Thursday, January 30, 2020

HGB Ep. 325 - Roswell, Georgia

Moment in Oddity - The Great Emu War
Suggested by: Chelcie Williams

Imagine declaring war on Emus and then losing. That is exactly what Australia did in 1932. The term war is not used as hyperbole here. Real weapons of war were employed during this futile attempt to lower the population of emu. Apparently, emus had moved inland in record numbers to begin their breeding. This was at a time when the Great Depression was in full swing and farmers were having a hard time with their crops. Farmers complained to the government and the government decided to enlist the help of some World War I soldiers. The soldiers came ready for full battle, toting machine guns. They assumed that they would just have to fire into these huge flocks of emus and be done with the task quickly. But that's not what happened as documented by Ornithologist D.L. Serventy. He wrote, "The machine-gunners’ dreams of point blank fire into serried masses of Emus were soon dissipated. The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the military equipment uneconomic. A crestfallen field force therefore withdrew from the combat area after about a month." Very few emus were dispatched and they are plentiful today. So basically, the emus won the war and the fact that this was dubbed the Great Emu War, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Idi Amin Becomes Dictator

In the month of January, on the 25th, in 1971, Idi Amin deposes President Milton Obote in Uganda. Idi Amin had been a Ugandan military officer who started his military career in 1946 when he became a cook for the KIng's African Rifles of the British Colonial Army. He quickly rose in rank and after Uganda would gain its independence from the UK in 1962, he became the Commander of the Army. He used this position to misappropriate funds and enrich himself. He found out that the president was going to arrest him for this activity and he decided to head a military coup. After deposing Obote, Idi Amin would declare himself President and start a reign that would lead Amin to being nicknamed the "Butcher of Uganda." He would rule as a dictator, not president, from 1971 until 1979. During that time, he expelled all Asians and ordered the execution of more than 300,000 tribal Ugandans. There are some who put his murderous streak at 500,000. There was political repression and rampant human rights abuses. He would finally by ousted in 1979 by Tanzanian soldiers and Ugandan nationalists.

Roswell, Georgia

In October of 2019, we met up with some listeners in the town of Roswell, Georgia and took a ghost tour. This is a charming Southern town where one can carry a Roadie as they traverse the graves in Founder's Cemetery or walk past the beautiful Antebellum mansions or roam through the ruins of mills.This town was Teddy Roosevelt's mother's hometown and played witness to some of the horrors of the Civil War. The spiritual residue is thick not only from battles, but Roswell sits alongside a deep gorge and fault line. Does the electromagnetic energy of the area attract spirits? Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Roswell, Georgia!

Roswell Ghost Tours has been hosting tours for almost 20 years and we really enjoyed our tour guide Alice. The tour was started by a guy named Jack and then taken over by a woman named Dianna Avena and she wrote the book "Roswell: History, Haunts and Legends." Chip Coffey wrote the Forward and was going to be on the tour that ran after ours. Dianna has sold the tour, but everything about it is still based in her expertise on the town of Roswell. Kelly and I were joined by Tammie and Brian Burroughs and Christy Bacon and her family. We met under a gazebo in a park for introductions and then we were off. In the intro, we mentioned a Roadie. Roswell is one of those cities that allows to-go cups and that's their nickname for them. We opted not to carry one because, well, Kelly...and walking... This was actually my second visit to the town. I had visited back in 2014 and at that time I had just wandered through the Old Roswell Cemetery. Roswell's First Methodist Church was built on this plot in 1836.  The church was an original log cabin style structure with stone steps and the earliest pastor of the church requested that he and his wife be buried as close to the spot where the original pulpit stood and that their graves be marked by two of the stones from the steps.  The cemetery was probably founded at the same time as the church but the earliest burial that can still be deciphered was in 1846 and was that of a four month old girl.  The cemetery has 1,950 known burials. We wouldn't visit this cemetery on the tour though.

Roswell is about 30 minutes north of Atlanta and while it has a small town feel, it is actually the sixth largest city in Georgia.The architecture is unique with New England influences added to Greek Revival styling. The town gets its name from Roswell King who came to Georgia in 1788. He got involved with cotton, lumber and rice and worked as a broker. He married his wife Catherine in 1792 and the couple would have nine children. There was talk of gold in north Georgia in the early 1830s and Roswell wanted in on the action. This coincided with the Native American groups being run out via the Trail of Tears and a lot of land was up for grabs. This was a rich area that the Native Americans had referred to as "Enchanted Land." Roswell bought up land near Vickery Creek and he built a textile mill. Several other families with wealth had joined him - the Dunwodys, Pratts, Smiths and Bullochs - and they would establish a mill village. There would be a center street through town and on one side, the rich families built their Antebellum mansions and on the other side, the mill workers and slaves lived. Roswell would die in 1844 and ten years later, the town would be incorporated.

The mills were key for the South, so they could process cotton without sending it north. Mill workers were little more than servants receiving poor pay and treatment. They were paid in script leaving generations of families in debt and basically forced to work in the mills. In 1840, the Roswell Manufacturing Company would open two mills that would be burned down during the Civil War. They rebuilt and the mills were open until the 1970s. In 1853, Roswell had two cotton mills, a woolen mill, flour mill and tannery. In the middle of the Historic Mill Village, in Old Mill Park on Sloan Street, is located the Lost Mill Workers Memorial. The women and children of Roswell had to take over the running of the woolen mill near Roswell's covered bridge because the men had been sent off to fight in the Civil War. This mill was responsible for making the Roswell Grey that was material used to make Confederate uniforms. General Sherman sent General Kenner Garrard with four thousand troops to capture Roswell's covered bridge, which would threaten the Confederates downstream on the Chattahoochee River. Garrard did just that and he discovered what the mills were doing and reported this back to Sherman who ordered that the families be run out of town. Many of these families would never return to Roswell. The memorial is dedicated to the four hundred women and children charged with treason and run out of town. Some didn't survive the trip as they were forced on foot to Marietta and then shipped out by boxcar with little rations. Because they were poor, they would never be able to pay to return. Most would never reunite with husbands if they had survived the war. Many northerners were outraged by the action. The screams of the women and children seem to have locked into the mills. There are people who claim to hear these screams like some kind of residual energy. We stopped for a restroom break in this park and Alice showed us a picture taken on a tour and it looks like you can see a figure in a uniform with a sword, standing near a woman whose husband had snapped the picture. You could clearly see that she was throwing a shadow, but this figure was not.

The Union troops hung out in the city for twelve days and took over many of the Antebellum mansions. It is believed that they didn't burn the homes because they had occupied them. The mansions have been restored and many of them can be toured. We will touch on several of them. Roswell survived the war and the Great Depression and has bounced back really well. Now it is one of Georgia's largest cities, but it still has a homey feel. For a place with a small town feel, Roswell has more than its share of ghosts. Vickery Creek feeds into the Chattahoochee River and water is a great conductor of energy. But there is even more here. In our episode about Kentucky caves, we talked about these deep caves being places where spirit activity is high. The Hellier series by Planet Weird explores these theories of unexplained things hiding in the cold recesses of caverns. Roswell has deep gorges along Vickery Creek, with some areas diving 300 feet deep. Add that a fault line runs beneath Roswell and you have the beginnings for reasons to have high levels of paranormal activity. But there are also the personal ghost stories that have come about because of tragedy. This first tale is a tough one and we will try to relate it in a less graphic way.

Blanche Lowe Sr. and Jr. lived together in a home along Main Street about 300 yards from the Town Square. Apartments now stand where the home used to be located. The mother and daughter enjoyed getting dressed up in their 1940s finest and heading out for dinner and a movie in Atlanta every Saturday. Eventually Blanche Sr. got Alzheimer's disease and at the time it was hard to find care. Blanche Jr. worked in Atlanta and she always worried about her mother wandering. The two Blanches loved dogs and they took in many strays and Jr. hoped that the dogs company would help settle her mother. But if you guys know Alzheimer's Disease, people who suffer from it wander no matter what you do. Blanche Jr. decided that tying her mother to a chair would be the best alternative. Every morning, she would tie her mother in the chair and then free her when she got home. One day, Blanche Sr. cut herself and was bleeding enough that it attracted the dogs. We won't get into details, but when Blanche Jr. got home, she found her mother dead. Just tragic. And now that tragedy has left the residual image of two women dressed in their 1940s best, standing on a corner at the north end of the Town Square waiting for a taxi.

Barrington Hall

Barrington Hall was our first stop on the tour and has been named one of the "50 Most Beautiful Homes in Metro Atlanta." This mansion was built in 1842 by Barrington King, the son of Roswell King, and he chose a spot on the highest hill in Roswell. The style is Greek Revival, which is clearly visible in the fourteen Doric columns, and materials used in the construction include termite-resistant heart-of-pine and virgin pine that was aged two years. There is a three-sided piazza as well and everything was designed by architect Willis Ball. Barrington and his wife had twelve children and nine of them survived into adulthood.

Both Barrington and Roswell died in this house. An interesting story connected to Roswell is that a slave was told to sit with Roswell's body until his wake. In the middle of the night, the corpse let out a bellow that scared the poor man keeping watch so much, that he jumped up and fell out of the upstairs bedroom window breaking his neck in the fall. Barrington had died at 68 from a kick that he received from a horse. His wife, Catherine, stayed in the home and died here as well. Here daughter Eva had married William Baker, whom was a pastor, and they moved into the house to care for Catherine and then stayed until Eva's death in 1923. Eva had left the mansion to her children. They wanted to sell the place, but Eva's favorite granddaughter, Evelyn Simpson, wouldn't hear of it and she managed to raise enough money to buy the property from the rest of the family and she kept it until she died in 1960 and her sister Katharine took over care of the property and adopted a good friend named Lois Carson, so that Lois could inherit the house when Katharine died in 1995. We're not sure if there was some stipulation that the house could only go to a family member or something. Lois died in 2003 and gave the house to her friend Sarah Winner who refurbished the horse-hair plaster walls and heart-of-palm floors and restored furnishings and paintings. She then sold the house to the city with the agreement that it would always be a museum.

Our group took a picture in front of this mansion all together. We got to go up on the porch where the young man died and peer in the windows. The inside looked beautiful. Alice told us some of the ghost stories connected to the house. The first being about the slave who fell through the window.  Then Alice told us this hilarious story that happened to her during a tour. A woman named Lucille came to visit the property when it was still undergoing restoration and there was a giant fence around the whole thing. She and her husband circled it wishing that they could get closer to the house. While doing that. they spotted someone in the side garden. It was a woman wearing a grey dress and large white bonnet. The couple assumed that it was Lois who owned the property at the time. They were invited for tea later that day at the hall with Lois because Lois found out that Lucille was a king descendant. When the couple met Lois, they were perplexed to see her in modern clothing. They mentioned that they thought they saw her earlier in the garden and she told them she had not been in the garden and was the only person on property.

Dianna recounts the experience of a woman who was doing an investigation with her at Barrington Hall in her book. The woman wrote, "I passed through a doorless doorway and stopped dead as the sensation of a warm hand applied to my back gave me momentary paralysis. The fine hairs on the back of my neck stood on end." Dianna rushed over to her when the woman told her this and she was enveloped in chilled air. Then Dianna felt the hands touch her as well, but even more prominently as though she were being hugged from behind. The Director of the Georgia Ghost Society, Bob Hunnicutt, claims that his hand was touched while investigating the mansion and that it felt as though something squeezed it. There is an ice house out back too where many people have had experiences. Perhaps because they might have had to store bodies in there after people died. Someone died in a rocking chair in the house that is still there and people claim that it moves on its own at times. We try to get a look at it through the windows. 

There are now homes built on what used to be Barrington's property and people in those homes experience paranormal activity too. Most owners have seen the apparition of a tall black man in overalls. Perhaps the one Alice had told us about? The man who founded the Savannah Ghost Talk Ghost Walk had owned a home directly behind Barrington Hall and he said, "I can tell you I have never experienced a location with as much activity as we had in this home in just that year and a half period of time." He often heard music coming out of the woods. An overnight guest awoke one night to find a woman standing by the side of the bed who just disappeared.

Bulloch Hall

Bulloch Hall was President Theodore Roosevelt's mother's childhood home. This mansion was built in the early 1840s by the slaves of Major James Stephen Bulloch. He would live in this home with his second wife Martha and their daughter Martha would be Teddy's mother. The Major himself was one of Roswell’s first settlers. The mansion is also in the Greek Revival style and was designed by architect Willis Ball, also. A unique feature is its temple-form architecture with a full pedimented portico. The floor plan is described as "four square." The kitchen has a beehive oven and there are eleven fireplaces. The mansion stayed in the hands of the family in a similar way to Barrington, until the 1950s when it was left abandoned. The city of Roswell finally purchased it in the 1970s and refurbished it.

The Bulloch House has an interesting unexplained thing that happens when it comes to candles. The wedding Alice was referring to was a re-enactment of Teddy Roosevelt's parents' wedding that took place here. Margaret Mitchell, who wrote Gone with the Wind, wrote an article about the wedding for the Atlanta Constitution newspaper in 1923. That young girl who drowned was a fourteen-year-old black girl and is thought to have drowned in the well in the mid-1800s. The well is still here. People claim to hear a girl sobbing by that well. When Bulloch Hall is closed for the day, all the lights are extinguished. One night on a tour, the guide remarked that it was weird that the attic light was on since the lights are never on at night. One of the docents for the house happened to be on his tour that night. She said that she had turned everything off and locked up. She drove by the mansion later that evening and saw that the light was off. She was too scared to investigate then, but brought a couple people with her the next day. The security system did not indicate that anyone had been in the home the evening before.

An employee at the house saw the spirit of a man dressed in a long dark coat standing on the stairs. She started walking towards him and he disappeared. She also heard a loud banging that made her and a friend run out of the house after she remarked that she didn't think the house was haunted. The banging reminded her of iron skillets being dropped on the floor. People have also reported seeing the apparition of a young boy wearing knickers running around the front area of the house, both in the yard and along the white fence. The rocking chairs on the front porch sometimes move on their own. There are reconstructed slave quarters in the back and people say they hear disembodied voices by them. It is believed that the slaves buried their dead on the property in unmarked graves.

An Old Mill House (Katharine's Cottage)

Some crazy stuff has happened at this old mill house we passed on our way to the cemetery. Alice tells the story of all the water issues they have had. You'll have to excuse the dog barking in the background. Love the description of electricity in the walls as fire in the walls.

Founder's Cemetery

The Founder's Cemetery was established in 1840 and burials continued here until 1860. We got to go inside and wander around. The coolest thing in there for us was this really old tree stump. This was the original burial ground for Roswell and was connected to the Roswell Presbyterian Church and has 28 grave markers, mostly for the founders of Roswell and some of their slaves. There are many more unmarked graves and a geophysical survey in 1984 found 65 graves. The first burial was for Charles Irvine Bulloch who was two-years-old when he died of scarlet fever in 1841 when there was an outbreak in the town. There are also burials for John Dunwody, Roswell King and James Bulloch.

Now the key thing about this cemetery is that what is there today is about a third of the original cemetery. And there are homes all around the cemetery. So...yeah, homes are built over burials. A family lived across the street from the cemetery, but not in a place where they could see the graveyard. They decided to widen their driveway and the workmen unearthed a casket on the furthest area out. The person was given a proper burial, but the disruption to a peaceful deathly slumber seems to lead to other disruptions, with electrical things. Anytime a car is parked on this part of the driveway, the battery discharges and if the engine is running, it will stop running. The battery draining also effects electronics used in that area. Neighbors to the cemetery claim to hear disembodied talking at all times of the day and night and when they investigate, they find no one around. The cemetery is said to drain batteries too, but we didn't have any problems on the tour and took many pictures of the headstones and such.

The Public House

The most haunted place in downtown Roswell is said to be the former general store that is now known as the old Public House. The building was constructed in 1854 and carried most everything people would need for supplies, except for liquor. The Roswell Manufacturing Company ran the commissary. During the Civil War, it was a Confederate hospital. After the war, it went back to being a store. The building eventually became a really popular upscale restaurant in the 1980s and 1990s known as the Public House Restaurant and then it became J. Christopher's Restaurant. There's a story dating back to the time of the Civil War about a Union soldier named Michael and a young woman named Catherine who worked at the store. Many versions are told, but the basics of the story are that the two fell in love and that Michael dies either in battle, through being struck by lightning or is hanged by Confederates. Catherine then hangs herself. The couple are said to haunt the building. People see them dancing through an upstairs window. But they aren't the only spirits here. People claim that there are eight entities here.

A piano in the upstairs area plays by itself. When employees go to investigate, the tinkling of the keys immediately stops and they find the cover down on the keys. A bartender claimed that one night he was in the restaurant with only a manager and that he was upstairs cleaning glasses while the manager was downstairs. He finished drying the glasses and hung them in their places over the bar. He went to get his jacket and keys and when he passed the bar, he saw that every glass was standing upright back on the bar counter. Liquor bottles would also be found turned backward the following day. Employees would claim that chairs would be taken down off tables after they had been put up for the night. A woman claimed to feel a very cold air envelope her when she went upstairs and the hair on the arm of her male companion stood on end. Employees avoid the upstairs as much as possible. And this is another place with a really haunted women's restroom. Why does that always seem to be the case?

David is the new owner of the Roswell Ghost Tour. He used to manage J. Christopher's and Alice told us this. (Roswell 6) We apologize because of the traffic noises, but if you couldn't hear that real clearly, Alice said that the owner of the building found a rock thrown through a window, only it was coming from inside the building, not the outside in. Another former manager of J. Christopher's quit abruptly after an experience she had upstairs. This area was not open to customers, so she had gone up there to take a break. There were three large wing chairs there and she sat in one and closed her eyes. She heard the springs in the chair next to her squeak, so she opened her eyes to see who joined her. There was no one sitting next to her, but she clearly saw an indentation in the chair as though someone were there. Then the apparition materialized and she saw a man in a Confederate uniform. He looked at her and she screamed and ran from the building and never came back. This ghost is seen often. Another employee had brought her four-year-old with her to the building and she left her by the stairs while she went to the office. When she returned, she heard her daughter talking to someone. When her daughter saw her she said, "You just scared the nice man. He had a neat costume on with lots of buttons."

The buildings connected to the restaurant have had many unexplained things happen as well. They all used to be part of the store and hospital. And there had been a funeral parlor in one of the shops years ago. There had been an old theater in one of the upper shops that showed silent movies and a live piano player would accompany the movies. He often complained of really cold spots enveloping him. A Confederate soldier was also seen in the theater. The funeral home had been next to the theater, so many spirits wandered over from there. A former bank still has its vault in one of the shops and this is used for storage, but employees feel really uncomfortable in it. Nobody likes to be in any parts of the buildings alone.

There are a few other buildings in the Roswell historic district that have had strange things happen in them. One former mill house duplex housed a beauty salon and employees did not like being in the building alone. The house had been built in the 1840s and was the scene of two tragedies. One was a suicide in which a woman slit her own throat in front of the fireplace when she heard the Union forces were rounding up all the women and children. The other was apparently the murder of a woman by a Union soldier. People claim to see the full-bodied apparitions of women in this home. And there are other stories to be told we are sure. We had a great time on this ghost tour and recommend it if you are in the Atlanta area. Is Roswell, Georgia haunted? That is for you to decide.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

HGB Ep. 324 - Hammond Castle

Moment in Oddity - Prague's Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge in Prague was built in 1357. There are some oddities and superstitions connected to this bridge. The first has to do with a palindrome. A palindrome is a phrase, sequence or word that reads the same backwards as it does forwards. The palindrome for the Charles Bridge is the date and time of when the original bridge stone was laid by builders. This happened on July 9 at exactly 5:31 AM, in 1357. If you write this out with the year first, then the date with the day followed by the month and then the time, you get 135797531. This sequence was actually carved onto the stones at the east end of the Old Town Bridge Tower. The people of Prague were superstitious and believed that in doing this, they were giving the bridge a magical strength. So we don't think the timing of laying that stone was just chance. It had purpose as did the alignment of the bridge. It was placed in perfect alignment with the tomb of Saint Vitus and the setting sun on the equinox. Saint Vitus was a Christian saint from Sicily who died as a martyr and is thought of as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of medieval Roman Catholicism. These helpers were thought to have interceded on behalf of the Catholics to protect them from the Bubonic Plague and other diseases. There is a statue of Saint John of Nepomuk that stands on the bridge and there is a superstition connected to is that claims if you rub the plaque at the base of the statue, you can make a wish and it will be granted. The bridge has survived a lot from battles to flooding and other natural disasters. This has been credited to its superstitious and magical strength and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Samuel Pepys Diary Starts

In the month of January, on the 1st, in 1660 Samuel Pepys (Peeps) began his famous diary. Pepys was born in 1633 and even though he had no maritime experience, through hard work and patronage, he managed to work his way up to Chief Secretary to the Admiralty of the Royal Navy. What he is most known for though, is this personal diary he kept from 1660 until 1669. This work would not be published until the 19th century and is considered an important primary source in regards to the English Restoration period and the most celebrated British diary. The reason for this is that it thoroughly documents major events of the time from a personal point of view. These events include the Second Dutch War, the Great Plague of London and the Great Fire of London. The diary is over a million words long and also includes scandalous details about his affairs with actresses, so it meets all the "real" requirements of a diary - lol. Pepys also included things like his dislike of how crowded London had become and the annoyance of his cat waking him up at 1am. We may not be able to relate to life in the 1600s, but we can all relate with a pet waking us up at 1am.

Hammond Castle (Suggested by: Nicole Cardarelli)

Hammond Castle is a medieval-style castle found in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This elaborate and whimsical structure was built by its eccentric namesake, John Hays Hammond, Jr. A drawbridge leads visitors inside where they find an indoor pool, pipe organ and a vast collection of Renaissance, medieval and Roman artifacts. This was not just a home, but a laboratory because Hammond was an inventor who held over 800 patents. The interesting decor reflects the eclectic spirit of the man who lived here, but it may also still be holding on to that spirit. The ghost of Hammond is said to roam his former dwelling, but it may not just be his spirit here. There are several ghost stories connected to the structure. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Hammond Castle!

Gloucester, Massachusetts was named after Gloucester, England because many of the earlier settlers came from that town. The pilgrims had landed at Plymouth in 1620 and just three years later, Gloucester became a settlement in 1623. In that year, James I had chartered an expedition of men from Dorchester called the Dorchester Company. This group founded Gloucester at Cape Ann and this would be one of the first English settlements that formed the Massachusetts Bay Colony. That makes Gloucester older than Boston and Salem. And Gloucester would actually lead to the establishment of Salem because everybody would pick up and move there after finding conditions too harsh at Cape Ann. They even took apart their meeting house and moved it with them. Gloucester would be formally incorporated in 1642. Initially farming and logging would be the major industries, which is surprising since fishing is what it is known for today, but at the time, the conditions were just too extreme. They didn't have the Deadliest Catch back then. Fishing wouldn't really take hold until the mid-18th century. Granite would also become a major industry for a time. Not much remains today of the early village, save for remnants of cellar holes. The stone foundation and memorial altar of the Second Parish's meeting house and former burial ground are still around off of Old Thompson Road. Gloucester is considered America's oldest seaport and it would be here that John Hammond would build his home.

John Hays Hammond, Jr., or Jack as everyone called him, was born in San Francisco in 1888. At the age of five, his family moved to South Africa for his father's work. He was a mining engineer and he was needed for finding gold. His efforts would make him a very rich man. The family lived in England for a time, where Jack fell in love with the castles. He also had an enduring love for invention that started early. He accompanied his father on a visit to Thomas Edison's laboratory in New Jersey at the age of twelve and he was fascinated by everything he saw and Edison gave them a personal tour. He peppered Edison with many questions and Edison was so impressed by him that he took Jack under his wing and mentored him. That would not be his only mentor though. After Hammond started getting interested in radio waves, Edison introduced him to Alexander Graham Bell who mentored Jack as well. He attended Yale University and graduated in 1910. One of his earliest experiments was with remote radio control and he decided to use little model boats as the mechanisms to control. He would be named the "Father of Radio Control" eventually.

Now picture this for just a moment. This is a time before the Roaring 20s and you are out at the harbor, maybe walking along with your sweetheart on your arm. You look out into the harbor and see this little unmanned boat zipping all around. This is quite a terrifying sight and I imagine if you look over behind that tree, you'll see a rather nice-looking, well-dressed man snickering as he moves a little control around in his hand. Something you have never seen before. This is what Hammond loved to do at that time. He enjoyed terrorizing people down at the harbor in this way. But oh, what joy he has brought to children and adults alike with his radio remote control.

Hammond worked for the US Patent Office where he got familiar with the process and discovered that radio was probably going to be his most beneficial area of focus and he founded the Hammond Radio Research Laboratory on his father’s estate in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He invented other things like automatic pilot, automatic stabilization by gyroscopes and the idea of having torpedoes and missiles detonate when they were near their intended targets. The fact that we have remote controls for our televisions and buttons that change the dials on the radio are all because of him. He also served on the Board of Directors of RCA. He married Irene Felton in 1925, which might have been a little scandalous since she was a divorcee. They didn't make a big production of it and his mother did not approve. Irene was an introvert like us and would often lock herself away during parties if they were crowded. But she liked seances and even claimed to be psychic herself.

On a rocky cliff overlooking Gloucester Harbor, Hammond built his dream home for his new bride, a castle. This was just down the road from his parent's place and while mom didn't approve of the wife, dad didn't approve of the castle. The castle would be a place where he could invent and display his vast collection of artifacts. Construction lasted from 1926 to 1929 and Jack dubbed it Abbadia Mare, which is Latin for "Abbey by the Sea." We can't really place a specific style on the castle because it is really unique. The castle was built in sections and includes pieces of Romanesque, Medieval, Renaissance French, and Gothic architectural styling. The grounds are beautiful and everything is a mixture of artifacts and stone with lots of iron embellishments. The towers rise 85 feet and there is a mote and drawbridge. There is so much to see inside.

The Great Hall rises to 65 feet and served as the Hammond's living room and is home to the pipe organ, which starts on the first floor and rises eight stories. Famous organists like Virgil Fox played the organ that was in working order until 2015. Throughout are various implements of ancient war like weapons and suits of armor. There are also beautiful stained glass windows, marble statuary, old wooden chairs and benches and artwork. The guest rooms were designed by Mrs. Hammond and she decorated them with bright colors and patterned wallpaper to offset the dreary feel of the rest of the castle. But these rooms had a little quirk to them. They had something called vanishing doors. These doors were covered in the same wallpaper as the rest of the room and so they are hard to see save for the little knob that serves as a doorknob. Hammond had a laboratory here, of course, where he created many of his inventions, some of which included top secret stuff for the Navy. These inventions included radio-guided weapons like missiles and torpedoes and in 1921, he guided an unmanned Naval battleship in Chesapeake Bay. We couldn't find the master bedroom described anywhere since it is off limits to tours.

The Patio, as the Hammond's liked to refer to their indoor pool area, is magnificent and was built to look as though one were walking out of a church and into a medieval village built from Roman ruins. The pool water had a greenish hue to it caused by a chemical agent invented by Hammond. Pilots who crashed into water also used this same dye to indicate their location. The lighting and climate were controlled by a Sun System that was installed overhead. To us, it looks like a greenhouse with lots of windows, but it could give off sun on a cloudy day and add artificial moonlight at night. There were pipes above as well that could cause it to rain inside and the intensity could range from a slight mist to a torrential downpour. The pool had an optical illusion designed into it that made it seem as though there were a shallow end in the pool that moved all around. We're not sure why it was designed this way, but in actuality, the pool is 8.5 feet deep throughout. And listen to this! A lever could be pulled that changed the 30,000 gallons of water in the pool from fresh water to salt water. There is a statue in here that is supposed to be John Hammond standing with his arms raised and in the nude. His wife insisted that his, uh, covered with a fig leaf.

Hammond had written to his father, "My ambition is to leave a modest, but beautiful, museum. I want only an authentic atmosphere, some furniture, and genuine architectural pieces -- doors, windows, etc. In cold restrained New England, a place with the romantic beauty of the Italian and French past may prove the inspiration of many poor artists and students to come. It will give them something that I have been fortunate enough to know and enjoy. It also gives me satisfaction to think that I may be able to produce something of lasting worth." We think he accomplished that with this castle. Jack set things in motion so the castle could be a museum and that is what it is today, hosting tours, weddings and other special events.

There is so much that we love about this place and the man who built it! First and foremost, it's a castle!! There are gargoyles and headstones brought over from Europe for outside decor and Hammond was said to be a man heavily interested in Spiritualism, a good friend of Nikola Tesla and legends claim he kept the dead body of his father down in the cellar, so that he could attempt to reanimate it one day. He also had a human skull that was supposed to belong to one of Christopher Columbus' crewmen. Jack liked collecting items from dead people because he believed these things held a bit of their spirits. And Hammond's final wish when he died in 1965 was that he would be buried beneath poison ivy so that no one could disturb him and several mummified cats that had been his pets were in the same place. His body would later be moved in 2008 inside the Cat Garden near the drawbridge. This certainly would not help to put his spirit to rest. Not only do people claim that he haunts the premises, but there are other spirits here too.

In October, the castle hosts a haunted house attraction, which has been managed more recently by Folklore Theater Company. This company tries to keep the scares more closer to the truth, finding inspiration in the real seances that the Hammonds would host at the castle. But this place is the real deal according to the reports and claims of many people. Disembodied voices are heard, there are footsteps by unseen things and books fly off of shelves. Jack said he would come back as a black cat and black cats do seem to appear out of nowhere in the castle. The Hammonds spirits are said to materialize often in their master bedroom. A groundskeeper supposedly died on the grounds and one of the spirits seen in the garden area is believed to be him and that he is still doing his work in the afterlife.

Ghost Hunters investigated Hammond Castle in 2012 for Season 8 on episode 23. Josh Gates had lived right down the road, so he joined the group. Amy Bruni and Adam Berry both heard an audible whistle. Jason, Steve and Josh focused on the balcony area where they continued to hear voices and other noises emanating. Later, another investigator named Ashley was joined by Josh and they went down into the basement where they witnessed a chandelier swinging wildly.  Josh had never seen anything like it and the group tried to debunk it through a few methods and nothing could make the chandelier move. There was no air blowing in the basement and no walking from above caused the swaying. The most interesting EVP they captured sounded like it said, "Hammond."

Hammond Castle is magical in that it is like having a real-life castle right here in America. But is the castle magical? Is Hammond Castle haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
John Dandola is considered the expert on John Hammond  and I used his website for some of my information:

Thursday, January 16, 2020

HGB Ep. 323 - Kangaroo Island

Moment in Oddity - Florida Bog Bodies
Suggested by: April Marie

You've all probably heard of bog bodies before. These are human bodies that have been mummified in peat bogs and are found in Europe. But you did you know that Florida has its own bog bodies? A construction crew was working in Windover, Florida in 1982 building a new subdivision about halfwat between Disneyworld and Cape Canaveral. A man was working a backhoe to empty out the muck from a pond when he stumbled across a great archaeological find. There were 167 bodies in a pond and researchers from Florida State University were stunned when they found out that their estimate that these were 600 year old Native American bones turned out to be wrong. Radiocarbon dating put the bones at nearly 8,000 years old. The Florida bog bodies are different from European bog bodies in that they have no flesh left on the bones. But they do have their brain material still in the skull. This meant bodies were buried quickly. Most were found in the fetal position, lying on their left sides with their heads pointing to the west. To hold the bodies in the muck pond, whomever buried them, drove a stake through the fabric that enshrouded the bodies. The archaeologists found signs that the community cared for their injured and toys were made for the children who were buried with them. Contents in the area of stomachs showed that medicinal herbs were being used to perhaps cure illnesses. This was a hunter gatherer group that existed before the pyramids in Egypt were built and DNA revealed that they were not related in any way to other Native American groups found in the area and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Butterfield Overland Mail Route and Old Wire Road
Suggested by: Jenny Lynn Raines

In the month of January, on the 16th, in 1858, a team of people left San Francisco to begin laying out the Stagecoach stations for the Butterfield Overland Mail Route. The route was named for John Butterfield, the man awarded the Overland Mail Company contract by the Postmaster General. He had 37 years of experience and was well suited to the task. The stagecoach service operated from 1858 to 1861. The really fascinating part of this is that this route actually started as the Osage Trace, which was a trail used by Native Americans for hunting migration. In 1836, the part of this trail that stretched between Versailles, Missouri and Fayetteville, Arkansas became  known as "The Fayetteville Road." Telegraph lines were added along the route in 1860. The name would change to "Telegraph Road." Another name change came during the Civil War when it was used by troops moving between Missouri and Arkansas and they started calling it "The Military Road." When the war was over, the name "The Wire Road" started being used. Again referencing the important telegraph lines. These lines, as we know, became obsolete and so the name became "Old Wire Road." So if you live near an Old Wire Road, you now know why it has that unusual name and the important history behind it.

Kangaroo Island

Kelly and I have watched, along with the rest of the world, as fire has devastated the entire country of Australia in 2019 and 2020. Fire renews, but it destroys everything in its wake before that renewal and the tragic statistics have been devastating. The fires have raged for over six months, thousands of homes have been destroyed, dozens of people are dead, millions of acres are scorched and the worst statistic is that nearly a billion animals are estimated to have been killed. One of the places hit hard is Kangaroo Island. Nearly half of the island was burned. This is a beautiful place and is one of Australia's largest islands. There is a rich history here incorporating both the Aboriginal people, the settlers who made this their home and the treacherous waters that surround the island. All of these have contributed to reports of unexplained events and hauntings. Join us as we share the history and haunting of Kangaroo Island!

The first time we heard about hauntings on Kangaroo Island was in December of 2019 when a listener in Australia named Kathy wrote, "Then in April this year I went to Kangaroo Island off Adelaide, South Australia.  It was mid avo & I was having a little rest & I’d placed some books I’d brought in the little inbuilt bookcase when some of the books - not all of them- flew out of the bookcase & plonked on the ground.  I didn’t see the event but definitely heard it.  So I got up & as I picked my books up I said 'whoever is here with my, you’re welcome to stay BUT you aren’t to do anymore of this.'  And they didn’t do any further actions." When we started looking into reports of spirits, we found many. But before we get into that, let's lay the groundwork for any good investigation and look at the history.

Matthew Flinders was a navigator and scientist who was born in England in 1774. He was inspired to become an explorer after reading Robinson Crusoe and joined the navy to facilitate this goal. He worked his way up in rank and attained commander in February of 1801. He was given the H.M.S. Investigator to command with instructions to explore the south Australian coastline, referred to at the time as the "The Unknown Coast." Before he left, he married Ann Chappell and intended to take her with him, but he was not allowed and the couple would be separated for nine years. Flinders first hit Cape Leeuwin in December of 1801 and continued sailing eastward to the western extreme of the Unknown Coast. In March of 1802, Flinders found Kangaroo Island and gave the island its name because of the western grey kangaroo that they found there. French explorer Nicolas Baudin mapped out the island and was the first to circumnavigate it.

But as is the case with most places that Europeans eventually settled, they were not the ones who discovered the island, nor were they the first to call it home. There are archaeologists who believe that Aboriginal people may have been here starting 16,000 years ago and remained until 2,000 years ago. They called the island Karta, which meant "Island of the Dead." Because nobody really knows who these Aboriginal groups were, I can't really tell you who they were. Settlers in Southern Australia grouped all of the indigenous people under the term Ngarrindjeri, which means belonging to men. We want to be clear here that this is like saying Native Americans in the US. There are many different tribes and they have particular distinctions and that is the same in Australia. They are called clans there though. Some of these related family groups include the Jarildekald, Tanganekald, Meintangk and Ramindjeri. Other clan groups not lumped into the Ngarrindjeri that were from nearby Adelaide are the Kaurna and Peramangk. The Peramangk were wiped out save for a bit of DNA that can still be traced. I would venture to guess that some of their ancestors were on Kangaroo Island. A really neat fact about these Aboriginal groups is that they have dreaming stories.

One of these stories from the Peramangk is about Tjilbruke who was described as the Water and Fire Man. He went through the territory marking off boundaries and the Mount Lofty Ranges are said to have been formed from his body. the Mount Lofty Range was also said to be formed from the body of Yurebilla the Giant. The story of the Mingka Bird tells of Mount Barker and a little bird who lived there that would announce the approach of visitors. The Mingka would also work like a Banshee in that its call could signal the death of a loved one. And there is a story about Nganno the Giant. His son was murdered and Nganno journeyed far and wide to find the murderers. While he was traveling, he named the places he passed through and also formed rivers, which he filled with fish. He eventually did find the murderers and killed them and decided to return home. The journey had changed him greatly and his people almost didn't recognize him. They feared him and ran into the sea where they transformed into sea creatures. They called out things like "I am a whale" and "I am a shark" and that is what they would become. Some of Nganno's people did not recognize him at all and they killed him and when he fell, part of his body made up the Mount Lofty Range.So lots of these legendary people built those mountains with their bodies.

The story of The Ngurunderi Dreaming from the Murray River website:
"In the Dreaming, Ngurunderi travelled down the Murray River in a bark canoe, in search of his two wives who had run away from him. At that time the river was only a small stream, below the junction with the Darling River.

A giant cod fish (Ponde) swam ahead of the Ngurunderi, widening the river with sweeps of its tail. Ngurunderi chased the fish, trying to spear it from his canoe. Near Murray Bridge he threw a spear, but missed and was changed into Long Island (Lenteilin). At Tailem Bend (Tagalang) he threw another; the giant fish surged ahead and created a long straight stretch in the river.

At last, with the help of Nepele (the brother of Ngurunderi's wives), Ponde was speared after it had left the Murray River and had swum into Lake Alexandrina. Ngurunderi divided the fish with his stone knife and created a new species of fish from each piece.

Meanwhile, Ngurunderi's two wives (the sisters of Nepele) had made camp. On their campfire they were cooking bony bream, a fish forbidden to the Ngarrindjeri women. Ngurunderi smelt the fish cooking and knew his wives were close. He abandoned his camp, and came after them. His huts became two hills and his bark canoe became the Milky Way.

Hearing Ngurunderi coming, his wives just had time to build a raft of reeds and grass-trees and to escape across Lake Albert. On the other side their raft turned back into the reds and grass-trees. The women hurried south.

Ngurunderi followed his wives as far south as Kingston. Here he met a great sourcer, Parampari. The two men fought, using weapons and magic powers, until eventually Ngurunderi won. He burnt Parampari's body in a huge fire, symbolised by granite boulders today, and turned north along the Coorong beach. Here he camped several times, digging soaks in the sand for fresh water, and fishing in the Coorong lagoon.

Ngurunderi made his way across the Murray Mouth and along the Encounter Bay coast towards Victor Harbor. He made a fishing ground at Middleton by throwing a huge tree into the sea to make a seaweed bed. Here he hunted and killed a seal; its dying gasps can still be heard among the rocks. At Port Elliot he camped and fished again, without seeing a sign of his wives. He became angry and threw his spear into the sea at Victor Habour, creating the islands there.

Finally, after resting in a giant granite shade-shelter on Granite Island (Kaike), Ngurunderi heard his wives laughing and playing in the water near King's Beach. He hurled his club to the ground, creating the Bluff (Longkuwar), and strode after them.

His wives fled along the beach in terror until they reached Cape Jervis. At this time, Kangaroo Island was still connected to the mainland, and the two women began to hurry across to it. Ngurunderi had arrived at Cape Jervis though, and seeing his wives still fleeing from him, he called out in a voice of thunder for the waters to rise. The women were swept from their path by huge waves and were soon drowned. They became the rocky Pages Islands.

Ngurunderi knew that it was time for him to enter the spirit world. He crossed to Kangaroo Island and travelled to its western end. After first throwing his spears into the sea, he dived in, before rising to become a star in the Milky Way."

The first settlers would come in 1802 and these were British sealers. They kidnapped Tasmanian indigenous women to bring with them as wives and the way we heard it described is that they were mistreated at first, but eventually the men began to respect them because they knew how to live in the untamed land of this third largest Australian island. Many of the kidnapped Aboriginal women tried to escape by crossing Backstairs Passage and this wasn't just by boat. Several swam for freedom and died trying. Records indicate that only one woman ever made the swim alive. The British would start colonizing South Australia in 1829. Kangaroo Island would be colonized in 1836 and this brought a farming community in that displaced the first islanders. By the late 1870s, only three Aboriginal women still remained and they were named Sal, Suke and Betty. Betty's descendants still live on Kangaroo Island.

There was not only sealing and farming here, but also salt harvesting. Whaling stations were set up in the 1840s at Doyle’s Bay, D’Estrees Bay and Hog Bay. In 1852, the first lighthouse was built at Cape Willoughby. This was desperately needed as the waters off of Kangaroo Island were treacherous. More lighthouses were added through the years with Cape Borda Lightstation in 1858, the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse in 1906 and Cape St Albans Lighthouse in 1908. The waters wrecked many ships like the cutter William heading for the whaling station in Hog Bay on August 23, 1847. The greatest loss of life came in 1899 when the Loch Sloy wrecked in Maupertuis Bay, Thirty-one people drowned. Other shipwrecks were the Loch Vennachar in 1905 and the Portland Maru in 1935. The first colonial settlement was Kingscote and it is the islands largest town. There are around 4,000 people living on the island, at least, there were until the bush fires. A ferry brings people in and out, along with supplies. The island has become known for its wine and honey that comes from Ligurian Bees. And it's a popular tourist destination. We wonder how many of those tourists know they are wandering onto a haunted island.

*Share fun facts about the island*

An interesting story popped up as we searched for ghost stories about a ghost boat found off of Kangaroo Island in January 2019. Apparently, Abby Sunderland left on an around-the-world sailing trip as a teenager. That's pretty brave. She suffered many setbacks and had various issues, eventually having to abandon her boat called Wild Eyes in 2010. She had to be rescued by French and Australian authorities. The boat had been lost for eight years.

There are many stories of the unexplained and hauntings on Kangaroo Island. The Aboriginal people called this the Island of the Dead for the reason. These early people were the Ngarrindjeri people and they believed that the island is where spirits traveled after death. The ancestral spirits would gather here before the final journey into heaven. Another group of people here were the Ramindjeri and they thought of the island as being the "gateway to star heaven in the Milky Way." The Ramindjeri have a spirit here of a woman who died that appears to people as a small bird.

As is the case with many of the lighthouses around the world, Kangaroo Island has haunted lighthouses. Families who stayed in the lighthouses were very isolated because no roads linked the lighthouses to the main parts of the island. This was a very hard existence.

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse

Cape Willoughby Lightstation is found in Cape Willoughby Conservation Park and was the first lightstation in South Australia. It was first lit on January 16, 1852. The cottages have claims of unexplained stuff creaking floorboards and fingers tapping on the windows. A man named Clive Daniels was staying there one night with his wife and family in 1993. The group soon figured out that they were not alone. Clive was playing his guitar and writing music inside the lighthouse alone. He could feel the atmosphere changing. The air got heavier and he heard the sound of a wooden door creaking open. The lighthouse had no wooden door. And then he heard the footsteps climbing up towards the top of the lighthouse where he was sitting. Clive's flashlight inexplicably went out. The battery had been new. Then he felt a presence. An icy cold mist surrounded him and he could feel it watching him. He shivered. He put his guitar away and made his way down the tower as best he could in the darkness. When he got outside, his flashlight turned on again. He looked back at the lighthouse and he thought he saw someone up at the top. About a half hour after he returned to the cottage he was sharing with his wife, she awoke and felt something in the room. She woke Clive and he thought it was the same presence as the one in the lighthouse. Then the shower turned itself on by itself. It ran for 15 minutes. They went to investigate when the shower turned off to see if someone had actually taken a shower at 2am. Clive's wife Robin found the bathroom empty and dry. No water in the shower, no warm misty air or steam on the mirror. The next morning, Clive's sister told him that a shadowy figure had come into her room during the night. She at first thought it was a piece of luggage and went back to sleep. She found a trail of sand on the floor and no one had been to the beach. The family finally packed up and left when a newspaper on the table had its pages flipped all on its own. What could be haunting the place? The gorge beneath the lighthouse is called the Devil's Kitchen. Several ships wrecked here killing sailors. And a lighthouse keeper died here in the lantern room in 1869.

Cape Borda Lightstation

The Cape Borda Lighthouse was originally known as Flinders Light and is perched on the cliffs of Investigator Strait, which is at the north western corner of Kangaroo Island. The lighthouse is very uniquely shaped. Rather than round, it is square and doesn't stand very tall. Construction was completed in 1858 and this is the third oldest remaining lighthouse. Supplies were brought in by ship and had to be hauled up the cliff edges. Cape Borda was automated in 1989 and is still fully operational with even the fog cannon still being fired daily. The keeper’s cottage is said to be haunted. Tourists can rented out the cottage and several have claimed to experience weird things while there. The main spirit said to be here belongs to a little girl.

Cape du Couedic Lighthouse

The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse has a tower with a red cap that was constructed from 2,000 pieces of local stone and a Fresnal lens made by Chance Brothers. There were three four-roomed cottages built as well for the keepers to use as living quarters. The way that supplies made it to the lighthouse was via boat and hauled up to the lighthouse by a flying fox winching system that was originally powered by a pair of horses. Visitors books report all the different haunting experiences visitors have had while staying here. Many people have seen the apparition of an elderly man who people believe is a former lighthouse keeper. There are weird sounds and lights turn on and off by themselves, particularly in empty cottages.

The women who write the Ghost and Girl Blog wrote an article entitled "Favourite Haunts: A Sea of Ghosts on Kangaroo Island" and in that article, one of them detailed her visit to Cape du Couedic and experiences she had writing, "I was completely restless the entire first evening of our stay. Inside the cottage, it felt as though we were constantly watched. I know it sounds terribly cliché, but this sensation was so intense that it made the hairs on the back of my neck remain permanently raised, as if something was hovering just behind me, deliberately staying out of sight. Whenever I looked up, or turned around, or walked out of one room and into another, I could not escape the feeling that at any moment I would find a stranger staring at me from within the shadows. Then on the first night, not long after I had dozed off, I was woken suddenly by what I thought was someone whispering in my ear: "My name is John..." I live in an old, stone house, and am therefore familiar with the sounds that old, stone houses make in the night: The pop and crack of the roof and floorboards as the house cools; the knocking of the stones and the rattle of sash windows and doors as it shifts and settles; the howl of the wind as it makes it way down the chimneys. And for the first two nights at Cape du Couedic, the wind howled and the sea crashed in a way that only the Southern Ocean is capable of, and all the noises we heard during those two nights we could confidently say were nothing more than the normal sounds that an old stone cottage makes during nights of wild weather. On the third night, though, we were blessed with perfect calm. The eerie sensation of being watched and followed had abated, and we found ourselves quite comfortable within the walls of the old assistant keeper's cottage. It made for an undisturbed sleep. However, in the early hours of that last morning, before the sun had even peaked above the horizon, I woke from my slumber, unmoving, but fully awake and alert. Outside it was perfectly still, not even the sound of a bird could be heard. And then, just as it had been reported countless times in the visitor books, there came the sound of movement from the other end of the corridor outside the bedroom: A shuffling, thumping and tapping, the distinct sounds of someone pulling on boots, followed by footsteps proceeding down the hallway to the front door, first becoming louder at their approach, before gently fading away. The tales of the ghosts of Cape du Couedic do not reveal, nor even hazard a guess at the identity of the spirit whose footsteps are so regularly heard making their way down the hallway in the cottage. I like to think that it is one of the old assistant light-keepers making his early-morning check of the lighthouse. Whilst it's easy to make assumptions, it's more difficult to confirm if any of the assistant light-keeper's stationed at Cape du Couedic, and resident of the same cottage, were actually named John. It'd be a neat coincidence if there was, though."

Cape St Albans Lighthouse

Cape St Albans Lighthouse was built in 1908 out of stone and painted white. Access to the lantern room was unusual in that a cast iron staircase was built on the outside. The tower had a fixed white light with a red sector to warn of the Scraper Shoal and was unmanned running off of kerosene. In 1914, the light was converted acetylene gas. A switch to electricity was made in 1976. We couldn't find any ghost stories for this one.

A possible ghost light was seen on the island in 1998. Two people were out walking on Snelling Beach on the island late at night when they saw a yellowish white light on the hillside. This ghost light moved south along the valley at about tree level and then suddenly turned and started coming towards the witnesses. The color of the light changed from yellow to a bright white and grew from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a dinner plate. The light changed direction again and moved away from the witnesses and got smaller. A second light joined the first a little bit later and then they both disappeared over the hillside.

Now I don't usually get into talking about UFO sightings, but there have been a couple of interesting reports from Kangaroo Island that were reported on the Haunted Adelaide Blog. Alan Potter was a radio technician apprentice who was working at the Adelaide Airport in 1969 tracking a Fokker Friendship aeroplane when he reported seeing a second object flying in a straight line towards the aeroplane. Potter told ABC Radio of the incident, "I still don't think I believe in UFO’s but I can't explain this. As the Fokker tracked towards Kangaroo Island, a smaller echo, much smaller than the Fokker, appeared to leave the large echo and fly in a line directly towards the plane. With one rotation of the radar antennae, that large echo had moved 70 nautical miles to the north-east, in the next pass it had disappeared off the screen completely."

The bush fires on Kangaroo Island are devastating. Countless animals have been killed and lots of gorgeous acreage will now have to rebuild. This is a land of mystique and legends among the Aboriginal people. Are there spirits here? Is Kangaroo Island haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

HGB Ep. 322 - New Orleans' Haunted Brothels

Moment in Oddity - Masonic Temple Becomes a Family Home
(Suggested by Kim Gasiorowski and Erina Garcia)

Back in 2017, the Cannizzaro family decided to make a big change and this was facilitated with an interesting purchase.  Theresa and Atom Cannizzaro bought a former Masonic Temple in Indiana and have been renovating it into their new home ever since. The couple and their three children had lived in San Diego all their lives, but they wanted a change and thought that perhaps a farm in the Midwest would be perfect. A Masonic Temple is no farm, but when they attended a family reunion in Indiana and spotted the building for sale, they immediately fell in love. The price tag was nice too. They paid only $89,000 for the property. They quickly began renovating, starting with the bathrooms and they installed a shower. The second floor has become their living space, which has the typical open-floor design with a large kitchen and living room connected in that space. The offices were turned into five bedrooms. The great room on the third floor has become a movie theater for the family. The basement is wide open and the couple hope to eventually turn it into an event space for the community. But perhaps they could consider opening it up to investigations as Theresa thinks the house is haunted and has heard the jangling of janitor's keys in that basement. The library is supposedly haunted too. The kids enjoy riding their bikes down there. Turning a 20,000 square foot former meeting place for a secretive male fraternity into a family home, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Yorkshire Ripper Confesses

In the month of January, on the 4th, in 1981, truck driver Peter Sutcliffe confesses that he is the "Yorkshire Ripper." Sutcliffe murdered 13 women over a six year period. He attacked his first woman in 1969, but she didn't press charges. This started him down a road of targeting women with his first murder victim being a mother of four. The women he killed were Marguerite Walls, Yvonne Pearson, Jayne MacDonald, Josephine Whitaker, Wilma McCann, Patricia Atkinson, Helen Rytka, Jacqueline Hill, Irene Richardson, Vera Millward, Barbara Leach, Jean Jordan and Emily Jackson. It took awhile to arrest Sutcliffe. He was questioned and released nine times because he gave a false alibi. The police had zeroed in on him because of a five pound note left at the scene of a murder victim that was traced to a group of 8,000 workers who had been paid with this set of bills. He initially was arrested for having false plates on his car. They found a hammer, knife and rope in his car and he confessed to being the Ripper. He claimed he was a paranoid schizophrenic, but was still found guilty and sentenced to 20 concurrent life sentences. An appeal was dismissed and the court said he would never have the opportunity to be released.

New Orleans' Haunted Brothels

*Special note: The modern accepted vernacular at the time of publication for the term prostitute is sex worker. We will not being using this term, not only because the historical value is questionable, but we find its use questionable. Sex worker is impersonal and dehumanizing to us. We prefer to use Ladies of the Evening or just simply women or ladies. Also, we will be talking about madams. These were the boss ladies of the brothels and we are torn on how to present them. These women were caught up in an industry that they probably had little choice in being a part of and managed to rise to the top. That is laudable. But they also were making money off of women being used for sex. They were better than a pimp, of course, but how much better? We tend to glamorize them in movies, books and history. So we will try to walk that fine line.*

Storyville was about two things: women and music. This area was a famous red-light district in New Orleans that would give birth to jazz. Today, it no longer exists, but its legacy does and the place it holds in New Orleans' history is significant. Brothels were plentiful in this city of vice and some of these structures still stand today. The lady bosses of these establishments are some of the most famous people in New Orleans' history and some of them still have a hold on the city as the subjects of ghost stories. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of New Orleans' Brothels!

When France decided to send some of her citizens to their territory known as Nouvelle Orleans to expand the population, the country didn't pick her best citizens. France sent its criminals. John Law was a Scottish financier who managed to worm his way into controlling this French colony in America. He told the Duke of Orleans that he had a plan to expand the population. It was his idea to send the criminals. He offered the male and female convicts a one-way ticket to the colony if they agreed to marry each other and then they would have land and provisions. One hundred eighty-four female prisoners picked mates and were married. They were then shipped off to the New World where they actually would not have land or provisions. Later, people from hospitals and asylums were sent as well. Before long, New Orleans was a crazy place that was very dangerous.

For women, this new world was just more of what they already knew. Their main prospects were in the sex industry. Over the years, several areas of New Orleans became known as red light districts. The most famous of these was Storyville, which was on the outskirts of the French Quarter. The district ran along Basin Street, between Canal Street and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and between Iberville (Customhouse) and Robertson Streets. The area got its name from Alderman Sidney Story in honor of the fact that he created an ordinance in 1897 to legalize prostitution in the area that became Storyville. The nickname "Tenderloin District" was sometimes used for it. Business ran here in the form of brothels and saloons from 1897 until 1917. Brothels ran the gamut from cheap run-down buildings with cribs to fancy mansions for the upscale clientele. Some of the brothels were segregated, while others had a mix of races. Some may wonder why the city would legalize that sort of activity. This actually was so the city could have some control over a business that was getting way out of hand. Some women would do their business right on the street for very little money with any man that didn't mind a little exhibition. Other women would drag men back to their cribs and either rob them or rob them and kill them and the police would never find the bodies.

New Orleans had a unique guide for the man about town looking for a good time, the Blue Book.
Blue Books were basically guidebooks to sin giving clients all the information they needed for finding liquor and women and they offered venereal disease cures. Not all of them were blue. Some were actually red. The books were pocket-sized and sold in barber shops, hotel, railroad stations and saloons. Hundreds of ladies of the evening were listed and categorized by race. To give you an idea of the contents, here are a couple of examples. A blue book published in 1907 described Madame Emma Johnson’s brothel as "Emma’s 'Home of all Nations,' as it is commonly called, is one place of amusement you can’t very well afford to miss while in the Tenderloin District. Everything goes here. Fun is the watchword." Another listing from a 1905 book reads, "Miss Cummings also has the distinction of keeping one of the quietest and most elaborately furnished establishments in the city, where an array of beautiful women, and good times reign supreme. A visit will teach more than the pen can describe." They were considered lewd at the time, but are pretty tame in our modern world.

A military base was built near Storyville and the rule was that no place of prostitution could be within five miles of the base and so prostitution was outlawed in 1917. Mayor Martin “Papa” Behrman wholly supported the civic implementation of Storyville and traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1917 when there was a threat to shut down Storyville and he said, “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.” Many of the former brothels were demolished eventually. Today, only three structures from Storyville are still standing. The Iberville Housing Projects grew up in the remnants of Storyville. These projects were the last of the New Deal era public housing that had been built in New Orleans. They were demolished and today they are a modernized apartment complex called the Bienville Basin Apartments. This is the fourth incarnation of the neighborhood. So finding a haunted former brothel in Storyville is impossible, but some former madams seem to still be around in the afterlife.

Kate Townsend

There once stood a grand brothel at 40 Basin Street in New Orleans before prostitution was legalized and the neighborhood became known as Storyville. This brothel was built by Kate Townsend in 1866. I first heard about Kate Townsend in Episode 59 of the Southern Mysteries Podcast. I encourage you to check it out to get the full story. Kate Townsend was born in Liverpool, England as Katherine Cunningham. She fell for a man she met working as a barmaid and became pregnant with twins. She left for America sometime in 1856 and landed in New York. In early 1857, she moved to New Orleans. Clara Fisher had a brothel on Phillipa Street and she quickly embraced the beautiful and voluptuous Kate, who worked for her for six months. Kate then moved on to Maggie Thompson's brothel where she stayed until she was 24-years-old. She decided to make a go of it on her own and rented a house and made her way into the lives of politicians and influential people in New Orleans. She soon had enough money to built her own brothel, which she did as we said at 40 Basin Street. This was a gorgeous house that rose three stories and was built from brownstone and marble. The marble also made its way inside for the fireplace mantelpieces. The furnishings were of black walnut with damask upholstery and velvet carpet covered the floors. The brothel and interiors cost around a hundred thousand dollars, which is a little over 3 million dollars today. The grandest room was Kate's, of course, decorated with marble statuettes, a French mirror that was gilded, costly oil paintings and the finest linens. Kate's women were the highest paid in the profession and most encounters started at $100.

Things were great for Kate for many years and her brothel was incredibly successful. As we read about Kate, we found that she had a man named Treville Egbert Sykes who was her fancy man for twenty-five years and many stories claimed that they lived as husband and wife. He kept the books and ran the business. Obviously, we had to look up what this term fancy man was all about and we found two meanings. One was that this was a pimp, which doesn't make much sense when talking about a madam, and the other was the lover of a Lady of the Evening. So this Sykes was longtime boyfriend. She started seeing another man and this made Sykes angry, but he was no match for Kate who could apparently hold her own. He made her angry enough, that she told one of her girls that she would basically like to gut him with a knife. This young woman talked her out of that, but she continued to beat Sykes off and on. On November 3, 1883, the Picayune published a story about the murder of Kate Townsend, "Carved to death! Terrible fate of Kate Townsend at the hands of Treville Sykes with the instrumentality of a bowie knife. Her breast and shoulders literally covered with stabs." Yep, Sykes killed Kate. He stabbed her eleven times with her own bowie knife and claimed that it was self-defense, that she had been coming at him with the knife and after he took it from her, she grabbed a pair of pruning shears. Sykes was tried and acquitted and actually presented a will that gave him Kate's estate. Eventually, that went to court and with court costs, legal counsel and such, Sykes got about $34. Kate was laid out in the drawing room in an expensive white silk dress with all the furniture covered in white silk too. She was buried in a $400 metallic coffin.

Josie Arlington

The Arlington was an opulent brownstone opened up by Josie Arlington and was located at 225 North Basin Street. This was an elegant four story mansion with a tulip-domed cupola, numerous bay windows and the interior had the finest furnishings and the works of great artists. There was a Turkish, American and Chinese Parlor. She had anywhere from ten to twenty women working for her with the higher number being during Mardi Gras season. The Arlington wasn't her first brothel. She had operated a house at No. 172 Customhouse. She had a boyfriend through most of her early work and while at this house, but he shot her brother and she broke things off. About this time, the Storyville ordinance went through and she opened The Arlington. Josie was one of the most notorious madams in Storyville, but her brothel was one of the classiest and she paid her girls well at $5 an hour. She had been born Mary Deubler and started her life in prostitution at the age of seventeen. Josie was known to have a quick temper and to be a spunky fighter. Marita Woywod Crandle writes of Josie in her book "Josie Arlington's Storyville: The Life and Times of a New Orleans Madam,"This crafty creature turned the tables from what had been a somewhat scary and dangerous beginning to an extraordinary existence." Josie unfortunately suffered from early onset dementia and died in 1914 when she was only 50. She was originally buried at Metairie Cemetery in a tomb designed by Albert Weiblen. The memorial is a red marble tomb topped by two blazing pillars and features a bronze female figure. The grave became a tourist attraction because of her reputation and her family was mortified, so they had the body moved. But her spirit remains, perhaps because the body was moved. One of the legends told about her former grave is that the bronze female figure leaves its post at the door of the monument and walks around the other graves. And early on, people claimed that the tomb would appear to burst into flames after dark. Two grave diggers said they witnessed the statue of the girl at the door vanish and walk about in the cemetery. And it is said she continues to do that to this day. The urn outside the memorial is said to glow red as well.

Lulu White

Lulu White was the Diamond Queen of Storyville. She was mixed race and ran a very successful brothel, Mahogany Hall. Her place was known for its diversity and wealthy white men loved it. The women here were mainly known as octaroons, meaning they were one-eighth black, and Lulu White was one of them. Octaroon is obviously considered offensive today, but it was an important distinction at the time because of what it revealed about slavery for black women who were raped and impregnated by white masters. And it puts a light on racism as the fact that even having one drop of black blood made one segregated. But as we said, despite the race of the women inside, this brothel was very successful. White had it built for $40,000 and it was described as "unquestionably the most elaborately furnished house in the city of New Orleans, and without a doubt one of the most elegant palaces in this or any other country." A pamphlet claimed her girls were "gifted with nature's best charms." The building stood four-stories and had five parlors and fifteen bedrooms. The exterior and interior were built from marble. Her life began in Selma, Alabama and she came to New Orleans in 1880. She was called the Diamond Queen because she was known to dress in jewels and loved to look glamorous. When Storyville was shut down in 1917, she was left in debt and destitute before leaving the city. She died in poverty in 1931. Louis Armstrong recorded Mahogany Hall Stomp, which is a tribute the place. The building survived most of the other brothels, serving as a department store warehouse until November 22, 1949 when it was razed and turned into a parking garage. Lulu White's Saloon at 237 Basin Street still does exist.

Norma Wallace

Norma Wallace was a woman born in Mississippi who relocated to New Orleans with her mother and brother. For some reason, she announced to her mother at the age of twelve that she wanted to run her own brothel some day. I'm not sure what life she lived, but the prospect of being a woman servicing men and not in control of her life was not appealing, but being a madam was because she never wanted to be reliant on a man. She was so committed that she traveled to Chicago and New York to study under the best madams. She opened her own brothel at 1026 Conti Street in 1917. She had bad timing as the legalization of prostitution was ending, but she still managed to be successful and she was never caught. She always got a tip that the police were coming and she would get out with her girls before they arrived. They did this by connecting a ladder to the saloon next door and they would make their way across the rungs. She had a gangster boyfriend that brought everything to an end when he shot her in front of the brothel.

She lived, but eventually lost almost all her money when the banks collapsed in the 1930s. She started stashing money at the brothel since she didn't trust the banks. The brothel shut down in the 1960s when she was arrested. She decided to convert the place into an Italian restaurant. This was the end of openly run brothels in New Orleans. Norma found out her husband was having an affair and she shot herself in the head. Now it is said that she haunts 1026 Conti Street. There are seven apartments here today and people who live there claim to hear the tinkling of glasses, to smell the scent of cigarette smoke - Norma was a heavy smoker - and they hear music and husky laughter.

Gallatin Alley

Gallatin Alley was a notorious location that is now known as French Market Place. This is a stretch of two blocks that has many shops, but was once filled with saloons, dance halls and bordellos. This was a dangerous place full of thieves, drunks, drug dealers, murderers and, of course, Ladies of the Evening. One would not believe that the ladies could be the most dangerous, but many of them could be. They swindled the men and a few of them were even murderers. These included Mary Jane "Bricktop" Jackson who stabbed many men, killing four of them, Bridget Fury who was also known as Delia Swift and America Williams, who was very tall and got into many brawls with men. It ran this way from 1840 to the mid-1870s.

Smokey Row

Another red light district could be found between Bienville and Conti Streets along Burgundy Street behind the French Quarter that was called Smokey Row. This name came from the fact that this was a district where African American women worked. This was s place where a cheap date could be found with many women working in cribs and charging as little as fifteen cents.These women were hard, chewing tobacco, stealing from customers and drinking rot gut whiskey.

The Creole Gardens Inn

The Creole Gardens Inn is an historic 19th century antebellum mansion that was originally built in the 1840s for the Reverend Benjamin Palmer. He lived here during the Civil War and considered Jefferson Davis his friend. He stayed in the home until he died in 1902 after being struck by a streetcar. Today, this is a bed and breakfast with many remnants of the past. Some of the rooms had been part of the old slave quarters and when Storyville was in full swing, some of the rooms were part of a bordello. Rooms have been named for some of the madams of that era. There is a lot of southern charm here, but there are also spirits. When the inn was been renovated, contracters witnessed heavy doors closing and opening on their own. They also found bathroom tiles stacked very neatly one morning when they had not been left that way the day before. The energy seemed to be fed by guests staying and the activity increased with people claiming to hear disembodied voices, feelings of being watched and they would see shadow figures. The top spot in the inn is Room 2C where people experience cold spots and have been pushed or experienced vertigo.

May Baily's Place

The Dauphine Orleans Hotel sits on land that passed through many hands through the decades, most of whom were rich families. A Charity Hospital spent time there for awhile. This hospital provided care to anyone regardless of race or social status. A red light sits outside May Baily's Place at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel as an homage to its former history and is decorated with Victorian wallpaper and gold accents. This bar was one of the first and most notorious brothels just outside of Storyville. As was the case for many brothels, this one was around long before prostitution was legalized. May Baily was granted her operating license in 1857. Now you might be wondering since this kind of business wasn't legal yet, how did May Baily get that license. Apparently, the police would go around and fine these establishments to get them to clean up their acts. May had no intention of shutting down, so she paid the fines ahead of time and this became a brothel license. That also explains how her's became the first. The building that hosted the brothel was built in 1821. The original purpose of all things, was to be a convent. Several wounded Confederate soldiers died here during the Civil War and many more found comfort in the arms of May Baily's ladies.

One of those former employees is said to still be roaming the halls of the Dauphine Orleans Hotel. She apparently was a courtesan who had a special talent for mixing cocktails for her gentleman callers. And for that reason, most people who have encounters with this spirit, have them in the back of the bar where liquor bottles move about and a shadow is seen in the mirror. She responds most favorably to men, although she has been blamed for locking a few in the bathroom. Civil War era ghosts are seen here too. Many are seen accompanied by a Lady of the Evening. A man in a general's uniform is seen sometimes pacing the courtyard looking rather worried. There are guests who claim to have their beds shaken by something they can't see. Could this be residual movement for something else? The Ballroom hosts a dancing entity that people say is named Jewell and a little orb seen around this spirit is said to be a ghost cat. Patrons see brochures and books fly off of shelves. May Baily's sister Millie lived at the brothel and is seen roaming the hallways and is our Woman in White here. She wears a wedding dress to be specific. People have nicknamed her the "Lost Bride" and it seems she is searching for her groom who was a Confederate soldier that was killed. One of the craziest stories reports a bar stool levitating off the ground.

Two of the main haunts are Suite 110 and Suite 111. Suite 110 likes to keep the guests out. Many times the door will not unlock or it won't open even when unlocked. Housekeeping staff has the most experiences with lots of poltergeist type pranks and the lights are often turned off, leaving them in darkness. Guests complain of having their covers yanked off them at night too. Suite 111 is right above the bar and in this room objects and furniture get moved around on their own. The apparition people report in here is an African American man. People call him George.

The Hermann House is across the street from the Dauphine Orleans Hotel and is owned by the hotel. This home was owned by German born Samuel Hermann, Sr. He moved to the Louisiana colony to chase opportunity and he found it through many investments. He married a woman from a wealthy family and worked as an agent and broker for plantations. In 1813, Hermann and his family relocated to New Orleans and had architect William Brand build his home. It was done in the Federal Style and spared no expense including several coats of paint. About six years after moving into the house, the English Cotton Market crashed in which Hermann was heavily invested. He eventually lost the house. Today, it is a museum known as the Hermann-Grima House. At some point, it was known as the White Elephant.

The White Elephant was quite different then May Baily's place. It was pretty low-class where the ladies stood in the doorways trying to entice the men to come inside. They were not considered very classy. Two of these women were Nellie O'Neal and Eliza Riddle. Riddle was cunning and violent, known to beat up other women. One she clunked over the head on two separate occasions and another on she hit with a lamp. She was arrested at least twenty-four times. There were rumors that men had been killed at the White Elephant and buried in the courtyard. Not sure if Riddle had anything to do with that, but we wouldn't be surprised.

The Hermann House is reputedly haunted. Guests feel cold spots when the AC is off, bursts of an icy wind and the disembodied sounds of soft music playing. Lights turn off an on by themselves and footsteps are heard, even on the carpeting.

Mississippi River Bar

Near to Gallatin Street and on the side of the French Quarter sits the Mississippi River Bar. Locals call it the MRB.This was another tough area of town and at about this point, it seems that most of the French Quarter was this way. Fights were a regular occurrence with the local papers reporting things like a barber striking a journalist "in the left eye with a colt [ . . . ] thereby endangering his life and considerably marring his beauty." The Mississippi River Bar had been a brothel in the 19th century. There was a young Irish woman who was working there and looking for a way to get out. She fell in love with a young man who promised to marry her. He went off to war and was killed. And like so many of these stories, this one ends with her hanging herself out in the courtyard from despair.

Her spirit is said to be here still. She hangs out in the women's bathroom most of the time where she turns the lights off and on and when women are washing their hands at the sink and look into the mirror, they sometimes see the apparition of the woman standing behind them. Now, we don't know how true this is, but some stories claim that some women get their heads are smashed into the mirror. Management has had to replace the mirror.

Hotel Villa Convento

The Hotel Villa Convento is located at 616 Ursuline Avenue and there are claims that it is the most haunted hotel in New Orleans. Many of you have probably heard the song "House of the Rising Sun" and this hotel is rumored to be that very house. But keep in mind that many brothels had a carved quarter rising sun marking them in some way, so it could be argued that all brothels are "Houses of the Rising Sun." The land under this structure was owned by the Ursuline nuns. The Ursuline nun convent in New Orleans is one of the creepiest places when considering it in light of the vampire stories told about it. Diane tells the story of the casket girls. The original convet started with fourteen nuns who were sent to help the poor and sick and to educate the young girls in the city. They built timber structures that didn't hold up in the southern weather. In 1823, they moved to the Ursuline Convent that stands today.

Jean Baptiste Poeyfarre purchased the land from the nuns and built a Creole townhome in 1833. The property was sold in 1843 to Octave Voorheis and he lost it after the Civil War in 1872. The house passed through several hands and was bought by Pasquale Taromina in 1902. The Tarominas lived there until 1946. The widow sold the property and it again passed through a few hands and was converted to housekeeping rooms. Many of the residents were students and they called it Old Town Villa. Fun Fact: Jimmy Buffett was one of those students. The Campo Family bought the Villa Convento in September of 1981. There are a variety of rooms for rent at the hotel running from suites to smaller budget rooms. It was probably during the late nineteenth century that the house served as the brothel.

The Hotel Villa Convento is thought to be one of the more haunted locations here. Many people believe that the main ghost here is the former madam of the brothel. Women rarely experience anything here. Most unexplained activity happens to men. One story reports that a couple checked into the hotel and the husband went out to have a smoke. He was started when he heard his name. It was early in the morning and no one was up, but he still thought he would turn around and see his wife. She was not there. He went in and asked his wife if she had called him and she said she had not.
Later, they decided to head out and explore the French Quarter. They returned to their room and the wife got into bed while the man went into the restroom. He heard a female voice say his name again. This was whispered in his ear and really freaked him out. He actually yelled out and woke up his wife to tell her what happened. They searched the room and found no one, of course.

Guests claim to hear disembodied laughter and feel people sit on the bed that they cannot see. Many times, male guests claim to wake up and see female spirits shrouded in black like shadows hovering above them and staring at them. Kalila Smith wrote, "New Orleans Ghosts, Voodoo and Vampires, Journey Into Darkness" and he also founded the Haunted History Tours in New Orleans. In the book he writes of an experience one of their tour guests told him on Page 64.

The history of brothels, madams and Ladies of the Evening in New Orleans is extensive. It's an important history. Is it a haunted history? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

HGB Ep. 321 - Malvern Manor

Moment in Oddity - Worst Hole of Golf Ever

Some of you probably find golf to be of interest. We really don't, but there is one hole of golf that made the history books that was both interesting and odd, all at the same time. This took place all the way back in 1913 and happened at the Shawnee Invitational for Ladies. A female golfer named M. H. Meehan set up her shot and gave it a whack, only to watch it fly up and into a tributary of the Delaware River. This would give her a penalty stroke as we understand if she didn't play the shot. Something in her must have thought that she could whack that floating ball back to the green and that the result would be better then taking the penalty because she convinced her husband to row her out into the river aboard a row boat. She swung and swung at the ball as the judges counted her swings. On the fortieth stroke, she finally hit the ball back onto land, but it was in the woods off the green. She bushwhacked through the woods and just as she got the ball to the main green, it got stuck between two rocks. This was like the challenging mini golf hole from Hell. It took another dozen swings to free the ball from the rocks. She got it up onto the green and finally into the hole on stroke 161. We're not sure if this was persistence, stubbornness or something else, but it certainly was odd!

This Month in History - Lord Haw Haw Executed

In the month of January, on the 3rd, in 1946, William Joyce, who was better known as Lord Haw Haw was hanged for treason in London. Joyce was an Irish American Fascist who had broadcast Nazi propaganda via radio from Germany to Britain during World War II. He opened his broadcasts with "Germany calling, Germany calling"in what sounded like an upper-class English accent. Joyce would try to escape the collapse of the Third Reich. He moved to the Dutch border when Berlin was bombed in 1945. The Nazis initially were going to smuggle Joyce and his wife Margaret to Ireland aboard a U-boat, but that plan had to be abandoned. He made his last broadcast on April 30, 1945. He was clearly drunk. On the same night of his last broadcast, a car whisked him and his wife away and they were carried into Denmark. The couple continued to run as the British hunted them down. Joyce had a prominent scar on his right cheek and he was recognized while walking on a road one day. He was shot in the buttocks by a German Jew serving in the British army using a captured Nazi weapon. Very poignant. He was tried and found guilty of treason, but was acquitted on two charges because he was American and so the British couldn't claim that he had betrayed them. A third charge stuck though as the Attorney General pointed out that even though Joyce had lied to get his British passport, he had British diplomatic protection under it meaning he owed allegiance to the King at the time. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was executed on January 3, 1946 at Wandsworth Prison.

Malvern Manor

Malvern is located in Southwest Iowa. This is a really small town similar to most of the small towns we visited in Iowa. Agriculture is the main economy here, but for Malvern, they have a claim to fame that gives them a tourism angle. Malvern Manor is here and is reputedly one of the most haunted buildings in America. This was a former hotel that became a place for the discarded people of society. Could this be why this place has so many spirits locked inside of it today? We got to take a tour of the place and also had the opportunity to do a mini investigation. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Malvern Manor!

I first heard about Malvern Manor from a podcasting friend named Josh Heard. He hosts the Ectoplasm Show and I remember a few years back that he talked about buying this property with several people that was located in Iowa. Since then, I had heard a little about this location and most of what I heard was that this place was really haunted. So when we decided to visit my sister in Iowa and were mapping out a plan to hit some haunted locations, when we saw that Malvern Manor was only about 40 minutes from Omaha, Nebraska, we wanted to try to visit. We didn't think we would have time, but we mentioned wanting to check it out to Jessica and Erina Garcia and they said they'd like to join us, so we made it part of our plan the day they chauffered us around.

Malvern Manor is named for the city in which it resides, Malvern, Iowa. Malvern started as a pioneer village named Milton and was founded in 1869 by John Paddock. He and his wife built a store and soon more people came when the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad was completed there. The town changed its name and really exploded. Factories started popping up within the farming community. There was a poultry factory, hog packing plant, and an electric generating factory. As the agricultural community began to shrink, the economy of Malvern went down and people moved away. Today, Malvern is a small, mainly agricultural town.

We pulled up to Malvern Manor and immediately noticed that this is a place in need of some love. It's a bit shabby. Josh was mowing the lawn and greeted us with a big smile. It was great getting to meet him in person. Josh had us sign a pretty detailed waiver and then he took our group through, giving us a personal tour that lasted about 20 minutes and then he set us free to do our investigating. We didn't know much more than, you paid $10 and got a tour, so the chance to explore and investigate was a nice surprise. The basic history of the structure is that it started as a house that was built in 1870 by A.B. Ringlan. In 1890, the house had rooms added to it and became the Cottage Hotel. This was a nice family run place that was close to the train and many salesmen stopped in to get a good meal and a night's rest. Most nights it was booked solid. An Iowa atlas advertised it in 1912 as charging only $2 for a room and a meal. As more and more people started turning to cars for transportation, the hotel started losing business. The hotel eventually was converted into a convalescent home in the 1950s and then a place for the castoffs of society: the developmentally disabled, the addicted and the mentally ill. There was not enough staff, so neglect and abuse became a big part of the story here and quite possibly could be why the place has such a haunted reputation.

The first room we started investigating was the Captain's room. This room was like taking a trip back to the 80s with a tube TV that has the old turn dials. There was a simple twin mattress in here and a sink in the corner. The walls are painted a sky blue. The room is full of light because of the windows and does not feel heavy. We got out the dowsing rods and asked a few questions, but we got no activity in this room. The stories about the Captain are numerous. Many times, investigators claim that he has scratched or push them. It is believed that the Captain runs the place in the spiritual realm. Josh believes that the Captain dislikes all the investigators coming through.

Next we headed to Suzie's room. This room was painted a bright yellow and was a jumble of children's toys and coloring books, most of them strewn across the twin bed. Suzie was a middle-aged resident who was mentally challenged with the intellect of an eight-year-old. This is why there are toys and such in this room. We introduced ourselves and then Kelly started using the dowsing rods. We also got out our flashlight and the EMF detector and invited Suzie to turn the devises on. Here is a sound bite from that and the knocking you hear is construction going on. (Suzie Room) So you hear us checking to make sure the rods aren't being triggered by water. Josh had told us that Suzie never leaves her room and that she has indicated to investigators that a man makes her stay in there, so we asked her about that. She seems to answer that it is a spirit. We do return to her room again and get a few more answers with the rods. We left her an HGB Button pin on her dresser. Another investigator once caught a Class A EVP in here of a voice answering "pink" when asked what her favorite color.

We went to Inez's Room next and here is what Josh told us about Inez. (Josh Inez) This time we got Jessica to hold the rods while we did our session, which we like because she was unfamiliar with them and has less of a chance of swaying them. Incidentally, we are brainstorming some things with Dolly to develop a way to have the rods held stable without human interaction. Although we also wonder if our energy is needed to help move the rods. These are all experiments we want to try as we continue to investigate the unexplained. The story behind Inez is that she never lived in the manor, but rather lived a couple of houses down. She was just a young girl when she hanged herself in her closet. Her spirit is thought to be at the manor because she liked visiting it as a child. This was a hotel at that time. Or it could be that the investigations going on here have attracted her spirit. Here is a sound bite of our investigation (Inezs Room) So yeah, we seemed to have a male spirit just passing through or something. But other people have heard the sound of a child running up and down the hallway outside this room. That's the weird thing, the sound of children. And the place is full of random children's shoes here and there. Why?

At this point, we're kinda disappointed with the activity, but we haven't done our investigations at the Squirrel Cage Jail or Villisca House yet, which I'm glad or we might have been even more disappointed. For this place being crazy haunted, we weren't getting much. The eeriest place in the manor is this hallway that has blood all along the walls and a handprint at the end. Here is Josh talking about that. (Josh Blood) We headed into Henry's room. This is a guy who traditionally is thought to not like women, so we were a bit apprehensive as four women standing in his room. We did a dowsing rod session. We felt pretty welcome. We'll play that interaction here. (Henrys Room)

We headed up to the creepy attic. This is a malevolent area with stories of growling, disembodied voices and other kinds of sounds. Josh said that people feel a tightness in their chest and then they get nauseous and get sick sometimes. There are lots of beer cans and cigarettes up here, almost as though they have been left as offerings. There are two crawl spaces up here that Josh has been inside of several times and he has found playing cards and keys. He usually is trying to find critters that may have died. Erina did not join us up here. The only interaction we got up here was basically the entity telling us they wanted us to leave. 

Gracie's Room was our next stop. This room was fairly dark with a hospital bed that still had the head position set upright and a wheelchair. A little nearby shelf on the wall held her glasses. This is the dwelling area for one of the manor's more well known ghosts. Her story is a tragic one as she was diagnosed with both Schizophrenia and Multiple Personality Disorder or what we now refer to as Dissociative Identity Disorder. No one is sure how many personalities Gracie had locked in her brain, but nurses once documented thirteen personalities in a two hour period. Josh says that he believes that some of the entities that people encounter here could be some of her different personalities. And this is hugely fascinating to us and a reason we would want to go back and investigate with more purpose in the future. Imagine the possibility that there is only one spirit in this building, but that she can present as a series of personalities. And then what does that say about the afterlife. Are these just all residual imprints? Is Gracie still suffering from these illnesses in the afterlife? No one wants to believe that is possible. We have Richard Estep's book on Malvern Manor and it is titled, "The Devil's Coming to Get Me." The book bears that title because it is something that would come out of Grace's mouth many times in a low gruff tone as though a man were speaking. The staff would be chilled to the bones when they heard this, particularly because it tended to happen at night. We got a bunch of nothing in her room as this sound bite indicates. (Gracies Room)

Another one of the sad rooms here belongs to a nameless woman who was admitted by her husband at a young age. She had become obsessed with the idea that he no longer found her attractive and that he was going to leave. No treatment seemed to help her. Staff would find her standing at the mirror in her room and she would be pulling out chunks of her own hair. She just slowly deteriorated and died shortly thereafter. Visitors often report seeing her spirit at the mirror looking very angry.

The Internet will tell you that the rooms right below the attic, Rooms 17 and 18, contain some really sinister energy. The story that is told is that there were two men here that lived across the hall from one another. After the nightly bed check, the one patient would cross the hall, enter the other male patient's room and physically and sexually abuse him. This went on for years it was believed. But Josh told us that his investigations have him thinking something else quite different was going on and this will make it very poignant that the four of us investigating are two lesbian couples. Josh thinks that the men were in a relationship and that the activity was consensual, but not allowed in the house and that is why there was the sneaking going on. Here is some audio of us in this room. (Gay Rooms) So it seems like we were getting responses that the gay angle might be true.

The most unsettling area of the manor was a dark hallway that branched off of the nursing station. There was not much left of the nursing station, save for shelving that was made into wooden pigeon-holes similar to mail slots or boxes. The names of whomever each box belonged to where still visible and Josh told us that they had found items still in these boxes. After telling us a bit about the station, Josh pointed down a hallway that branched off to the left, the end of which was swallowed in darkness. It is from a door at the very end that Josh says many people claim to see a shadow figure emerge and then rush down the hallway at them before dissipating. He believes them because it has happened to him too, at least 3 times. He says he hates to vacuum in this hallway. And Josh pointed out that the rushing is faster than running. No human being could move this fast. You know us, we just had to wander down that hallway to Room 2, which we found to be padlocked. Here is the audio from that. (Shadow Man Hallway). So you hear us there at the end that we basically got a whole lot of nothing throughout the building. We definitely think the Shadow Man is nothing to fear and just a residual occurrence.

Dolly, who joined us at the jail and Villisca House, went and did a public investigation at the Malvern Manor about a month and a half after we did. She was disappointed in the fact that the group of people that were there with her treated most of this as a joke with boyfriends trying to share girlfriends and one kid with a ton of equipment who was catching a ton of activity that she didn't feel was legit. We trust Dolly and we consider her a part of the HGB Paranormal Investigation Team and she got a whole lot of nothing and left early knowing that anyone not taking this stuff seriously is not going to get any kind of worthwhile results. That's one thing people can always trust with us. We don't make stuff up and we don't provoke.

This place has a crazy history and walking through it is a time capsule that has captured a place of disregard and sadness. Today, it seems to be more of a paranormal investigators playground. Although we had very little of what we would call activity, is the Malvern Manor haunted? That is for you to decide!