Thursday, December 31, 2020

HGB Ep. 366 - University of North Alabama

Moment in Oddity - The Accent of Tangier, Virginia (Suggested by: Chelsea Flowers)

We've all been on the phone or listened to a podcast with someone who has a heavy accent. We have to listen extra carefully, so that we understand what is being said. At least that is the case with English. But we imagine that it could be the same for people who speak other languages. And while some accents almost sound like another language, we generally understand what is being said especially in America. That is the case with most states and cities, except for Tangier in Virginia. Tangier Island is off the coast of Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay and despite it being 2020, the island is fairly isolated. One can only reach it by boat. And the people who live here want to stay insulated from outside influence. Families here go back to colonial times and this is reflected in their distinct dialect. Their tonal pronunciations go back centuries and the vernacular they use makes quite a bit of what they say unrecognizable. The accent is so thick that most people would assume that they are speaking a different language, but it is actually English and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Plymouth Colony Construction Begins

In the month of December, on the 23rd, in 1620, construction on the Plymouth Colony begins. The Mayflower carrying 102 passengers left Plymouth, England for the New World on September 16, 1620. The group had people who were escaping religious persecution and others who were looking for business opportunities. Despite differences, this group formed the Mayflower Compact as they sailed, which would lay the groundwork for American democracy. This incorporated both majority rule and constitutional law. The Mayflower landed on Cape Cod on November 21st. A scouting group went out and found the perfect location for their settlement and named it after the place they had come from, Plymouth. The Mayflower was brought down to the harbor and construction on dwellings began. The group would stay aboard the ship for several months as they worked on the settlement and eventually moved ashore permanently in March. Nearly half of them would die that first year, but eventually they flourished.

University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is located in the city of Florence and has been a fixture here for almost 200 years. It started like most older colleges, in a different spot and much smaller. Today, it has grown into a large university covering several acres with many buildings. Several of those buildings are reputedly haunted and there are even a couple of creepy statues that come to life! Join us as we share the history and haunts of the University of North Alabama.

Florence, Alabama sits along the Tennessee River and is the largest city in the area that is commonly known as the Shoals. This city also has the distinction of being home to the only house in the state of Alabama designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. And the name Florence is indeed from the Italian city that is the capital of Tuscany. An Italian surveyor named Ferdinand Sannoner first surveyed the town in 1818 for the Cypress Land Company. Florence was incorporated in 1826. Four years later, LaGrange College was founded and opened by the Methodist church. Despite that origin, the goal was to have the college be neither religious or theological. This was not in Florence, but rather a mountain town called LaGrange, which means "The Barn" in French. By 1855, however, LaGrange College had moved to Florence. And that was fortunate since Union troops burned the original school to the ground in 1863. The name of the school changed at that time to Florence Wesleyan University. 

This move to Florence was controversial and many students and staff refused to move. It took three days to caravan everything to the new site, which consisted of a bunch of tents until buildings could be constructed. That is why the school needed to change its name. Admission to the university was tough. Students not only needed to have a command of grammar, geography, math and Latin and Greek, but prospective students had to be able to translate parts of four books: Caesar's Gallic Wars, six books of Virgil's Aeneid, Jacob's or Felton's Greek Reader, and at least one of Xenophon's Anabasis. There were 160 students enrolled in that first year after the move. Future politicians would graduate from here, along with Civil War generals. The Civil War would bring hardship to the university, but it managed to keep from being destroyed, although various buildings would take turns being occupied by both sides. 

In 1872, the Methodist Church deeded the university to the State of Alabama and the name changed to the State Normal School at Florence. This would be the first teachers college south of the Ohio River that was state supported. At that time, the school was still only for men, but a year after this, women were allowed to enroll. The first women would enter the school in 1874 and the first female member of the faculty would be added in 1879. This made the university one of the first co-educational schools in the country. It would remain a normal school for fifty years. In 1929, it branched into a four-year curriculum offering bachelor's degree, the first of which was awarded in 1931. Graduate courses were offered later starting in 1956. In 1957, the college would change names again, this time to Florence State College.

Although the school had been co-educational for years, there was still one milestone it needed to cross and this came in 1963 when Wendell Wilkie Gunn became the first African-American student to enroll at the college. Gunn did have to sue for this to happen when he was initially denied admission. The trial lasted just ten minutes and Gunn's lawyer Fred Gray said in 2005 that this was "the easiest case of my civil rights career." Gunn would eventually become an international trade adviser to President Ronald Reagan in 1982. By 1967, the school had expanded its programs so much that it was agreed that another name change was necessary and the school became Florence State University. Yes, those are a lot of name changes and that leads to this little fun fact. Ethelbert Brinkley "E.B." Norton, was president of the institution for all three of those name changes. Wonder if he ever forgot which school it was that he was presiding over on a particular day? 

On August 15, 1974, the university underwent its final name change and became the University of Northern Alabama. More masters programs were added and the school started enrolling thousands of students. Today, the campus is spread out over 200 acres and has nearly 6500 students. The school nickname is the Lions and it actually owns two live lions named Leo III and Una who live in a state-of-the-art facility near the main campus entrance. There are many buildings and houses that make up the campus and several of them have ghost stories connected to them. We are going to share those with you now.

The O'Neal House

The O'Neal House is located at 468 North Court Street. This was home to two governors of the state. Edward O'Neal was born in 1818 and attended the University of Northern Alabama when it was LaGrange College, graduating at the top of his class.He married Olivia Moore and they had nine children together. When the Civil War broke out, O'Neal joined the Confederate Army as a Captain and worked his way up in rank to Colonel. During the Battle of Seven Pines, he was severely wounded and his horse was killed under him. He recovered and went on to lead regiments in several other battles. After the war, he worked in law and then politics and was elected governor in 1882, serving until 1886. He died in Florence, Alabama in 1890. The O'Neal House was built in the 1840s and the O'Neals bought it in 1857. Mrs. O'Neal loved the home from the moment she saw it and it is said that she has stayed in the house even after her death. She is most often seen standing in an upstairs window and is described as beautiful with long blonde hair. For those who have encountered her apparition, they report that she is friendly.

Off Campus Bookstore

The Off Campus Bookstore is located right next to the O'Neal House at 472 North Court Street. This house is cute bungalow built in the early 1900s and was home to a young girl named Molly in the 1920s. The family had a family dog that unfortunately caught rabies. Molly loved to play with the dog, so it was only normal for her to reach out to her dog that appeared to not be feeling well as it foamed at the mouth. The dog bit her and infected her with rabies. This was before there was a treatment for rabies and the poor girl died a horribly painful death. And perhaps that is why she has returned in the afterlife. Or maybe she misses her dog. People claim to see her apparition inside and outside of the house and a few claim she has asked if they have seen her dog. Sometimes she seems to have found her dog as the pet appears with her. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity used the house in the 1980s and the room that was reputedly Molly's room, was always painfully cold. A contractor claimed to see the girl during renovations. She appeared as a floating pink mist. He also heard disembodied footsteps like those of a barefoot child. Molly continues on in the bookstore with some poltergeist activity. Candy mysteriously disappears and objects get moved around. People also see the little girl looking out of the windows when the store is closed and no one is inside.

Norton Auditorium

The Norton Auditorium is located at 600 North Pine Street. At one time, this was the largest theater venue in the area and had been known as the Auditorium and Fine Arts Center. Major musical acts have performed here as well as theater productions. The auditorium underwent its first major renovation in January 2020. And we are sure that this helped to kick up activity because the spirit that haunts this place is not an entertainer, but rather, a construction worker. The Auditorium was built in the the 1960s and a worker was working on a high beam when he fell to his death. His spirit remains and likes to play tricks and people have taken to calling him George, although no one knows what his real was. He makes noises throughout the building and plays with the lights. The theater crew claims that one night they turned all the breakers off, so that they could change out the lighting. They went on a break and when they returned, every light was ablaze...and the breakers were still off. The campus newspaper, The Flor-Ala, decided to have some of their staff try to communicate with George using a Ouija board back in 2011. Apparently, they did get some kind of communication that verified the legend. 

Coby Hall

Coby Hall is located across the street from the Norton Auditorium. Before this was Coby Hall, this was the Courtland Mansion. The mansion was built by John Simpson in the 1830s for his wife Margret Patton Simpson. It was built in the Georgian Revival architectural style. Simpson ran a mercantile business in Florence for many years. The Civil War found both the Union and Confederacy occupying the mansion at different points. Confederate General John Bell Hood was one of the occupiers. George Foster bought the house for his daughter Virginia and her husband James Irving after the war, which passed down through the family to the Irvine’s great granddaughter, Mrs. Madding King. The Kings restored the house after World War II. Ellis Coats owned the house into the early 1980s and he allowed Project Courtview to use the mansion for Florence’s first Decorator’s Showcase. Coby Hall got its name from its last private owners, David and Coby Brubaker. Coby died from cancer at a young age and David gave the house to the University of Northern Alabama in memory of her. Coby Hall was dedicated in 2005 and is the headquarters of UNA’s Admissions and Recruiting. The mansion is also used for various events. The spirit here goes all the way back to the Simpsons. Margret Simpson is believed to haunt the hall and she dislikes any loud parties. She has made several appearances during parties. She has been seen in a navy skirt and white blouse, particularly on the first floor of the house.

Willingham Hall

Willingham Hall is a college administrative building located at 687-601 N. Morrison Ave. This site originally was home for the Locust Dell Academy, which ran from 1834 to 1843. The private school had been established by a man named Nicholas Hentz and his wife Caroline. Caroline was Alabama's first best-selling novelist. The current building was constructed in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration as a men's dormitory. The Tennessee Valley Authority housed employees there during World War II and after the war it was a boys' dormitory. In 1947, the dormitory switched to a female dormitory and it remained that way until 1968. The name officially became Willingham Hall in 1949 for one of the college's presidents, Dr. Henry J. Willingham. His support of a new sales tax in Alabama helped insure that the teachers at the college got their full pay. Prior to this, most teachers were working twelve months for nine months of pay. The first reports of haunting activity came from an English professor who had returned to his office for a book when he heard an awful banging coming from the basement. He decided to investigate and found nothing in the basement. He went back to his office and the banging started again. This scared him to hear it a second time and he ran from the building. There are reports that Nicholas Hentz liked to play music loudly at night and there are claims that he is responsible for the noise.

Phi Gamma Delta House

The Phi Gamma Delta House is located at 523 Oakview Circle. In 2017, this grand home was nearly destroyed in a fire, but is back to its former elegance after extensive restorations. The Phi Upsilon Chapter of the fraternity calls the house home and they apparently share it with a female ghost named Ella. Ella fell down the stairs and died according to legend. Because of this, her disembodied screams are heard. She also seems to be jealous when the brothers bring their girlfriends into the house and she will act out in a poltergeist fashion.

Wesleyan Hall

Wesleyan Hall is located on Cramer Way and is probably the coolest building on campus and its oldest. The Gothic Revival architecture has many castle elements like battlements that surround the roof line. The building was designed by Adolphus Heiman who was a Prussian engineer, stonecutter, and architect. The builder was Zebulon Pike Morrison and the building was made from brick that was made on the southern edge of the campus and slave labor did the construction. Construction was completed in 1856. This served as Florence Wesleyan University. During the Civil War, both sides occupied the building at various times, one of whom was General Sherman. After the war, the university started up again, but with only one professor. The school foundered and closed in 1871. The school was turned over to the state and they chartered it as a normal school and a three-story building was added in 1909. Eventually, the buildings became part of the University of Northern Alabama and serve as the departments of Foreign Language, Geography and Psychology. 

The ghost that haunts this building is a young boy thought to be named Jeremiah. Legend claims that he was the son of one of General Sherman's officers and served as a Union drummer. He went for a swim and unfortunately drowned. People claim to see his wet footprints on the floor and his apparition has been seen standing still wet as though he just finished a swim. The campus newspaper conducted an investigation in 2011 and during that, doors opened and closed by themselves and computers turned on and off by themselves. 

Guillot University Center 

The Guillot University Center is located at 202 Guillot University Center in the heart of the campus. The building was constructed in 1986 on the former site of O'Neal Hall, which had been there since 1913. It is named for Robert M. Guillot, who was UNA's former president from 1972 to 1989. Today, this serves as a student union with a mail room for students, food court, meeting rooms, banquet facilities, 300-seat performance hall and The Lion's Den Game Room. The resident spirit in this building seems to be a carry over from the O’Neal Hall. Legend claims that a girl named Priscilla hanged herself in an elevator shaft. Several students claimed to see her apparition in the building looking very forelorn. One student claimed to hear the sobs of a woman when he was locking up the building after a fraternity meeting. He followed the sounds upstairs and saw a translucent woman weeping. He ran out of there. Local author Debra Johnson was once leading a tour on the campus and the group experienced some weird stuff in front of the center. The elevator doors opened and closed on their own even though the building was closed for the night. And then the front door opened by itself even though it clearly had to have been locked.

Romeo and Juliet Statues

The strangest paranormal stories on campus center around the statues of Romeo and Juliet. Legend claims that these statues take flight on nights with a full moon. No one knows how this happens, but every Halloween, Romeo ends up with a pumpkin in his hands. There are a couple of theories. Obviously, ours would be that some student or students are having a little fun. Others claim that this is part of some kind of pagan Halloween ritual. Faculty members like to claim that Romeo goes out and searches for a pumpkin to give to his love Juliet. Those are fun, but what is not fun are the stories that students tell of being chased by the Romeo statue as it throws pumpkins at them. Would be fun if they were flaming ala Headless Horseman. Some believe Romeo might be looking for a new love and that is why he has been seen in the women's bathroom in Steven's Hall. And one male student reported seeing Romeo standing over the fallen body of a woman. He fled and called police who could find nothing to back up the story. The student swore that he had heard a female crying and had seen the statue standing over that woman. Juliet is adventurous too. She has been spotted atop Wesleyan Hall with her eyes burning red. A female student claimed that the statue had attacked her. She had been crossing the bridge to the Guillot University Center when several strands of her hair were pulled out. When she turned around, the statue of Juliet was floating above her with blood red eyes and she was laughing.

The University of Northern Alabama has some beautiful and interesting buildings. Could it be that several of these places are haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:

Lewis O. Powell IV Blog: Southern Spirit Guide

Thursday, December 24, 2020

HGB Ep. 365 - Marshall House Hotel

Moment in Oddity - The Rock People and Houses of Kinver (Suggested by: Sandra Latham)

Starting in the late 1770s, people began living in rock houses in the United Kingdom's Kinver Edge. Joseph Heely was the first person to report about these rock houses. A storm was brewing and a family that Heely described as a “clean & decent family” took him in and he was amazed by their dwelling. These homes were carved out of the soft red sandstone in the area. They were preferable to the local cottages because they were high above the flood level and they were warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The rock houses were equipped with water and gas and earth closets provided sanitation. The homes had furniture, stoves, windows and doors. By 1861, eleven families were living in the rock houses at Kinver Edge. By the early 1900s, the houses had become famous and were a tourist attraction and tea was served at a cafe. On one day in 1905, 17,000 people came by the cafe. This closed in 1967 and the property fell into disrepair. The houses were restored in the 1990s and opened for tours in 1997 that continue today. One of these is Nanny's Cave, which had layers of carvings and graffiti on the walls with occult symbols, runes and sigils. A chimney chute at the front had been affectionately named "The Devil's Chimney" and reputedly became the means by which Satan crawled in and out of this house. Generally we think of prehistoric or cave men living in rock houses, so these rock houses certainly are odd!

This Month in History - Leicester Codex Auctioned

In the month of December, on the 12th, in 1980, a notebook penned by Leonardo da Vinci was bought at auction by American oil tycoon Armand Hammer for $5.1 million. This was the highest price paid for a manuscript at the time. A couple years early,  a copy of the legendary Gutenberg Bible had gone for only half as much. This manuscript was written in 1508 and was one of thirty books that da Vinci penned during his life on various subjects. The topic of this one was water. This book had seventy-two loose pages with 300 notes and detailed drawings. Parts of this are thought to have inspired parts of his work the Mona Lisa. He used his mirror-writing technique to pen the booklet and used brown ink and chalk. The work is officially known as the Leicester Codex.

Marshall House Hotel

The Marshall House Hotel has stood in the heart of historic downtown Savannah for nearly 170 years. This was not only a place for weary guests to the city, it also served as a hospital before and during the Civil War. A nod to the history of the Civil War can be found on the third floor. We stayed here for one night and based on the haunted reputation of the place, we decided to do a little paranormal investigating. The activity started practically the minute we walked in our room. Join us as share the history and hauntings of the Marshall House Hotel! 

Savannah is one of our favorite cities. This was Kelly's second time here and it was her first chance to really get a feel for the city. We started with a visit to Bonaventure Cemetery and wandered around for a couple hours before heading to the Marshall House Hotel. (Kelly shares what she thought about the cemetery.) The Marshall House is located at 123 Broughton Street and is Greek Revival architecture in style. One of the first things people notice about the Marshall House is the iron veranda that is 120 feet in length and 12 feet wide and high and was placed on the hotel in 1857 by Ralph Meldrim, who was the proprietor of The Marshall House at the time. This gives it a real New Orleans feel. The minute we walked into the lobby we not only noticed the gleaming marble everywhere, but we also saw a large oil painting of Mary Marshall on the wall behind the reception desk. This work had once been owned by Jim Williams who was the main person in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  The Marshall House is named for her because she founded the hotel in 1851. The location was very important in that it was in the heart of the shopping district of Savannah. Mary remained a prominent figure in Savannah and her family's history in the city started with her grandparents. She inherited a large sum from her father and built upon that by buying property, two others of which still remain in the city: A double-tenement house found behind the hotel on Oglethorpe Square and the Marshall Row that lies on Oglethorpe Street across from Colonial Park Cemetery.

The hotel is four stories with winding hallways leading to rooms and a large library sitting room on the first floor where they host wine socials and then a restaurant area off that for the morning buffet. As stated before, there is a collection of Civil War memorabilia on the third level that is part of a self-guided tour. There are also displays of artifacts found during restorations. Our room was fairly small with antiques and some modern conveniences that included a small bathroom. It was all very quaint. It was room 203 and we were a little startled by that because we also had room 203 in Wilmington.

A yellow fever epidemic swept through the city in 1854 and the hotel was converted into a hospital to treat the sick. Over 1,000 people died during that epidemic. In 1864, the hotel was occupied by Union troops led by General William Tecumseh Sherman. They stayed for several months and then the hotel became a Union hospital until the end of the Civil War. Then the hotel reverted back to a hotel. During the Reconstruction Period, Joel Chandler Harris, author of the famous Uncle Remus Stories, lived at the hotel. In 1880, the building that was next door was annexed and became part of the hotel. The hotel closed in 1895. 

The hotel reopened in 1899 and featured electric lights and hot and cold running water. At this time it was still the Marshall House, but the name would change to Gilbert Hotel in 1933 when real estate man Herbert W. Gilbert leased the building. He would expand it so that it had a new lobby, dining room, living room, reading room, 66 guest rooms, one suite, an apartment, and six storage rooms. In 1941, he sold the hotel and it reopened under new ownership in 1946 after a complete renovation. Fire codes changed and it was too hard for the hotel to update in 1957, so the top three floors were closed and the main level was opened as shops. This was the case until 1998. The hotel was renovated once again and reopened as The Marshall House once more in 1999 and this is said to be Savannah's oldest hotel. We should mention that during these modern renovations, body parts were found beneath the floor boards. This was treated as a crime scene and everything was carefully cataloged. Tests revealed the bones were from the Civil War. These were probably amputated arms and legs and such and they were just placed under the floorboards since they had nowhere else to put them.

We went to dinner at a brew pub that was next to the hotel and then we headed off for our ghost tour with Ghost City Tours. Our tour guide was great, but we would be hard pressed to recommend the company. This was another one of those big tour companies that offers tours in several cities. Diane had a bad experience with Ghosts and Gravestones and now she's added this one too. There were supposed to be two tour guides to break our group up into two small groups of 30, but our guide was informed right before we were supposed to head out that there was a screw up with the website. So this poor woman had to take out a group of 50 people, in the age of Covid. So clearly this was not according to healthy guidelines either. And for us, any group over 40 is ridiculous anyway.

We did another session with the dowsing rods after getting back from having dinner and doing our ghost tour. (Marshall House after Tour) The next morning Diane tried her hand at the dowsing rods. (Marshall House Morning) We continued with another dowsing session and we talked about religion (Marshall House Religion) Through all of our dowsing rods sessions, we formed a picture of the young woman we were speaking with. It seems that she was a young pre-teen girl and her family was from Ireland and were indentured servants. She had siblings, at least one brother and more than one sister. She more than likely died here when the hotel was a hospital with yellow fever patients. She does not leave the hotel and her family is not with her. We never figured out what her name was. Kelly did a little research and found that there was information that backed up the possibility that Irish indentured servants were in Savannah.

The city of Savannah was pretty new when a ship wrecked off the coast on January 10, 1734. There were forty survivors, thirty-four men and six women. These people were Irish indentured servants who had been sailing for New England. General James Oglethorpe who had founded Savannah had a motto, not for self, but for others. So there was no way he was going to turn these destitute and suffering people away. He wrote of the situation, "A sloop loaded with servants was forced in here through stress of weather and want of victuals many of them were dead. Forty only remained. As they were likewise ready to perish through misery. I thought in an act of charity to buy them, which I did, giving five pounds a head. I gave one of them to each of the widows which will render them able to cultivate their lands and maintain their families. I let each of the magistrates have one at a prime cost that they might not be behind hand in their gardens and plantations by reason of their spending much of their time in the public service. Of the rest, I have allotted Mr. Lafond five to help him in building a saw mill, four to the gardens, and four to the Island Hutchinson’s." These people stayed and urged the relatives to come to Savannah as well and a rich Irish heritage took root in the city. Particularly during the Irish Potato Famine.

While Kelly was in the bathroom getting ready, Diane started having doubts about what was causing the EMF gauge to go off. She had opened the blinds and realized that the room was on the far end of the hotel, which was the corner of the block and a large traffic light was outside the window. So she took the EMF to the window and, of course, it went off. And she noticed it went off around the TV. So she decided to do a test. There was a chair in the far corner. She put the EMF on the chair and there was no signal. She asked that if there was a spirit in the room that it would make the EMF light up. Nothing. She asked several times. Nothing. Diane picked up the EMF and when Kelly came into the room, she explained what had happened. As she said that she had put the EMF on the chair and it hadn't gone off, she set the device on the chair. And it lit up like Christmas! They got a good laugh. 

We certainly are not the only people to experience strange activity here. We stayed here because of its haunted reputation. This hotel has been featured on countless lists and in countless programs. Guests claim to hear children running in the hallways when there are no children in the hallways or even in the hotel. Faucets turn on and off by themselves. Any many people claim to see full-bodied apparitions. A doctor was staying with his wife and he was awakened in the middle of the night by a tickling sensation on his feet. He looked down at his feet and saw a little girl smiling at him while she tickled his feet. She quickly vanished.

A woman wrote on TripAdvisor of her experiences at the hotel in 2006, "We were on the 4th floor. I never got much sleep while we were there I always felt very uneasy and utterly creeped-out at night in my guts and could not rest. Did hear some strange noises in the hall late at night around three am or so what sounded like a hard rubber ball rolling along the hallway and bouncing also what sounded like a marble rolling and bouncing also a VERY LOUD crash in the hall three am-ish almost like a body falling and hitting the floor and no one was out there. We also heard what sounded like walking around on the floor above us but there is only the roof. Also very unnerving feeling of being TOUCHED while in bed at night and I was completely awake...touched on the inside of my lower leg/ankle and buttock area. This made me nearly jump out of bed more than once! On the last night we stayed there we noticed a STRANGE SMELL in the room and the bathroom that we could find no source for. It was almost like a sweet burned-flesh smell combined with a slight sewery odor."

Kristin wrote in 2014 on TripAdvisor, "After a night out my girlfriend and I retired to room 409. After eating a late night snack and watching some television I had used the bathroom. Upon walking out of it I noticed the fan was off so I asked my girlfriend why she would shut the fan off on such a hot night. She replied "I didn't". I then noticed our channel was changed from watching CNN to ESPN. I asked her why she was watching the football game since I knew she had no interest. She again replied "I didn't". We searched for the remote which at one point was right next to us. The remote had gone totally missing. We threw off the sheets of the bed, and tore up the room only to be let down of finding the darn thing. At this point my girlfriend was very bugged out so I personally had asked whatever was playing tricks on us to please stop because I knew my girlfriend would have wanted to leave if she knew we were being taunted by some type of supernatural presence. As I lay my hand on her shoulder to reassure her everything was going to be ok, my black beaded bracelet was ripped off my wrist. That's right, ripped off my wrist. Not by myself nor my girlfriend. My girlfriend just starred at me with tears in her eyes as I looked back with complete shock. Needless to say we both started praying. We hopped into bed with every light on and there right before our eyes was the remote, all snug in the same spot we had just been sitting in. I held my girlfriend through the night as I watched the fan now turned back on rock back and forth till the morning. I made the woman at the front desk aware of this encounter and her reply was "Oh yea that's casper and he's sort of mischievous so it makes sense he would turn the football game on and taunt you like that." She went on to add the 4th floor is the most haunted of all the floors. Although I lost a bracelet and a night's sleep this was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I have believed in paranormal activity before but this solidified it for me. Oh and the room was beautiful too! Best wishes to you all who stay in room 409."

The strange smell is a thing many people report. It started during renovations in 1998 and people who stay in rooms 214, 314 and 414 complain often of smelling a strange odor. Not deodorizers have been able to get rid of it and neither have ozone machines. We did find a story that prayer seemed to help with rooms 214 and 314, but a radio playing Christian programs placed in room 414 seemed to be the only thing that worked in there. Clearly, people are still detecting some strange odors. The night manager's office is where the amputated limbs had been found and this is said to be one of the most haunted areas of the hotel. They hear disembodied footsteps and moaning. One manager claimed to see the spirit of a Union soldier who was missing an arm.

We hit the Colonial Park Cemetery after we checked out and wandered around the River Walk for a bit too. This is another great cemetery in the heart of Savannah that also happens to be haunted. We loved our visit to Savannah and we really enjoyed the interactions with our little spirit friend. Is the Marshall House haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

HGB Ep. 364 - Andres Pico Adobe

Moment in Oddity - Garry Hoy Falls to Death After Body Checking Window (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

A Canadian lawyer named Garry Hoy won a Darwin Award in 1996 for an bad decision that would be his final decision. Although Hoy was a respected senior partner at the Toronto law firm Harold Day Wilson, law had not been his first area of study. He had obtained a degree in engineering and he continued to be fascinated with the construction of buildings. The strength of windows was of particular interest to him. It became a regular practice for him to test how sturdy windows were by body checking them. One place where he tested windows was at the Toronto Dominion Center where he worked. This building was a high rise and the law firm had a conference room on the 24th floor. On July 9, 1993, a group of incoming law student summer interns were invited for a party in the conference room. Hoy told the students that the windows were unbreakable and he decided to show them, probably thinking about how many times he had done this and bounced back off the windows. A police detective described what happened as "At this Friday night party, Mr. Hoy did it again and bounced off the glass the first time. However, he did it a second time, and this time crashed right through the middle of the glass." The window was forced from its frame and was intact as it fell to the ground and Hoy fell with it to his death from 24 stories up. Testing the sturdiness of windows by body checking them with a 160 pound body, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Colonel Thomas Pride's Purge

In the month of December, on the 6th, in 1648, Colonel Thomas Pride instigates Pride's Purge. Many countries have suffered the dramatic overthrow of the government by a military coup and Britain is one of them. Colonel Pride was the son of a yeoman, but he rose to prominence during this important moment. King Charles I had just been imprisoned after the Civil War was over and parliament was thinking they would give him a break. The army was not having any of that since the King had continuously broken his promises. Colonel Pride stood at the top of the stairs of Parliament on that December day with a list in his hand of politicains divided into two groups, one that could stay and one that had to go. Most MPs fled when they saw the army. Forty-five were arrested and 200 were removed. Charles I was executed for high treason shortly thereafter. Oliver Cromwell eventually became the lord protector and he gave Colonel Pride the title of lord with a seat in the new upper house. Lord Pride died in 1658. Not bad for a guy that was a drayman, basically an old time trucker, and a brewer of beer, which is what he did before joining the military.

Andres Pico Adobe 

The Andres Pico Adobe dates back to the early 1800s  and is the second oldest residence in Los Angeles. This was named for the man who once lived there, Andres Pico. The adobe part of the name refers to the material from which it is constructed. Today, it is the home of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society and is a museum that can be toured featuring artifacts and cultural relics. Maria Wessenauer is the Vice President of the San Fernando Valley Historical Society and creator of Hollywood Exhumed and she joins us to share the history and hauntings of the Andres Pico Adobe. 

Maria is the creator of Hollywood Exhumed on Facebook and Instagram. Diane has been a big fan of Hollywood Exhumed and followed it for a long time. Hollywood Exhumed features the history, lore and ghost stories about the Hollywood area and the thing that is really great about it is that Maria actually goes to the locations and shares the pictures she takes. Maria shares about her interest in the paranormal, which started with early ghost experiences and then why she started Hollywood Exhumed before we get into talking about the second oldest residence in Los Angeles.

Creepy AF: Paranormal made a documentary in 2017 featuring the house. They caught a couple of interesting EVP, one of which said "No" when asked for its name. Michael Arkush, writing for the Los Angeles Times in 1989, shared some of the experiences at the house, "Because of neglect, the adobe was in ruins until it was restored in 1930 by Mark Harrington, an anthropologist who purchased the property. According to Elva Meline, the adobe’s curator since 1976, every night when Harrington would go to bed, he’d hear heels clicking across the tile floor and up the staircase. Meline said Harrington told her the story soon before he died in 1970. She said he would wait until the sounds got closer to his upstairs bedroom, then sneak out of bed hoping to catch the ghost. Each time, he saw nothing. He lived in the adobe until 1945 and said he heard the sounds frequently. The ghost, according to Harrington’s account, is Catarino Pico, who lived in the adobe from 1874 to 1895. At 14, Catarino married Romulo Pico and helped modernize the adobe. Meline said she doesn’t know why Catarino would stick around, 'other than the fact that this was her home for so long.' In recent years, Meline said, there have been few sightings, or senses, of Catarino’s presence, although something strange happened just three weeks ago when two women toured the adobe. 'These two women both remarked that they felt a very strong presence in the adobe. One said she felt it on the patio, the other the living room. They both said it was a very peaceful feeling, which is what people have said about Catarino in the past.'"

Thursday, December 10, 2020

HGB Ep. 363 - USS North Carolina

Moment in Oddity - Bluetooth Named for Scandinavian King (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Many of you probably have some form of Bluetooth technology in your possession. This could be your Bluetooth toothbrush or Bluetooth speakers or maybe you are listening to us through your Bluetooth headphones or your phone connected to your car through Bluetooth. Did you ever wonder why it is called Bluetooth? Would you believe that the answer is a 10th-century Scandinavian king named Harald "Blåtand" Gormsson? He ruled Denmark and Norway from the year 958 until 985. The Blatand part of his name was a nickname. It seems the king had a dead tooth that had turned a grey blue color. Everyone could see this tooth and so they started calling him Blåtand, which literally translates from Danish to "Bluetooth." Three telecommunication powerhouses got together in 1996 to develop a wireless link. These were Intel, Ericsson and Nokia. They needed a code name for the project and they chose Bluetooth because the king had united Scandinavia, just as this team was going to unite PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link. When it came time to choose a permanent name, the team found that their first choice had been trademarked several times and since time was running out, they just went with what they had. The logo and symbol is King Blåtand's initials written in ancient Danish runes. Bluetooth being named for a Scandinavian king with an actual Bluetooth, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Project Blue Book Shut Down

In the month of December, on the 17th, in 1969, the U.S. Air Force shut down Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book was the third study conducted into the possible existence of unidentified flying objects. Signs and Grudge were the first two and were conducted in the 1940s. Project Blue Book launched in 1952. Thousands of UFO reports were collected and analyzed as to whether they existed and were they a threat to our national security. The Air Force concluded that there was no evidence that UFO sightings were extraterrestrial vehicles and they were also no threat. Most UFOs were said to be natural phenomena. The name Project Blue Book was meant to indicate the importance given to the new project. Universities used blue booklets for their tests. This was like a college final exam. We'd say the Air Force failed in their analysis.

USS North Carolina

The USS North Carolina was a battleship commissioned in 1941 that participated in every major naval battle in the Pacific during World War II. During that time, the battleship had several men die on board and was struck by a Japanese torpedo. The battleship earned 15 battle stars for its efforts. The battleship is today a floating museum that hosts both historical tours and ghost tours. We had the privilege of doing an overnight investigation with not only six of our listeners, but also four of the Ghost Hunters from the newer Ghost Hunters Series. On this episode, we share the history and the results of our investigation of the USS North Carolina!

This USS North Carolina was not the only and not the first ship to be named for the state of North Carolina. But she was the most decorated one. She was actually the most decorated battleship of World War II. USS North Carolina was first known as BB 55 and her keel was laid on October 27th in 1937 at the New York Navy Yard. It had been sixteen years since America had built a battleship and this would be a grand one measuring 728 feet long with enough weaponry to be considered the world's greatest sea weapon. The ship was armed with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts. The ship had nine levels. She was one of a line of fast battleships that would be built. The North Carolina was commissioned on April 9, 1941 and she was mobilized after the attack on Pearl Harbor with 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men that included 86 Marines.

The ship's first action would come after she was sent to the Pacific to help with the Guadalcanal Campaign. Her anti-aircraft barrage during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons in August of 1942, helped save the carrier Enterprise. George E. Conlon was killed while performing heroically during this battle on August 24, 1942. He was the first man from the battleship to die. Protecting aircraft carriers would become the North Carolina's main duty. As she traveled along with these carriers, she covered 300,000 miles. She would take a hit by a Japanese torpedo on September 15, 1942, but the rumors of her demise were greatly exaggerated as they say. Five men died. These were Albert Speers Geary who was washed overboard, Oscar Callaway Stone, Ingwald Nels Nelson, William Osborne Skelton and Leonard Edward Pone. The battleship would have many close calls and lose ten men in action, with 67 wounded. A friendly fire incident on April 6, 1945 killed Edward Emil Brenn, John Malcolm Watson and Carl Elmer Karam Jr.

The North Carolina helped to secure the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in 1944. She stopped for repairs and then was off to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Later, when Japan surrendered, she carried men to serve as an occupation force and then made her way back through the Panama Canal to New York for an overhaul. The ship did training exercises on the East Coast after that and was decommissioned June 27, 1947 and placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in Bayonne, New Jersey, for the next 14 years. After that time, there was talk of scrapping her out, but the residents of North Carolina would not hear of it  and they started the Save Our Ship (SOS) campaign. It was successful and they brought the battleship home October 2, 1961.  She was dedicated on April 29, 1962 as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 11,000 North Carolinians who died during the war. She serves as a museum now offering tours, some of which are about ghosts. And that is what we went to investigate.

Danny Bradshaw started as a night watchman on the battleship in 1976. He was positive that he shared his space with ghosts. He saw his first spirit shortly after starting as watchman. He was making his rounds one night and found himself in the kitchen. He reached for the power box to turn on the lights when he felt a cold gust of air and then what seemed to be a hand on his shoulder. He spun around and no one was there. He heard footsteps and flashed his flashlight in that direction. He again saw nothing, but started scanning the room with the flashlight. When he reached the open hatch, ha saw a sailor standing there with hair so fair it looked white. The flashlight passed right through him. Bradshaw screamed and the ghost disappeared. This was the scariest moment of Bradshaw's life. Bradshaw came to believe that there were at least two spirits on the ship, one that was good and one that was bad. 

This blonde haired young man has been seen many times. People claim that hatches open and close on their own. Lights turn off and on by themselves. Objects move on their own and people feel cold spots. Occasionally, a ghostly face is seen peering out of portholes. There are two security guards that take turns living on the ship. One of them told us about some of the experiences people have had on the ship. His first story was about a group who was allowed to investigate an off-limits area that had been where the torpedo hit the ship during the War. A women in the group started shaking horribly like one would with an intense chill. It only went away after they got her out of that area. It happened to her again in another part of the ship. Then he shared the following experience he had. (Battleship Experience) So he had trouble with the spirits unlocking the doors on him after he would set the alarms.

Our first area that we investigated was down several levels, we lost count, and was in an area with lots of large shells. We thought we heard footsteps above us. (Battleship Torpedo Area 1) Whitney mentions feeling like someone was walking around in this upper area that overlooked where we were. Now it's easy to poo poo someone's feelings, but later when Dolly, Kelly and Diane were standing up there with Brian and Richel after everybody had left the area, the box they use that senses everything was going crazy and whatever was setting it off was clearly moving around. We thought maybe it was residual. (Battleship Torpedo Area 2)

This would be the first time our team would use the Estes Method and Dolly, Kelly and Diane all gave it a try. First, we just want to mention how cool Richel and Brian were. They were unassuming and open to letting us try things. (Richel Estes) Here is Dolly's session. (Dolly Estes) So you heard Brian ask for a name and Dolly says "Fitz" and then Brian asks if that is for Fitzgerald and Dolly says "No." A listener named Jimmy was watching the Facebook Live and let us know that there was a "Fritz" on the crew list. Another person asked if it felt good to hear a woman's voice and Dolly says "back" and then "yes." Towards the end you hear Dolly say "hey" a couple times or "hey" and then "wait." A couple people from our group had wandered over to where the big guns on the ship were located and it was like this sailor we were talking to was telling them they they shouldn't be over there. Dolly can see nothing. When we ask if they aren't supposed to be over there, she says "No" and then "back." Diane gives it a try. (Diane Estes)

We next investigated the Officer's Mess Hall, which Whitney told us was not actually used for that, but rather for training and Catholic Mass was held there. Whitney tried the Estes Method in this room and she got nothing. At another point we ended up in a corner near Sick Bay and Kelly and Tiffanie felt really dizzy as though the ship moved, but the ship was sitting in mud because it needed repairs from the hurricane that had blown threw earlier in the month. This interesting thing happened (Points to Dolly) Our group had a chance to do a dowsing session in the Sick Bay (Sick Bay) We seemed to be talking to someone who had an injury to their stomach. The next morning Diane was talking to Whitney about this and she remembered reading something in the oral histories. Cornelius Fountano was a stewards mate second class and he had an appendicitis attack and they had to do surgery to remove the appendix. Could this be who we were talking to?

One would think that with many women in our group that the guys on board would be very happy, but we really got the feeling that we were not welcome and our best interactions came when Dan would ask questions. This was an interaction with the dowsing rods up on the main deck (Not Welcome) And here is how things changed with Dan jumping in (Radar Dan) We went to another area and our interactions led us to believe we were talking to a Japanese Cryptographer. But the answers were slow in coming and we were all feeling pretty drained as the 2am hour loomed. Our group decided to pack it in and head back to the central meeting area.

We had a great time meeting the Ghost Hunters in person and hanging out with some of our Spooky Crew. We are learning so much about the other side and having a lot of fun. We can't wait for our next investigation! Is the USS North Carolina haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

HGB Ep. 362 - 1837 Bed & Breakfast and the Old Jail

Moment in Oddity - Spider Webs as Bandages (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Many of you listeners are probably afraid of spiders. So the idea of a spider web bandage might not be appealing. But the truth is that they make a great natural way to protect and heal wounds. The idea of using spider webs for bandages started in ancient Greece and Rome. They would first clean the wounds with honey and vinegar and then ball up spider webs to cover the wounds. THis would dry out the wound quickly. Spider webs were perfect for a number of reasons. They are rich in Vitamin K, which promotes clotting, they have natural antiseptic and anti-fungal properties as well. On top of this, the webs are very strong since they are made from silk produced from the body proteins of the spider. If you would like to give this a whirl, you need to find a newly spun web with no insect corpses in it and no spider as well. Ball up the web and stuff it into your wound and cover with a sterile cloth to secure it. You can use warm water to remove the hardened web later. A team at the University of Nottingham developed a synthetic material that resemebles spider silk. It took five years. This spider silk is also not allergenic or inflammatory. But you have to admit the thought of using spider web as a bandage, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Berlin Wall Comes Down

In the month of November, on the 9th, in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. Yes, it pains us too to realize that this event happened thirty years we are getting old! Many of you listeners probably remember this time, which really wasn't so long ago, that the country of Germany was split in two with East and West Germany being separated by an actual stone wall with barbed wire. Construction of the wall began in August of 1961. East Germany was headed by Communists and they wanted to keep what they referred to as "fascists" from coming into East Germany and undermining their socialist state. What it actually did was imprison the people of East Germany, many of whom tried to escape. The East German Communist Party announced on November 9, 1989 that their citizens could cross the border whenever they wanted and that evening, a newly freed people did what President Ronald Reagan told the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to do, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" People hammered and picked at the wall, breaking off chunks. Bulldozers and cranes moved in and took care of the rest. What followed was the greatest street party in history as 2 million people went from East Berlin to West Berlin. A Berliner spray painted on the wall, "Only today is the war really over."

1837 Bed and Breakfast

The 1837 Bed and Breakfast in Charleston, South Carolina is the former home of a cotton planter. The style of the home is a great example of the Charleston Single home. Although this was not a plantation, it still had slaves that lived on the third level and there are stories that claim that a mother and father were sold off to another planter, leaving their nine-year-old son without his parents. He may have tried desperately to find them and ultimately lost his life. Ghost stories claim that he is still here at the house, acting like a poltergeist pulling pranks on visitors and perhaps even appearing as footsteps on the bed spread. While in Charleston, we couldn't pass up the chance to visit the Old Charleston Jail. This was Diane's second visit and Kelly's first, and we got to do an investigation there! Join us as we share the history and investigation at the 1837 Bed and Breakfast and the Old Charleston Jail!

The neighborhood where the bed and breakfast is located was developed in the 1840’s and was called Harleston Village because the original owners of the land were the Harleston family. This was a family that had been in Charelston a long time. A golf course had been on the land too called Harleston Green. The 1837 Bed and Breakfast was thought to have been built in 1837, but after a visit from some descendants of the original owners, it was discovered that the house was built in 1798. Of course, they didn't change the name because that would be marketing suicide. The builder of the house was Henry Mockenfuss, a German immigrant who built many properties in the area. The house was built in the Federal-style and as a single house, which was popular in Charleston. The standard Charleston single house was built with a narrow side that ran two- or three-bays wide with a gable end along the street and then a longer side that was perpendicular to the street and running five-bays. The design worked well here because the main part of Charleston was laid out with long, narrow lots. Single houses all had the same basic layout inside with the house being one room wide inside. There would be two rooms on each floor with each floor designed the same way. There would be one room to the side and one to the rear of the house. Many of the houses had multiple porches, or what they call piazzas, in Charleston.

The next owner of the house was thought to be Martin Hurlbert, a schoolmaster. He sold it in 1818 for $3,000 to Nicholas Cobia, a cotton planter. In 1842, Nicholas’s wife, Ann, leased the house to Miss Margaret Cobia along with two slaves known as “Mary” and “Nancy.” Eventually Ann's nephew, Henry Cobia, inherited the house along with a slave named “Fanny” and her six children. In the early 1900s, the former mayor of Charleston, William Schirmir, owned the house and he converted it into a boarding house, connecting the carriage and kitchen house to the main house and adding a rear third story. During World War II, the house served as an apartment building for ship builders at the Navy Yard. In 1956, the house was turned into a beauty shop on the first floor and probably rented rooms above. In 1983, Sherri Weaver and Richard Dunn bought the house and converted it into the bed and breakfast it is today. The bed and breakfast has its dining room, kitchen, and parlor on the first floor of the main house. There are three guest rooms on each of the second and third floors. And there are rooms in the carriage house with two on the bottom and one on the second floor. We stayed in one of the first floor rooms in the carriage house. We were greeted by Mohamad who owns the inn with his wife Lynn. (1837 Inn Welcome) 

The house is beautiful and very welcoming inside with the kitchen and dining room being an open concept design. The formal parlor of the main house contains many of the original design elements like the red cypress cornice, wainscoting, and the black marble fireplace. During renovations the cypress was stripped from a scaffold with heat gun, sanded and oiled with tung oil. The front door opened into a small entry way that has the narrow stairs leading up to the other levels. The medallion on the ceiling in the entry hall is original and it took four days to clear the old paint away with a dental tool during renovations. Portions of the plaster cornice had been cut years ago to put in a partition and had to be replaced and rebuilt with plaster.  The plaster is original and has been mixed with horsehair as we have discussed in other episodes. The wood floors are made from wide planks of heart of pine. The house boasts that these planks are amongst the widest in the city with one in the dining room measuring 14 inches wide. Mohamad gave us a little tour outside as he took us to our room. (1837 Tour)

We settled in a bit and then decided we would try to get some communicating going with any spirits at the house. The ghost stories about this bed and breakfast seem to center around just one ghost and he is known by the name George. The backstory for George is not verified, nor does anyone know if any part of the legends are true, but here is what people claim is the story about George. George's parents worked inside the house and they lived on the third floor. George worked out in the stables and ran errands. He had time to play, so life didn't seem so bad for him taking into account that a nine-year-old boy didn't know anything other than slavery. For some reason, the cotton planter decided to sell off George's parents and keep George. One can imagine how upsetting this was and there are two versions of how George reacted. In the the first, George hears that his parents are aboard a slave ship in Charleston Harbor. He leaves the house and manages to find an empty row boat and starts rowing towards the ship. In the process, he falls out of the boat and drowns. In the other version, George runs away and is eventually captured and thrown into the barracoon in the heart of Charleston. A barracoon was a barracks like building for housing slaves. While he was in there, he could have gotten sick and died or his owner might have retrieved him and he lived a very short life back at the house. Whatever happened, people are pretty sure that a nine-year-old boy is running around the bed and breakfast in the afterlife. 

Guests have heard the incessant rocking of a rocking chair outside their rooms that only stops when someone shouts, "Stop that rocking, George!" No one has seen George, but they hear his footsteps. He likes to shake guests beds and he opens and closes doors. He turns the TVs on by themselves too. There are other noises that might be caused by something else and this usually entails hearing the crack of a whip. Chandeliers tend to sway on their own too. Most of the activity is said to occur on the third floor. We feel like we did get some kind of communication with a spirit. (1837 Investigation 1) Okay, right there I thought I heard a whisper, I'll replay the original section (1837 Whisper) and now here it is amplified (1837 Whisper Amplified) We think we hear a breath and then "I'm so mad." It makes sense because we were dancing around asking about his parents. We continued with trying to communicate and I did a Facebook Live and while I was outside showing the Bed and Breakfast, Kelly got a little emotional talking to who we thought was George. The communication really seemed to break down over that. (1837 Investigation 2)

The next morning we went to breakfast, which was delicious and very filling! (1837 Breakfast)

So you heard on that exchange that we had the opportunity to investigate the old jail. This was up in the air as it has been for Bull Dog Tours and the jail for a couple of years. Listeners might recall that Diane visited with a couple of listeners two years ago because we thought it would be closing. Our listener Myra has joined us on investigations at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Exchange Hotel and she contacted me a couple days before the trip to say we could get in to the jail. Joy met us there and we were joined by another young couple who had never been to the jail or investigated before. We cannot remember their names, but the male was a police office who also was a person of color and he had a couple of experiences that unnerved him a bit with feeling very dizzy and a little ill on a stairway. There was a set of stairs that seemed to affect Myra and Kelly too. As Diane told Mohamad and Lynn, she didn't experience anything that she would equate to a haunting. This was her second time there with nothing unusual happening, so for her personally, she can't say the jail is haunted.

Joy was a wonderful guide! She shared experience stories and took us into every area of the jail, even some places she disliked going. One of these was a room where Mike Brown of Pleasing Terrors used a Ouija Board. We got to see what the warden's living area was like. He was here with his wife and children and they sometimes had boarders too. All of this 12 inches away from Death Row. The place smelled so bad you could smell the scent blocks away. Imagine living there! (Charleston Jail Joy) So you heard that we all felt an unusually cold spot. That was it for Diane feeling anything in the building.The tour continued and we have a few of the highlights here. (Charleston Jail Joy 2)