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!

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