Thursday, August 6, 2020

HGB Ep. 348 - Orleans Waterfront Inn and Haunted Brewster

Moment in Oddity - The Legend of Cliff Young
Suggested by: Chelsea Flowers

Cliff Young was an unlikely competitor. He was an Australian farmer who was 61 years old and he showed up to the start line of the annual Sydney to Melbourne endurance race wearing overalls and work boots in 1983. The young professional athletes getting ready to run this race probably figured that Cliff was there to watch. And that makes sense considering that this race is 544 miles long and considered one of the world's most grueling races. Most athletes took five days to complete the race. Every one was shocked when Cliff picked up his race number.  His fellow competitors mocked him and said he would never finish the race. Cliff replied, "Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn't afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I'd have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I'd always catch them. I believe I can run this race." Cliff started the race behind everybody and rather than run, he shuffled. Most runners would run for 18 hours and then sleep for six, but Cliff kept right on shuffling. As the race continued, Cliff gained ground and started passing the racers. He eventually passed them all and he was the first runner to cross the finish line and he set a record. He was awarded $10,000, but he didn't care about the money and he gave it away to several other runners. Cliff's racing style came to be known as the "Young-shuffle" and many ultra-marathon runners use it, with three of them winning using that style. And all runners forego sleeping because they know they won't win if they do. A sixty-one year old farmer winning a marathon is amazing, but one winning an endurance race while shuffling in work boots, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Six Flags Over Texas Opens

In the month of August, on the 1st, in 1961, Six Flags Over Texas opens. This Six Flags park in Texas would be the first park in the Six Flags chain. The park was located in Arlington, Texas on 212 acres and took one year and $10 million to build. Six Flags Over Texas would pioneer many rides and concepts that are now the standard for amusement parks. Here one would find the first mine train ride, log flume, 360-degree looping roller coaster, parachute drop and river rapid ride. An all-inclusive admission price ticket, rather than the standard individual ride tickets was introduced by Six Flags too. Surprisingly, the man who built the park was an oilman and real estate developer who had thrown the park up on some vacant land as a temporary way to make a quick buck. The success of the park changed his mind about this being a temporary place. And the name Six Flags has a historical meaning behind it. Six different flags have flown over the state of Texas: France, Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy, Texas and the United States.

Orleans Waterfront Inn and Haunted Brewster

The Orleans Waterfront Inn lies between Town Cove and Route 28 in Orleans, Massachusetts. This had been the home of a sea captain whose family had strong ties to Orleans and whose ancestors were pilgrims. The original building has been here for over 100 years and was said to be a favorite haunt of the Irish Mafia where they ran whiskey. This was reputedly a brothel for a time as well, where a lady of the evening lost her life. The inn was the scene of two suicides. Perhaps because of this history, the inn is reputedly haunted. Not far from Orleans is the town of Brewster. There are several haunted locations in this town from the Crosby Mansion to the Bramble Inn and Restaurant to the Captain Freeman Perry house. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Orleans Waterfront Inn and the town of Brewster.

Constance Hopkins was the first pilgrim to spot Cape Cod from the Mayflower. She was fourteen at the time. In 1627, she would marry Nicholas Snow and they would have between nine to twelve children. Officially, there are only nine documented children. Her descendants would be integral in the formation of Orleans. Some of the pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony were not happy with the size of their land tracts, nor the soil. In 1693, they decided to leave and found a separate settlement. At the time this was just a southern parish of Eastham. Later, it was named Orleans in honor of Louis Philippe II who was the Duke of Orleans and the town would be officially incorporated in 1797. Constance's descendant Isaac Snow was part of that effort to incorporate. The town chose a French name to honor the French for their support during the Revolutionary War. Today, Orleans is known as the Jewell of the Lower Cape. There are 46 miles of salt water shoreline and 12 miles of fresh water shoreline depending on which side of the village one is located.

The Cape supported several industries from whaling to fishing to agriculture to salt works. Aaron Snow Jr. was another descendant of Constance and he would build a wharf near Town Cove. He used timber from a vessel that shipwrecked on the dangerous Nauset Shoals. His business was running a schooner called the Nettie M Rogers and Aaron would sail up and down the New England coast, transporting fuel, oil and grain. Near this wharf, he built a home for himself, his wife and their seven children in 1875. This was Victorian in style with mansard roofs and was quite large because it also housed a store that the Snow family ran. The main part of the house was six stories with that sixth level being a cupola.

Many residents of the town referred to the store and house as "Aaron's Folly." The sea captain died on May 10, 1892. One of Aaron's sons was named William H. and when he inherited the business, he decided to move it to the center of Orleans and it still runs there today under the Snow family. The house remained empty until it was bought in 1900. Two sisters bought it and reopened as a boarding house and that is how it remained for 30 years as it passed through the hands of four owners. In the 1940s, a German man bought the building and the northeast and southwest wings were added and the boarding house became an inn and restaurant known as the Orleans Inn. At first, it was only open in the summer, but it moved to year round. During the 1950s and 1960s, it was THE place to visit on the Cape. It fell into disrepair, but in 1995 Ed and Laurie Maas purchased the property and restored it to its former glory. The family rebuilt a large deck and added a large awning over it and this serves as a gathering area. They run it as the Orleans Waterfront Inn and O'Hagan's Irish Pub. There is a neat windmill adjacent to the inn.
That's the official history, but there is a seedy side to this hotel. There are rumors that it ran as a brothel for a time during the Roaring Twenties and that the Irish Mafia controlled the building at some point during Prohibition. Hannah was said to be one of the ladies who worked at the brothel and she was murdered in the front entrance of the hotel, although we could find no official report of this crime. Same goes for the stories of the Irish Mob being here. The Irish Mob was founded in the early 19th century and is thought to be the oldest mob in America. For more than 200 years, this group has worked in major cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Boston committing various crimes from racketeering to robbery, assault, gambling, drug and liquor trafficking, murder, loansharking and counterfeiting. Their main focus has been in the drug trade, but during Prohibition, they were alcohol runners. Boston had a presence through the Gustin Gang, which was run by Frank Wallace until his death in 1931. We couldn't find anything that indicated that the Irish Mafia ventured into Cape Cod, but it's definitely possible. What is interesting about this time of bootlegging is that from 1931 to 1933, nearly every high level Irish American bootlegger was executed gangland style. (Whitey Bulger probably most famous Irish mob guy.)

Owner Ed Maas has not only heard many stories about the haunts at his inn, he has experienced strange things himself. In fact, he had purchased the inn with the plan to demolish it and build something else, but when he and his wife walked through it and felt a blast of cold air, his wife declared that they should save the hotel for the ghosts. Guests have reported disembodied footsteps, doors slamming shut on their own and gusts of cold air. Ed snapped a weird picture at the Chatham High School 25th reunion party that was held at the inn. There are three couples in the picture and right in front of them is a white, smoky mist. Ed claims that this more than likely was Hannah manifesting.

Ed thinks there are at least three ghosts. He has experienced Hannah himself. He liked to sleep on the couch in case a guest needed something in the middle of the night. He was awakened one evening when a naked woman came down the stairs and started dancing in the center of the room. He politely said "hello" as he wondered what she was doing and she said "hello" to him in return. He then fell back to sleep. The next day, a man called who had been a passing motorist and he wanted to complain about the lack of curtains in the windows. He said he could see a naked woman dancing in the fifth floor window. There was no guest staying in that room.

Ryan Maas was the owner's son and he shared his experiences with Ghost Hunters when they featured the inn on an episode. In 1996, Ryan was eighteen and he came up to do renovations. One of his duties was to lock everything up. He would start up at the cupola and check all the windows and doors on his way down, ending with the front door. The next day, the front door was completely open when he arrived. No one was in the house. This happened repeatedly and this was a door that was triple bolted. Another door on an upper floor that had been locked would be found open as well.

In the dining room, servers will blow out all the candles at the end of the evening and sometimes when they come back in, they find the candles relit. Josh Santiago was a server and he saw a man wearing plaid out of the corner of his eye and when he turned to look at the man, there was no one there. In the tavern, drinks would move along the rail of the bar top all on their own. This has been experienced over and over and the glass always slides in the same direction.

In the 1970s, a kitchen worker named Paul had worked here and he loved his job. He had lived down in the basement and when he didn't come up for work, a co-worker went down and found him hanging. Now kitchen workers claim to see a well-dressed man, wearing an apron, coming up from or retreating to the basement. And nobody will go into the basement at night, especially alone.

Room 5 is reputedly haunted. A former guest had checked in claiming that she only wanted a room for the weekend, but she ended up staying for three months and wouldn't let anybody come into the room. During that time she slowly unraveled into a breakdown. Another woman checked in to this room on another weekend and she seemed to be driven crazy in the room too. Other guests claimed to hear weird noises coming out of the room like a pack of wolves. So this was the woman making a noise that sounded like that. Ryan Haas said it scared him to death. They had to get the cops to take the first woman out and the family of the second woman had to come get her out. Room 4 is another haunted room. Ryan's sister once saw a figure in the mirror in this room.

The cupola was the scene of another suicide. Fred was a bartender and he climbed up to the cupola and hanged himself inside of it. He was there for five days before he was found, so it was a rough scene. Peggy Begg was a former employee and she was watching the inn by herself one evening and she decided to tell Fred "goodnight." Right after that, she heard an audible male voice call out "goodnight." She started running.

Jason and Grant were in Room 5, about four hours into the investigation when they both heard an audible female scream. The sound came from the other side of the closet. They both also heard a male voice mutter something later in the evening. Amy and Kris investigated Room 4. This is a room that is said to have a ghost cat. The ladies tried to make contact with Hannah and while they were doing an EVP session, they heard noises coming from the bathroom. Amy figured out that it was the shower curtain. They decided to do the flashlight experiment in that bathroom. The flashlight turned on to indicate that the spirit understood. And then it was turned off on command. The flashlight started turning on to indicate "yes." They believed they were talking with Hannah and she indicated that a customer had murdered her. The ladies then heard footsteps coming from above them, which was the cupola. Two other investigators were shushed by something unseen in the bar. These same guys heard a bang in the bathroom of Room 5. Steve and Tango figured out that big EMF spikes down in the basement were coming from the HVAC units, so that may be causing the creepy feelings.

Just a short ten minute drive down the road is the town of Brewster. Elder William Brewster was the first religious leader of the pilgrims at Plymouth Colony and this town was named in his honor. Brewster was first settled in 1656 and would be incorporated in 1803. This was a town where rich sea captains chose to live and they built mansions here. Several of these still exist and have been turned into bed-and-breakfasts. And wouldn't you know, some of them are apparently haunted too!

Bramble Inn and Restaurant

The Bramble Inn and Restaurant is located at 2019 Main Street and had been voted the best restaurant in Cape Cod. This property consists of two historic buildings, with the main building being built in 1861 and the smaller house being built in 1849. Ruth Manchester's family bought the property in 1985 and they began renovations in 1987. She felt like the renovations kicked up some paranormal activity and thought the place was haunted. She said, "I used to get a creepy feeling sometimes when I entered the room." This was a guestroom in the 1849 house. She was not alone. Both employees and guests have had similar feelings in the room. A female spirit reportedly bangs on doors and moans throughout the night. The property was bought by Rob and Andrea DiSimone in 2017 and they renamed it Spinnaker. They gave the restaurant and bed-and-breakfast a makeover and Rob runs the kitchen and Andrea supervises the dining room. We're not sure if any spirits have made their presence known to them.

Captain Freeman Perry House

We couldn't find much history on this one. Unfortunately, the official website of this inn doesn't have a page on the history. Here's what we managed to dig up. Captain William Freeman was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1820. He married Phebe Hurd in 1845 and they had two children. Phebe died in 1885 and the Captain remarried in 1886 to a woman named Hannah and they had a daughter they named Phebe. He got involved in the clipper trade and amassed a fortune. He commanded several ships and made his home in Brewster. He built his mansion in 1866. Today, the Captain Freeman Inn is owned by Laurie and Jason who purchased it in 2011. In August of 2019 they finished up the major renovations they were doing to the inn. This took them seven years. The interior is beautiful and features medallions on the ceilings above beautiful chandeliers and the ceilings were painted by Laurie in haint blue just like one would find on the porch ceilings. Donna Caine is the cook and makes some delectable stuff. They ghost stories connected to this inn feature an apparition dating back to the early 1900s that has been seen floating through the hallways and in the guest rooms.

The Crosby Mansion

The Crosby Mansion is located on a rise of land with great views of Cape Cod Bay. This three-story, 35-room mansion was built by Albert Crosby. He was born in 1823 and raised here. As a matter of fact, his mansion wraps around his family's homestead. He left for the Merchant Marines as an adult and then ended up in Chicago where he opened up a dry goods business with borrowed money. He made his fortune distilling alcohol and he also patented the first kerosene oil that was smokeless. Most of his sales for the distilled alcohol came during the Civil War to the government. He moved back to his hometown after making his fortune, bringing his new wife with him who was a burlesque performer and 23 years younger than him. Her name was Matilda and he built the mansion for her.

The mansion was built by John Hinckley and Sons in 1888 and no expense was spared. There was a tall 60 foot vewing tower. The interior was extraordinary with 15 fireplaces that were each diverse, made from imported English tile. The parlor fireplace had intricate woodwork and a beveled mirror tinted green. This was inspired by a mirror Matilda saw at Versailles when the couple were on their honeymoon. The main foyer fireplace was modeled after one she saw at Buckingham Palace.

A beautiful library was off the foyer with carved mahogany and the upper portions of the walls were done in Japanese leather paper that was imported from Japan and washed in gold leaf. The master bedroom is on the second floor and features a dressing room with his-and-her walk-in closets and a marble bathroom with running water and a flush toilet, which was ahead of its time then. A large guest room was on this level too that hosted guests like Mark Twain and Prince Albert. There were marble sinks and floors throughout the home, gas lighting and heating, an art gallery and a two-story billiards room.

The Crosbys called their home "Tawasentha", probably after Longfellow’s poem, "Song of Hiawatha." Matilda loved to entertain here and the Old Colony Railroad laid a side track to the house to make it easier for people to arrive. Sometimes the parties got to be too much for the older Albert and he would retreat to his favorite rocking chair or head over to the home where he grew up, the modest 1830s Cape style home. Albert died in 1906 at the age of 83. Matilda decided to open the gallery to the public one day a week in summer and the town in return gave her a break on taxes.

Matilda died in 1928 and the mansion passed to her grandnieces and they later sold it. Martha Atwood was an opera singer and she bought the mansion in 1938. She opened a music school there and Kirk Douglas even studied there. The school went out of business during World War II. Then the mansion just sat vacant until 1950. The Horgan Family bought it and remodeled it so they could open the Gold Coast Restaurant and Inn. The art gallery burned during that time. The mansion became a weight-loss camp in 1959 when a group of nutritionists headed by Dr. John Spargo bought it. They added a dining hall in 1965. Dr. Spargo bought out his partners in 1978 and decided to develop condominiums on the property. The town of Brewster said no to that plan and so he sold it to the state. The mansion fell into disrepair and, of course, was vandalized. A grassroots effort to save the mansion was started by Brewster residents Brian Locke and his mother, Ginny Locke. The Friends of Crosby Mansion was then started and they began the restoration of Crosby Mansion. Weddings and various functions are hosted here.

There are some whom claim that the Crosby Mansion is haunted. When the house was basically abandoned and had no electricity hooked up, people claimed to see lights on inside the mansion. They also claimed to see faces in the windows even though nobody was inside. And the weirdest claim is that unexplained blood marks have appeared on the front step.

The Orleans Waterfront Inn is a gorgeous seaside inn with a seedy history. Many people have experienced unexplained happenings here and the Ghost Hunters seemed to get some evidence. Brewster has some beautiful old homes that seem to have some weird things going on as well. Is the Orleans Waterfront Inn haunted and are these Brewster locations haunted? That is for you to decide!

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