain with a sword. The Captain's ghost is now said to be seen along the area where he was killed and he appears headless. The first person to report the tale was Samuel Pettyham all those centuries ago.

The Majestic Theater

The Majestic Theater is inside a building nicknamed the "flat iron building" on 390 Duckworth Street. Theaters already have a pretty haunted reputation, but imagine one built over an area that had been used for hangings. That is what we have going on here. The building was constructed in 1918 and was refurbished and reopened in 2017 and then promptly caught fire. I'm not sure it is even open right now because all the ticket buying websites have no events for the location and the theater itself has no website. When it was open, workers and patrons claimed to hear the disembodied cries of men, probably those who were hanged. Their moans have also been heard. And there is poltergeist-like activity.

Christians Pub

Christian's Pub is located at 23 George St and is the oldest pub on George Street. I'm not sure what getting screeched in is, but apparently Newfoundlanders know and this is what this pub is known for. If you are not a native of Newfoundland, the Screech In ceremony makes you an honorary Newfoundlander. Most ceremonies include wearing a Sou'Wester (which is a collapsible oilskin rain hat), answering the question "Is ye an honorary Newfoundlander?" with the proper answer "'Deed I is me ol' cock, and long may your big jib draw" and then you get to kiss...a cod or the ass end of a puffin. Christian's Pub has a picture of Anthony Bourdain going through the process. They have one ghost here and they have named her Maggie. She can be a rather rowdy spirit and has occasionally damaged some of the bar equipment.

The Masonic Temple

The three-story Masonic Temple can be found on Cathedral Street. The Masons had a group in Newfoundland beginning in 1746 when the Grand Lodge of Boston issued them a Freemasonfy warrant, but they had no place of their own. They would meet at various places around the city. Their first official home would be a wooden structure on Long's Hill that was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. The Temple was built in 1894, which is why it is of Victorian design. It was constructed from large red bricks imported from Accrington and features multiple pediments, pilasters and free standing columns. The cornerstone was laid on August 23, 1894 in a Masonic ceremony led by Sir William Whiteway, a former Newfoundland prime minister who served for 17 years and he built the Newfoundland Railway. The building was consecrated by the Masonic order in 1896. Sir John Chalker Crosbie donated a large amount of money in 1916 and those funds were used to buy a large and beautiful pipe organ that decorates the main room. There are also paintings in the main room of Whiteway and an engineer named Alexander MacKay. He developed the telegraphic and electrical systems in Newfoundland. The Masons used the building until 2007 and then they sold the structure. The Spirit of Newfoundland owns the building now and hosts dinner shows and other artistic endeavours. The Temple was added to the Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in April 1995.

There are several ghost stories told here. One involves a caretaker who claims he was looking for his phone when he backed into someone. Or what he thought was someone. He turned and found no one. Another story was experienced after the Spirit of Newfoundland theater group took over the building. A delivery driver was bringing boxes of legal files into the building. He went to the top of the landing of some stairs and found a man whom he asked for directions as to where to put the boxes. The man gazed at him for a minute and then disappeared. That delivery driver ran out of the building. The man seen by the delivery drivers has been seen by others and he always disappears. The pipe organ in the main room occasionally has music emanating from it when no one is playing it. Disembodied voices are also heard.

Another experience happened during a wedding held in the building in 1999. A man who was a high ranking member of the Masons had passed away a little bit before the wedding. The wedding was his grandson's and at the start of the ceremony, the presiding judge came into the room where the wedding was taking place with a lit candle. He got halfway to the bride and groom when the candle went out. He returned to the doorway, lit the candle and started forward again. The candle went out at the halfway point again. He decided to just carry on and the wedding continued. One of the guests pointed out that two pictures of the groom's grandfather hung on opposite sides of the wall of the room. This was the same spot where the candles went out.

Newman Wine Vaults

The Newman Wine Vaults were built in the early 19th century and consisted of two brick-and-stone wine cellars. The name comes from the owner, an English firm named Newman and Company. Their specialty was port wine. Today, the wine vault is a museum. There is unexplained stuff going on here with the two main spectres belonging to an African slave and a child. These spirits pinch people and occasionally get more aggressive and shove people. There is photographic evidence too. During a wedding photoshoot in the vault, a mysterious figure appears. 

The Grace Hospital Nursing Residence

The Grace Hospital Nursing Residence was built in 1923 and opened in September as the first maternity hospital in Newfoundland and was opened by the Salvation Army. It had 100 beds and soon served as the second nursing school in Newfoundland. The hospital was expanded over the years and grew to 200 beds. It was opened until the year 2000 and was left abandoned. Much of it has been demolished, save for the Nursing Residence. And it is this building that is said to be very haunted.

People who live near the property claim to see strange lights and apparitions. Strange noises come from the building as well. When the buildings were being demolished, a member of the demolition crew claimed that he saw someone peeking around door frames at him while he worked. He would just see this thing out of the corner of his eye, but one glimpse had him convinced that it was a little boy, so he decided to go find the child because he was not supposed to be here. He didn't see him anywhere, so he went back to work, but again saw the child. Then the child seemed to float and disappeared through a doorway. The child had been wearing a hospital gown. He didn't see him again.

A nursing student had gone home on break from his classes at university and his home was near the old Grace Hospital parking lot. He awoke at 4 am to a terrifying sound and when he looked out his window, he saw something terrifying. A figure was walking in the parking lot, but it had no legs. There was nothing below the torso. The noise he heard was a mournful call that the creature or thing would make every few minutes. It would walk around and then stop, lift its head to the sky and wail. The figure stopped after about 15miutes and walked towards the building where it disappeared. 

On a winter day, a nurse was leaving her shift at the hospital when she saw a woman walking toward the back of the hospital. She was worried about the woman because she was not wearing a coat. She also wondered if she was a patient because she didn't recognize her as a member of the nursing staff. She followed her around a corner, but could not see her anywhere. She followed the footprints in the snow and found they they stopped right in front of a solid brick wall. The woman was nowhere and she clearly had not walked anywhere else, unless she had flown.

The LPSU Hall

At the corner of Duckworth Street and Prescott Street is a mural of a young man named Fred Gamberg. It is a memorial to him. On July 10, 1995, he was just 24 years old when he slipped from a cliff in Flatrock, Newfoundland and drowned in the North Atlantic. He was a fixture at LPSU Hall, working as a maintenance man  and putting together music shows. He is said to haunt the building that can be seen behind the mural, LPSU Hall, a three storied timber-framed building. It is said that this is one of the most haunted buildings on one of St. John's most haunted streets. The building sits at 3 Victoria Street. This originally was home to the First Congregational Church of Newfoundland, which was built there in 1789. A fire destroyed it in 1817. Another church was built in its place, this time an ecumenical one. This one was also burned up in a fire, the Great Fire of 1892. The land was bought by the Sons of Temperance and they built their Temperance Hall there in 1893. They promoted abstinence from alcohol.

They didn't stay long and sold to the Longshoremen's Protective Union in 1912 and that is why this is called LPSU Hall. They renovated the building mostly on the inside. The exterior looks much the same as it did in the early 1900s. In 1976, the Resource Foundation for the Arts bought the hall and transformed it into the Resource Center for the Arts. It has twice been renovated since, once in 1984 and most recently in 2008. It is used as a theater and arts center.

There are several ghost stories here and why not since it is a theater. Strange sounds are a main part of the haunting. There are disembodied footsteps and then sounds with no reasonable explanation like things clattering to the ground, but nothing being on the floor when people search out a cause. And then there are the dark shadow figures that appear and disappear throughout the hall. I mentioned Fred. Reports of a young male ghost being spotted in the main theater sitting in seats started in 1995, right after Fred's death. A young woman was sitting next to him and she noticed that he was really enjoying the show. When the show was over, she turned to him to ask what he thought and when the lights came up, he completely disappeared before her eyes. She couldn't believe the seat was empty next to her. When she described the man later, people said that it sounded like Fred. And many people have seen him since then as well.

The New Courthouse

This location has the legend of Catherine Snow connected to it. She was accused of murdering her husband and was hanged from the window of the old courthouse on July 21, 1834. She was the last woman hanged in Newfoundland. Perhaps she haunts the location because she was actually innocent.

Catherine Mandeville was born in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland around 1793 and she eventually married John Snow and they had seven children. The marriage was not a happy one and the couple fought often with some fights getting violent. When John disappeared in August of 1833, people immediately started whispering that Catherine had done something to John. Dried blood was found at
John Snow's Salmon Cove wharf. Forget that we don't even know if this is human blood. The police arrested two men right away. One was Tobias Manderville who was Catherine's cousin and was reputedly carrying on an affair with her and the other was Arthur Spring, a household servant. Catherine ran for the woods when she heard about the arrests, but eventually turned herself in.

Spring confessed and said that the three of them had shot John and threw his body in the Atlantic Ocean. Catherine denied having anything to do with the crime and even though there was no evidence she had anything to do with it, she was convicted by a three man jury and condemned to hang. Manderville and Spring were hanged a few days later, but Catherine was pregnant, so they waited until she birthed and nursed the baby for a while before hanging her before a large crowd. Before dying she said, "I was a wretched woman, but I am as innocent of any participation in the crime of murder as an unborn child".

Several days after the execution, Catherine's ghost started showing up in the courthouse and outside where she had been hanged. The cemetery where she is buried also has had sightings. Local newspapers even reported the sightings. The old courthouse burned down in 1846,but this didn't stop Catherine. She was seen during the reconstruction and when the new building opened in 1847, her ghost was there again. The Great Fire of 1892 destroyed the courthouse yet again. It was rebuilt again in 1902 and Catherine's ghost was there again. Her spirit is seen throughout the building and people claim that phantom footsteps belong to her. The elevator goes up and down on its own as well.
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church was built in 1893 where the old catholic cemetery had been and there is no record that bodies were moved, including that of Catherine Snow. So perhaps that is why her spirit walks the grounds of the church here too. In 2012, nearly 200 years after she was tried and hanged, the case was reopened by the Newfoundland Historical Society, and Catherine was given a new trial. Two Supreme Court Justices, Carl Thompson and Seamus O'Regan sat in on the case and the defense lawyer was Rosellen Sullivan. Four hundred sixty people sat in the audience and served as jury. Catherine was exonerated, but that hasn't diminshed the activity.

The Four Sisters

There are four stone houses along Temperance Street at addresses 31 to 37 that were built by Samuel Garrett. They are formally called the Samuel Garrett houses, but everybody refers to them as the Four Sisters. Garrett built the homes over ten years, starting in 1893, to give to his four daughters as wedding gifts. Only two daughters would live in the houses. His daughter Mary died at 24 years old. His daughter Eliza never married and stayed at his home with him. Daughter Laurretta moved into number 35 with her new husband in 1901, and daughter Emily moved into number 37. Two of Garrett's grandchildren eventually would move into 31 and 33 when they were old enough. The houses were designated Registered Heritage Structures in 1988

There is a female ghost here. A family rented one of the homes and encountered this spirit. It began with their young daughter screaming and crying at night. She would tell her parents that she was visited by a woman who frightened her. Over time, the cries and screams stopped because the girl got used to the nightly visits and even started laughing and talking with the woman. People who pass by the homes claim to see a woman watching them from the window and sometimes even waving and then she disappears.

Others who have lived in the homes claim that a female ghost appears and then slides across the floor, passing through a wall. She will then sometimes appear in the house next door to where she has passed through. The reason for this is thought to be that this is a residual haunting and since the houses were once connected by doors, she is just walking through the doors rather than a wall. People claim to hear strange noises and to see ghostly lights coming from a tunnel that runs underneath the homes. The tunnel is thought to have once carried water from a lake that is 1.5 km away. When the buildings were abandoned, squatters claimed to have had several haunted experiences and made videos of the experiences to put up on YouTube.

There are hundreds of years of history here in St. John's. The buildings are beautiful architecture and each with its own special history. I've shared just a bit of that history with you here. Do these locations have ghosts walking around and continuing on in the afterlife? Are these buildings in St. John's haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
One of the more well-known ghost tours here is the St. John's Haunted Hike: