Thursday, December 12, 2019

HGB Ep. 318 - Haunted Ashland, Virginia

Moment in Oddity - Skara Brae Discovered by Farmer
Suggested by Jen Sullivan

Imagine working your fields one day as a farmer and making an incredible discovery. Not just some little artifact kicked up by a farming implement, but an entire village! That is just what happened to one Scottish farmer on the island of Orkney in 1850. He stumbled upon a large stone that didn't seem like it belonged with the landscape. He pushed the stone over and when he did, he found what is now called Skara Brae. A Neolithic village that existed probably over 5,000 years ago. That is amazing because it means that this place existed before Stonehenge and even the Egyptian pyramids. The farmer originally thought he had found a house, but as more was unearthed, there seemed to be an entire city buried here. Apparently, the village was covered over by sand dunes centuries ago and this helped to preserve it. Skara Brae is believed to be the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe. The village was small with probably only 100 residents. Historians were interested in the fact that only utility type knives were found on the site, with no weapons for warfare. The site has been named an UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are those who claim that the story that a farmer found the site is just a bit of lore, but I rather like it because it certainly makes the discovery a bit odd.

This Month in History - Dom Pedro I Crowned

In the month of December, on the 1st, in 1822, Dom Pedro I was crowned as the first emperor of Brazil. He was the founder of the Empire of Brazil and was nicknamed "The Liberator." His father was King of Portugal, but in 1807, he fled with his family to the Portuguese colony of Brazil after French troops invaded Portugal. On his 24th birthday, Pedro was acclaimed as Emperor of Brazil and then officially crowned in December. Not all of Brazil recognized him as Emperor though  and he used force to bring these areas into submission. His father died in March of 1826, making him the successor to the throne in Portugal. He knew that the people of both countries would not accept him as ruler for both, so he adbicated the Portuguese crown to his daughter Queen Dona Maria II. He added the condition to the arrangement that she would marry his brother Miguel. I'm not sure why, but this was a bad move because Miguel only pretended to go along with everything and once he was declared regent in 1828, he didn't marry Pedro's daughter, he repealed the Constitution and was acclaimed King Dom Miguel I. This was all backed by all of Pedro's sisters, save one, so the betrayal he felt was immense. He was not a good guy at this point though either. He had a string of lovers, settling on one and moving her in to play Lady-in-Waiting to his wife. He mistreated his wife horribly and she eventually died either from a miscarriage or a beating. Pedro would later claim to see the ghost of his dead wife and vowed to become a better person because of this. He did just that, remarrying and being faithful. He eventually contracted Tuberculosis and died in September of 1834. His heart was placed in Porto's Lapa Church and his body was interred in the Royal Pantheon of the House of Braganza.

Haunted Ashland (Suggested by: Whitney Zahar)

Richmond, Virginia had been the capital of the Confederacy, so one can imagine that the towns around it would be strategic locations for gathering supplies and protection. Ashland is one of these towns and the railroad was a major part of the city. The railroad company established the town with a spa hotel that hosted visitors to the curative powers of a natural spring. This location would go on to become a college. As the Civil War erupted, Ashland found itself a host to wars and the wounded. With this kind of history, hauntings are sure to follow. Listener and Executive Producer Whitney Zahar has joined us on other episodes and she joins us on this one to share her experiences as a tour guide for Ashland Ghost Tours. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Ashland, Virginia!

The Hanover area that Whitney talks about has many haunted location within its boundaries. L.B. Taylor, Jr. has written numerous volumes in his "The Ghosts of Virginia" book series and we wanted to share a poignant story he shares in Volume 8 that is from Hanover. (pg. 346)

So the natural springs in Ashland led the railroad company to build Slash Cottage and then Randolph-Macon College takes over the property. That story about seeing soldiers from the waist up is so weird. I would like to believe they are just having issues manifesting completely. What do you think Kelly?

On this episode we also talk about the McMurdo House, the Henry Clay Inn and the Mills House that no longer stands. Lots of great ghost stories! Is Ashland, Virginia haunted? That is for you to decide!

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