Sunday, October 31, 2021

HGB Halloween Special 2021

Happy Halloween! When one thinks of Halloween and Trick or Treating, more than just pillow cases full of candy come to mind. There's always that one creepy house in the neighborhood. The abandoned one. The one everyone claims is haunted. Maybe one with 999 ghosts and room for one more? Join us as we explore the history of the most famous haunted house in America, Disney's Haunted Mansion! Kindly watch your step as you board, please, and heed this warning - the spirits will only appear if you remain quietly seated at all times. Oh yes, and no flash pictures. Now, as they say, look alive and we'll start our little tour. There's no turning back now...

Every neighborhood has one, the haunted house. Walt Disney understood this and he knew eventually his main street would have one as well. The original concept was developed when Disneyland was being conceptualized. Marvin Davis at WED Enterprises drew a layout with a crumbling house on a hill overlooking Main Street. This idea was further expanded with Harper Goff, who is credited with being the very first Imagineer. Goff drew a panoramic view that he named "Church, Graveyard and Haunted House." These ideas were scrapped when a residential area was dropped from the plan for something better, a series of lands to visit. Imagine a time when Disneyland didn't have the Haunted Mansion. Gasp! But that was the case when it opened in 1955. 

The Haunted House idea was brought back in 1957 as Disney was looking for ways to expand his park. He put top animator Ken Anderson in charge of design. Anderson drew inspiration from the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore as well as the Evergreen House there. Stanton Hall in Natchez, Mississippi also gave some inspiration. Anderson's creation looked much as one would expect, a dilapidated house that was dirty and old. Rather than putting the mansion on a hill in a residential area, the haunted house would be the centerpiece of a new land called New Orleans Square. This land was a way to embrace the influence of the south. Disney teased the idea with the BBC in London in 1958. He mentioned that he felt bad for all the ghosts that were probably displaced during World War II and announced that he was creating a retirement home for the world's homeless spirits at Disneyland.

The plan was presented to Disney who wasn't thrilled. Disneyland was a pristine park. He couldn't have a blighted plantation house in the middle of all of that. So the outside design was put aside as the team worked on the interior and it's not surprising that Anderson drew inspiration from a trip he made to the Winchester Mystery House. He also developed a good ghost story for the house that featured an old sea captain named Captain Gore who had disappeared under mysterious circumstances. (We can't help but wonder if Captain Culpepper Clyne who is featured in the WDW Haunted Mansion queque is a tribute to this concept.) The mansion was his house and guests would be guided through it by either a maid or butler. The tour would start on a moving platform that would take them down to the basement. The maid or butler tour guide would then take the group of guests around and point out secret passages, inanimate objects that would move and changing portraits. Special effects and illusions would be used to pull off the haunting activity. 

Guests started their tour in a picture gallery. The Captain had a bride named Priscilla and she would be in the next room. Guests would see her break into a treasure chest only to discover her husband was actually a notorious pirate named Black Bart. The tour guide would relate that Priscilla disappeared and it was believed that Captain Gore killed her. An ominous bubbling well would hint at her final resting place. Walt thought this was too much and Anderson came up with a second story about the Blood Family and their home Bloodmere Manor. This was an antebellum home moved from New Orleans and during its installation, a construction worker was accidentally walled up in the house. A third story was asked for and this one featured Walt Disney welcoming guests and then the tour guide known as the Lonesome Ghost would take over and share that a wedding celebration was underway until the bride, who could be seen at the end of a long hall, lost her head. Disney again shook his head as he thought that the tone wasn't right. 

Anderson then drew inspiration from Disney's version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He decided that the tour would end in a graveyard with the Headless Horseman. He would appear riding through the bushes with only his cape visible above them. There would be lightning, the sound of hoof beats and the howl of a werewolf. A wedding party would start after the horseman arrived and guests featured Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster and other boogeymen. Sounds pretty cool and everybody decided they would go forward with this. Now it was time to start designing all the scenes. And so WED started making mock-ups of various scenes. And Disney brought over two other artists from the studio, Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey.

Crump was a master of illusion and he loved to build mobiles he called kinetic sculptures. Gracey was a mechanical genius and master model builder. These two men would bring the magic to our favorite attraction. They were inspired by the illusions of nineteenth century magicians and things like spirit cabinets. The men would read ghost stories to each other and built model after model of special effects. Jason Surrell in his book "The Haunted Mansion, Imagineering a Disney Classic" shares a story Rolly told him, "Yale had all his ghosts and magic strewn throughout the room. Once, we got a call from Personnel, asking us to leave the lights on because the janitors didn't want to come in if it was dark. Well, we did, but we rigged the room. We put in an infrared beam, and when it was tripped, the room went to black light and all the ghost effects came on. When we came in the next morning, all the effects were running and there was a broom lying in the center of the floor. Personnel called and said, 'You'll have to clean up your own room because the janitors won't go in there anymore.'"

Gracey and Crump finally got a chance to stage a full mock-up scene to present to Disney and the Suits and it was a magnificent scene featuring the angry captain and his dead wife and ghosts that disappeared and water that dried up. The only problem was that the scene ran three minutes. Not only was this too long for the suits, but this meant the mansion would have to be a walk-through attraction. Disney was really disappointed. He didn't want to to be a walk-through. He wanted it to be a ride. And he didn't want a run down manor, which is what the plan was still embracing. The Haunted Mansion was stalled until 1961. There were attempts to get the Haunted House Project back off the ground, but it was tabled again as the team of Imagineers started working on the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. 

After the World's Fair was done, the Haunted Mansion got back on track with Marc Davis joining the team. Davis' focus became creating various gags and scenes and characters. He is the one who came up with the official host to replace the Lonesome Ghost, our disembodied "Ghost Host." The team developed the Stretching Room, which was originally called the The Elongating Room, the Portrait Gallery with a menacing character that crawled out of a picture, the Seance room with a full-bodied medium known as Madame Z, a Ghost Club Room and a room where a bride and her fiance were murdered. Claude Coats joined the team with a focus on designing the interior environments for Davis' characters to live within. X Atencio joined the team as a scriptwriter. He had just finished writing the script for The Pirates of the Caribbean ride. He would write our beloved Grim Grinning Ghosts song. 

In December of 1966, Walt Disney died and the creative leader for the mansion was gone. Marc Davis and Claude Coats were both placed in charge of the Mansion and creative differences cropped up as one thought the Mansion should be scary and the other thought it should be funny. And as we now know, the two camps collided. The first half of the Mansion has a spooky ambiance, while the second half is filled with whimsical characters. Although we know things have changed up a bit with the scary Hatbox Ghost making into the attic scene at Disneyland and the murderous bride Constance making it into the attic at WDW. Another conflict was whether this would be a walk-through or a ride-through attraction. The PeopleMover had a system called the Omnimover and this would be perfect for moving people through the Mansion quickly. These would become the Doombuggies we ride on through the attraction. This forced the Imagineers to change up some of their tricks and sight gags since people would be passing by very quickly. 

After all the ideas were combined with Davis' characters and Coat's backgrounds, it was left to X to write the story and it comes across as three acts. Act One features the foyer where we see some paranormal things going on, but no ghosts. We meet up with Madame Leota in the Seance Room who let's us know that the spirits are going to materialize and in Act Two, they do during our swinging wake in the Dining Room and our visit to the attic. In Act Three, the Doombuggy falls out of the attic window and into the graveyard for a wild ghost party and we meet our three hitchhiking ghosts at the end with the greatest gag of all. The ghost joins the guests in their Doombuggies. As we know, this got even better as technology got better and the ghosts pull all kinds of gags on the riders. Paul Frees became the voice of the Ghost Host and joins riders through most of the ride. Not many people know that a raven was supposed to be the first guide, but turned out to be too small. There are various ravens spotted throughout the ride that are a tribute to that original idea.

The Haunted Mansion officially opened its doors to the public on August 9, 1969 and with this came a record-breaking day for Disneyland. They broke their single-day attendance record with 82,516 people entering the park. Building on the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World had already begun and it was decided that the Haunted Mansion would be a part of this park as well, so two of everything was made when the Haunted Mansion was being constructed. The house for this one would have to be different because rather than having a New Orleans Square, the Magic Kingdom would have Liberty Square set up like colonial America. This mansion would be designed as a Dutch Gothic manor house. This mansion looks scarier than the one at Disneyland and that was on purpose. The ride was ready to go by April 1971, before the Magic Kingdom even opened, which wouldn't happen for six more months.

Tokyo Disneyland also was developed with a Haunted Mansion. This one was placed in Fantasyland to build a bridge to Westernland and is the same Dutch Gothic design as the one in the Magic Kingdom. Everything inside is the same as well. This opened on April 15, 1983. Disneyland Paris would host their Haunted Mansion in Frontierland and the name would change to Phantom Manor. The design was as a Victorian manor that was dilapidated and is the most sinister looking of the Haunted Mansions. A ghostly version of Thunder Mesa, which is the town found in Frontierland, replaces the Graveyard scene. Vincent Price's trademark laugh from Thriller plays throughout the mansion and he voiced the ghost host for this one until the park decided they wanted a French version of the narration. This attraction opened on April 12, 1992. 

Hong Kong Disneyland would have a version of the Haunted Mansion as well, this one is named Mystic Manor and has a really cool design. It was inspired by the Carson Mansion in Eureka, California. There is a Russian onion dome, Gothic arches and Cambodian temple features. Lord Henry Mystic would build this mansion and it holds his collection of artifacts he collected while exploring the world. Guests board his Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage cars for a tour, which are not on a track like the Doombuggies and follow a path embedded in the floor. Mystic's monkey sidekick Albert leads guests through a wild ride through the mansion when a haunted artifact causes crazy stuff to happen. Mystic Manor features an Egyptian room, a Nordic room and a tribal arts room and music orchestrated by Danny Elfman fills the haunted house. This mansion opened on May 17, 2013. 

So what is your favorite part of the Haunted Mansion? When was the first time you climbed aboard a Doombuggy? Did anything scare you in the mansion? What is your opinion on the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland? 

Some other little known facts about the Haunted Mansion. Pet cemeteries are a part of all the mansions and got their start at Disneyland in an enclosed garden at the side of the mansion. This was created in the early 1980s by Kim Irvine, who was a senior concept designer in Imagineering. She also was the daughter of Leota Toombs who was the model for Madame Leota. Irvine had bought a bunch of statuary from local nurseries and had a writer create humorous epitaphs for them. Stay in the Stretching Room as long as possible and you will hear the gargoyles whispering to each other and you. In Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, the floor of the Stretching Room actually does go down taking guests fifteen feet underground. At WDW, the Stretching Room's ceiling goes up, while the guests remain on the same level in which they entered. The candelabra in the Endless Hallway is painted completely black on the back to keep it from reflecting in the mirror that is at the end of the hallway. There is a thin black scrim across the hallway to obscure any reflection as well and to give the hallway a misty look. The chair that is here has a face purposefully sewn into the design. In the mid-1980s, cast members wandered inside the mansion at Disneyland and popped out at various times, but this proved to be too scary and also dangerous for the cast members. 

The spell book in the Seance Room has a picture of the Hatbox Ghost dressed a scythe-wielding death figure on one page and the spell Peter Ustinov uses to call forth Blackbeard's Ghost in the 1967 film is on the other page. One of the pistol-wielding duelists in the Dining Room has a familiar face. He is the Auctioneer from Pirates of the Caribbean. The name of the ghost swinging from the top of the chandelier is named Pickwick. The organ is from the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the SEa. People may recall that Captain Nemo played this pipe organ. Constance's husbands were Frank, Reginald, Ambrose, The Marquis and George. The Hatbox Ghost was always supposed to be part of the Attic scene. Marc Davis designed him and he was actually installed right across from the bride. But the illusion that was part of him never worked and he was removed before opening day. He would return to the attic in 2015 with technology that wasn't around until recently and it makes his illusion work perfectly. There is a tribute to him in the WDW Mansion in the form of a hat rack. And if the hatbox ghost's face looks familiar its because he and Ezra share a mold. The ghost that tells you to hurry back at the end of the ride is called Little Leota because Leota Toombs is also the model for this one.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

HGB Ep. 408 - Legends of Werewolves

Moment in Oddity - Death By Giant Umbrellas (Suggested by: John Michaels)

They say art is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes art is meant to make a political statement. But art should never be deadly. Sometimes it is though and in 1991, it was downright bizarre. In 1991, husband and wife artist team Christo and Jeanne-Claude put up an environmental installation that consisted of thousands of giant yellow and blue umbrellas. The installation opened in California and Japan simultaneously. The giant umbrellas measured about 20 feet in height, 28 feet in diameter and weighed about 500 pounds. The California piece stretched for 12 miles and the one in Japan was 18 miles. People came from everywhere to see the art piece. Two months after the exhibit was installed, a ind gust uprooted one of the umbrellas and blew into a woman named Lori Rae Keevil-Mathews. The giant umbrella crushed her against a boulder, killing her. Christo ordered the umbrellas to be taken down after that, but the umbrellas weren't done taking lives. A crane operator in Japan named Masaaki Nakamura was electrocuted when the crane's arm touched a 65,000-volt high-tension line while he was removing an umbrella. Giant umbrellas killing people certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Sydney Opera House Opens

In the month of October, on the 20th, in 1973, the Sydney Opera House opens. The opera house is an iconic symbol for not only Sydney, but also Australia. The spot chosen for it alongside Sydney Harbor was a site once held sacred by the Gadigal people. The structure was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon and took 15 years to finish. The opera house was funded from profits of the Opera House Lotteries and cost $80 million to build. The distinctive design features geometric roof shells and there are several large auditoriums inside. Queen Elizabeth II dedicated the Sydney Opera House on that day in 1973. The first performance in the complex was the Australian Opera’s production of Sergei Prokofiev’s War and Peace. In 2007, the opera house was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, giving it placement along side structures like the pyramids in egypt, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. That made it the youngest structure to be included on the list and only one of two that made the list during the life of its architect. Utzon passed away in 2008.

Legends of Werewolves (Suggested by: Wes Hawkins)

Werewolf lore has been a part of human history for centuries and some of the best horror movies feature werewolves. We've covered the hysteria that surrounded the witch hunts and trials in Europe and America. Not many people realize that there was a similar hysteria when it came to reports of werewolves. It is possible that 100,000 people were executed for being suspected werewolves in Europe from the 14th to the 17th centuries. On this episode, we are going to explore some of the legends of werewolves throughout the world. 

Universal's The Wolf Man, An American Werewolf in London, A Company of Wolves, The Howling, Wolf, Teen Wolf, Wolfen, Ginger Snaps, Silver Bullet, Dog Soldiers, Underworld, Werewolves Within (which just came out in 2021) and then that Twilight series thing, are just a handful of the movies that have featured stories of werewolves. Many of us cut our horror teeth on these movies and if Rick Baker's special effects and make-up in "An American Werewolf in London" didn't make you actually consider going into the business of movie make-up, you better check your pulse. All of these movies have been inspired by the legends and lore passed down through the generations. They built a traditional lore that holds to a few basic principles. A person becomes a werewolf after being attacked by a werewolf and surviving. The full moon brings about transformation and the human either transforms completely into a wolf or a bipedal man-wolf. The only way to kill the werewolf was with a silver bullet. For some cultures, werewolves have been a very real thing and stories of skinwalkers and dogmen have even been a part of modern day America. Where did all of this start?

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the beginning of so many legends. In this story, Gilgamesh turns away a potential lover when he learns that she turned her ex into a wolf. 1020 AD would find the first use of the term werewulf in English. There is the story of Niciros that other scholars claim is the first story of a werewolf. The website claims that this is the real first story because this is an actual transformation like what we are used to when it comes to werewolves. This was written by Petronius, who obviously was a Roman writer. He was a scribe in the court of Nero, so no wonder he was able to come up with a horror story of man becoming wolf. He included the story in his anthology titled Satyricon, which was written around AD 61. It tells the story of friends Niciros and a companion. They are traveling and need to relieve themselves. They are outside traveling and so naturally this needs to happen in nature, but they pick a bad spot, a cemetery. It clearly is disrespectful to urinate in a cemetery. Things get really weird when Niciros' friend rips off his clothes and urinates a circle around himself. He gives a maniacal laugh as he tranforms into a wolf and heads into a nearby town. While there, he kills a bunch of farm animals and is finally stabbed in the neck by a townsperson, killing him. So apparently, no silver bullet is needed here.

Probably the next werewolf legend would come out of Greek mythology. Lycaon was the son of Pelas, and he was called to serve a meal to Zeus. He served Zeus human flesh, which so outraged the god that he turned Lycaon into a wolf. This is where we get the term for the werewolf transformation, Lycanthropy, which is the supernatural transformation of a person into a wolf and sometimes other creatures like cats, goats, oxen and dogs. The full moon coming into play as part of the lore may have been inspired by the fact that some people go crazy when there is a full moon and reveal the beast inside them. Maybe that's why several serial killers centuries ago were thought to be werewolves.

There were medical conditions that may have led to some rumors and stories of werewolves. Pitt-Hopkins syndrome was officially discovered in 1978, but has been a condition for centuries probably that causes lack of speech, distinct facial features, difficulty breathing, seizures and intellectual challenges. Food poisoning sometimes caused people to act like an animal as did rabies. Hallucinogenic herbs could cause people to act out in strange animalistic ways. Medical lycanthropy is a psychological condition that causes people to believe they’re changing into a wolf. And hypertrichosis is a genetic disorder that causes excessive hair growth all over the body. 

Werewolves started making appearances in the lore of cultures around the world. Witchcraft and werewolves seemed to go hand in hand and their trials were very similar or sometimes held at the same time. People claimed that witches could shapeshift into wolves or that they would ride wolves to Sabbats. Let's look at some of these legends:

Nordic Werewolves

The Nordic people had shaman among them. Some of these shaman would go into the woods and abandon human contact and their identity. They would conduct initiation rites to become wolf-warriors. They would live their lives in the wild and people started referring to them as wolfmen. Nordic folklore has The Saga of the Volsungs. In this story, a man and his son, Sigmund and Sinfjötli, find wolf pelts that have the power to turn people into wolves for ten days. They use the pelts on themselves and they do indeed turn into wolves. Then they go on a killing rampage in the forest until the father ends up attacking his own son, leaving a mortal wound. A raven brings a leaf with healing powers and the son is saved. There is also Egil's Saga which features the character Ulf Bjalfason. At night, his mood would darken and he would isolate from people. Villagers thought his behaviour was suspicious and they started calling him Kveld Ulf, which means night’s wolf. We're not sure if he killed anyone, but people believed he changed his skin. And in Norse mythology, Loki's son is the Great wolf Fenrir who kills Odin during the events of Ragnarök. He symbolized power, wildness and chaos.

Irish Werewolves

In Ireland, a story about two werewolves was written as a treatise, which means it was treated as fact rather than legend. The story goes that a priest was traveling from Ulster to Meath when he was approached by a wolf. The wolf spoke to him and he wondered how a creature could look like a wolf, but talk like a man. The man said that he and his wife were from Ossory and that they had been cursed to be wolves. It seems that in Ossory, every seven years, a man and woman would be compelled to take the form of wolves. When the seven years was up, they returned to human and two more people would become wolves. He told the priest that his wife was sick and dying and he asked the priest to come to his wife and give her absolution. The priest was terrified, but followed the wolf. The male wolf peeled the wolf skin down his wife to the waist to prove to the priest that she was a human and the priest gave her the viaticum. The wolf rolled her skin back up and she returned to her wolf form. This was indexed in the Topographia Hibernica in 1188.

South America Werewolves

El lobizon is the South American werewolf. The legend is shared throughout Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay and was started by the indigineous people known as the Guarani. There was a belief that the seventh son in a family would turn into a werewolf on the night of a full moon. The creature symbolized death and eventually melded with the legends Europeans brought with them and became a half man and half wolf.

Mexican Werewolves

Mexican werewolves are called Nagual (Na'wal). Mesoamericans believed that the Nagual was a guardian spirit that lived in animals, but they also believed that it was something that gave men the power to transform into an animal. This was much like a magician who could disguise itself. A Nagual was a powerful man disguising himself as a wolf in order to cause harm.

Montreal Werewolves

The First Nations people of Montreal had a rich tradition of stories about werewolf-like creatures that they called Waheela, Shukla Warakin, Amarok and the Wendigo. Werewolf sightings started in Montreal in the 1600s. The stories came over with the French colonists who had been dealing with werewolves since the late 1400s. One of the first legends was about a man named Jean Dubroise who had one of the most productive farms on Montreal Island. His neighbors were confused though because they never saw Dubroise working the land. A fellow farmer was walking home one night and decided to cut across Dubroise's property. His name was Alphonse and he was enibrated, so take that into account as we share his experience. He heard a very loud noise overhead and when he looked up, he saw a large flying canoe. This canoe landed in a field on Dubroise's farm and Alphonse claimed that the Devil stepped out of the canoe and he told the others in the canoe to get out as he cracked a whip. Twenty hunched-over wolfmen climbed out of the canoe. Alphonse jumped in the bushes to hide and watched the werewolves do all the work on the farm.

Later, when the werewolves, Devil and canoe left, Alphonse went to the church and reported what he had saw, also including that Dubroise had come out to talk to the Devil and that he thought the man had sold his soul in exchange for the work. The priest was alarmed and the next day led a group of parishioners to the the farm where they poured holy water everywhere. They hid and waited to see what happened that night. The Devil showed up with the canoe and when everyone stepped out onto the ground, they shrieked in pain. The werewolves ran away. The Devil believed that Dubroise had betrayed him, so he tore the door off the house and dragged the man to the canoe and took off. The Priest and other men rounded up the werewolves and pricked them with a knife, which was the only way to turn them back to men. The men asked for forgiveness and became devout.

Another interesting legend was about a miller named Joachim Crete who took in a French immigrant named Hubert Sauvageau. Not long after that, local sheep and cattle started turning up dead, clearly attacked by a wild animal. Crete figured out what was happening when he ran into a werewolf late one night walking home. He took out a scythe and cut the creature's ear off, causing it to flee. Crete found Sauvageau the next morning in the bathroom washing his head, which was bleeding. He saw that the man was missing an ear. In the 1880s, Montreal had a rash of sheep killings in which the poor animals had their throats torn out. The townspeople believed a local man was a werewolf and they searched his property. They found a wolfskin belt and when they confronted him, he admitted that he turned into a wolf when he put the belt on and that he had killed the sheep. The townspeople burned the belt and this stopped the killings. 

And there is this story that appeared in the Quebec Gazette on December 2, 1767 about the Kamasouraska area, “We learn that a Ware-Wolfe, which has roamed throughout this Province for several Years, and done great Destruction in the District of Quebec, has received several considerable Attacks in the month of October last, by different Animals, which they had armed and incensed against this Monstre; and especially the 3rd of November following, he received such a furious Blow, from a small lean Beast, that it was thought they were entirely delivered from this fatal Animal, as it some Time after retired into its Hole, to the great Satisfaction of the Public. But they have just learn’d, as the most surest Misfortune, that this Beast is not entirely destroyed, but begins again to show itself, more furious than ever, and makes terrible Hovock wherever it goes.—Beware then of the Wiles of this malicious Beast, and take good Care of falling into its Claws.”

Thiess of Livonia

Livonia was once part of Estonia that is found in the Baltic. This became a hotbed for werewolf persecution in the 1600s with 18 trials for 31 people accused of being werewolves. One of these people was an octogenarian named Theiss. The trial was held in Jurgensburg and Theiss made a full confession, claiming that he shapeshifted into a wolf along with other men and that they went to hell three times a year to guarantee a good harvest. He proclaimed they were the hounds of God and kept the evil ones from stealing their seeds, crops and livestock. He claimed that there were werewolves in Russia and Germany as well. His accusers tried to get him to admit he made a pact with the Devil, but he never did. He was sentenced to receive ten lashings. 

The Galician Werewolf

Sabine Baring-Gould wrote the hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and he was a clergyman who talked openly about a case of werewolves in 1849. This happened in what would become modern-day Poland near a thick pine forest. A beggar named Swiatek lived in a hovel outside the church and the villagers brought him alms and food. He seemed particularly fond of one of the families young daughters. He gave her a ring one day and told her to go to a pine in the churchyard with it and recite an incantation. He said she would find more jewels after doing that. The young girl disappeared, as did the beggar. Then other children who played amongst the pines disappeared. The villagers believed that wolves were carrying off the children and they killed any wolves they saw. Swiatek was found some time later at a home with his wife and children. Villagers had smelled cooking meat and thought that Swiatek and his family had cooked a couple of ducks that had gone missing. When they busted in the door, they saw the man hiding something in his coat. They grabbed him and when they opened his coat, they found the head of a young girl. The beggar confessed to killing and eating six people. He was placed in jail, but killed himself before the trial for lycanthropy started.

Jean Grenier

In the early spring of 1603, the St. Severs district of Gascony, South-West France found itself the center of werewolf attacks. Boys and girls started disappearing and two girls claimed to have escaped the attacks of a wolf under the full moon. The local magistrate started an investigation and everyone was shocked when a 14-year-old boy named Jean Grenier stepped forward and claimed to have committed the attacks. He claimed that he had a wolf-skin and when he put it on, he would turn into a wolf. He claimed to be part of a pack of werewolves with nine members and that they hunted three times a week, usually feasting on young children. Grenier went on to say that another boy named Pierre de la Tilhaire, had taken him into the forest one night to meet "The Lord of the Forest." This creature marked Grenier's thigh and gave him an icy kiss and a wolf-skin to help him transform into a werewolf.

Grenier confessed to the murders and shared details no one else knew. The court took pity on him since he was young and poorly educated and sent him  to be with the Franciscans at the friary of St Michael the Archangel, Bordeaux, in 1603. A friend visited him seven years later and claimed that Grenier had hands with nails like talons, his teeth had become longer like fangs, his eyes were sunken and black and he ran on all fours. He would only eat raw meat. He died a year later with most people assuming that he had a mental disorder.

The Werewolf Demon Tailor

There is another tale that comes out of France and that ended with a tailor being burned at the stake in 1598 for being a werewolf. No one knows his name, but he came to be known as the Werewolf of Chalons or the Demon Tailor. Chalons is in the Champagne region and he owned a tailor shop here. It was said that the tailor liked to lure children into his shop with promises of treats. He would abuse the children, kill them and then cut up their bodies, consuming some of the flesh and storing the rest in barrels in the shop's cellar. He also committed crimes out in the forests, attacking travelers in the form of a wolf. Eventually, the bones were found in the barrels of his cellar and he was put on trial. He was sentenced to burn at the stake for being a werewolf even though he professed his innocence. His name and nearly all records of this case were then disappeared from history, but word-of-mouth kept the story alive.

The Bedburg Werewolf

In 15th century Germany, there was the Bedburg Werewolf. The story was passed down through pamphlets that finally made their way into Montague Summers work "The Werewolf." This was about a man named Peter Stubbe who was a wealthy farmer in Bedburg. Rumors started to circulate that he was turning into a wolf-like creature at night. Apparently there were some gruesome murders taking place and Stubbe was stretched on a rack until he confessed to practicing black magic and that the Devil gave him a magic belt that helped him turn into a large wolf. He would return to human after taking off the belt. He went on to claim that he had killed fourteen children and two pregnant women and eaten some of their flesh. He was sentenced to death and the execution was carried out on October 31, 1589. It was brutal. He was put on a wheel and had flesh torn from his body with burning pinchers and then his limbs were broken with the blunt end of an axe. He was beheaded and burned on a pyre. No magic belt was ever found.

Wolf of Ansbach 

This is probably one of the most famous werewolf legends in history. Here is a poem about this creature:

I, wolf, was a grim beast and devourer of many children
Which I far preferred to fat sheep and steers;
A rooster killed me, a well was my death.
I now hang from the gallows, for the ridicule of all people.
As a spirit and a wolf, I bothered men
How appropriate, now that people say:
“Ah! You damned spirit who entered the wolf,
You now swing from the gallows disguised as a man
This is your fair compensation, the gift you have earned;
This you deserve, a gibbet is your grave.
Take this reward, because you have devoured the sons of men
Like a fierce and ferocious beast, a real child eater.

So what really happened here? There was a Bavarian town called Ansbach that suffered a rash of animal killings that were followed by the killing of children in 1685. Wolves are not known to hunt alone. They work together as a pack, so to have a lone wolf is strange. Add to a lone wolf that it began hunting children and it wasn't a far leap for villagers to proclaim that a werewolf was among them. And the villagers knew exactly which of them was transforming into this creature.

There was a Burgomaster, which is like a mayor, of Ansbach who was named Michael Leicht. Everybody hated this guy and with good reason. He was a cruel leader and kept the town under a yoke. Nobody was sad when he died, but soon after his death, villagers started claiming that he had escaped death by transferring his spirit to a wolf. Drawn images of him in the form of a wolf wrapped in a white-linen shroud started circulating as people claimed that he visited his old apartment, scaring the new tenants. Villagers gathered together and decided to hunt down the wolf before their children were killed.

The hunters created a wolf pit, which was a hole dug in the ground with stone walls to secure it and then branches and straw were placed over the top to conceal it. They placed raw meat in the pit to attract the werewolf, but when they got no success with that, they switched to live bait and put a rooster in the pit. The wolf came along and fell into the pit and the hunters killed the creature. They then pulled the body out of the pit and paraded it through the streets. But before they did that, they cut off its muzzle and put a cardboard mask on the head with the features of Leicht drawn on it. They also put a wig and cloak on it. When the parade was over, the wolf was hanged by a gibbet on a hill, so that everyone in the village could see it.  

The villagers felt that this display represented several things. Number one, they were no longer in danger, but by skinning the beast and putting it in human clothes, it was like they were getting rid of their political enemy. It made them feel as though they took the Burgomaster out themselves. But they also felt that this sent a message to the Devil that they would take out any of his evil servants that he might send. Villagers had been killed by the beast, but there is no record as to how many that was and many still lived in fear believing that more werewolves were around them. One has to wonder though what they thought when the creature did not revert to being a human once it was killed.

The Beast of Bray Road

Probably the most famous modern day tale of a werewolf creature is the Beast of Bray Road, which is often referred to as a dogman. Diane interviewed Linda Godfrey several years ago who is the expert on this case and has written several books about this creature and other weird anomalies. The first sighting of this creature was in 1936 in Wisconsin, but it gained popularity in the 1980s. It was first seen on Bray Road, which is where its name comes from, but has wandered to the counties of Jefferson, Walworth and Racine. Godfrey was a reporter at the time and she was assigned by the Walworth County Week to cover the story. She was a complete skeptic and expected to find that the story was made up. The more people she interviewed, the more convinced she became that there was some kind of bipedal wolf-like/dog-like creature roaming Bray Road. The creature stood around 7 feet tall with brown or gray hair and left behind animal mutilations and scratches on cars. Sightings have been reported both at night and during the daytime and as recently as July 2020. The show Expedition X went in search of it in 2021. There are some who claim that this was actually just a wolf or black bear. But the way Godfrey described it as walking makes it sound as though it is very comfortable walking on two legs.

Tales of werewolves can seem pretty unbelievable. But there are so many first person accounts and the legends have been with us for so long, it seems as though there must be some truth to them. Were there such things as werewolves? Do these creatures still wander the earth? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:

Montreal's Werewolves:

Thursday, October 21, 2021

HGB Ep. 407 - Haunted Cemeteries 20

The sponsors for this episode are Best Fiends, which you can download for free from Google Play or the App Store, and Gothic Chandlery, which you can find on Etsy at The Gothic Chandlery or their website:

Moment in Oddity - Hemlock Water-Dropwort Causes Death Grin

Hemlock Water-Dropwort is a plant that grows wild across the island of Sardinia. Sardinia is a mystical place with over 800 graves that were reputedly built for giants, although many archaeologists just claim they were for ceremonial purposes or regular human burials. When it came to death, the Sardinians conducted death rituals and they incorporated the Hemlock Water-Dropwort in those. The plant, which is related to carrots, is highly poisonous and causes intoxication followed by death. And that death leads to a creepy broad smile being frozen on the face. Probably similar to the grin of the Joker in Batman comics. It is believed that this served as the inspiration for the Greek poet Homer's description of Odysseus' having a Sardonic smile. Modern day scientists hope to use the properties of the plant to do the opposite and actually relax muscles, rather than contract them. A plant that leaves behind a grinning corpse, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Peking's Summer Palace Destroyed

In the month of October, on the 18th, in 1860, Peking's Summer Palace was destroyed. The Manchu emperors built the summer residence in the 18th century. The Old Summer Palace was called Yuanming Yuan, which means "Gardens of Perfect Brightness." This had been the pinnacle of Chinese imperial garden and palace design. In 1860, the Second Opium War was under way and a small group of British troopers were sent to meet with Prince Yi under a flag of truce. This was to negotiate the Qing surrender. However, there was no surrender. The men were tortured and imprisoned and 20 were killed. James Bruce, who was the British High Commissioner to China, ordered that the Summer Palace be destroyed. It took three days worth of burning and 4,000 soldiers to destroy the palace, which they had looted of its precious artworks before. The palace was rebuilt in the 1870s and destroyed again in 1900. The Chinese Communists rebuilt it in the 1950s.

Haunted Cemeteries 20

We like to think of cemeteries as open-air museums. They not only represent the culture and beliefs of an area, but they serve as a historical record of who has lived in the region. For many people, the only record we have of their life is their headstone. They are so important and should be considered, even when making the choice to be cremated. Cemeteries are important as well because many still harbor the spirits of those who have left this plane of existence. On this haunted cemeteries episode we are going to explore cemeteries in Missouri, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Montreal!

Let's first examine the historical use of stone in American cemeteries. Slate was one of the earliest stones used and they are seen throughout New England. The use of slate started in 1650 and continued through to 1900. These stones are gray and fairly thin as compared to other stone headstones and they withstand the affects of acid rain. Brownstone, a type of sandstone, came into common use in 1650 also, particularly in Connecticut where brownstone quarries were located. This proved to be a bad choice because they weathered horribly. This was no longer used after 1890. Marble came into use in 1780 and the most prized variety was white with a satin finish. Limestone was also used at this time and is darker in color, appearing gray. They were both used through 1930 and are easily weathered. Granite started being used in 1860 and is still used today. This was a perfect choice for headstones because granite is one of the strongest materials on the planet. Granite comes in a variety of colors, but mostly gray. 

Old Baptist Cemetery

Old Baptist Cemetery is located in Hannibal, Missouri at Section and Sumner Streets. The cemetery was officially platted in 1844, but burials were taking place here well before in the early 1830s. This is the oldest cemetery in Hannibal that still remains. An old city cemetery was here before, but long ago was built over. They moved everybody, at least that is what they claim, but bones are still found where apartments were built over the former cemetery. The Old Baptist Cemetery was made famous by Mark Twain who included it in some of his writings.

 Early pioneers of the area are buried here, along with Civil War soldiers. By 2002, the cemetery was in sorry shape and an effort was made to revitalize and restore it. Frank Salter who headed up the effort said, "Imagine a cemetery bigger than a football field with a lot of stones - none of which are perfect. They're all tilted or broken or fallen over, and there are hundreds and hundreds of them. Our hope is to fix what we can on a slow basis and try to keep it in the forefront of people's thoughts. We want to preserve what's left of the cemetery before any more is lost to obscurity. Just raising historical consciousness is kind of the grand goal." 

Mark Twain's father had originally been buried here, but was moved to Mt. Olivet Cemetery to be next to Twain's mother. Notable burials include mostly people related to more well known people. There is Jenny Hatch who was the wife of William M. Hatch, whose son, William Henry Hatch, became a well-known Congressman. John and Emily Garth were the grandparents of John Garth, who built the Garth Woodside Mansion we mentioned in the Haunted Hannibal episode. Celia Stone was the first wife of the Rev. Barton Stone, one of the founders of the Disciples of Christ (Christian) Church. Col. Stephen Lee built and operated a large distillery in Hannibal's early days.

The head of Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tours, Lisa Marks, claims that many guests on the tour have encountered paranormal activity at the cemetery. She writes on her website, "What is remarkable to me is when I hear dozens of people tell me what they see, and their stories all match -- after so many people say that there's a 5-year-old-girl playing peek-a-boo in the northwest corner of the cemetery, you can't help but become a believer! There's also a man near the west fence line, very tall, dark, wearing a long overcoat; a Civil War soldier who is wearing his hat; a man named Edward in the northeast part of the cemetery who isn't hostile, but not particularly friendly, either (he kinda wants to be left alone). I have lost count of how many people that have taken our tour, people who are 'sensitive' to paranormal activity, that have told me there are more than twenty spirits at Old Baptist Cemetery at any given time."

Dean Hill Cemetery (Suggested by: Zach Frerichs)

Dean Hill Revolutionary Cemetery is also know to locals as The Rev and is located at 304 Caswell Road in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. It was established in 1791. It’s unknown whether it’s soldiers or more sinister entities that haunt the place, but there are rumors of satanic practices and eerie feelings coming over its visitors. Some have heard loud screams at night. Local tales say a man was killed and burned along this road, and a teenage girl died nearby when her car hit a tree. No trespassing signs are posted in the woods around the property; the area is patrolled by police. Zach told us that people claim to see the apparitions of eyeless soldiers who are screaming and that there is a portal to hell here.

This was posted on the Internet in 2017, "I lived on Dean Hill for a few years with an ex boyfriend in school. We took many trips to the Rev(walking distance) but the one that conjures up goosebumps for me is the last time.... it was Fall of 2004 and they had been building on that road during the year, so there was a lot of activity in the cemetery and reports of kids goofing off. A small group of six of us decided that we would respectfully poke around to see if anything else had been moved or damaged. It was always very upsetting to us that people were so disrespectful of the cemetery. This was people's resting place for all eternity! We always did our best to be respectful, no cameras, no electronics, nothing with a magnetic field as not to disturb or agitate the dead. We even walked this time, candles in hand, as the last time we went, my car stalled completely and refused to turn on(a brand new vehicle), even though in daylight the next morning, absolutely nothing was wrong with it and it started up no problem. That night was so quiet, no wind, no drums, no screams, no footsteps... just still silence. There was a tall thin grave marker in the front of the cemetery, and her name was the same as mine, only spelled Rebekah. You could barely make it out, but she was young when she died and she had children. We sat, forming a horseshoe around her stone and slowly started talking to her. We asked that she say hello and that we meant no harm, but wanted her to make an appearance. We were pretty hopeful about this kind of connection; we had all been part of many a seance in the years prior, some in that cemetery, and we took it seriously. As we held hands, you could feel the electricity moving between us and after a few minutes, you could feel the wind pick up and ground beneath us almost vibrating. And then it happened. The coldest, iciest pair of hands I've ever felt rested gently on my shoulders. Thinking it was one of our friends, I looked above me, expecting to see them laughing. Instead, I saw her. I froze in absolute terror, realizing she was touching me... and I could *feel* her. She was pale white, almost grey, and completely see-through. When I think back I remember that I could see tree branches showing behind her chest as I looked up at her. She was young. She must have been pretty when she was alive, her face half covered in long, tangled ringlets of hair. But her eyes..... were empty sockets of black nothingness.... that's what I remember most. She was see through except for her eyes. Solid black voids... Then she opened her mouth slowly, as if to say something to me. I FREAKED out and jumped up, my candle falling out of my lap, screaming. My friends had no idea what had happened, and I could hear them calling to me as I ran alone, back down Caswell. I heard a haunting, low laughing following behind me; gently, almost cajoling. My shoulders were freezing the whole way down the road until I made it to Dean Hill, absolutely breathless and still yelling. My friends reported to me afterwards that they couldn't see me in the dark running, but they could see a thin, white wisp trailing behind me, similar in fashion to if I were wearing a cape. That was 13 years ago and I can still feel her bony, cold fingers digging into my skin. I never went back."

Pinewoods Cemetery (Suggested by: Mandi Schumacher)

Pinewoods Cemetery is also known as Forest Park Cemetery and is located in Troy, New York. It is believed that the cemetery was loosely founded in 1856. Officially, it was established by wealthy businessmen in 1897. They designed it as a large park and while it was very attractive with trails and lots of trees, the cemetery went bankrupt in 1914. Before that happened, the businessmen built a receiving tomb of granite with a copper ceiling. Inside were catacombs where bodies could be stored during the winter months when it was too cold to dig graves. Another company bought the tomb and surrounding land and sold off portions of the land that are today part of a golf course at the Country Club of Troy. The cemetery went bankrupt again and was left abandoned. A man named William Christian watched over the 1,000 graves until his death in the 1960s.

There are many legends connected to this cemetery and people believe it is haunted because some burials were grave robbed and one winter, a few bodies were left in the receiving tomb and never given a proper burial. The cemetery is not open to the public, but people have been inside over the years and claim to have felt their hair get pulled or been scratched. They also claim to have seen strange orbs and heard disembodied voices. Cellphone batteries have died inexplicably. One of the legends is about the statue of an angel that has no head. The statue of the headless angel is about ten feet tall and stands in front of a cross and is found just off of one of the walking paths. Boys who would wander into the cemetery at night when it had been open claimed to witness blood coming from the eyes of the angel. It so freaked them out that they decided to cut the head off the statue and they threw it into the woods. Legend claims that the statue still bleeds from its neck. This blood could possibly be moss that grows on the statue after it has been humid. 

The sounds of children laughing have been heard in the cemetery and there is apparently the apparition of a friendly soldier here. The legend behind this spirit claims that his name is Harold Hubbard and that he was a veteran of World War I. He had been depressed and was having troubles in his family. Harold went on a date with a girl and was walking home in the wee hours of the morning on November 11, 1916. He arrived at the cemetery and decided to end his life there by shooting himself in the head. Now people claim to see Harold walking among the graves. He would occassionally appear to people having mental anguish and he would bring them comforting thoughts. He seems to exude positive energy in the afterlife. There are those who say that if you go to the gates of the cemetery, which have been dubbed the Gates of Hell, and say the name Harold three times, he will appear to you and say hello.

Martha's Chapel Cemetery (Suggested by: Chelsea Flowers)

The reputation of this cemetery starts with it being at the end of a road called Demon's Road. The actual name of the road is Bowden Road. Martha’s Chapel is seven miles southwest of Huntsville, Texas. Catholicism was the prevalent religion in Texas in the 1800s due to the Spanish and Mexican influence. The Rev. Moses Speer came to Texas in about 1837, to convert souls to the Methodist faith. He traveled from town to town and home to home and won many souls. This was the beginning of the Texas Mission and William Robinson, who was a devout Methodist, gave 30 acres to the cause to build a church, school and cemetery. This was called the William Robinson Settlement and this was the first church in the county. While Reverend Speers was at the settlement, he became sick and passed away. He would be the first person buried in the new cemetery in 1840. The church would take on the name Trinity Church in 1843. A new church was built about 10 years later and this one became a barn. Eventually, the site was named Martha's Chapel after one of the first church members who was buried in the cemetery, Martha Palmer. All that remains of the settlement is the cemetery, which holds the bodies of many early pioneers to the area.

That's the official history, but legends have clung to this land and there are claims of a curse. The Native Americans in the area claimed that something sinister had happened here. It was believed that blood had soaked the land, all the way down to the bedrock. Supernatural activity occurs all along Demon Road and on into the cemetery. There are tales of creatures and spirits. One of those spirits belongs to what appears to be a young boy riding on a tricycle. He reportedly has glowing eyes and people claim that he disappears into a strange fog if you try to go near him. There are other times when he will just stop his tricycle and stare at a person in an unnerving way. Total nightmare fuel. This has spawned tales about the young boy being able to read a life and if he finds that the observer is wanting in some way, he will later visit them at night in their bedroom and suffocate them to death. Then he drags the soul to hell. The boy and his tricycle usually appear on New Moon nights, so stay away from the cemetery during that time of the moon phase.

In 2001, a man named Bob and his buddy decided to pay a visit to Demon Road. They drove from Houston and parked by the graveyard. Bob's buddy had fallen asleep, so Bob left him to his dreams and got out of the car with his camera. Bob wandered among the tombstones, taking pictures and reading epitaphs. After a few minutes, he felt the ground shake below him and then clumps of soil started pushing up and then there was a hand. It grabbed his pant leg and as Bob reached down to make it let go, the hand clasped his wrist and started pulling him down to the ground. Bob started to scream and his friend appeared next to him and starts stomping on the hand and pulls Bob away. The run to the car with Bob in the lead. He gets to the car and is startled to see that his friend is still asleep in the car. Then who was that person that helped him? He turned and saw that he was all alone. Bob jumps in the car, fires it up and speeds out of the cemetery. After a couple of minutes, he looks over at his friend who hasn't stirred at all. He shakes his leg and realizes that his friend is dead. He had a heart attack on the ride down. 

That story is creepy enough, but in 2010, there was another one that was even worse. Apparently, spirits from this cemetery will follow you home. A woman visited the cemetery with her husband and some friends. They were visiting the grave of a friend. A bizarre man came into the cemetery and started wandering around. They took their leave. A few days later, the woman was getting into the shower and when she turned to close the curtain, she saw the strange man in the doorway. He then faded away as though he were made from fog. And this spirit isn't the only dangerous entity at the cemetery. There is an evil creature here that is described as being pale white with lizard-like skin and a mouth full of sharp teeth. The face is featureless and the thing crawls on all fours. It usually hides in the bushes. People claim that it is some kind of skinwalker. 

Those are some far-fetched stories, but there are people who claim to see apparitions wandering among the tombstones and people have trouble getting their cars to start. Visitors even sometimes find hand prints on their cars that were not there before. And in 2018, a Google Maps Street View caused quite a stir. The view features the fenceline of Martha Chapel Cemetery and there is sunlight coming through the trees. There is a tree prominently in the center of the view and upon closer inspection, there appears to be a little girl peeking from behind the tree. Even creepier is the tall black figure in the distance past her shoulder that seems to be wearing a long cloak.

Here is the link to see the pictures:

Mount Royal Cemetery

Mount Royal Cemetery is located in Montreal, Canada and is said to be one of the most haunted locations there. This is located high up on the slopes of Mount Royal and was established in 1847. The Protestant St. Lawrence Burial Ground had been the first cemetery here, but it was full. And it was in the middle of town. Europe had started moving cemeteries outside of city limits and Montreal decided to follow that trend when establishing Mount Royal. It was officially opened in 1852 and covered 165 acres. At first, only people of Protestant denominations were allowed to be buried here, but over time the burial ground was opened to all faiths and races. The first person buried here was Reverend Squire and that occurred on October 19th 1852. He had been to the Ottawa Hotel to visit a man dying of cholera and he himself caught the dreaded disease and it killed him.

Other people who were buried here include  six victims of the Titanic's sinking. One of those victims was Charles Melville Hays who was the President of the Grand Trunk Railway. He wouldn't be buried until a month after the tragedy. Hays was found floating in the water and was identified by the watch he wore. He was transported by train from Halifax to Montreal. There are 459 graves from those who died in war, 276 from World War I and 183 from World War II. There is a nursery for the children, many of whom died from contagious diseases. Montreal Mayor John Easton Mills died from typhus in 1847 after caring for several Irish refugees who were carrying it and is buried here as is Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott, who died from brain cancer in 1892. There is an area called the Montreal Sailors' Institute Lot with the bodies of 550 sailors buried here since 1890. Most drowned and there is a commemorative plaque.

The cemetery was designated a National Historic Site in 2002 and features beautiful monuments and statues and lush gardens. There are over 200,000 bodies buried in the cemetery. But there are even more bodies in this area because there are several cemeteries nearby, including a Catholic one and two smaller Jewish ones. Mount Royal is said to be the haunted one. One of the legends here claims that shadowy figures roam the graveyard after sunset. These shadows seem to almost flicker in the cemetery. A former Westmount High School student once related a scary experience he had after visiting the cemetery. He wrote, “I wish to remain anonymous, so I created this email account which I will delete within a day or two.  I used to live in Montreal and I did have a spirit follow me home once after a walk on the Mount Royal Cemetery. I was in a college at the time and with a friend.  I didn’t know it until that night when I was alone and woken up by a male figure quietly saying my name.  I promptly told it to go away without even realizing how quickly I was responding and turned on my other side. By the time I realized that I had just seen and heard something abnormal, it left but within a second I was drenched in sweat from fear. I got the strength to turn on the light after a few seconds and saw nothing. I never had an event take place afterwards.  NO I WAS NOT HALF ASLEEP AND IMAGINING IT. I can say for certain I was woken up by this spirit.”

The apparition of an Algonquin warrior has been seen near the cliffs overlooking the Camillien Houde Lookout. This is the best known ghost here and the most mysterious. First Nations burial sites had been found on Mount Royal and some indigineous graves had been found on the mountain with the bodies in the fetal position. Was this cemetery platted over those ancient graves? There are those who claim that rituals have been carried out in the cemetery and someone claimed to see a circle of candles floating. And another person claimed to see a massive white dog in the cemetery. Paranormal investigators like to hunt in the cemetery. They claim to have captured disembodied voices, a girl giggling, the sound of wood creaking like a coffin opening. They also claim to have seen fairies.

With all these crazy experiences going on here, its not hard to understand why they say this is a City of the Dead overlooking a City of the Living. And really, all these cemeteries are cities of the dead. Are they home to ghosts? Are these cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

HGB Ep. 406 - Haunted Fellsmere

Moment in Oddity - Giant Octopuses of the Narrows Bridge Ruins (Suggested by: John Michaels)

Octopuses are amazing creatures and we must admit that we have a soft spot for the legendary Kraken. There was a legend about a Kraken connected to Tacoma, Washington and while that really is just a legend, there is a fascinatingly weird thing going on here with octopuses at the Tacoma Narrows. The giant pacific octopus is the largest known species of octopus and they can get up to 50 pounds. They are highly intelligent and recognize human faces. They can even taste you and identify you with their tentacles. A legend claimed that a King Octopus weighing 600 pounds lived under the Galloping Gertie Bridge in Tacoma. This was actually the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but people gave it this nickname because the suspension bridge would move when the wind blew. Those winds finally took the bridge down on November 7, 1940. Those ruins still are down in the water and they provide hiding places for the Pacific Octopus because octopuses can squeeze themselves through any opening at least the size of their beak and that, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Reno Brothers Conduct First Moving Train Robbery

In the month of October, on the 6th, in 1866, the Reno Brothers carry out the first train robbery of a moving train in U.S. history. Previous train robberies had been of stationary trains. Trains often times were carrying very valuable things. Not only were there people on board with money and valuables, but trains transported precious minerals, cash and sometimes even gold and silver. The Reno Brothers started a bad thing when they figured out that if they stopped a moving train in a sparsely polulated area, they wouldn't have to worry about the authorities interfering. When word got out that the Reno Brothers got away with $13,000, this method got very popular. The brothers hit an Ohio and Mississippi Railroad train while it was traveling through Jackson County, Indiana. Soon the railroads got smart and started putting valuables in massive safes with armed guards watching over them and they even sometimes carried a boxcar of guards and horses. By the late 19th century, train robberies were a thing of the past.

Haunted Fellsmere

Larry Lawson is the founder of The Florida Bureau of Paranormal Investigation and runs Indian River Hauntings, which hosted this event. He introduced himself and his team: Mark, who is Vice President of the Indian River Historical Society, and his wife Val; Candace and Tina and her husband Spanky, who is Larry's right-hand man. We spent most of our evening investigating with Spanky. The thing we really liked about Larry is that he is a retired cop, which gives more credence to his investigations. He was a detective in Fellsmere before he retired, so he knows this city. And like us, he understands the importance of knowing the history in order to understand the hauntings. He comes at this from a scientific and open-minded skeptic base and he investigates with respect. Larry shares some of his personal experiences. (Fellsmere 1)

The town of Fellsmere is named for Nelson Fell who founded the town in 1911. The "smere" part means watery, swampy place. He had come up from New Zealand during the first Florida land boom of the 1880s. He had been educated in England as a mining engineer. Fell bought a large parcel of land known as Cinncinatus that had been owed by a newspaper magnet. His goal was to make Fellsmere a county seat and a hub for farming. This was to be the gateway to the south. Fellsmere was officially incorporated in 1915 and two years later, Fell left and never returned to his namesake town. This was the first town in the area to have a power plant, electricity and phone service. And fun fact, this was the first town in the south to allow a woman to vote, which happened in 1915. There were some men who heard about it and demanded that her vote be nullified, but the townspeople took up for her and the vote remained. And even with that, Fellsmere slid backward in prosperity after huge rains in 1915 flooded the whole area. Muck farming and growing sugar cane were the main industries with the first sugar refinery in Florida being built in Fellsmere around 1932. Citrus would become the main form of agriculture here though.

Since Fellsmere was down and out and yet a stop on the way to the south, this became a place for never-do-wells and it was a rough place for a while. The town of Fellsmere is today around 80% Hispanic and they brought many of their customs with them. This is a very spiritual town. With many haunted locations. We got to investigate two locations on this evening, but before that, Larry shared some of the haunted places with us. 

Ditch 13 Gallery and Gifts

Nikki Rouge owns this business at 46 N. Broadway Street, which looks like a cute little building next door to the restaurant where we met up for the event. This is a local Artisan's gift shop featuring offerings by talented locals such as Homemade jellies and jams, Ceramics, Intarsia Wood Crafting, Stained Glass, Carvings, Jewelry, fine art and more. The owner claims to have paranormal activity here with things moving around.

Larry's son seems to be sensitive and he tells a story about a property where the oldest house in Fellsmere once stood. (Fellsmere 2)

Fellsmere Inn

Fellsmere Inn, located at 107 N. Broadway Street, is the oldest hotel in town and was built by Fell in 1910 and has 11 bedrooms, six full baths and three half baths. The barons of industry in the local area would meet here and enjoy drinks and cigars while discussing business. And Sunday nights would find cars lined up down the street with folks coming for Sunday dinner. Fred Vandeveer bought the property in 2005 and he restored and renovated it. I found many listings through the years for the inn being up for sale. Right now it appears to be a private residence. The owner has experienced some strange things here and he had wanted Larry to come investigate, but his wife put the kibosh on that. 

Marian Fell Library

The Marian Fell Library was started by Nelson Fell's daughter Marian. The building was constructed in 1915 and is a quaint little place. Activity reported includes orbs appearing in photographs, temperature drops and disembodied footsteps in empty rooms. Larry used to be able to investigate here and one night they saw something pretty creepy. There was this homemade crafty cloth doll thing that people put over brooms or mops in the library. One night while investigating someone saw it move and they ran out of the building. Paranormal investigator Brian Cano has also investigated here and he tried a tulpa experiment inside where he had everybody focus on a word. That word was banana. They thought about the smell of bananas and the taste of bananas and the word banana. They did an EVP session after that and they all heard the word banana. *Seven Sisters Inn and the word bird.*

Fellsmere Cemetery

Fellsmere Cemetery is host to the spirits of a woman and child. One evening a police officer was there about fifteen years ago to lock it up. He saw a woman and a child walking in the cemetery. He starts to walk towards them and they disappear. A deputy sheriff pulled up and upon seeing the look on the other officer's face he said, "You've seen them haven't you?" A medium that was part of Larry's team had been in the cemetery and she said she felt that there was a woman there with a child who was not her's, but she was taking care of the child.

Old School House/City Hall

The Old School House was built in the early 1900s and opened in 1917. This is the oldest masonry building in all of Indian River County. School closed in 1980. Stayed empty for a while and then became city hall and then the police department. The police department moved out into another building, so this is now just city hall. They offer classes there and the Boys and Girls Club is in the basement.

Larry said of the hauntings here, "We don’t know why ghosts of children seem to inhabit the school. There were no deaths or tragedies documented in this building. One of the theories is that when people die, they go back to where they were happiest. One night when I was locking up here, in front of me I saw an arm in a flannel shirt. Just the arm. I can’t explain it but I know that it happened." They have seen lights coming out of the walls and they've seen shadows.   

So Larry brought us into the Old School and explained the layout. Our first stop was going to be in the small theater auditorium, but we ended up with our first unexplained experience. (Fellsmere 3) A police officer unlocked everything before we got there and Larry had to call him back. Larry shares some of the experiences from their previous investigations here. (Fellsmere 4) You here me mention in there that a woman's EMF was going off. It did several times, as did the meter of the woman behind her. And Larry heard a loud bang in the elevator and no one was in the elevator. Here is the EVP he mentioned. (Fellsmere EVP) (Fellsmere EVP 2) Larry left and Spanky handed out dowsing rods. We've never used the rods as a large group with one question being asked and several sets of rods answering. It seemed to work okay with the rods all answering the same, including pointing in the same directions when we asked where the spirit was located. 

Then Spanky fired up a spirit box. (Fellsmere 5) I heard a yes after he asked if there were any kids there. Sounded like an older kid. Larry joined us again as we headed to the basement and he told us another quick story about the building. (Fellsmere 6) The basement has a lot of activity relating to children. The elevator is fairly active. (Fellsmere 7) We haven't ever had much luck with Rem Pods on any investigation we've been a part of, but here in the basement, the Rem Pod went crazy. Larry checked the batteries just to make sure they were fresh because it was so crazy it seemed to be spazzing out. And then it went off again. (Fellsmere 8) It felt like the kids left. Later, Larry would tell us that there is an adult - maybe a teacher - who seems to have some control over the kids. The Rem Pod went crazy again when we went up to the first floor and we were envisioning the kids playing and running to touch the Rem Pod before the teacher would stop them and things would go silent. (Fellsmere 9)

Larry then told us a story about using a DR60. For those of who listen to Astonshing Legends and heard their series on the Sallie House in Kansas, you heard them play an EVP of a creepy scream. DR60s are notorious for playing back really creepy things. Some in the field don't think they are reliable for that reason, but others swear by them and think they are more able to pick up stuff. We've never used one. Here's what happened here at the Old School. (Fellsmere 10) Kelly and I didn't hear anything above us, but Larry and another guest did apparently. There were 5 of us that went into the council chambers and it would be in here that two of the women would get a small scent of lilac and it was like it blew in their faces. And then Kelly and Sparky smelled it too. I didn't smell anything, but I was off in a farther part of the room that was dark and I was focusing on a closet. (Fellsmere 11) We didn't find any kind of air freshener dispenser.

Marsh Landing Restaurant

We met up with the group at the Marsh Landing Restaurant. Originally built in 1926 for the Fellsmere Estates Corporation and then it became the headquarters for the Florida Crystal Sugar Company, which was here through the early 1960’s. City Council meetings were held in the large main room and the police department occupied the North end of the building and some prisoners were held here awaiting transportation to the jail. A concrete vault held important documents for the corporation. The building was sold, boarded up and given to the city back in the 1980’s and sat empty until October 1995, when Fran Adams bought the building at public auction. She refurbished and opened Marsh Landing Restaurant in November of 2002. Much of the building is still original. The wood windows and door frames were made from cypress trees that were logged locally and cut in nearby lumber camps. The wainscot around the interior walls has a nice golden hue and is the original tongue and groove ceiling. Most of the doors are original. 

Staff have reported seeing the apparition of a woman wearing a white dress walking across the restaurant in a residual manner and they have also seen her staring into the street when they close up for the night. They have also seen shadow figures and watched chairs move on their own. The blinds have rolled up and down by themselves. The owner of the restaurant, Fran, saw some weird stuff when they were renovating. She witnessed the woman in white float from one wall to another wall and then disappear. Fran has tried to talk to the woman with no luck, which is why they think this is residual. Larry himself saw the woman in white. He said, "A deputy sheriff was here taking a photo in the same spot, and I looked up and saw a woman in white standing in the doorway. The sheriff did not see the woman I saw. I know what I saw – I saw a woman standing there and then she was gone. I went and got the security camera footage and there was no sign of the woman." A woman in purple was snapped standing in the doorway of the women's restroom.

We would end our evening of investigating here. A small group of us headed to the bar area where the holding cell had once been and did a spirit box session. (Fellsmere 12) Then we just let the box go for a while without asking anything and we got this. (Fellsmere 13) Sounded like, "There's a monster." Then we went into another room where three Spanish women are reputedly hanging out in the afterlife. One of the women with us spoke Spanish so she asked some questions. (Fellsmere 14)

We had a lot of fun and met some more interesting people in this field. Are these locations in Fellsmere haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

HGB Ep. 405 - Haunted Guam

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Moment in Oddity - Colonial Ship Found Under World Trade Center (Suggested by: Duey Oxberger)

In July of 2010, some excavators were using bulldozers to excavate a parking garage on the 56th block of lower Manhattan. During that excavation, they uncovered a 32 foot hull of a ship dating to between 1770 and 1780. Archaeologists were called in to handle the artifact. They dated it and researched what the ship had been used for, finally concluding that it was probably a commercial ship that had worked out of the Caribbean and got wrecked a few times, needing several repairs. It is rather odd to find a ship buried under the World Trade Center area, but apparently this was something that was done on the regular in places like New York City. The city had many areas that were built on trash heaps. Using old ship hulls to serve as foundations for landfills in Manhattan was an old practice dating to 1836. A similar discovery was made in 1982. Builders found an 18th century merchant vessel near the South Street Seaport. It too was used as part of a foundation too. Finding old shipping vessels beneath buildings in places like New York City, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Scientific American Reports on Radio Coming to Homes

In the month of October, on the 1st, in 1920, Scientific American magazine reported that radio would soon be used to broadcast music to every home. For those of us living in 2021, it may seem strange to think of a time when there were not even radios in homes. If people wanted to listen to music at home, they either had to have live music or play it on a phonograph. Shortly after World War I, radio became a practical technology. Early usage was a telegraph, but innovators found a way to harness that for other forms. The National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. began experiments in 1919 and used amateur radio operators to test their system and give them feedback. The magazine article reported after hearing about the success of these experiments, "Music can be performed at any place, radiated into the air through an ordinary radio transmitting set and received at any other place, even though hundreds of miles away...and the music received can be made as loud as desired by suitable operation of the receiving apparatus. Experimental concerts are at present being conducted every Friday evening from 8:30 to 11:00 by the Radio Laboratory of the Bureau of Standards….The possibilities of such centralized radio concerts are great and extremely interesting."

Haunted Guam

Guam is a United States territory located within the Mariana Islands. The island was occupied by humans starting around 4,000 years ago. Guam IS the Chamarro people. This indigenous group has endured hundreds of years of conquest and occupation of their island and yet their culture has survived. A wonderful culture that embraces the spirit world. On this episode, we are going to share the history, legends and hauntings of Guam!

The first people to arrive in Guam probably came from Taiwan thouseands of years ago. In 800 AD, a clan-based society took hold and several villages were formed. These villages would grow rice and build one-story houses set atop two-piece stone columns that were called latte houses. These people would become the Chamorros that were a matriarchal society and they grew to become expert fishermen and farmers. Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in 1521 and this began 300 years of Spanish conquest. He looked at the Chamorros as savages and nicknamed the island "Islands of Thieves" because the Chamarro took things. The island was relatively ignored by the Spanish until Jesuit missionary Father San Vitores arrived and forced conversion to Catholicism. He baptized the chief's daughter against his wishes and the missionary was killed. The Spanish sent the military to subjugate the people. Wars erupted and in the end, only 10% of the Chamorros population remained.

In 1898, the Spanish-American war would come to Guam. The irony is that the Spanish here had no idea that there was a war, so when the USS Charleston arrived and fired its cannons, they thought the ship was saluting them. The Spanish were no match and gave up the island peacefully. The leading families of Guam assumed that they would be able to form a representative government after this, but that was not the case. The Navy ran the island like a battleship. The bombing of Pearl Harbor brought America into World War II. Many people are probably unaware that Guam was bombed by the Japanese as well just a few hours later. The Japanese occupied Guam for three years and killed over 1100 people in that time, some of them tortured. Before the end of the war, America would again have control of Guam and a National Park was established to commemorate the battle. In 1993, Congress finally recognized the suffering of the Chamorro people during this time and a monument was erected.

This kind of history leaves some residual energy that is not positive. Along with this, the Chamorro have a rich spiritual culture and tradition. The main belief is that there are all these TaoTaomona on the island. To put it in our language, these are Guam Zombies! These are spirits of the ancient inhabitants of the island. The Chamorro believe that they live in the jungles and caves and inside banyan trees. Some of the ancient latte ruins are infested with these creatures as well. The Chamorro believe that the TaoTaomona must be shown respect by asking them for permission before entering the jungle. And if you want to take fruit or plants from the jungle, you must also ask permission.

The TaoTaomona can be either nice or malicious. Suruhanos and Suruhanas are shamans and they are used to exorcise spirits that attach themselves to people. Attachments usually reveal themselves through sickness. Pregnant women face the most danger when it comes to these spirits. They seem to dislike pregnant women and they use perfume to mask their scent or even wear their husband's clothing to hide that they are a woman with child. And they usually stay inside at night.

There are strange stone monuments here just like those found in other places like Easter Island or places like Stonehenge. They date back to 600 AD and no one knows who placed these rock pillars all around the island. The stones are called Latte Stones and are so large and heavy, they would be hard to move. This has led to the Chamorro believing that the TaoTaomona have superhuman strength and that they moved the stones. Thus, the Guam Zombie Ghosts are near to these columns and stones. 

There are many haunted locations in Guam. One area that is considered quite haunted is Agana Heights. Before World War II, Agana Heights was primarily farm land for the residents of Hagåtña. The Spanish had also used this as a military lookout and built Fort Santa Agueda here in 1800. They feared attacks from English privateers and other assaults. The fort was named for Governor Manuel Muro's wife, Maria Agueda del Camino. The structure was made from mamposteria, which is a stone rubble. There were spaces made for ten small cannons that faced Hagatna Bay Channel. When the Americans took over control of the island, the fort was used as a signal station for ships. They renamed it Fort Apugan and it became a naval governmental park. During World War II, the Japanese once again armed the fort and Japanese figures can still be seen carved into the concrete. They trained carrier pigeons here too. When the United States recaptured Guam, they used the fort as an internment camp. The site is today maintained by the government as a park that is a popular tour site with a panoramic view of the island’s capital city, bay of Hagåtña, the Philippine Sea, and the sheer northern clifflines of Oka Point and Urunao Point. 

Old Agana Hospital

The United States built the Old Agana Hospital at Agana Heights. The hospital was established the year after the U.S. capture of Guam in the Spanish-American War. Surgeon Philip Leach arrived in 1899 aboard the USS Yosemite and he established a Naval Hospital and Dispensary. Over 1,100 civilian patients were treated that first year and the Navy realized they needed more trained personnel. They graduated the first Western-trained midwives in 1901. Another hospital was built named Shroeder Hospital and it eventually combined with this original hospital in 1910 and this became U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. In 1916, a tuberculosis ward was opened. People claim to hear music on the air when there is no music playing anywhere and ghostly faces have shown up in pictures. 

The Government House

The Government House is also located in Agana Heights on Chalan Palayo. This is the Governor's official residence and incorporates both Spanish and Chamorro culture in the architectural design. Construction started in 1952 and took two years to complete. More was added to the building after Super Typhoon Pamela in 1976. Today, the building occupies 22,000 square feet and houses a mini-museum of Guam's antiquities. And maybe that is why this structure is haunted. In the middle of the night, people in the building claim to hear disembodied wet footsteps as though someone is walking down the hallway. The heavy double doors open on their own and slam shut as well. This whole scene seems to go together and a legend claims this was a fisherman’s path.

Hotel Nikko

The Hotel Nikko is located at 245 Gun Beach Road in Tamuning. The building has a cool wave shape to it and overlooks Tumon Bay with 470 luxury rooms just waiting for guests. But people might think twice about staying here when they hear that it was built over an old Chamorro burial ground. This has led to some disturbed spirits that guests and employees claim to have seen and heard. The main thing reported is ghostly wailing.

For October, they offer a Halloween Platter:


Gun Beach

Gun Beach itself where the hotel is located has an infamous haunt. This spirit is called the Gun Beach Spanish Horseman. A woman named Ha’ani was once on Gun Beach at night with some friends sitting around a campfire and enjoying stories and drinks. They were stunned when they saw a Spanish soldier riding on the back of a black horse. He was holding a torch light and as the horse trotted down the shore, the soldier and horse both disappeared. The torch light continued on, floating in the air like an orb and then it flew up into the sky.

Leo Palace Hotel

Leo Palace Hotel is located at 221 Lakeview Drive in Yona. This is described as Paradise City that awaits you in the hills of Guam. The spirits that haunt this location are two soldiers from World War II. People who have passed the hotel in the wee hours of the morning claim to see nothing outside the hotel, but when they look in their rear view mirror, they see two soldiers wearing their uniforms walking side by side. What is most startling about them is that one has no head, but is holding his helmet. A guy named Guy Lambert was on vacation in Guam and he was visiting the Leo Palace Hotel and in the hallway he saw two soldiers. One had no head and was holding a helmet. The soldiers disappeared into a wall. Clearly, these two can be seen both outside and inside the hotel.

Talofofo Falls

The Talofofo Falls are a scenic series of cascades on the Ugum River. This is a resort park that features rides on a cable car that affords stunning aerial views of the 30-foot waterfall, an observation tower, a Guam Historical Museum, Shoichi Yokoi’s Cave and Ghost House. There is also an erotic statue park called “Loveland.” There is a legend connected to the falls that claims three boys came to the falls to play in the 1930s and while they were near the top of the falls, something in the jungle spooked them and they tumbled down the falls. All three died. People claim to see the outline of three boys in the mist of the falls and when the mist dissipates, the ghostly images are gone.

Old Spanish Bridge

The Old Spanish Bridge in Agat has one of the most well known legends in Guam connected to it and, of course, that legend entails a Lady in White. The bridge was built in the late 1700s when the Spanish occupied Guam. The daughter of a Spanish official fell in love with an indigineous man and wanted to marry him. They would have secret rendezvous at the bridge in the evenings. Her father heard about the engagement and forbid such a union. There was no way his daughter would be marrying a lowly savage native. The official had the man murdered the day before the wedding. The distraught young woman drowned herself in the water beneath the bridge. Now her ghostly form is seen wandering around the bridge and her ghostly wailing is often heard. 

Naval Station Guam

The Naval Station in Guam is located in Sumay/Agat. The naval base was built in 1944 after American forces had liberated Guam from Japan. The Navy's "Lion Six" was used to construct the base. A "Standard Lion" was a group of components put together on the US mainland and then shipped to a location. This would be nicknamed The Pacific Supermarket and was the largest single element of WWII Fleet support in the Pacific. This was the largest base on the island and housed 50,000 personnel. There had once been a Sumay village here, but the Americans destroyed it when they first invaded. Eventually the Navy would resettle the Sumay in Santa Rita Village in Agat. The base would see action in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well. The base is still maintained today with over 6,000 active duty Navy members in residence.

This is probably the most haunted location on the island. Employees that work in the store on base claim to hear disembodied footsteps and to hear children's laughter and voices. The warehouse connected to the store has a basement where beverages and snacks are stored and there is also a restroom. One day, a female employee was in a stall in the restroom when she heard someone come into the restroom, walk to a stall and then open and close the door. She assumed it was her co-worker friend and so called out, "Hello!" There was no response. She called out again and still no response. She finished and approached the stall. It was closed and looked occupied. She called out for a third time, but still no answer! We're not sure if she could look under the stall, but she didn't and just went out to work in the cool storage room. She watched the restroom door and no one ever came out of the restroom. A male co-worker had been in the storage area when she went into the bathroom, so she asked if he saw anybody go into the bathroom and he said nobody had been around, but himself. She asked him to check the restroom with her and they found no one inside. A morgue had once been here, so could this have been a spirit from that time?

wrh1969 wrote, "I was stationed in Guam from July 2007 to July 2010 by the U.S. Air Force. Guam has a very strong affiliation with the paranormal and I will share a couple of experiences I had while living there. One summer night, it was very windy and I was walking my dog, Spot (whom we rescued from a dog Shelter on Guam) around the base housing neighborhood. For some reason we headed straight toward a taotaomona tree at the edge of a neighbor's yard. I had heard many stories about bad reactions/experiences with this type of spirit tree. Some people would say that if you stepped on the roots of this tree you had to say sorry or you could get really sick, a bad scratch or bad luck from not giving this tree proper respect. As Spot and I went towards the tree, I immediately felt cold air all around me and a shock, as Spot was urinating on the tree. Spot immediately started dragging me back to our house! His tail was between his legs and his hair was standing up! I was surprised by his reaction but I noticed a wind swirl of leaves was heading toward us and Spot really took off and whimpered at me to get a move on and out of there.Spot only weighs 15 pounds and he was dragging me easily at 5'9,185 pounds! We got back to our house and Spot had calmed down quite a bit. I went to bed that night and before I went to sleep I felt a weight on my chest and for 15-20 seconds I couldn't breathe. I tried to sit up and after I moved a little bit the weight on my chest stopped and I found I could breathe again! I was spooked and very afraid and I immediately looked around my house  and something didn't feel quite right, I felt like I was being watched. I decided to pray before I went back into my bedroom and I held my wife's hand and I felt safe. See, my wife at that time, didn't believe in ghost/hauntings, even though she loves scary movies! Go figure Huh? But after living on Guam for 3 years she relented her beliefs and at least could say, something scary happened but we don't know why/what."

Pvchamorrita wrote, "My mom had just passed away in 2014 and I just found out that I was pregnant. The manam'ko (old people) would say that if you're pregnant you're not supposed to go out late at night. There is this long strip of road in Guam between the village of Ipan, Talofofo and Yona that is said to be haunted. All my life we've driven past this road and nothing has ever happened. The night I came in my sister, her boyfriend and I decided to go to Kmart to buy some stuff and by the the time we got out of kmart it was 2:30 am and we lived all the way in Inarajan. We stopped at the traffic light on that road. We were the only car there and I see a shadow walk across the street and then vanishes in thin air. I asked everyone else in the car if they saw what I saw and they said they don't see what I'm seeing. So as we drive further I see silhouettes of soldiers marching and prisoners dragging themselves across the street. My dad had told me that that road was the road our people took on the way to their death when Guam was occupied by the Japanese. I never went after sunset after that. There was another incident on the same road where my sister and I smelled embalming fluid in the car. I think someone was following us because it went away after 10 minutes. My dad has seen a soldier standing on the side of the road during the hours of 12 - 3 am. Don't ever go alone when driving that road I've also heard of a man who asks for a ride then when you pass the gas station he disappears from the front seat."

Taytay01 wrote, "This was when I was about 9 years old. My family had a gathering at my Nino's house at night and my auntie was in the back cutting coconuts from the coconut tree. I was watching her from the front yard waiting to scare her and I heard someone talking. It was a deep voice. I looked back and saw a shadow walk by slowly underneath the streetlight. Then I remembered my mom saying that at night there would be ancient Chamorro spirits walking around all over Guam at 6:00 pm called the Taotaomona. I didn't believe her at first, but when I saw the shadow I had chills. So I went back to the gathering and saw something again. It was another spirit but a different figure. Maybe a little bigger than the one I saw under the streetlight. It stood there at the side of the house staring at me. I could see that no one else could see it but me. So I went inside the house and told my cousin. He didn't believe me. So when I got home I told my mom and she told me they don't like it when people are loud during their time. Now I know that I have to sleep early because she said that the Taotaomona pinches loud people or makes them sick if they find them disturbing. Sometimes people die. I guess I was bothering them. I also remember the time when I was 10. I was riding my bike down a big hill in front of my house. It was about 7:42 or 7:43 pm. I was riding it by myself. Suddenly, I saw a dark figure under the streetlight again. I think it was one of the ancient chiefs from over 500 years ago. I peddled a little faster so I could stop by the store up ahead. It kept on moving faster towards me. So I decided to go and ride to it to see if it was my cousin who was at my house. But as I went closer to the figure, I saw that there was nobody around to make the shadow. I started breathing hard because I wasn't this frightened in my life since when I was 9. So I peddled back up to my house and I didn't stop no matter how tired I was. Since then, I never rode my bike after 6:00 pm ever again."

gyoza1216 wrote, "I was stationed in Guam on the Naval base from 2004-2006. I've had a few paranormal experiences before but nothing prepared me for what would happen my last night on the island. I lived in Barracks 9 on the top floor, just down the hall from the kitchen. I can't remember my main room number but once inside, it was room A. I had a roommate at the time but she was always spending the night at her boyfriend's place. I was a police officer and I got to work with a few of the locals. They mainly worked at our entrance gates and they were masters at telling us their local ghost stories. Every place has a woman in white and this place was no exception although this story isn't about her. The locals call the island spirits the Tatamonas. According to the islanders, if they like you, they'll sometimes pinch you or play jokes on you. If they don't like you, they make you sick with headaches. I worked with a guy who suffered terrible headaches that medical couldn't diagnose. It got so bad they accidentally killed him with a morphine overdose. Don't believe me, just look at the memorial in the lounge of the MA's headquarters. His name was MA3 Brent. He had died a few months after I had gotten there and I didn't know him that well. I did, however, take the spirits of the island quite seriously. I've always been as respectful as possible and I think that's the reason I was never hurt. Ok, so here's what happened. I had always sensed that there was something in my barracks room with me. I wouldn't look at myself in the mirror when I brushed my teeth because I could feel it behind me and I was afraid I would see it in the mirror. I had a friend who claimed to see spirits and she told me she could see a shadow-like figure walking around my room through the window outside. I never told anyone that I thought there was something living with me. It didn't freak me out, because I already knew it was there. So I had my orders for my next duty station and all my stuff had already been packed up and shipped out. I only had the sheets I was issued and a suitcase I had to live out of for the next month. I was sleeping and I remember waking up in the middle of the night. I was still in a half dream-like state where I wasn't fully awake or fully asleep. I had woken up because I was talking. I was saying, "No, I can't" as if I was refusing an invitation. I was being polite and I could see a vague shadow by my door. Right before I realized that I was talking to something in my room, I was held down in my bed. I was on my back and my sheets were pulled up to my collar bones. It felt like someone big had placed their hands on either side of my shoulders and pressed down on the sheet. It scared me so bad I woke up all the way and the pressure went away too. After I had a moment to process what had happened, I came up with a theory: Whatever was in my room knew I was leaving the next day. I think it was making a last effort to convince me to stay because it liked me there. I had to refuse the offer because I had my orders and in a very last attempt, it wanted to force me to stay. I don't think it wanted to hurt me. I just think it was tired of having to deal with so many young single sailors who only wanted to be loud and get drunk. I was a quiet and calm guest in its house."

Guam is a beautiful, tropical island location. The culture of the indigineous people leads many to believe that spirits roam the island. Are these locations in Guam haunted? That is for you to decide.