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.

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