Thursday, September 29, 2022

HGB Ep. 454 - Haunted Green Bay

Moment in Oddity -  Cremains on the Moon (Suggested by: John Michaels)

Many of us enjoy getting away from city lights and gazing up at the night sky, hoping for a glimpse of a shooting star or a UFO. Eugene Merle Shoemaker was an American Geologist who studied the night sky in search of new comets such as the Shoemaker-Levy 9. He co-discovered this comet with his wife Carolyn and comet chaser friend, David H Levy while at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California. In July of 1994, they watched through telescopes as several major fragments of the comet pummeled Jupiter which provided quite a show for spectators as it was televised around the world. Along with his career with the USGS he also had associations with NASA and Caltech. In July of 1997, Shoemaker was studying an impact crater site in Australia when he was killed in an automobile accident. After his death and subsequent cremation, a portion of his ashes were carried to the moon with the Lunar Prospector mission. Today, there are various price options for those who wish to have the same type of burial. Whether or not his gravesite is haunted is unknown, but the thought of having a loved ones cremains launched into space, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Walter Reed Born

In the month of September, on the 13th in 1851, Walter Reed was born in Glouchester County Virginia. The youngest of five children, Walter attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a medical degree at the age of 17 which gave him the distinction of remaining the youngest student to graduate from the medical university to date. He went on to earn a second degree the next year from Bellevue Hospital Medical College. In February of 1875, Reed took a 30 hour exam to gain entry into the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army. One of the exams questions related to the spread of yellow fever and the answer that Walter gave detailed the spreading of germs by clinging to clothing and the like. He passed his exam and accepted a commission in July of 1877. After practicing medicine in rural areas for 15 years, Walter decided to go in a different direction which would eventually take him to Havana where he hoped to address the growing yellow fever epidemic. He arrived in June of 1900 and after conducting many experiments on human subjects to find the cause of yellow fever, he was thrilled to discover that the disease was transferred by mosquitos. From a very young age, Walter had desired to make a significant difference in the suffering of human kind and he was celebrated with this discovery. He received honorary degrees from the University of Michigan as well as Harvard. Reed was also to be appointed to the Assistant Surgeon General with ranking of colonel. Tragically, in November of 1902, Walter took ill and was admitted to the Army Hospital on November 23 due to peritonitis after his appendix ruptured. Walter Reed was later buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His marker reads, "He gave to man control of that dreadful scourge yellow fever.". In 1909 a new Army hospital would bare his name and would later become the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Green Bay (Suggested by: Shane)

When people hear the name Green Bay, they probably imagine people in football jerseys with large triangles of fake cheese atop their heads. The city is so much more than just a hub for football even though it is nicknamed "Titletown." This is a city influenced by many cultures from the early Native Americans that were here first to the French to the British to the Dutch to the Irish and to the Belgians. Their burial places and businesses and homes all seem to be touched by an essence of the supernatural. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

What makes a city like Green Bay, Wisconsin so attractive to spirits? Is it being located on a major waterway like the Fox River? Green Bay sits at the mouth of that tributary. Could it be the early settlement of Native Americans who came here because of the fertile land? Indigenous tribes had been here for centuries. The Ho-Chunk and the Menominee and their ancestors all lived in this region, hunting and fishing and growing rice, corn, beans and tobacco. The Ho-Chunk were also called the Winnebago and they gave women more rights than the settlers that would push them out. The tribe wouldn't take action on something unless at least half of the women agreed. 

Was it the influence of the different explorers and immigrants that would call Green Bay home? The French called this area "La Baye" and they first arrived in 1634. The first settlers wouldn't arrive until 1745 and this was the Charles de Langlade family. Charles was a war chief and is considered the "Founder and Father of Wisconsin" and he was of mixed race, son of a French-Canadian father and an Ottawa woman. In 1754, Green Bay was incorporated. The British took over the settlement from the French in 1763 and then after the American Revolution, the area went to the Americans. The British were the first to call this Green Bay because of the green tint that would cover the shore in the early spring. The Americans built Fort Howard in 1816 and people started streaming here. 

The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, launched Green Bay into more trade and by the 1870s, the railroad was the primary transportation and opened up Green Bay to visionary industrialists for lumber milling, iron smelting and production of paper products. Green Bay is most famous for being the home of the Green Bay Packers, but for us, its the large number of spirits hanging around that gets our interest. We'll never really know what makes a town infused with hauntings, but for Green Bay we think the main source of hauntings might be thanks to John Jacob Astor IV who decided to plat out the city’s current downtown on top of a burial ground. Tim Freiss, who owned Green Bay Ghost Tours, claims that most of the downtown area was a cemetery at one time.

Lorelei Inn

The Lorelei Inn started as a smaller building that was a bar called Bob's Allouez Tavern in 1930. In 1952, it was bought by a German man named Tom Eschelweck and he changed the name to the Lorelei Inn, inspired by the legend of a beautiful woman who threw herself into the river Rhine after her lover left her for another and she was changed into a siren. She then went on to lure sailors to their deaths. Tom was able to expand the bar into a much bigger restaurant when the gravestone business next door, moved across the street. The restaurant offered German food and beer, of course. In 1970, Tom's son Dave took over the restaurant and ran it until 1980 when he sold it to the Kubiak family. They ran it until 1983 and then Len and Marilyn Hack bought the restaurant in August of that year. Their son Dave now owns the place and he has basically had this place in his life from the time he was teenager. His sister Lynne and niece Meagan are co-owners. They still use Tom's recipe for their German dishes. And their beer list has been expanded to include craft beers and this was one of the original places to serve imported beers.

Nothing bad seems to have happened at this location, but people claim it is haunted. Objects move on their own, pots come off their hooks inexplicably, TVs turn on and off by themselves and disembodied footsteps are heard upstairs. One of the spirits thought to be haunting the place is believed to belong to former owner Leonard Hack. He loved the bar here and likes to hang out there where his cigarette smoke is detected and have felt his presence. He also visits the basement where his office had been. Lynne told Action 2 News, "No one has quit but I've had them run up the stairs, freaked. All of a sudden the cigarette smoke comes out of nowhere and up the stairs they are." She claims that things happen here weekly. One time there was a sound like wind coming through the restaurant and bunch of items were tossed on the floor. A skeptical cook changed his mind when he watched a pot pick itself up off a hook and it fell straight down. Not only is Dave and Lynne's father in his former restaurant, but their mother's spirit is here too, mostly hanging out in the kitchen where she cooked and cleaned to keep everything spotless. A table in the corner of the restaurant has the most activity. Many people asked to be moved from this haunted corner.

Captain’s Walk Winery

The home that houses Captain's Walk Winery is gorgeous, built in the Italianate architectural style with a wonderful square cupola at the top. This was a house built in 1857 by Elisha Morrow for his wife and six daughters. Elisha helped to organize the Republican Party of Wisconsin and as a delegate, he voted for Abraham Lincoln to be the Republican candidate for president in 1860. When Elisha and his wife passed away, their daughter Helen Morrow inherited the house. Eventually, she had to sell the house because she couldn't afford to maintain it and it was purchased by the Green Bay Women’s Club in 1920. The house went through four more owners, including a law office, before Brad and Aric Schmiling purchased it and turned it into Captain’s Walk Winery in 2006. 

Every one agrees that the ghost here belongs to Helen Morrow. She loved the home and wants to make sure it is kept well. The first claims of paranormal activity date back to 1970 and the owners at that time was running a gift shop. They claimed that they saw the full-bodied apparition of a woman standing at the top of the stairs. The figure seemed to be angry and they wondered if it was because they had remodeled the house. Helen has been blamed for moving and throwing wine glasses and books and she turns on sink faucets. The freight elevator also tends to run on its own. The interesting thing about this spirit is that she may reveal herself at different ages. The reason we say that is because Brad and Aric claimed to hear a little girl bouncing a ball and playing one evening when they stayed overnight. They followed the giggling up on the second floor, but found no one. Donna McVey works in the winery and she was interviewed by WFRV Local 5 in 2020 and she said during the pandemic shutdown they were doing some remodeling. She had been using her sander on a table, but shut it down to go eat lunch. After a bit, she heard a noise and went to investigate. She found the sander on and making its way down the table. She said that it was a very Helen kind of thing.

Magiccode12 wrote on TripAdvisor, "While waiting for the tour to begin, everyone taking the tour was standing in the foyer. Where my mom and I were standing we could see one of the bathrooms. The bathroom light was on and as we were standing there the light went off. One of the women standing next to us said that she had just used the bathroom and the light was a switch and not a motion sensor light."

St. Brendan’s Inn

St. Brendan's Inn is located at 234 Washington Street. This is located in the Johnson Bank Building, which also houses a bank and other commercial businesses. Before this building was built, Augustine de Langlade’s trading post and home was here in 1745 and later, the Green Bay Transit Garage sat here and was used as a car barn for the Green Bay trolley system in the 1920s. Buses became the main public transportation system in the 1930s and so this was converted to a bus garage. And that's how it remained until 2001. After the buses were moved out, the city realized that the site was heavily contaminated. This contamination came from two 10,000 gallon leaking underground storage bins and bled into the soil and ground water. It was decided that the structure needed to be razed in order to access the extent of the contamination. St. Brendan's Inn opened and not only has an Irish restaurant and authentic Irish pub, but also 28 guest rooms. There had been a thought that this location might be on an Indian burial ground, but the historical society assured builders that wasn't the case. But something is haunting this place. Guests complain that their beds shake and that the lights turn on and off by themselves. Disembodied voices are heard and some guests claim to have seen shadow figures. Employees claim that the laundry room is the most haunted spot in the place.

Astor House Bed and Breakfast

Listeners probably already can guess what inspires the name of this bed and breakfast. It was indeed related to the Astor family. The land here had been owned by John Jacob Astor, who went down with the Titanic. The Astor House is located at 637 S. Monroe Avenue and was built in 1888 by local attorney, F. Adolph Watermolen. This was a “Stick-Style” Victorian house. This was a transitional style between movement from the Gothic to the Queen Anne. The most obvious stylist flourish can be found around the windows. They have a lot of ornamentation. San Francisco is full of these styled homes. The exteriors feature eave brackets and trusses with pyramidal roofs and squarish window bays and towers. Dr. Julius J. Bellin moved into the house near the turn-of-the-century and he did a major remodel. Bellin was a prominent physician and surgeon in Green Bay  and he founded Bellin Hospital and Bellin School of Nursing. In 1994, the house was opened as the Astor House Bed & Breakfast and it continues to be that today. There are five rooms with private baths. Guests can enjoy their breakfast in the parlor, which is also the place where the ghost here likes to hang out. Most people believe the spirit belongs to Dr. Bellin. His apparition is usually seen in the early morning hours.

Titletown Brewing Company

Titletown Brewing Company is located at 320 N. Broadway. Before the brewery called this building home, it was the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Passenger Depot. The building was built in 1899. Many famous people came through here like Nat King Cole, Buddy Holly, President Taft, President Franklin Roosevelt and President Eisenhower. The railway stopped service at the depot in 1994 and then the building sat vacant for 2 years. A group of investors bought the building in 1996 and remodeled it into the Brew Pub. In 2013, the company decided to expand into neighboring warehouse buildings and opened a full service brewery with a Tap Room. The restaurant remained in the depot until the Pandemic. The depot is now leased by The Depot Gastropub and they have TBC beers on draft. Titletown Brewery, Tap Room and Roof Tap are still open in the neighboring Larsen Canning Building. There is a glorious smokestack atop the building with Titletown in letters running down the stack. The ghost here goes back to the depot times. People who have seen the apparition describe him as an elderly railway conductor. There have also been sightings of residual male and female ghosts who probably traveled through the depot at some point. The sound of a train whistle is sometimes heard.

Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley

The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley is located at 2929 Allied Street and is an independently owned bowling center. They offer Cosmic Bowling, so we are totally in! This location used to be a high-end restaurant called The Salt Cellar. There were three themed rooms. The Mahogany Room had decor from a brothel, the Oak Room had a fireplace from a 1900s steam ship and the main dining room had a 125 year old bar. A man named Willard died of a heart attack on lane 17 and people believe that he haunts that lane. He plays with the ball return and scoring computer. People feel as if someone is hovering over them on that lane. This is the only lane that has these issues with the lane turning on by itself and with the computer. The haunting carries over to the lights that turn on and off  by themselves, objects move on their own and disembodied voices are heard. 

Local 5 interviewed Brandon Kohel in 2021 who was a long-time bartender. He told them that one night he was cleaning up after the bowling alley had closed and he felt like someone walked behind him and touched his back. He said, "It felt like as if another bartender passed behind me like they would as they would put their hand on your back so you don’t back into them. The hair on my arms stood straight up, was a pretty weird feeling." There was only one other person in the place and this was a manger who was in an office. Another evening, a manager asked Brandon if he had turned the lights off on her. He had not. She also asked if he had just been upstairs walking around and he also hadn't done that. They checked the upstairs and no one else was in the building.

Kewaunee County Historical Society Museum

There are 19 rooms of artifacts in the  Kewaunee County Jail Museum that is run by the Kewaunee County Historical Society. So yes, this is a former old jail, so you know we love this one. And it is ingenious how they have themed out each of the rooms. This isn't just an old jail for people to walk through. It presents tons of artifacts from all different aspects of the county's history. But it retains the essence of the jail also. Before this current jail was here, there was the first Kewaunee County Jail that opened in 1862. An inmate named Joseph Bushey set the jail on fire and it burned to the ground. Bushey died in the fire and is buried on the grounds. Sad when one hears that the reason he was in jail was because he stole some clothes off a clothesline. The new jail opened in 1877 and remained open until 1969. The jail was built by John Janda of Kewaunee. Since this was an old county jail, as you all know by now, the Sheriff and his family lived on site. There was no running water and no electricity. Wood stoves were in each room to provide heat. The wife cooked the meals for the prisoners.

Thirty-nine sheriffs served over the nine decades that the jail was open. There were several jail breaks. A brass key was made from a water faucet, but was found in a porthole before it could be used. A twenty-year old man serving 90 days for theft, used a toothpick to open the main door of the bull pen. After he got out, he stole Green Bay Packer player Max McGee’s car and was promptly arrested again. Another prisoner was in taking a bath and took a leg off the tub and he struck the jailer on the head with the leg and escaped. He also stole a car, but when he got picked up for that, he had made it down into Iowa.
When the jail closed in 1969, the county wanted to tear it down, but was saved by a vote. It was decided to turn it into a museum that opened in 1970.

Tim Freiss investigated here and he used a small flashlight to try communicating with the spirits. He thinks he communicated with the spirit of a five year old boy. He also got a strange feeling that made him weak and caused a sharp pain in his head. He told a historian at the museum about his experience and was told that the skull and bones of a 5 year old Native American boy had been dug up and moved around by construction workers who were excavating the dirt from the museum's basement. The bones were eventually reburied on the grounds. There is believed to have been a Native American burial ground here before either jail was built.

The Green Bay Theater

The building at 217 E. Walnut Street used to be The Green Bay Theater and was built in 1900. This was one of the last 19th century modern style theaters in the nation. Later, the building became Vic Theater and Orpheum Theater. The exterior of the building was changed in the 1930s to an Art Deco style. By the 1990s, the building hosted two different night clubs, Envy's and Confetti's. Confetti's had the largest dance floor in the city. Today, the building seems to be vacant, at least in regards to the living. There are spirits here just like every other former theater. When this was still the Green Bay Theater, legend claims a double murder and suicide took place here. A beautiful local actress was playing the lead in a play entitled "Because She Loved Him So." During rehearsals, she fell in love with her co-star. There were a couple of major problems though. She was married and so was he. That didn't stop the duo from getting together and on one occasion, they were doing their thing in the theater's balcony. The actress' husband discovered the two and pulled a pistol from his jacket. He shot his wife and then as her lover tried to jump off the balcony, the husband shot him in the back. The husband made his way down the balcony steps and apparently grieved by what he had just done, he took his own life. People claim that the spirits of all three people are still here in the theater. A shadow figure jumps from the balcony and another shadow figure fades away on the balcony staircase. The disembodied voice of a female is heard.

Greater Green Bay Y.M.C.A

The Greater Green Bay YMCA is located at 601 Cardinal Lane. The first Y building was built in 1870, so the group has a long history here. Reverend Daniel C. Curtiss helped develop this first YMCA. This earlier group disbanded in 1879, but returned again in 1887. On their website they write, "With the tremendous growth in lumbering, came an influx of men to work in the forests, harvesting this great treasure. Green Bay would soon feel the impact of these men on community life and that would cause some concern for those citizens interested in the young people exposed to these rough men as they came into the city for a ‘night on the town’. By 1874, Green Bay was a rowdy, wide open, fun city for sawyers, lake sailors and itinerant lumberjacks." The YMCA was hoping to bring some order we imagine. A new building was built in 1891 and featured "lifting machines, vaulting horses, ropes for climbing, dumbbells, horizontal bars, wands, rope ladders, quarter circle and mats. Two bath tubs with clean hot and cold water. Correspondence table in the reading room. Stationary provided. Reading rooms furnished with comfortable chairs." That building burned down in 1908. The current YMCA was completed in 1925 and features a Tudor-Gothic style. An extensive renovation was done in 2017. 

There is a crime connected to the building that has led to the haunting here. In 1987, a man named Erik Lee Vogliotti was living on the fifth floor as a part of the resident program offered back then. They paid rent according to their income and was a way to help men get back on their feet. Erik didn't have a job and a month had passed. The rule was that residents had to get a job within two weeks of coming to the YMCA. Erik also wasn't well liked because he kept to himself. Two other residents went out drinking, Charles Conrad age 25 and his friend Thomas Mason age 22, and when they got back they found Erik sitting in the TV room. Mason started cursing out Erik who got up and left. The next day, Mason felt bad and tried to find Erik to apologize, but was unable to locate him. Mason and Conrad went out drinking again that night. When they got back, Erik ambushed them with a gun. Conrad was shot in the heart and he died instantly. Mason was shot in the stomach. He died at the hospital two hours later. Erik is now serving a life sentence. People claim to see the spirit of Conrad at the YMCA. His apparition is seen in the hallways and in the 5th floor TV room. 

The Bellin Building

The Bellin Building was built in 1915 for Dr. Julius Bellin to use for medical offices. Physicians, dentists and other medical practices all rented space here. The building is an early example of Chicago-style architecture with a terracotta facade and ornate bevel features and was the first small skyscraper north of Milwaukee at the time. It stands 9 stories. The Bellin family held onto it until 1972 and then it was bought by Robert C. Safford who owned it until 2006. An investment group now owns the building with over 28 businesses renting space.

As mentioned earlier, Dr. Julius Bellin was one of the most prominent surgeons in Wisconsin and he contributed a lot to the medical field of the area. He was born in Kewaunee County in 1870 and moved to Green Bay in 1904. Dr. Bellin started his first hospital in 1907, and also founded the Wisconsin Deaconess Hospital. That was renamed Bellin Memorial Hospital in his honor in 1920. He contributed $50,000 of his own wealth to the building of a children's hospital in Green Bay. He helped out with other charities and was very active in the community and it came as a great shock to the community when he fell gravely ill. Doctors couldn't figure out what the problem was and Dr. Bellin passed away. He was only 58. 

Legend claims that the ghost who haunts this building belongs to the man for whom it was named. He's not just hanging out at the Astor House. Dr. Bellin haunts the Bellin Building too. Tim Freiss says of the good doctor, "Dr. Bellin was a pleasant man in life, he still is in death. Dr. Bellin does like to play games in the elevator. He likes to keep you stranded some times, or brings you up when you're supposed to go down or down when you're supposed to go up." The building has a unique manual elevator. It's one of four left in the US. Business owners have claimed to see the apparition of a man in his 50s, wearing a black suit and tie. He is always smiling when spotted.

Grace Manor

Marcus says of his apartment in Green Bay, "I live on Monroe Ave and our apartment is haunted. I’ve only seen the figure of a woman dressed in 1920s fashion. (Which is also the same time our building was built.) Every night around 12:30 you can hear her walking in our kitchen. Then the water will run for second. Then she walks back toward our bedroom. My brother is law says he has heard a woman say hello to him and no one will be at the apartments. Very strange stuff. But she keeps to herself for the most part so I don’t mind her." And from the same location Paula wrote, "My daughter just moved into Grace Manor on Monroe Street a couple months ago. At night she hears odd things and when she checks her kitchen, cupboard doors are open and pictures have fallen, Also the microwave door will open and shut by itself. Now she leaves her television on at night, It’s the only thing she can do to get some sleep. We are thinking about calling for some help to rid her apartment of this ghost."

Green Bay has a lot more to its history than just football and much more than team spirit. There seems to be many spirits in this Wisconsin city. Are these places in Green Bay haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

HGB Ep. 453 - The Life and Afterlife of Hank Williams

Moment in Oddity - Frozen Ice Age Bison For Dinner?

Any time there is a discovery of an ancient preserved creature it usually garners quite a bit of interest. That was the case when a gold mining family discovered a frozen Steppe Bison in Fairbanks Alaska. The bison had been preserved in the permafrost some 50,000 years. Its carcass was covered with a blue chalky substance when it was discovered. The substance was a mineral called vivianite which turned a vibrate blue when the bisons body surface contacted the air. Paleontologist Dale Guthrie named the Steppe Bison "Blue Babe" after Paul Bunyan's blue ox named Babe. As the animal was being worked on to the preserve the hide for display purposes, Guthrie discovered that the well preserved neck meat smelled like fresh beef. Dale was a hunter and familiar with preparing and eating frozen meats. He was not fazed by the thought of eating meat that was thousands of years old so on April 6th 1984, he prepared a meal for a few select guests. Twelve people dined on Ice Age Steppe Bison stew and wine that evening. The meal was described as delicious and none of the guests were said to have suffered any ill effects. Enjoying a stew made from unusual meats may not seem strange to those with an exotic palet, but eating a stew made from meat that is 50,000 years old certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Saffron Revolution

In the month of September, on the 29th, in 2007, the Saffron Revolution came to a culmination. The Revolution was brought about by the government when they removed all fuel subsidies without any announcement and allowed the price of oil and gas to skyrocket. As we see today, the rise in cost of these fuels also drives up the prices of all commodities. Initially after this price hike, protestors began hitting the streets. However, the campaign garnered new attention when on August 28th, Buddhist monks joined the protest in the city of Sittwe (sit-way). The monks turned their alms bowls upside down, refusing to accept alms from generals. Meaning, symbolically, they were refusing to give Buddha's blessings to the generals. The Saffron Revolution was named so due to the color of the Buddhist monks' robes. That participation of the monks, in such a religiously devout nation, had great impact. Citizens who had not been brave enough to protest previously joined the monks in the tens of thousands in protests across the nation. These protests were met with violent military crackdowns resulting in deaths, hundreds of injuries and arrests. Although the Buddhist monks demands were not met at that time, the Saffron Revolution was an important movement towards a democratic government. This was achieved in 2015 with Aung San Suu Kyi’s (Ong San Sue Chee's) National League for Democracy winning general elections, becoming Myanmar’s first non-military government in 54 years. 

The Life and Afterlife of Hank Williams

Hank Williams was an American musician, songwriter and singer whose influence has touched some of the greatest singers of our time, from Elvis to Johnny Cash to The Rolling Stones. There was so much promise and talent in this young man, but it was cut short by his struggle with addictions. Perhaps it is that tragic truth that has left his spirit at unrest. Join us as we look at the life, legacy and spirit of Hank Williams.

In 2010, the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded Hank Williams a posthumous special citation describing him as "a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life." There are many things about this man that we imagine most people don't know. He came from simple beginnings, in a family that knew tragedy all too well. Hank was born Hiram Williams on September 17, 1923. The accounts written on the life of Williams claim that he was named for Hiram, the King of Tyre, which was a city that was located in today's Lebanon. The Bible reveals a narrative in which this king sent building materials and men to help construct the first Hebrew temple in Jerusalem. This may be true, but the name Hiram might also be a tribute to Hiram Abiff. This is a character out of Freemasonry that is credited with being appointed by Solomon as chief architect of that temple. There are several rituals conducted by Freemasons in honor of Hiram Abiff. We're not sure if the King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff were actually the same person and have been combined into one person over the course of history, but their narratives are different leading us to think that they were different people and the King of Tyre may be the only one who was actually a real person. Irregardless, Hank's parents were Freemasons.

Jessie Lillybelle "Lillie" and Elonzo Huble "Lon" Williams were living in Mount Olive, Alabama when Hank was born. The couple had already had one son who was born in 1921 that died two days after birth and a daughter named Irene who was born in August of 1922. So they had their children back-to-back. Before the children were born, Lon worked as a railroad engineer for a lumber company and he served during World War I. During that service, he fell from a truck sustaining severe injuries to his head and collarbone. During this early part of Hank's childhood, his parents were strawberry farmers. Over time, Lon's face would become paralyzed leading Lilly to have him hospitalized for seven years in the 1930s and Hank will only see his father once during that time. These would have been his pre-teen and teen years.

On top of the pain Hank must have carried from not having his father around, he was born with spina bifida occulta, which would cause him lifelong back pain. Lillie was left to raise her children alone during the Great Depression. The family moved to Georgiana, Alabama in 1931 and the house they rented there burned down and the family lost everything. Lillie was given a second house to live in rent free by a local man and this is today the Hank Williams Boyhood Home and Museum. That house was built in 1850 and is a two-story white wood frame house with a wraparound porch and it sits on stilts. There was a wood burning stove and running water, but the family had to use an outhouse for a bathroom. Hank and his sister would help out financially by selling produce from their garden and peanuts and Hank also shined shoes. No one knows for sure who gave Hank his first guitar, but it was while living at this house when Hank was eight. Many accounts claim it was his mother and we'd like to believe that was true. 

After receiving the guitar, Hank met a local black street musician named Rufus "Tee Tot" Payne, who led a band and Hank paid him for guitar lessons, in which he learned chords, chord progressions and bass turns. He then started playing on the street for tips to help support the family. Singing was natural for Hank. Even before he could talk well, at the age of three, his mother said, "He used to stand on the organ stool at Mt. Olive Baptist Church and try to sing while I played for the little congregation there." Payne was a huge influence on Hank and gave him his affinity for the blues. It was also in Georgiana where Hank would start drinking alcohol at the age of ten. This too may have been influenced by Payne who was never without his homemade mixture of alcohol and tea. The nickname Tee Tot referred to teetotaler, which Payne clearly was not. More than likely, this was tongue-in-cheek since his alcohol drink of choice was spiked tea.

In 1937, Lillie moves the family to Montgomery, Alabama and starting running a boarding house. Hank started entering talent shows in the bigger city. He won $15 for his first one with a song he wrote himself. Shortly thereafter, he made the sidewalk in front of WSFA Radio his stage and he caught the eye of producers who invited him on air occasionally. In 1940, he formed the group Drifting Cowboys. They performed in clubs and social gatherings. Hanks alcoholism picked up and he blew a lot of the earnings on alcohol. World War II started and the band broke up because everyone was drafted except Hank who was medically disqualified. Williams was fired from the WSFA radio station because he always showed up drunk. He moved to Oregon to work in the Kaiser shipyard. Eventually, he came back to Alabama to work at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company in Mobile.  

Medicine shows were a thing in 1940s Alabama and Hank started performing in them. It was at one of these shows in 1943 that he met Audrey Mae Sheppard who was a married 21-year-old mother of a daughter. Sheppard told Williams that she wanted to move to Montgomery with him and they could start a band. He had her come and in December of 1944 they got married at a filling station near Andalusia, Alabama. There's was just one problem though. Alabama required a 60-day reconciliation period after a divorce and Audrey was still in that window, so the marriage was declared illegal. It eventually worked out and the couple would have a son on May 26, 1949 named Randall Hank Williams or Hank Williams Jr. Sheppard worked as Hank's manager and also sang duets with him. He began writing songs voraciously during this time and went back to having a show on WSFA Radio.

In 1946, Williams tried to get on the Grand Ole Opry and was rejected if you can imagine. Sheppard suggested they go a different route and find a music publishing company. They found success with Acuff-Rose Music and Hank was signed to a six-song contract. This led to Williams recording his first session with Sterling Records. In 1947, he hopped over to MGM Records and gets his first hit, "Move It On Over." This was a massive country hit, but also is considered an early rock and roll song. All through this, Hank continued to drink and ended up being committed to a sanitarium to get him sober. The band was tired of the drunkenness and left Williams. They weren't the only ones done. Audrey was done too and asked for a divorce. They wouldn't go through with it, but it was a sure sign of the turbulence in the relationship. Fame would come after the couple moved to Shreveport, Louisiana and Williams joined the Louisiana Hayride. In 1949, "Lovesick Blues" becomes another hit and  the Williams move to Nashville, so Hank can join The Grand Ole Opry. With this, the Drifting Cowboys were back again.

It was around this time that Hank experimented with another style that entailed Hank reciting religious-themed writings accompanied by a pipe organ. He marketed this material under the pseudonym Luke the Drifter. He did this to protect his image just in case this failed. People figured out who Luke was when he started performing these recitations at his concerts as well. "Cold, Cold Heart" becomes another hit on the country charts in 1951 and Williams ended up back in the hospital for detox. In November of that year, he made his first television appearance on The Perry Como Show where he sang "Hey Good Lookin'" with Como. That same month, Hank went hunting with his fiddler and he fell, aggravating his back issues and leading to a spinal fusion. Hank was only 27 at this time and now morphine became a problem along with the alcohol.

Hank would have another problem. Audrey was really done with the marriage this time and she told him to get out of the house. The divorce was official on May 29, 1952. Before that though, Hank had hooked up with a dancer named Bobbie Jett and she would give birth to Hank's daughter, Jett. She would be born five days after Hank's death and his mother would adopt her and raise her until her death. Hank's sister Irene would send the girl into the system and she wouldn't know she was Hank's daughter until the 1980s. After the fling with Bobbie, Hank took up with Billie Jean Jones and they married in October of 1952. Hank had jumped the gun again though with this marriage. Billie wasn't divorced. her divorce wasn't official until 11 days after the marriage. A judge later ruled the marriage was not legal after Audrey and his mother pursued the issue. Williams was already dead at that time.

Hank was a regular performer still on the Grand Ole Opry, but in August of 1952 he was fired because he was constantly missing shows and when he did show up, he was drunk. So he went back to the Louisiana Hayride and started touring with them, but his addictions were powerful. His band and friends tried to get him to shows sober, but he often didn't show up or he performed poorly. Even though he was only 29, Hank started having serious heart issues. He did his last recording session with Acuff-Rose Music in September of 1952 and this included the song "Your Cheatin' Heart." Fred Rose cut him loose after that. Hank was touring in Oklahoma when he met Toby Marshall who was posing as a doctor with a fake diploma. He was actually a convict on Parole from Oklahoma State Penitentiary. With the fake title, Marshall prescribed Williams morphine and amphetamines, which made the heart issues worse. Hank performed in his last concert on December 19, 1952.

Williams was being driven to Charleston, West Virginia in a “North Carolina blue” Cadillac convertible with whitewall tires and a “Flying Goddess” hood ornament when his driver, high school student Charles Carr, stopped in Knoxville, Tennessee to get help from a doctor. Williams had combined chloral hydrate and alcohol, which had heavily sedated him. A doctor gave him a Vitamin B12 shot with morphine and porters at a hotel carried him to the car. Carr and Williams continued their trip and arrived in Bristol, Virginia around midnight on January 1, 1953. Carr stopped at a diner and asked if Hank wanted anything and he said he didn't and that would be the last thing he said. Apparently, Carr didn't realize that Hank had died until he stopped at a gas station in Oak Hill, West Virginia and noticed that Hank's body curled beneath a navy-blue overcoat wasn't stirring at all. Rigor mortis had already set in and the police were called. The coroner did an autopsy and found hemorrhaging in Hank's neck and heart and some injuries that looked like he had been in a fight recently, including a welt on his head. He ruled the death as heart failure. Hank was transported to Montgomery and buried in a silver casket at the Oakwood Annex in Montgomery. Hank Williams, Jr. had his father's grave rebuilt after his mother Audrey passed away and he had her interred next to his father. The monument is made from Vermont granite and has carvings of Hanks boots and guitar and his greatest hits and also has a sculptured hat.

Williams fame skyrocketed after his death and his image and music were in heavy demand. He would go on to be declared the "King of Country Music." He had been signed to start making motion pictures, but obviously he didn't live for that to happen. A movie about his life starring George Hamilton, "Your Cheatin' Heart," came out in 1964. Hank would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Williams family carried on the music tradition with every generation having musicians and Hank's final contribution to music was completed in 2011 with the release of the album "The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams." There were unfinished lyrics with Hank in the back seat of the car when he died. These were later found in a dumpster by a janitor at Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2006. She sold them to the Honky-Tonk Hall of Fame and the Rock-N-Roll Roadshow, but was later accused of theft. A judge sided with her, but the lyrics were returned to Sony/ATV and they asked Bob Dylan to complete an album with them. Artists who recorded for the album included Alan Jackson, Norah Jones, Jack White, Lucinda Williams, Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Patty Loveless, Levon Helm, Jakob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, and Merle Haggard.

But that hasn't been the end for Hank Williams. His spirit still seems to be here in the afterlife. One of Williams favorite cities was Nashville and that makes sense since this is basically like country's capital. The Ryman Auditorium is a place where every great act from country has played at one point. This location is a favorite haunt of Patsy Cline and it is for Hank as well. An employee claims to have seen Williams materialize in a white mist. She saw the white mist onstage and as she continued to get closer to it, it started to take a more defined shape and when she got as close as she dared, she could see the unmistakable thin, lanky form of Williams leaning over a microphone as though he were singing. A construction worker also claimed to see a white misty thin form during renovations in the 1990s. Hank's spirit wanders all over the Ryman, being seen in hallways, on the stage and backstage.

Songwriter Gary Gentry had an interesting tale about the spirit of Hank. Gentry was working with J.B. Detterline on a Hank Williams tribute film in 1982 called "The Ride." The men decided to write a song as a tribute to Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell and they called it “Wherever Hank and Lefty Are, That’s Where I Want to Go.” Gentry went home and felt restless. He was living a life similar to Hank, doing drugs and drinking a lot and he felt like the song didn't do justice to the country legend. He decided to conduct a seance to contact Hank. He said, "I wanted to write a masterpiece about Hank. And I was mad, and I was drunk. So I said, ‘Hank! Why were you so big? Just because you died young? Show yourself! Help me write this song.” And according to Gentry, he did. Hank appeared sitting on the couch without a shirt on and Gentry said, "Hank, we’re gonna take a ride. I wanna write about you. I think you’re the greatest songwriter and entertainer that ever lived." Gentry hopped in his car at 4am and drove around. When he got home, he called J.B. Detterline and they completed the song. David Allan Coe eventually recorded the song now called "The Ride" and released it as a single in 1983. Shortly after that, Gentry performed the song at the Grand Ole Opry House for a television show and when he got to the word “Hank” in the big payoff line, the lights and electricity went out at the Ryman and also the entire Opryland complex.

The last place Hank performed publicly before his death was The Elite Lounge Casino Cafe in Montgomery. This place eventually became a restaurant known as Nobles and now we think it is Club 50/50. The location has been haunted for decades and Williams is believed to be one of the spirits here. People claim to see a man in a suit and that is what they have nicknamed him. Hank always wore a suit on stage. This spirit is feisty like Hank and likes to rap on tables make loud noises. Tables and chairs have even been witnessed moving on their own. Another Montgomery haunt for Hank is his gravesite at Oakwood Cemetery. Alan Jackson's song "Midnight in Montgomery" is about his experience of visiting Williams grave on New Year's Eve before a show and having the spirit appear and thank him for his tribute. A mist like the one seen at the Ryman is seen here as well and people sometimes hear a Hank Williams tune in the air, especially if the start off singing a song and then stop. Williams also played on the streets near city hall and some people claim to see his spirit down by the building occasionally as well.

The Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville was a place that Williams stayed on his road trip to death. This was once the tallest building in the city and is today government offices. The spirit that haunts this building is very fast, so it is hard for witnesses to be sure that it belongs to Hank, but singing tends to accompany this ghost and it sounds a lot like Williams. There was also a sighting of Williams in Oak Hill, West Virginia. A man was walking past the gas station where he was found dead and the Old Tyree Funeral Home where the body was taken and he heard music on the air. He then saw a thin figure standing on the street who was wearing a white suit and a cowboy hat. The figure was puffing on a cigarette and tipped his hat at the witness. There was no doubt to the man that this was Hank Williams. The minute he realized that, the figure disappeared. 

Matt Swayne in his book "Ghosts of Country Music" shares a story that was shared with psychic-medium Mary Lynn Stevenson by a family from Mississippi. The story is set in Autumn and the daughter Deborah is headed to the high school Homecoming Dance. She was carpooling all of her friends and the group of girls had a great time. Deborah dropped everyone off after the dance and headed home. She ended up on an unfamiliar road and was soon lost. Her gas was running low and she didn't have much when she spotted a store over the hill. She tried the pay phone, but it didn't work. She drove further on to a gas station with another dead pay phone. Deborah fumbled with the paper in her pocket to see how much money she had for gas and discovered she actually had no money. She started to weep in the car. Before long, a man in a brown suit with gold stitching and sporting a cowboy hat, walked up to her car. He asked, "What's wrong, Little Lady?" She told him her troubles and he gave her money for gas and phone calls and told her to go straight home. Deborah decided to go into the store to thank the man and get directions. No employees knew what she was talking about. They hadn't seen any cowboy. Deborah made it home and her mom asked how things had gone. Deborah said fine at first, but then told her mom of her troubles. Her mother revealed that she had a premonition and it made her very concerned, so she prayed that a guardian angel would be sent to help Deborah. Both women decided that the cowboy was the guardian angel. A few days later, they were both in a store and flipping through a magazine. When the page opened to a certain page, Deborah called out, "That's the man who helped me!" Deborah's mother looked at the name in the caption and it was Hank Williams. She told Deborah that wasn't possible, but Deborah was absolutely positive that Hank Williams had been her guardian angel.

Hank Williams lived a big life in a very short amount of time. His legacy has spanned decades. Has his spirit continued on in this plane of existence. Are these places haunted by Hank Williams? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

HGB Ep. 452 - Ogden's Union Station

Moment in Oddity - Cow Chip Throwing

Fall is in the air! We love the Spooky season and all the festivities that go with it! A recent fall tradition we heard about is something not all may desire to participate in. It doesn't include pumpkin spice anything, no jack-o-lanterns, or even warm drinks. Well, we hope that what it DOES entail is no longer warm. This is an event held in Wisconsin with an average of 40,000 attendees. It's known as the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival. This event is comprised of competitors taking a dried cow patty and pitching the petrified putrid pie as far as the eye can perceive. The furthest distance on record is a whopping 248 feet. We dare think that it may have been procured from a bull that consumed a popular drink which gave the dried patty in question, "wings". This event certainly has a large draw and sounds like a blast with live music, "Tournament of Chips" parade and all the usual fun festival activities to enjoy with family and friends. Fall celebrations for us are always a draw with cooler temperatures and an anticipation of Halloween. However, in our city slicker minds, people competing in chucking parched pies for the greatest distance possible, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Typhoon Vera

In the month of September, on the 26th, in 1959, one of the most destructive typhoons in Japan's history struck Ise (Ee-say) Bay in the region of Honshu. This super typhoon was also dubbed Vera. Sadly, this storm killed more than 5,000 people, left an estimated 1.5 million people homeless, and injured almost 39,000. On September 20, Vera began as a low pressure system in the Pacific Ocean. On the 21st it was already classified as a typhoon and continued to gain strength as it coursed towards Japan. When it made landfall, Typhoon Vera's winds were as high as 160 miles per hour, the same classification as a Cat 5 hurricane today. The seaside town was devastated, with the sea walls being destroyed, widespread flooding and thousands of buildings being decimated. Besides contaminated drinking water, most crops were ruined and thousands were stranded without shelter. Many areas became inaccessible due to the storm and the death count was contributed to by dysentery, gangrene and tetanus. With Japan's economy still recovering from WWII, Typhoon Vera was another huge blow. One good thing that did come out of this disaster however, was the formation of a disaster management council which would have measures in place to provide more effective emergency assistance in the aftermath of future storms.

Ogden Union Station 

Ogden, Utah may not seem like an important point in transportation today, but it was once the official transfer point for anyone set on getting to the West Coast. A train station has been located on this spot for over 150 years and the current Union Station has stood for nearly 100 years and in that time, thousands of people have walked through its doors. The station has seen quite a bit of tragedy. There was the Bagley train wreck, bodies from war, freak deaths, murders and suicides. Spirits seemed to have been left behind due to these tragic circumstances. Join us for the history and hauntings of Ogden's Union Station!

Ogden, Utah was once a lawless town. With everyone traveling through to get to the West Coast, that isn't surprising. Travelers would be looking for saloons and brothels. Before that, the Great Salt Lake Fremont Indians were here and then later the Northern Shoshone and Goshute Native American tribes. Trapper Miles Goodyear established a settlement here in 1846 and named Fort Buenaventura. Mormon settler Captain James Brown bought the land and fort in 1847 via a Mexico land grant and changed the name to Brownsville. The name would be changed officially to Ogden in honor of Hudson Bay Company's brigade leader Peter Skene Ogden when it was incorporated in 1851. That date made it the third incorporated city west of the Missouri River, after San Francisco and Salt Lake City. The city was built up with a central business district and farms in the surrounding outlying areas and they used the Ogden River to the north and the Weber River to the west as boundaries.

Union Station is a gorgeous building! Our friend from The Dead History, Jennifer Jones, says this is one of her favorite buildings in Ogden and has always held a special place in her heart. It's hard to miss this building with the Union Station moniker running across a wide part of the roof, especially at night when the letters glow a neon red. This is not the original station that once stood here though and it no longer serves its purpose as a train station. Today, it is home to the Utah State Railroad Museum, John M. Browning Firearms Museum and Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum. A junction for railroad travel was needed in the Intermountain West and the first station was built in 1869 near the banks of the Weber River. This was a wooden frame building on a mud flat that required a quarter-mile wood boardwalk to be built, so that people could get to the station. The citizens of Ogden came out to welcome the first train with banners that read, “Hail to the Highway of the Nations! Utah bids you Welcome.” This station served two narrow gauge lines and worked well for awhile, but people got impatient with having to travel across the boardwalk. The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways joined forces forming the Ogden Union Railway & Depot Co. and they dedicated themselves to building a new station. The new structure was designed in the Romanesque Revival style and was completed in 1889. This structure had a large clock tower in the center and not only had the train station, but a hotel with 33 rooms, a barbershop, restaurant and other conveniences.

In 1923, a fire devastated the structure, but the Ogden Union Railway & Depot didn't want to go to the expense of building a new station, so they decided to rebuild. An accident that killed a man, which we will talk about in a bit, changed the minds of the company and they razed the building and began a new building that was designed by John and Donald Parkinson in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, which is clearly seen in the two Spanish-style arch entryways. The building was dedicated on November 22, 1924. The interior featured murals of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad and the Grand Lobby had brightly painted trusses. Other buildings were added to the property including a mail terminal annex, Trainmen's Building, Laundry Building and five passenger shelters with butterfly canopies. In 1927, the station added a unique feature that was a tunnel built under the eleven train tracks. Stairways lead up to the surface of each platform. This not only made it safer for passengers, but kept everything running on time. When service was shut down, the tunnel was filled in, but restoration work in 2008 uncovered part of the tunnel and it was decided to place glass over this section, so people could see down into it.

Amtrak took over passenger operations in 1971 at the station. In 1977, the city of Ogden was given a 50-year lease and they started renovating so that the building could house museums. The museums were opened in 1978 with steam-powered equipment donated by Union Pacific and expanded through the years with the station officially becoming the Utah State Railroad Museum in 1988. As mentioned earlier, the building now houses four museums. Conventions and events are also hosted here and many weddings have also been performed here. The last passenger train left the station in 1997, but Amtrak has played with the idea of bringing service back eventually. There are many ghost stories connected to this property and there are several reasons why. Jennifer Jones loves to investigate this property and with all the stories of lights turning off and on by themselves, elevators moving on their own and full-bodied apparitions, it is no wonder.

The worst train wreck to occur in Utah happened on December 31, 1944. The wreck was 18 miles from Ogden, in a town called Bagley, and took place as a thick fog rolled in over the tracks. The wreck would be known as the Bagley Train Wreck and ended with 81 people injured and 50 dead. Southern Pacific's Pacific Limited was running two trains back-to-back on that day. One was a passenger train and the other was a mail express. The passenger train rode in the lead. A heavy freight train was having an issue known as a hot box on that patch of track just outside of Ogden. A hot box occurs when the box housing the axle bearings becomes extremely hot because the oil-soaked rags that helped prevent friction were dried out. This issue could cause a train to eventually derail. So the freight train was stopped. The passenger train was aware of the problem ahead of them and stopped, then proceeded with caution. The same was not true for the mail express. It continued full speed ahead because it missed seeing two stop collisions. Historians are not sure if this was because of the fog or because the engineer had had a heart attack before the crash. An inquest after the crash, ruled that based on positioning, the engineer was incapacitated before the crash.

The Ogden Standard-Examiner reported on January 1, 1945, "The force of the impact sent another sleeping car smashing through the dining car and farther ahead slammed one coach into the wooden coach ahead of it. Cars of the mail express section piled up crossways of the track behind the engine, some of them sliding down the causeway embankment into water. Most of the dead were taken from the rear Pullman car and from the telescoped coach. At least 28 were military service men. The train had left Chicago at ten a.m. Friday, bound for San Francisco." One of the reasons so many injured were able to be saved was because members of the Medical Corps were aboard two hospital cars that were part of the passenger train. Bodies of the dead were taken to the Browning Theater as it was transformed into a makeshift morgue.

In 1913, a grisly thing was discovered in a trunk at Union Station. The headline of the Ogden Examiner declared in a headline, "Nude body of ten year old girl found in trunk at Union Depot; mother charged with crime." That young girl was Frances Williams. Her mother was Minnie Ekman and she claimed that she had no place for her daughter, so she killed her. The story goes like many of our modern day tales with a woman who wants to be with a man who doesn't want a kid. In Minnie's case, she had been married to a man named Charles Anderson who had left her. She hooked up with a guy named George Williams and they had Frances. When Frances was ten, Minnie decided she wanted to get back with Anderson, but she had to get rid of Frances for that to happen. Anderson came to Salt Lake City to get Minnie and they checked their larger luggage into Union Station. A couple days passed, Minnie changed her mind and Anderson went to the depot to get the luggage. The baggage handler was moving the trunk onto the platform when he noticed a horrible odor. he then spotted hair poking out under the lid. The Station Master was called, as well as the police and they forced open the trunk. They found Frances. Minnie and Anderson were at the train station and promptly arrested. Minnie was later ruled insane and remanded to a mental hospital.

People claim that Frances wanders the former station. An investigation team out of Utah was recording in the Browning Theater and they captured an EVP of a little girl in the theater saying “Sit, sit.” Was this a victim of the train wreck or little Frances? An entire family was killed in the train wreck and there were two daughters. Women's voices have been captured on EVP in the Myra Powell Gallery and the PI-Team of Utah is one of those teams that captured a raspy female voice saying, "Help!" Lilac perfume is also smelled here.

As mentioned earlier, there was a fire here in February of 1923 when a hot iron caught a pair of pants on fire. The porter ran into the telephone operator's office at 7pm and yelled for him to call the fire department. It took until 2:30am for the fire to be put out. No one died during the fire, but someone would die shortly thereafter while work to repair the station was being done. One of the large decorative stone cones behind the large clock tower fell when a gust of wind blew over a roof support and knocked the cone loose. It crashed through the skylight of a room that had been set up as a temporary cashier's office. Inside sat Frank Yentzer who was the cashier and he was killed when the stone hit him in the head. And since that time, Frank has been thought to be one of the most active spirits at the station. 

The basement of Union Station is off limits to the public, but not to Frank. This area is creepy enough with its dark, narrow stairway leading down and long hallway with an array of junk and artifacts dotting the path. Holly Andrew is the Museum Curator and she shares a ghost story about Frank from the basement, "A number of years ago, an intern came downstairs to work in the collection vault. As she came downstairs, early in the morning, she noticed something strange was happening with a clipboard that they hang from a string outside of Door 10. The clipboard was swing in wide circles. She was super frustrated and super tired, so she yelled, 'Stop it, Frank!' and the clipboard completely dropped from the string to the floor with a clank."

There is another man who died here. A man named Amos Allred, accidentally shot himself in the head in an employee locker room. Apparently, a co-worker had brought a loaded gun to work and left it in the locker room and Amos must have been fooling around with it and shot himself in the head. Although, the death was initially ruled a suicide.

Robin Westover was the owner of Haunted Ogden, which now appears to be defunct, but she investigated in the station several times. She believed that she interacted with the spirit of an eighteen-year-old girl named Sarah in the ballroom. Others claim to have seen Sarah dancing in the ballroom, especially after music was played. The theory is that she was coming to attend a wedding hosted here, but died in a car accident on the way. There is another woman who haunts the halls of the second floor. She only interacts with men.

The Browning Theater is a part of Union Station as well. This is a large, open room with a stage on the north end and a theater annex that had once been part of an area with windows that overlooked the train platform. Jennifer Jones thinks this is one of the most active areas on the property. In her book Ghosts of Ogden, Brigham City and Logan, she writes about an experience she had that started with some EMF activity. She wrote, "We thought we heard footsteps in the annex, so we headed in that direction to see if another member of the team was in that area or possibly outside of the building, walking along the train tracks. When I got farther into the annex, it was as if the area had an electrical charge, like I had stepped through a wall of static electricity. The hairs on my arms and on the back of my neck stood on end, so I immediately stopped and just stood there. I looked up from my EMF meter and saw what appeared to be a shadow figure. It was shaped like a man, about six feet tall, and it moved away from us very quickly toward the south wall and disappeared into the darkness. Robert, a member of our team, and I immediately took off after it, but by the time we got to the end of the annex, there was nothing there. The former train platform was dark and silent, leaving no evidence of what we might have just seen and heard." 

It's possible that this shadowy presence belongs to a man named John Ross. He had become infatuated with a Glenna Carter who went by the pseudonym Mamie Evans as she plied her trade in brothels. She was in such hot demand that police asked her to leave town to stop all the fighting over her. She decided to head to Butte, Montana. John Ross asked her not to leave and told her of his love for her. She told him she didn't feel the same. Mamie was waiting for her train at Union Station on the night of April 24, 1897, when John Ross stepped out of the shadows where he was hiding and took aim with a gun. Mamie saw him and ran. Several bullets were fired and one got Mamie in the chest. Ross then ran to the end of the train platform and shot himself in the head. He died there at the station, but Mamie died a bit later on her way to the hospital. A note in Ross' pocket indicated that the murder-suicide was premeditated. So perhaps he is still hiding in the shadows of Union Station.

A handyman named Jarred had a jarring experience one night. he had locked up everything tight one night and headed home. About halfway home, he got a phone call from the security company letting him know that the lobby door alarm had gone off and that someone was walking around in the lobby. Jarred rushed back to the building and found no one in the lobby and the door was still locked. He headed back home and again was called by the security company that the same thing had just happened again. Jarred stopped to pick up his dad because he figured that a more thorough check needed to be done. They checked the upstairs first and cleared it. Jarred checked the first floor while his dad circled the outside of the building to see if any windows were broken or doors were forced open. Nothing. Jarred was about to set the alarm when he heard a door shut near the Browning Theater. He and his father rushed to the theater and they heard what sounded like two people running inside the theater. Jarred's father ran to the outside back door as Jarred ran in so they could trap the people and there was nobody in there. The men headed home again and Jarred got another security call. He told the company to disregard any further alarms that evening because the ghosts were just playing with them. 

The John M. Browning Firearms Museum also has hauntings. Volunteers claim to see apparitions of men dressed in military outfits out of the corner of their eyes. These spirits like to pat people on the back or shoulder. Jennifer had a chance to investigate in the museum and she caught an EVP of a male voice saying, "Hello." The elevator here also surprised her and her team when it all of a sudden dinged and the doors opened, even though no one had called the elevator. 

There are so many interesting stories connected to the Union Station in Ogden. Is it possible that spirits from some of these tragic circumstances have decided to stay here in the afterlife or perhaps they are trapped? Is Ogden's Union Station haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

HGB Ep. 451 - The Thousand Islands

Moment in Oddity - Black Heron Hunting Trick

Who remembers playing "Peek-a-Boo" as a child? Would it surprise any listeners to think that birds enjoy or benefit from this game as well? Let us introduce you to the black heron. There are many different ways that birds can secure the diet they require. Whether it is seed, insect or other prey. If you happen to have enjoyed the game of peek-a-boo at any time, you may hold something in common with this avian. The black heron uses it's wings like an umbrella or sunshade. For anyone who has enjoyed the BBCs Talking Animals, you may remember the game of "Nighttime-Daytime". This was an example of the black heron who uses their wings to create an umbrella type canopy to lure any prey into the shade of their wings or to simply conceal their identity prior to pouncing on their meal. This strategy is used by many egrets and herons. Animals are amazing and the thought that some utilize a game similar to humans' "peek-a-boo" to thrive, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Elvis Presley Appears on Ed Sullivan Show

In the month of September, on the 9th, in 1956, Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Some may know that the Ed Sullivan show had banned any appearances by Elvis due to The King's perceived obscenity by the establishment. However, after The Steve Allen Show beat out the ratings of Ed Sullivan's Show on July 1, 1956 due to Elvis Presley's guest spot, Mr. Sullivan quickly changed his tune. Colonel Parker knew he had the advantage over Sullivan and negotiated the highest fee ever paid by the show to any act at that stage in time. In an unusual twist, Elvis did not actually step on to Ed Sullivan's stage for this first performance. Instead he was filmed in Hollywood due to being in the middle of filming his first movie, "Love Me Tender" in Los Angeles.  His first song was, "Don't Be Cruel" and continued on for four songs in total. Elvis performed two additional times on The Ed Sullivan Show for that contracted series. Although many people remember hearing that Elvis was only shot from the torso and above to try and censor The King's gyrations, it wasn't until his third time on the show that "Elvis the Pelvis", as he was dubbed, was intentionally filmed from the waist up.

The Thousand Islands (Suggested by: Amy Johnson)

The name of Thousand Island dressing was inspired by an archipelago of 1,864 islands that are in both Canada and the United States. Legends surrounding the creation of the dressing are interesting, but even more intriguing are the stories of hauntings connected to the islands. These islands are dotted with villages, forts and castles making them the perfect setting for ghost stories and legends. Join us as we look at the history and hauntings of some of these locations in the 1000 Islands!

Before Europeans started building homes on the islands, they were called Manitouana by the indigenous people, which means "Garden of the Great Spirit." The Ojibwa People and Iroquois Confederacy lived on several of the islands. The Thousand Islands became a hot vacation destination starting during the Gilded Age and that continues today. This group of islands can be found along the St. Lawrence River stretching from Lake Ontario to lake Champlain. Its easy to see their connection to the Gilded Age in the castles that pop up around on various islands. The rich made this area their retreat, but before that the islands played host to war. There were many skirmishes here between the British and America during the War of 1812. Leftover remnants of that war can be seen in the ruins of forts and historical sites like the State Battlefield Historic Site and Fort Wellington. And there are several museums dedicated to the maritime history of the area. In order for an island to be included as a 1000 Island, it has to have one square foot of land above water year round and support at least two living trees.

A little fun fact for those of you who like to wander down conspiracy and secret societies rabbit holes is that the group Skull and Bones owns one of the 1000 Islands, Deer Island. They have a 40-acre retreat there, but it is not well kept and several buildings on the island are in ruins. Some of the waters around the islands are very treacherous. Leek Island Channel is one of those places with currents so strong, that ice rarely forms during even the coldest days of winter. The A.E. Vickery was a schooner that struck a shoal on August 15, 1889 and sank near the Rock Island Lighthouse. The Rock Island Lighthouse was once watched over by William Johnston who was called "The Pirate of the Thousand Islands." Before becoming keeper in 1853, he got caught up in attacking a British mail steamer in 1838. He set the steamer on fire and ran it aground on Peel Island. Johnston was declared an outlaw by the U.S. government and captured and put on a trial. He eventually received a pardon and then went on to be a keeper at the lighthouse, serving for eight years. The lighthouse was changed and moved three times because it wasn't as visible as it needed to be, hence why the A.E. Vickery sunk.

A river pilot, Henry Webber Jr., had just boarded the boat and apparently wasn't very good at his job. The Captain was so angry when his ship hit the shoal that he grabbed a gun and pointed it at Webber and fired, the bullet ricocheting. The Captain and four crewmen managed to get to shore aboard a yawl boat. Various parts of the schooner have been retrieved over the years and have been placed in various museums. Another of the wrecks occurred in October of 1912 and this was the SS Keystorm. This was a cargo steamer with a load of coal and it was traveling in fog when it struck a shoal. The ship sank over five hours. The wooden sidewheel steamer The Islander, caught fire while at dock at Alexandria Bay in 1909 and sank quickly. The America was a steel drill barge that sank after an explosion in 1932. The King Horn schooner ran aground in 1897. So the islands have seen their share of shipwrecks.

Another schooner that ran into some trouble, we aren't sure the name of, but legend claims that the crew came down with cholera and the schooner parked itself off Ghost Island. The crew disembarked and most of them died and were buried on the island. The island is said be haunted now because of that incident. The explosion of The America is actually blamed on the phantoms of the island since it was moored near the island. Another barge that was carrying cattle is said to have disappeared near the island. Another sunken barge happened near Ghost Island in 1926. People believed the island was cursed for sure. Despite the shipwrecks, boating among the islands has always been popular and Walt Whitman describes this wonderfully in "A Song of Joys" in his book of poetry Leaves of Grass, "O boating on the rivers, The voyage down the St. Lawrence, the superb scenery, the steamers, The ships sailing, the Thousand Islands, the occasional timber-raft and the raftsmen with long-reaching sweep-oars, The little huts on the rafts, and the stream of smoke when they cook supper at evening." 

Ghost Island isn't the only reputed haunted hot spot here. We found several other locations that harbor spirits.

Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site 

Sackets Harbor got its start in 1801 and was named for the man who founded it, Augustus Sackett. This was a busy port in the 1000 Islands and that is probably what made it attractive to the Marines, Army and Navy as they all chose this as headquarters during the War of 1812. This base would focus on protecting the Northern Harbor. The Sacket Harbor Battlefield was a place where hundreds of men lost their lives. The Battle of Sackets Harbor took place on May 29th, 1813. The British had the early upper hand in the battle, causing the militia to abandon their weapons and retreat, but the Americans regrouped and repelled the British. There was a major issue that happened during the battle though that would lead to consequences later. Some British cannon fire hit the shipyards and an officer there assumed that the fort had fallen since the British were now targeting the shipyard. He decided it would be better to destroy a ship that was currently under construction and a bunch of supplies. The ship was able to be salvaged later, but the supplies were a lost cause. The first US steamboat to be built for the Great Lakes, the Ontario, was constructed in the shipyard here in 1817. The battlefield was cleared and leveled and turned into farmland and then later was turned into the state historic park. People who visit claim that like most battlefields, this one is haunted. People see strange lights out here at night and see shadow figures. The sounds of gunfire and cannons are heard. The Northern New York Shadow Chasers investigated here in 2008 and caught EVP with several responses to questions they asked.

Madison Barracks

The Madison Barracks housed the soldiers during the War of 1812 and was built in 1813 out of native limestone. The barracks were named for President James Madison who actually did visit the fort that bore his name. President U.S. Grant served here as a young 2nd lieutenant and today his barracks are marked with a plaque in his honor. Because of the military presence here, this was the third most populace area of New York, right behind Albany and New York City in 1814. The barracks remained active and were used through to the end of World War II. And a couple of fun facts about this island is that chloroform was invented here and the "Father of American Mixology," bartender Jerry Thomas, was born here in 1830. Today, the barracks have been transformed into the Creekside Apartments and there is also an inn, restaurant and marina here. The historic district is home to many buildings dating back to the 19th century. Several spirits of American soldiers have been seen as though they are standing guard over the building. People who live there and neighbors that live nearby, claim to see a man holding a lantern standing on a balcony late at night. The residual sounds of a battle are heard like cannons and muskets firing and sometimes the screams of men chill the ears of anyone who hears them.

Isle of Pines

The Isle of Pines is a small island off the shore of Fishers Landing on the St. Lawrence River between Clayton and Alexandria Bay. The island is just big enough for a large three-story main house and a large two-story boathouse. Rose Claudia summers here with her family, that includes daughter Danielle and son Anthony, because her grandfather, Nicolas R. Cobisello bought the island in the early 1940s. Nicolas had been working in the area, building roads to the Thousand Islands Bridge across Wellesley Island. The island already had the structures on it and the main house is clearly Victorian in design with a large mansard roof. When he moved onto the island, he lived in the boathouse and invited a priesthood to come live in the main house. There were pieces of furniture and decorative items in the house that the priests were offended by because they featured nudes, so they took those items out the back door and burned them. Needless to say, Nicholas was not pleased and he kicked the priests out.

Norm Wagner who is a Clayton historian says that music has been heard coming from the ballroom, which no longer hosts music and dances. He said, "There were reports that people were hearing ballroom style music, it’s not coming from Foxy’s Restaurant (which is just a short distance away), it’s just unexplained music."

Danielle Parody, Rose's daughter, greeted the Ghost Hunters when they arrived in 2009 and she took them on a tour of the place. The Claudias had won a contest hosted by the Ghost Hunters, which afforded them the opportunity to have their property investigated. The crew invited musician Meat Loaf to join them for the investigation. Danielle took the crew to the kid's room in the boathouse first and told them that she saw an apparition in that room of a little girl standing at the foot of the bed and she watched the ghost run through the wall. She said the girl was glowing. The boathouse has a ballroom where social gatherings were hosted. There is a bedroom off the ballroom where guests have seen apparitions by the bed and another bedroom where people have felt both hot and cold spots. In an upper area overlooking the ballroom, the band used to play and people hear various musical instruments up there like a spoon banging on a pot. Anthony told the Ghost Hunters that he was coming out of the shower in the boathouse when he heard clanging up in that attic area and it startled him really bad and then he got angry. So he marched up to the attic with fists raised and said he wasn't going to take this, this is his house and he wasn't afraid. He then watched as a small section of 2 x 4 picked itself up and flew across the railing and popped him on the top of the head. He was so scared, he hopped into a boat and drove over to the mainland and slept on the dock. 

The main house has its haunts too. People hear disembodied footsteps, see shadow figures, hear unexplained noises and watch as the lights flicker. A niece and nephew who were staying at the house told their mom that they had been playing with a dead priest in the living room. Up on the third floor a man heard a woman ask, "Can you help me?" There was nobody on that floor with him. Anthony saw a woman looking down from a window on the third floor, again, when nobody was up there.

Amy Bruni said of the investigation, “It was probably one of the most memorable hunts I have been on. I didn’t think it was a scary place though.” Amy and the guys had fun giving Steve Gonsalves grief about spiders as they found quite a few during the investigation. And we mean, a lot! Amy and Kris investigated in the boathouse first. They heard footsteps like someone walking on the deck, but after trying to recreate the sound, they realized it had to be coming from inside. Kris and Amy saw a shadow in the corner of the ceiling at the same time.

Grant and Jason investigated in a room on the third floor first and immediately got spikes on the EMF detector. All the batteries in their cameras and flashlights went dead in here as well. Jason wanted to test the EMF, so he said he was going to count to three and he wanted the spirit to light up the EMF when he got to three and that is exactly what happened. The EMF indicated that there were both male and female spirits in the room. Meat Loaf was sitting on the bed in this room and he felt something unseen sit down on the bed behind him. They moved out into the hall and Meat Loaf felt drawn to a room and when he entered, he felt the hair on his arm stick up. He used an EMF to communicate. The first question was to figure out if this was the spirit seen looking out the window and it not only indicated it was not, but that it was a man. They asked for the spirit to move something and there was a loud audible bang. They asked for it to do it again and they heard another bang. They traced the sound to a door and they believe it was being moved to bang the doorknob on the wall. It seemed like the spirit was saying it was a priest. The crew all felt like the place was definitely haunted.

Boldt Castle on Heart Island

There are six structures on Heart Island in Alexandria Bay: Boldt Castle, the Power House, the Alster Tower, the Hennery, the Arch, and a stone Gazebo. The castle is named for the man who had it built, George Boldt. George Boldt was born in Prussia in 1851 and immigrated to America in 1864. He would become a self-made millionaire and influential hotelier by starting at the bottom. He worked in a kitchen in New York before being asked to manage the dining room at The Philadelphia Club, an exclusive gentlemen's club in Philadelphia. He bought his first hotel in Philadelphia in 1881 and soon bought the competing hotel on the opposite corner. He eventually tore that hotel down and built the largest hotel in the city, the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, in 1904. That still stands today as the Hyatt. Then he met up with the Astor cousins in New York, William Waldorf and John Jacob, who each owned adjoining hotels, the Waldorf Hotel and Astoria Hotel. Boldt leased the Astoria and eventually merged the two hotels under his management as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which became famous for its Waldorf Salad. The Empire State Building now stands where the hotel had once been.

This is where one of the legends about 1000 Island dressing comes in. The dressing is made from a variety of ingredients depending on who is making it and generally includes mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, ketchup, vinegar, pickles and cream. In this version, Boldt and a chef are credited with creating the dressing from ingredients that the Waldorf-Astoria's kitchen had on hand, when Boldt realized he had forgotten to order dressing for the salad. He instructed the hotel's maitre d', Oscar Tcshirky, to put it on the menu. The dressing was named for the 1000 Island region as this had a special place in Boldt's heart. However, the chef didn't include the recipe in a book he wrote during that time period and so some people wonder if this is true. Another legend claims that a woman named Sophia LaLonde was getting creative in her kitchen and whipped up the dressing for her husband's shore dinner. He was a fishing guide and introduced it to actress May Irwin who asked for the recipe and the dressing became famous. Sophia's name comes up again as an innkeeper of the Herald Hotel in Clayton, New York and that it was here that she introduced Sophia's Sauce. Another story claims that the original recipe had a base of French dressing and appears in the 1965 edition of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. There are so many stories that sociologist and professor Michael Bell worked with his graduate students to determine the true origin and found that it really depended on the region, which story was told. There was no written historical record to follow. So it seems that there are as many origins of 1000 Island dressing as there are varieties.

Louise Kehrer was born in Philadephia, Pennsylvania in 1862 and she came from a prosperous family. Her father was the steward of the Philadelphia Club and he was the one who hired George Boldt. Boldt was 26 at the time and Louise was 14 and love soon blossomed between the two. The two were married in June of 1877 and they went on to have two children, George Charles, Jr. and Louise Clover. Boldt loved Louise deeply and she adored him. The two were inseparable and Louise helped George in the hotel business, guiding him to adding cut flowers and candles on tables. She helped with decorating the Waldorf-Astoria as well. The family took a vacation in 1895 through the 1000 Islands and Louise fell in love with Hart Island. Boldt bought the island for her and quickly started working on plans to build her a dream house. She was his princess and he was going to make her a castle. Construction didn't start until 1900, but George hired 300 construction workers, so that it would get done quickly. The castle was nearly complete after four years and tragedy struck. 

Louise had been becoming increasingly frail. As the years of building continued, Louise's light faded and in January 1904, Louise passed away. George was completely bereft and immediately ordered construction to cease on the castle. He never stepped foot on Hart Island again and ironically, this heartbreaking story led to the island's spelling to be changed to Heart. The 60,000 square foot castle with 120 rooms sat unfinished. Boldt died in 1916 and the castle sat abandoned for 73 years. Then the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority bought the property and restored the building that had been left to the elements. Boldt Castle is today a popular destination for visitors and wedding receptions. The ballroom is one of the most elaborate spaces in the castle, adorned with state of the art crowned molding and designed with dramatic lighting. The Billiards Room has carved wood walls and fireplace mantle. All the family suites have a closet, bathroom and private entry to the second floor balcony. The Grand Hall has a stained glass dome, the floors are covered in Italian Carrara marble and the ceiling is molded plaster with unique designs. A grand staircase leads to the second floor, branching into two sides. The library was probably going to be Mr. Boldt's favorite spot as his office was always filled with books. The details in this room are amazing. The fireplace mantle is made from American chestnut and carvings in that tell the story of Hansel and Gretel. There is a boy on one side, a girl on the other and in the center above the fireplace is a woman with a "witch-like" nose. The mahogany wainscoting in the room features carvings of a genie’s lamp, a pirate ship and an image of Boldt Castle.

It's not surprising that Boldt Castle is said to be haunted. Louise never got to enjoy her castle, so why wouldn't she visit in the afterlife? And George missed his beloved. Brides, guests, tourists and employees all claim to have seen Louise and these sightings started all the way back in the early 1900s. A lady in white is seen walking near the water by the boathouse. The lights in the castle turn on by themselves and disembodied footsteps are heard. The apparition of George has been seen in the walking the corridors of his massive castle. Perhaps he wants to make sure that the continued restorations go according to his plan. 

Amy Johnson who suggested this location shared, "After my mother died, my sister and another person visiting my parents' home in the Thousand Islands both saw my mother, near their beds. When I slept in her room, I had her and my father's ashes on a table in the room, I told my mother I was happy to be there with her, but to please not show herself, as I wasn't sure I could handle it! I guess I'm a bit wimpy!"

The 1000 Islands are a beautiful grouping of islands with lots of fun an adventures to be had there. So much history is here as well. Is some of that history haunted? That is for you to decide!

Clayton Island Tours offers glass-bottom boat tours through the islands that sound really cool:

Thursday, September 1, 2022

HGB Ep. 450 - Haunted Gettysburg

Moment in Oddity - Snailfish

It may seem like we've gone down an oddity rabbit hole of things that glow, but let me tell you about the snailfish. In Greenland's cold waters, there is a fish that has the ability to glow green and red. The snailfish lives in Greenland's deepest depths inside the crevices of icebergs. The ability to glow in Arctic fish is somewhat rare and in the snailfish's case, it is atributed to an antifreeze protein that keeps the snailfish from dying. This fish's specialized adaptations prevent its internal organs from producing ice crystals allowing it to live in temperatures that would normally cause fish blood to freeze. According to one article a juvenile snailfish was found to have the highest level of antifreeze proteins ever recorded. Glowing deep sea creatures are always interesting, but the fact that the snailfish can produce quote unquote antifreeze qualities, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Julian Calendar Changes to Gregorian Calendar in Britain

In the month of September, on the 2nd, in 1752, The British ended their use of the Julian calendar and switched to the Gregorian calendar. The move did not go well and it still makes it hard for historians to navigate whether historical records were entered according to the Julian calendar or Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar was started by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. It follows much of how our calendar is today, but the way that leap years were figured, ended up leaving extra dates in some months and pushing seasonal equinoxes to fall too early by nearly a week and a half. It messed up Christian holidays too, so Pope Gregory XIII authorized a New Style calendar that was eventually named for him. In order to facilitate this change, the method of calculating leap years was changed, the beginning of the legal new year was changed from March 25th to January 1st so the year 1751 was a short year with only 282 days and 11 days were dropped from Septmeber in 1752. This meant that people went to bed on September 2nd and woke up on September 14th. People felt like they had been cheated because eleven days just disappeared and riots ensued as people demanded the missing days back. At least according to urban myth.

Haunted Gettysburg

The town of Gettysburg is centrally located in Southern Pennsylvania and its claim to fame is the three day battle that took place here in July of 1863 that became the major turning point of the war. Many of the homes, inns and businesses in town still bear the battle scars of this bloody battle and nearly every location has some kind of spirit hanging around. We got to spend a couple days in this historic and quaint town and we are going to share the haunted locations outside of the battlefield on this episode. Join us for the history and haunts of Gettysburg!

The town of Gettysburg was founded in 1786 and named after Samuel Gettys who was an earlier settler here and owned a tavern that the local militia used for meetings. Samuel had a lot of land after the Revolutionary War and he eventually sold his land to his son James, who sold it off in parcels. This was the official start of Gettysburg and James is recognized as the founder. Gettysburg officially became a Borough in 1806. James would serve as sheriff for three years and was the first town clerk and treasurer and in 1815 became Burgess. Samuel's brother-in-law, Reynolds Ramsey, was the first Burgess or mayor. We actually got to see James' burial plot in the Evergreen Cemetery. He died from typhus as did many members of his family, leaving his two young sons orphans. 

Gettysburg was a trading hub with all roads and railroads leading to it and for this very reason, it was the perfect spot for a battle during the Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg would be fought here from July 1st to 3rd in 1863 with 165,620 troops facing off against each other headed by Union General George G. Meade and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Lee had the upperhand at the beginning of the battle, but blunders on the third day led the Confederates into retreat and this became a Union victory. There were more than 50,000 casualties that day and most buildings in the area were quickly turned into field hospitals. The battlefield still serves as a reminder today of a dark moment in America's history. The battle would give the small town a spot in infamy. Today, tourists visit from all over the world to experience the deep history here. Many of the locations that stood during the battle, still stand today. And many of them are said to be haunted!

Baladerry Inn

The site where the Baladerry Inn stands at 40 Hospital Road had been the George Bushman Farm. The inn was built in 1812 to serve as the home for a tenant farmer. In 1830, the rest of the main house was added. George Bushman's son eventually moved into the home and during the Battle of Gettysburg, it was used as a field hospital with amputations taking place in the great Room. In 1992, the house was converted into a bed & breakfast. In 2010, Judy & Kenny Caudill bought the property and they have updated the place and continue to run it as a B&B. The main house and carriage house both have rooms for rent, ten in total. The Great Room has a great fireplace and opens up onto a large terrace with a hot tub. A traditional country breakfast is offered in the mornings.

The inn is said to be haunted not only because it was a field hospital, but because seven Confederate soldiers remain buried beneath some nearby tennis courts. The inn embraces their haunts and even keep a binder full of stories. A guest taking pictures around the inn captured Confederate soldiers in a picture with two of them being seated near some French-style double doors and two standing outside. One of them has what looks like a black armband, perhaps in honor of General Stonewall Jackson.

The Marigold Room plays host to a female ghost that usually appears at the foot of the bed. She is fond of jewelry as well and one female guest reported that she was participating in some re-enactments and had brough vintage jewelry with her to wear. She kept the jewelry in a bag and when she returned to her room, she found it laid out neatly on top of the bag. The Primrose Room has an amorous male ghost named Geoffrey. He rubs the feet of women and sings in their ears. Sometimes he gets into bed with guests as well.

Izzatyu wrote on TripAdvisor in 2013, "I chose the Marigold room, as it attracts ghost hunters often. (All though the whole property has that potential). I thought I would try it out and wow, a phantom voice on my recorder, a loud popping sound like a champagne cork (which I didn't hear, but was recorded), two knocks that I asked for that I heard, plus recorded, washroom door closed while I was out and couldn't make it do that myself. There could be more, as I haven't listen to all of the recordings (EVP's) as yet. I recommend the Baladerry Inn and hope to return one day. It is far enough away from the main part of town, so it is nice and quiet. This place has everything going for it. Couldn't be better! If you are afraid of ghosts, don't worry, just tell them to stop and they usually do."

George Weikert House

The George Weikert House, north of Little Round Top, is one of the houses along the edge of the battlefield that is now owned by the National Park Service. The Weikert family owned four farms in the area, but this one was owned by the patriarch George. He was born in 1801 and moved to Gettysburg from Maryland in 1838. He purchased the land with the house in 1852. The house started as a one-story, two-bay stone house built on a granite foundation that was built in 1798. The gabled roof is covered with wood shingles and has vertical board and batten on the gable ends and the rest of the house is built from stone. The house was altered in 1880, expanding it into a two-story, two-bay house. When the battle began near the farm, the family left and the house was strong enough to provide good shelter that the Union quickly commandeered it. When the Weikert's returned, they found their house had been turned into a field hospital with amputated limbs piled up outside and bodies buried nearby. Eventually the bodies where dug up and relocated and the parlor rug was found in the mass grave. At least six men lost their lives in the parlor of the house. Survivors from the New Jersey Brigade bought the farm because they had been successful holding the area and they put up a monument nearby. The park service bought the property and park rangers use the farm for housing. They are the ones who claim that the house is haunted. A door on the second floor refuses to stay shut and they've never found an explainable reason why. A frustrated ranger tried nailing the door shut and he still found it opened later. Disembodied footsteps are heard in the house, especially the attic. 

Tillie Pierce House Inn

The Tillie Pierce House Inn was built in 1829 and purchased by James and Margaret Pierce in 1847. The Pierce Family would hold onto the home for 64 years. The inn is named for Matilda "Tillie" Pierce, who was the daughter of James and Margaret. She was fifteen when the battle started and her parents sent her to the Jacob Weikert Farm believing she would be safer there. This was at the base of little Round Top and Tillie soon found herself providing aid to wounded soldiers. She wrote of her experiences twenty-five years later in a book titled "At Gettysburg, Or What A Girl Saw And Heard Of The Battle." She wrote, "The whole landscape had been changed and I felt as though we were in a strange and blighted land." The inn features six rooms, a parlor, sitting room and Victorian garden. People claim to hear disembodied footsteps walking upstairs, the sound of a soldier pacing up and down the stairs and beds appear to have something unseen sit upon them.

Farnsworth House Inn  

The Farnsworth House Inn sits on land that had been owned by Reverend Alexander Dobbins and he sold part of the land to John F. McFarlane. The house has a murky background with McFarland being credited as the first recorded owner of the house, but its not clear he built it, nor is it clear when it was built. Most historians believe that the house was built in 1810. McFarland owned it until his death in 1851 and then the Bank of Gettysburg took ownership of the property. During the Civil War, this was another one of those field hospitals and some Confederates were buried on the property. This was also a stop on the Gettysburg Address campaign. There were other owners through the years with one of the families being the Black Family who opened up the Sleepy Hollow Inn here. In 1972, Loring and Jean Shultz bought the inn and offered tours of the house in which they shared stories about paranormal activity.

The rooms of this bed and breakfast are filled with antiques. There are ten rooms to choose from and then there is also the Lee and Meade Dining Rooms, Sweney's Tavern and a Beer Garden with outside dining. We didn't get a chance to try the food here as the main dining rooms were closed the days we visited, but Sweney's Tavern is available more often. They offer a variety of tours through their Sleepy Hollow Ghost Tours. These include a Civil War Era Magic Show or a Haunted Cellar Presentation or Yankee Spirits Walking Tour or Creekside Tales or Confederate Hospital Walking Ghost Tour or ghost hunts of the place. Clearly, embracing the paranormal started with the Schultz in the 1970s and continues to today. And there is a lot of activity here. 

There are several spirits reputed to be here, including a ghost cat. The Schultz family claim that there are at least sixteen ghosts. There are claims that there is one room that has been closed off and padlocked because the activity in there had gotten so aggressive. The lock on that door is said to rattle on its own. A bathroom up in the garret, which is the attic, sometimes plays the scene of a bloody mess. There had been three Confederate sharpshooters up in the attic during the battle that were picking off Union soldiers on Cemetery Hill and one of them was either seriously wounded or died up in the attic. There are stories that the home was stormed by Union soldiers, so they could take out the sharpshooters. The disembodied sobbing of a man is heard sometimes and if this apparition is seen, he is usually carrying the body of a child wrapped in a quilt. 

A soldiers spirit is seen in the cellar helping a wounded comrade and disembodied singing is heard down here as well. The temperature plummets in the cellar unexpectedly. A midwife tucks in guests staying in the Schultz Room and strange sounds are heard in the McFarland Room. The spirit of a young boy plays in the house. His name is said to be Jeremy and he was supposedly struck by a carriage in front of the house. And there is a nose picture here: the scent of cigar smoke. The most haunted room in the inn is the Sara Black Room. Entities have been photographed many times in the window of this room and shadow figures are seen in here. Occasionally the mattress will be depressed by something unseen. A Jews Harp can be heard playing in the attic in the dead of night. 

The most memorable evening was on a Halloween one year when a local radio station hosted a special from the house. Everybody was dressed in blue and they kept calling the host "Captain" and before long, many apparitions of soldiers were seen in the house and heard banging around. The only malevolent entity at the inn is thought to belong to a female cook who lets her displeasure be known in the kitchen and dining room. Lorraine Saintz of Johnstown, Pennsylvania said, “I spent a few days in Gettysburg last year and stayed at the Farnsworth House overnight, and upon awakening during the night, I saw a form of a woman standing near the doorway. Oh how exciting it is to know that you had a ghostly encounter.” Ghost Hunters also visited the inn in 2014 and two of the teams saw a black mass down in the basement.

Cashtown Inn

Lorraine Saintz had at experience at this next location as well. She said, "Returning to the inn around 10 p.m. and while in the parking lot I heard music and people having a good time in the bar. When I unlocked the door to get into the inn, I saw no one in the bar room and no music was playing. The bar was locked up for the night and no one was in sight." The Cashtown Inn was built in 1797 as the first stagecoach stop west of Gettysburg. The Cashtown Inn was named for the crossroads village that was founded here. The name Cashtown was derived from the fact that the first innkeeper, Peter Marck, would take only cash for goods he sold and tolls he charged for using the road. Lt. General A.P. Hill used the inn as a headquarters and his troops camped around the place. Hill would launch from this site and when the Confederates retreated, Brig. General John Imboden made the inn his headquarters and his troops ascended the mountain in the direction of Chambersburg. The cellar was used as a field hospital and amputated limbs covered over the basement windows. By the 1940s, the inn had fallen into disrepair and an owner was considering turning it into low-income apartments. Bud and Carolyn Buckley bought the property and restored it, so that it would serve as an inn once again. Jack and Maria Paladino owned it for over two decades after that. The inn has just come under new ownership in 2021 and offers three rooms and three suites for rent. The inn was used during the filming of the movie "Gettysburg."

There are a variety of experiences that take place here. The main haunt here belongs to a Confederate soldier who is seen staring from the upstairs windows. Some guests return to their rooms after a day of sightseeing to find their luggage packed for them and it isn't the innkeepers providing this unwanted service. One couple had a terrifying evening. It started with knocking at their door that wouldn't stop. When it finally stopped, they heard disembodied footsteps walking towards their bed and they stopped at the foot of the bed. Then their mattress started to shake and ripple. They described it rippling like a rock thrown into water. Something unseen grabbed the woman's shoulder. Activity increases at the inn on the anniversary dates of the battle. Many guests claim to have their doors banged on during the night and lights turn on and off by themselves. Ghost Hunters investigated here during Season 4 in 2008. A TV in a room turned itself on when the crew was setting up cameras in there. Jason felt something sit down next to him on a couch and the area felt much cooler than the rest of the area. Kris Williams became nauseous while standing in a place where amputations occurred and she actually ran upstairs and puked. 

Lightner Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast

The Lightner Farmhouse B & B at 2350 Baltimore Pike is a Federal-style two-story red brick building with blue shutters. This house was built in 1862 by Isaac and Barbara Lightner on 140 acres of farmland. They had bought the land in 1841 and originally built a much smaller home. The new bigger home reflected the families moving on up the financial standing of the community. Isaac had served as Sheriff for the county from 1858 to 1861 and lived in the courthouse in downtown Gettysburg during that time. The house was just about done when the battle came to town and by the evening of July 1st, the Lightner home and barn had become hospitals. The wounded and dying would be here for three weeks. The house has been restored, preserving the random plank floors, doors, fireplaces and leaded glass windows and outside by the old summer kitchen, guests can still see the squirrel-tail oven that the Lightner's owned and in which bread was baked for Union soldiers. There are six rooms to choose from for accommodations.

jerzee2maytoe on TripAdvisor, "While they don't really play up that the house is haunted we really believe it is! We were both awakened at about the same time each night we were there by strange sounds in the hallway. It sounded like someone dragging something heavy across the floor (a body maybe?). Then even more nerve-wracking was the sound of someone trying to get in the room (turning and shaking of the knob, etc.)."

User Attack on Both Sides posted a picture to Pinterest with the following comment, "We recently stayed at the Lightner Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast. I snapped shots of the breezeway connecting the main house with the private Walnut Cottage, which is where we stayed. Later, I noticed something in the foreground, standing in front of the window. After enlarging this portion of the picture, I saw what appeared to be a soldier, looking into the french doors, kepi on his head, and a small horse or donkey beside him. I can even see the bridle across its muzzle." Here is the picture:


Hummelbaugh House

The Hummelbaugh Farm is today owned by the National Park Service. It is named for Jacob Hummelbaugh who was born in 1818. Dates of when he owned the property are unknown, but the house was built in the 1840s and consists of a log structure beneath the shiplap siding. There is a gable roof and an extended part to the back of the house that was added after the war. Jacob was a widower and his son John was off fighting in the Civil War near Harpers Ferry when his home became a field hospital for the 2nd Corps. Confederate General William Barksdale was treated at the house and it is there that he died. This also served as headquarters for Union Cavalry commander General Alfred Pleasanton from July 4th through July 6th. The farm was very close to some of the heaviest fighting and perhaps that is why it is haunted today. People definitely believe that General Barksdale haunts the property, along with his dog. The story goes that the General died in front of the house as he called out for water over and over, despite being given water, He was buried quickly on the property, but his wife and dog came to retrieve the body. The dog jumped on top of the grave and had to be dragged away so Barksdale could be disinterred. The dog jumped back on the grave after the body was removed and he refused to leave, so Barksdale's wife left the dog behind. He refused food and water from anyone and eventually passed away. The General is still heard calling out for water and the dog is heard howling.

Daniel Lady Farm

The 146-acre farm on the Old Hanover Street was first graced by a log barn. This was replaced in 1842 by a German bank-style barn. A fieldstone farmhouse was constructed in 1820. During the Civil War, the farm served as General Edward Johnson's staging area before the Confederate attack on Culp's Hill and then a Confederate field hospital. The Lady family stayed in their house even when it was occupied by the Confederates. Daniel and his wife Rebecca sold the farm in 1867 and they left for another town with their seven children. The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association bought the Daniel Lady Farm in 1999 and restored the property. Tours and camping for re-enactors are offered. Bloodstains can still be seen on the woodwork throughout the house and there are even carvings and graffiti that can still be seen in the barn on the beams. Cadaver dogs have identified graves on the property. The Niagara Falls Police did some tests at the farm and they found an area in the parlor where a pile of blood-soaked rags were thrown, evidence of the upper torso of a body upstairs and marks from fingers of men who propped up against a wall. There was more death and blood here than any other location in Gettysburg. The upstairs of the house is the most active. Soldiers are seen still patrolling the land around the farm. General Isaac Ewell was here for a time with his troops and people believe he has returned in the afterlife.  

Gettysburg Hotel

The Gettysburg Hotel started as a tavern that was built in 1797. This was a much smaller building than the one that is seen today in the heart of the historic downtown area. We ate dinner in a restaurant across from the hotel and it is gorgeous with a Beaux-Arts architectural style. The tavern was built by James Scott and was named Scott's Tavern. A York County sheriff named William McClellan bought the tavern in 1809 and renamed it Indian Queen. By the late 1840s, the tavern was known as McClellan House. The larger structure was completed in 1890 and took on the name Gettysburg Hotel at that time. A few years later it added luxuries like modern plumbing and electric lights. President Dwight Eisenhower used this location as a temporary White House when he was recovering from a heart attack he had in 1955. By the 1960s, the hotel was closed and transformed into apartments until it was gutted by a fire in 1983. Gettysburg College worked with a historic architectural review board to reopen the hotel. In 2013 it underwent a massive renovation. There are 119 rooms and suites and this is one of the nicest places to stay in Gettysburg. The hotel offers meeting space and a ballroom in the former Gettysburg National Bank building dated to 1814 that they acquired under the ownership of Gettysburg College. Baskervill, an international full-service architectural and interior design firm, redesigned the restaurant leaving the interior with a tavern feel featuring a large communal table sitting before a grand fireplace. The lounge, named One Lincoln Food & Spirits, pays tribute to Lincoln being on the penny with a pressed-tin copper ceiling and an art piece made up of 100 copper pots of different sizes and styles. The menu has some of Lincoln's favorite foods, such as apples, cheese and chicken fricassee.

The hotel is home to several spirits because it too served as a hospital and these ghosts include a Civil War nurse named Rachel, a lady who dances in the center of the ballroom and a wounded soldier named James Culbertson who did succumb to his injuries. Rachel has been sited running down the stairs and also likes to rummage through people's belongings in the drawers of furniture in their rooms.

The Dobbin House Tavern

The Reverend Alexander Dobbin built the Dobbin House in 1776 and this is the oldest house still standing in Gettysburg. This served not only as his family's home, but he also ran a school from the property. The house became the first stop on the Underground Railroad above the Mason-Dixon Line and like most of the homes in the town, it became a field hospital. Today, the Dobbin House is an inn and restaurant. 

Blue orbs of light are seen, fires start themselves in the fireplaces and disembodied footsteps are heard. One of the most common spirits seen here belongs to a little girl. Patrons of the restaurant, Springhill Tavern, claim to see the apparition of this girl in one of the upper windows. Staff and patrons claim to see other spirits as well, including slaves and soldiers and maybe even Rev. Alexander Dobbin.

Heather wrote, "I used to work there. One day while a co worker and I were setting up for a banquet, Tabbi said she was going outside to smoke, I said okay and kept getting stuff ready. I heard someone clear as day say my name, 'Heather.' Didn't think anything of it, responded with, 'yeah?' Looked around and no one was there. Went through the dining room and up to the bedroom and still didn't see anyone. Went outside and Tabbi Roth was still there. Asked her about it and she said it wasn't her." Tabbi had her own experiences and said, "I remember going up to the bedroom and seeing a little girl out of the corner of my eye hated going up there by myself."

Trey wrote, "I talked to a long time employee there last year who does janitorial work. He said it was very common to hear footsteps where there were no people or catch a glimpse of people in period wear who disappeared as soon as you adjusted your eyes again." Audrey wrote, "About the year 2007, my family ate here for lunch. We sat on a long bench that was back up near a fireplace downstairs. They saw me jump when I felt something touch my back. I thought maybe a big bug but there was nothing around. To this day, I still wonder if it was a ghost or something like that."

Is this a picture of a ghost? Looks like a woman in a black Victorian mourning dress. A man named Clint wrote of this picture, "That is me and my buddy at the bar, it was a slow day in there. Not many people at all. My buddy kept saying he was feeling cold drafts of air to his left. Little while later, two ladies from out of town said they got that in one of the one was ever in that area while we were's def a ghost...never into the ghost stuff or believed it until that day...def real..."


National Homestead at Gettysburg

The National Homestead at Gettysburg opened in 1866 to serve as a place for both widows and orphans. The location was chosen at the north foot of Cemetery Hill. The facility was under the direction of Dr. John F. Bourns and appeared in a famous photo with Ulysses S. Grant in 1867 with the future President posing with boys and girls from the orphanage. The initial head mistress helped the orphanage to prosper, but things changed drastically when Rosa J. Carmichael took over as head mistress. She was cruel and designed the basement to become a dungeon of torture. There are still chains connected to the walls that were used to lock up the children. There was even a place down there called The Pit where kids were left for days. This is barely big enough for an adult and has no light. Carmichael allowed older kids to discipline the younger ones. There are some who believe that Carmichael killed some of the children.  The location is said to be haunted by both some of the children and Carmichael herself. The disembodied voices of children are heard and people have been touched. Ghost Adventures investigate this location in 2010. The crew heard bangs and disembodied footsteps and captured the following EVPs: "you're wonderful... thank you" after Zak offered some candy, "Watch your back with them" after a rock was thrown at Nick, "Pass all the Morgans" referring to silver dollars from the 1880s, "Betcha won't untie me", "Kill the girl", "I never killed again", "I want the bowl of money." Ghost Hunters investigated this location in 2014. A woman named Alexis told them she heard an audible male voice tell her to "get out now" when she looked into The Pit.

Sachs Covered Bridge

Sachs Covered Bridge was originally spelled as Sauches during the Civil War and is a truss covered bridge spanning 100 feet. The style features wooden beams cris-crossed like a lattice. This was built in 1854 and in 1863 would provide a route for the Union Army to come into Gettysburg. After the battle was concluded, General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia retreated across the bridge. Legend claims that three deserters were hanged at the bridge, but we've found no proof of that. Vehicles used the bridge until 1968, when it was closed to vehicular traffic. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 1980. A flash flood in 1996 knocked the bridge from one of its abutments and the bridge was restored and rededicated in 1997.

People believe the Sachs Covered Bridge is guarded by the spirits of the soldiers who died here while being pursued by the Union. Visitors to the bridge feel uneasy and some people claim to have seen full-bodied apparitions of soldiers pacing around the bridge. On a summer evening in 2004, a group of investigators saw a strange mist followed by several orange light orbs that appeared to be dancing near the bridge. They heard the sounds of cannons firing and horses as well.  This activity continued for nearly twenty minutes and then disappeared. Later they saw disembodied spirits that freaked them out a bit, but it took the disembodied growling of a male voice to finally chase them off. Virgil commented on the Astonishing Legends blog, "I went ghost hunting there a few years ago. I captured sometime after 3 in the morning an apparition of a woman with a long dress from the period and a union soldier in uniform standing along behind her by her side. It’s too bad I can’t post picture here." And Zach commented, "Anyway, my friend walked across it at night and had a terrifying experience. As he entered the bridge and slowly walked through it, making it to the other end, he heard boards creaking that wasn't his own steps. He turned around to see a dark figure standing where he entered the bridge."

Jennie Wade House

Mary Virginia Wade was known as Jennie to her family. She was born in 1843 and lived in a home on Breckenridge Street with her mother and two younger brothers and she worked as a seamstress. Her father had been locked up at Eastern State Penitentiary. Jennie had an older sister, Georgia Anna Wade McClellan, who lived at a home at 548 Baltimore Street and she was pregnant before the battle came to Gettysburg. She gave birth four days before the battle started and Jennie, along with her mother and brothers, moved to her sister's house to help. This is the house now referred to as the Jennie Wade House. Jennie was kneading dough in the kitchen around 8am when a Minie ball came through an outer door of the house and through the door of the parlor, which was open to provide extra protection, and hit just below her left shoulder blade, piercing her heart and killing her instantly. No one knows who fired the shot, but there are many bullet holes on the outside of the house, so it was definitely in the path of fire. Jennie was only 20 years old and she was the only civilian to die during the battle.

A shell came through the roof of the house and blew out part of a wall upstairs. Union soldiers came to rescue the rest of the family and they wanted to get them to the cellar, but they couldn't risk going outside on the side of the house that Georgia lived in, so the soldiers knocked out the rest of the wall upstairs to get the family to the other side of the house. They took Jennie's body with them and they all hid in the cellar together. The story of Jennie only got more tragic. She was engaged to marry Corporal Johnston “Jack” Skelly and he was wounded and captured in Winchester shortly before Jennie died. She had no idea. He died in captivity, probably never knowing that she had passed as well. Jennie was quickly buried right outside the house, but in January 1864, her body was relocated to the cemetery of the German Reformed Church on Stratton Street. She was moved a third time to her final resting place at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg and we visited the plot. It is memorialized with an eternal American flag. She is only one of two women given this honor. Betsy Ross is the other. Jack is buried near Jennie.

The Jennie Wade House is now a museum that preserves the house as it was during the battle. The bullet holes are still here as is the part of the wall knocked out upstairs. The cellar has a recreation of the events with a mannequin under a quilt serving as a stand-in for Jennie. There are ghost hunts offered here and the haunted reputation is embraced. Ghost Adventures investigated in 2010 and they captured an EVP that very much sounds like a young woman whispering "I'm pregnant" when asked what she wanted to tell her boyfriend. A legend claims that if a woman places her ring finger in the bullet hole of the outer door, she will soon be proposed to and people have written letters to the museum claiming that this has indeed happened. Visitors and investigators claim to be scratched, pushed and pinched by something unseen and Zak even had his butt grabbed. Ghost Hunters also visited the house in 2014. A FLIR camera caught a figure walking on the property. They were told by a tour guide that he had seen a male child spirit in the house and they think he may have come over from the orphanage, which is across the street.

Gettysburg is a wonderful historic town that every one really needs to visit at least once in their life. The museum does a great job of covering the history before the Civil War started, the various battles highlighting Gettysburg and the aftermath for both the town and country. Gettysburg is similar to St. Augustine in that one can just feel the spiritual energy all around. Driving through the battlefield at night and seeing the silhouettes of the monuments on the hills is chilling. Driving the battlefield and heading out to Sachs Bridge reveals just how much area was covered by the battle and all the intricacies of everything that happened over those fated three days. It is not surprising that lots of spiritual residue has lead to paranormal activity in this town. Are these locations in Gettysburg haunted? That is for you to decide!