Saturday, October 31, 2020

HGB Halloween Special 2020

Throughout the years, we have shared the history behind certain elements of the Halloween traditions we practice and we have also looked at the history behind haunted attractions and last year we looked at the history of paranormal television. We thought it would be fun to focus our history on the Halloween Special on people who helped raise us weird kids who consider Halloween the number one holiday and that are horror hosts. We asked our listeners about the ones they grew up with and the ones that were their favorites and we are going to share many of them on this special along with sharing some true paranormal experiences of our listeners.

Some of the horror hosts we have included aren't technically what would be defined as horror hosts by purists. Diane is a purist, but she's not a tyrant and so she is including some here that listeners suggested that she would not consider to be horror hosts. Horror hosts technically are presenters of low budget B movies of the horror and science fiction genre. Most of these films are nicknamed "Creature Features." Most of these hosts are very campy and take on unique stage names as you will soon hear. The idea of having horror hosts started in the 1950s and it was initiated by Screen Gems who marketed a package of old Universal movies they called Shock! and suggested that a host be used to present the films. Another package was offered in the 1960s called Creature Features. Horror hosts have been such a successful idea that they have continued all the way up until our current time. Most are seen on public access channels and many became well known in the 1980s when UHF channels came into existence. Last year, Diane tried to catch all of Joe Bob Briggs Specials on Shutter during the Halloween season. There are well over 100 notable horror hosts. Obviously, we don't have time to focus on them all, so we will hit on the ones our listeners suggested. We'll do them in order of how many people suggested them.

We share the audio from a trailer for American Scary, a documentary about horror hosts by John E. Hudgens and Sandy Clark.

Vampira (Maila Nurmi) - We cannot start this list without having Vampira. (Vampira) Most of the listeners and us are not old enough to have watched Vampira, but she is the one who started the horror host thing and she inspired them all. We've talked about Vampira before on Ep. 229, Haunted Cemeteries 5 in which we featured the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. We actually got to see her grave when we visited the cemetery in 2018. Vampira was born when Nurmi attended Choreographer Lester Horton's annual Bal Caribe Masquerade in a costume inspired by Morticia Addams in 1953. She made her skin pale white and wore a tight black dress. Television producer Hunt Stromberg, Jr. saw her and knew she would be perfect to host horror movies on the Los Angeles television station KABC-TV. Nurmi's husband Dean Riesner came up with the name Vampira. Nurmi's characterization of Vampira was inspired by the Dragon Lady from the comic strip Terry and the Pirates and the evil queen from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She hosted "The Vampira Show" from 1954-1955. She also appeared in Ed Wood’s cult film, "Plan 9 From Outer Space" among other films. She died of natural causes in 2008.

Larry Vincent - We wanted to mention Larry Vincent because his early work would help bring Elvira to us all. Vincent was a horror host who went by the name Seymour and he hosted Fright Night and Seymour's Monster Rally from 1969 to 1974 out of Los Angeles. He would pop up in a little window in the corner of the screen to comment occasionally on a movie and even sometimes used a blue screen so he appeared to be actually interacting within the movie. Vincent served as Knott's Berry Farm's inaugural "Ghost Host," in 1973 at Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1974 and died shortly thereafter on March 9, 1975. Six years after Vincent died, Elvira took over hosting Fright Night and this would eventually become Elvira's Movie Macabre. The horror host in the 1985 horror film Fright Night was named "Peter Vincent in tribute to him. (Vincent)

Dr. Gangrene (Larry Underwood) - Diane heard about this guy from listening to the Monster Kids Radio Podcast. He is from out of the Nashville area. Dr. Gangrene knows his stuff and won the 2014 Rondo award for best horror blog. He is a regular columnist for Scary Monsters Magazine and has written his own short stories. Dr. Gangrene was born on July 1st, 1999 with the persona of a mad scientist when Larry began hosting a half-hour program called Chiller Cinema. The show got so popular it expanded to cable access channels around the country. An updated version of the show called Dr. Gangrene's Creature Feature launched in 2005 and ran until 2010. Larry still has a show that airs twice a week on Nashville's Arts Channel, Ch. 9, and is called Dr. Gangrene Presents. (Dr Gangrene)

The Ghoul - Suggested by Roberta (Ron Sweed) - Ron Sweed's inspiration was Ghoulardi. Jerry Vile who is a Detroit artist, media maker and creator of The Dirty Shown said of Sweed, “He was the Hunter S. Thompson of trash. You didn’t have to be an adult to know he wasn’t playing by the rules. He was everybody’s introduction to anarchy.  He influenced a lot of people. He was like the proto-punk. It was true revolution for the hell of it. Blowing up stuff with fireworks — we weren’t supposed to do that. But here he was, doing it on the TV.” Sweed was born in Ohio and he grew up in Cleveland. He got his start in horror hosting when he was thirteen. He wore a gorilla suit to a live performance of Ghoulardi and the man brought him up on the stage and then made him his production assistant. Sweed did that for several years until Ghoulardi headed to LA, but Sweed continued to help the show that took over the spot. In 1970, he got Ghoulardi's permission to revive his old character, but make it his own. In the late 70s , he got syndication to area big cities. He had a good run, off and on, for thirty years and was revived again in 1998 and ran for 6 more years. Sweed had a heart attack in November 2018 and died five months later from complications. (The Ghoul)

Bob Wilkins - Suggested by Gary - Bob Wilkins started in television in 1963 in California. He became a horror host in 1966, moving the show from Sacramento to San Francisco. He never took on the type of crazy persona that many of his peers did, rather he developed some trademarks like always having a cigar, sitting in a rocking chair and commenting about the bad horror films he hosted with a dry sense of humor. He would gain huge success when Creature Features debuted in 1971. And when we say success, the show rated better than Saturday Night Live at the same time. Wilkins eventually went on to host a children's show as Captain Cosmic in 1977. He retired from television in the 1980s and went into advertising. He died in 2007 from Alzheimer's Disease. (Wilkins)

Christine McConnell - Suggested by Frankie - McConnell is not technically a horror host, but she does host a creepy show and considers herself a goth baker. She hosts The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell on Netflix and she is accompanied by a cast of monster houseguests created by Henson Alternative. She whips up some ghastly recipes as she comments with a witty banter. McConnell became famous through Instagram and a creation that most of you probably saw floating around on the Internet. She decorated her parents’ Los Angeles-area home for Halloween with huge fangs and spooky eyes. Some of her baked creations include an edible insect bacchanal and a pastry face-hugger from Alien. (McConnell)

The Cool Ghoul (Dick Von Hoene) - Suggested by Tim -Von Hoene (Hane) got his start working on a radio show out of Cincinnati named "Bob Smith's Monster Mash." In 1969, he developed the Cool Ghoul character and started working on a costume for him that included a white shirt with a vest like shirt over that, red cape, plaid wool hat, smokey eyes, pale complexion and his trademark orange-tinted wig. He at first had planned something scary, but went with this image of Cool Ghoul so it would be less scary for children. He started his television show in the early 1970s, which was called Scream-In, a riff off of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. He could do a wonderful impersonation of Boris Karloff. The show ran for three and a half years, but the Cool Ghoul continued to make appearances publicily and eventually moved to North Carolina in the early 1980s and made fans on the East Coast. He died of a heart attack in 2004 and was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. (Cool Ghoul - he mentions Sammy Terry)

Sir Graves Ghastly (Lawson J. Deming) - Suggested by Shelley -Lawson Deming was born in 1913 and began his career in radio in 1932. Sir Graves was the horror host for the show Sir Graves' Big Show and this featured Deming hosting horror movies with a group of characters who would do brief skits interspersed through the movies. Sir Graves Ghastly was a vampire with an exaggerated laugh. His sidekicks were Baruba, a ghostly apparition known only as The Glob and a cemetery caretaker named Reel McCoy. The show ran in Detroit from 1967 to 1982, which was a really long run. The show ended up syndicating in both Washington D.C. and Cleveland. He continued to make appearances until his death in 2007. (Ghastly)

Icky Twerp/Gorgon (William Camfield) - Suggested by Linda - Bill Camfield was born the son of a coal miner in Mineral Wells, Texas. He relocated to Fort Worth and began working for TV station KFJZ in 1954. In 1957, the station bought the SHOCK horror film package and Camfield portrayed the host of the show, Gorgon. This character wore a black cape and had a sinister laugh. That show became a hitand even got national attention in magazines like TV Guide, Life, Saturday Evening Post and Famous Monsters of Filmland. The show went on hiatus in 1959, but returned in 1962 and stayed on air until 1964, returned again in 1972 for a while and again in 1976. Halloween specials ran nearly every year with Gorgon. Camfield was also Icky Twerp, which was shortened from "Ichamore Twerpwhistle" and he hosted a kids' show called Slam-Bang Theatre. This was a comedy show and his character had  horn-rimmed glasses, striped suit, tousled hair, and an undersized cowboy hat. He died in 1991 of brain cancer. (Gorgon)

Dr. Creep (Barry Lee Hobart) - Suggested by Teresa - Hobart was born in 1941. His interest in the macabre began with his uncle who hosted a traveling monster show and was a horror film make-up artist. Hobart started in television as a camera specialist in Ohio. He eventually suggested to them that they should feature a late-night horror movie show and Hobart auditioned to be the host. His initial offering was a really creepy character with fangs and a horrifying skull face and he called himself Dr. Death. He was hired, but asked to tone it down, which he did by removing the fangs, toning down the make-up and calling himself Dr. Creep. They called the show Shock Theater and it launched in 1972. The show ran for thirteen years. He would make future appearances as well, particularly for charity events. He died in 2011 after a series of strokes and ill health.

Fritz the Night Owl (Frederick Peerenboom) - Suggested by Karen - Fritz, as everyone called him, started in radio in 1959. He started his work as horror host in 1974 hosting Nite Owl Theater in Columbus, Ohio. He enjoyed jazz so his angle became to give humorous commentary over jazz music during movies. The show had a long run ending in 1991. He revived hosting duties in 2010 at the Grandview Theater. On the last Saturday of the month a movie was shown with his prerecorded bumper segments. This was broadcast on the Internet too and moved locations until it ended up at Gateway Film Center. He has won six Emmys for his work.

Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson) - Suggested by Michelle - Ernie was a disc jockey and actor who was born in 1923 in Boston. He served with the Navy during World War II and worked as a disc jockey in Cleveland. He moved to TV and joined WJW TV-8 in 1961. He agreed to host Shock Theater for them in 1963 and was a huge hit. His character of Ghoulardi was really different from other horror hosts. His character was an irreverent hipster with a costume that included a fake Van Dyke beard and moustache, a long lab coat covered with "slogan" buttons, horn-rimmed sunglasses with a missing lens and messy wigs. Ernie had friends join him on the show in various roles and as we shared earlier, Ron Sweed joined him as an intern. Ghoulardi used catchphrases like "Stay sick, knif" ("fink" backwards), "Cool it", "Turn blue", "Would you believe...?" and "ova-dey" (a regional pronunciation of "over there"). He used instrumental rock and roll music under his commentary. Much of that commentary was telling people that they should just go to bed rather than watch the terrible movies he showed. Ghoulardi was retired in 1966. Anderson died in 1997.

Count Eeflac (Greg Calfee) - Suggested by Jonathan - Count Eeflac hosts Movies From the Tomb on the Hill Country Network, which broadcasts out of Northern Mississippi. This is one of our modern day hosts as his show just started in 2018.

Deadly Ernest - Suggested by Leanne and Anne - This was a character portrayed by many people. Deadly Earnest was a horror host from down in Australia. The character's show launched in 1959 in Perth and continued through 1978. The show was called Deadly Earnest's Aweful Movies and started with VW-7 Perth musical director Max Bostock as the character. Ian Bannerman took over in 1966. The program featured irreverent commentary and even presented the Worst Movie of the Year. The unique thing about this program is that they didn't do the syndication thing in Australia because local versions had to be broadcast without satellite. So Deadly Earnest needed to be portrayed by multiple people which included Bannerman in Sydney, Channel 0 floor manager Ralph Baker in Melbourne, future TV drama star Shane Porteous in Brisbane, and Hedley Cullen in Adelaide. Not much is known about Bannerman with people thinking he died in the 1980s.

Joe Bob Briggs (John Bloom) - Suggested by Jerry of Hillbilly and Aurora - Joe Bob Briggs calls himself America's Foremost Drive-In Movie Critic. This horror host is played by John Bloom who is an actor, author and investigative journalist. He has written nine books, but his role as horror host has made him famous. He has been playing Joe Bob Briggs on the Movie Channel for eleven years and on TNT's MonsterVision for five years from 1996 to 2000. He has gone on to to host The Last Drive-In on the Shudder Network since 2018. Joe Bob is a cowboy redneck-like character who wisecracks on B-movies and was discovered in 1986 during a stage show.

The Midnight Society - Suggested by Lush and Chelsea - We weren't really sure about this one. We believe this is referring to The Midnight Society that hosted the original anthology series "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" that was out of Canada and aired on Nickelodeon in the US from 1990 to 1996 and again in 1999 to 2000. The members of the Midnight Society would gather around a campfire in the woods at the beginning of each episode and one of them would tell the story for that episode after throwing some midnight dust into the fire.

Sammy Terry (Bob and Mark Carter) - Suggested by Suzy, Scott and James - Sammy Terry was a horror host based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. The man who cfreated him was Bob Carter who got his start as a disk jockey. He eventually ended up in television working at WTTV in production. When Universal shopped their SHOCK collection, WTTV bought it and asked Bob to host their Shock Theater. At first the hosting just incorporated still photos with voice over narration during commercial breaks. Eventually, the character of Sammy Terry was developed as a cloaked ghoul with a pale face who rose from his coffin to comment about movies and the show was changed to Nightmare Theater. This started in 1962 and for those wondering how they got the name Sammy Terry, just think cemetery. Terry had a sidekick, a floating rubber spider named George. Bob retired and his son, Mark, took over duties for Sammy Terry in 2010. Bob died in 2013. Sammy Terry still makes appearances on Indianapolis television for specials in October. (Sammy Terry)

Svengoolie (Jerry G. Bishop) and Son of Svengoolie (Rich Koz (Koze)) - Suggested by Kristin, Teresa, Michael and Tracy/Carrie and Lesa - Svengoolie is one of the most popular horror hosts out there and he has endured for a long time. He has been played by two men, Jerry G. Bishop and Rich Koz. The show started its run in Chicago and is now syndicated nationally on MeTV. The first show was called Screaming Yellow Theater. The horror movies presented are not only low budget B movies, but also classic horror movies. The character was originated by Bishop in 1970 and he played it until 1973. Koz took over the character in 1979 and has been doing it since, but under the name Son of Svengoolie. Svengoolie is a Svengali-like person and he wears a moustache and goatee with long black hair. He has skull-like makeup and wears a tuxedo jacket over a bright red shirt. Like other horror hosts, he would present skits during commercial breaks and he would also perform parody songs about the films being aired. He also did something that inspired Mystery Science Theater 3000 and this was Sven-surround, which was Svengoolie talking throughout a film and making funny sound effects. Svengoolie presented Bela Lugosi's Dracula in 2007, which was the first time the movie had been on public television in over a decade. There have been a variety of sidekicks through the years. Doug Graves played music on piano and trumpet. Zallman T. Tombstone was a disembodied skull. Berwyn was a rubber chicken puppet. Zelda was a disembodied skull. Durwood the Dummy was a wooden ventriloquist's dummy. In 1994, Koz became Svengoolie, moving from the Son of Svengoolie. In 2011, the show went nationwide. (Svengoolie)

Robert Stack - Suggested by Drea, Rebecca, Chelsea and Jenny - This is another one that doesn't fit horror host, not even close. Robert Stack was a serious man and he gave us all chills as he hosted Unsolved Mysteries. Stack had a long career as an actor and television host. He got started in acting in 1939 when he was twenty. He began hosting Unsolved Mysteries in 1987. The series aired from 1987 to 2002, but initially started as specials, a couple of which were hosted by Raymond Burr and Karl Malden. Stack was the host for the entire original run. The series revived in 2007 hosted by Dennis Farina and now again on Netflix starting in July 2020. Stack died in 2003 from Prostate Cancer and heart failure.

Dr. Paul Bearer (Dick Bennick) - Suggested by Kathy, Chris, Clyde, Carole and Lynne - Dr. Paul Bearer was a truly creepy horror host and he holds the record for longest-ever continuous run as a TV horror-movie host with 22 years. He hosted  WTOG’s Creature Feature out of St. Petersburg, Florida. Ernest Richard “Dick” Bennick played the character. Dick was born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1928. He got his start as a magician and moved into being a North Carolina “boss jock” and teenage dance-party host. He created Dr. Paul Bearer while he was working at a televsion station in North Carolina after he was asked to replace Count Shockula, the station’s first horror host. Dr. Paul Bearer had a truly creepy look because he had a false eye from a car accident and Graves Disease which caused his real eye to bulge. The complete look incorporated an enormous facial scar, disproportionate eyeballs, goatee, thick eyebrows and an undertaker's costume.

He once said of his effort to create the character, "Finding the 'look' took some thought. I went through all these magazines and I picked out what I liked about various characters to design my new character. The beard came from a Vincent Price movie, and quite frankly I can’t remember which one. Parting my hair down the middle I stole from a guy in New York, (TV/radio horror host) John Zacherley. The spats and the frock coat I just thought looked cool. I had to go to a beauty shop and get them to give me hair off the floor that matched my own to make the beard, because in those days they wouldn’t let me grow one. I could never explain the scar, I just kind of liked it and that seemed to make it click.” He hosted Creature Feature on Saturday afternoons and shared his gallows humor, groan-inducing puns and diabolical laugh. He enjoyed telling the audience he would be "luuuurking for you." Bennick brought his character with him to Polk County in Florida in 1973 and he convinced the WTOG station manager to let him host there. He made frequent public appearances, arriving in his decked out 1961 hearse. Dick died during heart bypass surgery on Feb. 20, 1995 at the age of 66. (Bearer)

Crypt Keeper - Suggested by Vicki, Valentina, Rebecca, Jenny, Liz, Angelica, Amy, Nchaa, Jenny, Shantel, Mandy, Jannae and Carrie - The Crypt Keeper is best known as the creepy puppet host of the Tales from the Crypt series. He also is not technically a horror host as the stories he weaves are original and not B-movies. Tales From the Crypt started as one of the most influential and successful horror comics of all time and was adapted to television for HBO in 1989. He was introduced to the public in Crime Patrol #15, and he continued with that magazine through its changes in title and format. He was a frightening presence in those early issues, but became more of a comedic host later and definitely was when the comic book made it to the small screen and he would offer lots of pun-filled commentary and irreverence before a story, during breaks and after the episode was done. When not telling stories, he likes to torture and kill humans. As it was revealed in the episode Lower Berth, the Crypt Keeper was the product of Enoch, a two-headed sideshow freak that was a corpse, and Myrana a 4,000 year old mummy. In reality, he was a puppet handled by Van Snowden and he was voiced by actor John Kassir. His look is that of a decaying man with broken teeth and long stringy hair and he usually wears a cloak. Many people recognize his creepy laugh anywhere and one of his standard lines was "Boils and Ghouls." Plans to revive the series have been stalled by licensing issues. (Crypt Keeper)

Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) - Suggested by Carrie Anne, Jenny, Shantel, Mark, Tricia, Nchaa, Michael, Ginger, Tracy, Pat, Jessica, Kelly and Diane - Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, really needs no introduction. Most of you probably already know that Elvira was created by Cassandra Peterson. Peterson was born in Kansas in 1951 and like all of us, she was fascinated by the macabre from a very early age. She got her start in entertainment as a go-go dancer at a gay bar. Her first showgirl job would come in Las Vegas at The Dunes and she would meet Elvis there and date him for a bit. She moved to Italy in the 1970s and fronted a couple of bands. She returned to the US and toured with a musical comedy act and then an improv group named The Groundlings. She played a Valley Girl character for that group and this would eventually become Elvira. As mentioned earlier, she replaced horror host Larry Vincent, six years after his death. Initially, Maila Nurmi had been asked to revive The Vampira Show, but she gave up on the project when producers would not hire the woman she handpicked to host. A casting call was sent out and peterson won the part. She was given freedom to create the character.

While Elvira was similar to Vampira with her dress and black hair, it was clear that Peterson had created a fairly original character in Elvira. She comes off as campy, rather than spooky or creepy. That didn't stop Nurmi from suing to try to stop Elvira from seeing the light of day. She lost in court. While we like Vampira, we adore Elvira, and let's be honest, both characters are inspired by Morticia Addams. Elvira soon came to be known by her tight clothing and dangerously lowcut dresses that revealed ample cleavage. She would play up this detail quite a bit. Peterson soon had more than a character and horror host, she had a brand that continues today. Elvira's Movie Macabre launched in 1981 and continued through 1986. She starred in the movie "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" in 1988. Her appearances in films and video and television have continued and she has also found herself in comic books. For twenty years she hosted a Halloween stage show for Knott's Scary Farm. She is as popular today as she was in the 1980s and she really brought horror hosts into the popular mainstream. For us, she is our favorite. (Elvira)

Horror Host hall of fame:

Thursday, October 29, 2020

HGB Ep. 358 - The Ghosts of Whitechapel

Moment in Oddity - The Great Pumpkin Weighs As Much As Volkswagon

When Diane was a kid, her family grew pumpkins in their little backyard garden. For several of those years, they managed to grow at least one really large pumpkin. Diane's dad would carve out the pumpkin and the elementary school would display it at the front counter area. They would then bring it home for Halloween to grace the front porch. The largest pumpkin was big enough for four kids to sit on top comfortably. We all are aware that giant pumpkin growing contests are held at this time of year and the winner for 2020 was the Great Pumpkin indeed. Travis Gienger is a horticulture teacher who lives in Anoka, Minnesota, which also just happens to officially be the Halloween Capital, and he grew the winning pumpkin. He drove his giant pumpkin 35 hours to California for its official weigh-in. The pumpkin tipped the scales at a whopping 2,350 pounds. That means this pumpkin weighed more than Volkswagen Bug! This also earned him a prize of $16,450. That's a lot of pumpkin pie filling and that huge pumpkin, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Explosion During Ice Show at Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum

In the month of October, on the 31st, in 1963, a propane gas explosion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum killed 74 people and injured 400. The fairgrounds was hosting a "Holiday on Ice" skating exhibition inside the building and the skaters were just finishing up their final piece in the show and the group was gliding into a pinwheel formation. Suddenly, some propane gas that had leaked from a rusty tank in the concession area ignited and the explosion it created shot a ball of fire up through the south side seats. People and chairs went flying. A huge crater had been blown in the ground and many people fell into it and were buried by concrete. Fifty-four people were killed on the scene and another 20 died later. Indianapolis Star reporter Richard R. Roberts wrote of the event, "You walked into a nightmare. This was the worst thing I have seen since combat in World War II. The lights above still cast a bluish light onto the ice show. A red satin slipper lay on the ice. Three feet away was a pool of blood. A gray-haired man lay on his back staring lifelessly at the ceiling. Ambulance attendants threw a gray blanket across him. Chairs were scattered like ten-pins on the south end of the big building. The fairgrounds itself was almost like a battleground." Several people were indicted by a grand jury: the state fire marshal, the Indianapolis fire chief, the general manager and the concessions manager of the Coliseum and officers of the propane gas company. Only the president of the gas supplier was convicted, which was later overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court. Victims and survivors got $4.6 million in settlements.

Ghosts of Whitechapel

Jack the Ripper. That name can cause one's blood to run cold. No serial killer is as famous as Jack the Ripper. He was birthed during a time long before the term serial killer was devised by the FBI. His crimes were horrific and remain unsolved to this day. Since these multiple murders happened 130 years ago, Jack the Ripper is considered one of the first serial killers in documented history, although students of history know that serialized killing has been with us since man first discovered he could take a life. This killer was unique in that he seemed to be the first who reveled in provoking the police. The area where these crimes were committed, Whitechapel, would hold onto its infamous reputation. On this episode we will examine the crimes, talk about the victims, theorize on who the killer may have been and share the hauntings that have plagued Whitechapel ever since.  

Many people may not know that there are possibly eleven victims that could be attributed to Jack the Ripper. That is why the term canonical is used when referencing the five victims that historians and detectives have always connected with confidence to Jack the Ripper. These crimes took place in Whitechapel, London in 1888. The five victims were Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly. Most of them were murdered in a 31 day time frame that abruptly ended. No one knows for sure why there was an abrupt end. Did the killer die? Was this just a sudden killing spree that he got out of his system? Did he leave the area? Was he arrested for some other crime? Let's first look at the area where the crimes were committed.

The Whitechapel of late 19th century London was overcrowded and dirty. Living and working conditions were deplorable and the sanitary conditions were terrible. Single gas lamps guttered along the maze of streets and alleyways, offering very little light. The smell of animal and human excrement hung heavy in the air. Around 15,000 people were homeless and unemployed and for those that could get housing, they usually shared it with another family to make ends meet. Single people would be crammed into large rooms with around 80 other people and pay four pence for a bed for the night. Death for children was common and only around half the children in Whitechapel would live to see the age of five. Prostitution was often the only choice for women and during the Victorian Period, around 1,200 prostitutes were working in Whitechapel. Typically, these women were bloated, sick and missing teeth because they were alcoholics and they looked far older than their real age. Many would be attacked by their clients and rarely did the police pay any attention to these complaints. So when the Ripper started his attacks, the police were not really concerned.

Martha Tabram also went by the name Martha Turner and there are those who believe she could have been the Ripper's first victim. She was born Martha White in 1849 and married a man named Henry Tabram in 1869. This marriage would be very troubled as Martha was an alcoholic. The couple had two children before Henry finally left in 1875. Martha eventually took up with another Henry. His last name was Turner and she would take his name although they never married. Her drinking would end this relationship as well and she found herself in need of income. There were not many options and eventually she was selling her body on the streets of Whitechapel. This is what she was doing in the early morning hours of August 7th in 1888. She and a client that she had met in a bar where she was drinking with another prostitute, walked to George Yard. The body of Martha Tabram was found in George Yard around 3:30am by a cab driver. He left her on a landing where he assumed she had passed out drunk, so the authorities were not notified until 5am when a resident of the building realized she was dead. Martha had been stabbed 39 times, so we're not sure why the cab driver thought she was just sleeping. Nine of the stabs were to her throat, two in the right lung, five in the left lung, five in the liver, two in the spleen, one in the heart and six in the stomach. Historians do not consider her a Ripper victim because her throat was not slit and she was not disemboweled. But the killing was frenzied, which might be something a first time serial killer would do until he had refined his method of attack. She was killed in a very violent way with a knife, in a secluded area and on a day that was near a holiday, which was the same as the five main canonical victims. So her being a victim is very possible.

The first canonical victim is Mary Nichols. She lived a rough life as so many women did in Victorian Whitechapel and much of it was her own making. She had married William Nichols in 1864 and they had five children. She left William and the children in 1881 mainly because she was an alcoholic. He continued to support her until he heard that she was working as a prostitute which meant he no longer was responsible for supporting her. Mary worked some odd jobs and was placed in a workhouse and finally ended up as a maid in Wandsworth. She left that job after stealing clothes from her employer and lived in a common lodging house with another woman in 1888. On the night of August 30th, Nichols was in need of money to obtain a bed and so she went out on the corner of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road wearing a new bonnet. Her roommate met up with her an hour before her death and asked if Nichols had made any money. She replied that she had made enough for the bed three times over and when her roommate asked to see the money, Nichols remarked that she had spent it on drink. This was the last time Nichols was seen alive.

A carman named Charles Allen Cross found Nichols' body on the ground in front of a gated stable on Buck's Row, which is today Durward Street, at 3:40 AM. Cross asked another man for his opinion on whether Nichols was dead and this man was unsure. They went looking for a policeman and found PC Jonas Mizen. Cross told him, "She looks to me to be either dead or drunk, but for my part, I believe she's dead." Mizen inspected the body and another policeman named John Neale joined him. He flashed his lantern to get another policeman to join them. This was John Thain. The policemen questioned people in the area, but nobody had heard or seen a thing. PC Thain got surgeon Dr Henry Llewellyn to come to the scene and he found that Mary had been stabbed multiple times. Her throat had been slit twice from left to right and her abdomen had been mutilated with several incisions and one deep jagged wound. There was little blood, only "about enough to fill two large wine glasses, or half a pint at the most". The abdominal wounds took about five minutes to perform and were made by the murderer after she was dead. The attack was brutal and savage, but quick and quiet. The police decided they needed a man with a knowledge of the area to come in and help and that man was Inspector Frederick George Abberline. Abberline had spent fourteen years as a detective in the district where the Ripper crimes occurred. He was a well respected man and suited to the work.

Annie Chapman was the second canonical victim. She was born Eliza Ann Smith in 1841 and married John Chapman in 1869. They had three children. Their youngest was named John also and he was born disabled in 1880. They lost their eldest daughter in 1882 and both of these things are thought to have led the couple to drinking and eventually separating in 1884. Chapman moved in with another man, but John continued to support her until he died from alcoholism. When the man she lived with left her soon after, she became very depressed and people started calling her "Dark Annie." She sold flowers and did crochet work, but it was never enough and she soon was prostituting herself on the streets of Whitechapel. Annie found herself in the same predicament as Nichols in the early morning hours of September 8th in 1888. She needed money for lodging and decided to turn some tricks. Her body was discovered at 6am by a resident of Number 29 named John Davis. She was on the ground near the doorway in the backyard. A witness named Mrs. Elizabeth Long testified at an inquest that she had seen Chapman talking to a man at about 5:30am just beyond the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. The woman may have seen Chapman's murderer and she described him as over forty, a little taller than Chapman, dark haired a foreign and shabby appearance that entailed him wearing a deer-stalker hat and dark overcoat.

Dr George Bagster Phillips was the police surgeon and he described how he found the body, "The left arm was placed across the left breast. The legs were drawn up, the feet resting on the ground, and the knees turned outwards. The face was swollen and turned on the right side. The tongue protruded between the front teeth, but not beyond the lips. The tongue was evidently much swollen. The front teeth were perfect as far as the first molar, top and bottom and very fine teeth they were. The body was terribly mutilated ... the stiffness of the limbs was not marked, but was evidently commencing. He noticed that the throat was dissevered deeply; that the incision through the skin were jagged and reached right round the neck ... On the wooden paling between the yard in question and the next, smears of blood, corresponding to where the head of the deceased lay, were to be seen. These were about 14 inches from the ground, and immediately above the part where the blood from the neck lay. The instrument used at the throat and abdomen was the same. It must have been a very sharp knife with a thin narrow blade, and must have been at least 6 to 8 inches in length, probably longer. He should say that the injuries could not have been inflicted by a bayonet or a sword bayonet. They could have been done by such an instrument as a medical man used for post-mortem purposes, but the ordinary surgical cases might not contain such an instrument. Those used by the slaughtermen, well ground down, might have caused them. He thought the knives used by those in the leather trade would not be long enough in the blade. There were indications of anatomical knowledge ... he should say that the deceased had been dead at least two hours, and probably more, when he first saw her; but it was right to mention that it was a fairly cool morning, and that the body would be more apt to cool rapidly from its having lost a great quantity of blood. There was no evidence ...of a struggle having taken place. He was positive the deceased entered the yard alive...A handkerchief was round the throat of the deceased when he saw it early in the morning. He should say it was not tied on after the throat was cut." Chapman's throat was cut from left to right and she had been disemboweled, with her intestines thrown out of her abdomen over each of her shoulders. The morgue examination revealed that part of her uterus was missing. Her murder was quickly linked to Nichols'.

Elizabeth Stride went by the nickname "Long Liz." She was different than the other victims in that she got into prostitution early in her life, not because of a failed marriage and the resulting poverty. She had been born in Sweden in 1843. She eventually married a man named John Thomas Stride and stopped working as a prostitute, but they separated eight years after marrying. She ended up in a lodging house for a time and then moved in with another man. They had a tempestuous relationship and she had broken up with him for a final time, four days before her death. Her body was found at 1am on September 30, 1888. She was wearing a black jacket and skirt and black crepe bonnet. A policeman had seen her with a man wearing a hard felt hat who was carrying a package about 18 inches in length. The murder had happened so close to her discovery by Louis Diemschutz that blood still flowed from a wound on her neck. Stride only had a slit throat and no mutilations, so people believe that the Ripper was interrupted while he was murdering Stride. It is believed he grabbed her from behind by a handkerchief around her neck and that he pinned her to the ground on her back with his knees as he quickly slashed her across the throat.

Since Jack the Ripper was interrupted before he could finish his work with Stride, he went out and found himself another victim. This would be Catherine Eddowes. She was born in 1842 and had two common law husbands. She had three children with the first one named Thomas Conway. She was an alcoholic and left the family in 1880 and took up with John Kelly. She started casual prostitution to help pay the bills. Friends said she was a jolly woman who loved to sing, but she had a fierce temper. On the night of her death, she had been arrested for public intoxication. She was sober enough to be released by 1am. She was found dead in Mitre Square at 1:45am by PC Edward Watkins. Police surgeon Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown wrote of the scene, "The body was on its back, the head turned to left shoulder. The arms by the side of the body as if they had fallen there. Both palms upwards, the fingers slightly bent. A thimble was lying off the finger on the right side. The clothes drawn up above the abdomen. The thighs were naked. Left leg extended in a line with the body. The abdomen was exposed. Right leg bent at the thigh and knee. The bonnet was at the back of the head—great disfigurement of the face. The throat cut. Across below the throat was a neckerchief. ... The intestines were drawn out to a large extent and placed over the right shoulder—they were smeared over with some feculent matter. A piece of about two feet was quite detached from the body and placed between the body and the left arm, apparently by design. The lobe and auricle of the right ear were cut obliquely through. There was a quantity of clotted blood on the pavement on the left side of the neck round the shoulder and upper part of the arm, and fluid blood-coloured serum which had flowed under the neck to the right shoulder, the pavement sloping in that direction. Body was quite warm. No death stiffening had taken place. She must have been dead most likely within the half hour. We looked for superficial bruises and saw none. No blood on the skin of the abdomen or secretion of any kind on the thighs. No spurting of blood on the bricks or pavement around. No marks of blood below the middle of the body. Several buttons were found in the clotted blood after the body was removed. There was no blood on the front of the clothes. There were no traces of recent connection." 

After a post-mortem he wrote, "After washing the left hand carefully, a bruise the size of a sixpence, recent and red, was discovered on the back of the left hand between the thumb and first finger. A few small bruises on right shin of older date. The hands and arms were bronzed. No bruises on the scalp, the back of the body, or the elbows. ... The cause of death was haemorrhage from the left common carotid artery. The death was immediate and the mutilations were inflicted after death ... There would not be much blood on the murderer. The cut was made by someone on the right side of the body, kneeling below the middle of the body. ... The peritoneal lining was cut through on the left side and the left kidney carefully taken out and removed. ... I believe the perpetrator of the act must have had considerable knowledge of the position of the organs in the abdominal cavity and the way of removing them. The parts removed would be of no use for any professional purpose. It required a great deal of knowledge to have removed the kidney and to know where it was placed. Such a knowledge might be possessed by one in the habit of cutting up animals. I think the perpetrator of this act had sufficient time ... It would take at least five minutes. ... I believe it was the act of one person."

The police disagreed as to whether the killer was highly skilled with anatomical knowledge. At about 3 a.m. on the same day as Eddowes was murdered, a blood-stained fragment of her apron with fecal matter was found in the doorway leading to Flats 108 and 119, Model Dwellings, Goulston Street, Whitechapel. Above it on the wall was a graffiti written in chalk that read: "The Juwes are the men that Will not be Blamed for nothing". The writing may or may not have been related to the murder, but either way it was washed away before dawn on the orders of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren, who feared that it would spark anti-Jewish riots. 

On October 1st, a postcard that was called the "Saucy Jacky" postcard and signed "Jack the Ripper", was received by the Central News Agency. It claimed responsibility for Stride's and Eddowes' murders, and described the killing of the two women as the "double event." Since the postcard was mailed before the murders were public, the letter is thought to be legitimate. But the postmark was more than 24 hours after the killings took place, long after details were known by journalists and residents of the area and so police think a journalist wrote the letter as a hoax and many historians today believe the same thing. Then there was the "From hell" letter that came with a parcel on October 16, 1888. Inside the parcel was half a human kidney. The writer claimed to have "fried and ate" the missing kidney half. The handwriting and style were unlike that of the "Saucy Jacky" postcard.

Mary Kelly was the Ripper's last victim. She was known by a variety of aliases from Fair Emma to Marie Kelly to Ginger to Black Mary. It is believed she was born in 1863, but the details of her life are little known. She had lived with a man named Joseph Barnett before her death. Around 1879 is when it is thought that Kelly started prostitution. Most reports of Kelly claim that she was a pretty woman and liked to sing when she was drunk, but she could get abusive after drinking too. A woman who lived near Kelly reported on the night of her murder that Kelly came home with a stout ginger-haired man who was wearing a bowler hat. She went out again around 2am. Her body was found on the morning of November 9th by a man working for her landlord who was trying to collect her rent that she was six weeks late on paying. When Kelly didn't answer the door, he looked through the window and saw Kelly's mutilated body. The scene was horrific. The Ripper had a lot of time with the body since they were inside her room and he took full advantage.

Dr. Thomas Bond wrote of the scene, "The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle and lying across the abdomen. The right arm was slightly abducted from the body and rested on the mattress. The elbow was bent, the forearm supine with the fingers clenched. The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk and the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubis. The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone. The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus and kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot, the liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side and the spleen by the left side of the body. The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table. 

The bed clothing at the right corner was saturated with blood, and on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about two feet square. The wall by the right side of the bed and in a line with the neck was marked by blood which had struck it in several places. The face was gashed in all directions, the nose, cheeks, eyebrows, and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched and cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features. The neck was cut through the skin and other tissues right down to the vertebrae, the fifth and sixth being deeply notched. The skin cuts in the front of the neck showed distinct ecchymosis. The air passage was cut at the lower part of the larynx through the cricoid cartilage. Both breasts were more or less removed by circular incisions, the muscle down to the ribs being attached to the breasts. The intercostals between the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs were cut through and the contents of the thorax visible through the openings. The skin and tissues of the abdomen from the costal arch to the pubes were removed in three large flaps. 

The right thigh was denuded in front to the bone, the flap of skin, including the external organs of generation, and part of the right buttock. The left thigh was stripped of skin fascia, and muscles as far as the knee. The left calf showed a long gash through skin and tissues to the deep muscles and reaching from the knee to five inches above the ankle. Both arms and forearms had extensive jagged wounds. The right thumb showed a small superficial incision about one inch long, with extravasation of blood in the skin, and there were several abrasions on the back of the hand moreover showing the same condition. On opening the thorax it was found that the right lung was minimally adherent by old firm adhesions. The lower part of the lung was broken and torn away. The left lung was intact. It was adherent at the apex and there were a few adhesions over the side. In the substances of the lung there were several nodules of consolidation. The pericardium was open below and the heart absent. In the abdominal cavity there was some partly digested food of fish and potatoes, and similar food was found in the remains of the stomach attached to the intestines." The work took about two hours. The murder was linked to the four previous victims.

Those suspected of being Jack the Ripper are numerous, numbering in the hundreds. There were many arrests made during the investigation, but no one has ever been convicted of the crimes and theories as to who committed the crimes continues today with libraries full of books focusing on various characters that seem to meet the qualifications to be Jack the Ripper. Men who were arrested include a ship's cook named William Henry Piggott who was detained after being found in possession of a blood-stained shirt and making misogynist remarks. He was cleared. Swiss butcher Jacob Isenschmidt matched the description of a blood-stained man seen acting strangely and he had a distinctive ginger moustache and a history of mental illness. He was locked up in an asylum. German hairdresser Charles Ludwig was arrested after he attacked a prostitute and then tried to stab a man at a coffee stall. Both Isenschmidt and Ludwig were exonerated after another murder was committed while they were in custody. Other suspects included Friedrich Schumacher, pedlar Edward McKenna, apothecary and mental patient Oswald Puckridge and medical student John Sanders. No evidence was found against any of these men. Edward Stanley was another suspect who was dropped after his alibis for the nights of two of the murders were confirmed.

Mary Kelly's boyfriend Joe Barnett was questioned about her murder and the police thought maybe he killed her in a rage. He was exonerated. Other suspects included George Chapman, Dr. Francis Tumblety, Michael Ostrog, James Maybrick, Walter Sickert, Charles Cross, Montague John Druitt, Thomas Cutbush and Aaron Kosminski. Some outlandish suspects include Prince Albert Edward Victor, Lewis Carol, The Freemasons, Dr. Barnardo and more recently, H.H. Holmes, which was a theory made more known by the recent TV show "American Ripper." Author Patricia Cornwall believes Walter Sickert was the Ripper. Many of the suspects have viable reasons for being Jack the Ripper. 

In 2014, mitochondrial DNA that matched one of Eddowes' descendants was extracted from a shawl said to have come from the scene of her murder. The DNA match was based on one of seven small segments taken from the hypervariable regions. The DNA was said to uncommon with a 1 in 290,000 frequency worldwide. Many pointed out that there were errors. Other DNA on the shawl matched DNA from a relation of Aaron Kosminski, one of the suspects. This match is also questionable and many have said that there is no evidence that the shawl was Eddowes'. This shawl has been handled by so many people through the years that we wouldn't trust any claims about it. But Aaron Kosminski as the Ripper is very plausible. We'll just never know. If only the spirits could tell us because many of the victims still seem to have an afterlife here.

Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols is said to haunt the place where her body was found on today's Durward Street. The ghostly sounds of murder and muffled cries have been heard. The apparition of a body has been seen lying in the gutter where Polly was found and many have claimed that it has an ethereal grey or green color to it. These reports started as early as 1895. Horses and dogs have shied away from the spot. A man was photographing the area when he heard a man and woman coming up on him. He turned and stepped aside only to find that no one was near him.

The house in which Annie Chapman was slaughtered was demolished in the 1970s and the Truman Brewery was built in its place. In the 1930s, when the house still stood, people claimed to hear the sounds of Annie being murdered in the backyard of the house. A resident said he heard the disembodied gasps of breath of a woman and this was heard along with a male breathing heavily and the sounds of a knife plunging into something. Then there were the sounds of a body being dragged as though the murder were replaying invisibly. More terrifying are the reports of a  headless figure sitting in the backyard and Annie's ghost has been seen walking down Hanbury Street and then stopping at Number 29. Occasionally, a shadowy male figure accompanies her. As I said, the site of the murder is now occupied by the former Truman Brewery building and employees there claim that on the anniversary of Annie’s murder, September 8th, the brewery’s boardroom becomes icy cold.

The place were Elizabeth Stride was murdered is not very active. The gates of a school are located there now and there have been no complaints about unexplained activity. But this was not always the case. In the months after Stride's murder, people claimed to hear the ghostly sounds of a woman who seemed to be struggling against something and they have even heard her cry out.

The body of Catherine Eddows lies beneath a plaque that claims her as a victim of Jack the Ripper. Her body had been found on the northwest corner of Mitre Square and legend claims that on the anniversary of her death on September 30th, the cobblestones in this corner glow red. A more common occurrence that continues today is that people see her partly transparent body lying where it had been left after her murder and the mutilations can clearly be seen. A medical student had thought he was seeing a bundle of clothes in the square when he was walking home. The bundle moved slightly and he thought it might be a person in distress. He realized he was looking at a woman as he got close and just as her reached to touch her, she vanished. A young couple saw a shadowy figure running away from what they thought was a pile of rubbish. They walked over to the pile and recognized it as a woman. Again, the body disappeared.

Leonard Matters wrote the book "The Mystery of Jack the Ripper" in 1928. He visited Duval Street, which had formerly been Dorset Street, and he found an elderly man who had been a boy when the Whitechapel murders took place. He pointed out the house where Mary Kelly had been killed  and said, "That’s the house. They say it’s ‘aunted, but I never seen nobody comin’ out of it at nights." Through his research, Matters found stories from several witnesses who claimed to have met Mary Kelly several hours after doctors stated that she had been murdered. This has caused some to speculate that the ghost of Mary Kelly was walking the streets of Spitalfields just hours after her death. A witness named Caroline Maxwell claimed to have a conversation with Mary at 8am the morning after her murder. She had mentioned to Mary that she looked unwell and Mary said that she did in fact feel sick. The flat where Kelly was murdered was covered in blood and this blood seemed to leak through the paint after the room was relet. One woman claimed that a bloody handprint on the wall would reappear after the wall was painted over. Her apparition has been seen over the decades walking in the area, clad in black. 

There are other hauntings in Whitechapel too. The Ten Bells Pub is an infamous landmark in Whitechapel that has been around since the 1740sIt is located at the corner of Commercial and Fournier Streets. Many of Jack the Ripper’s victims drank at the pub and were seen there shortly before their murders. People report having many unexplained experiences here. The apparition of a old man dressed in period clothing has been seen. The pub's upper floors are rented out and tenants have complained of being awakened by the phantom of an old man. He is usually lying next to them in the bed. People also claim to have been pushed by something they can't see when on the stairs. The Jack the Ripper Tour website writes, "Although the descriptions were always similar, nobody could pinpoint the man’s identity. However, in 2000, a new landlord arrived. While clearing out the cellar, he found an old box hidden in a corner. The box contained items belonging to a certain George Roberts, including a wallet containing a 1900’s press cutting talking about Roberts’ murder. After further research, he found that Roberts had been the landlord of the pub around this time. Was it his ghost the staff kept seeing?"

On Durward Street where Mary Ann Nichols' body was found, a man went into a warehouse in December of 1974 and he saw the ghost of a young boy dangling from a rope that was tied to a ceiling hook. The building had once been a boarding school. It no longer exists, having been demolished. There is the Old Bass Sales Office on Cephas Street that had once been a doctor's surgery and is now an office building. In 1980, employees in the building complained about smelling embalming fluid and experiencing severely cold spots. The Royal London Hospital on Whitechapel features a grey lady who walks the hallways. The legend here claims that if the shutters are not closed at night, a death will follow. There is an eerie oddity here as well. The Elephant Man's mounted skeleton is kept here at the medical school.

The Tower of London is found in Whitechapel too. Check out Ep. 152 for more. Are these locations in Whitechapel still harboring spirits from the past? Could some of these ghosts be victims of Jack the Ripper? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

HGB Ep. 357 - Old Diplomat Hotel and Haunted Baguio

Moment in Oddity (Suggested by Scott Booker) - Boanthropy

Clinical zoanthropy is a form of mental illness in which the sufferer believes they are either becoming an animal or already have transformed into an animal. Lycanthropy is one form of this that involves a person believing that they are a wolf and they might run around howling or barking. Another really bizarre form is Boanthropy and a person suffering from this believes they are a cow or an ox. The person will go out into the fields and join a herd of cows, crawling around on all fours, mooing and eating grass. The earliest story of a case of Boanthrophy is found in the Bible in the book of Daniel and the sufferer is King Nebuchadnezzar. The text says he “was driven from men and did eat grass as oxen.” He eventually seemed to be cured from the disorder and went back to living a normal life. Researchers are not sure what brings on the disorder, but they hypothesize that it is caused by some kind of hypnotism, hallucination or dream state or more probably is an aspect of Schizophrenia. Non-scientists claim that it is due to some kind of black magic or curse. While we don't know what causes Boanthropy, we do know that it certainly is odd!

This Month in History - British Airship R101 Crashes

In the month of October, on the 5th, in 1930, British Airship R101 crashed in France killing 48 people. Although this disaster cost more lives than the Hindenburg crash, which wouldn't happen for another seven years, most people are unfamiliar with it. This was the airship's maiden voyage and at the time it was the largest airship ever made. The airship measured an amazing 731 feet long. There were 54 people on board the dirigible and the fire that ignited quickly took out nearly everybody. There would be other deadly airship crashes in Europe because they filled them with highly flammable Hydrogen gas, rather than Helium. The reason they went with the more dangerous gas was because America had a monopoly on Helium at the time. Helium is a very hard gas to get a hold of because it is found in very few places and there is a limited, finite supply. There were many mistakes made with this airship. Design flaws were not fixed, the weather was ill-suited for the trip, which was to end in India, and the R101 was overloaded with cargo and fuel. The fabric at the nose was damaged by wind and rain and gas bags in the bow broke open, releasing the lifting gas. The crash was relatively light but shortly after crashing, the gas ignited and it was over in a matter of minutes.

Old Diplomat Hotel and Haunted Baguio (Suggested by: Maria Domingo)

Atop a hill in the Filipino city of Pines sits an abandoned and dilapidated building that not only has a brutal history, it is considered the most haunted place in the Philippines. This is the Old Diplomat Hotel, which was originally a retreat for friars of the Dominican Order that later became a place of sanctuary and then eventually a place of death. But this is not the only creepy location with a haunted reputation in Baguio. The city is dotted with haunted locations like the Laperal White House. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of the Old Diplomat Hotel and haunted Baguio. 

Baguio (Bag-yo) City is home to the Old Diplomat Hotel. Baguio was the only hill station that was owned by the United States in Asia. The station was established in 1900 on the former Ibaloi (Ee bah luh o ee) village of Kafagway. The Ibaloi are an indigineous group of hill dwellers. The Spanish were early colonizers and they established a mission nearby in the 1700s. Kafagway was one of their rancherias. The Philippine Revolution in 1899 liberated the area of the Spaniards. After the Spanish-American War, the United States occupied the Philippines. The hill station established here became the summer capital of the Philippine Islands. In 1913, the Dominican Order built a retreat for themselves on a hilltop of 17 hectares, giving them a panoramic view of the city. They called this the Dominican Hill Retreat House and the hill would keep that Dominican Hill name. It was designed by a member of the order, Fr. Roque RuaƱo. He had also designed the main building of the University of Santo Tomas. Construction was completed in 1915. 

The building was two-stories tall and had a cross at the top, which is still there today. The friars decided that it would be advantageous to get some tax breaks by opening a school. They started a seminary called Colegio del Santissimo Rosario, but it only was open for a couple of years because there were not enough seminary students enrolling. The priests and nuns continued to use the house as a place for relaxation and this continued until the 1940s. Their peace was broken with the outbreak of World War II. The Japanese invaded the Philippines in 1941. They initially landed on Batan Island and the Filipino and American forces tried to keep them back, but eventually were forced to surrender the Philippines to the Japanese. As the Japanese pressed in further, refugees needed a place of sanctuary and they turned to the Dominican Hill Retreat House. That would turn out to be a bad idea.

The Japanese forces took over the house and decided to make it their headquarters and rather than run off the refugees and the priests and nuns, they decided to torture, rape and kill them. This was done by the Japanese secret police known as Kenpeitai. They formed out of the Japanese Imperial Army in 1881. They were brutal and enforced loyalty within Japan and during the war, they punished their enemies and recruited locals to join them. The Kenpeitai turned the front of the building into the scene of numerous hangings. Priests and nuns were decapitated. In April of 1945, American forces liberated the Philippines, including Dominican Hill, and a bomb damaged the right wing of the building. The Japanese forces inside committed suicide.   

After the war, the house was restored and the Dominicans continued to use it as their retreat house again. In 1973, they sold the property to Diplomat Hotels, Inc. and they remodeled the interior completely, creating a thirty-three room hotel called the Diplomat Hotel. A man named Antonio Agapito "Tony" Agpaoa became the manager. Agpaoa was from Baguio and was not only an entrepreneur, but he fashioned himself a faith healer. He claimed that he could do psychic surgery. Agpaoa himself was not a healthy man and he had heart issues for years, along with a brain hemorrhage. He died in 1987 and the hotel was shut down and abandoned. Vandals came through and wrecked the place and stole much of the interior. The 1990 Luzon earthquake damaged parts of the building too.

Eventually the Philippines' Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council took over the ownership of the hotel. The City Government of Baguio took over later and named the property Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park and it was declared a National Historical Site. The building has been under renovation, but it is still in pretty sorry shape. This hasn't stopped it from being used as a tourist spot and a place for workshops, photo shoots and weddings. Ghost tours are hosted in the former hotel. 

Tales of paranormal activity started shortly after the hotel was shut down in the 1980s. Neighbors would claim to hear many sounds coming from the empty building. This included the clattering of dishes, doors and windows banging open and disembodied screams. There are many spirits here ranging from victims of the Japanese to the victims of Tony Agpaoa. Some of the creepier claims about the Diplomat are the presence of faceless or headless apparitions. The faceless description reminds of us the ghosts on Netflix's Haunting of Bly Manor. One of the common descriptions is of a headless priest that people have taken to calling The Black Priest. This is a dark figure that has been seen on both the first and second floors. This is not the only priest apparition seen and there are spirits of nuns seen as well. The fountain areas, there are two of them, have a lot of activity probably due to the fact that the Japanese drowned victims in the water, including children. And that might be why people hear the voices of disembodied children. There was a fire on the property in the 1980s and the morgue, which was a separate out building was heavily damaged. Not much of that morgue is left. Many people claim to see a nun out by the morgue.

Amy's Crypt is one of our favorite "go-tos" when it comes to investigations of international locations and she had the opportunity to investigate the Diplomat. She interviewed one of the tour guides and he told her that he was conducting a ghost tour in 2018 and he had about 30 people in front of the building when something supernatural occurred. He was saying goodbye to everyone with his back to the building when the attendees started gasping and pointing to an upper floor. There was a figure in a window looking down at everybody. People took pictures and managed to capture it looking down and even waving before it disappeared. Multiple cameras captured this. 

This same guide also told a bizarre story about Tony Agpaoa and the night he died of a heart attack in the building. He was locked inside a room and people could see he was convulsing and they couldn't get in the room. Finally, the door unlocked and they ran in to resuscitate him, but it was too late. An autopsy was conducted and the coroner found that the heart looked like it had been crushed by something. This room has a fireplace and many times security guards have entered the room and seen a figure standing by the fireplace. Amy conducted a spirit box session and was not getting much, we're thinking partly because she was speaking English. But something that didn't have a language barrier gave us chills. Amy was sitting on the ledge of one of the fountains and you could hear the audible cry of a baby. There were rustling and scratching noises several times and a loud bang.

Maria wrote, "Mo is our little 7 year old history enthusiast, that looks forward to new episodes.  Our most recent experience and expedition we had before the shutdown was our trip to the Philippines. We visited the Diplomat Hotel.  Mo during our walk through reached over to me and my husband and said he saw a woman standing at the arched window looking down and waving at him while we were in the courtyard.  I don’t doubt that some energy appeared to him considering the history of the Diplomat."

Laperal White House

The Laperal White House suffered a similar fate as the hotel during World War II under Japanese occupation and this has led to hauntings. The house was built in the 1930s by a prominent family named Laperal who were early settlers here. The family was headed by Don Roberto Laperal and his wife Dona Victorina. The architecture style is American colonial reflecting that at the time, the Philippines was under American rule. World War II would end the family's peace here at their vacation home. A Japanese garrison took the house over and used it as a place to interrogate spies and torture, rape and kill people. Some of those killed were said to be members of the Laperal family, although Don Roberto survived the war. When he died the house passed out of family ownership and not much is known about the years between that and 2007. It sat abandoned for a great deal of time.

Lucio Tan who is a Chinese Filipino billionaire purchased the property in 2007. He poured money into renovating it, although he did not do that so he could move in, but rather so that it could be used as a tourist attraction. In 2013, under a joint partnership of Lucio's Tan Yan Kee Foundation and the Philippine Bamboo Foundation, the house was open to the public and hosts the Ifugao Bamboo Carving Gallery. The gallery in on the first floor, but the entire house is open to the public, so people can explore on their own and there are many people who seek out the ghosts that are said to haunt the place.

One member of the Laperal family who tragically died was their three and a half-year-old daughter. Her nanny had gone outside and did not realize that the little girl had followed her outside and the child wandered into the street, a la Pet Sematary. A car struck her and this tragedy seems to have left her spirit on the property. People have seen the full-bodied apparition of the little girl, particularly on the front steps of the house. There have been photos that have captured her too. The story about this gets even worse. The nanny is said to have committed suicide because of her grief and guilt. She did this in the attic and her spirit haunts that area of the house. People claim to see her ghost peering out of the windows. Other paranormal claims are that disembodied angry voices are heard coming from the house when it is empty. People get an eerie feeling of being watched when inside.

Security guards are reluctant to enter the house at night or alone. And one guard had a weird experience. He was asked by the caretaker to cut down a fortune plant that was on the side of the house. The guard did that, but soon fell very ill and he was unable to walk for a few days before he was well again. Another guard had an experience that got him in hot water with his wife. He was making his rounds of the house and decided to call his wife. After a few minutes, she angrily asked him who the woman was that was with him. He was very confused as he was all alone. His wife told him that she kept hearing a female voice in the background. 

A woman who was a clairvoyant was once eating at a restaurant across the street from the house named PNKY. There was a large mirror in the restaurant and she looked into it and was stunned to see the house in the reflection behind her, along with a female figure drenched in blood. Apparently, this sighting of a woman drenched in blood is seen so often by diners and staff that the restaurant has taken measures to block the view of the Laperal White House. 

In 2012, Vince Tabor shared a personal experience he had at the house on the website, "Way back in 1996 when i was in High School the Fourth Years would have their recollection, ours was done at Teacher’s Camp, this is an overnight event however for those who did not pay for the accommodations and those who does not have their parents with them must go home. Since we live far from the City I asked my classmate if i could stay at their place at Jungle Town, which is near Leonard Wood Road. As the time for us to go home around nine in the evening my classmate asked if we can just walk going to their place, having that sense of adventure we walked from teachers’ camp to Jungle Town, walking to their house means walking along the road where the Laperal White House was located. We finally reached the Laperal White Houses’ front gate when my classmate told me to look at the house, we saw a white figure (could be fog) that is coming down from what seems to be the attic down to the front entrance, suddenly my friend started running so i followed, i thought we were being chased by dogs or something. We ran until we reached the road going to Jungle Town, when i asked him why he said he saw a woman coming towards us."

Teacher's Camp

The Teacher's Camp in Baguio is just that, a training facility for teachers. The location was established in 1907 as a training site for teachers from America. There were no buildings at first. Tents were used for classrooms and dining. The first building was constructed in 1911 and cottages followed the next year. Other buildings that were added include Tavera Hall, Teacher's Hall, White Hall, Ladies Hall, Benitez Hall and General Luna Hall. The Philippine Military Academy was here for a time before the outbreak of World War II and during Japanese occupation, the Japanese army used the camp as a hospital. The camp was reopened to the public in 1947 after repairs were made. Today, Teacher's camp hosts teachers, religious retreats and other gatherings. Tourists can also stay overnight.

There are numerous claims that the old camp is haunted. Pinpointing why is hard. Obviously, if this was a hospital during World War II, some people died here more than likely. The land was originally home to the Igorot tribe. Igorot means mountaineer in the Tagalog language. Perhaps their connection to the land has left and so these were the mountain people. They left for some reason. Was there a reason why? Did they leave something behind that has left spiritual residue? One of the more widely seen spirits is our Lady in White. She is seen all over the camp, both outside and inside cottages. No one knows who she is and we wish there was a better description of, particularly what race.

Vince Tabor shared another story on his website that pertains to the camp. A group of people were staying in a cottage. They decided to go out one night and left the cottage. One of the group members had forgot something and ran to fetch whatever it was and was shocked to see that in the short time between the group leaving and their return, the interior was in a complete disarray. It's possible this was a prank, but then where did the pranksters disappear so quickly? There is a ghost nicknamed the Love Sick Igorot who likes to hang out in the cottages and got that nickname because he likes to follow the females and watch them sleep. Perhaps he had been in the cabin and was angry they left?

Another spirit said to be here is a headless priest and following what we already know from this podcast, it was probably someone executed by the Japanese. Another spirit that probably is a remnant from the war is a bloody female spirit that has appeared to several people when they have awakened in the middle of the night, usually around 3 am.

Emile See Less wrote on the Facebook group True Pinoy Ghost Stories, "Ghosts are definitely not real. Those were my words said before we started our trip up to the mountains of Baguio city. A group of delegates from our grade school department were going to a leadership seminar in one of the most haunted places in the Philippines, Teachers camp. Plenty of ghosts stories come from that dreaded place where we were about to stay for six days. It was known for it's old age and the rumors that it was built on top of a war-related area. People see ghosts of war veterans and enemy soldiers kidnapping women. I thought I could never experience something like that, But I was wrong. First day of the trip was fun, as I remember. We went biking around the park there and hung out in the hotel room of one of the delegates parents. I didn't even think about the place we were really supposed to stay, until of course I saw our hall in Teachers Camp. The camp was enormous, plenty of halls we could've stayed in. But of all of the halls we were assigned to, we were assigned to White hall, the oldest and the one in the worst condition. The floor would creak with every step and because of an opening between the ceiling and wall you could hear anything from chattering teachers to the bags of others dragged on the floor. Our toilets didn't even work well. So everyday I dreaded coming back to that hall at night.

The long awaited first night in our room finally came and as usual I didn't sleep well. I always have difficulty sleeping whether at home or a creepy camp. Room 109 was our assigned quarters, four other girls stayed in the room with me and they were comfortable with the place, just a bit disgusted at the counterproductive toilet. Anyway, As I was saying I didn't sleep well at all. I was awake until the hours of eleven desperately trying to sleep, of course I left the lights on fearing something might go bump that night. Finally, I fell asleep for around four hours and woke up again at 3:00 am. "Screw sleep." I thought. Luckily, I brought an interesting book from my sister. I read undisturbed yet still a bit paranoid for a few minutes. Until I heard something.

Footsteps. Faint yet coming closer. I stopped reading and waited to see if they'd actually get louder. They did. Before anything got any louder I actually peeked outside of my room, finding nothing, but the footsteps kept coming. Stronger and closer as it headed down from the stairs across the room. I went back to my bed and just stayed there, sitting upright, my ears eagerly taking in the footsteps. I was nervous, I tried to calm myself saying that there were late guests coming in. But then the footsteps reached the entrance of the room, so roughly that I felt the bed move whenever it sounded. I freaked and hid my head under the blanket. Hurriedly, reciting my prayers, while my friends slept soundly. I feared I'd see something that I'd remember for the rest of my life. The footsteps felt as if it was coming towards my bed. Then it stopped. I lifted enough courage to look up from my blanket. I saw a white shady figure with a somewhat bloodied face. It was only for a few seconds, until I finally got the urge to hide myself from it. I hid under the blanket again. The footsteps ensued but this time grew fainter and fainter until it was gone, like the figure. I was so scared I could barely get sleep. For the passing days, in room 109, nothing else happened."

Loakan Road

Loakan Road is also known as Route 231 and runs for nearly four miles from Loakan Airport to the main part of Baguio. There are two legends about this road. The first is about a tree that once stood at the middle of the road. It was decided that it needed to be removed, but anybody who tried to cut it down would fall ill and be unable to finish. Finally, someone did cut the tree down, but he died several months later. The other legend is about a hitchhiking ghost. There is a cemetery along the road and cab drivers claim to have been hailed by a woman wearing white outside of this cemetery, but when they stop to pick her up, she disappears. There are those who believe she was a murder victim.

There are also stories of screams and other strange sounds coming from a lot that used to be the site of the Hyatt Hotel here in Baguio. The grand hotel was brought down by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit here in 1990. Many people were trapped and killed in the collapse. Baguio does indeed seem to be a very haunted city. Are these locations that we shared haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

HGB Ep. 356 - Haunted Cemeteries 16

Moment in Oddity - Leo "Suicide" Simon

On this episode we are featuring haunted cemeteries and one of the men buried in one of them was Joel Bean. We found an interesting rabbit hole connected to him that became our oddity. When Joel Bean died in 1942, the property he had owned was purchased by Leopold and Donna Simon (Sea-mon), who were entertainers in traveling circuses. Leo was known by a variety of names: Leo “Suicide” Simon, “Captain Leo ‘Suicide’ Simon”, “Fire-Diver”, the “Human Firecracker”, and the “Dynamite Devil.” He was really good at high-board diving and he decided to add some tricks to that. He began his fire-diving act in the 1930s. This was a crazy act. He would climb up an 80-foot tall ladder, douse himself in gasoline and then set himself on fire. He would then do some kind of a swan dive or somersault into a 6-foot pool of water, which was also on fire. As if that was not dangerous enough, the pool had spikes all around it that could have killed him instantly if he missed. Another one of his stunts involved climbing into a box with three sticks of dynamite and he would light them with his cigar and basically blow himself up. He and Donna opened the El Jobe-an Hotel in 1942 and many circus performers would winter there, including the famous “Flying Wallendas.” We're sure Leo's act was really something, not only dangerously nuts, but it certainly was odd!

This Month in History - Billy Goat Curse on Cubs

In the month of October, on the 6th, in 1945, the curse of the billy goat on the Chicago Cubs baseball team started. William Sianis was a Greek immigrant who opened several chains of taverns in Chicago called the Billy Goat Tavern. He kept a pet billy goat as the mascot. William loved the Cubs and on that October 6th day he bought two tickets to the game, which was Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. One was for himself and the other was for his goat. He brought the goat with him and they allowed him to parade the goat on the field wearing a sign that read, "We got Detroit's Goat." Some people seated near the goat started complaining about its smell, so William and the goat were asked to leave. William was incensed and he hurled a curse upon the Cubs. He said, "Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more. You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again. You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat." And the Cubs didn't win a World Series or even a National League pennant for fifty years. They finally broke the curse or whatever it was in 2016. Whether you believe in a curse or not, the lesson here is clearly don't piss off a man and his goat!

Haunted Cemeteries 16

We all are going to die and most people desire a final tribute that will last on through the decades and even the centuries. This memorial could be a simple wooden cross, a small plaque, a tombstone of granite or marble or even something as audacious as a mausoleum or pyramid. We all want something that puts the final period on the fact that we actually did live. We were here. We contributed. We were loved. That is the purpose of cemeteries. For many of us, these are a place of serenity. Life and death come together and sit in peace. But sometimes the peace is broken by vandalism or even restless spirits. In this, our sixteenth exploration through cemeteries around the world, we will discuss the history and ghosts of some haunted cemeteries.

Little Pennsylvania Cemetery in Ohio

Outside of the Columbus, Ohio area, one will find a little tucked away cemetery known by three names: the Little Pennsylvania Cemetery, London-Darbydale Cemetery or Woolybooger Cemetery. That last name was inspired by the crypid creature that is believed to live in the cemetery. The cemetery has burials dating to 1834 and most of the burials are family plots with decorative cement edging. The layout is unique in that it is long and narrow and set on the side of a hill.

This is a cemetery with many legends connected to it and not much proof to back up those stories. One story claims that a man named Willie Butcher had lived across from where the cemetery is located. Butcher killed his family one night and then committed suicide. A little girl spirit in white has been seen wandering the cemetery and people claim that this is Willie's daughter. Willie is said to haunt the cemetery too. There is no proof that a Butcher family ever lived in that place and there is no evidence a house was ever there. Now the house was from the 1800s and supposedly the local villagers burned it down. There are no people named Butcher buried in the cemetery. Willie Butcher could possibly have morphed into Wooly Booger and that may be how that legend got started. Some storytellers claim that the girl in white was actually a murder victim found near the cemetery.

There is a legend that a Satanic cult would meet in the cemetery and conduct rituals, which is a rumor about so many haunted cemeteries. There are some who wonder if the KKK had met here and that's where stories of ghosts in the cemetery may have come from. Now as for the The Wooly Booger, it is supposed to be a Bigfoot-like creature that lives in the woods near the cemetery, but no one has actually ever seen one.

The Gheus Paranormal Group have investigated in the cemetery and claimed that they captured odd pictures and EVPs. One EVP features a woman screaming and they heard this audibly as well. One of the female investigators had long scratches on her back once they left the cemetery. Visitors to the cemetery do claim to hear screams and several people claim to feel very nauseous when in the graveyard.

DV wrote on the Mask of Reason Blog, "My story involves the cemetery and it’s gate, it was always said that if you do not walk through the gate and instead choose to go around that something horrible will happen to you. Now I had always heard this but never lent it much credence but after this night I kinda thought the legend may be true. I went with 5 of my buddies and we came to the gate, well 4 of us went through but two of my friends made fun of the legend and laughed as they walked around it. We informed them but they just shrugged it off, the next night the two friends went into Lancaster and on the way back got into a horrible car crash killing my friend the driver and almost killing the passenger. Also on a separate occasion it was just two of us and as we were about to go in a sheriff pulled up and of course stopped us. But after talking to the sheriff, he informed us to never go back there due to the satanic activities that he has had to deal with in the past. This was in the mid nineties so for all of you who do go out to that cemetery built on a hill, make sure you go ‘through’ the gate."

A woman named Amie wrote on the same website, "The night before, my friend went there with a few of his other friends and as they were leaving they all said they heard a girl scream. Which was weird because no one was there but the 6 of them. I didn’t think much of it until the story above talks about hearing the family screaming. I don’t know if I believe in ghosts but I’m sure not gonna mess with them."

Simms Cemetery 

There is another haunted cemetery in Ohio and this one is located in Athens. Simms Cemetery is located on Peach Ridge Road on private property and graves here date back to the mid 1800s. The number of headstones still here are few. The cemetery is believed to have been named after a man named John Simms. He and his family are buried here and it is believed that he had the dubious job of being the town's hangman. Technically, he was the judge and so sentenced people to die, many of whom were black. There is a tree atop the hill at the cemetery that people claim is the former hanging tree and rope burns and marks are still visible on the limbs. Hangings here stopped in the 1890s, but that hasn't stopped people from seeing figures hanging from the limbs. There is a claim out there that this cemetery is part of something called the Cemetery Pentagram. These five cemeteries are Mathany, Hanning, Hunter, Peach Ridge, and Simms. Simms is at the top part of the pentagram. 

This cemetery is small, but its haunted reputation is large. Not only are hanging victims seen in the limbs of the tree, but they are seen walking around the tree. There are strange sounds heard here and weird light anomalies, mostly in the form of orbs. The spirit of John Simms is here in the afterlife as well. He is seen wearing a long hooded shroud and walking around the trees and occasionally chasing anybody in the cemetery after dark and that sometimes he is carrying a sickle when this happens. The most bizarre claim about this graveyard is that it moves around and relocates itself. And then there is a legend connected to the cemetery claiming that a woman named Mary Roberts was buried near the Simms family plot and that she was put to death for being a witch. She was buried in this spot to curse Simms for his sins. Mary was actually buried elsewhere with her father and daughter on their farm.

Miami City Cemetery

Miami had originally been known as "Biscayne Bay Country." An early landowner here was Julia Tuttle and after the Great Freeze of 1894 took out most of the citrus in the state, save for that in southern Florida, she managed to convince railroad tycoon Henry Flagler to bring his railway down to Miami. Miami was incorporated as a city in 1896 with a population of only 300, many of whom were people of color. In 1897, the City of Miami purchased land from the Brickell family and founded Miami City Cemetery, which today can be found at 1800 Northeast 2nd Avenue. This is the oldest graveyard in the area. There are around 9,000 burials here. Most of the early burials were for black people and the first definitely was on July 14, 1897. The cemetery was segregated early with whites buried on the east end and blacks on the west end. A Jewish segment was started in 1915 as well as a Catholic section.

This cemetery has a very unique situation. Owners of a plot actually own the deed to the plot. People can still be buried in this graveyard today, but there is a strict criteria that must be met. The person who wants to be buried here must either hold the deed or prove that they are related to the deed holder. There are around 10 to 20 burials a year. Some of the interesting burials include pioneer families like the Peacocks, Dr. James Jackson and the Burdines, military burials that include Confederates, Union soldiers and Spanish-American war veterans and Julia Tuttle who is considered the "Mother of Miami." There is also the only known five oolitic limestone gravestone found in the world. This is Miami Oolic, which is formed from fossils of corals, echinoids, mollusks, and algae. Other oolic limestone is formed from small grains of sand that have rolled around the sea floor collecting calcite, which binds different grains of sediment together. Sarcophagi were made from an unusual limestone and sarcophagus means “flesh-eating.” This was a specific kind of limestone that facilitated the decomposition of flesh.

So let's look more closely at some of these prominent burials. William M. Burdines was the founder of Burdines, which was a chain of department stores in Florida with a headquarters in Miami. Macy's eventually bought it out and dropped the Burdine's name. William died in 1911. John Sewell was the third Mayor of Miami and he was buried here in 1938. Dr. James Jackson was the first resident physician in Miami. And then there was Julia Tuttle. You probably have never heard of her, but that is a shame because she is the only woman to found a major American city. She owned the land upon which Miami was founded and so she was called the "Mother of Miami." Tuttle convinced Flagler to move his railway south by sending him a bouquet of flowers proving that the freeze had not touched Miami. Flagler agreed to bring the railway down and Tuttle supplied him with the land for a hotel and a railroad station for free. Tuttle died at the age of 49 from Meningitis. Julia Tuttle's spirit is one of the apparitions seen here. People claim to feel as though someone is standing near them when they visit her memorial. She shows up when vandals come onto the property and start their antics.

Probably the most strange burial is that of Carrie Barrett Miller. Her husband requested that after her body was placed in the grave, sans coffin, that she should be covered in concrete. The tombstone explains why, "The body of Carrie Barrett Miller was moulded in this solid block of concrete. December 4th 1926. After the body has gone to dust, her sleeping form will remain." But one has to wonder, who would see the form? Even with the concrete there, people claim to hear scratching coming from the grave.

Prism Paranormal went in with a spirit box and near the Vereen family's mausoleum they got the name Vereen and also David twice. That was the name of the guy using the spirit box. Near Robert Emmet Cooney's chest tomb, the spirit box said Robert Emmet twice. It then said, "Of course he died" when David asked how he died. The name David came up a lot. An interesting exchange said "We're dead" then another voice said "Don't tell him that."  There was also "I'm here" twice and "We're here" once. The military sections of the cemetery really had a security guard freaked out. He had experienced some strange things in the cemetery and he happily shared about those, but when it came to these sections he would only say, "Don't go there after dark." Ronnie Hrwitz is a historian and volunteer at this cemetery and he has found all kinds of strange things connected to Santeria and Voodoo, both of which are practiced in Miami. He has found "a goat's leg, a pig's head, little cups of espresso, voodoo dolls. Every Sunday the grave of Lt. Gen. N.I. Egoroff of the Russian Imperial Army is covered with sweets — only sweets." This has caused some to claim that there is a dark energy here.

Indian Spring Cemetery

This second haunted cemetery from Florida is named for the site where it is located, Indian Spring. The Calusa Native American tribe were mound builders that were here starting around 3,000 years ago. They are more popularly known here as the "Shell Indians." They lived along the southwest coast of Florida and controlled most of southern Florida. They were seafaring warriors and the other indigineous tribes feared them. Their homes in Indian Spring would have been built on stilts and the roofs would have been fashioned from Palmetto leaves. The homes had no sides. They collected shells and left them in piles that can still be seen today. They died out in the late 1700s. More than likely, an Indian burial ground was here.

White settlers would set down roots and form the town of Charlotte Harbor, just south of Punta Gorda. They would found Indian Spring Cemetery in 1886. James L. Sandlin, a Florida pioneer, donated the land. The cemetery stretches over 40 acres and about 2,500 people are buried here, with 380 of them being veterans of all wars. Sandlin is one of those people. Other notable people buried here are Virginia Taylor Trabue, who died in 1924 and was the wife of Punta Gorda's founder, Sallie Jones who was Florida's first female Superintendent of Schools and died in 1960, Albert Waller Gilchrist who died in 1926 and was the Florida Southern Railway surveyor who platted Indian Spring and served as Governor of Florida from 1909 to 1913 and Joel Bean who died in 1943 and was the founder of El Jobean, Florida's first circular city. That is an anagram of his name.

Indian Spring Cemetery is said to be haunted. People claim to see ghostly lights and to hear disembodied moaning and screaming. Shadow figures are also seen. My friend, Scott Walker, founded Peace River Ghost Trackers and they have collected evidence at the graveyard. Their group experienced the sounds of crying and wailing female voices and they witnessed lights moving across the graveyard and disappearing into graves. They think the mausoleum on the west side of the cemetery is the most haunted location where they witnessed several times a dark shadow that drifted out of it and floated down along the Alligator Creek. On the Florida Haunted Houses website, a couple of people posted about hearing screams in the cemetery too. One wrote, "I was the only one who had heard it, which was astonishing as it was so very loud. I had heard a woman screaming as if she was at the verge of death. She sounded to be about 18-28."

In Dave Lapham's book "Ghosthunting Florida," he writes about the experiences of a woman named Jody who lives near the cemetery, "She and her mother used to walk their dogs in the evenings along the road next to the cemetery. One evening when she was about fourteen or fifteen, they walked a little farther than normal, and by the time they turned around to go home, it was getting dark. That didn't particularly bother them because they knew the area - this was their neighborhood. But as they strolled along, the dogs began to bark excitedly at something in the cemetery. At first Jody and her mother couldn't see anything, but then lights appeared, floating three-to-four feet off the ground and occasionally what looked like large, dark balls of mist swooshing by them. Suddenly, the dogs stopped barking and became very nervous. Frightened now, they all raced home. Jody doesn't walk there in the dark anymore."

Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery/Green Lady Cemetery

Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery, or as the locals nicknamed it, Green Lady Cemetery is located on Upson Road in Burlington, Connecticut. This is the oldest cemetery in Burlington and dates back to the late 18th century. The name indicates that this is the burial ground for members of the Seventh Day Baptist Church. This was a religious group that originated in Rhode Island and 20 families decided to move to Burlington, Connecticut and established a new church there in 1780. When the church was built, a half an acre was set aside for the purpose of a public burying ground. Residents of Burlington didn't care much for this group and they made attempts to drive them away, which eventually happened in 1820. The last burial in the cemetery just happens to be Diane's birthday, October 14, in 1881. The cemetery soon took on another name and that was Green Lady Cemetery, due to a legend.

Locals claimed to see a green spectral figure in the cemetery and they started calling her the Green Lady. Most people believe this is the spirit of a woman name Elisabeth Palmiter, who was a Seventh Day Baptist. She apparently died after going out into a bad snow storm looking for her husband. He had gone to town to get supplies, but decided to stay put when he saw how bad the storm was. Elisabeth got lost and drowned in a swamp. The story goes that her husband Benjamin found her body frozen in the swamp, wearing a green dress. There is one version of the legend that claims Benjamin murdered her and threw her in the swamp.  

Many people have claimed to see the spirit glowing in a green mist when they pass by the cemetery. Some have been close enough to see her smile before she disappears. Mysterious lights are also seen the graveyard. Some say the light almost appears to be the light from a lantern and they wonder if this is the spirit of Benjamin looking for Elisabeth. As is the case with so many cemeteries, people claim that satanic rituals took place here in the early 1990s. A couple of local students found an altar in the cemetery and they heard disembodied voices yelling at them, "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!" They fled from the cemetery. There is a claim that a paranormal researcher was in the cemetery recording and he captured shrieking noises and was also tapped on the shoulder in December 2015.

Nunica Cemetery

Nunica Cemetery is found in the tiny town of Nunica on Michigan's west coast. This is reputedly one of the most haunted cemeteries on that coast and was established in 1883. This is a small secluded cemetery with a winding dirt road that has had a real folk art feel to it because for many years, families were allowed to make their own homemade memorials. A notable burial here is for Henry E. Plant. He was a Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. He served as a Corporal in Company F, 14th Michigan Infantry. He earned his medal on March 19, 1865 during the battle at Bentonville in North Carolina. He rushed forward to rescue his unit's colors from the Confederates when his color bearer had fallen mortally wounded. He died in 1925. Another Civil War veteran here is Joel A. Bond, whom people refer to as Mr. Bond. He served with the Twenty-first Michigan Infantry. He owned a farm in Nunica and lived until 1913. Investigators claim that he haunts the cemetery and likes to get cheeky with the ladies by playing with their hair and touching their bottoms.

There are a couple of legends here. One claims that a tree near the front of the cemetery was used by a man to hang himself. A missing branch seems to lend credence to this fact and that it was cut off to perhaps bring the man down. People claim to get a creepy feeling when near the tree. Another legend claims that there are no burials in the front of the cemetery because this is a Native American burial ground. There is no record of either of these stories, but they are interesting.

Nicole Bray, the founder of West Michigan Ghost Hunter's Society, has investigated inside the cemetery. Her first visit, she took an EMF detector with her and it was going crazy. This cemetery is nowhere near anything that would give off an electrical field. The energy drained from the equipment every time she visited the cemetery. There is a section that has many children buried in it and one day when Nicole took a tour group through the cemetery, the group suddenly felt as though cold air was enveloping them and then someone heard a little boy's voice and then the cold disappeared as quickly as it came. 

Amberrose Hammond wrote the book, "Ghosts and Legends of Michigan's West Coast" and she claims that when she was in the cemetery she felt her left hand get really cold. Someone with her pulled out a temperature gauge and even though it was summer, the gauge read 20 degrees. The cold eventually went away, but it served to back up the story that a little girl's ghost likes to hold hands with visitors to the cemetery. There is a lady in white here who has been seen on a part of the cemetery that is on a hill.

Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane (Suggested by Natalie and Asha Moore)

Toowong Cemetery is also known as the Brisbane General Cemetery and was once Brisbane's main cemetery. Burials started here in 1871, but was officially founded in 1875 on the slopes of Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane's inner western suburbs. Over 120,000 people are buried here over forty-four hectares, which is a little over 108 acres, making this Queenland's largest cemetery. The cemetery is beautiful with winding pathways, large fig trees, weeping banyans, Bangalow Palm, Cypress Pine, Camphor Laurels, avenues of oleander flowers and many unique burials.

On our earlier episode featuring Brisbane, we shared that this had once been a penal colony, but quickly transferred to a free area. Since this had been a place with mainly criminals, the first cemetery here was used for burying convicts and soldiers. Such a place did not seem appropriate for children. It was decided that another cemetery needed to be laid out on the outside of the community. This cemetery was soon done away with because expansion encroached on it and another site in Toowong was chosen. For a couple decades there would be a lot of debate in regards to this burial ground. Much of the issue dealt with public access, but once it was surrounded with public roads, the debates lessened with most focusing on health issues. And there were some residents who wanted to use the land for other things. We imagine this is one of the only cemeteries to have once had a rifle range.

The cemetery was closed to burials except for family members in 1975, but in 1998 it reopened to burials. Many unique memorials and prominent people can be found in Toowong Cemetery. One of the first burials was for Queensland's second governor, Samuel Wensley Blackall. He had been a big proponent for establishing this cemetery and he wanted to be buried there. He was buried here on January 3, 1871 on the highest knoll. This grave is the largest and most prominent in the cemetery and because it is on the high knoll, it had a wonderful view of Brisbane. Most of the high areas of the cemetery were left to the more prosperous. As you make your way to the lower more water-logged areas, you will find a lower class of people with paupers being buried in this less desirable area. There are many separate sections for different religions and denominations.

There are graves for 270 Commonwealth service personnel from World War I and 117 Commonwealth service personnel from World War II. Some memorials include the Cross of Sacrifice, Shrine of Remembrance and the Temple of Peace, which was built in 1924 by Prussian migrant Richard Ramo. He designed it as a memorial to his four sons and his dog, who was poisoned, and it has many anti-war inscriptions and several stained glass windows. Adventurer Edward McGregor had a monument made in his likeness and it features him sitting with his chin on his hand looking down as he watches over his wife's grave. He holds a laurel wreath in his other hand.

Many politicians are buried here like Leslie Corrie, who had been a mayor of Brisbane, and Frank Forde who had been Prime Minister of Australia. A controversial grave is said to be the final resting place of Walter Thomas Porriott whom Queensland historians Jack Sim and Paul Tully believe may have been Jack the Ripper. He was a convicted killer and known to be a man of a thousand identities and he was in the Whitechapel area of London during the murders. You can find it under a tombstone that reads "Bessie - Died 25th June 1957 - And her Husband," which is located at Portion 7A, Section 185, Grave Number 9/10.

Karl Kast was a German immigrant who took 12 homemade pipe bombs and a gun with him to Wickham House where he killed a doctor, wounded two others and ignited three bombs in the foyer. He went 100 meters to Ballow Chambers and killed another doctor, tried to kidnap another one and then locked himself in an office where he shot himself and lit another bomb. He died in the hospital later and was buried in Toowong Cemetery. His motive for the rampage was that he had been injured in an accident and he went around to doctors looking for someone to relieve his pain and get him on a lifelong pension. Doctors couldn't find anything wrong with him and said it was all in his mind. Apparently, he decided to make the doctors pay for challenging his story.

There are historical tours offered and ghost tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays. One of the most beautiful memorials is for the Mayne Family. This crypt of the famous Mayne family includes the patriarch and matriarch of the family and all but one of their six children, all of whom did not marry. The Maynes were philanthropists and benefactors to the University of Queensland. The tomb is ornate with with lots of carved design elements and it is surrounded by white wrought iron. The crypt is said to be haunted with people claiming to hear sounds coming from inside of it that sound like something is being thrown around inside and angry voices arguing. A crimson liquid has been seen leaking from the bottom of the crypt before. There is a story that claims that Patrick Mayne had been a violent man and he once killed someone ans dismembered them that person, but that another person was charged with the crime. On his deathbed, Mayne confessed to the crime and the curse that was upon him passed onto his children, which is why they never married or had children. They didn't want to pass on the curse.

There is supposedly a spook hill inside the cemetery. This is a hill that Avenue 12 extends over and if you put your car in neutral, it will get pushed backwards up the hill. The cause is thought to be the spirits of two sisters killed in a car accident who are buried at the top of the hill. This isn't the only legend connected to the spook hill. Supposedly a vampire is seen at the bottom of the hill. The story with this one dates back to the turn-of-the-century and it claims that a woman’s grave was exhumed after she had been buried for 20 years so that they could figure out what she had died from and the body was discovered to be in perfect condition and her teeth had elongated fangs. The coffin had not been nailed shut and the dirt above it had seemed loose. After this, reports started of a woman dressed in 19th-century garb with long dark hair being seen at the bottom of the hill. Jack Sim tells a story about an elderly lady who visited the cemetery with a friend because she wanted to place flowers on the grave of a friend. They saw an attractive young lady with long hair, so they smiled at her. When she smiled back, she revealed a double row of sharp, pointed teeth. The women were scared by this and hurried to their car. When they got to the front gate, the same young woman was there and there was no way she could have beaten them to the gate. The woman stepped aside and let them leave.

A rite of passage in the cemetery used to be connected to the memorial of boxing legend Peter Jackson or Peter the Great who fought twenty-eight of the best men in England and America and lost to none. In the 1950s, young men would challenge each other to go into the cemetery and stand in front of the memorial. Then there would be the sound of a bell ringing and Jackson would appear wearing his boxing gloves. Probably even more than being a legend, it probably was older boys scaring the younger boys by ringing a bell off in the woods. I'm not sure why the boys would see the boxing great because he doesn't have a statue at the gravesite. It's a thick cube-shaped obelisk that stands eight feet with a lion atop it and a bust of Jackson on the side. Stories of ghost sightings go back to World War II. There are claims of a strange entity hissing at people that has been nicknamed The Angel of Death. Jack Sim claims to have seen the entity ten times in eight years. A guy was on the tour when it made an appearance and he declared it a fake and ran over to where the figure was to prove the tour had staged this event. He came running back full bore and declared that it was floating and had no feet. A woman in black mourning clothes from the early 1900s is seen in the cemetery near the woods, walking among the tombstones and if anyone gets too close, she disappears into the woods.

Historic cemeteries not only fall victim to vandals, but they are also surrounded by legends. It's hard to pick through what may be true. Many of these cemeteries have legends that seem to be just that. But there are some ghost stories that could be true as well. Are any of these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!