Thursday, February 27, 2020

HGB Ep. 329 - Pittock Mansion Museum

Moment in Oddity - Monte Ne Ruins
Suggested by: Krystal Vines

William "Coin" Harvey was a very wealthy man and well, a bit of an eccentric. In 1900, he left his life in politics to begin construction on a health resort on land he purchased in Rogers, Arkansas. He dubbed the spot Monte Ne meaning Mountain Water. Before long he had built three hotels, a tennis court and indoor swimming pool. Two of those hotels, Missouri Row and Oklahoma Row, were the largest log buildings in the world. He built a secondary railroad line to bring people into the resort. Rogers was apparently not a place most thought of as a place to visit a health resort and the project slipped further into debt. Then Harvey went all in on his eccentric thinking and declared that he believed that humanity had reached its pinnacle - yes, in the early 1900s - and that civilization was going to collapse. He wanted to save all of this knowledge in a time capsule to show future humans what society was like at its peak. He devised a giant obelisk to put all this information inside of and called in "The Pyramid." He started an amphitheater at the same time. And then the Stock Market crashed. These projects going on in unison and a huge loss of money caused Harvey to abandon Monte Ne. Later, the White River was dammed to form Beaver Lake and Monte Ne was in the path. This means most of what was left of it is now on the bottom of the lake. That includes foundations and the tower of one of the hotels. And when lake levels are low, it is easier to see the ruins and the amphitheater usually emerges. The fact that Beaver Lake holds the ruins of a health resort and an amphitheater that emerges, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - The Napier Earthquake

In the month of February, on the 3rd, in 1931, the Napier earthquake hits Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. New Zealand lies along the boundary between the Indo-Australian Plate and Pacific Plates and those plates sliding against each other at 10:47 am on that day in February, reached a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude. The initial earthquake only lasted two and half minutes, but leveled nearly all the buildings in Napier and Hastings. Thousands of people were injured with over 400 hospitalized and 256 people were killed. The earthquake even caused the local landscape to change, even shifting up the coastline. There were many aftershocks in the following with weeks with 597 being counted by the end of February. In the wake of the Napier Earthquake, inadequate building codes were changed, no really tall buildings were built in Hawke's Bay again and most everything was rebuilt in the Art Deco style of the time. That means Hawke's Bay architecture is one of the finest examples of Art Deco in the world.

Pittock Mansion Museum (Suggested by: Michele Vaughn)

Portland would start as a pioneer town in the state of Oregon and grow into an industrialized modern city. One of the early families to make a mark on the city were the Pittocks. They were one of the wealthiest families in Portland society and they would use some of that wealth to build their retirement in the form of a chateau up on a hill overlooking the city. Today, it is a museum and reputedly haunted. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Pittock Mansion!

The West Hills of Portland are also known as the Tualatin Mountains and they separate the Tualatin Basin from the Portland Basin. They were named after the Atfalati/Tualatin Kalapuya Tribe. The highest part of the range is Dixie Mountain and rises to 1,609 feet, so for a former resident of the Mile High City who hiked Fourteeners in Colorado, that's well, not exactly a mountain. One of the other peaks here is Pittock Hill and this is where the Pittock Mansion is located. Through this gap in the mountain range, supplies were brought via wagon to the ships in the port. I found something odd when I was researching these mountains. In a 2018 article, Yvonne Addington wrote, "The entire range doesn’t appear on any recent maps that I can find. They were partially shown on USGS maps over 50 years ago but not currently. The loss of identification of the entire Tualatin Mountain Range on state and federal maps is not a new problem. I made calls last year to U.S.G.S staff which confirmed their existence and said they can be put back on maps at their discretion but to date that hasn’t happened." That is so weird! This mountain range has disappeared from Oregon maps and weather reports. I guess this could be because they're more hills rather than mountains? When Henry Pittock arrives in Portland, it was little more than a muddy little town just getting started.

Henry Pittock was born in 1836 in London, England. His family relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and that is where he grew up. His family owned a publishing company and he learned the ropes of the business starting as a young man. He set off west without a dime in his pocket and set his sights on Portland. He got there in 1853 and was only 17-years-old. His experience in printing got him a job with Thomas J. Dryer of Portland’s Weekly Oregonian. Of course, he didn't start out at the top. Let's just say, this was more like our modern day mailroom. He was mailing and delivering papers and working as a printer. And his pay was room and board, and when we say room, that's being generous. This was a space below the front counter. At least he had some blankets! His hard work paid off and he made his way to shop foreman. Apparently, the paper was not doing real well financially though. It couldn't afford to pay Pittock for this position, so he was made partner in the newspaper from 1854 to 1856. Thomas Dryer was heavily in debt with the paper, so he was probably relieved when President Lincoln appointed him to a position in his administration. By April of 1860, he had mortgaged the paper to Pittock and then transferred it completely to him in November. This is why Pittock is erroneously said to be the founder of The Oregonian. He didn't found it, but he owned it early and he would build it into what it would become.

That year, 1860, would be a great one for Pittock. Not only would he now own the newspaper, but he married Georgiana Burton who was twelve years his junior. Georgiana was the daughter of the man who owned the flour mill in town.  She was part of a pioneer family that had traveled from Missouri to Oregon in 1854. An interesting story from that trip is that Georgiana became lost and a Native American tribe found her and returned her to her family, but offered to buy her before they left. Not sure how true this is, but we wonder if the tribe figured the family didn't want her since she had become separated. She would found the Portland Rose Society that would eventually become the Portland Rose Festival. She was active in charities and her forming of a sewing society would eventually become the Women's Relief Society. And like so many active prominent women of her time, she was a suffragette.

Pittock had paid $300 for a plot of land in 1856 and this is where the couple would build their first home and have their children. They would build several homes on what became known as the Pittock Block. Their final home before the mansion was built, they lived in for fifty years. As the new head of the paper, Pittock decided that he wanted to take it in a different direction. He wanted to keep the politics out of the paper and keep the focus on actual news reporting. He wanted this reporting to be timely and he switched the Morning Oregonian to a six-day-a-week delivery. The way the paper was described was a paper that favored the Union, was “unflinchingly Republican” and that it would never purposefully injure an opponents’ feelings. Pittock had competition from two other papers, the Advertiser and the Times. Pittock worked hard to get advertisers and subscribers. The Civil War had broken out and he knew that he needed to get the latest news first.

Pittock came up with an amazing plan that would be costly, but very effective. The other two papers got their updates on the war via steamer, so Pittock looked to the Pony Express and stagecoaches for his updates. They would carry wire dispatches from the closest telegraph line. Pittock had such a good relationship with the telegraph operator that he got the scoop when President Lincoln was assassinated. The operator held back the information until The Oregonian published. Henry Pittock was driven and he would spare no expense to conquer the newspaper world in the Northwest. He pushed to get accounts current that the previous owner had allowed to become delinquent and he got subscribers to grow and grow, so that by 1880, 11,000 people were subscribed to the Oregonian, some of whom were far outside Portland. By the 1890s, the Oregonian was the most widely read paper in Oregon.

Pittock conquered other things as well. He was an avid adventurer and outdoorsman and was credited with being the first man to summit Mount Hood. He helped to found the Mazamas Climbing Club.  But there was also trouble. The editor for the Oregonian was Harvey W. Scott. Pittock had made promises to him about giving him interest in the paper, but Pittock actually gave it to another man because he needed an infusion of cash. This, of course, felt like a big betrayal to Scott. He would buy his own shares in the paper eventually, but the bitter feud between the men would continue between their two families for generations. Many times, Pittock had to mortgage his home to fund expenses for the paper. He eventually had to sell majority control of his publishing company, Oregonian Publishing Company to a group of other men. He and Georgiana had nine children, but only six made it into adulthood. The Depression of 1893 nearly bankrupted him. After mortgaging his home for a seventh time, he had to ask Thomas Corbett for a loan in order to hold onto his control of the paper. That was something he held onto with a vice grip, the paper. He wouldn't even give up control at his death.

Despite these money issues, Pittock did buy a lot of real estate in his lifetime and invested in lumber mills, paper mills, railroads, a bank and even a sheep ranch. These investments gave him enough wealth to build his dream home up in the West Hills in a spot overlooking the city on 46 acres. Construction on the Pittock Mansion began in 1909. Architect Edward T. Foulkes designed the mansion that would have twenty-two rooms and cover 16,000 square feet. The style is French-Renaissance and took until 1914 to be completed. An elevator was added late in the design after Georgiana had a stroke in 1913. The exterior is covered in Washington sandstone. The house is both architecturally amazing and had the upgraded technology of the day.

The interior had many unique trappings and a mix of styles from French renaissance, Edwardian, Jacobean and Turkish. There were the marble floors and oak-paneled cabinets that one would find in many elegant mansions of that time, but there was also foil lining the inside of the entryway's ceiling. Georgiana was very frugal, especially when she and Henry were first starting their lives and she had saved foil from old tea containers. The formal living room was designed with a curving outside wall of windows, which provided great views of the Cascade Mountain Range and Mount Hood. The grand staircase branches off to the right and left after hitting the center landing and is absolutely gorgeous, made from marble with a wood handrail and wrought iron balusters. This goes up three floors. There are twenty-three rooms including five large bedrooms, a sewing room, a music room, library, Turkish smoking room and a couple of sleeping porches. The house also was equipped with a dumbwaiter and modern luxuries like intercoms, indirect lighting, a central vacuum system and a walk-in refrigerator. There is a Steinway piano that Henry bought for his daughter here too. Fireplace mantels are carved wood and the ceilings feature shaped embellishments with several unique chandeliers.

There is an interesting shower in one of the rooms that is circular shaped and has semi-circular steel pipes circling the interior edge. There is a circular bathroom too with porcelain items like the sink and bathtub and that bathtub is rather small based on the picture we saw. It looks only big enough to sit in with your legs pulled up. In another picture, there is a dome shaped ceiling with gold accents and really neat designs with olive and red paint. Georgiana loved her roses and so, of course, she planted many on the grounds. The mansion has formal gardens all around it. The Gate Lodge is an Italianate-styled craftsman home built from concrete that sits next to what had been the original gated roadway leading to the mansion. This was the servant's quarters. This house was restored and decorated as it was in the 1930s and 1940s.

Georgiana died in 1918 and Henry followed her a year later after catching the flu. He asked to be brought to a window in the mansion, so that he could see his beloved Portland one last time. The mansion went into probate and his estate would be valued at $116 million in today's dollars. The paper went into a trust for 20 years and then was divided among his heirs, with two Pittock family members and one Scott family member overseeing everything. And as was the case with all newspapers, it eventually was sold to a bunch of newspaper chains over the years. The mansion stayed in the hands of the Pittock family and the Pittock grandson lived in the mansion until 1958. He tried to sell, but there were no takers and the house was heavily damaged in the Columbus Day Storm in 1962. The grand home was left abandoned after that. Right before it was going to be demolished in 1964, the City of Portland bought it with help from residents who raised $75,000 and after extensive renovations, it was reopened as a museum that you can visit today. In 2007, the Pittock Mansion Society took over operations. The house has appeared in several movies. The 1977 film "First Love" starring William Katt and Susan Dey, the 1982 slasher movie "Unhinged," the 1989 horror movie "The Haunting of Sarah Hardy" starring Morgan Fairchild and Sela Ward and the 1993 film "Body of Evidence." When one visits the museum, they can see items from the family and they might even experience their ghosts!

The mansion opened to visitors in 1965 and that is when reports about weird activity started. Both of the Pittocks and their groundskeeper died in the home. Some of the paranormal reports have included seeing windows shutting and latching on their own. There is also the sound of disembodied footsteps in the hallways. One of the really weird claims is that a portrait of Henry Pittock moves on its own around the house, but maybe not so weird considering that boots have been seen walking around without anybody being in them. Both guests and guides have seen apparitions in the house. Georgiana loved roses, of course, so the scent of roses is often smelled throughout the house. This usually occurs on the upper floors. Georgiana's apparition is seen in the garden as is the spirit of the former groundskeeper. One consistency in all the reports is that the ghosts are not malicious and love the home. One of the reasons why people believe that it is family members haunting the mansion.

We have heard stories from staff at many haunted locations having this same kind of experience when locking up whatever location it is they work at. You all know the drill at this point. They turn off all the lights, lock the door and head for their car. They get in the car and look up only to see every light in the location blazing. This happens at the Pittock to staff. One woman heard a picture fall off a wall while she was touring the house. She went to investigate and saw that a picture had indeed fallen off the wall. She watched as a woman wearing a long gown picked up the picture. The guest must have looked odd staring into this room because a guide came up behind her and asked if there was something the matter. She turned to the guide and said she was fine and just watching a woman pick up a picture that had fallen. The guide looked confused and when the guest turned back around, she saw that there was no woman in a dress in the room.

Henry and Georgiana Pittock didn't get to enjoy their beautiful home for long. Is that why their spirits might still be hanging around in the afterlife? Is Pittock Mansion haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

HGB Ep. 328 - Victor, Colorado

Moment in Oddity - The Real Reason Lilac Bushes Were Planted
Suggested by: Chelsea Flowers

The Greeks have a bit of lore about lilac bushes. The story goes that the god Pan fell in love with a nymph named Syringa. Syringa was terrified of Pan and probably with good reason based on what we heard about Pan on Hellier. She ran away from him through the forest and turned herself into a lilac bush to hide. Lilac bushes smell really good. Most of us probably assume that people planted them around their old farmsteads because of their fragrance and decorative appeal. But the truth is that there were two reasons, and neither had anything to do with making a property more decorative. The first is to mark the burial of a miscarriage or placenta. The other was very practical. Once an outhouse had completed its service, meaning no one could stand to enter the thing anymore due to the stench, the outhouse was moved, the hole was filled and a lilac bush was planted over the area. They did this every time they moved an outhouse. Outhouses were put out as far along the property line as possible for obvious reasons. So when you see lilac bushes dotting the property line of an old farmstead or dotting the land in any way, just know that those are marking the spot. A very stinky spot and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Parentalia

In the month of February, on the 13th, around 500 BC, the Romans began the festival of Parentalia. Parentalia was a religious festival that the Romans observed to honor their dead family members, specifically their dead parents. The festival would begin at noon on February 13rd and end on February 21st. During those days, gifts of salt, wheat, flower garlands and wine-soaked bread would be left at tombs. No official business could be conducted, no one could marry and all temples were closed. This was described as "a yearly renewal of the rite of burial." Over time, it became a festival to honor all dead family members or ancestors. On the evening of the 21st, a public ceremony would begin called Feralia and gifts and offerings would be set on top of graves and there would be a funeral feast. This would end the very personal time for quiet, inner reflection. This one was quite different compared to other Roman holidays.

Victor, Colorado (Suggested by: Melissa Potter)

Victor is an old mining town founded during the Victorian era in the Pikes Peak area of Colorado. This was a town founded by a couple of brothers and home for miners working the nearly 500 gold fields located in the nearby mountains. This was a typical mining town full of saloons, brothels and streets paved with gold. Today, Victor is a historic mining district where one can still find a room in a historic hotel and do a little gambling in a nearby town. And just like so many mining towns, there are reputedly ghosts here as well. Diane's mom, Annette Student, will be joining us as we share the history and haunts of Victor, Colorado!

Diane: Victor, Colorado could be described as the red-headed stepchild to her sister city, Cripple Creek, right, Mom?

Ann: Yes. Gold ore had been discovered in the Pikes Peak area in 1890 and people came pouring in, all to make their fortunes. Cripple Creek was founded in 1891 and Victor was founded on the other side of Battle Mountain in 1893. Cripple Creek was a large city and considered more sophisticated with financial and political influence, while Victor was where the miners lived and was more rough and tumble. The town of Victor was founded by two brothers named Frank and Harry Woods and they named it after Victor Adams, an early homesteader there. Businesses lined the boardwalks and dirt streets with false-fronted pine facades. The Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad arrived in 1894nand the Midland Terminal Railroad a year later. By 1896, Victor had 8,000 residents and was fast becoming one of Colorado's leading cities, due to its close proximity to Cripple Creek and the gold fields. And while Cripple Creek was getting most of the attention, Victor was producing far more gold and was nicknamed the "City of Mines," which is how it is still touted today.

Kelly: And then came fire, which was always so devastating to these towns built from all wood.

Ann: Yes. In August 1899, about 200 buildings located in Victor's twelve block business district, along with buildings and homes in two additional city blocks, were totally destroyed by fire. The fire left 3,000 residents homeless and resulted in about $2,000,000 in estimated losses. One of the city's finest hotels, the Hotel Victor, located on the corner of Victor Avenue and Fourth Street, was completely destroyed. The Woods family had built this hotel and it was one of the most photographed structures in the town. The hotel had an unusual pyramidal rooftop tower and big wraparound balconies that people used to gather on to watch parades. Tents were erected and by the next day, restaurants and saloons were opened in those tents. Within five days after the fire, brick houses and buildings were under construction. Eight months later, the town was rebuilt and and grew even more, reaching 18,000 residents, which for a brief time at the turn-of-the-century made it Colorado's fifth largest city. This new Victor had beautifully platted streets, modern utilities for the time, two electric trolley lines, an opera house, schools and wonderful homes. The Woods Brothers built the Gold Coin Club for their employees to use for recreation. There was also St. Victor Roman Catholic Church, the First Baptist Church, City Hall, Miners' Union Hall and the First National Bank of Victor.

Diane: The Denver Republican reported in April of 1900, "Victor has risen to her glory from the piled char heap of late August like a blossoming rose bush. Where before stood cabins, huts and tents, fine brick buildings have shot up like mushrooms during the night." Tell us more about these Woods Brothers and what they built in Victor.

Ann: Warren Woods was the father of Frank and Harry Woods and also President of the Woods Investment Company. Frank was Treasurer and Harry was Manager. This company owned the majority of the town. The family had initially made their money in real estate, but while building the Hotel Victor in 1894, they discovered a 20-inch wide vein of gold. They traced it to the Gold Coin Claim and began mining immediately. At its peak, the Gold Coin produced about $30,000 per month. The great fire in 1899 hit their interests hard, but they committed to rebuilding and doing it safely. The new Gold Coin Club was better than the first one and featured a ballroom, gymnasium, bowling alleys, pool and game room, a 700-volume library and dining rooms and was modeled after the New York Athletic Club. New fire prevention measures were put in place to rebuild the Gold Coin Mine and they spent a fortune, $250,000 at the time, to build a shaft house, hoist house and compressor plant. These were all made with ornate pressed brick and steel and the windows were upgraded to stained glass.

 Kelly: This brings us to the building of the new Victor Hotel.

Ann: The Woods Investment Company also started construction of the Bank Block on the northeast corner of Victor and Fourth Street, at the base of Battle Mountain, after the fire. The Bank Block was rectangular and built from tan pressed brick without embellishments. This was the tallest building in Victor at four floors. The corner entrance led into The First National Bank of Victor, of which Frank Woods was President. The bank occupied the building's first floor and hotel rooms and businesses filled the other three floors. Some of those businesses included the local telephone exchange, doctors, lawyers, engineers and investors. In Wood Investment Company promotional literature in 1901, they printed the following about the bank, "The First National Bank of Victor is probably the only banking concern in the world where one of its depositors mines gold directly beneath the bank at five hundred feet from the surface..."

Diane: Things for Victor and the Woods family would really start to decline in the early 1900s with labor strikes and less gold being mined. Men started making runs on the bank and eventually it was declared insolvent and the doors were closed on November 3, 1903. The brothers sold the building. Victor's population drastically diminished when World War I started and miners left in mass to join the military. They had a slight resurgence during the depression when some mines reopened. The city went into decline again during World War II, when the mines closed down again . Some mines started operating after the War ended, but all mining was finished by 1962. The Ajax mine would be the last to close. During its time, the Ajax produced over $20,000,000 in gold. Before all the mines in the area had closed, they produced over $125,000,000 in gold. But getting back to the Victor Hotel, what happened after the brothers sold it?

Ann: The Citizen's Bank of Victor replaced the First National Bank and businesses like the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Colorado Telephone Company continued to rent space. Citizen's Bank was replaced with City Bank and by 1906, a hospital was operating on the fourth floor. This also served as a morgue during one hard winter when the ground was too hard to bury the deceased. In 1908, a jewelry store and grocery store were located in the building. During the Depression, the City Bank closed and the first floor was occupied by Bill Lehr's photography studio and the Brass Rail Cafe and Bar during the 1930s. Then there was the Henry Munsteds Gift Shop, a restaurant and Reindels Soda Fountain. During the 1960s, businesses in the building closed and building stood vacant and neglected for the next two decades. In 1991, the building was purchased. Renovations were done to keep the building's historic integrity, but also add modern conveniences. Hotel Victor reopened in August 1992.

Kelly: So perhaps these renovations awakened something because ghost stories have been told about the Victor Hotel. There are many tourists coming into Victor because in November 1990, Colorado voters passed legislation to legalize low stakes gambling in a few old mining towns to help rejuvenate their economy. The exteriors of the old buildings in the towns had to retain their historic integrity, but the interiors could be renovated to house slot machines and a few low-stakes card tables. In 1991, Cripple Creek was one of the old mining towns that brought in gambling. Over time, Cripple Creek, Black Hawk and other old mining towns have had their historic properties demolished or moved and new properties built that really take away from the original character of the towns. Since gambling was not brought to Victor, it still retains much of its true historic value.

Ann: Here are some interesting tidbits before we get into the ghosts. Early day Victor residents included former radio personality Lowell Thomas and Colorado Governor Ralph Carr, who worked for Victor's newspaper; movie and television actor Groucho Marx; and prize fighter Jack Dempsey, who trained in the gymnasium above Victor's town hall. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt laid the YMCA building's cornerstone. He also gave a speech on the balcony of the Gold Coin Club when he was President.

Diane: The hauntings at the Victor Hotel go all the way back to the early 1900s. The most famous ghost here is named Eddie. He lived in the Victor Hotel in Room 301 in the early 1900s. He worked in the mines and had to get up early and be out at the mine in the early morning hours. One morning, he stumbled to the Bird Cage elevator and called for the elevator. The doors opened, but there was no elevator car. The darkness prevented Eddie from seeing that there was nothing in the elevator shaft and he stepped forward and fell the three stories to his death. His body was laid out in his room for viewing. And while that body left the hotel, Eddie's spirit apparently did not. The Bird Cage elevator is still at the hotel and running. It sometimes runs of its own accord and people blame Eddie for that. The elevator regularly travels to the third floor and opens when no one has called it to the floor. When the lift is making that run, it never stops on the second or fourth floors. Eddie wore heavy steel-toed boots and his disembodied steps are heard in the third floor hallway. Guests claim to hear a male voice whisper, "Be careful" when they are boarding the elevator and once a man claimed to have been pushed back while entering the elevator by something he couldn't see. He would have been hurt if this had not happened because the sensors on the doors malfunctioned and the doors were going to shut on him.

Ann: The Haunted Colorado website reports about the hotel, "As one guest from Room 307 checked out, they told me that someone had been banging on the pipes outside their door all night long. Every time they looked out the door to see who was banging on the pipes, there was no one there. Room 307 is in the corner and there aren’t even pipes on those walls but they definitely heard clanking sounds. Another guest told me that she had laid down a plastic cup with an aspirin in it and later went back to take the aspirin. The cup had disappeared! She searched all over, even in the trash, but to no avail. The cup was gone! We always put four cups per bed in each room. This room had four when she checked in, but that fourth cup was never found."

Kelly: This hotel was a former hospital, so there are many apparitions of what people believe are former patients. And then there was that morgue. Could some of the spirits belong to people whose bodies were kept on the fourth floor as the Spring thaw was awaited? A young female spirit was seen in the lobby several times during the Christmas season of 2003, walking around looking at the decorations. These observations were made by employees because no one was checked into the hotel at the time. Now I don't know if she was transparent or disappeared, so how they could tell she was a spirit is anybody's guess. There is also a male spirit that appears to be in his sixties that everybody calls Charlie. He is seen wearing a black hat, torn jeans and a plaid shirt. He is jovial and friendly to those with whom he interacts.

Diane: Next up we have the Lowell Thomas Museum. Before the fire, the post office was located at this site. After the 1899 fire, the Reynolds Block was built on the corner of 3rd Street and Victor Avenue out of brick and was two stories. The first business here was Tomkins Hardware Supply Company and this store advertised itself as the "headquarters for hardware and mining supplies." This was a chain store like Ace Hardware. Also found inside this building on the first floor was the Victor Mining Stock Exchange.

Ann: The Victor Exchange went out of business in 1903 and two years later, Tompkins Hardware was out of business too. The Victor Dry Goods Company took over the building and was eventually bought out and renamed Medill and Company. Nobody seemed to have luck here though and eventually that store was gone too and a pharmacy had replaced it in the mid-1910s. During all of this, we're not sure what was located on the second floor, but more than likely was the residence for either the business owners or perhaps renters. In the late 1920s, S.A. Hackley moved in his furniture store and he converted the upper floor to a hotel and named it Hotel Hackley after himself. Eventually, the furniture store was gone too, but the hotel remained and the Arapahoe Food Stores Company moved into the first level. In the 1950s, the building was donated to the Victor Improvement Association and was turned into a museum and that is what it is today.

Kelly: The museum is named for Lowell Thomas. Lowell Thomas was born in 1892 in Ohio and was known as an author, journalist, explorer, lecturer and his association with Lawrence of Arabia is well known. He worked as a war correspondent in the Middle East and wrote of the exploits of Lawrence in the Arabian Desert. Thomas explored the far northern reached of the desert. In 1930, he would join CBS Radio as a commentator and make incredible firsts in television. In 1939, he was on the first television news boradcast and in 1940, the first daily television program. His first love was radio though and that is where he spent most of his time and where most of his fame derives from. He passed away in 1981 at the age of 89 in New York. His connection to Victor is that he grew up there. The Thomas family moved to Victor in 1900 when Lowell was 8 years old. His father was one of only seventeen doctors in Victor. After graduating from high school, he was off on adventures.

Diane: The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum is opened nearly round and features a room dedicated to Lowell Thomas' career featuring pictures and memorabilia, there are several mining displays, rooms decorated with furniture from the Victorian era, historic photos of Victor and area towns, an antique doll collection and a room on the second floor that features furniture from Lowell's father's medical office. The museum also features some unexplained activity. One of the spirits here could very well be Lowell Thomas. He seems to be connected to some of his personal things. A pair of his glasses move from one display room to another. Or the culprit could be the spirit of a little boy named Jake. His apparition has been seen wandering the various rooms and he has startled staff and guests several times with his disembodied voice. Or it could be the little girl ghost that has been heard on the second floor. The basement is especially active and a paranormal investigation team claim to have caught a uniformed man standing in the shadows in a picture. The museum embraces this paranormal activity and invites investigators to come in during special events.

Ann: The museum offers tours to the Sunnyside Cemetery, May through September, weather permitting. The cemetery features a wrought-iron archway with the symbols of a miner, pick axe and shovel as embellishments. There are over 1200 people buried here. Many of Victor's pioneers are buried here with the first one dating to 1891 for three-year-old Maggie Ferrans. Some of the men buried here were killed in a mining accident in 1904. They were working in the Stratton Independence Min when a cable snapped on their lift cage and they dropped 1400 feet, all the way down the mine shaft. Fifteen died and one man was severly injured. Now a really interesting thing about the burial plots is that the interred only have rights to the surface ground. And that's for a specific reason. There are several inactive gold mines under this final resting place: the Hattie W. lode, the Cemetery lode, the Robert E. Lee lode and the Anny B. lode. Most of the burials are only marked by whatever wild grasses and bushes are growing within the cemetery's boundaries. No burial records exist.

Kelly: There is a tragic story connected to the cemetery. In 1998, a man named Mark Butts was beaten to death in the cemetery by a group of four men. They used a shovel to commit the heinous act and beat him so badly that the shovel handle broke. They then took his body and hid it a distance from the cemetery and it took two weeks for it to be discovered. He was only 35-years-old. Paranormal Investigator Chuck Zukowski did an investigation inside the cemetery in October 2019 with his daughter Ashley. He said that he had heard reports from Victor residents that they had seen and heard weird things in the cemetery. They did hear something strange in the distance and it sounded like someone banging something against the wrought-iron. There was no wind to blow anything against the metal. They got out a spirit box and the name Michael came across and they asked, "Is this Michael" and a female or high pitched voice said, "Yes." Then they heard the same female voice come across again. They caught an indiscernible EVP too. So perhaps we have a haunted cemetery here too!

Diane: Next we have the Fortune Club Diner and Hotel.

Ann: In 1896, John Klem opened the Combination Saloon on the southeast corner of 3rd Street and Victor Avenue. After the fire, a business owner in Cripple Creek named Sam Lang bought the land and built The Fortune Club. He eventually hired his brother to take over management of the club. Under this management, the club became known as a distributor of the "purest and best wines and liquors." Business declined starting in the 1910s and when Prohibition began, the Fortune Club closed its doors. The Facebook page claims that this was a brothel and since there is a hotel here I imagine that was the case.

Diane: The Fortune Club today is owned by Sue Kochevar and is run as a restaurant known as The Fortune Club Diner and Hotel. It is so neat inside! There is a tin type ceiling and the wallpaper has that vintage look. There are a few counter top seats that harken back to the stools from soda shops and there is a long mirror behind the bar. The sign outside does have Soda Fountain under the name, so I'm thinking perhaps you can get some of that stuff here too. It just looks like you are walking back in time and I hear the food is real good too. Then there is also a hotel offering ten fully furnished rooms, but the baths are not private. And there is also a sign above another section of the building that says Fortune Club Lounge, so there appears to be a bar here too.

Kelly: The owner definitely thinks her place is haunted. She says, "We live with it every day, and aren’t frightened by it. We get a lot of paranormal investigators here. And they say there’s a lot of residual energy here from the gold rush days." She herself has heard the sounds of disembodied footsteps when she is in the empty building alone at night. Objects fall off of shelves and she has opened empty rooms that were locked to find them ransacked.

Diane: Our final haunted location in Victor is the Black Monarch Hotel. This building was originally known as The Monarch and it was a gentleman's club owned by Samuel Burris and William Sexton.

Ann: The 1899 fire burned it down, but Sexton rebuilt it again with brick. The first level was a saloon and gambling hall, while upstairs housed the bordello. This place catered to a high-class clientele. The first floor had elegant white and black tile and rooms were decorated with carved oak wood and lavish accoutrements. And rumor has it that Nikola Tesla himself wired the building because he was staying in nearby Cripple Creek to work on an electrical dam. The club was managed by F.L. Hart starting in 1902 and by 1907, he was Sexton's partner. The club flourished until 1912 as the economy brought revenue down. The men sold to W. H. Martin and he reopened as the Monarch Mercantile Company. He was out of business by 1916.

Diane: Denver contractor Adam Zimmerli bought the old Monarch and re-imagined it and re-opened it as the Black Monarch Hotel in May 2019 and boy, is it up our listeners' alley! Upon entering, one can't help but notice all the oddities and curiosities decorating the hotel. There is lots of taxidermy, weird art and odd trinkets throughout the overall Victorian Gothic theming. There are tall ceilings and tin-plated walls. The walls are painted in dark hues like black and the library is filled with books covering weird and macabre things like heinous crimes, diseases and the occult. There are four rooms rrady right now with five more to come, all themed after serial killers and other interesting characters. There is the HH Holmes Room, which features human anatomy posters, axes, torture devices and antique medical equipment. The Black Annis Room is dedicated to witchcraft and has a platform bed suspended from the ceiling by ropes, pentagrams and goat skulls and an enormous bed suspended from the ceiling on thick ropes. The Nikola Tesla Room has large oversized drawings of the Tesla coil and a series of elk skulls above the bed. And finally, the Elizabeth Bathory Room has crimson walls, a portrait of Bathory, a four-poster bed with sheer black curtains and a bat encased in red velvet.

Kelly: Hauntings here in the hotel date back pretty far. A miner died in a gunfight and employees of the bar claimed to see his ghost after that and to see strange lights in the saloon. People who have visited the hotel claim that they have seen a ghostly woman looking out from one of the hotel’s windows. Many times this happened when the building was empty. There are strange sounds and objects move on their own. The caretaker Jennings Davis said, "I’ve seen people get so scared here they leave only a few hours after checking in." An article by Jenna Milliner-Waddell on the Refinery 29 website tells the experience of Adam Zimmerli, "I was sleeping here by myself one time late at night and there was a lot of activity, movement and sounds. There was one night in particular that I woke up in the middle of the night and it sounded like someone was walking around the building so clearly.” He had thought someone had broken in, but he found no one in the building and all the doors were locked. Many guests have complained of being awakened at 3am by the sounds of women laughing and men fighting. His girlfriend was one of them. She said it sounded like 50 people were downstairs having a party. Some other guests in the hotel heard the same thing remarking that people really knew how to party in Victor. They swore there were 100 people downstairs. Of course, there had been no party. This had been in the middle of winter in Victor. Nobody was in town. And, of course, Ghost Adventures is already planning an overnight trip.

Victor is a really fun historic mining town and the fact that it has so many original buildings dating back to the turn-of-the-century that are also reputedly haunted makes it even better. Are these places in Victor, Colorado haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Cripple Creek-Victor Mining District by Brian Levine, published by Century One Press in 1987 

Zukowski investigation:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

HGB Ep. 327 - Yellowstone National Park

Moment in Oddity - Wooldridge Monuments
Suggested by: Kim Gasiorowski

There is a very unusual monument in Mayfield, Kentucky. This monument is named the Wooldridge Monuments and is named for Henry Wooldridge who was a lifelong bachelor and eccentric horse breeder. Henry must have spent a lot of time thinking about his death and how he wanted to be honored with his burial. He decided to commission 18 life-sized statues to be erected within the boundaries of his 17 x 33 square foot plot in Maplewood Cemetery. That's already really unusual, but even stranger, all of the monuments face east and include family members and animals. Statues represent his two brothers, three sisters, mother and two nieces. He also made sure to include two of his dogs and a horse. He also commissioned two monuments for himself, one of which has him astride the aforementioned horse and the other standing next to a lectern. The latter was crafted from marble in Italy while the rest of the works were made from limestone. Legends claim that all of the people represented were dead and that sculptors just had to wing it because Henry provided them with no pictures. The statues were put in place before Henry died in 1899 at the age of 77. His marble vault has a double-barreled shotgun carved into it. This procession of statues in a graveyard, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Diphtheria Serum Arrives Via Sled Dog in Nome, Alaska

In the month of February, on the 2nd, in 1925, Norwegian Gunnar Kaasen, and his lead dog Balto, brought the life-saving diphtheria serum into Nome, Alaska. A major outbreak of diphtheria threatened the young people of Nome, Alaska in early 1925. The only serum was in Anchorage and a major storm with temperatures reaching down into the -70F level was raging. There was only one aircraft that was available to get the serum through, but the cold weather had frozen the engine. Officials knew their only chance was to use sled dogs. This would not be an easy trip and while Balto and Kaasen have gotten most of the glory, a group of mushers and sled dogs got the serum through. The worst stretch that was also the longest was covered by Norwegian Leonhard Seppala and his dog Togo. But Balto managed to follow the trail in whiteout conditions and in the dark. All of these men and dogs were heroes. There is a statue of Balto in Central Park, New York. The plaque on it reads, "Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the Winter of 1925. Endurance · Fidelity · Intelligence"

Yellowstone National Park (Suggested by Carren Sanders)

Yellowstone National Park has some real bragging rights. This was the first ever American National Park. The park stretches over three states and two million acres. There are geothermal wonders, wild animals that can readily be seen, rustic architecture and hundreds of ghost stories. Yellowstone is probably the most haunted national park in America. Join us as we share the history and haunts of Yellowstone National Park!

(Diane) Kelly, I went to Yellowstone with my family when I was a teenager. I had wanted to be a Forest Ranger when I grew up and I love animals, so this was a dream! I got pictures of buffaloes and elk and a momma and baby moose. I'm a birder, so seeing Trumpeter Swans, which are the largest wild waterfowl in America, was amazing. And the hot springs and geysers! There is nothing like them in the world. This is a place of wonders, but also danger. Fall into one of those hot springs and well, you probably will die.

(Kelly) That's right! Ever heard of hot potting? This isn't some form of cooking in the kitchen. There are people who make it a sport to travel around and find these hot springs that are untouched by humanity and still very much in their natural state. The Gnarly Science Blog by Dr. C.M. Helm-Clark has some great stuff on this and isn't that the best name of a blog? Bathing in water over 110 degrees Fahrenheit is unsafe and many hot springs run about 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Dr. Helm-Clark writes, "The mecca of acidic hot springs, at least in North America, is the Yellowstone volcanic caldera.  There have been more than 20 documented deaths at Yellowstone associated with hot springs. Many of these are described in detail to rival any good horror movie in Lee Whittlesey’s Death in Yellowstone (1995, Robert Rinehart Publishers, ISBN 978-1-57098-021-3). Almost all of them are gut-turners." Several bodies of those who have fallen in have never been recovered because they completely dissolved. Some date back to the early 1900s, while one story is as recent as 2015 where a brother and sister left the boardwalk to go hot potting where it was prohibited and the brother fell in and was dissolved. One story Dr. Helm-Clark shares demonstrates just how ludicrous decency beliefs were back in the day, "One woman from Washington DC was on a tour of Yellowstone in 1905, before boardwalks were built for the safety of visitors. In Upper Geyser Basin, home to Old Faithful, she took off her glasses to wipe the moisture off them. Without thinking, she stepped backward, not looking where she was going and fell hip deep into the pool of a boiling water hot spring. She was wearing thick petticoats and these got soaked with the spring water; their presence next to her burned legs kept inflicting a deeper level of burn since they were not removed right away. Apparently, decency was more important than good first aid in those days. In relentless pain, the poor woman lingered for three weeks in a local hotel before she died."

And if those statistics and stories aren't enough, listener Carren Sanders who requested this location wrote to us, "From the time it was made a national park up till 1995, there had been over 300 deaths. 16 murders, 15 suicides, 87 drownings.....the list goes on. I’m sure there are many more now. People taking selfies on cliffs and such." So there are many reasons to have ghosts here. Add to that that there are a couple of cemeteries too. Carren told us, "Up on the hill back behind the general store in mammoth (north of old Faithful in the north entrance of the park ) is the very first cemetery. There are 15 graves, all of them are unmarked except one. Mary Foster I believe her name is. So my husband being the good sport that he is, hiked up there with me and we combed the hillside for quite some time looking for this grave marker. He found a piece of cement with some metal in it that we don’t know what that is. I’m not sure if that would have been part of the marker or something else. So as I was walking, being the crazy lady that I am, I said 'OK Mary if you’re here please show me where you are so I can take a picture and remember you.' Just then this beautiful bluebird landed on a rock close to me. I’m a bird watcher and I was grateful that this beautiful bird made an appearance. Is this a sign that we found her grave? Of course , that is for you to decide."

This is Yellowstone's Kite Hill Cemetery and it was founded in 1883. This had originally been called Sepulcher Hill, but was changed to kite because so many people go there to fly kites. Only one monument remains and it does indeed belong to Mary Foster who appears to be the first burial in 1883. She died at the age of 33 and had probably worked at the Mammoth Hotel near where she was buried. Another woman is buried next to her who died from natural causes in 1887. There are also people buried here who died from suicide, an avalanche and murder, according to the "Death in Yellowstone" book. Fort Yellowstone Army Cemetery is also here and then there is a lone grave near the Nez Perce Picnic Area that belongs to Mattie S. Culver, who was the wife of E. C. Culver who was the caretaker at the Firehole Hotel from 1888 to 1889. The Culvers had come here hoping to help Mattie with her TB that she suffered from, but she eventually died on March 2, 1889. The ground was too frozen to bury her so she was placed inside two pickle barrels and buried in a snowdrift until the spring thaw.

We've talked a lot of death. Perhaps we should get into the history behind the formation of Yellowstone National Park. The park is named after the Yellowstone River, which was named by French trappers in the 18th century. The French name is Roche Jaune. Paleo Indians of the Clovis Culture were here long before the French though. Possibly living in the region 11,000 years ago. They were followed eventually by the Shoshone, Nez Perce and Crow. Stories about Yellowstone in the early 1800s were thought to just be myths. When trappers and mountain men reported that they had seen rivers with steam rising from them, mjud that boiled and trees that were petrified, people thought they were making up stories and even called the place Colter's Hell after one of the men who had spent time in the area called it a place of fire and brimstone.

The Cook–Folsom–Peterson Expedition of 1869 was the first to survey the Yellowstone area and this was followed by the Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition in 1870. This expedition not only surveyed the land, but collected specimens and one of the members, Cornelius Hedges, championed the idea that the Yellowstone area be set aside as some kind of national park. More people would join the cause and finally Congress was petitioned to "pass a bill reserving the Great Geyser Basin as a public park forever." Things would finally move forward and President Ulysses S. Grant would sign The Act of Dedication law that created Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872. Nathaniel Langford was Yellowstone's first superintendent. But Langford was given no federal funding and poachers and other raiders took full advantage with nearly 3,000 animals being killed between 1874 and 1875. Eventually funding came and crude roads were built and then the train came and people used stagecoaches and horses to access the park.

The US Army would take over the management of Yellowstone from 1886 through 1918. The National Park Service was created in 1916 and that same year, horse-drawn wagons were no longer allowed on park roads. This would usher in the automobile and people would start pouring into the park. But this was not without issues as many cars would get stuck on old wagon roads, so the park service started paving roads. In 1929, the park's boundaries were adjusted. Officials would continue to develop the park and make changes throughout the years to help protect animals, restore wolves to the park and manage the land better.

But lost in all this history is what happened to the Native Americans who had lived here and hunted here. They eventually were mostly excluded and the only year round tribe were the Eastern Shoshone who were known as the "Sheepeaters." They thought that a treaty had promised them the right to hunt in Yellowstone if they ceded their lands there. The treaty was never ratified and the Sheepeaters would be denied. There would be skirmishes with Chief Joseph's Nez Perce band as well. Eventually, there would be peace and one of the most beautiful areas in the country would be saved from development.

Old Faithful Inn

There are nine lodging options in Yellowstone National Park and probably the most famous is the Old Faithful Inn. What makes this the most popular hotel in the park is the fact that it is right next to the geyser for which it is named, Old Faithful. The geyser was named Old Faithful because of its constant regularity. It erupts every 35 to 120 minutes and the eruption last from 1 1/2 to 5 minutes. The burst of steam and water can rise as high as 184 feet. The steam hits around 204 degrees Fahrenheit at the vent. The Upper Geyser Basin Hotel had stood here originally, but it burned down. The Old Faithful Inn was designed by architect Robert Reamer and built between 1903 and 1904 using local logs and stone and rises four stories. This makes it the largest log structure in the world. The inside is wonderful to behold with decorative wood and wrought iron, a massive stone fireplace and a hand-crafted clock made of copper. There are 327 rooms least one ghost.

The Old Faithful Inn features the ghost story of the headless bride. The story dates back to 1915 and follows the same features as so many ghost stories involving star-crossed lovers. It's a wonder that it took so long for parents to come around to just letting their kids love who they love. In this case, we have the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate in New York. Her parents had picked out the son of a wealthy friend to be her husband and arranged everything. But their daughter had fallen in love with one of the household servants who also happened to be a much older man. The daughter eloped with the servant. Her parents were humiliated and her father wanted to get the couple out of town, so he offered them a large sum of money - her dowry - to leave New York and never come back. The couple agreed and they headed for Wyoming. They decided to honeymoon at Yellowstone and they booked a room at the Old Faithful Inn.

Now the young woman had followed her heart, but maybe not her brain because she hadn't chosen very well when it came to her husband. He took the large sum of money that was her dowry and decided to do some gambling. He also bought the finest food and drank the best liquor. A month into the honeymoon and the couple was broke. The husband told her she should call her dad for more money and you can probably guess what the answer was, a solid "no." The couple quarreled and it was so loud that many staff and guests heard the argument. The husband left the room, slamming the door hard behind him and was never seen again. After a couple of days, the staff became worried because they hadn't seen either member of the couple. They entered the room and found a grisly scene. The bride was in the bathroom, with blood everywhere and her head was missing. This was eventually found in the Crow's Nest, where the band played. The young woman is now reputedly seen in her spirit form, wearing white, descending from the Crow's Nest with her head tucked under her arm.

Is there any truth to this tale? There doesn't seem to be and the story goes that a bell captain at the inn named George Bornemann had made the whole story up and now everybody tells the story. But there is another ghost tale connected to the inn. A woman staying at the hotel in Room 2 years ago claimed that she saw a woman wearing Victorian era clothing floating at the foot of her bed at night. She woke her husband up, but he did not see the apparition. Now, we would typically question this since the inn was built in 1904 and Victorian dresses were probably out of style by that time, but could this be a ghost from the earlier hotel that was here?

There is one more ghostly tale connected to the hotel. This one is from an employee who had a really weird experience. A housekeeper claimed to watch a fire extinguisher that was hanging on the wall, lift itself up, do a 90-degree turn and then drop back to its original position. This was up on the 300 wing and the only time that anyone saw this extinguisher do its acrobatics. The National Parks Traveler Blog had the following comment, "As an employee of TWServices during the summers of 1986 and 1987 at the Old Faithful Inn location, I can verify some of the stories from the Inn. I worked as a line cook at OFI. I became friends with the security guards because I would get off work late and then hang around in front of the fire place or go to the second floor to write letters from the small tables in the public area. I marveled at the Inn and the geyser basin at night because I got to roam it without thousands of tourists interrupting. It was the summer of '86 that my experiences began with the unrested souls. On a routine watch with one of the guards we walked the halls of the 3rd floor something called my first name. I kept walking and continued to hear it several times until I asked her if she had heard anything. She said yes and that "they" do it to her quite often. Later that night we made it down to the 300 wing. It was the newer part of the hotel. I was told it was built on 2 unmarked graves. I pretty much shrugged it off, but thought it to be odd. In the months following several odd things occurred, many that took my nerve resulting in me running away. The 300 wing was intersected by 4 hallways and and a refreshment closet. I saw the fire extinguisher mentioned above. I saw the fire hose wheel turn and fill up the hose. I saw the short stairwell steps flatten causing my friend to stumble. I felt the unrested souls pass by me in the hallways. A sweet fragrance was present. I felt my hand squeezed. I saw the ice machine fill up then dump ice on the floor."

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Lake Yellowstone Hotel was built in 1891 and has 296 rooms. This is the oldest standing hotel at Yellowstone and the decor is reminiscent of the 1920s with colonial architectural styling on the outside featuring yellow clapboard. It is named for Yellowstone Lake because it sits on its shores. The sunroom and lounge have massive windows providing a great view of this lake. One can sit in here or out on the porch, sipping some tea and listening to the tinkling of the keys from a live piano player. The hotel was originally designed by architect R.R. Cummins and was relatively plain. He had been hired by the Northern Pacific Railway to build the hotel, as one of three the railway was building in the park. As more and more people came to Yellowstone, upgrades were made. The architect of the Old Faithful Inn, Robert Reamer, was hired to renovate. The hotel has undergone many renovations through the years with 2014 being the most recent.

There are several spirits reported to be here. One of them is said to be President Calvin Coolidge. Like so many of our presidents, he visited Yellowstone and loved it and was particularly fond of this hotel. So they say that he occasionally turns up as though he is taking a vacation from the afterlife at a place he where he once liked to vacation in life. He is generally seen sitting in a rocker in the lounge. Being that the hotel is on a lake, one can imagine that a few people have drowned here either while swimming or in boating accidents. There are two drownings that have ghosts connected to them. A young boy was visiting with his family and drowned here. People see his apparition near the lake and in the hotel. One employee claimed to see him gazing out from the attic, which is kept locked at all times. He is said to always be wearing a dress shirt and has brown hair. He likes to play in the public men's restroom too.

Al Brindza tells of an experience he had on the Am Ghost Hunters Blog, "At this time I decided to head for the men's restroom located past the main desk down the hallway on the first floor. Upon entering through a heavy wooden door that made a squeaking noise like these type of doors often do, I discovered I was the only one there or so I thought. Within a few seconds I felt the familiar jag of a headache that I usually get when something paranormal is near. Next I heard some footsteps and a little boy giggling and laughing and I was surprised to see him peeking under the stall door. I believe I said 'Hey' and then he was gone. Total silence, I heard no more footsteps or the opening or closing of the door. Now I'm thinking OK, what just happened? I didn't see much of the little boy just his face and his light brown or blondish hair, wearing a white dress up kind of shirt. Afterwards I returned and explained my experience to my wife and to our son Eric and his wife Chrissy. Later after we finished our meal and were leaving I just had to ask the lady at the main desk if there were any ghost stories associated with this place. At first I got the usual stare as her mind processed what I had asked. Then she said, 'There are some stories of a little boy that has been seen by some of our guests!'"

And there is the spirit of a young woman wearing a flapper's dress that is seen. People say that her name is Mathilda and that she likes to haunt a room on the second floor in the back with a view of the forest that was probably her room at one time. Mathilda will sometimes walk the second floor hallway and she has touched people on occasion. She enjoys staff more than guests. There had been a group of musicians who would play at the hotel and they apparently still like to play in the afterlife. A former porter at the hotel has returned in spirit form and people see him in the lobby before he just disappears. He often appears out of nowhere and offers to help guests with their luggage and provides information on the trails one can hike at Yellowstone.

S.E. Schlosser wrote the book "Haunted Yellowstone" and tells a story about the bellman in there, "About halfway down, a compassionate bellman overtook me and claimed my heavy bag.  Relieved, I hitched my handbag over my shoulder and followed the bellman.  We chattered about my trip all the way up the elevator, and the bellman had some great suggestions for hikes we might take along the lakeshore, and where we might see wildlife. The elevator let us off on the fourth floor, and we walked to the end of a long, rather spooky hallway.  I shivered a bit, feeling uncomfortable and not understanding why this was so.  But the friendly bellman distracted me with his gentle conversation.  He left me in front of the open door with my bag, bowing slightly like an old-fashioned gentleman in a movie.  I fumbled in my handbag, looking for my wallet, then realized I'd given it to my husband so he could check us in.'Wait a moment,' I told the friendly bellman and hurried inside the room, calling to my husband.  Frank was locked in the bathroom, but my wallet was on the bedside table.  Pulling out some money, I hurried to the door, only to find that the friendly bellman had vanished." The woman tells her husband about the bellman and they agree to leave a tip at the bell desk later. When they get to the desk, the woman explains to a young man there what happened. Schlosser continues the story, "'Do you know his name?' the young man asked. 'I'm sorry, I don't,' I said.  Then I spied the picture on the desk, showing a group of bellmen. 'That's him,' I said, pointing. The young man's smile slipped a bit. 'That is an historic picture, taken many years ago,' he said cautiously. 'None of those men work here now.' 'Really?  That's strange,' I said, feeling cold again. 'The bellman who helped me looks just like this man.' 'That man was the bell captain,' the young man said. 'He’s since passed away.'  Face devoid of expression, he added: 'I'm sorry, I don't know who it was that helped you today.' 'Oh well, maybe I will see him again,' I said with an uneasy glance at the photo on the desk.  Strange that the man who helped me looked exactly like the former bell captain. I shuddered and hurried over to my husband, who was examining some of the lovely photographs displayed round the lobby. 'All done?' he asked, taking my hand and leading me toward the dining room. 'Not really,' I said uneasily, and told him about picture. 'So you’re saying a ghost helped you with your luggage?' Frank asked when I finished. Hearing it put that way sent cold shudders down my spine. 'Pretty much,' I said. 'I’m not sure I want to spend the night at this hotel. What if the ghost comes back?'

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel was built in 1883, but eventually demolished in 1936 and rebuilt, although the north wing is the same as the one added in 1911. The new version of the hotel opened in 1937. Ghost stories are plentiful here. A storage room is used to keep extra beds and chairs and furniture often moves in here of its own accord. Maintenance workers will report that chairs that they have neatly stacked against one wall will have been either unstacked or the entire stack has moved over to another wall. A maintenance supervisor had an unsettling experience reported on the Stormy Night Tales Blog, "Once, the head maintenance supervisor had retrieved a box of light bulbs for his men to replace several which had burned out. He locked the door when he left. He received a call on his walkie-talkie for some other item almost immediately so he turned back, opened the locked door and found something was on the other side. He pushed it open to find an unopened case of toilet paper had been pushed against the door. The cases of toilet paper are kept against the far wall in the back and there is only the one door through which to enter."

A similar experience happened to a maid cleaning a room. She stepped out into the hall to get some more towels and the door slammed behind her. She tried the door and while the knob would turn, she couldn't get it opened. She pushed and pushed with no luck. The room had an adjoining room so she went in through there and found that the door wouldn't open because a dresser had been pushed up against it.  Frightened, she ran to get her supervisor. When she returned with the supervisor, they found the door wide open and the dresser back where it belonged six feet away. The housekeeper quit on the spot. The supervisor figured the woman was lying, but upon inspection, she found deep scratches on the floor from the dresser being pushed across the floor. But imagine how quickly that dresser had to move across the floor.

Disembodied footsteps are heard in many parts of the hotel and the giggling of a little girl when there are no children around has also been heard. This is usually in the hallway on the fourth floor and her little running feet are sometimes heard as well. Psychics claim the little girl is Emily and there is a grave for an Emily Seivert in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery. She was not quite two-years-old.

Uncle John Yancey

John F. Yancey was a gold prospector and Civil War veteran who decided to set down roots at Yellowstone. People called him "Uncle John" and he built a hotel here in the 1870s that was named Yancey's Hole. It was near the present-day Roosevelt Lodge and served the stagecoach running between Mammoth Hot Springs and the mining camps in Cooke City. Rooms were $2 per day and there were five of them that could hold twenty guests. In 1903, Uncle John went to Gardiner, Montana to hear President Teddy Roosevelt speak at the dedication of the Roosevelt Arch. He caught a cold while there that turned into pneumonia and he died when he was 77 years-old. They buried him in the old Tinker’s Cemetery near Mammoth. But his spirit is not at rest and he seems to have made the Roosevelt Lodge his new home since his old hotel no longer stands. He is a poltergeist-like ghost blamed for hiding things and he was known to unsaddle horses.  Park staff claim that he bangs a tin cup on the walls of the staff quarters at three a.m.

E.C. Waters

A man named E. C. Waters found that running cruises on Yellowstone Lake could be a lucrative business, but he was a horrible businessman and an angry man. He had bought the Yellowstone Boat Company in 1897, which consisted of rowboats and a passenger boat named the Zillah. Waters had a hard time keeping the boats in repair and he started charging really high prices. Then he came up with the idea to charge people when they first got on the boat and then when they got to the other shore, he charged them so they could get off the boat. Then this guy decided to open his own zoo on Dot Island in Yellowstone Lake and brought in elk and buffalo. The animals were poorly cared for and malnourished. Eventually, Waters decided to buy a bigger boat, so he could make more money, but officials at Yellowstone would not certify the vessel to carry more than 125 people and this outraged Waters who had planned to carry far more. In his rage, he docked this new shipped that he had named after himself, the E. C. Waters, on the eastern side of Stevenson Island and filled the boat full of holes so it wouldn't float. He still continued to run the boat tours for a couple more years, but things got so bad that President Roosevelt himself expelled Waters from the park. He moved back to Wisconsin where he was from and eventually ended up in an insane asylum and died. But his anger and need to hold onto his Yellowstone glory days seems to have brought his spirit back to his old stomping grounds. His ghost has been seen hanging around the dilapidated boat and his disembodied voice is heard cursing his fate on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. A ghostly fire has been seen on Stevenson Island and visitors claim that Waters spirit is the one who sets the fire.

Beyond all of these stories is the fact that Native Americans and animals have been displaced in an effort to conserve the land. Seems kinda ironic, but we also know that displacing the spirit of the land can cause issues. Are there Native American spirits wandering among the geysers? How about animal spirits? There are some who claim that the spirit of a grizzly bear guards Death Gulch. He has been named Wahb and has silver tipped fur.  

Carren had her own "spooky" story she shared, "I was visited by something during the night at the Inn that we paid $200 a night to stay in. We were laying in bed with all the lights off, my husband was next to me sound asleep CPAP and all haha! I was listening to your podcast and playing solitaire on my phone. I heard something going through my things. I sat up and it stopped. I laid back down and started listening to the podcast again and then I heard it even louder. So I got brave and I turned on my flashlight and looked at the end of my bed, on my suitcase was a mouse eating my brownies for heaven sake!!! Little monster was so loud!! So I did get a little spook after all!"

Yellowstone is well worth the visit for just the natural wonders and animals alone. But with the possibility of ghosts, it is all the better. Is Yellowstone National Park haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

HGB Ep. 326 - Legends of India

Moment in Oddity - Coga the Sheep
Suggested by: John Michaels

Blood transfusions have saved countless lives. It was surprising to us to find out that this risky procedure started back in the 1600s, given the fact that blood couldn't be typed back then. The first successful one was in 1665. Unbelievably, transfusions of animal blood to humans was begun shortly thereafter. After ten years, these were deemed illegal because of the bad reactions people would have. There would also be the use of milk before it was figured out that saline would be safer to help with the transfusions. But let's get back to that animal to human transfusion thing. There were people who actually believed that such a thing would give humans animal powers. Remember Samuel Pepys Diary that we talked about in the last episode? Well, he wrote in it, "may, if it takes, be of mighty use man’s health, for the mending of bad blood by borrowing from a better body." Sheep and calves were used a couple of times and two people managed to survive the transfusions before a third died and made the practice illegal. Despite this, another experiment was carried out on a mentally ill man named Arthur Coga. A lamb was used and the process was called a xenotransfusion and it took place before the prestigious Royal Society on November 23, 1667. Coga lived and actually had a second xenotransfusion. After this, he started claiming he was half-sheep and signed his letters "Coga the Sheep." He complained about the "loss of his own wool." When he was offered a third transfusion, he refused saying he had already been transformed into another species and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - G.I. Joe Action Figures Launch

In the month of February, on the 2nd, in 1964, Hasbro introduces the G. I. Joe action figure. Many of the listeners to HGB probably considered themselves nerds. Both of your hosts are nerds. Lots of nerds dig action figures and G.I. Joe would be the first. There would be a whole line of them that represented the four branches of the military: Action Soldier for Army, Action Sailor for Navy, Action Pilot for Air Force and Action Marine for the Marine Corps. An Action Nurse would come later. These figures were 12-inches tall originally and were designed by Stan Weston. He sold the design to Hasbro for $100,000 and the rest is history. The figures would continue to be made for decades and downsized to 3.75 inches. The smaller models would have the same multiple areas of articulation as their bigger counterparts and this made them both superior to figures like Barbie or Kenner's Star Wars figures. And today, many of those earlier models are worth quite a bit of money.

Legends of India

The country of India is a place with beautiful structures and gorgeous mountain settings, but also caste systems and abject poverty. India is an ancient city that has been ruled and controlled by many other countries and still finds some of its areas in political upheaval and struggles with its neighbors, Pakistan and China, continue today. This is a place of mystique and enlightened religious beliefs and many people living here harbor superstitions and beliefs about possession and spirits. The Himalayas are as rife with magical beliefs as our Appalachian Mountains in America. In this episode, we will touch on a brief history of India and then delve into her many ghost stories and legends!

Covering the history of India is best done by measuring the country along a timeline. There is so much to unwrap politically and culturally. Most of what we know about India comes from movies or technology. We've all experienced spending hours on the phone with some tech in India. The country has become quite known in the fields of technology and medicine. But in many other ways, the country is very backwards in its thinking about certain classes of people. I remember watching the Patrick Swayze movie "City of Joy" and seeing how people of different caste systems were treated. It's not one of his better known movies, but it is one of his best and I wish it would've gotten more attention.

The first known man-made structures in India are the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka that date to 9000 BC and are found on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau and the neat thing about these are they are decorated with paintings. The Mehrgarh Culture showed up in 7000 BC and lasted until 3300 BC. Archaeologists have found signs of farming and herding in the ruins. The Indus Valley Civilization would follow and they would make use of writing using Harappan script. This group would grow and expand to 2500 cities, some of which were very large. They made use of drainage and sewage systems. The Vedic Age started in 1700 BC and went through 500 BC. This was a time of the Vedic Sanskrit texts and Hinduism would come out of this. Families would become patriarchal, which makes us think they were matriarchal up to this point. The caste system would take hold at this time. At the beginning, Hinduism split people into four groups: the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. This developed into the system that still exists today even though India has made rules to make it illegal to discriminate according to caste rank. This more modern system is a social structure that divides different groups into higher castes and lower castes and is judged based on family, color, wealth and other such things. Karma is to blame for where somebody ends up. There are 3,000 castes with sub-castes also. The Dalits are considered untouchable. These would be people suffering from leprosy and other such diseases. Imagine deeming humans as untouchable.

Starting in 500 BC Buddhism and Jainism would rise. This time period is considered Ancient India and this is when King Darius would grow an empire and then his son would later be defeated by Alexander the Great. The Macedonian Empire started then and would be followed by many different empires. A timeline makes it appear that kingdoms switched out as often as every 70 years, so nearly every couple of generations. The Medieval Period ran from 550 AD to 1526 AD. Marco Polo would visit India during this time. Post-Medieval Era lasted until 1818 AD. The Taj Mahal would be built during this time in 1658. During the 1700s, there would be many wars. The British would take over control of India in 1818 and this began the Colonial Era that lasted until 1947. India would become a free country then.

Jayne Dyson writing for the BBC in 2013, spent some time in an Himalayan village and she wrote of the beliefs of the people there when it came to spirit possession and they clearly think it is a common occurrence. Dyson wrote, "Spirit possession is a big issue in Bemni. There are times when villagers expect to be possessed, at weddings, or specially organised pujas, religious ceremonies. Then the spirit of an ancestor may enter the body of a person, usually in moments of extreme emotion - say when a daughter is being prepared to be given away in a marriage ceremony. The possessed person might cry, shake uncontrollably, fling their arms around, beat their chest. This is part of village culture and it never arouses anxiety. The possessed person quickly recovers to carry on with the rest of the ritual. Possession is also blamed if a child is playing up or a teenager is unusually moody. The parent might call on an elder or a Hindu priest to remove the bad spirit from the body. This possession can be quite low-level and continue for some time. Some young people seem to use possession as an excuse: 'I used to be a hard worker at school, but then... I was possessed.' But what worries villagers more is to be possessed by a evil spirit, by the ghosts that dwell in the forest. These spirits can make them ill, or even kill them." The Indians who live in villages often build multiple temples to help keep away evil spirits. Many of them believe that the woods are full of evil spirits. They probably think Americans and Europeans touring there and going on hikes are crazy.

The Indian people have a particular term they use for a ghost and that is bhoot or bhuta. As is the case in all countries, the region defines how a bhoot is interpreted. Generally, a spirit is said to be hanging around because something is keeping it from transmigrating or moving on to the next place, whether that be Heaven, Hell, Nirvana or non-being. And just as a violent death or unfinished business might lead to a haunting here in America, it is the same in India. That's what of the interesting things about ghosts. They really are uniters in the fact that we all internationally share the same beliefs about them. Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist communities all share cultural beliefs about supernatural entities. Sikhs also have similar beliefs about ghosts, but they make up a very small portion of the Indian population. There is also a female version of the bhoot that is called a chudail that is the spirit of a woman who died during pregnancy or childbirth. They like to lure young men at crossroads and lead them away to their death.

Bhoots generally appear in human form, but can sometimes alter their forms into those of animals. The key thing for identifying a bhoot is by looking at its feet. A bhoot will have feet that are backwards. They also rarely will have those backward feet on the ground as they are loath to touch the earth because it is considered sacred. One description we find hilarious is that they talk with a nasal twang. And another key identifier is that they cast no shadow, which makes sense since they are a spirit. Many bhoots are described as wearing white as well. Things that protect against bhoots are very similar to other places. Water, steel and iron are all used to keep spirits at bay. Burnt turmeric is also supposed to repel bhoots. Spirits can be cast out of places, but they cannot be destroyed, especially in Hindu beliefs. Hindu exorcists perform rituals that will help a bhoot to move on to its next life or the next realm, so it will stop haunting the person of family being tormented.

We are going to start off talking about a couple of haunted locations in West Bengal. The Hindu Bengal culture celebrates Bhoot Chaturdashi during the waning phase of the moon which normally occurs on the 14th day of Krishna Paksha. The Bengalis light 14 earthen-lamps on that night to appease the spirits of their past 14 generations of ancestors. That is a lot of generations! And if you think you aren't real hip to having a bunch of family descend on your home during the holidays, imagine 14 generations crashing on your house. And it's all your fault because you lit those lamps to guide the way. So maybe decide that blackout is the way to go on that evening. During this time there is also a fearsome aspect of the Hindu goddess Kali that can present itself known as Chamunda. Chamunda is the goddess of war and disease and is said to haunt cremation grounds or fig trees. She usually shows up during this festival with 14 other spirits and they ward off evil spirits. Bengalis will light those 14 lamps at different entrances to their homes and in dark corners of rooms to help with keeping the evil spirits at bay and also they might eat a dish of 14 types of leafy vegetable, so they won't be possessed. Clearly, the number 14 is significant to them.

The Bengal culture has about 25 different forms of spirits they recognize. A Petni is a female ghost who died unmarried or has some unsatisfied desires. Mamdo Bhoot is the ghost of a Muslim and is said to kill people by twisting their necks. A Penchapechi is a vampire-like spirit that takes on the form of an owl and haunts the forests of Bengal. Damori are a group of supernatural beings that are not human spirits and come from unseen realms and they can be controlled by people who practice Tantric ways and black magic. They are similar to faeries. A Besho Bhoot is a ghost that lives in a bamboo garden. There is a spirit that can hypnotize a person and take him to an unknown location called a Kanabhula and so people are warned to not walk around alone, especially at night. A Mechho Bhoot is a ghost that likes to eat fish and will demand that fishermen give them their fish, in a nasily voice of course, and if they don't they will harm the fishermen. A Dhan Kudra is a house spirit that helps the owner of the house make money and brings them good luck. A Gechho Bhoot is a ghost that lives in trees. The Atoshi Bhoot is what Bengalis call a ghost light or Will-o'-the-wisp. A Begho Bhoot is the spirit of a person who was killed by a tiger. They get very specific in India. A headless ghost is called a Skondhokata.

They have witches in the Bengali culture and they are called Dainee. They are similar to our witches in folklore as they are said to kidnap children, kill them and suck their blood. The Old Hag that goes with our sleep paralysis happens here too and is known as Boba. Women who commit suicide by drowning or were murdered with water become Sheekol Buri and are spirits that dwell in water. The Nishi are night spirits who call people out to secluded areas by hypnotizing them and those people are never seen again. Benevolent spirits are known as Brahmodaittyo, but in sharp contrast to them are the Rakkhosh, which are demonic creatures that appear with sharp claws, pointy fangs and superhuman strength. Another demonic creature is the Pishach and these are said to be flesh-eating and haunt graveyards. The female version is called a Pishachini and she has a terrible appearance and drains men of their virility and blood. Little spirits that are dwarf-like are Khokkosh and giant spirits are Daittyo. The Betaal is almost like a zombie in that it inhabits a cadaver and uses it for getting around. The Jokkho is a warrior-type entity that is benevolent and usually protects the wealth of whoever worships it. And finally, the Bengali also believe in the Djinn of the Muslims.

Morgan House

Kalimpong is a town in the Indian state of West Bengal, which is on the far western side of India. This area is called Chandralok, which means "the land of the moon." This town had once been the gateway for trade between Tibet and India before China annexed Tibet. Fur, wool and grains would pass between the two on passes that were offshoots of the ancient Silk Road. Indigenous tribes had lived here for centuries before the area would be ruled by the Sikkimese Kingdom followed by the Bhutanese Kingdom. In 1865, a treaty ceded the territory to the British East India Company. The town started as a small hamlet, but flourished and grew under British control and soon became known for its schools. India gained its independence in 1947 and Kalimpong became part of West Bengal. Buddhist monks fleeing Tibet established monasteries in the town and many important Buddhist scriptures are housed here in the Phodang Monastery and Zang Dhok Palri Monastery. It would be nice to finish off this brief history with a statement like the town continues to prosper in peace, but it is anything but peaceful here. For several decades, factions have fought to establish separate states along ethnic lines and despite the government forming a special council for governing in the area, the fights continue and the city has been under siege more than once.

It was here in Kalimpong, that a jute baron named George Morgan would build his big, beautiful home during British colonial rule. The home is named Morgan House for him and is described as a scenic hill station. Certain locations in Asia and Africa were given the name hill station by the British to refer to a town that was higher in elevation that was used as a refuge from summer heat. There are literally hundreds of hill stations in India. A jute baron was a man who had made his money in the jute industry and jute is a long, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. This fiber is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in how it is used and how much can be produced. Some of those uses are in the making of burlap and gunny cloth. So Morgan had plenty of money to build his home. He also married a woman who was an indigo plantation owner. They built Morgan House on sixteen acres atop the mountain of Durpindara, overlooking the majestic Kanchenjunga mountain range. The area is absolutely gorgeous.

Morgan House was built in the 1930s in the colonial Victorian style. The house was built from brick and wood and features lots of large, multi-paned rectangular windows. And when I say lots, I mean there are practically more windows than brick. The front porch is flanked by pillars and there are several large stone chimneys. I counted at least five. The house is two stories and has seven rooms. The landscaping is lush with gardens all around and much of the house is covered in ivy. This is reflective of the fact that Kalimpong is described as a city of flowers. The fireplaces were made from brick. I'm not sure how much has changed through the years, but the interior is not real fancy. Reviews describe rooms as large with antique wooden furniture.

The Morgans lived here for many years before Mrs. Morgan died a premature death. And this death would be a mystery. Some claimed that she had been taken with a serious illness while others blamed something nefarious for her death. There were people who claimed that George had abused and tortured his wife and that she finally died because of that. I had read both that George Morgan had abandoned the house shortly after his wife died and I also read in a 2004 newspaper article that both Morgans had died without an heir so the house was taken over by a Trustee Board and then eventually the government took ownership of the house. It was then turned into a boutique hotel that is still open today. It is a favorite of Bollywood actors. Sunil and Nargis Dutt, Kishore Kumar, Leena Chandavarkar, Om Prakash and Bengali actor Utpal Dutt, who has starred in comedy films like "Golmal" and "Hamari Bahu Alka." Many have left behind testimonials that are framed on the walls. The house is now being run by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation.

And there are people who have stayed here that have claimed to have had unexplained experiences. It is believed that the spirit of Mrs. Morgan is here. Supposedly there have been no sightings of Mrs. Morgan's apparition specifically, but people have heard tapping of high-heeled footwear in the corridors of the lodge. People have claimed to hear a creepy female voice too. Some tourists after spending a night in the house have said that they had seen the shadowy figure of a lady in the mirror of the bathroom. Others have claimed to hear the voice of a female whispering.

Victoria Boy’s High School and Dow Hill Girl’s Boarding School

Darjeeling is another town in West Bengal. It followed much of the same path as Kalimpong in the dynasties and countries that ruled it. And there have been power struggles in the region as well. The British East India Company decided this area was perfect for a sanatorium for British soldiers. The Victoria Boy’s High School and Dow Hill Girl’s Boarding School is found here in Kurseong, Darjeeling. The school was started in 1879 by Sir Ashley Eden who was a diplomat in British India and also the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. Initially, the school was named Dow Hill School. The school was a necessity for the children of railway workers and government servants. Rather than building a new structure, a house was bought and converted. This house had been known as "Constantia." The first group of children numbered sixteen. Eventually, the school needed to expand and it moved into the former Railway Offices. The Boy's School would break away and move to another building not far away. The schools do very well academically and are still open.

The schools have seen  much history and just happen to be part of the Dow Hill Station. The stories connected to Dow Hill are creepy! First, let's start with the Victoria Boy's School. It is closed during the Winter vacation from December to March and people claim that although the school is closed the sounds of footsteps and disembodied voices are heard. We're not sure if these occurrences are related to things that happened in the school or to the haunted forest that surrounds the school.

Between Dow Hill Road and the Forest office, there is a road that has been called "Death Road."  People traveling this road claim to feel as though they are being followed and watched. Some are even luckier to spot the apparition that is seen here often: a headless young boy. He is seen walking and then disappearing into the forest. There is also a Grey Lady seen in this forest. Legends claim that many murdered bodies have been found in these woods. Could that be why these woods are considered so haunted?

Lambi Dehar Mines

The mystery and creepiness of the Lambi Dehar Mines has made this location a favorite setting for horror movies and spooky TV programs. This had once been a fully operational lime mine that employed thousands of workers in Mussoorie, which is a colonial hill station known as the "Queen of the Hills." This is in the state of Uttarakhand that is north of West Bengal and is adjacent to Tibet and Nepal. There are 44 hill stations here and everything is so beautiful. The mine had employed thousands of workers in conditions that left hundreds of them dead. The mines soon earned the nickname "Mines of Death." Most of these workers were killed by something called the choking blood death. I imagine it was similar to black lung in that it affected the lungs. There is no record of when the mines opened, but they remained open until the 1990s, but after the deaths of 50,000 workers, they were finally deemed unsafe and abandoned. And now they are said to be one of the most haunted sites in India. Most of the spirits are said to belong to miners who died in the tunnels from accidents. Their disembodied screams are heard as are strange voices.There have been many fatal car accidents near the mines that are blamed on the spirits and a helicopter even crashed here once. A bit of legend claims that a witch has taken over the mines and there are people who claim to see her roaming about.

Savoy Hotel

The Savoy Hotel is found in Mussoorie as well. There is a ghost here named Lady Garnet Orme and she roams the hotel looking for whomever murdered her using rat poison. Her doctor found her dead and believed it was suspicious.Locals don't like the hotel and won't stay here because it is haunted. ITC Limited owns the hotel toady and they refurbished it and no ghost sightings have been reported.

South Park Street Cemetery

Kolkata is known as the City of Joy and is the capital of the state of West Bengal. The city is known for its grand colonial architecture and Mother Teresa's charity and tomb are here. This was formerly Calcutta, but changed to its Bengali spelling and pronunciation. The city has a few haunts. The first we'll venture into is the South Park Street Cemetery, which is a Christian burial ground. The cemetery was founded in 1767 and is the oldest burial ground in Kolkata. And oh my, is this necropolis wonderful! The front gate is bordered by a Gothic styled building that is painted pink. Well maintained concrete pathways guide people along. The crypts and mausoleums are plentiful, mossed and fern covered and eclectic. This cemetery is a jumble of styles from classical antiquity to Indo-Gothic to European Gothic. The cemetery covers eight acres and is surrounded by a high brick wall. The tallest structure in the cemetery is an obelisk that marks the burial of Sir William Jones who was the founder of the Asiatic Society. Similar to the Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah, this cemetery has several headstones mounted in the eastern wall that used to be at the North Park Street Cemetery that was closed and bodies were moved. The South Park Cemetery continued burials until the 1840s.

Many tourists come here and some have claimed to see and even capture on film, shadow figures. That is, if their cameras work. There are people who have had issues with cameras malfunctioning. Superstitious people who live near the cemetery keep their windows shut at all times. Perhaps that is because people complain of feeling dizzy in the graveyard and some fall ill after leaving. Is there some kind of curse that follows them home?

Wipro Technologies

And speaking of cemeteries, the Wipro Technologies building in Kolkata is said to be haunted because it was built over a former cemetery. People outside of the building see figures moving about inside the building at night when no one is supposed to be in the building. The most haunted floor is the third floor of Tower 3. People working at night, mostly security guards, claim to see apparitions in the hallways and stepping out of the lifts.

Rabindra Sarovar Metro Station

Nearly 80% of the suicides in Kolkata take place at the Rabindra Sarovar Metro Station. It has garnered the nickname "Paradise of Suicide" and is one of the busiest metro stations. People claim the last train is haunted. Eerie shadows are seen and attendants say they see apparitions that seem to be walking around aimlessly. Sometimes when the last train pulls out, riders will still see several people crowding the platform, but they aren't there because they had been running to catch the train. These people already had the last ride they'll ever take.

Sanjay Van

The Sanjay Van is in India's capital of Delhi. As we pointed out, forests are places that Indians are a bit superstitious about and the Sanjay Van is a forest. People enjoy the beautiful greenery during the day, but when night falls, no one wants to be in the forest because this one is said to definitely be haunted. There are graves here, some of them are majaars, which are mausoleums, to Sufi saints and there are also ruins of the Qila Rai Pithora fort. People in the Sanjay Van at night hear cries and laughter. They also see a Woman in White, a lady wearing a white sari, who disappears into the forest.


Golkonda is a fort and was an early capital city. The fortress was built on a granite hill in the early 1500s for the Qutb Shahi dynasty. It fell into ruin in 1687 after a seige. The area then became known for the diamonds found there, the Golconda Diamonds. Visitors to the ruins claim to have seen the spirits of soldiers who died in the battles. There is also the spirit of a dancer here that was named "Taramati." She was the most famous courtesans of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The sound of her ghungroo can be heard sometimes. For those who don't know, a ghungroo is the anklet with little bells that Indian dancers wear.

The Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court is a beautiful structure done in the Gothic style that was built in 1862. It is one of the oldest high courts in India and that has led to a lot of history of firsts from the first Attorney General to the first Chief Justice and first Solicitor General after India gained its independence. The court is haunted by a spirit that people claim is either that of a lawyer or a murder convict. The targets of this vengeful spirit are usually those accused of murder and the spirit curses them in a hoarse voice and blocks the doors to a courtroom. The stories of this apparition have been told for over 30 years.

Three Kings Church in Goa

Three Kings Church in Goa is believed to be one of the most haunted places in India. It's officially known as Our Lady of Remedios Chapel. The church is found in the village of  Cansaulim, which is just south of Gao on the southwestern coast of India. It was built in 1599 and has has Spanish influences in the architecture. It reminds us of a mission and its painted white as well. People walking around the church say they get eerie feelings. The spirits here are said to belong to three kings. The only one with a known name is King Holger Alvunger. He desired to rule alone and two other kings challenged him. King Holger decided to poison the other two kings. When the people who supported the other kings heard what he had done, they became enraged. Holger knew they were going to kill him, so he decided to take the same poison he gave to the other kings. The three kings were buried in the church, thus the name. A team of paranormal investigators came to the church and caught evidence of several spirits.

India has many interesting legends and stories about ghosts. There also seem to be many haunted locations. Are these places in India haunted? That is for you to decide!