Thursday, September 30, 2021

HGB Ep. 404 - Walt Disney World

Moment in Oddity - Honey Bee Reproduction (Suggested by: Scott Booker) Warning for little ears.

Many times people refer to reproduction as "the birds and the bees." After learning about honey bee reproduction, we're not sure we should actually do that, especially when it comes to males. When it comes to bees, the only ones getting action are the drones and the Queen Bee. Around seven days after the incubation of a Queen Bee, she will fly outside of the hive and have a little party with around 12 drone bees. This little party takes place mid-air in moderate temperatures around 68 degrees fahrenheit or 20 degrees celsius. The drone reverses his equipment, so that it sticks out of his body and he contracts his abdominal muscles to send out his message to the Queen Bee. Then that part of his body gets cut off and remains inside the Queen Bee and he, well, dies. See, we said this wasn't pleasant for the guys. The next drone comes along and does the same thing after removing the remnants of the previous drone. This mating ritual lasts around 20 minutes and the Queen stores all that spermatozoa in her body, which is around 7 million. We're not sure who counted all that. She stores that for her entire life, deciding which eggs she will fertilize. The fertilized ones become female while the unfertilized become drones. The females become either queens or worker bees. And that determination comes through the feeding of royal jelly, which helps a Queen Bee to grow. While bee reproduction is fascinating if not a tad dangerous, it also certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Fannie Farmer Opens Her Cooking School

In the month of September, on the 24th, in 1902, Fannie Farmer opens a cooking school. Farmer was born in 1857 to a family who believed in women being educated. Unfortunately, her education was delayed by a stroke that left her disabled. In her early 30s, she attended the Boston Cooking School. This was a school that aimed to teach women how to teach cooking so they could become teachers and Farmer eventually became its principal. She published her first cookbook in 1896. This book would revolutionize American cooking through a number of topics like sanitation techniques, nutrition and using precise measurements, which was a novel culinary concept at the time. Farmer left the Boston school in 1902 and opened Farmer's School of Cookery. She had such an expertise in nutrition that she lectured at Harvard Medical School about nutrition for specific diseases and nutrition for children. Farmer died in 1915 at the age of 57, but The Fannie Farmer Cookbook is still in print today.

Walt Disney World (Suggested by Josi from Germany)

Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary in October of 2021. This incomparable theme park is exactly what its name describes, a complete world that was the ultimate vision of Walt Disney. Walt Disney World covers a full 27,000 acres and features four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district and 31 resorts, plus its own public works district. There is so much to see and do here, but even better, there are many legends and ghosts on this property. Join us as we share the history and haunts of Walt Disney World.

Disney has been a big part of both of our lives. Both of us were born in California and grew up with the original theme park of Disneyland. The Wonderful World of Disney was a staple in our homes. And as adults, we have enjoyed Walt Disney World. In episode 44, we featured haunted Disneyland and covered the biography of Walt Disney, so we won't be repeating that information here. Walt was a visionary and while he loved Disneyland, he was deeply unsatisfied. His vision of a theme park was so much bigger. He needed a space where he could stretch out his creative genius. He found that space in Bay Lake, Florida, which is today Lake Buena Vista. There were huge swaths of land available on the cheap because much of it was considered swamp land. With his popularity, Walt knew that if anyone knew he was the one purchasing the land, the price would go up, so a cover name was used, Robert Price, and several dummy corporations were started as well. In 1964, 12,400 acres were purchased from three Orlando home builders for $145 per acre. When Disney was done buying, they had spent $5 million on 27,443 acres.

Speculation began throughout the Florida press that the mysterious industry coming to Orlando was headed by the Disney Company and that possibly there was going to be an East Coast Disneyland. By November of 1965, it was no longer speculation because Walt and Roy Disney announced their plans for a new theme park near Orlando. Walt dubbed this the Florida Project and he shared his vision in a film he made shortly before his death. The core of this project was to be the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or EPCOT, which was a utopian community.

Tragedy struck in December 1966 when Walt died. Roy announced that plans were still going forward and that now the new park would carry his brother's name, but plans to run a city of tomorrow were abandoned. The Reedy Creek Improvement District approved by Florida legislature in May of 1967 and this gives Disney something unique, their own independent municipality. WDW even has its own post office and zip code. On May 30, 1967, ground was broken on the new park and the plans were ambitious. Many of the restaurants and rides that are at the Magic Kingdom have been there for the past fifty years and were the same rides as the ones at Disneyland: It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain and the Railroad to name a few. The castle that anchors the wheel with spokes leading to various lands was called Cinderella's Castle and is much bigger than Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland. A bigger monorail system was incorporated into this park and parking was set up at a separate area, so that the Magic Kingdom was set back and needed to be traveled to via other means, the monorail or ferry.

The Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971 and charged $3.50 admission for adults. Today, it costs around $120 for a day pass to one park. Over 10,000 people were in attendance on that first day to enjoy the seven themed areas which were Main Street, Adventureland, Bear Country, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland. Bear Country no longer exists. Along with the Magic Kingdom opening that day, the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village Resort both also opened. Not all rides were ready to go that first day. Peter Pan's Flight wouldn't open until October 3rd and as if perfectly planned just for me, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea opened on October 14th. Unfortunately, it no longer exists. A grand opening special ran on NBC at the end of the month and had 52 million people tune in to show. An end of an era would come when Roy Disney died less than three months after the opening.

Plans to expand the world continued with EPCOT Center being the next focus. This was a unique theme part split into two sections. The first was Future World and focused on technology, education and human achievement, while the second was called World Showcase and had various pavilions representing countries from around the world. Many people don't know that the reason there are two radically different parts to EPCOT is that Imagineers couldn't agree on what the park should focus on, so they combined them. This park was anchored by a giant geodesic sphere that holds the Spaceship Earth ride and there were six pavilions that grew to nine. EPCOT opened on October 1, 1982. One of the difficulties for EPCOT would prove to be that innovation moved too fast for it to keep up and many concepts have changed over the years with a major current revamp going on right now. The park will literally be transformed into something fairly new on the Future World side with it being divided into three worlds. Various festivals have been introduced over the years to keep the park popular like the International Flower and Garden Festival and the International Food and Wine Festival. Diane will be doing the 10k for that festival in November.

The third park to open at the world was Disney's MGM Studios that later changed its name to Disney's Hollywood Studios. This park was the brainchild of Marty Sklar and Randy Bright. The park opened on May 1, 1989 and has gone through many changes through the years with the biggest update being Star Wars: Galaxy Edge. The part I love about the park is its nod to old Hollywood from the Golden Age. Originally, this was a working production facility with a backlot, but sections of this closed over the years and no longer exist. The anchor to this park had been the Earffel Tower and then the Sorcerer's Hat, which was removed a few years ago thankfully, as it obstructed the view of the Grauman's Chinese Theater replica. Only two rides were running when this park first opened, but many have been added through the years and there were seven themed areas. The Streets Of America was a replica of a New York Street, but was demolished to make way for Star Wars. This also killed the Osbourne Festival of Lights that ran during the Christmas season. Toy Story Land has also been added. 

The fourth park would be Disney's Animal Kingdom that opened on April 22, 1998. This is like a large zoo with rides and takes up the most acreage of all the parks. This was the brainchild of Imagineer Joe Rohde. Over twenty six hundred workers constructed the areas for the animals from shelters to planting trees and Zulu crafters from South Africa made the thatched roofs for buildings. Disney hired staff from 69 different zoos to oversee care of their animals. There is a safari guests can ride on to see animals in their natural habitat and several trails to hike to see animals as well. Discovery Island is the central part of the park and feeds into Asia, Africa, DinoLand and Pandora: The World of Avatar that was added in 2017. 

Disney obviously doesn't like to talk about deaths at any of their parks, but they have happened over the years. Some employees have been killed while working rides. Once upon a time, there was a skyway that took guests from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland aboard colorful Skyway cars. This ride was a part of the Magic Kingdom from opening day until 1999. The Tangled restrooms now sit where the ride used to board in Fantasyland. Raymond Barlow was a sixty-five-year-old custodian cast member at the Magic Kingdom and one morning before opening, he was cleaning the skyway when it started up and a car pulled him from the platform. He clung to the car until he was over a flower bed, but the forty foot fall still killed him. This happened in 1999 and Disney was fined $4,500 for the “serious” violation of safety standards. The Skyway closed several months later. I remember in 2009 when cast member Austin Wuennenberg was killed in the early morning hours driving the monorail. Two of the trains collided with each other. Two cast members have died at the Primieval Whirl ride at Animal Kingdom, one in 2007 (Karen Price) and another in 2011 (Russell Sherry Roscoe).

And some guests have passed away, like a great grandmother who had a heart attack when a snake dropped out of a tree onto her grandson and bit him. And many people probably recall the tragic loss of a toddler at the Polynesian Village Resort who was attacked by an alligator resulting in big changes with signage and access to water all around the parks and resorts. Other guests have had medical conditions aggravated by rides that caused them to have heart attacks. Some of these deaths have led to hauntings. We need to emphasize that when it comes to ghosts at Walt Disney World, there are many legends with not much evidence. But they are still fun to share.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened in 1994. This is an accelerated drop tower dark ride with great theming based on Rod Serling's Twilight Zone. This is the second tallest attraction at Walt Disney World. A ghost has been seen walking around the attraction during off hours and does not respond to cast members calling out to him and eventually vanishes. Some stories claim that he is wearing a bell hop costume, so perhaps a former cast member. There are many interesting artifacts and props as a part of the theming giving the hotel a really creepy feel. There is the devil fortune telling machine from the episode "Nick of Time" starring William Shatner. One of the teeny tiny attackers from the episode "The Invaders" starring Agnes Moorhead is on a shelf. This episode had a great twist in the end when we discover that the tiny invaders are actually humans visiting a planet of giants and Agnes is one of those giants. But one of these props is really creepy. Caesar is a ventriloquist doll from the Twilight Zone episode entitled "Caesar and Me." In the episode, Caesar manipulates his owner Jonathan West. The actual Caesar now sits among the dusty collection of oddities in the basement and he carries some bad luck with him. If cast members working the ride do not say hello and good night to Caesar every day, they have trouble with the attraction.

And speaking of creepy dolls, Liberty Square has an old doll that occasionally peeks out from the window of one of the stores. Now some people may be unaware that Liberty Square is meant to model a real colonial square complete with a river of poo running through it. This doll is a nod to another tradition of colonial times in which dolls were placed in windows to let firefighters know that a child was inside the house. There is also a firemen’s brigade crest on the building that contains the doll that let firemen know that the family donated to their cause. This doll is said to move about on its own according to cast members. She may appear in a different window or be found sitting somewhere that is not where she is normally kept. 

Across from Liberty Square is Tom Sawyer's Island and it definitely has some creepy caves over there to explore. There are those who claim to see shadow figures in those caves that are not coming from humans. 

The man who made sure that his brother's vision came to fruition, Roy Disney, has been spotted hanging out on Main Street, particularly when it is time for fireworks and he looks like he is watching the show in the sky. 

EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth takes riders through time and the history of communication with lots of animatronics. There are two spirits that are thought to haunt this ride. These are a little boy and a little blonde girl and they are seen both outside of the ride near the entrance and riding on the ride. In either case, they disappear which is how people know that they are not human.

One of our favorite rides is Pirates of the Caribbean. POTC first opened at Disneyland on March 18, 1967. This was originally meant to be a walk-through ride that featured wax figures. When the rides It's A Small World and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln turned out to be huge hits, it was decided to use Audio-Animatronics for the pirates rather than wax figures. It's a special ride not just because it has these glorious animatronic pirates, but this was the last attraction that Walt had his hands all over. He never got to see the final product on this side of life, but Imagineers did push him through the ride on a chair rigged to a dolly. Imagineers who worked on the creation of the ride were Marc Davis, Francis Xavier Atencio (known as "X"), Claude Coats, Yale Gracey and Blaine Gibson. X wrote the lyrics for "Yo Ho (A Pirates' Life for Me)." He also wrote Grim Grinning Ghosts. The POTC ride at the Magic Kingdom opened in 1973. The reason it was not there for the opening was because the company thought that the mystique of the ride would not be there since Florida is so close to the Caribbean, but visitors were vocal about their disapproval of that decision. Guests enter the ride through a Spanish style fort named Castillo Del Morro inspired by a fort in Puerto Rico.

The one at Disneyland is haunted and so is this one at WDW. There are several ghosts here. The first two seem more of a legend because the story connected to them claims that these are two women who died on the ride when the boat derailed during the drop. This accident never happened, but people do claim to see them on the ride and cast members sometimes see them on the security monitors. One lady is described as being wire-haired. George is the most famous ghost at the ride. Legend claims that this is the spirit of a construction worker who fell and died while building the ride. Now whenever the ride has any mechanical issues, George is blamed. To appease George, Cast Members always make sure to say "Good morning" and "Good night" to George. If someone says that they don't believe in George, he will stop the ride. Most Cast Members agree that George hasn't interacted with anyone since 2005

Our favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom is, of course, the Haunted Mansion. We are not going to talk about the history of this attraction on this episode. Rather, we are going to cover that as part of our Halloween episode this year. Just as the Disneyland mansion has real spirits, this one does as well. For some reason, this is a favorite spot for family members to dump ashes of their deceased loved ones and as we said in the Haunted Disneyland episode, this is not a good idea for a number of reasons. This is illegal and unhealthy. The ride will be stopped and shut down for clean-up and your loved one is going to get vacuumed up and thrown away. You are also going to be permanently banned from the park. This may be why we have some spirits here. Or maybe they just had planned to spend the afterlife here. A legend claims that the original spell book in the seance room was a real tome of witchcraft from the 14th century. Cast Members claim they have trouble keeping it upright and that it occasionally disappears.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion has a little boy ghost and so does the Magic Kingdom's mansion. A photo made it up on Twitter in 2004 that showed a boy peeking his head out of a doombuggy. The person who took the picture said, "As you'll see in the photo after clicking the link, it appears as though a child is peeking his head out of the doombuggy and looking directly at me. Not only was he not there when I took the pic, there wasn't a child of this age within 20 people in front of me in line, and as you can see, he's only a few doombuggies in front of me. Not only that, what's he doing looking at me? There is NO flash, and NO visible light coming from me. It's all infrared, and invisible to the naked eye."

The most seen spirit on the ride is the Man with the Cane. The first time he was ever encountered was on a particularly slow night. There were few people boarding the doombuggies at the loading station. The empty doombuggies come through from the unloading station and on this particular night a Cast Member saw a man with a cane sitting in one of the doombuggies as it came through. The Cast Member was shocked and told the man that he should have gotten out of the doombuggy at the loading station. The man gave no indication that he heard the worker and he continued to sit and went back into the ride. The Cast Member called his fellow worker at the unload station and told him to watch for a man with a cane and make sure that he got off the ride this time. The other Cast Member said he would take care of it and then he proceeded to wait and wait and wait and the man with the cane never showed up. The ride was checked after this to make sure he had not gotten out of the doombuggy and they found no one on the ride. We couldn't find any information on security cameras and what they picked up.He has been spotted multiple times through the years and people think he was a pilot who crashed into Bay Lake before the park was built.

We watched a video on YouTube featuring Kris Star from the Travel Channel and she did some ghost hunting at the Magic Kingdom. She was sitting next to a bush outside the Haunted Mansion where a cast member had told her some asses had been dumped one time and she set up a Mel Meter and used a Spirit Box app on her phone, Necrophonic. She asked how many ghosts were there and it said "ten." That number came up two more times when asked how many people's ashes had been spread there. There were definietly children's voices coming through, particularly laughter, and the Mel Meter indicated temperature changes and the EMF went off. Her camera also turned itself off. Kris asked a spirit to touch the Mel Meter and it started going off like crazy right after that. She asked if they were happy there and a voice said, "I'm excited."

We love visiting the Walt Disney World property. It's always a good time. We never realized that it might be a good place to do a little ghost hunting. Is Walt Disney World haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Link to Kris Star video:

Thursday, September 23, 2021

HGB Ep. 403 - Butterworth Building

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Moment in Oddity - The Devil of Scott County (Suggested by: The haunted Scott County Jail in Tennessee)

The town of Helenwood got its name from a tragedy. In 1935, the town suffered a horrific explosion and the townspeople referred to it as "Hell in the woods" and that name stuck and became Helenwood. This name seems oddly appropriate since the Devil came to Helenwood and Scott County in the 1920s. Cruis Sexton was a resident of Scott County who had recently come back from China. He had been fascinated by the statues he saw in China and decided to build his own. He found some clay near an abandoned coal mine and he started building a demon-like statue that was taller than any man and very detailed with horns, the muscles were outlined and there was a chain from an arm to a leg. Sexton's mother soon found out what he was doing and after the man moved the statue to a relatives house, word started to spread that the Devil was in Helenwood. So many people wanted to see the Devil that Sexton and his relative set the statue in a massive coffin and took it to the railroad station. People came from all around the country to see it. They paid 25 cents for a 20-minute view. Some people fainted at the sight of the creature. The Devil eventually ended up getting sold to the World's Fair. The Devil of Scott County certainly was odd!

This Month in History - Washington Lays Capitol Cornerstone

In the month of September, on the 18th, in 1793, George Washington laid the cornerstone for the Capitol. The United States had no official capital building as a new country and members of Congress had met in eight different cities. Washington probably had no idea that the building would take a century to build and that he would feature in the center of the dome rotunda with Constantino Brumidi's The Apotheosis of Washington. This is a weird and highly symbolic artistic rendering of Washington rising to the heavens in glory surrounded by the gods of mythology. The dome was made from cast iron. The original design was created by Scotsman William Thornton, but a series of project managers and architects would work on the capitol through the decades. Some people may not realize that the Capitol's dome is meant to serve as the womb to the Washington Monument's phallic symbol and that it was inspired by the way the Vatican is set up. The cornerstone laying ceremony was headed by the Masons of which Washington was a member and he wore full Masonic regalia. Many people probably also do not know that the building was going to be called the Congress House, but Thomas Jefferson insisted on calling it the Capitol after the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. That's why you sometimes hear the Capitol referred to as the Temple of Democracy. And now all state's have a capitol too.

Butterworth Building

The Butterworth Building in Seattle, Washington is home to Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub. This building had once been home to a mortuary and the man who built and ran that is credited with creating the terms mortuary and mortician. Nearly all of Seattle's dead at that time passed through the doors here and with that many dead bodies, there is little surprise that this building has many ghost stories connected to it. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Butterworth Building!

The Butterworth Building is uniquely designed because it is on a hill. The part of the building on First Avenue has three stories while the side on Post Alley has five stories. To us, the building almost looks like it is squeezed between two other large and taller buildings. The building is close enough to Pikes Place Market that it is included in that historic district. There is a great history here for us HGB people. We love our cemeteries and mortuaries. And this building was specifically built to be a mortuary. How lovely is that? Edgar Ray Butterworth had the building made and he was the first mortician and this guy is going to be fascinating to talk about because he never meant to be an undertaker.

E. R. Butterworth was born in the Boston suburbs in 1847 and as a teenager worked as a hatter there. Then he studied law. With that start, no one would think he would end up as a cattleman in Kansas, but that is what happened. While in Kansas, he met up with a settler whose wife and newborn baby had just died. The settler needed to make a coffin, but there was no lumber around. Butterworth tore wood off of his own wagon and fashioned a coffin for the man. In 1881, Edgar moved on to Washington and found that this was not a place for cattle, so he built a steam-powered flour mill. He and his family, which consisted of his second wife - the first died in childbirth - and a son, moved to Centralia, Washington. Butterworth started a furniture shop and got involved with politics serving as mayor and then in the state legislature. Then an epidemic of black diphtheria hit and Butterworth was called into action with building coffins and his life as an undertaker was under way.   

Seattle had a problem with bodies piling up from mining accidents, epidemics of diphtheria, tuberculosis and Spanish Flu, crime and poor sanitation. The situation was so dire that bodies would regularly just appear on the streets of Seattle and the city issued a standing offer to any undertakers that they would be paid $50 for each body they took off the street. Call this a morbid community clean-up program. Butterworth had relocated to Seattle and he saw a real opportunity here because he already been offering coffins through his furniture business. He purchased a controlling interest in the Cross & Co. Undertakers that was located in the Masonic Temple on the northeast corner of Second Avenue and Pike street and had five of his sons join him in business. These would be Gilbert Butterworth and his half-brothers Charles Norwood Butterworth, Frederick Ray Butterworth, Harry Edgar Butterworth, and Benjamin Kent Butterworth. Butterworth named the business E. R. Butterworth & Sons. There are claims that Butterworth would pocket half of the $50 for every body brought to his mortuary, if a regular citizen brought the body in and there are even claims that there was some kind of undertaker race that the Butterworths took part in as they tried to be the first to get to all the dead bodies. Descendants say that any claims of corruption are just wrong.

Butterworth decided he needed to build a bigger location specifically made to handle the dead, so in 1903 he hired English architect John Graham. Graham's firm would go on to build the Space Needle. For this project, he designed a five-story building with a chapel that could hold up to 200 people, a casket showroom, a crematorium, a columbarium and the very first elevator on the West Coast. It took eight design changes before Butterworth saw what would become his perfect palace of death that he would later dub a mortuary. The building was built in the Beaux Arts architectural style of the era and featured four sculpted lion heads on the facade and the inside had lavish embellishments of bronze, mahogany, brass, stained glass, Flemish oak and Victorian filigree. The bottom floor held the horses and hearses and was level with Post Alley, so that the moving of bodies was discreet. The heating plant for the building was located here too. The first floor was above the grade of Post Alley, but still below the First Avenue grade and this had what they called the "stock room." There were fireproof vaults here for storing bodies. This was the first time Seattle had a place to properly store the dead while families made decisions about what they wanted to do as a memorial for their family member. 

The main floor faced First Avenue and had the chapel complete with a choir balcony, an embalming room, morgues, private offices and a storage room with flourish items like pedestals, canopies and laying-out beds. There was a private room for clergy and family to meet as well. A best show room featured the high end caskets that could cost as much as $890, which was pretty expensive for that time. The upper floor had three flats for employees to live in and right below them was the main showroom. On this floor, there were women's burial garments, a consulting room, a showroom for child coffins and a private reception. The variety in burial clothing and coffins revealed that this was a mortuary for everyone in the city, whether they were poor or rich. And Butterworth & Sons was the main mortuary for everyone in the city. Some of the bodies that came through here reputedly belonged to victims of Doctor Linda Hazzard who we covered on our episode about Starvation Heights. She starved her patients to death. There is a scandal connected here because Butterworth cremated the emaciated body of Claire Williamson quickly and presented a different body at the funeral. The mortuary had also picked up the body without a license and one of the employees plead guilty to that charge. The Butterworths were never charged with any wrong doing, but people in town did whisper and despite E.R.'s protests, papers claimed they were friends with Hazzard.

The Butterworths revolutionized the funeral business and introduced many of the rites that we still carry on today. Funeral packages included transporting of the body via a hearse service; washing, embalming and dressing the body; publishing death notices; providing flowers; a choir and musicians; burial permits and an air-sealed vault. Everybody in town seemed to love the Butterworths and there were always plenty of handshakes and pats on the back when they walked the streets. They were a part of the elite class of Seattle, members of the Masonic order and regulars at the Arctic Club, which was a cognac-sipping and cigar-smoking salon where the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was planned. This club is today a DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, but it still features the walrus head carvings that decorate the outside. And wouldn't you know, this place is supposedly haunted. The Arctic Club was started by two men who made their fortunes during the Yukon Gold Rush. This would become a club where adventurers traveling to and from Alaska could stop in to drink and share their stories. Later, the offices of congressman Marion Zioncheck would be here and this guy was quite the character, given to outrageous antics and even some mental health breakdowns, the last of which led to him leaping to his death from the fifth floor. His spirit is said to haunt the building now. People feel cold spots, hear a disembodied male voice and disembodied footsteps. And the elevator can be erratic and likes to stop on the fifth floor even when nobody has pushed that button. Some people even claim to see the residual body of Zioncheck on the street.

Gilbert and Frederick would continue on in the business after the passing of their father and several of their own sons joined them in the business. The Butterworth Building would lose its death anchor in 1923 though, when the business moved to a different building on Melrose. This had more room. The former chapel at the mortuary hosted the second funeral of Bruce Lee and would go on to become the Chapel Bar and then The Pine Box Bar. This location is apparently haunted by to ghosts: an angry older man and a little girl. White Noise Paranormal investigated in 2013 and they caught an EVP of a little girl asking, "We're asleep?" and a whispered, "Go home." And they heard an audible "no." A chain mechanism that was installed in the basement was attached with a screw that takes 47 turns to get it to come free and one night the staff heard it crash to the floor. They have no idea how it came undone, but when they counted to see how many turns it took to release they were blown away wondering how a ghost managed to do that.

The Butterworth Building now no longer was a mortuary and ownership gets a bit murky. Unfortunately, much of the interior was lost over time. On the first floor where the old chapel and mortuary office once was, there was a restaurant here for a bit called Cafe Sophie owned by Scott and Sue Craig that lasted until 1997 and then a restaurant called Avenue One owned by Arnie Millan was here from 1997 to 2002 and then a Chinese Restaurant owned by John David Crow called Fire and Ice Lounge, which opened in 2003 and finally the Starlite Lounge was here until 2007. Restaurants had a hard time staying in this space. Patrick McAleese and his sister Karen opened Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub in 1983 in the basement, which has managed to stay here through the decades. The stock room is used as a private banquet room. Word is that this pub holds the city’s largest collection of single malt scotch. Throughout their time here, they have done a lot of renovations which stirred up activity. During one period of renovation, Kells lost their construction permit because construction was going on in the building at 4am. Karen explained that it was just the ghosts and the city responded by taking their permit away for a year.

It is not surprising that a former mortuary has ghost stories. There are at least two spirits in the building according to most employees and patrons. One is a little girl who appears to be eight-years-old with long red hair. She seems to like to play, but this playing usually comes off as pranks. She is most active during the day when there are other kids in the restaurant and she likes Irish music and appears when that is playing. It is believed that she died during the 1918 influenza outbreak. One reason people believe that is because the paranormal activity here seems to ramp up in November and it was during November of 1918 that the flu hit Seattle especially hard. 

The other ghost is thought to be male and has the name Charlie or according to another account we read, Sammy. Charlie seems to be attached to a mirror for Guinness beer. He'll show up in the mirror and then quickly disappear. He is always wearing a derby hat. Some say that you'll see him in the mirror looking right at you and then he'll vanish and then if you look away and then look back again, his visage reappears and this time he will be smiling at you. He can leave the mirror too though because musicians claim he is more active when live music is being played and they have witnessed his dark shadow near the stage.

Sue Craig from Cafe Sophie once saw shoes in a stall in the bathroom that disappeared. Arnie Milan of Avenue One said, "Two wine bottles flying off the rack, narrowly missing a manager’s head. A long-missing vase inexplicably placed on a window table that had just been set; a diner who fled after he was sure he saw an old woman hugging a shawl disappear into a wall." When the Fire and Ice Lounge was here, Crow claims that he watched a hanger straighten itself and then rock like a seesaw on a door handle. The wife of his business partner was in the restaurant late at night and she heard a door shaking. She went to the door and put her hand on the door and it stopped shaking. When she pulled her hand away, it started shaking again. Crow decided to call in a Shaman and the Shaman claimed there were 19 ghosts in the building. The Shaman blessing did little to help. A pastry chef was working at 2am and witnessed a female apparition in an "unearthly white linen dress" float by. A restaurant manager claimed to see the same apparition at a different time. Michelle Mace, a former Fire & Ice manager who worked many late nights, said, "You always feel someone is there and no one is there."

The bartenders at Kells claim to see glasses move across the bar top all on their own and sometimes even slide off, crashing to the floor. Karen McAleese tells a story about a mirror in the bar. They came in to the pub early in the morning and they see the mirror on the floor shattered, but none of the pieces of the mirror had scattered. The mirror was still all together. Karen also said that they were watching security footage one day to see who had gotten into the pub at night. Their camera was motion sensitive and would come on if triggered. It was triggered many times, but they never saw anybody in any of the recorded footage. Karen has seen two full-bodied apparitions. She told the Seattle Times that on All Saint’s Day in 2005 she saw "a tall man who looked like he was part black, with a suit jacket on. He had very thin hands. He walked to the end of the bar and just kind of faded.” And she also saw the little girl. She described her as wearing a red taffeta+ dress carrying a Raggedy Ann type of doll.

A few people have seen hands pressed upon the windows that leave behind dirty hand prints even though there is no person attached to any of this. Mercedes Carraba, had run the Market Ghost Tours and she claimed to have spotted a pair of muddy, dirty hands pressed up in the windows of the First Avenue entrance to the building. Carraba says that area outside of the bar was near a Duwamish burial site and that a 19th-century settler’s graveyard is just a block away and perhaps this spirit is connected to either of those things. The Duwamish were the area's only indigenous tribe. There may be other spirits here though too. After all, how many bodies came through this place? Candles are kept all around a small, ornate whiskey bar in a back corner of the restaurant and they often all light up by themselves. Silverware levitates and a chef who worked at Cafe Sophie claims that he set a knife down on the butcher block and it started spinning around on its own. He took off his apron, threw it on the ground and left, never returning. And the stairs in the back seem to have a lot of activity. People catch orbs and hear disembodied voices. A contractor was once up on a ladder changing a light in the chapel and when he looked down, he witnessed a parade of people walk through the chapel as though it were a funeral procession and then it all just disappeared.

Ghost Adventures investigated the building during Season 4. As happens so often when Zac is interviewing owners, the guys had an experience. Nick Groff was running the camera and he thought he saw a male figure peek out from behind a corner that was down a hallway from where Zac and the owner were standing. They all thought that maybe it was the audio guy until he stepped out from where he was on the other side of a wall, which had no access to where Nick had seen the figure. They captured an EVP that said, "Get off that thing." Zac claimed that some people have seen the ghost of a miner on the upper floor and they used some gold they panned earlier as a trigger object. Nothing really happened with that. Karen joined the guys for an EVP session in the chapel and they captured an EVP that she actually was able to decipher and she thought it said, "Get me outta here."

I watched a video featuring a tour guide who regaled her tour group with a bizarre story. The Fire and Ice Restaurant had signed a seven year lease for the building. They lasted nine months. On their final night of business, something so horrifying happened that the owners ushered the patrons all out of the restaurant while they were still eating and they locked up the doors. People passing by for a time afterward could look in the windows and see the meals still sitting on the tables. Every one, including employees had left the restaurant in a hurry. Mercedes tried to find out what happened and they would not tell her.

Kells looks like a great Irish Pub to hang out at and have a pint and with a great history connected to mortuary history, it's right up our alley. Is the Butterworth Building haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

HGB Ep. 402 - Virginia Military Institute

Moment in Oddity - Dentures (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Many people erroneously believe that President George Washington had wooden teeth. His dentures were actually made with ivory from hippos and elephants, real human teeth, rivets, gold and spiral springs. Some of the first dentures were found in Mexico in 2500 BC and they were made from wolf teeth. Italy had dentures made from both animal and human teeth in 700 BC. Japan was the first country to fashion wooden dentures. Carved ivory and bones, along with human and animal teeth were what dentists of the 18th century experimented with. Dentists weren't the only profession working on dentures. Ivory Turners, Goldsmiths and Barber-Surgeons all got in on the action. A man named Alexis Duchateau had dentures made from hippopotamus, but they rotted so he joined forces with a dentist and they created the first porcelain dentures in 1770. In the 1850s, dentures started to be made from a hardened rubber called Vulcanite that was teamed with porcelain teeth. Celluloid was the first type of plastic used for false teeth and eventually was replaced by polymethylmethacylite in 1938 and is still used today. The history of dentures, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - James/Younger Gang Attacked by Townspeople

In the month of September, on the 7th, in 1876, the James-Younger Gang was attacked by an angry mob of townspeople while trying to rob a bank. Jim, Cole and Bob Younger joined forces with Bill Chadwell, Clell Miller and Jesse and Frank James to form the James-Younger Gang with the purpose of robbing banks. And that is what they were doing that September day. Five of the men galloped into town, firing their pistols and whooping and hollaring to create a distraction while three other members of the gang entered the Northfield Minnesota First National Bank. Jesse James ordered a cashier to open the bank safe, but the cashier stalled claiming that the safe was on a timer. A teller made for the back door and was shot in the shoulder on his way out. He cried for help from the townspeople and the citizens came running with their guns. Clell Miller was shot dead by a medical student and Bill Chadwell was mortally wounded by a nearby business owner who used a rapid-fire Remington repeater rifle. All three of the Youngers were badly wounded and Frank James was shot in the leg. Jesse shot the cashier in the head and ran out of the bank, managing to get on his horse without getting shot. What was left of the gang, rode out of town and the James brothers made off on their own. They escaped to the Dakota Territory and eventually reformed a new bank robbing gang in Nashville, Tennessee.

Virginia Military Institute (Suggested by and research assistance: Jules Schlosser)

Virginia Military Institute holds the distinction of being the oldest state-supported military college in the United States. This was founded over 180 years ago and the institute takes pride in having a competitive educational program that also develops cadets to be citizen soldiers and many have gone on to be officers in the various branches of the military. One of the members of the faculty was Stonewall Jackson and there are those who claim his spirit haunts the place. That's not the only ghost here though. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Virginia Military Institute!

Virginia Military Institute is located in Lexington, Virginia, which is in the Shenandoah Valley. The Cherokee and Monacan tribes had settled here, but left after European settlers came to the area. The city was named in 1778 after Lexington, Massachusetts in honor of that city being the place where the first shot in the American Revolution was fired. A fire in 1796 almost destroyed the city and it would also come under fire during the Civil War. Texas hero Sam Houston was born here in 1793. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee would have their final resting places here. And it was here that Virginia established a military school.

Virginia Military Institute or VMI was established in 1839 and one of the traditions started at that time is still carried on today: walking guard duty as a sentry. Every cadet that has come through the school has experienced this tradition. We love that the first cadet assigned this duty was named John B. Strange. But before this first official guard duty, there had been other "guards" here. What prompted the establishment of the institute was a desire by the citizens of Lexington to get rid of the riff raff that they had guarding the local arsenal that had been built during the War of 1812. The soldiers sent to protect this arsenal were apparently a bunch of party animals that created more trouble than they were worth. But the citizens wanted to keep their arsenal. An idea was put forward to establish something like West Point Academy. 

Lexington attorney John Thomas Lewis Preston took up the reigns and lead the charge by writing three anonymous letters in the Lexington Gazette in 1835. Preston put forward the idea that students getting a liberal education while learning military discipline would not only protect the arsenal, but give the state the ability to have trained officers for the state's militia. Preston got local business owners to join him and they managed to get the Virginia legislature to pass a bill authorizing the school's formation in 1836. The Governor signed it into law and a board was formed to organize the school. Preston came up with the name Virginia Military Insitute and Claudius Crozet became the first president of the board. He had been an engineer in Napoleon Bonaparte's army and Thomas Jefferson referred to Crozet as "the smartest mathematician in the United States." The initial plan for the school was to open as a military and engineering school, rather than offering a liberal education.

The first graduating class consisted of 16 cadets who graduated in 1842. Something that has kept VMI unique is that unlike other senior military colleges in America, VMI enrolls only cadets and only offers bachelor degrees. Over the years, degrees have been offered in engineering, science and liberal arts and all cadets have to be a part of ROTC. In 1851, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson became a part of the faculty. He was a major at that time and taught Natural and Experimental Philosophy. In 1859, he led a group of VMI infantry and artillery units in traveling to Charles Town, Virginia to witness the execution of John Brown. Shortly thereafter, the Civil War started and VMI cadets were pulled into active duty. Many served with the Confederacy and many of the VMI alumni were considered the best officers in both armies, with 15 graduates attaining the ranks of general in the Confederate Army.

One of those to obtain general during the Civil War was Thomas Jackson, who also earned his nickname "Stonewall" at that time too. He would also die during the war at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Before fighting began, Jackson saw that many of the men under him were from VMI and he declared, "The Institute will be heard from today." Jackson was hit by friendly fire the evening of the battle. He and his staff were returning to camp when another regiment thought it was a Yankee trick and that men from the Union cavalry were sneaking in for a surprise attack. The General was hit in the left arm twice and once in the right hand. He was not given care right away and by the time he got help, his arm had to be amputated. He developed pneumonia and died from it eight days after being shot. His doctor, Henry McGuire, said of Jackson's death, "A few moments before he died he cried out in his delirium, 'Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! Tell Major Hawks—' then stopped, leaving the sentence unfinished. Presently a smile of ineffable sweetness spread itself over his pale face, and he said quietly, and with an expression, as if of relief, 'Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.'" On May 15, 1863, the Corps of Cadets escorted Jackson’s remains to his grave in Lexington. His arm didn't make the trip. It was buried at the field hospital. Perhaps that is why he is at unrest, but more on that later.

The cadets of VMI were called into service again during the Civil War for the Battle of New Market. This campaign helped turn the tide in favor of the Confederacy. Two hundred forty-seven cadets marched 80 miles from Lexington to New Market before the battle started on May 15, 1864. The VMI cadets held the line and pushed the Union forces back over an open muddy field, capturing Union artillery along the way and securing a victory. Ten of those men would perish and 47 were wounded. Six of the dead are buried on the VMI grounds behind a statue named "Virginia Mourning Her Dead" by sculptor Moses Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a cadet at VMI and wounded in that battle. The American Battlefield Trust recognizes this as the only time in US history that a student body from an operating college fought as a unit in pitched combat in battle. In all, VMI cadets were called into action fourteen times. And on that term pitched battle, we weren't sure what that was, but apparently it is like a date. A very bad date. Worse than a blind date because there will be causalities. This is a planned battle where both sides commit to it with the option of pulling out before the battle begins. So this differentiates it from an ambush or a meeting engagement, which is at an unexpected time and location. The Institute would suffer its own damage during the war when it was shelled and burned on June 12, 1864. This was only a temporary set-back as the damage was repaired and the Institute was reopened on October 17, 1865.

The school would continue to grow and expand, educating more and more cadets into the early 1900s. Fourteen hundred thousand alumni would serve during World War I and cadets at the school practiced building trenches and conducting trench warfare where Foster Stadium would eventually be built. After the war, the library was added as well as a new engineering building. Special training programs were added during World War II and more than 4,000 alumni served during the war. So many veterans of the war wanted to use their GI Bill at VMI, that a new barracks needed to be built. However, like so many other areas, VMI was slow to diversify their cadet body. The first cadets were strictly from Virginia and numbered twenty-three. It wasn't until 1857 that the institute was open to all residents of America. And it wouldn't be until 1972 that the first black cadets would graduate. Back in 1991, VMI was taken to court because it would not admit women. The Justice Department said that it was unconstitutional for tax payers to support a school that didn't allow women while the school argued that "admitting women would destroy the camaraderie among men that is at the heart of its military training." Women won and the first female cadets entered the Corps in 1997. Today, women comprise about 8 percent of the 1,600-member cadet Corps. 

Since the Mexican-American War, VMI cadets have served in every war involving the United States. During World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, over 300 alumni were killed; during Operation Desert Storm two alumni were killed; two VMI alumni were killed on September 11, 2001 in the terrorist attacks on America and twelve alumni were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another well known graduate of VMI was General of the Army George C. Marshall who graduated in 1901 and served as the World War II Army Chief of Staff. He was architect of the Marshall Plan, which was named for him and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The Marshall Plan was an economic plan for Europe to rebuild after World War II and was enacted in 1948. The plan also wanted to halt the spread of communism and led to the start of the Cold War and called for the formation of NATO.

Another well known graduate was Jonathan M. Daniels who graduated in 1961 as valedictorian. After Daniels graduated, he realized he was called into the ministry and attended the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He heard Dr. Martin Luther King calling for clergy to become involved in the Civil Rights movement and Daniels went to Alabama to help register black voters. He was arrested for doing that. After being released, he accompanied a Catholic priest named Richard Morrisroe and two black teenagers named Joyce Bailey and Ruby Sales to a store to buy some sodas. A man named Tom Coleman, who was the part-time deputy sheriff, stopped them on the steps of the store. He held a shotgun and aimed it at sixteen-year-old Ruby Sales. Daniels pushed Ruby down and stepped in front of her, taking the shot from the gun, killing him instantly. Coleman fired again, seriously wounding the Catholic priest. Martin Luther King, Jr. said of the incident, "One of the most heroic Christian deeds of which I have heard in my entire ministry was performed by Jonathan Daniels." Daniels would eventually be named a Lesser Saint of the Episcopal Church for his sacrifice.

There are several legends and ghosts reputedly that are connected to the military institute. The first legend is connected to the Virginia Mourning Her Dead Statue for the fallen students from the Battle of New Market. Cadets claim to have heard cries coming from the statue. And there have even been real tears reported to be coming from the eyes. One of the ghosts at VMI is also connected to the Battle of New Market. Cadet William Hugh McDowell from North Carolina started at VMI in August of 1863. He was killed on May 15, 1864 at the battle while serving as a cadet Private in Company B. (You know who else was a part of Company B: the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy!) Private McDowell's remains were taken to his father, along with his effects. His father noticed that a gold watch he had given his son was not among those effects. Nobody knows what happened to the watch, but the cadet seems to be at unrest over that. People claim to see the ghost cadet walking around as though he is looking for something on the battlefield.

There are claims of a helpful ghost who knocks on the doors of cadets that are set to do guard duty. It is as though the spirit is making sure they are not late for sentry duty. And another ghost seems to belong to a hanged man and there is a story told about a cadet who hanged himself from the balcony at JM Hall. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson also seems to be hanging out here in the afterlife. Some of his possessions and the bones of his war horse Little Sorrel are on display at the campus chapel. This was only one of two Civil War horses that were mounted when they died. Jackson's body laid in state in his classroom. Many people have witnessed a blue light that drifts through the hallways and goes into Jackson's old classroom. They believe that blue light is Jackson's spirit.

The most disturbing spirit here is called The Yellow Peril. This figure appears on the third floor of the barracks and got its name because it has a bony and yellow face. The best narrative about this entity we found on Reddit by poster libertyordeath11, "I have had a couple of different experiences/encounters at VMI, but none compare to this one. There was a story about a ghost/poltergeist called The Yellow Peril. Apparently it was a ghost that was only seen on the 3rd floor near a particular stairwell inside the barracks that had a yellow face with a bloody gash down the center. (I’m literally getting chills as I write this…) Anyway, there were a couple of cadets and faculty that had claimed to have seen it. Always the same description, same location, and always at around 0330 at night. (This is also the time when drum-outs take place; when a cadet is dismissed for an honor violation). Everyone who said they saw it always said that they were walking the stoops when they got the powerful feeling that they were being watch or that someone was following them. When they turned around, there it was, the yellow face with a bleeding scar, staring right at them.

Anyway, one night when I lived on the 3rd floor of the barracks (I was a sophomore cadet at the time, and all sophomores live on the 3rd floor), I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. (Cadet rooms do not have bathrooms, and you have to leave your room and walk on the outside stoop to go to one.) I remember looking at my clock and it said 0329, but I didn’t think anything of it. Well I went to the bathroom and was walking back to my room, passing by that particular staircase, when every hair on my body stood up. (Again, I’m getting chills right now just writing this.) I have never before nor since had such a strong “sixth sense” feeling like it, and I can actually remember an internal voice in my head telling me that if I turned around, I was going to see something I did not want to see. Well, I’d love to tell you that I was brave and turned around, but I didn’t, and instead I pulled my bathrobe up over the back of my head and walked as swiftly as I could back to my room. Everything in me wanted to run, but I knew that if I did that, I would panic. The whole way back I felt like I was being followed, even once I got into my room. I went to go lay down in my rack, pulled my blanket over my head, and tried to go back to sleep.

Here’s where it gets even creepier… A couple of months later I was doing some personal research in the bottom level of the library in the section on VMI history (which is rather extensive). Anyway, I found this book called “Memories of VMI” or something like that, published in 1937. It was a collection of different stories from alumni around the turn of the century, some comical, some not so. Well, as I was flipping through the various chapters/stories, I saw one titled “The VMI Phantom”. It sounded interesting, so I began to read it. It was a story from an alumnus who was talking about an event back when he was a cadet. He said that one morning a sophomore cadet seemed pretty shaken during breakfast, and his roommates were trying to find out what was wrong. After a while, he finally told them that the night before, around 0330, he awoke in his bed to the feeling that he was being watched. When he looked up, he saw standing over him a ghost with a yellow face and a bleeding scar… (More chills.) His roommates all laughed at him and told him that he was just dreaming. Well, a few nights later two other sophomore cadets said they both woke up in the middle of the night after feeling the sensation that they were being watched, and both saw the ghost with a yellow face and bleeding scar. Word traveled through barracks about the apparition, and a number of cadets decided to try to “catch” the spirit. The next night two cadet roommates who were on the football team woke up and saw the ghost. Both apparently leapt at the ghost and tried to pin it to the wall with a chair. One cadet was flung over a table by the ghost and the other broke his arm. After that, the entire barracks was in a state of panic. Cadets slept with their rifles, bayonets, and a few kept pistols underneath their pillows. Officers who normally performed midnight checks to make sure cadets were in their beds after lights out were apparently rushing along the stoops as quickly as possible, completely neglecting to even look into rooms. After a time, the ghost hadn't been seen for a while, and everything went back to normal…

After finishing the chapter, I was utterly stunned. Here was a story, written from a no doubt honorable man, almost 100 years prior, describing the exact same ghost, with the same descriptions and in the same location, that cadets and faculty were seeing today. No one I talked to ever knew anything about “the yellow peril” having been seen decades before, and the book I found probably hadn’t been read for well over 50 years. After that, I knew that what I felt on the 3rd stoop that night wasn’t my imagination. It was the same ghost that has been haunting that area of the old barracks for a hundred years. I never walked anywhere near that part of the barracks after dark for the rest of my cadetship." 

In 2019, LuckySquirrel 21 wrote on Reddit, "I remember when I was a cadet there. I was on guard one foggy night and I was walking along my assigned route. It was dead silent. All of a sudden I thought I heard foot steps behind me. I looked back but no one was there. I kept walking and I heard them again. Again, I turned around, no one there. I was pretty scared at this moment so I thought I’d play a trick. I walked a couple of steps and then suddenly stopped before my foot touched the ground, AND I SWEAR TO THIS DAY I HEARD A STEP BEHIND ME! Also, I remember hearing a story from an alumni, class of ‘76 who heard this story from another alumni, class of ‘47. He told me that him and his roommates were up late one night in their room studying, when all of a sudden the door flew open in a gust of wind and a ghostly cadet dressed in civil war style clothes walked in carrying a lantern. All he said was “turn out your candles” before he disappeared." 

Jkinster shared his experience on Reddit 11 years ago, "First let me begin by saying that I am a Cadet at the Virginia Military Institute and am bound by the nations strickest code to tell things how they truly happen, not loaded with a bunch of half truths and what not. Having said that, my first encounter, if you will, happened oh about 2 years ago in my second year here at the I. I was the corporal of the guard that night, 2nd relief and my shift ran from 220 to 440 in the morning. So one night as I was making my nightly check of the Jackson Memorial Chapel, I noticed a thick fog setting in over the parade ground, which is never very settling at 330 in the morning. Anyway, my job was to ensure that all the doors were locked and no one was in there after hours. Well I checked the three main entrances in front of the building, all locked, and made my way to the one door behind the chapel which happened to be down two stories of concrete stairs that ran along the outside of the building. Being in uniform for guard includes a dark grey blouse, starched white pants, and thick soled leather low quarters which make a very distinct sound hitting concrete pavement. As I was walking down these stairs, I could feel chills running down my spine and noticed my flashlight trembling from my hands shaking so badly, which is no normal occurrence for me. I reached the last step and reached for the door when as I stopped moving heard two more clacks of low quarters hitting pavement as clear as day come down the stairs right behind me. Shaking I spun around saw nothing and proceeded to run back up to the ground level dropping my flashlight behind the chapel. As I was moving back to the guard room at a rather brisk pace, I looked across the parade deck and noticed what looked like a deer grazing just inside the fog line. Weird for 330 AM. But I kept moving and after a few more steps looked again and saw its head perked up staring directly at me, now this animal was about 100 yards away in fog but I could clearly see it on all fours and the faint outline of its head perked up in my direction. And after what just happened, I was a little spooked until I saw it rear up on two legs and dart in the opposite direction into the fog... I'm not sure if this has any historical occurrence here at VMI, but I know what I saw and I was terrified, so I ran back into the guard room and stayed put til my shift was over...

Another odd occurrence was with what my roommate and I believed to be the legendary yellow peril of VMI, said to haunt the third stoop in a corner of barracks with a not so bright history. The yellow peril is said to take the form of a cadet in a dark grey blouse wearing a garrison cap with the brim pulled down over his eyes and a faint yellow tinted face with a gash strewn across it. So one night during Virginia's biggest wind storm in the past decade, My roommate and I were sitting our room when we heard a loud screech coming from the wind rattling the window panes in the windows when all of a sudden the windows slammed shut, which open inward and the transom above our door slammed shut which also opens inward. That alone was enough to worry us when as we moved towards the door to see what happened we both saw crystal clear a figure without a face in a cadets uniform walk past the door window looking in. We realized it was around 2 AM so we looked to see who it was and saw nothing, looked in rooms to our left and right and saw no one awake. came back to our room and saw no one there. Petrified, we both sat for a while staring aimlessly out the doorway until we both eventually fell asleep. If any of you aver get a chance to talk to a VMI alumni, ask him what hes seen, it'll blow your mind." 

Another Redditer wrote, "I've had some weird shit happen to me and one of my roommates in that corner of Old Barracks. We were in room 121 and squatted there from 3rd class year till 1st class. So two stories. 1: My roomie and I were up late cramming for a statics final 3rd class year while our other two roomies were out in scott ship doing whatever it is LA majors do. It's just a bit before 2am and we're tired and decide to call it quits for the night. Lights go out, pillow over the head, and I'm drifting to sleep. A few minutes later the light of one of our other roommates turns on, there was no audible flick of the switch or anything. It wakes us both up and we have a minor "Yo wtf just happened" moment. Eventually we calm down and get back to snoozing. A few nights later, we're studying some more late at night and the same thing happens. This time we're both still up and visibly saw it. The switch indeed did not move, the light just turned on. We really freaked out this time and didn't fall asleep for the rest of the night. Left for winter furlough the next day.

2: First class year I woke up around 3:30 having the urge to take a massive piss. I get myself out of bed, through my bath robe and warm comfy slippers on, and stumble over to that small men's room in the corner. Relief washes over me as I execute and exquisite midnight pee. After I wash my hands and dry them, I walk out of the bathroom. As my eye's are adjusting from the bright light inside to the almost pitch black of old barracks, I make out the shape of someone coming into the bathroom through that really narrow entryway. So I go sideways and reach out to pat him on the back and guide myself around him. Except my hand goes through him. If I had not just used the restroom I would have pissed myself in shock. I ran back to my room and was awake all night from the adrenaline."

A cadet named James D. Hankins wrote in a letter in 1921 to a friend named Florence about a spook haunting the Old Barracks. In the letter he tells the woman that the ghost has them all so scared that they are sleeping with loaded pistols on their tables and bayonets under their pillows. He remarks, "Poor Old Ghost." (Citation: James D. Hankins papers. Manuscript # 0144, Virginia Military Institute Archives Accessed September 10, 2021.) Clearly, the Institute has a firm place in military history. Is Virginia Military Institute haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

HGB Ep. 401 - Haunted Hannibal

Moment in Oddity - Sophia McLachlan Grave (suggested by: Tim McCrimmon)

Sophia McLachlan was a young girl who died in 1879. A plaque erected near her grave in Nova Scotia tells the sad story and odd circumstances around her death, "Sophia aged 14 apprenticed to a Mrs. Trask, dress maker, carrying on a business at what is now the site of 242 Lincoln Street, was accused by her employer of the theft of a princely sum of $10.00. Pleading her innocence Sophia became ill, often observed lying on her sister's grave near here. Sophia's grief was added to by her mother's acceptance of Mrs. Trask's story. Sophia's condition worsened, confining her to her room at what is now the site of 169 Pelham Street. At the insisting of a friend, a doctor was called, but he could not prevent her death. Amid much speculation by members of the community, a coroner's jury was summoned to hold an inquiry into Sophia's death. The unanimous decision for the cause of her death was by 'paralysis of the heart brought on by extreme agitation and peculiar circumstances.' The passing of Sophia was not forgotten and sometime afterwards, Mrs. Trask's son admitted to the theft. Mrs. Trask and her son moved from Lunenburg and no record of their place of residing exists. Sophia's family maintained their residence in Lunenburg where Sophia's father plyed his trade as a shipwright. Those who knew Sophia remembered her as a pretty girl who will not be forgotten." A young teenage girl dying from what was basically ruled a broken heart, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - "Battle of the Sexes" Tennis Match Held

In the month of September, on the 20th, in 1973, the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match was held and Billie Jean Kong won. The match was held between Billie Jean King, who was the top women's tennis player at the time, and Bobby Riggs, who was a former No. 1 ranked men's tennis player.  King was 29 at the time and Riggs was 55. Riggs was a self-proclaimed male chauvinist and that women couldn't compete against men and that even at his age, he could beat any female player. King took him up on that challenge and the event became a huge media event with over 50 million people viewing worldwide and 30,000 spectators watching in-person at the Houston Astrodome. Riggs road onto the court in a rickshaw pulled by female models and King was carried on a gold litter carried by men dressed as ancient slaves. Howard Cosell reported the match in which King won in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. King continued her push for women's rights, which included fair pay and in 1973, the U.S. Open was the first major tennis event to pay both genders the same amount of prize money.

Haunted Hannibal (Suggested by: Christina Orf)

Hannibal, Missouri is known as "America's Hometown" and author Mark Twain helped to put it on the map as this was his boyhood home. This was a quintessential river town with many men traveling here to make their fortune and they did. Many stately homes that were built during its heyday are still around today, some of them are beds and breakfasts that you can book for a stay. And many of these have ghost stories to go with them. Join us as we share the history and haunts of Hannibal, Missouri!

Hannibal was founded using two land grants issued after the mighty earthquake of 1811 destroyed the small town of New Madrid in Missouri and caused the Mississippi River to change course and flow backward for a time. The town was surveyed in 1819 and Moses D. Bates cleared the land and started constructing buildings. Hannibal got its name around 1800 when Spanish surveyor Don Antonio Soulard drew a map of the area. The town had a slow start with only a couple of dozen people arriving to settle in its first decade. By 1860 it was thriving though, particularly with the arrival of the railroads. Lumber would become the top product coming through Hannibal. Logs would be floated down from Minnesota and Wisconsin and sawmills at Hannibal would mill the lumber and then float it south on the river or ship it by rail to the west. Lumber barons would build their mansions in the town.

But what really makes Hannibal a famous place is Mark Twain. He grew up here and based his book "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" on his childhood growing up in the small town. He writes about many of the superstitions and spiritual beliefs of both the white citizens and those of color, some of whom had been slaves. This is also a river town with lots of limestone. We talked about a limestone cave in Hannibal in Ep. 342 that featured Doctor McDowell who put his daughter in a copper tube in that cave. Mark Twain wrote of this, "There is an interesting cave a mile or two below Hannibal. In my time, the person who then owned it turned it into a mausoleum for his daughter, age 14. The body was put into a copper cylinder filled with alcohol and this was suspended in one of the dismal avenues of the cave. The top of the cylinder was removable, and it was a common thing for the baser order of tourists to drag the dead face into view and examine it and comment upon it." Perhaps because of the river and limestone, there are a few haunted places in this town!

LulaBelle's Bed and Breakfast

LulaBelle's Bed and Breakfast had been a fine dining establishment and bed and breakfast located at 111 Bird Street. It is our understanding that this location closed in 2013. This establishment has an infamous history as a brothel that was built in 1917 and run by a madame who had arrived from Chicago. Her name was Sarah Smith and men could not only enjoy the ladies here, they could gamble and drink during Prohibition. Obviously, this business flourished. When Sarah died in 1932, another madame named Bessie Heolscher bought the bordello and refurbished it, decorating with a lavish Spanish motif. Bessie took good care of her girls and paid well. The ladies here were highly sought out because of their discretion. The ladies were respected in the town and the women were happy to spend their money on the finer things.

Things went well until the early 1950s when local church leaders made it their goal to shut down the brothel and it was plagued with many police raids. Eventually, Mike and Pam Ginsberg bought the property and opened it as LulaBelle's Bed and Breakfast and a fine dining restaurant. The upper floor had six rooms with heart-shaped whirlpool bathtubs and queen-sized beds. The Ginsbergs expanded their business by buying two nearby properties. One they named the Painted Lady with two bedrooms and the Main Street Bed and Breakfast that had three rooms. Business was great for a while and people raved about the food at the restaurant, but eventually the economy just proved too hard to keep the establishment open. 

While it was open, there were stories of haunting activity. Guests who stayed on the upper floor claimed to hear disembodied footsteps and voices, to see shadowy and misty forms, to see small balls of light, to have their doors locked and unlocked by something they couldn't see, to be touched and to have furnishings and objects in their rooms moved around. Employees and guests claimed to see a Lady in White as well. One area with a lot of activity was the kitchen. Metal cooking utensils would be moved, equipment would turn on and off by itself, disembodied voices were heard, shadow figures were seen especially out of the corner of the eye and objects were thrown in the kitchen. Spirits have been seen in the mirrors that were in the dining room as well. 

The Paranormal Task Force and a crew from KZZK investigated in October of 2008 and they stayed overnight. They reported on their website, "Some heard the voice of a lady who they could not see while others heard unexplained footsteps. Moving areas of notable temperature decreases were also documented along with intelligent interaction by the unseen with an investigator's electromagnetic field (EMF) meter. One investigator was actually touched by the unseen when something softly stroked his arm with that special cold touch.  A crew member of the KZZK team actually became so frightened that she ran outside the building screaming! Intelligent communication was also received through an experimental device called the Ovilus, which was being field tested by our team at this location. The words "sex" and "pain" were said by this device multiple times. It even said the name of a KZZK crew member when he was near it on more than one occasion. Multiple Class B and C EVP's were captured."

Java Jive Coffee & Tea Shop

Java Jive Coffee & Tea used to be Java Jive and before that it was Haydon Hardware. And that is what our ghost here seems to be connected to, the hardware store. It was named for Percy Haydon who was the owner and described as a man who was a little gruff and never without a cigar in his mouth, but kind. He loved his store, which he had started in 1919. When he passed away, Jerry Adkins took over the reins and he was the first to start experiencing weird events. He was in the restroom one night when he heard someone walking loudly outside of the door. He thought an employee was fooling around and so he thought he would surprise them by jumping out of the door. He swung the door open and found that there was no one near the restroom. Adkins was closing up one evening with an employee when they heard a really loud sneeze. They looked at each other and realized that neither of them had sneezed. They checked the store for another person even though they knew they were the only ones there and, of course, they were right.

Employees at Haydon’s Hardware heard disembodied footsteps, particularly on the stairway leading to the ground floor and the lights would turn on and off by themselves. Percy seemed to be a prankster and whenever something would go wrong in the store, employees would blame Percy. One such prank disturbed a female employee when she was closing up one night. Her name was repeatedly whispered in her ear. When Java Jive moved into the space, the haunting activity continued. Those employees heard disembodied footsteps too, but their experiences went beyond just Percy. They heard women talking, the laughter of children and music that seemed to belong in a dance hall or saloon. A woman's crying is heard near the restroom. Baristas claim to have been touched by something they can't see on many occasions. The bell at the front counter rings on its own and an employee heard a male voice yell in her ear. The shadow of a large man has been spotted and Percy was said to have been an overweight man. Another employee had her purse disappear when she stopped by one night after hours. She had set it down while she used the restroom. She and her boyfriend looked everywhere for it and eventually found it in a crevice down in the basement.

Garth Woodside Mansion

The Garth Woodside Mansion was built in 1871 and at the time of our recording in September 2021, it was up for sale for $1.9 million, which is down from its original ask of $2.4 million. This is a beautiful Victorian built in the Second Empire Italianate architectural style with a large wraparound veranda. There were originally six buildings on the property, but two were barns that have been torn down. Three cottages on the property were built in the 2000s and the entire property covers 36 acres. Weddings were also hosted here. The mansion was opened as a bed and breakfast in 1987 with 11 rooms in the main house and five in the three cottages. The larger cottage has two fireplaces and the main house had fourteen. Eighty-five percent of the furnishings are original to the house. The most recent owners were John and Julie.

The mansion is named for John Garth. He is thought to be the inspiration behind the character of Tom Sawyer. He was born to John and Emily Garth in Virginia in 1837. The family moved to Hannibal in 1844 where John's father got into the tobacco business. In Hannibal, John met Helen Kercheval and Samuel Clemens. The group were all students at Mrs. Elizabeth Horr’s school and later at that of J. D. Dawson. They remained friends into their adulthood with John and Helen even getting married on October 18, 1860. They had two children, John David and Annie. John went away to college, but returned to help run the tobacco business with his brother after their father died. When the Civil War broke out, the Garths left for New York and stayed there until 1871 with John making a fortune working in banking and manufacturing.

When the Garths returned to Hannibal, John started several businesses and became vice president of the Farmers and Merchants Bank, eventually becoming the president. The Garths purchased a farm southwest of Hannibal and built their summer home there, dubbing it “Woodside.” They raised and bred shorthorn and Jersey cattle. John got into lumber and other business prospects. They exchanged letters with Clemens and hosted him in their home. John was probably one of the boys who provided Clemens with inspiration for the character Tom Sawyer. When Twain's book "Life on the Mississippi" was released, he sent the Garths a copy and John wrote to Twain, “Thanks for the book. Each and every one at Woodside has enjoyed it greatly.” Twain also had a copy of "Huckleberry Finn" sent to the Garths upon its release. John Garth died in 1899 and Helen died in 1923. Helen was successful in her own right, getting involved in the same businesses as her husband and she was even elected to the board of the Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1910 making her the first woman bank director in Hannibal.

Mark Twain wrote in his Autobiography about Garth’s cigars, “In those days the native cigar was so cheap that a person who could afford anything could afford cigars. Mr. Garth had a great tobacco factory and he also had a small shop in the village for the retail sale of his products. He had one brand of cigars which even poverty itself was able to buy. He had these in stock a good many years and although they looked well enough on the outside, their insides had decayed to dust and would fly out like a puff of vapor when they were broken in two. This brand was very popular on account of its extreme cheapness. Mr. Garth had other brands which were cheap and some that were bad, but the supremacy over them enjoyed by this brand was indicated by its name. It was called ‘Garth’s damndest’. We used to trade old newspapers for that brand.”

Mark Twain seems to have really loved visiting this home because his spirit is said to haunt the place. The room that has been named for him is where his apparition is seen most often. There are eerie orbs of light in there and the smell of pipe smoke.

Garden House Bed and Breakfast

The Garden House Bed and Breakfast is part of Hannibal's Millionaire Row. This is a beautiful example of Queen Anne architecture and the house was built in 1895 by Albert Wells Pettibone Jr. who was heir to the Hannibal Saw Mill Co. and the Hannibal Sash and Co. Tragedy struck early for Albert and he died at the age of twenty-nine. The house was then bought in 1905 by Charles H. Trowbridge who owned the Duffy-Trowbridge Stove Manufacturing Co. The house was inherited by his son Charles Albert who lived in it in the 1920s. Will Griswold who was the founder of a furniture store was the next owner, so you can see that this home passed through many hands. The Garden House B&B opened in 2003 featuring old-fashioned feather beds and hand-sewed comforters. Today it is veteran owned and operated by Chris. This B&B was named by the Today Show as one of the top ten places to sleep with a ghost in America. Apparently they investigated the place themselves, but couldn't get their cameras to work in the attic.

The cool thing about this place is that they embrace their spirits even hanging a picture in the dining room the shows a man sitting at a table and what appears to be the ghost of a boy peeking into the side of the picture with just his face visible. The sounds of sawing are heard coming from the basement and the sound of piano music is heard on the first floor. Disembodied voices are heard throughout the house. A ghost hunter witnessed a shadowy figure walk in front of the television while investigating in 2006. Melissa Sexton was a manager at LaBinnah Bistro and she stayed a few nights at the Garden. She ended up leaving the bed and breakfast after a few nights and found lodging elsewhere because of the experiences she was having. She heard disembodied footsteps and smelled men’s cologne. Melissa had her Siberian Husky with her and he clearly started reacting to things she couldn't see. The final straw for Melissa was when she saw what she decribed as a “translucent figure which scrambled away in the kitchen that seemed to bounce off the walls and then to concentrate itself into a blue dot.” She left the bed and breakfast for other lodgings and soon after, left Hannibal. 

Arif Dagin stayed at the bed and breakfast and helped out the Innkeeper Chris as an assitant from 2006 to 2010. Arif was left one weekend in charge. There was only one guest that first evening and Arif came down the following morning to find the usually fully set dining room completely amiss with silverware scattered all around the tables. He thought the guest had done it. That guest left and there was a new one that evening. Arif came down the following morning to once again find the dining room messed up and he knew it wasn't possible that he had two guests that rude right in a row. This happened on a third morning and Arif was the only person in the house, so he knew at this point that something weird was going on here.

Arif was home alone again in 2007 and he was awakened after midnight by the sound of footsteps stomping around downstairs. He was scared because he thought someone had broken into the house. Arif locked his bedroom door and grabbed a nearby bottle to use as a weapon. He listened as the footsteps came upstairs and went into the room next to his. He summoned his courage and went out into the hallway. The door was unlocked, so he pushed it open and flipped on the light. There was no one there. Arif called out "hello" and then he searched the room. He found no one in the house and so he returned to his room, but soon heard footsteps running down the stairs. He quickly ran to the stiars and heard the footsteps stop halfway down the stairs. There was no one on the stairs. Arif searched the house and when he went to the front door he found that the screen door was still locked from the inside. When Arif told Chris about this experience, Chris said, "You know that’s the ghost."

Someone wrote in 2019, "My wife and I slept in the West Room at the Garden House in Hannibal Missouri both Thursday and Friday nights February 21 and 22, 2019. Thursday night, both of us woke up hearing men in lengthy conversation in low voices downstairs. We were the only guests in the house and Chris, the proprietor assured us he was not in conversation with anyone that evening. My wife also reported to Chris that there was no spoon at her breakfast place-setting Friday morning...just after being told by Chris that it had been a common occurrence for guests to notice missing pieces of flatware the following morning at breakfast. We never felt threatened in this wonderful period mansion and would definitely like to return for another stay at the Garden House."

Rockcliffe Mansion

Rockcliffe Mansion is a gorgeous Gilded Age estate that sits on a limestone bluff overlooking Hannibal. The mansion was built by St. Louis architectural firm Barnett, Haynes & Barnett for lumber baron John J. Cruikshank, Jr. Construction lasted for two years between 1898 and 1900 and the house was done in the Georgian Revival architectural style. The house features double-bricked walls, so this house was built to last. No expense was spared on the interior. Windows featured Louis Comfort Tiffany stained-glass windows and there were also chandeliers by Tiffany. The fireplaces featured South African pink marble and the walls and stairways featured hand-carved and ornate woodwork made from walnut, mahogany and oak with lemonwood sideboards in the Reception Room. The plumbing fixtures were the finest made and the lighting fixtures were custom-made offering power via both gas and electric. Several rooms had gilded wallpaper and the Green Room had the added touches of gold leaf and garlands, lace and velvet drapes and white onyx around the fireplace. The Music Room had a grand piano on each end.

John lived there with his wife and four daughters until his death in 1924 and then it seems that the family moved out and left the house abandoned. This wonderful mansion sat for 43 years with only a caretaker there. Parts of the house were deteriorating until three families bought it to prevent it from being demolished in 1967. These families restored the house and even got many original pieces from one of the Cruikshank daughters. The mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and is open for tours and runs as a bed and breakfast with thirty rooms. It has passed through many hands through the years. There was Mary and Jerry McAvoy, then Ken and Lisa Marks and then Warren Bittner and Juan Ruiz-Bello of Florida who took over in 2010.

There are several spirits at the mansion. The main one belongs to John Cruikshank who died in the house. He appears as a small man wearing a brown felt hat and a period suit with a goatee and mustache. His ghost is seen all over the mansion and many guests report seeing him standing by the bar in the kitchen on the ground floor and floating through the grand music room. One of the first people to see John's ghost was Mary McAvoy who was caretaker at the mansion from 1993 to 2005. She was two years into the job when she was sleeping alone in a second floor guest room. Her husband had lived at the house too, but he was away on a trip. She heard someone open the door to the servant's entrance and she sat up and looked at the clock. It was 2am. She then heard footsteps walking up the back staircase and heading to John's old room. There was no one else in the mansion when she checked. This routine has happened several times in the house and people figure John is returning to the large canopy bed where he breathed his last breath. Many times tour guides come into the house in the morning and when they check the bed, they find the impression of a person left on the bed they had fluffed the night before.

Another spirit here is said to belong to Mark Twain. This is not an apparition that appears, but rather manifests in the odor of cigar smoke. Guides claim that sometimes they have to leave the room because the scent is so strong. Twain was only at the mansion once and that was in 1902 to deliver his "Farewell to Hannibal" speech. So it seems a bit strange that Twain would haunt this place as he was only there a brief time. And clearly, other people probably smoked cigars in this house. Perhaps this is something residual.

Ken and Lisa Marks have written the book Haunted Hannibal and they purchased Rockcliffe. Their experiences started almost immediately. They were careful to lock all the doors because lots of curious people would stop by the mansion. So they were perplexed when they started hearing doors slamming downstairs when they were on the second floor sleeping. These weren't just regular slams either. They were really loud as though the door was opening as wide as possible and then slamming shut. Other times they would be downstairs and hearing furniture moving upstairs and disembodied footsteps. One of the tour guides told the Marks that she had seen the ghost of John three times. Two times were very brief glimpses, but the third one lingered. John was standing by the pantry and then slowly disappeared and that is how the guide knew this was not a real man.

Lisa tells the following story in Alan Brown's "Ghosts Along the Mississippi River, "We were in the office one night and we heard a crashing sound. It took us twenty minutes of searching to find out what had happened. In the girls' bedroom is a closet containing a lot of dresses. We had placed a vase of artificial flowers on a shelf in the closet. When we walked into the room, we saw where the vase had shattered. But it wasn't like it had just fallen off the shelf in the closet. It fell into the room several feet away from the closet. I picked up the pieces of glass and put them at the base of the oak tree just outside the door, almost like an offering." The Marks have had guests leave in the middle of the night because they were scared by phantom music playing or ghostly footsteps. 

When Alan stayed with his wife Marilyn at Rockcliffe, she had an experience. She got up to use the restroom around 2am. She returned to bed and heard footsteps out in the hallway. The kinds of steps that a child would make or possibly a woman. They were not heavy. And then the doorknob started to rattle. Marilyn decided not to open the door. They had been the only guests at the bed and breakfast and Lisa told them that it wasn't her or Ken either. 

Hannibal has its mysterious caves and historic locations infused with history. Many think that this is one really haunted little town. Are these locations in Hannibal, Missouri haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

HGB Ep. 400 - The Whispers Estate

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Moment in Oddity - Pharaoh Covers Servants in Honey to Attract Flies (Suggested by: Scott Booker)

Pepi II Neferkare was pharaoh over Egypt in the Sixth Dynasty. He came to the throne at the age of six, so his mother Ankhesenmeryre II served as regent. According to some historians, Pepi II was the longest serving pharaoh of all, holding his position for 90 years. Others say that was a misreading of numbers. Whatever the case, he served a long time with his reign serving as the decline of the Old Kingdom. Pharaohs would lose their dominant central power at this time. One reason Pharaohs had been able to maintain so much authority was because a special ceremony was held for each in which they were imbued with the spirit of Osiris and thus the people considered the pharaoh to be a god. Pepi II's name was Neferkare meaning "Beautiful is the Ka of Re," which literally means beautiful is the soul of the sun god. With a name like that and believing you were a god, it's not surprising that you would do some crazy things. Pepi II hated flies, so he was never without several naked servants around him, covered in honey so that they would attract the flies away from him. And that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Squeaky Fromme Tries to Assassinate President Ford

In the month of September, on the 5th, in 1975, President Gerald Ford survives an assassination attempt. President Ford was walking near the California state capitol when he was approached by a little red-haired woman who was carrying a .45 caliber handgun. As she raised the gun, Secret Service agents tackled her and wrestled the gun from her hands. This woman was Lynette Fromme, but most people know her by her nickname Squeaky. Yep, THAT Squeaky Fromme who hung out with Charlie Manson and his family. She was so desperate to receive his approval that she hatched the assassination plot and tried to carry it out. Fromme was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison. She didn't serve for life. She was released in 2009. As for President Ford, he was unflappable and continued on to the capitol where he spoke before the California legislature. Ironically, the subject of his speech was crime.

The Whispers Estate (Suggested by: Paranormal Crew from the 502)

The Whispers Estate is located in Mitchell, Indiana and is thought to have been built in 1894 by Dr. George White and his wife Sarah. The estate was then bought by Dr. John Gibbons and his wife Jessie. Dr. Gibbons had his office in the house and ran that practice for twenty-six years. Many adults and children are thought to have died in the house including the doctor's wife Jessie. The house has so much activity, it is thought to be one of the most haunted locations in America and is open for ghost hunting. It's name comes from the fact that so many disembodied voices are heard whispering there. We are joined on this episode by members of the Paranormal Crew from the 502 - Shannon, Eva, Stacy and Dan - to share their experiences investigating the house.

So let's meet the 502 Crew. They introduce themselves and share about some haunting experiences they had that got them started on this path and how they go about investigating locations. (502 Intro)

We asked them about their favorite piece of equipment and in telling us the answer, we hear about the Gates of Hell Cemetery. (502 Equip)

We asked about places they have investigated. It's hard to understand some of this, but the first place mentioned is Bardstown, Kentucky and the Old Talbott Tavern there. (502 Places) We need to do an episode on Bardstown!

Then we started unwrapping the Whispers Estate. (502 Whispers 1) So I wanted to stop there because that is fascinating to me that Dan was drawn to a place that was special to this child spirit that is believed to be autistic, Gary, and Dan has a child who is autistic. There something happening here on a different level. And how did that spirit know there was this kinship? It's like Cedric who joined us a couple episodes ago, revealing that a spirit comforted him on the Gettysburg Battlefield when he was having a PTSD moment. (502 Int)

Jarret Marshall had owned the house in 2007 and he was interviewed by WTHR News about the hauntings. Marshall thinks that his renovating of the house into a bed and breakfast stirred things up. He said, "The house really is two houses. In the daytime it's just a beautiful house and in the nighttime, it wakes up kind-of. I heard footsteps on the stairs and we've actually heard her [Rachel] sing, 'Ring Around the Rosey' in the middle of the night. There was a couple in here that woke up in the middle of the night and there was something standing by their bed. Things standing in the doorways, doors open and close, things tap on the walls, move the bed. We've had two people that actually left in the middle of the night because it was just too much for them. I think she's definitely still here. You actually hear a child singing. We all were sitting downstairs one night and we heard 'mommy'." 

There is a video up on the Whispers Estate website that features some interesting evidence caught using the phone app Spiritus. They caught some interesting EVP and words with the app. Seemed to be talking to a male who was trapped by something evil. The investigators names were Eric and Laura. Eric handed the phone to Laura and she asked if the spirit could tell them his name. It said "I can." Eric asked if the spirit knew Laura's name and it said "Duncan," which is apparently her last name. That would have creeped us out a bit because she hadn't said her full name. Supposedly the last name of the man who died in the bathtub was Henderson and that name came across the app. They turned off the light and it said "The lights stopped working."

These sound like some folks we would enjoy doing a ghost hunt with and the Whispers Estate sounds like an interesting place, especially that Oculus Room. Is the Whispers Estate haunted? That is for you to decide!