Thursday, December 31, 2020

HGB Ep. 366 - University of North Alabama

Moment in Oddity - The Accent of Tangier, Virginia (Suggested by: Chelsea Flowers)

We've all been on the phone or listened to a podcast with someone who has a heavy accent. We have to listen extra carefully, so that we understand what is being said. At least that is the case with English. But we imagine that it could be the same for people who speak other languages. And while some accents almost sound like another language, we generally understand what is being said especially in America. That is the case with most states and cities, except for Tangier in Virginia. Tangier Island is off the coast of Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay and despite it being 2020, the island is fairly isolated. One can only reach it by boat. And the people who live here want to stay insulated from outside influence. Families here go back to colonial times and this is reflected in their distinct dialect. Their tonal pronunciations go back centuries and the vernacular they use makes quite a bit of what they say unrecognizable. The accent is so thick that most people would assume that they are speaking a different language, but it is actually English and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Plymouth Colony Construction Begins

In the month of December, on the 23rd, in 1620, construction on the Plymouth Colony begins. The Mayflower carrying 102 passengers left Plymouth, England for the New World on September 16, 1620. The group had people who were escaping religious persecution and others who were looking for business opportunities. Despite differences, this group formed the Mayflower Compact as they sailed, which would lay the groundwork for American democracy. This incorporated both majority rule and constitutional law. The Mayflower landed on Cape Cod on November 21st. A scouting group went out and found the perfect location for their settlement and named it after the place they had come from, Plymouth. The Mayflower was brought down to the harbor and construction on dwellings began. The group would stay aboard the ship for several months as they worked on the settlement and eventually moved ashore permanently in March. Nearly half of them would die that first year, but eventually they flourished.

University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is located in the city of Florence and has been a fixture here for almost 200 years. It started like most older colleges, in a different spot and much smaller. Today, it has grown into a large university covering several acres with many buildings. Several of those buildings are reputedly haunted and there are even a couple of creepy statues that come to life! Join us as we share the history and haunts of the University of North Alabama.

Florence, Alabama sits along the Tennessee River and is the largest city in the area that is commonly known as the Shoals. This city also has the distinction of being home to the only house in the state of Alabama designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. And the name Florence is indeed from the Italian city that is the capital of Tuscany. An Italian surveyor named Ferdinand Sannoner first surveyed the town in 1818 for the Cypress Land Company. Florence was incorporated in 1826. Four years later, LaGrange College was founded and opened by the Methodist church. Despite that origin, the goal was to have the college be neither religious or theological. This was not in Florence, but rather a mountain town called LaGrange, which means "The Barn" in French. By 1855, however, LaGrange College had moved to Florence. And that was fortunate since Union troops burned the original school to the ground in 1863. The name of the school changed at that time to Florence Wesleyan University. 

This move to Florence was controversial and many students and staff refused to move. It took three days to caravan everything to the new site, which consisted of a bunch of tents until buildings could be constructed. That is why the school needed to change its name. Admission to the university was tough. Students not only needed to have a command of grammar, geography, math and Latin and Greek, but prospective students had to be able to translate parts of four books: Caesar's Gallic Wars, six books of Virgil's Aeneid, Jacob's or Felton's Greek Reader, and at least one of Xenophon's Anabasis. There were 160 students enrolled in that first year after the move. Future politicians would graduate from here, along with Civil War generals. The Civil War would bring hardship to the university, but it managed to keep from being destroyed, although various buildings would take turns being occupied by both sides. 

In 1872, the Methodist Church deeded the university to the State of Alabama and the name changed to the State Normal School at Florence. This would be the first teachers college south of the Ohio River that was state supported. At that time, the school was still only for men, but a year after this, women were allowed to enroll. The first women would enter the school in 1874 and the first female member of the faculty would be added in 1879. This made the university one of the first co-educational schools in the country. It would remain a normal school for fifty years. In 1929, it branched into a four-year curriculum offering bachelor's degree, the first of which was awarded in 1931. Graduate courses were offered later starting in 1956. In 1957, the college would change names again, this time to Florence State College.

Although the school had been co-educational for years, there was still one milestone it needed to cross and this came in 1963 when Wendell Wilkie Gunn became the first African-American student to enroll at the college. Gunn did have to sue for this to happen when he was initially denied admission. The trial lasted just ten minutes and Gunn's lawyer Fred Gray said in 2005 that this was "the easiest case of my civil rights career." Gunn would eventually become an international trade adviser to President Ronald Reagan in 1982. By 1967, the school had expanded its programs so much that it was agreed that another name change was necessary and the school became Florence State University. Yes, those are a lot of name changes and that leads to this little fun fact. Ethelbert Brinkley "E.B." Norton, was president of the institution for all three of those name changes. Wonder if he ever forgot which school it was that he was presiding over on a particular day? 

On August 15, 1974, the university underwent its final name change and became the University of Northern Alabama. More masters programs were added and the school started enrolling thousands of students. Today, the campus is spread out over 200 acres and has nearly 6500 students. The school nickname is the Lions and it actually owns two live lions named Leo III and Una who live in a state-of-the-art facility near the main campus entrance. There are many buildings and houses that make up the campus and several of them have ghost stories connected to them. We are going to share those with you now.

The O'Neal House

The O'Neal House is located at 468 North Court Street. This was home to two governors of the state. Edward O'Neal was born in 1818 and attended the University of Northern Alabama when it was LaGrange College, graduating at the top of his class.He married Olivia Moore and they had nine children together. When the Civil War broke out, O'Neal joined the Confederate Army as a Captain and worked his way up in rank to Colonel. During the Battle of Seven Pines, he was severely wounded and his horse was killed under him. He recovered and went on to lead regiments in several other battles. After the war, he worked in law and then politics and was elected governor in 1882, serving until 1886. He died in Florence, Alabama in 1890. The O'Neal House was built in the 1840s and the O'Neals bought it in 1857. Mrs. O'Neal loved the home from the moment she saw it and it is said that she has stayed in the house even after her death. She is most often seen standing in an upstairs window and is described as beautiful with long blonde hair. For those who have encountered her apparition, they report that she is friendly.

Off Campus Bookstore

The Off Campus Bookstore is located right next to the O'Neal House at 472 North Court Street. This house is cute bungalow built in the early 1900s and was home to a young girl named Molly in the 1920s. The family had a family dog that unfortunately caught rabies. Molly loved to play with the dog, so it was only normal for her to reach out to her dog that appeared to not be feeling well as it foamed at the mouth. The dog bit her and infected her with rabies. This was before there was a treatment for rabies and the poor girl died a horribly painful death. And perhaps that is why she has returned in the afterlife. Or maybe she misses her dog. People claim to see her apparition inside and outside of the house and a few claim she has asked if they have seen her dog. Sometimes she seems to have found her dog as the pet appears with her. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity used the house in the 1980s and the room that was reputedly Molly's room, was always painfully cold. A contractor claimed to see the girl during renovations. She appeared as a floating pink mist. He also heard disembodied footsteps like those of a barefoot child. Molly continues on in the bookstore with some poltergeist activity. Candy mysteriously disappears and objects get moved around. People also see the little girl looking out of the windows when the store is closed and no one is inside.

Norton Auditorium

The Norton Auditorium is located at 600 North Pine Street. At one time, this was the largest theater venue in the area and had been known as the Auditorium and Fine Arts Center. Major musical acts have performed here as well as theater productions. The auditorium underwent its first major renovation in January 2020. And we are sure that this helped to kick up activity because the spirit that haunts this place is not an entertainer, but rather, a construction worker. The Auditorium was built in the the 1960s and a worker was working on a high beam when he fell to his death. His spirit remains and likes to play tricks and people have taken to calling him George, although no one knows what his real was. He makes noises throughout the building and plays with the lights. The theater crew claims that one night they turned all the breakers off, so that they could change out the lighting. They went on a break and when they returned, every light was ablaze...and the breakers were still off. The campus newspaper, The Flor-Ala, decided to have some of their staff try to communicate with George using a Ouija board back in 2011. Apparently, they did get some kind of communication that verified the legend. 

Coby Hall

Coby Hall is located across the street from the Norton Auditorium. Before this was Coby Hall, this was the Courtland Mansion. The mansion was built by John Simpson in the 1830s for his wife Margret Patton Simpson. It was built in the Georgian Revival architectural style. Simpson ran a mercantile business in Florence for many years. The Civil War found both the Union and Confederacy occupying the mansion at different points. Confederate General John Bell Hood was one of the occupiers. George Foster bought the house for his daughter Virginia and her husband James Irving after the war, which passed down through the family to the Irvine’s great granddaughter, Mrs. Madding King. The Kings restored the house after World War II. Ellis Coats owned the house into the early 1980s and he allowed Project Courtview to use the mansion for Florence’s first Decorator’s Showcase. Coby Hall got its name from its last private owners, David and Coby Brubaker. Coby died from cancer at a young age and David gave the house to the University of Northern Alabama in memory of her. Coby Hall was dedicated in 2005 and is the headquarters of UNA’s Admissions and Recruiting. The mansion is also used for various events. The spirit here goes all the way back to the Simpsons. Margret Simpson is believed to haunt the hall and she dislikes any loud parties. She has made several appearances during parties. She has been seen in a navy skirt and white blouse, particularly on the first floor of the house.

Willingham Hall

Willingham Hall is a college administrative building located at 687-601 N. Morrison Ave. This site originally was home for the Locust Dell Academy, which ran from 1834 to 1843. The private school had been established by a man named Nicholas Hentz and his wife Caroline. Caroline was Alabama's first best-selling novelist. The current building was constructed in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration as a men's dormitory. The Tennessee Valley Authority housed employees there during World War II and after the war it was a boys' dormitory. In 1947, the dormitory switched to a female dormitory and it remained that way until 1968. The name officially became Willingham Hall in 1949 for one of the college's presidents, Dr. Henry J. Willingham. His support of a new sales tax in Alabama helped insure that the teachers at the college got their full pay. Prior to this, most teachers were working twelve months for nine months of pay. The first reports of haunting activity came from an English professor who had returned to his office for a book when he heard an awful banging coming from the basement. He decided to investigate and found nothing in the basement. He went back to his office and the banging started again. This scared him to hear it a second time and he ran from the building. There are reports that Nicholas Hentz liked to play music loudly at night and there are claims that he is responsible for the noise.

Phi Gamma Delta House

The Phi Gamma Delta House is located at 523 Oakview Circle. In 2017, this grand home was nearly destroyed in a fire, but is back to its former elegance after extensive restorations. The Phi Upsilon Chapter of the fraternity calls the house home and they apparently share it with a female ghost named Ella. Ella fell down the stairs and died according to legend. Because of this, her disembodied screams are heard. She also seems to be jealous when the brothers bring their girlfriends into the house and she will act out in a poltergeist fashion.

Wesleyan Hall

Wesleyan Hall is located on Cramer Way and is probably the coolest building on campus and its oldest. The Gothic Revival architecture has many castle elements like battlements that surround the roof line. The building was designed by Adolphus Heiman who was a Prussian engineer, stonecutter, and architect. The builder was Zebulon Pike Morrison and the building was made from brick that was made on the southern edge of the campus and slave labor did the construction. Construction was completed in 1856. This served as Florence Wesleyan University. During the Civil War, both sides occupied the building at various times, one of whom was General Sherman. After the war, the university started up again, but with only one professor. The school foundered and closed in 1871. The school was turned over to the state and they chartered it as a normal school and a three-story building was added in 1909. Eventually, the buildings became part of the University of Northern Alabama and serve as the departments of Foreign Language, Geography and Psychology. 

The ghost that haunts this building is a young boy thought to be named Jeremiah. Legend claims that he was the son of one of General Sherman's officers and served as a Union drummer. He went for a swim and unfortunately drowned. People claim to see his wet footprints on the floor and his apparition has been seen standing still wet as though he just finished a swim. The campus newspaper conducted an investigation in 2011 and during that, doors opened and closed by themselves and computers turned on and off by themselves. 

Guillot University Center 

The Guillot University Center is located at 202 Guillot University Center in the heart of the campus. The building was constructed in 1986 on the former site of O'Neal Hall, which had been there since 1913. It is named for Robert M. Guillot, who was UNA's former president from 1972 to 1989. Today, this serves as a student union with a mail room for students, food court, meeting rooms, banquet facilities, 300-seat performance hall and The Lion's Den Game Room. The resident spirit in this building seems to be a carry over from the O’Neal Hall. Legend claims that a girl named Priscilla hanged herself in an elevator shaft. Several students claimed to see her apparition in the building looking very forelorn. One student claimed to hear the sobs of a woman when he was locking up the building after a fraternity meeting. He followed the sounds upstairs and saw a translucent woman weeping. He ran out of there. Local author Debra Johnson was once leading a tour on the campus and the group experienced some weird stuff in front of the center. The elevator doors opened and closed on their own even though the building was closed for the night. And then the front door opened by itself even though it clearly had to have been locked.

Romeo and Juliet Statues

The strangest paranormal stories on campus center around the statues of Romeo and Juliet. Legend claims that these statues take flight on nights with a full moon. No one knows how this happens, but every Halloween, Romeo ends up with a pumpkin in his hands. There are a couple of theories. Obviously, ours would be that some student or students are having a little fun. Others claim that this is part of some kind of pagan Halloween ritual. Faculty members like to claim that Romeo goes out and searches for a pumpkin to give to his love Juliet. Those are fun, but what is not fun are the stories that students tell of being chased by the Romeo statue as it throws pumpkins at them. Would be fun if they were flaming ala Headless Horseman. Some believe Romeo might be looking for a new love and that is why he has been seen in the women's bathroom in Steven's Hall. And one male student reported seeing Romeo standing over the fallen body of a woman. He fled and called police who could find nothing to back up the story. The student swore that he had heard a female crying and had seen the statue standing over that woman. Juliet is adventurous too. She has been spotted atop Wesleyan Hall with her eyes burning red. A female student claimed that the statue had attacked her. She had been crossing the bridge to the Guillot University Center when several strands of her hair were pulled out. When she turned around, the statue of Juliet was floating above her with blood red eyes and she was laughing.

The University of Northern Alabama has some beautiful and interesting buildings. Could it be that several of these places are haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:

Lewis O. Powell IV Blog: Southern Spirit Guide

Thursday, December 24, 2020

HGB Ep. 365 - Marshall House Hotel

Moment in Oddity - The Rock People and Houses of Kinver (Suggested by: Sandra Latham)

Starting in the late 1770s, people began living in rock houses in the United Kingdom's Kinver Edge. Joseph Heely was the first person to report about these rock houses. A storm was brewing and a family that Heely described as a “clean & decent family” took him in and he was amazed by their dwelling. These homes were carved out of the soft red sandstone in the area. They were preferable to the local cottages because they were high above the flood level and they were warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The rock houses were equipped with water and gas and earth closets provided sanitation. The homes had furniture, stoves, windows and doors. By 1861, eleven families were living in the rock houses at Kinver Edge. By the early 1900s, the houses had become famous and were a tourist attraction and tea was served at a cafe. On one day in 1905, 17,000 people came by the cafe. This closed in 1967 and the property fell into disrepair. The houses were restored in the 1990s and opened for tours in 1997 that continue today. One of these is Nanny's Cave, which had layers of carvings and graffiti on the walls with occult symbols, runes and sigils. A chimney chute at the front had been affectionately named "The Devil's Chimney" and reputedly became the means by which Satan crawled in and out of this house. Generally we think of prehistoric or cave men living in rock houses, so these rock houses certainly are odd!

This Month in History - Leicester Codex Auctioned

In the month of December, on the 12th, in 1980, a notebook penned by Leonardo da Vinci was bought at auction by American oil tycoon Armand Hammer for $5.1 million. This was the highest price paid for a manuscript at the time. A couple years early,  a copy of the legendary Gutenberg Bible had gone for only half as much. This manuscript was written in 1508 and was one of thirty books that da Vinci penned during his life on various subjects. The topic of this one was water. This book had seventy-two loose pages with 300 notes and detailed drawings. Parts of this are thought to have inspired parts of his work the Mona Lisa. He used his mirror-writing technique to pen the booklet and used brown ink and chalk. The work is officially known as the Leicester Codex.

Marshall House Hotel

The Marshall House Hotel has stood in the heart of historic downtown Savannah for nearly 170 years. This was not only a place for weary guests to the city, it also served as a hospital before and during the Civil War. A nod to the history of the Civil War can be found on the third floor. We stayed here for one night and based on the haunted reputation of the place, we decided to do a little paranormal investigating. The activity started practically the minute we walked in our room. Join us as share the history and hauntings of the Marshall House Hotel! 

Savannah is one of our favorite cities. This was Kelly's second time here and it was her first chance to really get a feel for the city. We started with a visit to Bonaventure Cemetery and wandered around for a couple hours before heading to the Marshall House Hotel. (Kelly shares what she thought about the cemetery.) The Marshall House is located at 123 Broughton Street and is Greek Revival architecture in style. One of the first things people notice about the Marshall House is the iron veranda that is 120 feet in length and 12 feet wide and high and was placed on the hotel in 1857 by Ralph Meldrim, who was the proprietor of The Marshall House at the time. This gives it a real New Orleans feel. The minute we walked into the lobby we not only noticed the gleaming marble everywhere, but we also saw a large oil painting of Mary Marshall on the wall behind the reception desk. This work had once been owned by Jim Williams who was the main person in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  The Marshall House is named for her because she founded the hotel in 1851. The location was very important in that it was in the heart of the shopping district of Savannah. Mary remained a prominent figure in Savannah and her family's history in the city started with her grandparents. She inherited a large sum from her father and built upon that by buying property, two others of which still remain in the city: A double-tenement house found behind the hotel on Oglethorpe Square and the Marshall Row that lies on Oglethorpe Street across from Colonial Park Cemetery.

The hotel is four stories with winding hallways leading to rooms and a large library sitting room on the first floor where they host wine socials and then a restaurant area off that for the morning buffet. As stated before, there is a collection of Civil War memorabilia on the third level that is part of a self-guided tour. There are also displays of artifacts found during restorations. Our room was fairly small with antiques and some modern conveniences that included a small bathroom. It was all very quaint. It was room 203 and we were a little startled by that because we also had room 203 in Wilmington.

A yellow fever epidemic swept through the city in 1854 and the hotel was converted into a hospital to treat the sick. Over 1,000 people died during that epidemic. In 1864, the hotel was occupied by Union troops led by General William Tecumseh Sherman. They stayed for several months and then the hotel became a Union hospital until the end of the Civil War. Then the hotel reverted back to a hotel. During the Reconstruction Period, Joel Chandler Harris, author of the famous Uncle Remus Stories, lived at the hotel. In 1880, the building that was next door was annexed and became part of the hotel. The hotel closed in 1895. 

The hotel reopened in 1899 and featured electric lights and hot and cold running water. At this time it was still the Marshall House, but the name would change to Gilbert Hotel in 1933 when real estate man Herbert W. Gilbert leased the building. He would expand it so that it had a new lobby, dining room, living room, reading room, 66 guest rooms, one suite, an apartment, and six storage rooms. In 1941, he sold the hotel and it reopened under new ownership in 1946 after a complete renovation. Fire codes changed and it was too hard for the hotel to update in 1957, so the top three floors were closed and the main level was opened as shops. This was the case until 1998. The hotel was renovated once again and reopened as The Marshall House once more in 1999 and this is said to be Savannah's oldest hotel. We should mention that during these modern renovations, body parts were found beneath the floor boards. This was treated as a crime scene and everything was carefully cataloged. Tests revealed the bones were from the Civil War. These were probably amputated arms and legs and such and they were just placed under the floorboards since they had nowhere else to put them.

We went to dinner at a brew pub that was next to the hotel and then we headed off for our ghost tour with Ghost City Tours. Our tour guide was great, but we would be hard pressed to recommend the company. This was another one of those big tour companies that offers tours in several cities. Diane had a bad experience with Ghosts and Gravestones and now she's added this one too. There were supposed to be two tour guides to break our group up into two small groups of 30, but our guide was informed right before we were supposed to head out that there was a screw up with the website. So this poor woman had to take out a group of 50 people, in the age of Covid. So clearly this was not according to healthy guidelines either. And for us, any group over 40 is ridiculous anyway.

We did another session with the dowsing rods after getting back from having dinner and doing our ghost tour. (Marshall House after Tour) The next morning Diane tried her hand at the dowsing rods. (Marshall House Morning) We continued with another dowsing session and we talked about religion (Marshall House Religion) Through all of our dowsing rods sessions, we formed a picture of the young woman we were speaking with. It seems that she was a young pre-teen girl and her family was from Ireland and were indentured servants. She had siblings, at least one brother and more than one sister. She more than likely died here when the hotel was a hospital with yellow fever patients. She does not leave the hotel and her family is not with her. We never figured out what her name was. Kelly did a little research and found that there was information that backed up the possibility that Irish indentured servants were in Savannah.

The city of Savannah was pretty new when a ship wrecked off the coast on January 10, 1734. There were forty survivors, thirty-four men and six women. These people were Irish indentured servants who had been sailing for New England. General James Oglethorpe who had founded Savannah had a motto, not for self, but for others. So there was no way he was going to turn these destitute and suffering people away. He wrote of the situation, "A sloop loaded with servants was forced in here through stress of weather and want of victuals many of them were dead. Forty only remained. As they were likewise ready to perish through misery. I thought in an act of charity to buy them, which I did, giving five pounds a head. I gave one of them to each of the widows which will render them able to cultivate their lands and maintain their families. I let each of the magistrates have one at a prime cost that they might not be behind hand in their gardens and plantations by reason of their spending much of their time in the public service. Of the rest, I have allotted Mr. Lafond five to help him in building a saw mill, four to the gardens, and four to the Island Hutchinson’s." These people stayed and urged the relatives to come to Savannah as well and a rich Irish heritage took root in the city. Particularly during the Irish Potato Famine.

While Kelly was in the bathroom getting ready, Diane started having doubts about what was causing the EMF gauge to go off. She had opened the blinds and realized that the room was on the far end of the hotel, which was the corner of the block and a large traffic light was outside the window. So she took the EMF to the window and, of course, it went off. And she noticed it went off around the TV. So she decided to do a test. There was a chair in the far corner. She put the EMF on the chair and there was no signal. She asked that if there was a spirit in the room that it would make the EMF light up. Nothing. She asked several times. Nothing. Diane picked up the EMF and when Kelly came into the room, she explained what had happened. As she said that she had put the EMF on the chair and it hadn't gone off, she set the device on the chair. And it lit up like Christmas! They got a good laugh. 

We certainly are not the only people to experience strange activity here. We stayed here because of its haunted reputation. This hotel has been featured on countless lists and in countless programs. Guests claim to hear children running in the hallways when there are no children in the hallways or even in the hotel. Faucets turn on and off by themselves. Any many people claim to see full-bodied apparitions. A doctor was staying with his wife and he was awakened in the middle of the night by a tickling sensation on his feet. He looked down at his feet and saw a little girl smiling at him while she tickled his feet. She quickly vanished.

A woman wrote on TripAdvisor of her experiences at the hotel in 2006, "We were on the 4th floor. I never got much sleep while we were there I always felt very uneasy and utterly creeped-out at night in my guts and could not rest. Did hear some strange noises in the hall late at night around three am or so what sounded like a hard rubber ball rolling along the hallway and bouncing also what sounded like a marble rolling and bouncing also a VERY LOUD crash in the hall three am-ish almost like a body falling and hitting the floor and no one was out there. We also heard what sounded like walking around on the floor above us but there is only the roof. Also very unnerving feeling of being TOUCHED while in bed at night and I was completely awake...touched on the inside of my lower leg/ankle and buttock area. This made me nearly jump out of bed more than once! On the last night we stayed there we noticed a STRANGE SMELL in the room and the bathroom that we could find no source for. It was almost like a sweet burned-flesh smell combined with a slight sewery odor."

Kristin wrote in 2014 on TripAdvisor, "After a night out my girlfriend and I retired to room 409. After eating a late night snack and watching some television I had used the bathroom. Upon walking out of it I noticed the fan was off so I asked my girlfriend why she would shut the fan off on such a hot night. She replied "I didn't". I then noticed our channel was changed from watching CNN to ESPN. I asked her why she was watching the football game since I knew she had no interest. She again replied "I didn't". We searched for the remote which at one point was right next to us. The remote had gone totally missing. We threw off the sheets of the bed, and tore up the room only to be let down of finding the darn thing. At this point my girlfriend was very bugged out so I personally had asked whatever was playing tricks on us to please stop because I knew my girlfriend would have wanted to leave if she knew we were being taunted by some type of supernatural presence. As I lay my hand on her shoulder to reassure her everything was going to be ok, my black beaded bracelet was ripped off my wrist. That's right, ripped off my wrist. Not by myself nor my girlfriend. My girlfriend just starred at me with tears in her eyes as I looked back with complete shock. Needless to say we both started praying. We hopped into bed with every light on and there right before our eyes was the remote, all snug in the same spot we had just been sitting in. I held my girlfriend through the night as I watched the fan now turned back on rock back and forth till the morning. I made the woman at the front desk aware of this encounter and her reply was "Oh yea that's casper and he's sort of mischievous so it makes sense he would turn the football game on and taunt you like that." She went on to add the 4th floor is the most haunted of all the floors. Although I lost a bracelet and a night's sleep this was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I have believed in paranormal activity before but this solidified it for me. Oh and the room was beautiful too! Best wishes to you all who stay in room 409."

The strange smell is a thing many people report. It started during renovations in 1998 and people who stay in rooms 214, 314 and 414 complain often of smelling a strange odor. Not deodorizers have been able to get rid of it and neither have ozone machines. We did find a story that prayer seemed to help with rooms 214 and 314, but a radio playing Christian programs placed in room 414 seemed to be the only thing that worked in there. Clearly, people are still detecting some strange odors. The night manager's office is where the amputated limbs had been found and this is said to be one of the most haunted areas of the hotel. They hear disembodied footsteps and moaning. One manager claimed to see the spirit of a Union soldier who was missing an arm.

We hit the Colonial Park Cemetery after we checked out and wandered around the River Walk for a bit too. This is another great cemetery in the heart of Savannah that also happens to be haunted. We loved our visit to Savannah and we really enjoyed the interactions with our little spirit friend. Is the Marshall House haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

HGB Ep. 364 - Andres Pico Adobe

Moment in Oddity - Garry Hoy Falls to Death After Body Checking Window (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

A Canadian lawyer named Garry Hoy won a Darwin Award in 1996 for an bad decision that would be his final decision. Although Hoy was a respected senior partner at the Toronto law firm Harold Day Wilson, law had not been his first area of study. He had obtained a degree in engineering and he continued to be fascinated with the construction of buildings. The strength of windows was of particular interest to him. It became a regular practice for him to test how sturdy windows were by body checking them. One place where he tested windows was at the Toronto Dominion Center where he worked. This building was a high rise and the law firm had a conference room on the 24th floor. On July 9, 1993, a group of incoming law student summer interns were invited for a party in the conference room. Hoy told the students that the windows were unbreakable and he decided to show them, probably thinking about how many times he had done this and bounced back off the windows. A police detective described what happened as "At this Friday night party, Mr. Hoy did it again and bounced off the glass the first time. However, he did it a second time, and this time crashed right through the middle of the glass." The window was forced from its frame and was intact as it fell to the ground and Hoy fell with it to his death from 24 stories up. Testing the sturdiness of windows by body checking them with a 160 pound body, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Colonel Thomas Pride's Purge

In the month of December, on the 6th, in 1648, Colonel Thomas Pride instigates Pride's Purge. Many countries have suffered the dramatic overthrow of the government by a military coup and Britain is one of them. Colonel Pride was the son of a yeoman, but he rose to prominence during this important moment. King Charles I had just been imprisoned after the Civil War was over and parliament was thinking they would give him a break. The army was not having any of that since the King had continuously broken his promises. Colonel Pride stood at the top of the stairs of Parliament on that December day with a list in his hand of politicains divided into two groups, one that could stay and one that had to go. Most MPs fled when they saw the army. Forty-five were arrested and 200 were removed. Charles I was executed for high treason shortly thereafter. Oliver Cromwell eventually became the lord protector and he gave Colonel Pride the title of lord with a seat in the new upper house. Lord Pride died in 1658. Not bad for a guy that was a drayman, basically an old time trucker, and a brewer of beer, which is what he did before joining the military.

Andres Pico Adobe 

The Andres Pico Adobe dates back to the early 1800s  and is the second oldest residence in Los Angeles. This was named for the man who once lived there, Andres Pico. The adobe part of the name refers to the material from which it is constructed. Today, it is the home of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society and is a museum that can be toured featuring artifacts and cultural relics. Maria Wessenauer is the Vice President of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society and creator of Hollywood Exhumed and she joins us to share the history and hauntings of the Andres Pico Adobe. 

Maria is the creator of Hollywood Exhumed on Facebook and Instagram. Diane has been a big fan of Hollywood Exhumed and followed it for a long time. Hollywood Exhumed features the history, lore and ghost stories about the Hollywood area and the thing that is really great about it is that Maria actually goes to the locations and shares the pictures she takes. Maria shares about her interest in the paranormal, which started with early ghost experiences and then why she started Hollywood Exhumed before we get into talking about the second oldest residence in Los Angeles.

Creepy AF: Paranormal made a documentary in 2017 featuring the house. They caught a couple of interesting EVP, one of which said "No" when asked for its name. Michael Arkush, writing for the Los Angeles Times in 1989, shared some of the experiences at the house, "Because of neglect, the adobe was in ruins until it was restored in 1930 by Mark Harrington, an anthropologist who purchased the property. According to Elva Meline, the adobe’s curator since 1976, every night when Harrington would go to bed, he’d hear heels clicking across the tile floor and up the staircase. Meline said Harrington told her the story soon before he died in 1970. She said he would wait until the sounds got closer to his upstairs bedroom, then sneak out of bed hoping to catch the ghost. Each time, he saw nothing. He lived in the adobe until 1945 and said he heard the sounds frequently. The ghost, according to Harrington’s account, is Catarino Pico, who lived in the adobe from 1874 to 1895. At 14, Catarino married Romulo Pico and helped modernize the adobe. Meline said she doesn’t know why Catarino would stick around, 'other than the fact that this was her home for so long.' In recent years, Meline said, there have been few sightings, or senses, of Catarino’s presence, although something strange happened just three weeks ago when two women toured the adobe. 'These two women both remarked that they felt a very strong presence in the adobe. One said she felt it on the patio, the other the living room. They both said it was a very peaceful feeling, which is what people have said about Catarino in the past.'"

Thursday, December 10, 2020

HGB Ep. 363 - USS North Carolina

Moment in Oddity - Bluetooth Named for Scandinavian King (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Many of you probably have some form of Bluetooth technology in your possession. This could be your Bluetooth toothbrush or Bluetooth speakers or maybe you are listening to us through your Bluetooth headphones or your phone connected to your car through Bluetooth. Did you ever wonder why it is called Bluetooth? Would you believe that the answer is a 10th-century Scandinavian king named Harald "Blåtand" Gormsson? He ruled Denmark and Norway from the year 958 until 985. The Blatand part of his name was a nickname. It seems the king had a dead tooth that had turned a grey blue color. Everyone could see this tooth and so they started calling him Blåtand, which literally translates from Danish to "Bluetooth." Three telecommunication powerhouses got together in 1996 to develop a wireless link. These were Intel, Ericsson and Nokia. They needed a code name for the project and they chose Bluetooth because the king had united Scandinavia, just as this team was going to unite PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link. When it came time to choose a permanent name, the team found that their first choice had been trademarked several times and since time was running out, they just went with what they had. The logo and symbol is King Blåtand's initials written in ancient Danish runes. Bluetooth being named for a Scandinavian king with an actual Bluetooth, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Project Blue Book Shut Down

In the month of December, on the 17th, in 1969, the U.S. Air Force shut down Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book was the third study conducted into the possible existence of unidentified flying objects. Signs and Grudge were the first two and were conducted in the 1940s. Project Blue Book launched in 1952. Thousands of UFO reports were collected and analyzed as to whether they existed and were they a threat to our national security. The Air Force concluded that there was no evidence that UFO sightings were extraterrestrial vehicles and they were also no threat. Most UFOs were said to be natural phenomena. The name Project Blue Book was meant to indicate the importance given to the new project. Universities used blue booklets for their tests. This was like a college final exam. We'd say the Air Force failed in their analysis.

USS North Carolina

The USS North Carolina was a battleship commissioned in 1941 that participated in every major naval battle in the Pacific during World War II. During that time, the battleship had several men die on board and was struck by a Japanese torpedo. The battleship earned 15 battle stars for its efforts. The battleship is today a floating museum that hosts both historical tours and ghost tours. We had the privilege of doing an overnight investigation with not only six of our listeners, but also four of the Ghost Hunters from the newer Ghost Hunters Series. On this episode, we share the history and the results of our investigation of the USS North Carolina!

This USS North Carolina was not the only and not the first ship to be named for the state of North Carolina. But she was the most decorated one. She was actually the most decorated battleship of World War II. USS North Carolina was first known as BB 55 and her keel was laid on October 27th in 1937 at the New York Navy Yard. It had been sixteen years since America had built a battleship and this would be a grand one measuring 728 feet long with enough weaponry to be considered the world's greatest sea weapon. The ship was armed with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts. The ship had nine levels. She was one of a line of fast battleships that would be built. The North Carolina was commissioned on April 9, 1941 and she was mobilized after the attack on Pearl Harbor with 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men that included 86 Marines.

The ship's first action would come after she was sent to the Pacific to help with the Guadalcanal Campaign. Her anti-aircraft barrage during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August of 1942, helped save the carrier Enterprise. George E. Conlon was killed while performing heroically during this battle on August 24, 1942. He was the first man from the battleship to die. Protecting aircraft carriers would become the North Carolina's main duty. As she traveled along with these carriers, she covered 300,000 miles. She would take a hit by a Japanese torpedo on September 15, 1942, but the rumors of her demise were greatly exaggerated as they say. Five men died. These were Albert Speers Geary who was washed overboard, Oscar Callaway Stone, Ingwald Nels Nelson, William Osborne Skelton and Leonard Edward Pone. The battleship would have many close calls and lose ten men in action, with 67 wounded. A friendly fire incident on April 6, 1945 killed Edward Emil Brenn, John Malcolm Watson and Carl Elmer Karam Jr.

The North Carolina helped to secure the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in 1944. She stopped for repairs and then was off to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Later, when Japan surrendered, she carried men to serve as an occupation force and then made her way back through the Panama Canal to New York for an overhaul. The ship did training exercises on the East Coast after that and was decommissioned June 27, 1947 and placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey, for the next 14 years. After that time, there was talk of scrapping her out, but the residents of North Carolina would not hear of it  and they started the Save Our Ship (SOS) campaign. It was successful and they brought the battleship home October 2, 1961.  She was dedicated on April 29, 1962 as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 11,000 North Carolinians who died during the war. She serves as a museum now offering tours, some of which are about ghosts. And that is what we went to investigate.

Danny Bradshaw started as a night watchman on the battleship in 1976. He was positive that he shared his space with ghosts. He saw his first spirit shortly after starting as watchman. He was making his rounds one night and found himself in the kitchen. He reached for the power box to turn on the lights when he felt a cold gust of air and then what seemed to be a hand on his shoulder. He spun around and no one was there. He heard footsteps and flashed his flashlight in that direction. He again saw nothing, but started scanning the room with the flashlight. When he reached the open hatch, ha saw a sailor standing there with hair so fair it looked white. The flashlight passed right through him. Bradshaw screamed and the ghost disappeared. This was the scariest moment of Bradshaw's life. Bradshaw came to believe that there were at least two spirits on the ship, one that was good and one that was bad. 

This blonde haired young man has been seen many times. People claim that hatches open and close on their own. Lights turn off and on by themselves. Objects move on their own and people feel cold spots. Occasionally, a ghostly face is seen peering out of portholes. There are two security guards that take turns living on the ship. One of them told us about some of the experiences people have had on the ship. His first story was about a group who was allowed to investigate an off-limits area that had been where the torpedo hit the ship during the War. A women in the group started shaking horribly like one would with an intense chill. It only went away after they got her out of that area. It happened to her again in another part of the ship. Then he shared the following experience he had. (Battleship Experience) So he had trouble with the spirits unlocking the doors on him after he would set the alarms.

Our first area that we investigated was down several levels, we lost count, and was in an area with lots of large shells. We thought we heard footsteps above us. (Battleship Torpedo Area 1) Whitney mentions feeling like someone was walking around in this upper area that overlooked where we were. Now it's easy to poo poo someone's feelings, but later when Dolly, Kelly and Diane were standing up there with Brian and Richel after everybody had left the area, the box they use that senses everything was going crazy and whatever was setting it off was clearly moving around. We thought maybe it was residual. (Battleship Torpedo Area 2)

This would be the first time our team would use the Estes Method and Dolly, Kelly and Diane all gave it a try. First, we just want to mention how cool Richel and Brian were. They were unassuming and open to letting us try things. (Richel Estes) Here is Dolly's session. (Dolly Estes) So you heard Brian ask for a name and Dolly says "Fitz" and then Brian asks if that is for Fitzgerald and Dolly says "No." A listener named Jimmy was watching the Facebook Live and let us know that there was a "Fritz" on the crew list. Another person asked if it felt good to hear a woman's voice and Dolly says "back" and then "yes." Towards the end you hear Dolly say "hey" a couple times or "hey" and then "wait." A couple people from our group had wandered over to where the big guns on the ship were located and it was like this sailor we were talking to was telling them they they shouldn't be over there. Dolly can see nothing. When we ask if they aren't supposed to be over there, she says "No" and then "back." Diane gives it a try. (Diane Estes)

We next investigated the Officer's Mess Hall, which Whitney told us was not actually used for that, but rather for training and Catholic Mass was held there. Whitney tried the Estes Method in this room and she got nothing. At another point we ended up in a corner near Sick Bay and Kelly and Tiffanie felt really dizzy as though the ship moved, but the ship was sitting in mud because it needed repairs from the hurricane that had blown threw earlier in the month. This interesting thing happened (Points to Dolly) Our group had a chance to do a dowsing session in the Sick Bay (Sick Bay) We seemed to be talking to someone who had an injury to their stomach. The next morning Diane was talking to Whitney about this and she remembered reading something in the oral histories. Cornelius Fountano was a stewards mate second class and he had an appendicitis attack and they had to do surgery to remove the appendix. Could this be who we were talking to?

One would think that with many women in our group that the guys on board would be very happy, but we really got the feeling that we were not welcome and our best interactions came when Dan would ask questions. This was an interaction with the dowsing rods up on the main deck (Not Welcome) And here is how things changed with Dan jumping in (Radar Dan) We went to another area and our interactions led us to believe we were talking to a Japanese Cryptographer. But the answers were slow in coming and we were all feeling pretty drained as the 2am hour loomed. Our group decided to pack it in and head back to the central meeting area.

We had a great time meeting the Ghost Hunters in person and hanging out with some of our Spooky Crew. We are learning so much about the other side and having a lot of fun. We can't wait for our next investigation! Is the USS North Carolina haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

HGB Ep. 362 - 1837 Bed & Breakfast and the Old Jail

Moment in Oddity - Spider Webs as Bandages (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Many of you listeners are probably afraid of spiders. So the idea of a spider web bandage might not be appealing. But the truth is that they make a great natural way to protect and heal wounds. The idea of using spider webs for bandages started in ancient Greece and Rome. They would first clean the wounds with honey and vinegar and then ball up spider webs to cover the wounds. THis would dry out the wound quickly. Spider webs were perfect for a number of reasons. They are rich in Vitamin K, which promotes clotting, they have natural antiseptic and anti-fungal properties as well. On top of this, the webs are very strong since they are made from silk produced from the body proteins of the spider. If you would like to give this a whirl, you need to find a newly spun web with no insect corpses in it and no spider as well. Ball up the web and stuff it into your wound and cover with a sterile cloth to secure it. You can use warm water to remove the hardened web later. A team at the University of Nottingham developed a synthetic material that resemebles spider silk. It took five years. This spider silk is also not allergenic or inflammatory. But you have to admit the thought of using spider web as a bandage, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Berlin Wall Comes Down

In the month of November, on the 9th, in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. Yes, it pains us too to realize that this event happened thirty years we are getting old! Many of you listeners probably remember this time, which really wasn't so long ago, that the country of Germany was split in two with East and West Germany being separated by an actual stone wall with barbed wire. Construction of the wall began in August of 1961. East Germany was headed by Communists and they wanted to keep what they referred to as "fascists" from coming into East Germany and undermining their socialist state. What it actually did was imprison the people of East Germany, many of whom tried to escape. The East German Communist Party announced on November 9, 1989 that their citizens could cross the border whenever they wanted and that evening, a newly freed people did what President Ronald Reagan told the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to do, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" People hammered and picked at the wall, breaking off chunks. Bulldozers and cranes moved in and took care of the rest. What followed was the greatest street party in history as 2 million people went from East Berlin to West Berlin. A Berliner spray painted on the wall, "Only today is the war really over."

1837 Bed and Breakfast

The 1837 Bed and Breakfast in Charleston, South Carolina is the former home of a cotton planter. The style of the home is a great example of the Charleston Single home. Although this was not a plantation, it still had slaves that lived on the third level and there are stories that claim that a mother and father were sold off to another planter, leaving their nine-year-old son without his parents. He may have tried desperately to find them and ultimately lost his life. Ghost stories claim that he is still here at the house, acting like a poltergeist pulling pranks on visitors and perhaps even appearing as footsteps on the bed spread. While in Charleston, we couldn't pass up the chance to visit the Old Charleston Jail. This was Diane's second visit and Kelly's first, and we got to do an investigation there! Join us as we share the history and investigation at the 1837 Bed and Breakfast and the Old Charleston Jail!

The neighborhood where the bed and breakfast is located was developed in the 1840’s and was called Harleston Village because the original owners of the land were the Harleston family. This was a family that had been in Charelston a long time. A golf course had been on the land too called Harleston Green. The 1837 Bed and Breakfast was thought to have been built in 1837, but after a visit from some descendants of the original owners, it was discovered that the house was built in 1798. Of course, they didn't change the name because that would be marketing suicide. The builder of the house was Henry Mockenfuss, a German immigrant who built many properties in the area. The house was built in the Federal-style and as a single house, which was popular in Charleston. The standard Charleston single house was built with a narrow side that ran two- or three-bays wide with a gable end along the street and then a longer side that was perpendicular to the street and running five-bays. The design worked well here because the main part of Charleston was laid out with long, narrow lots. Single houses all had the same basic layout inside with the house being one room wide inside. There would be two rooms on each floor with each floor designed the same way. There would be one room to the side and one to the rear of the house. Many of the houses had multiple porches, or what they call piazzas, in Charleston.

The next owner of the house was thought to be Martin Hurlbert, a schoolmaster. He sold it in 1818 for $3,000 to Nicholas Cobia, a cotton planter. In 1842, Nicholas’s wife, Ann, leased the house to Miss Margaret Cobia along with two slaves known as “Mary” and “Nancy.” Eventually Ann's nephew, Henry Cobia, inherited the house along with a slave named “Fanny” and her six children. In the early 1900s, the former mayor of Charleston, William Schirmir, owned the house and he converted it into a boarding house, connecting the carriage and kitchen house to the main house and adding a rear third story. During World War II, the house served as an apartment building for ship builders at the Navy Yard. In 1956, the house was turned into a beauty shop on the first floor and probably rented rooms above. In 1983, Sherri Weaver and Richard Dunn bought the house and converted it into the bed and breakfast it is today. The bed and breakfast has its dining room, kitchen, and parlor on the first floor of the main house. There are three guest rooms on each of the second and third floors. And there are rooms in the carriage house with two on the bottom and one on the second floor. We stayed in one of the first floor rooms in the carriage house. We were greeted by Mohamad who owns the inn with his wife Lynn. (1837 Inn Welcome) 

The house is beautiful and very welcoming inside with the kitchen and dining room being an open concept design. The formal parlor of the main house contains many of the original design elements like the red cypress cornice, wainscoting, and the black marble fireplace. During renovations the cypress was stripped from a scaffold with heat gun, sanded and oiled with tung oil. The front door opened into a small entry way that has the narrow stairs leading up to the other levels. The medallion on the ceiling in the entry hall is original and it took four days to clear the old paint away with a dental tool during renovations. Portions of the plaster cornice had been cut years ago to put in a partition and had to be replaced and rebuilt with plaster.  The plaster is original and has been mixed with horsehair as we have discussed in other episodes. The wood floors are made from wide planks of heart of pine. The house boasts that these planks are amongst the widest in the city with one in the dining room measuring 14 inches wide. Mohamad gave us a little tour outside as he took us to our room. (1837 Tour)

We settled in a bit and then decided we would try to get some communicating going with any spirits at the house. The ghost stories about this bed and breakfast seem to center around just one ghost and he is known by the name George. The backstory for George is not verified, nor does anyone know if any part of the legends are true, but here is what people claim is the story about George. George's parents worked inside the house and they lived on the third floor. George worked out in the stables and ran errands. He had time to play, so life didn't seem so bad for him taking into account that a nine-year-old boy didn't know anything other than slavery. For some reason, the cotton planter decided to sell off George's parents and keep George. One can imagine how upsetting this was and there are two versions of how George reacted. In the the first, George hears that his parents are aboard a slave ship in Charleston Harbor. He leaves the house and manages to find an empty row boat and starts rowing towards the ship. In the process, he falls out of the boat and drowns. In the other version, George runs away and is eventually captured and thrown into the barracoon in the heart of Charleston. A barracoon was a barracks like building for housing slaves. While he was in there, he could have gotten sick and died or his owner might have retrieved him and he lived a very short life back at the house. Whatever happened, people are pretty sure that a nine-year-old boy is running around the bed and breakfast in the afterlife. 

Guests have heard the incessant rocking of a rocking chair outside their rooms that only stops when someone shouts, "Stop that rocking, George!" No one has seen George, but they hear his footsteps. He likes to shake guests beds and he opens and closes doors. He turns the TVs on by themselves too. There are other noises that might be caused by something else and this usually entails hearing the crack of a whip. Chandeliers tend to sway on their own too. Most of the activity is said to occur on the third floor. We feel like we did get some kind of communication with a spirit. (1837 Investigation 1) Okay, right there I thought I heard a whisper, I'll replay the original section (1837 Whisper) and now here it is amplified (1837 Whisper Amplified) We think we hear a breath and then "I'm so mad." It makes sense because we were dancing around asking about his parents. We continued with trying to communicate and I did a Facebook Live and while I was outside showing the Bed and Breakfast, Kelly got a little emotional talking to who we thought was George. The communication really seemed to break down over that. (1837 Investigation 2)

The next morning we went to breakfast, which was delicious and very filling! (1837 Breakfast)

So you heard on that exchange that we had the opportunity to investigate the old jail. This was up in the air as it has been for Bull Dog Tours and the jail for a couple of years. Listeners might recall that Diane visited with a couple of listeners two years ago because we thought it would be closing. Our listener Myra has joined us on investigations at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Exchange Hotel and she contacted me a couple days before the trip to say we could get in to the jail. Joy met us there and we were joined by another young couple who had never been to the jail or investigated before. We cannot remember their names, but the male was a police office who also was a person of color and he had a couple of experiences that unnerved him a bit with feeling very dizzy and a little ill on a stairway. There was a set of stairs that seemed to affect Myra and Kelly too. As Diane told Mohamad and Lynn, she didn't experience anything that she would equate to a haunting. This was her second time there with nothing unusual happening, so for her personally, she can't say the jail is haunted.

Joy was a wonderful guide! She shared experience stories and took us into every area of the jail, even some places she disliked going. One of these was a room where Mike Brown of Pleasing Terrors used a Ouija Board. We got to see what the warden's living area was like. He was here with his wife and children and they sometimes had boarders too. All of this 12 inches away from Death Row. The place smelled so bad you could smell the scent blocks away. Imagine living there! (Charleston Jail Joy) So you heard that we all felt an unusually cold spot. That was it for Diane feeling anything in the building.The tour continued and we have a few of the highlights here. (Charleston Jail Joy 2)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

HGB Ep. 361 - Fort Delaware

Moment in Oddity - Nixon's Half-Eaten Sandwich (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Inside Steve Jenne's refrigerator, one will find a Musselman's applesauce jar with a half eaten sandwich wrapped in a plastic bag inside. Seems pretty strange, but it does contain a bit of a treasure. Steve was a 14-year-old Boy Scout on Sept. 22, 1960 when his troop was asked to serve as an honor guard for a very special visitor to their town of Sullivan. President Richard Nixon had come for a visit. The President was scheduled to make a speech at Wyman Park, but before doing that he was served a barbecue buffalo sandwich at the cookout where Steve was serving as honor guard. He tells the story this way, "He took a couple of bites and commented on how tasty, how good it was. Once he left, I just looked down at the picnic table and everybody else was gone and that half-eaten sandwich was still on the paper plate. I looked around and thought, ‘If no one else was going to take it, I am going to take it.’” He took it home to his mom who asked what she was supposed to do with it and he told her to freeze it. So she put it in the plastic bag and in the jar and for sixty years it has been frozen with a label that reads, "Save, don't throw away." The sandwich even got him an appearance on the "Tonight Show" in 1988. Keeping President Nixon's half-eaten sandwich in the freezer for sixty years, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Nixon's Last Press Conference

In the month of November, on the 7th, in 1962, Richard Nixon gave his so-called "last press conference." Nixon had run for Governor of California against Democrat Pat Brown in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. The state had traditionally been a Republican state, but Governor Brown was an incumbent and he won. Nixon sat before a group of 100 reporters at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, a displeased man. He angrily told the reporters, "You don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." As history would later prove, this was definitely not his last press conference and certainly not his most famous one. Experts believed he had permanently damaged his political future, but he won the presidency in the 1968 election. This was a nearly impossible political comeback that would later end in Nixon resigning the office because of the Watergate Scandal. Nixon wrote in his memoir, "I have never regretted what I said in 'the last press conference.' I believe that it gave the media a warning that I would not sit back and take whatever biased coverage was dished out to me. I think the episode was partially responsible for the much fairer treatment I received from the press during the next few years. From that point of view alone, it was worth it."

Fort Delaware (Suggested by: Anthony Ramirez)

Fort Delaware started as a defense for the Delaware River on Pea Patch Island in Delaware. During the Civil War, it would serve as a prison camp for Confederate soldiers that was considered a death camp. The Fort would also be used during the Spanish American War and the World Wars. Today, it is a state park featuring re-enactments, tours and other events. Many groups have investigated there including Britain's Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters Academy and Ghost Hunters used it for one of their Halloween episodes. Join us as we explore the history and haunts of Fort Delaware!

Pea Patch Island was surveyed as a military site by French military engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant in 1794. How the island obtained its name is a bit of legend. It was said that it was the site of a shipping accident in the mid-1700s when it was just a large sandbar. The ship was carrying peas and the crew knew they could not get free from the sandbar unless they off loaded weight, so they left the cargo of peas on the island. The peas rooted and grew and latched onto more silt and the island grew. Thus it was called Pea Patch. Whether that is true or not, one thing that was true was that a New Jersey man by the name of Dr. Henry Gale owned the island as his private hunting ground when L'Enfant suggested it as a military site to the United States military. Dr. Gale had no interest in giving up his island. He should have taken their offer of $30,000 because Delaware got involved at the military's request and after some political wrangling it was found that New Jersey had no right to deed the island to Dr. Gale and that the Delaware River and all the islands within a twelve mile circle around New Castle's Court House were owned by Delaware. Delaware ceded the island to the United States government in 1813 and the government sent Dr. Gale packing, with no payment.

No fort was built right away, but the island was fortified during the War of 1812 with a seawall around the island. A wooden fort was originally begun in 1814, but a more permanent fort was begun in 1817. The design was a star shape. This fort was designed by army engineer Joseph G. Totten and construction was supervised by Capt. Samuel Babcock. The first commander at Fort Delaware was Major Alexander C. W. Fanning. A later commander was the older brother of President Franklin Pierce, Major Benjamin Kendrick Pierce. Now one can imagine that the island was not a good place to build upon if it really was a sandbar that was loosely held together and that would prove to be true. The land was very marshy and shortly after the star fort was completed, it started to sink. Even before completion a section of around 43,000 bricks had to be taken down and the concrete removed and then replaced because of huge cracks that developed. The Army Corp of Engineers was working on a plan to stabilize it when a wood stove in Lieutenant Stephen Tuttle's quarters set the wooden wall of his room on fire in 1831. The fire quickly spread to the rest of the fort and it was a complete loss. An interesting story connected to the fire claims that Brevet Major Benjamin Pierce's wife had recently died and was in her coffin in the fort. Pierce risked his life to save her coffin and body. The garrison at the fort had to walk across the frozen Delaware River to Delaware City.

A new man was brought in to design a new fort, Captain Richard Delafield. His design would take on a polygonal form with bastions built from brick. This fort was to be much larger and Delafield proclaimed it would be a marvel of military architecture. What remained of the star fort was torn down and the rubble was used to reinforce the seawall. In the middle of laying down the base of the fort, Dr. Gale's descendants came along and claimed that they had legal right to the island. A decade long legal battle ensued, so the new fort would have to wait to be completed. The legal fight got so big that President James Polk had to get involved, along with the Secretary of War. In the end, it was ruled that Delaware did indeed own the island and the title given to the US government was valid. Delafield's fort would never be completed. A new pentagonal shaped fort was designed by Army chief engineer Joseph G. Totten, and the construction was supervised by Major John Sanders. The pentagon was slightly irregular and each corner had a tower bastion. There were 4,911 piles driven into the compressed mud to solidify the base. The masonry consisted of granite, brick, cement and gneiss, which is a metamorphic rock made from mica, feldspar and quartz. That type of stone was not used much because it proved to be very difficult to cut and slowed construction. Bricks were used to build the soldier barracks, underground cisterns, officer quarters, casemates, powder magazines, bread ovens and the fort's breast high wall. As is the case with many of these types of forts, masonry arches were used to provide stability. Most of the construction was completed before the Civil War, but it was not officially declared complete until 1868. This is the fort that stands today.

Major Sanders died during the construction in 1858 from complication of "carbunculous boils." The Civil War would be the time when Fort Delaware would get its most use. The fort was fortified with lots of firing power. The seacoast fronts of the fort alone could house 123 heavy cannons. The bastions could hold another 15 cannons and they also had 20 short-range howitzers. The long rear front gorge wall had 68 loopholes for musket firing. As an added protection, the fort had a moat. Captain Augustus A. Gibson took command in 1861. Despite the fort clearly being a place of firepower and defense, it would basically just become a prison. This became a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederate soldiers, but it also held pirates, political prisoners and federal soldiers convicted of crimes. Some of the Confederate soldiers left their marks behind on the walls of the casements and powder magazines where they were held. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the fort "contained an average population of southern tourists, who came at the urgent invitation of Mr. Lincoln." Confederate Brig. Gen. Johnston Pettigrew was the first Confederate general to be housed here. About a dozen more would follow him.

During the war, a hospital was built inside the fort that had 600 beds. Barracks that were basically wooden sheds were also added and were said to be able to hold 10,000 people. Bunks inside were arranged in three tiers. The death rate for prisoners was 7.6%, which we guess for the time and conditions is probably pretty good. The main cause of death was an epidemic of smallpox that came through in 1863. Others died from malaria, scurvy, pneumonia, dysentery and erysipelas, which is a bacterial infection of the skin also known as St. Anthony's Fire. The first Confederate prisoner to die here was Captain L. P. Halloway and he was given a full Masonic funeral by Jackson Lodge in Delaware City. A total of 33,000 prisoners were held at the fort during the war. Many of the people who died here are buried at Finn's Point National Cemetery in Pennsville, New Jersey. Their bodies were taken to the cemetery via a slow moving barge that was called the "Death Boat."

Life was actually fairly good at the fort. Prisoners got two meals a day and were allowed to purchase extra food. Meals usually consisted of a small piece of meat, three hardtack and bean soup. Rations were cut for a short time by the War Department because it was mad about how their northern prisoners were being treated by the Confederates. Capt. Robert E. Park of the 12th Alabama Infantry Regiment described eating at the fort in this way, "The mess-room is next to [Division] 22 and near the rear. It is a long, dark room, having a long pine table, on which the food is placed in separate piles, either on a tin plate or on the uncovered greasy table, at meal hours, twice a day. The fare consists of a slice of baker's bread, very often stale, with weak coffee, for breakfast, and a slice of bread and a piece of salt pork or salt beef, sometimes, alternating with boiled fresh beef and bean soup, for dinner. The beef is often tough and hard to masticate."

After the Civil War, the prisoners were released and a small garrison of the 4th U.S. Artillery was left behind. A large hurricane hit in 1878 and destroyed the buildings on the south side of the island and a chapel built by the Confederate POWs. A few years later, a tornado and took out the hospital and did more damage. New guns and batteries were added before the Spanish American War. This would use the new Endicott program created by Secretary of War William C. Endicott. This system spread batteries over a wider area and concealed them behind concrete parapets flush with the surrounding terrain. The new guns had a range of 10 miles. The three-gun battery here was one of two three-story Endicott batteries in the United States. During the Spanish–American War, the 14th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment was stationed at the fort. It saw no action. During World War I, Fort Delaware was a back-up fort. Soldiers started dismantling the fort at this time and burying some of the guns.  World War II would find Battery C, 261st Coast Artillery Battalion, a unit from the Delaware Army National Guard garrisoned at the fort. By 1942, the last of the guns were removed from the fort so it was unarmed. The electrical wiring was stripped out as well and at the end of the war it was used as surplus. 

Since the government decided that the fort site would just be surplus, the state of Delaware took back the site in 1947. They transformed it into Fort Delaware State Park and they run a seasonal passenger ferry to and from Pea Patch Island. They offer programs, re-enactments and the thing we always love when it comes to forts is the firing of weapons. This one is an 8-inch Columbiad gun. The island is also a migratory bird rookery, which  is the largest such habitat north of Florida. They host a triathlon in June as well called "Escape from Fort Delaware." It seems that 52 men escaped from Fort Delaware and the path they took is the one followed by the triatholon. It is closed for the season and will reopen in April 2021. We wonder what the ghosts do when all the people are gone. Because clearly, there are real possibilities of hauntings at Fort Delaware.

The Delaware Ghost Hunters lead paranormal investigations of the fort. Ghost Hunters visited for a Halloween special in 2008. During that episode, the team caught the thermal image of a man peeking around the corner at them. One of them also had his jacket pulled so hard that it pulled him backwards. The spirits of Confederate soldiers have been seen in many areas. One such place is on the parade grounds and under the ramparts. They are often seen running. A visitor to the fort captured a Confederate soldier on camera, standing in an archway. Sounds of moaning and clanging chains are heard in the dungeon. This could be the imprisoned soldiers or it could be one of the pirates who were kept here before the Civil War started. A park ranger once saw the apparition of a pirate dressed in a green silk shirt and white silk pants looking out of a window.

General James Archer was a Confederate General during the American Civil War and he had a role in many major battles from Harper's Ferry to Fredericksburg to Sherperdstown to Chancellorsville to Gettysburg. Archer came from a wealthy military family, but he did not seem automatically meant for that life in that he was a very slight man. In school, they called him "Sally" for this reason. He graduated from law school and went into practice, but this all changed when the Mexican-American War erupted. He served bravely doing that and moved to Texas after the war where he ended up fighting a duel. He went back to his law practice, but decided that he preferred the military and was stationed in the Pacific Northwest. When the Civil War erupted, he resigned his commission and went south where he joined the Confederate Army. In 1862, he was given command over three Tennessee regiments. His men gave him a different nickname, "The Little Gamecock," because although he was built small, he was a fierce fighter.

The thing that would prove to be his downfall was sickness. Starting in September 1862, Archer was so weak that he had to direct his troops from an ambulance. He would recover slightly and led his troops to victory in a couple more battles, but the summer heat of 1863 took their toll and by the time his regiments arrived in Gettysburg, he was very ill. The Iron Brigade pushed his men back and Archer sought cover in a thicket, too exhausted to continue. It was here that he was captured by a Union soldier named Patrick Maloney. Archer was sent to Fort Delaware. There he made plans to escape with the other men. They had heard of a plan to ship 600 of them to Morris Island where they would be used as human shields to get the Confederates to stop shelling the fort there. And indeed many of them would end up there and a few were starved to death because they would not pledge allegiance to the United States. Legend claims that Archer was imprisoned under Fort Delaware in the tunnels for a couple of years. The experience drove him mad. He actually was exchanged for a Union prisoner. He returned to the fight, but eventually died from his illness in October 1864. He was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. Because of the legend, people claim that his spirit haunts the tunnels under the fort. This spirit is said to be shy and rarely is seen, which means it could be another spirit.

Prisoners are not the only ones haunting the fort. Guards are here as well. There was an Italian immigrant who joined the Union Army named Private Stefano. He died when he slipped on some wet stairs that he was running down. He broke his neck and cracked his skull. His apparition is seen often near the stairs. He appears most often when people are talking about his story near the stairs. He also will appear sometimes when people call out his name at the stairs.

There is a spirit that likes to clean in the Mess Hall. There was apparently a mantle piece in here at one time and that is what he seems to be cleaning. When he exits, he goes through a bricked up door. He is thought to have been a servant that is carrying on in the afterlife in a residual manner. Right next to the Mess Hall is the kitchen and it has its own ghost. This spirit is a female and she walks into the kitchen and checks all the equipment. Some re-enactors had an interesting experience with her. They were making soup in the kitchen as a demonstration of life in the fort and the ghost suddenly appeared and smiled, checked the equipment and checked the soup. She stirred it for a while. She must have seemed real because the volunteers weren't scared, until she walked through a wall. Perhaps she had once been a cook here at the fort.

A member of the team was taking a group through when they heard a noise near the stove. a metal item that had been sitting on the stove had been picked up and tossed on the floor. In the area where the guns are located, people have been poked and pulled. A local TV station visited in 2009 and they captured a flashlight turning on by itself and it also rolled a small distance as it sat in the middle of a table. A girl on the same tour told the reporter that something had poked her on the elbow. She turned to ask her boyfriend if he done it, but before she could, the tour guide said that spirits liked to poke people in this area and she hollered out, "Yeah!"

A woman named Chris Polo told station WBOC, "All of a sudden, the oil lamp slides across the window sill and crashed to the floor right next to me, I ended up with glass all over. I won't go back up in there, it scared me too badly, it really did." A guy named Scott Debski heard noises his first night on the island. He said, "A short time later, we heard dogs barking and we're a mile from land, there are no dogs on the island, but there were several years ago."

A guy named Kyle McMahon joined Diamond State Ghost investigators for an overnight at the fort in 2018. They got some K2 activity, specifically when they asked for spirits to light it up. The group later hears a voice coming from upstairs audibly. A flashlight turned on by itself in the Mess Hall. This group said that the cook's name is believed to be Susan. When one of the guys asked if she would cook him something because he was hungry, the flashlight turned on by itself. They heard disembodied footsteps and more audible voices in conversation.

Conditions at this prison camp were far better than in many other prisons, but many people still died here. There spirits still seem to remain. Is Fort Delaware haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

HGB Ep. 360 - Cripple Creek

Moment in Oddity - Cricket Fighting (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

We've all heard of cockfighting, bullfighting, dog fights and other such animal cruelty for sport. But there is a form of animal...or well...bug fighting in which animals don't get hurt. Cricket fighting! This started more than 1,000 years ago under the Tang Dynasty, but soon moved down to the commoners, which caused the Chinese Communist government to ban cricket fighting in the 1960s. But young people have been bringing it back. Only male crickets are fought against each other. These crickets have pedigrees and a specialized diet incorporating red beans, goat liver, shrimp and uh, maggots. The night before a fight, female crickets are dropped into the clay pots that hold the crickets to invigorate their spirit. The crickets fight according to weight classes. A cricket loses when it stops chirping or runs away or is thrown from the fighting container. Some crickets are so prized that they become famous and have elaborate funerals when they pass and are buried in carved coffins. The sport is so popular that in 2010, $63 million in American dollars was spent on crickets. The sport of cricket fighting, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Haiti Wins Independence

In the month of November, on the 18th, in 1803, Haiti won its Independence. The Haitian Revolution had started in 1791 as an attempt to break free from French rule. As is the case for all revolutions, there were many reasons that this rebellion erupted. Steep tariffs caused planters to look to independence as did the fact that they had no representation in France - sound familiar? At the same time, the slave population was planning another uprising, so they were the first to strike with a fight against the planters. The French tried to squelch things, but they lost traction and the British came to help. The slaves were able to push back against both. The final major battle of the war was The Battle of Vertières. The French had been so decimated that they had only 2,000 men to face 27,000 Haitians. The French army had 1200 casualties from that conflict and they decided they were done and left the island. Historians say that the man who led the fight and became the first Emperor of Haiti, Dessalines, had accomplished something not even Spartacus could and that was a successful slave uprising. One of the things that helped the Haitians with their victory were mosquitos. They helped spread yellow fever to the French troops and about 20,000 died. Haiti would get its name at this time and emerged as the first black republic in the world.

Cripple Creek (Suggested by: Jon Venezia)

This episode has it all! Cripple Creek is a spooky old mining town with a ton of history and many haunts, leading it to be thought of as the most haunted Colorado mining town. We have haunted hospitals, hotels, jail, schools, brothels, saloons and even Nikola Tesla. Diane grew up visiting this mountain town long before it became a haven for gambling. Cripple Creek is on the south side of Pikes Peak and was once considered the "Greatest Gold Camp on Earth." Many people would find their fortune here, but some would find tragedy and death. There was a murder nearly every day. Violence, mining accidents and natural disasters plagued the town. And that may be why spirits plague the town now. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Cripple Creek.

Cripple Creek got its start in 1891 when gold was discovered by a cowboy named Bob Womack. This was in an area where the Ute tribe had lived called Poverty Gulch. Eventually homesteaders moved in with their livestock, but when gold was found, this peaceful area went crazy. Two men named Horace Bennett and Julius Myers bought land in the area and platted a town they called Fremont. This would eventually be called Cripple Creek, which got its name from a frightened calf that jumped over a fence, landed in a gully and broke its leg. So Womack found gold and got an investor interested and soon people were moving to Cripple Creek. The hotels were filled up quickly and they even started setting up chairs and renting them for the night for one dollar. Lots that used to cost $50 soon were selling for $5,000. By 1892, the population had risen to 5,000. 

The town was built from wood which would prove to be a bad idea when fire broke out in April of 1896. This fire started at the Central Dance Hall when a bartender and his girlfriend got in a fight and knocked over a coal stove. The fire burned down the south side of Bennett Avenue and took out three parlor houses or brothels, the opera house, a big chunk of the business district and the Topic Hotel. Another fire broke out later that week and burned up many residences. It was decided to rebuild everything in brick. The early 1900s would bring mine disputes and some ended in death, one in which 13 miners were killed in an explosion. One of the largest gold mines in the country, the Portland, was here and it mined out $62 million in gold. By the time the mines had been run out, more than 22,400,000 ounces of gold was extracted from more than 500 mines in the Cripple Creek and Victor region. Interestingly, the former Cresson Mine was reopened in 1995 and produces annually over 250,000 ounces of gold and is the largest mining operation in the continental United States. Before this, Cripple Creek had really dwindled, but 1991 brought legalized gambling and reinvigorated the town. Many of the original buildings still stand today. Let's look at some of these locations that are reputedly haunted.

The Colorado Trading and Transfer Building is today part of the Cripple Creek District Museum. You'll start getting a feel here that these old buildings have either transformed to casinos or museums. This is one of the oldest buildings in Cripple Creek because it survived the fires even though it was built from wood. The museum features mining artifacts, mineral displays, western firearms, maps of the mines and rare photos. Originally, this building was erected by Albert Carlton and his brother Leslie in 1893. They used this to run their business of moving freight that included gold and they also sold coal and wood. The brothers eventually sold the building to the Midland Terminal Railroad in 1899. Blevins Davis, Richard Wayne Johnson and Margaret Giddings founded the museum in 1953 and it not only includes this building, but also an assay office, a one-room home owned by French Blanche LeCroix -a lady of the evening, a miner's cabin and the Midland Terminal Depot.

There have been a few experiences in this location. A man standing in the gift shop watched a book fly off a shelf all on its own. Linda Wommack wrote, "Haunted Cripple Creek and Teller County" and she shared an experience she had at the museum, "My mother and I were taking a quick tour of the museum grounds after having spent several hours doing research in an upstairs room in the depot building of the museum. While we were inside the [building], I walked toward a bookshelf that held extremely old books. Just as I knelt to read the volume titles, I instantly became chilled. I looked around for some sort of explanation." She experienced it again several years later while there with a friend and this person felt the same icy chill. Many people have claimed to experience this same phenomenon. Another weird thing is that strange stains and markings on the wall will bleed through anytime the walls are painted. No one knows what these spots are from. Could be something natural. Diane once lived in an old apartment that seemed to bleed brown stuff from the top of a couple of walls.

The Midland Terminal Depot is today also part of the Cripple Creek District Museum. This train depot operated from 1895 to 1949 and received an average of ten passenger trains daily. The rail line was started in 1895 after several mine owners decided they needed to bring down the cost of shipping their ore to smelters. Harry Collbran was the general manager of the Colorado Midland Railroad depot at Hayden Divide and he was the one to go out and seek financial backing for the rail line and he found it with millionaire Harlan Lillibridge who gave him $100,000. That money ran out before the line was finished and Collbran brought on another man named W.G. Gillett and they got more funding. They also decided that their initial idea of building this as a narrow-gauge was not a good idea and they ripped up the line and replaced it with the standard-gauge. They were able to expand as well when the Carlton brothers offered up land next to their building and the depot was built there. It has three floors with the top floor being used for offices, the second floor was for passengers with separate rooms for men and women and children and the bottom floor was for loading and unloading freight. Passengers paid $2 for a round-trip ticket. Some trains offered Pullman service. 

Employees and visitors both have reported strange things. Much of the activity centers around the spirit of a young girl wearing a white dress who has been seen playing on the third floor. Her voice has also been captured on EVP by paranormal investigators. People also claim to catch the scent of cigar smoke in the air. One of the teams who has investigated here is Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations and one time they heard a music box on the mantel started playing on its own. They set up a recorder to capture the sound and also took a picture. Later, they reported the experience to staff who were perplexed. They said that the museum did have a music box, but that it was not in that room. When the investigators played their recording, the staff claimed that the song playing was not the song the music box played. Everyone went to the room and there was no music box in there and even weirder, when the film was developed, there was no music box in any picture. 

Carr Manor is a boutique hotel and bed and breakfast that had once been the town's high school. At the height of its mining success, Cripple Creek and the surrounding mining district had 17 schools. The former Cripple Creek High School is one of only two original schools still standing. Construction was finished on the first phase of the school in 1896 and the second was completed in 1905 in the Romanesque style. The parking lot had once been a pool that was added in the 1940s. The school closed in 1977. Ted Heiliger and his family bought the school in 1982 and converted it into a hotel that opened in 1983. They ran it for twenty years and then sold it to Gary and Wini Ledford. They restored the hotel and expanded it, so that it now has fourteen rooms and suites, a Grand Ballroom and a conference center. There was a Carr Avenue, two Carr families that had lived in town and governor of Colorado was Ralph Carr whom had graduated from the school, so they named the hotel Carr Manor. The lobby is glorious with a wood burning stove, exposed brick, antiques and statuary of children. There are not many paranormal experiences described in regards to this place, but guests claim to see weird orb anomalies and strange lights particularly on the second floor landing and they feel as though they are being watched and like there is a presence that they cannot see.

Gold Mining Stock Exchange Building was built in 1896 from red sandstone following the fires. The exchange ran from 1896 until December 1909, when the Cripple Creek Stock Exchange was combined with the Colorado Springs Stock Exchange and moved down to Colorado Springs. The vacant building was bought by the Elks who had been meeting on a top floor of another building in town. They remain in the building to this day. When this was first opened it was considered one of the most elegant lodges around with oriental rugs, call buttons for staff, velvet draperies, polished hardwood floors, electric lights and lamps and hot and cold running water. There was also a bar, a banquet hall, a room for cards and billiards, a cigar and brandy room and a reading room. The Newport Saloon that had once been on the first floor was the scene of the murder of Sam Strong in 1901.

The former Newport Saloon is the scene of most of the paranormal activity in the building. Objects fly around the room and orbs have been witnessed. Objects are seen and then disappear. The lodge has hosted ghost tours and people on these tours have claimed to see shadowy figures in doorways. People claim a man has been seen walking through walls and a female spirit is heard laughing in the lounge. 

Johnny Nolon's Saloon & Gambling Emporium is the oldest bar in Cripple Creek. The place is named for Johnny Nolon who had relocated here from St. Louis, Missouri. He opened his first saloon in 1890 and like many of these buildings, it burned in the fire. Nolon partnered with Jacob Becker and they rebuilt a two-story building on the same spot. Johnny's saloon and gambling place was on one side of the first floor. The Cripple Creek Bank was in the other half. Nolon had an office on the second floor as well. In 1903, Nolon moved to Nevada and Becker took over operations. Not much is known about the history from that point until gambling came to town. When that happened, Nolon's reopened.

The main spirits in this location seem to belong to children. They run up and down the halls. A little boy has been seen holding a red balloon...really, like It? Little girl spirits are seen wearing Victorian dresses and standing near the stairway. Another little girl was seen in white buckle shoes and a blue dress. An employee asked if she was lost and she responded that she was waiting for her father. The employee held out her hand and offered to go looking with the girl and she just faded away.

Mousie wrote on the Legends of America website in 2011, "I just started working at Johnny Nolon’s in the restaurant. One night when I was closing up I saw a little girl with a blue dress and white buckled up shoes just standing by my supervisor’s office holding a stuffed animal of some kind. I believe it was a bunny or something like that, it was really old and cheap looking. I asked her what she was doing over here since it was apart from the main floor where guests would normally be. She said she was looking for her daddy. I thought maybe the supervisor was her dad, I didn’t know. I put my hand out and asked to her come with me and I’d help her find him. She just looked at me and said she couldn’t leave or she would get into trouble. At that time, my supervisor was walking up behind me so I turned around and asked if this was his daughter. He looked at me and laughed. I didn’t get what he was laughing at until I turned back to the girl, that wasn’t there anymore! My supervisor asked if I was ok. I started rambling confusingly about what had just happened and he asked me if I wanted to hear a story. He then told me about a man that had owned the building back in the early days. He had lost his wife to some disease and was very protective of his daughter. He would go to work every day and leave his daughter home alone. He had told the girl that it very dangerous to go outside without her father and that the only way she would be safe was to stay inside and play with her toys until he came home. Well, she did that every day of her life. Then, one day there was a couple that lived in the same building that got into a huge argument and somehow a lamp got knocked over. The lamp broke and started a fire. The whole building went up in flames. The little girl never made it out because she was told the only way she would ever be safe was to stay inside until her father came home. To this day she has never left. That was the one and only time I had ever seen her while working there."

The Turf Club was a place started by William Bonbright and was set up as a club for the wealthy businessmen of Cripple Creek. The first floor had rooms for meetings and billiards, while the second floor had smaller meeting rooms and rooms for rent. The building was completed in 1896 and was done in the Italianate architectural style. This had a rounded edge design and was the first in town to use brown brick to accent the center window, which would be duplicated in other buildings. In 1897, the club was bought by John Harnan who had just become "new money." He ran the club successfully until 1909. And then we don't know much else about the history other than it mostly sat vacant until legalized gambling and then the building got a refurb and is today Buffalo Billy's Casino.

We don't know of any deaths at the Turf Club, but one thing seems to be pretty certain to people who have had weird things happen to them in this building. The ghost of a little girl haunts the place. They call her Lilly because an employee claimed to have a conversation with her and told this woman that Lilly was her name. She appears about the age of six-years-old, carries a rag doll and is very friendly. An employee who saw her asked if she was lost and she said, "No, I’m not lost, I live here." Clearly, this was not a home so he went to get a security guard and when they returned, Lilly had disappeared. People will leave balloons for Lilly and if it is purple, they will see it float around the casino. If the balloon is blue, she will pop it. She has a favorite color apparently. Lilly has been seen peering from an upstairs window. She occasionally leaves her handiwork on the walls with pens and crayons. The drawings sometimes reappear after being washed off the walls. A tourist sitting at a slot machine lost track of her daughter, as one does when gambling, and she later found her perched on the staircase appearing as though she were talking to someone. She asked her daughter what she was doing and she said she was playing with Lilly. She was alone on the stairs.

The Imperial Hotel is today the Christmas Casino and Inn at Bronco Billy's. This is the oldest hotel in the city. The three-story building was constructed from red brick and completed in 1896. A widow named E. F. Collins leased the building and opened the Collins Hotel. She ran that until 1906 and then a Mrs. M.E. Shoot bought the hotel and the building next it, remodeled, connected the buildings and opened the New Collins Hotel. This place boasted innovations like steam heat, electric lights and porcelain bathrooms. It was a grand hotel, but not very successful and she went into foreclosure. The owner of the note moved to Cripple Creek with his wife and they ran the hotel for nearly forty years. These were the Longs and George Long received a stipend from the British Crown, so he had some money to burn and he poured it into the hotel turning it into a Victorian Hotel he called the Imperial Hotel. After thirty years of running the hotel, George fell down the basement stairs to his death, His wife continued running the hotel for four years, but she finally gave up in 1944 and padlocked the doors.

Perhaps she was uncomfortable with the rumors that her husband haunted the place. People claimed to see a male spirit in the windows. People suspected that George had actually been killed by his daughter Alice, but it was never proven. Could that be why he roams the stairs and basement? Alice is said to haunt the place because she was often locked away in her room because she had mental challenges. Wayne and Dorothy Mackin bought the building in 1946, refurbished and reopened the hotel. The hotel hosted a melodrama group out of Idaho Springs, dubbed the Imperial Players, who performed in the hotel's Gold Bar Theater. They've performed for over fifty years.They also opened a restaurant and bar called Red Rooster Room. This area had been Alice's room and staff claimed to hear weird noises, especially scratching.

Once gambling was legalized, limited-stakes tables were added and the name was changed to Imperial Casino Hotel. George likes to play with the slot machines and flirt with women. A chambermaid claimed that her bottom was pinched by someone she could not see. Security guards hear the sound of the machines paying out when the place is closed. No malfunctions are ever discovered. The Gold Bar Theater is said to be haunted by former performers too.

The Palace Hotel started as the Palace Drug Store, but it was renovated into a hotel in 1892. This burned in the fires and Sam Altman who owned it rebuilt with brick. He decided to go with lavish and it was more successful than its first run. We've read a couple of things about the hotel. One seems to indicate that the hotel was on the upper two floors while the bottom level had a pharmacy and soda fountain. This was owned by Dr. William Chambers and his wife Kitty. Another version that I read said that the doctor and his wife took ownership of the hotel after the turn of the century. We're not sure which is true, but the key to remember is that Chambers had a wife named Kitty. She left Cripple Creek in 1903 and sold her interest in the pharmacy to the doctor. The doctor himself left in 1910. Shortly thereafter, the hotel burned to the ground. Other stories on the Internet claim that Kitty died in the hotel in 1908. Mary Hedges took over ownership of the hotel until 1918. We're not sure what happened after that, but in 1976, Robert and Martha Lays bought the hotel and they eventually passed it on to their sons. When gambling was legalized, the hotel became a casino that eventually went bankrupt in 2001. It reopened under the Century Casino Corporation, but this also bankrupted in 2003. There have been efforts to renovate, but as far as we know it is still vacant.

There were stories that Kitty haunted Room 3, but since she didn't die here, that probably is not true. Ms. Hedges lived in that room, but she also didn't die here. Whomever it is, she is a hospitable host who would turn down beds and light candles in rooms. At least while the hotel was open. The Lays reported table candles relighting themselves when the hotel closed for the night. There are other spirits here too. People claim there is a blind piano player, a short fat man and a tall woman. Some people claimed to be pushed when on the stairs. Strange anomalies appear in photographs and crashing sounds are heard when no one is in the area where the noises come from. The History Channel featured this location and a paranormal group captured EVPs.

Mousie wrote in 2011 on the Legends of America website, "My first experience happened at the Palace Hotel. The women’s restroom is where I saw my first ghost. I would always get a weird feeling when I went in there and never went in alone. On one occasion while my sister and I were in there, I was washing my hands when I saw in the mirror behind me, a woman sitting in the old antique full back chair that sat in the corner of the restroom. She had on an old-style black and green full-length dress and had her hair done up on top of her head. I knew instantly that this was Miss Kitty that I had heard about from stories. I was standing there frozen when I heard my sister calling my name and realized the woman was gone."

Probably one of the coolest looking buildings in Cripple Creek is the Teller County Jail, which still has bars on the windows. It was built in a "T" shape out of brick  and rises two stories. Today, this is the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum. This jail had a long run, opening in 1901 and closing in 1991. The reason for it finally closing is that the requirements for a modern jail were not met here including no exercise yard. The receiving area and office was built from wood and serves as a gift shop today. Both men and women were housed here and there was a female jailer to oversee the women. She had a room on the second floor. The women's cells were on this level too. The cell system was set up in the middle of the building with upper and lower steel 14 cell units stacked on top of each other. This was state-of-the-art at the time. The building was very secure with jail breaks a rarity. Each cell held four to six men, a bed and a heater. Prisoners were issued a standard uniform that was white and black striped. The jail once held a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch and a man named J. Grant Crumley, who blew off half of Sam Strong's head, who was a wealthy mine owner.

There were two deaths in the jail. One was a prisoner who fell over the railing of the catwalk at the top of the steel stairway on the second level. No one knows if it was an accident, a suicide or a murder. This person's spirit may still be here at the jail. Heavy breathing is heard in the spot where this prisoner fell. All different types were thrown into this from criminals, people who needed to sleep off a drunk and the criminally insane waiting to be moved to another facility. This is where the second death comes in. A woman named Olga Knutson was placed in a cell in a straightjacket. She screamed all night, but at some point she went quiet and when the matron checked on her in the morning, she was dead. There are spirits of former jailers who seem to think they are still on duty. They present themselves through disembodied footsteps and dark shadowy masses. These, of course, could be former prisoners too. These figures are most often seen in the last two cells of the first floor cell block. For some reason, the spirit of a little girl has been seen in the jail. People think this could be because she died while one of her parents was in the jail and she is looking for that parent. 

A docent at the museum claimed that she was getting ready to lock up for the day when she saw a man's face looking through a window at her. She opened the door to talk to him, but he had disappeared. She described the man to a co-worker and he said it matched a former night jailer. Employees also tell a story about a main security door that is between the gift shop and the jail, which has flown open all on its own a few times. A spirit identifying herself as Rosie has been encountered in the female jailer's room and she claims to still be watching over her prisoners. Michelle Rozell was a paranormal investigator and director of the museum and she told the Ghost Adventures crew that they think a spirit named Joe hangs out in solitary confinement and that he had been a child molester. He threw two of her team members against the wall. Her team also heard an audible voice say something like "Get me out" that was also caught on a recorder. The GA crew picked up a figure on the SLS camera that they asked to wave and it did. That was it for their evidence there, so Zak said they could not conclude that the jail is haunted.

The Old Homestead Parlor is on Myers Avenue, which was Cripple Creek's red light district. Pearl DeVere was the madam who ran this brothel. She was thirty-one and ran her place as a high class establishment with ladies who wore fine clothing. Pearl paid them very well. She was described as a fun woman with a kind heart who regularly rode sidesaddle down the street on her horse or sometimes she was on her single-seated phaeton driven by a team of black horses. The fires of 1896 burned down her first parlor and she rebuilt in brick. Today, this is the only parlor that still remains. It had been decorated with expensive European furnishings, velvet drapes, lace curtains, crystal gaslights, electric chandeliers, hand-painted French wallpaper and hardwood tables. There was running water in two bathrooms. Clients needed references to even get inside the door. Pearl would not enjoy her success for long. She hosted a grand party on June 4, 1897 and was so amped before going to bed that she needed a little help to sleep so she took some morphine. It was too much and one of her girls found her unresponsive and breathing very shallowly and called the doctor. He tried to help her, but it was too late. She was declared dead the following morning. 

Pearl's family was ashamed to find out about her profession and they would not bury her, so Johnny Nolon held an auction to raise money for the funeral. She was buried with a bunch of pomp and circumstance with the fire department band leading the procession. Her former brothel is now a museum, only one of three in the country. Many of the fixtures and wallpaper are original. Pearl still seems to be at the place she built and people claim she is heard crying. The chandeliers sway when no wind is blowing in the house. Objects move and sometimes even disappear for days.

Hotel St. Nicholas was the St. Nicholas Hospital, which opened in 1898 under the Sisters of Mercy. This not only served as a hospital, but the nuns lived there and a small school ran out of it. A ward for the mentally ill was added later. The hospital closed in the mid-1970s and sat vacant for several years. Then some business owners tried opening up businesses inside, but nothing seemed to stick. Then Noel and Denise Perran and Susan Adelbush bought the property and refurbished it into an inn they named it for the former hospital. There are fifteen guest rooms and great views of Cripple Creek as it sits atop a hill. There is a bar and restaurant called Boiler Room Tavern, which serves Mexican food and drinks while live music plays.

The hotel is said to be haunted by the former nuns and the children who used to be here and, of course, some of the patients. A spirit nicknamed "Stinky" is seen lurking near a back staircase and he got his nickname because he gives off a raw sewage smell. The lower part of a miner's body is seen as a ghost too. A little boy spirit named "Petey" likes to steal cigarettes and move objects in the tavern.

Fairley Brothers & Lampman Building is today the Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel and its one of the locations investigated by Ghost Adventures. The building once housed the town's mortuary, so it is no wonder that people claim there is paranormal stuff going on inside. There is also a restaurant inside called Maggie's Restaurant. The Fairley Brothers were C.W. and D.B. and they opened a furniture store at 300 East Bennett Avenue in 1894. The Lampman part of this name came in after the fire that burned part of the city. The Fairley Brothers were nearly ruined, so they asked Oscar Lampman to partner with them. Lampman was an undertaker and the three men built a three-story brick building that covered the block. The brothers reopened their furniture store, Lampman had his mortuary and several other businesses moved in like a millinery, a lawyer and a drug store. The Elks opened a lodge on the third floor. In the 1960s, the first floor was remodeled and turned into an ice cream parlor called Sarsaparilla Saloon. 

The owners of the ice cream parlor were the first ones to claim that there were ghosts in the building. They would hear footsteps at night coming from the upper floors. This could be residual as a ballroom was eventually built on the third floor. The Spanish Flu swept through Cripple Creek in 1918 and bodies were stacked up inside and out of the mortuary. Possibly some spirits go back to this moment in history. There are some other people who had been at the mortuary that could be haunting the place. Pearl DeVere, who was the madam at the Old Homestead Parlor, lied in state for a couple of days before her funeral because she had been so beloved. There was also a rich mine owner named Sam Strong who had half of his head blown off while he sat at a saloon drinking who was brought to the mortuary. The owners of the ice cream parlor decided to have a seance to find out who was haunting their building. They saw a group of men sitting in a corner in dark suits. They also saw the apparition of a woman who claimed to be named Maggie. 

Maggie usually appears on the top two floors of the casino. She appears to be twenty-five years old, wearing high heeled shoes and a dress from the turn-of-the-century. She leaves the scent of rose perfume in her wake. Maggie has an Irish accent and is heard singing with a soprano voice. She often dances as well and it's possible the disembodied footsteps are from her high-heeled boots. One of the owners of the ice cream parlor saw Maggie wearing clothes that she described as something a Gibson Girl would wear. She stood on a stairway above her and there was a strong scent of roses. An artist named Charles Frizzell rented the third floor and he said, "After a long day in the studio, I would climb the wide staircase to the third floor. The double doors would almost always be open, even though I had locked them every morning. So my friend Jerry Hollings and I would lock the doors each morning and then fasten a wire coat hanger around the door knobs. Still, the doors would be wide open when we arrived back on the third floor." The security cameras at the casino have caught what looks like ghostly images and security guards claim to have seen the apparition of Maggie, sometimes even accompanied by a male spirit after hours. The restaurant is named in honor of Maggie.

The Tesla Brownstone is a legit haunted house in the city. We call it by that name because we don't know what else to call it and Nikola Tesla once lived there. The home is located at 315 Carr Street. The house was built in 1898 by an accountant from New York looking to work for some of the rich mine owners. It is pretty obvious that this was a home designed by a New Yorker because this two-story brownstone would fit right in in Greenwich Village. Eventually, the mines started to dry up and the accountant rented out the home to none other than Nikola Tesla who it is said worked on some of his experiments in the home. He was a century ahead of his time and his research still fuels scientific projects today. Tesla had a lab in nearby Colorado Springs. While Tesla was in Colorado Springs, he experimented with the production of man-made lightning bolts and conducting electricity using the Earth itself. In 1907, the home seems to have been operated as a bordello. It changed ownership several times and then was purchased in 1968 by historian Leland Feitz. He fixed up the place and lived in it as his home. In 1978, he met author and famed astrologist Linda Goodman whom he invited to move to Cripple Creek and live in the house. She visited and loved the solitude the mountains brought versus her busy New York life. She bought what she called her "crooked little house on a crooked little street," which had been Feitz's brownstone. Goodman lived there until her death in 1996. The house was bought by Rick and Janice Wood and they turned it into a bed and breakfast, connecting it to the boardinghouse that was next door with a walkway. They sold it to Jason and Sofia Balas in 2013 and the home was sold again in 2017 and we believe it is a private residence now.  

There are some whom claim this place is haunted and others who have experienced nothing here. When Linda Goodman lived in the house, she claimed to have several odd things happen. Like big things! Music would lithe through the air in every room when no radios or other music players were going and it was an older variety of music. She also heard disembodied voices and she saw apparitions in Victorian clothing. Some claim she was an eccentric woman who practiced a weird cosmic religion and this is why she had these experiences. But friends who visited also claimed to hear voices and even the cries of a baby. People on the street would see lights flickering in the windows. There are people who believe that Goodman herself haunts her former home. Objects move on their own, cold spots are felt and a child's ghost is seen in the early morning hours. 

On the website Legends of America, Mike Warden wrote in 2006, "This encounter occurred during the summer of 1973 in Cripple Creek, Colorado. My father had fallen in love with the town, and consequently moved all six of us kids, lock, stock, and barrel to the high country of Colorado. We found a back door that was almost too easy to move and sauntered in. This house was a two-story Victorian, turn-of-the-century brick, with some of the original antique furniture still inside. We began to roam around the house, laughing, and making jokes. When I opened the door to the cellar...that’s when we heard it. I want to point out that all of this was occurring in broad daylight, with the sun shining bright, in the middle of the afternoon. It wasn’t midnight or the typical 3:00 a.m. 'ghost hunt.' At first, we heard the sounds of silverware clinking on plates, then a cacophony of voices, combined with music from a bygone era. I should also mention that there was no electricity being provided to this residence at the time. The sounds began to swell and before long, the entire house was filled with the din of what we later thought to be a party or a ball of some kind. The three of us then proceeded to set a land speed record for exiting a home during a crisis.

Months later, this very same house was purchased by a wealthy writer, whose name I can’t mention. Afterward, several parties were held there. One night, during a particularly raucous evening, a young woman ran from this house screaming. Once her friends caught up with her and asked her what had happened, she told her friends that the 'figure' of a miner had materialized by the fireplace. Others later reported seeing a 'distinguished' looking Victorian-era gentleman at the top of the stairs. Years later, when I was researching the eccentric inventor Nicola Tesla, I came upon an article that described how the unconventional electrical genius had conducted a number of experiments in Cripple Creek. The same writer who had purchased and was living in the house at the time confirmed it was, in fact, Tesla’s residence at one time, where he had conducted experiments. Despite his prolific inventiveness and eccentric lifestyle, Tesla was known to maintain a rather high social profile. His experiments in physics also upheld the belief and possibility of life after death. Could it be Nicola Tesla, himself, that remains in this house?"

Cripple Creek is clearly full of a rich history that could lend itself to many haunts. Are these locations haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:

Haunted Cripple Creek and Teller County by Linda Wommack, published by Haunted America, 2018