Thursday, November 24, 2022

HGB Ep. 462 - Haunted Saint Petersburg, Russia

Moment in Oddity - Insect Fairies 

Most people find butterflies and similar insects to be quite beautiful. Sadly, they don't typically have long lifespans. However, one artist in the Netherlands gives these creatures a second life by turning the carcasses into art. Let me introduce you to Cedric Laquieze. This artist creates fairies from ethically sourced insects' exoskeletons and wings. He gingerly dissects them and rearranges their parts to produce one of a kind sculptures. Some of his fairies use up to ten different insects. Cedric stated to Gloomth Magazine, “The aspect of the fairies that I like the most is that over the span of almost 20 years and hundreds of fairies, I’ve never made the same piece twice, and the shapes, colors and designs are extremely diverse. From dark and intimidating, to almost cartoon like or Victorian and classic, each one has found its counterpart”. His pieces of art are quite beautiful and delicate, but one thing is for sure, creating fairies out of dead insects, certainly is odd. 

This Month in History -  The First Female Medical School

In November, on the 1st, in 1848, the first medical school for women was opened in Boston Massachusetts. The school founder, Samuel Gregory, began with just twelve students and two faculty members. Initially graduates were referred to as "Doctresses of Medicine", which the female graduates did not care for. Twelve years after the school began, the college started graduating women as "Doctors of Medicine". This began the Boston Female Medical College, and in 1852, it changed its name to the New England Female Medical College. This was the first female medical school in the United States—and in the world. Prior to the college's opening, women could train to be a midwife or nurse, but not a doctor. The schools' graduation requirements consisted of previous medical study, two years of attendance at NEFMC, a final thesis, and passing a final exam. Despite the women earning their medical degree, the female physicians did have a difficult time being accepted like their male counterparts. Due to financial burdens on the school after being open 26 years, and having granted 98 medical degrees, the New England Female Medical College merged with Boston University to become the co-educational Boston University School of Medicine in 1874.

Haunted Saint Petersburg, Russia

Saint Petersburg is the former capital of Russia and has existed for over 300 years. This is the second largest city in Russia and was home to tsars. The city is replete with beautiful historic structures, many of which still hold spirits from the past. Join us as we share the history and haunted locations of Saint Petersburg in Russia!

Saint Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 and was named for the apostle Saint Peter. It was hard for some to believe that Peter would want this as a capital because it was a swamp and an unforgiving climate. His vision and unrelenting work ethic that he pushed on the soldiers and peasants that lived there, grew a big and powerful city. What that means is that Tsar Peter drove those workers hard to the point of even death for some of them. This city served as the capital of Tsardom and the Empire of Russia from 1713 to 1918, when the Bolsheviks moved their government to Moscow. The city has hundreds of years of history and is considered Russia's cultural center. One of the largest art museums in the world, the Hermitage, is located here. Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote of Saint Petersburg, "There’s nothing you can’t find in Saint Petersburg." Living conditions in Saint Petersburg were very tough throughout its history as newly freed serfs flowed into the city and Bloody Sunday in the early 19th century lead to the Russian Duma. The city was even named Leningrad for a time after the death of Lenin who led Russia into Soviet control. During World War II, the city was besieged by German forces. In 1991, the city became Saint Petersburg again and millions of tourists visit the city every year. Many sites here are reputedly haunted.

The Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman stands on Senatskaia Ploshchad, which means Senate Square, facing the Neva River. It is surrounded by historic religious and political buildings, the Admiralty, St Isaac's Cathedral and the buildings of the former Senate and Synod. This statue was ordered built by Catherine the Great in 1782 and features Peter the Great sitting atop a horse that is reared up on its hind legs. The horse is stepping on a snake that symbolizes the enemies of Peter and his move to reform the country. His right hand reaches out as he leads the country forward. The pedestal is made from a single piece of red granite that is shaped like a cliff and an inscription on it reads, "Petro Primo Catharina Secunda - To Peter the First from Catherine the Second." This stone is called the Thunder Stone and is said to be the largest stone ever moved by humans. The sculpture was created by French sculptor Etienne Maurice Falconet. A 19th century legend claims that enemy forces will never take Saint Petersburg as long as the statue stands. And indeed, Leningrad didn't fall during the 900-day Siege.

The ghost of Peter the Great is seen in many places in the city. His favorite spot seems to be this statue. People claim that if you approach the statue at night that you should be careful as you may see the spirit of a very tall, dark figure walking near the statue. Even more bizarre are the stories that the statue itself comes to life and Peter steps down from the horse and patrols the streets of his city. And there are some 19th century police reports that claim that a couple of people were found during that era with their skulls crushed, not far from the Bronze Horseman. Alexander Pushkin, the founder of modern Russian literature, wrote a poem in 1833 entitled “The Bronze Horseman” that reads, "One night, while passing by the Bronze Horseman, Evgeny starts cursing Peter the Great for founding the city in such a dangerous location. Out of his mind over the loss of his fiancée, Evgeny fancies that the statue angrily glares at him. Rushing away, he keeps on hearing hooves clattering behind him, and later, the madman is found dead."

Griboedov Canal

The Griboedov Canal twists through the center of Saint Petersburg with more than 21 bridges crossing it. This was once known as the Catherine Canal. One of the highlights along the canal is a mansion that was built in 1759 for General Villebois. Millionaire Baron Vasily Engelhardt owned it during the 1820s and 1830s and hosted extravagant balls and masquerades. Today, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic plays there. Russia's first banknotes were printed along the canal and the Bank Bridge is near where this happened. The bridge features four griffin sculptures with gilded wings. And some of the grandest churches in Saint Petersburg lie along the canal. Something mysterious lurks on the embankments of the canal and its connected to the murder of Tsar Alexander II. 

Alexander II was Emporer of Russia from 1855 to 1881 and was known as Alexander the Liberator. In the late 19th century, a far-left revolutionary political organization known as Narodnaya Volya, which translates to People's Will, was growing in membership. This was a group that focused on assassinating government officials. On March 13, 1881, Tsar Alexander II was their crosshairs. This was a Sunday and the Tsar had just finished attending the Mikhailovsky Manège military roll call. He travelled along Catherine's Canal in a closed bullet-proof carriage followed by two sleighs carrying a security detail with both the chief of police and the chief of the emperor's guards. One of the members of People's Will, Nikolai Rysakov, threw a bomb at the carriage, but only damaged it. He was quickly apprehended and the Tsar stupidly got out of the carriage to survey the damage and confront the young man. Rysakov yelled out to another person in the crowd and this man threw another bomb that landed at the Tsar's feet and exploded. The Tsars legs were ripped away and his stomach was blown open. He was rushed to the Winter Palace where he died. The spot where the attack occurred is now marked by the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. 

All members of the People's Will were rounded up, brought to trial and executed by hanging. One of those members was Sophia Perovskaya. Her spirit has returned here to the canal and is said to be mischievous. She is seen wearing a long dress with a big red mark around her neck and a blue face and waving a white handkerchief, much like she did on the day the Tsar was murdered and this served as a signal to the bombers. Legend claims that if you happen to see this spirit, you will fall into the canal and possibly even die. She usually appears in early March on foggy and quiet nights. She has been seen for more than 100 years by many eyewitnesses. Also on the spot where the Tsar died, people claim to hear disembodied moans and sometimes even see the Tsar.

Mikhailovsky Castle/St. Michael's Castle

St. Michael's Castle was originally known as Mikhailovsky Castle and sits at the corner of the Fontanka and Moika Rivers. The castle is the only one in Saint Petersburg. It was built to replace the small wooden palace of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. St. Michael's Castle is a very unique structure featuring four different architectural styles like baroque, classicist, Romantic and early Empire and drawbridges because the two rivers and two man-made canals, basically made the castle an island unto itself. The castle is in the shape of a square with an octagonal inner courtyard. This structure was designed over many years by Tsar Paul I, but was built in great haste, leading it to be thought of as one of the most uninhabitable places for a long time. The reason for the quick build was because the Tsar was a paranoid man and he wanted something that would protect him. The building was freezing in the winter with ice forming on the inner walls and in the summer, the castle was incredibly humid. Paintings were damaged and the walls began to peel. The Tsar would only live here for 40 nights.

Tsar Paul I was born Pavel Petro on October 1, 1754. He was the son of Catherine the Great and Peter III. Peter III was emperor of Russia for only six months in 1762 and was overthrown by his wife Catherine and her lover Grigory Orlov. He was later killed, but not before Catherine became empress of Russia. She reigned for thirty-four years and never allowed her son Paul to help with anything politically. She didn't want Paul to succeed her, but he did when she died in 1796. Tsar Paul reversed much of what his mother had done for Russia and he imposed limits on Russian nobility, which they were not happy with. On top of that, he provoked the anger of the military by ordering harsh disciplines and giving preference to his Gatchina troops, which were the Imperial guards. He also led Russia in war with France and Great Britain. 

Tsar Paul had a target on his back and it was only a matter of time before someone was going to end him. He was incredibly paranoid for good reason. His own father had been overthrown and murdered. Tsar Paul himself had premonitions that he would be assassinated. He hoped his castle would protect him, but he had very few guards who could stand to live there. Counts Peter Ludwig von der Pahlen, Nikita Petrovich Panin, and Admiral de Ribas and British ambassador in Saint Petersburg, Charles Whitworth, all conspired to assassinate Paul. Generals Bennigsen and Yashvil led a group of dismissed officers to the castle and they first tried to get Paul to abdicate the thrown so his son Alexander I could reign. He refused. He was stabbed, strangled and trampled to death. His son had given his consent for the overthrow, but he didn't support an assassination. He was made emperor and never punished the officers. The court physician declared that Paul died of apoplexy, which is basically a stroke. The Tsar had ruled for exactly four years, four months and four days, and he lived in his castle for only 40 days. He was buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral.

The castle was left abandoned for 18 years. There were drawings that revealed the castle's secret vaults, but these were destroyed by Brenna who was an architect of the castle. Supposedly, a hidden treasure box is in a vault and holds mystical relics. The castle became Engineer's Castle in 1823 when the army's Main Engineering School moved in. Today, it is a branch of the Russian Museum. Weird stuff started happening at the castle. Disembodied footsteps were heard and moaning. A weak dim light was seen moving about the corridors. A group of soldiers who were staying there had been walking the castle when they all came running out of a room, crossing themselves and yelling that they had just seen Tsar Paul I holding a candle in there. The Tsar loved the violin and he himself played. Legends claim that he can sometimes be seen playing his favorite instrument at one of the windows. There is a metal figure outside the castle guarding it near one of the drawbridges and if you throw a coin at its head, it will predict your future.

Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress was established in May of 1703 by Peter the Great and has 24 buildings or other structures to see. This original citadel of Saint Petersburg sits on Hare Island by the north bank of the Neva River. Being that this was the first structure built in the new city, it is considered the birthplace of the city. The fortress was mainly used to hold political prisoners of high-ranking and to house the city garrison. In 1712, the Peter and Paul Cathedral was started and took 21 years to complete. This has a 404 foot bell tower that makes this the tallest in the city center and it is actually the tallest Orthodox bell tower in the world. There is a gilded angel-topped cupola as well. The Russian Orthodox cathedral was designed by Domenico Trezzini and has a unique iconostasis. The Flemish city of Mechelen, Flanders gifted a Flemish carillon to the cathedral. The cathedral became a museum in 1924, but religious services started again in 2000. This is also a mausoleum with nearly all of the Russian emperors and empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas II buried here.

In 1724, one of the world's largest mints was founded here at the fortress by Peter the Great. This is the Saint Petersburg Mint. It started out as just a coinage workshop that made money and medals, but in 1800, the main building of the mint was started. It was completed in 1805 and was designed by A. Porto in the classical architectural style. The building was expanded in the 1830s and then again in the 1840s. A stone wall completed the complex. The Capital Funds Building is also part of the Mint and was completed in 1843. In the 1870s, the prison block was rebuilt and is known as the Trubetskoy Bastion, named after Count Yuri Trubetskoy. The disgraced son of Peter the Great was tortured and died here. He had worked with others to attempt to overthrow his father. This is a museum sharing the history of the prison and its inmates. The Alexeevskiy Ravelin was built in 1733 and housed many prominent inmates, including Fyodor Dostoevsky. The Zotov Bastion was named for Count Nikita Zotov, a tutor and close friend of Peter the Great. This once housed the offices of the Secret Chancellery, the Tsar's feared secret police force.

The Golovkin Bastion was completed in 1730 and named after Count Gavriil Golovkin, the first Chancellor of Russia. A small building in the fortress serves as the ticket office and is known as The Boathouse. The structure was finished in 1765 and had housed Peter the Great's small sailboat that he used to learn naval principles as a youth from 1767 to 1931. This boat was known as the Grandfather of the Russian Navy. The Ioannovskiy Ravelin is the main visitor entrance to the Peter and Paul Fortress and was named for Tsar Ivan V. This was built in 1731 and housed a guardhouse and barracks. Today, tourists can see the Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology here. There is a daily firing of the cannon from the Naryshkin Bastion at noon. This structure was built in 1725 and named for Kirill Naryshkin, one of the leading military commanders and administrators of Peter the Great's reign. The Flagstaff Tower was added in the 1730s and features the fortress's own flag, or the Imperial standard on holidays back in the day. The Menshikov Bastion was built in 1729 and named for Peter the Great's closest confidant and the first governor of Saint Petersburg, Alexander Menshikov. This held the torture chambers of the Secret Chancellery, which was the Imperial regime's secret police. This became a barracks later.

One of the spirits that wanders the grounds here is thought to be Princess Tarakanova who was born in 1745 and went by the name Knyazhna Yelizaveta Vladimirskaya, Princess of Vladimir. The name she is known by today, Tarakanova, means cockroach in Russian and she got that name because she was apparently a fraud. She claimed to be the daughter of Alexei Razumovsky and Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Empress Catherine II ordered her arrested and that happened in February of 1775. She was here at the Peter and Paul Fortress and died from tuberculosis. She was buried in the graveyard of the fortress, although there are legends that her death was faked and she became a nun named Dosifea who lived in the Ivanovsky Convent from 1785 until her death in 1810.

The Rotunda

The Rotunda is located at the corner of Gorokhovaya Ulitsa and the Fontanka River Embankment, inside the Evmentev House, which was built in the 18th century. The Rotunda has a mystical reputation. The Rotunda is formed from six free-standing columns and a cast iron staircase that looks to almost rise endlessly upwards along the curves of the walls. Legends claim that Freemasons gathered here and also Satanists. During the 1970s and 1980s, members of subcultures made this their hangout. They started the idea that dreams and wishes written on the walls of the Rotunda would come true. Another legend claims that a young man who went down into the basement of the house ended up in a parallel universe for about 15 minutes. When he came back up, he was a white-haired 70 year-old-man. And then there's this, at midnight one can meet Satan here. Grigory Rasputin enjoyed the Rotunda, so perhaps that is true.

Obvodny Canal

The Obvodny Canal is the longest artificial canal in Saint Petersburg and was once the southern boundary of the city. Unfortunately, the canal is a favorite spot for people seeking to end their lives and many have been successful. But those might not all be by choice. Some who have been rescued have claimed that they didn't mean to jump into the canal, but that they were overwhelmed by a compulsion to jump. Could it be that the restless spirits in the canal are compelling people to join them.

Rasputin’s Apartment

And our final location was once home to one of the most infamous and mysterious people in history, Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin has been called the "Mad Monk" by many and his connection with the family of the final tsar of Russia is legendary. Some believed he was a charlatan, while others thought of him as a mystic and a prophet with amazing powers of persuasion. Rasputin was born in 1869 in the village of Pokrovskoye, on the Tura river in Siberia. Nothing about his early life seemed remarkable. He got into a bit of trouble with authorities when he was young, but when he reached adulthood, he worked on his family farm, married a local girl and they had seven children, three of which survived to adulthood. Everything shifted for Rasputin at the age of twenty-eight when he had a spiritual conversion of some sort and decided to go find himself. He left his wife, who was pregnant at the time, and his children. In 1897, he ended up at the St. Nicholas Monastery at Verkhoturye and he spent many months there learning to read and write and studying. When he returned to his wife, he looked disheveled and started behaving strangely.

The next few years were spent wandering away from home on pilgrimages, visiting holy sites, and then returning home and leaving again. He gathered a small group of followers with whom he prayed and that's when the rumors about him started. It sounds very much like he was forming a cult. The group met in secret to avoid the anger of local priests and the women in the group were said to ritually wash Rasputin before he would deliver messages. There were tales of self-flogging, sexual orgies and the singing of strange songs. While Rasputin avoided his local clergy, some other Russian Orthodox clergy were impressed with his charisma and they introduced him around. He began to climb the ranks of Russian society until he was finally introduced to the family of Tsar Nicholas II Romanov. The Tsar wrote of this first meeting in October of 1906, "A few days ago I received a peasant from the Tobolsk district, Grigori Rasputin, who brought me an icon of St. Simon Verkhoturie. He made a remarkably strong impression both on Her Majesty and on myself, so that instead of five minutes our conversation went on for more than an hour."

Rasputin had a way of reading people and he gained the trust of the Imperial family. They were open to his mysticism as they had consulted other spiritual advisors that were similar to Rasputin. Spiritualism and Theosophy were becoming very popular. Rasputin was great at telling them what they wanted to hear and he claimed to be able to heal people. Nicholas and his wife Alexandra were so impressed with Rasputin that they decided to ask for his help in healing their son Alexei. Alexei had hemophilia and although there is no historical proof, there are those who say that Rasputin did help alleviate the symptoms. Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting said that she believed that Rasputin used peasant folk medicine from Siberia that helped with internal bleeding. Modern historians think that Rasputin protecting the boy from doctors who were giving him aspirin was probably the real cure. This success garnered him more favor with the family and during World War I, Rasputin was giving Nicholas political advice. 

Rasputin appeared as a holy man to the Imperial family, but on the side, he was anything but that. He was frolicking with women in the city and was seen drunk in public many times. Rumors about Rasputin having relations with the Tsarina and her four daughters started circulating and got so bad that Nicholas asked Rasputin to leave for a time, so he went on a pilgrimage to Palestine. He returned after awhile and the Imperial family was happy to have him back. But the officials around the family were not happy and they knew they needed to do something as Nicholas continued to value Rasputin's advice over all others. Rasputin continued to brag about his relationship with the Tsar's family as he showed off embroidered shirts Alexandra made for him.

Rasputin was murdered on December 29, 1916 at Moika Palace. This was the residence of Felix Yussupov, the richest man in Russia at the time, and Rasputin was told that Felix's wife wanted to meet with the mystic. She was the only niece of the Tsar. This was a ruse planned by a group of conspirators that wanted to protect the Tsar and his family. Rasputin accepted the invitation and was served almond cakes. These were laced with potassium cyanide, but the mystic remained unscathed. The conspirators were dumbfounded. They decided to shoot the guy, so they sprayed him with dozens of bullets. Rasputin bolted from the Palace, ran across the yard and climbed over the fence. The conspirators took off after him and finally caught up with him at the Malaya Nevka River near Kamenny Island. There, they drowned him in the icy waters. Yussupov wrote in his memoirs, "This devil who was dying of poison, who had a bullet in his heart, must have been raised from the dead by the powers of evil. There was something appalling and monstrous in his diabolical refusal to die."

The body was retrieved shortly thereafter when authorities followed the blood trail, so Rasputin clearly was hit by at least one bullet. The corpse was embalmed and buried at Aleksandrovsky Park at Tsarkoe Selo, on the site of the Seraphim Sarovsky Cathedral, which was being built at the time. A little over a year later, the body was exhumed by soldiers and they burned the body in a furnace and scattered the ashes to the wind. The displeasure of certain segments of society with tsarism was only more inflamed by the relationship that Rasputin had with the Romanov family. Provisional Government leader Alexander Kerensky went so far as to say, "Without Rasputin there would have been no Lenin." The Romanov family was eventually executed.

This wasn't the end of Rasputin. His spirit still seems to be in Saint Petersburg. Rasputin had a flat on the second floor of a building located at 64 Gorokhovaya Street. People who have lived here claim to see the apparition of Rasputin wandering the halls. They hear his disembodied quiet muttering. And there is the clunky footsteps that cause the floorboards to squeak. His ghost doesn't seem to be threatening.

And then there is this weird story from the website Russia Beyond, "In St. Petersburg there are many famous cemeteries, and even more stories and legends about them. They say that in the 1970s the monk Prokopiy lived near Nikolskoye Cemetery. He was known for practicing witchcraft and black magic. One day, supposedly the devil appeared before him and offered him a deal: His soul in exchange for immortality. Fulfilling the terms of their agreement, on the night of Easter, the monk lured a young, promiscuous girl to the cemetery. He tied her to a cross, gouged her eyes out, cut out her tongue, and filled a church’s cup with her blood. Then, he had to curse God 666 times and drink the cup of blood before dawn. But the monk ran out of time, and when the first rays of sun shone, he fell dead upon the ground. Witnesses swear that the right leg of the man became a cat, and that since then, visitors to the cemetery started witnessing a huge black cat with grey fur on its chin."

Fun Fact on Peter the Great: He liked to collect oddities and had a cabinet of curiosities. He sent a decree out to Russia to send "monsters", "ugly ones", and other marvels to the Museum. He wrote that these items were "to instruct and teach about Nature - living and dead - and about the artistry that flows from the hands of men." Much of these items were put into Russian's first museum opened for the public, the Kunstkammer. There is a collection of artistically prepared specimens of human fetuses fabricated by Frederik Ruysch. The most interesting specimen is Nicholas Bourgeous, or at least his skeleton. Nicholas was from France and he was considered a giant at 7 feet, 2 inches. Peter the Great made him his bodyguard and his main job was to stand on the footboard at the back of Peter's carriage. He died at the age of 42 and the Tsar preserved his skeleton. Peter's death mask is also at the museum.

Saint Petersburg is a city full of grand historical structures representing centuries of Russian history. Are some of these structures haunted by the spirits of that historic past? Is Saint Petersburg haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

HGB Ep. 461 - The Alamo

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Moment in Oddity - Owl Attacks

As spooky weird kids, many of us love critters that are often associated with Halloween, such as owls. But there's one woman in Washington who may not be a fan of this feathered creature any longer. Her frightening experience occurred while out for her daily walk in the woods near her home. A white barred owl silently swooped from the sky and clawed her scalp. She stated that, "It felt like getting punched in the back of the head by someone wearing rings". So after getting cleaned up, she determined that she would avoid the owls territory for a bit. However, that feisty feathered fowl found her again one week later and accosted her in her own driveway, this time leaving damage even worse than the first encounter. Upon further research, the woman discovered that during nesting or 'pre-breeding' season, the barred owl can become quite aggressive and territorial. The woman read of a female jogger who would actually wear an owl mask on the back of her head while out for a run to avoid such conflicts. Most of us are probably surprised to learn about this type of behavior from such an adorable creature and getting attack even once is pretty rare, but getting attacked by an owl twice in one week, certainly is odd. 

This Month in History -  The Inception of the U.S.M.C.

In November, on the 10th, in 1775, the United States Marine Corps began with the founding of the Continental Marines by the Continental Congress. They were the amphibious infantry of the American Colonies (and later the United States), during the American Revolutionary War. The Corps' mission was to conduct ship-to-ship fighting during naval engagements, provide shipboard security, protecting the Captain and his officers, assist with landing forces and discipline enforcement. The Continental Marines totaled 131 officers and around 2,000 enlisted Colonial Marines when they were disbanded in 1783. The organization would then be recreated in 1798 and the United States Marine Corps still marks November 10th, 1775 as it's birth date. Over the years the U.S. Marine Corps has been involved in nearly every conflict in the history of the United States. Due to the availability of Marine forces at sea and their ability to respond quickly and on short notice, the United States Marine Corps has become a principal tool for U.S. foreign policy. 

The Alamo

The Alamo is stunningly small considering its place in Texan history. The battle that took place at this former mission became a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution and made famous men like Davy Crockett and James Bowie. The complex is incredibly haunted and the sighting of spirits is what saved it from demolition. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Alamo!

The Texas Revolution began in October of 1835. This was a rebellion of Texians, who were Anglo-American residents of Mexican Texas, and Tejanos, who were descendants of Spaniards living in Mexican Texas, against the Mexican government. Mexican Texas was known as Tejas and only incorporated the bottom portion of today's Republic of Texas. Immigrants living in Mexican Texas had once lived in Federalized America and they were used to living with liberty. As the Mexican government centralized power, these immigrants resisted. Some of them also wanted to continue to be slave owners and that was outlawed by Mexico. Colonists first tried to secede from Mexico with the Fredonian Rebellion in 1826. The first skirmish between Texas and Mexico took place on June 26, 1832, the Battle of Velasco. The battle lastest for three days and the number of causalities is unknown. A convention was held in 1832 where Texas representatives met to discuss what they should do about the Mexican government. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna claimed he was a Federalist and that he needed the Texians' help to overthrow the Centralist Mexican President, Anastacio Bustmente. Santa Anna had lied. The Texians met at Turtle Bayou and signed the Turtle Bayou Resolutions pledging loyalty to Santa Anna. At the Convention of 1833, Texas created their own constitution. After the first official battle of the Texas Revolution, Santa Anna pulled together a force to quell the rebellion.

Father Antonio Olivares had founded the original Franciscan mission in San Antonio, San Antonio de Padua Mission, in 1716 and this combined with the San Francisco Solano Mission in 1718 to become the Mission San Antonio de Valero. The monks had a goal of witnessing to the Native Americans in the area.  The site for the mission was selected in 1724. The main complex of the Alamo was built by Franciscan monks with the cornerstone being laid in 1744. The missions religious efforts started to wind down in 1765 and the monks finally abandoned it in 1793. A company of Spanish soldiers then occupied the mission and used the complex as a barracks. The Spanish word for cottonwood was Alamo and since there was a large cottonwood tree sitting outside of the gates of the mission, the soldiers started calling their barracks, The Alamo. 

In January of 1836, the mission had become a storage facility with much of the material being armaments. General Sam Houston was worried that the weapons would fall into the hands of General Santa Anna and he decided the Alamo should be demolished. He sent a garrison led by James Bowie to do the job. Bowie was born in the late 1790s and made his way in life clearing land and sawing timber in Louisiana. He bought and renovated a sugar plantation and served in the Louisiana state legislature. Bowie left Louisiana after he killed a man in a duel and he ended up in Texas in 1828. He became a Mexican citizen, but later became interested in the Texas movement to revolt. He became a colonel in the Texas army and fought valiantly in several battles. Many people know the name Bowie because of the Bowie knife.

*Rabbit Hole: The Bowie Knife was designed by James' brother Rezin and forged by their neighbor, blacksmith Jesse Clifft. This was like butcher knife with a thin blade and no silver mounts. The special knife became public after the Sandbar Fight on September 19, 1827. This started as a duel between Samuel Levi Wells and Dr. Thomas Maddox. Neither man hit the other and so they shook hands and started to leave when members of Maddox entourage fired on Wells' group. James Bowie was in Wells' group and he was shot in the lung. One of the men, Norris Wright, started stabbing Bowie who grabbed his knife and sunk it into Wright's chest. Every one who saw this started talking about this legendary knife that Bowie carried. The Red River Herald of Natchitoches reported, "All the steel in the country it seemed was immediately converted into Bowie knives."*

When James Bowie arrived at the Alamo, he realized that this was the last line of defense and made a great location to stop Santa Anna's march.  There was also a practical reason why Bowie didn't line the Alamo with dynamite and blow it up. He was supposed to remove the armaments before doing that and he knew that his small group of twenty-five couldn't move two dozen cannons without oxen and carts. He ordered his men to reinforce the former mission. 

William Barret Travis was born in 1809 in South Carolina and grew up on a family farm. He went on to become an attorney. He married a woman named Rosanna in 1828 and the two had a son about nine months later. Travis abandoned his wife and son a year later when Rosanna was pregnant with a girl, a child that Travis claimed wasn't his and he apparently killed a man whom he thought had been with his wife. Travis headed for Texas where he would become a hero helping Texas fight the revolution as a cavalry officer. He went to the Alamo with thirty men to serve as reinforcements on February 3, 1836. A few days later, frontierman Davy Crockett arrived with a small group of volunteers.

David Crockett was born in August of 1786 in the future state of Tennessee. Davy, as everyone called him, spent much of his childhood working off debts for his father. He eventually married twice and had five children and two step-children. Davy became a scout for the Tennessee militia in 1813 and he served as a third sergeant during the War of 1812. He served in the Tennessee General Assembly and ran several businesses that were destroyed in a flood. Crockett served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831, but would not be re-elected because he opposed President Andrew Jackson's 1830 Indian Removal Act. He managed to get re-elected in 1833 and served until 1835. Crockett decided to move to Texas when he heard talk of revolution. His daughter later wrote of his leaving, "He was dressed in his hunting suit, wearing a coonskin cap, and carried a fine rifle presented to him by friends in Philadelphia.... He seemed very confident the morning he went away that he would soon have us all to join him in Texas." Crockett arrived at the Alamo with five men on February 8, 1836.

Travis and Bowie jockeyed for command of the Alamo before Santa Anna arrived. The men agreed to share command until Bowie fell ill. Santa Anna started to make his way to San Antonio de Bexar in February of 1836 with the goal of finally ending the rebellion. Santa Anna arrived with his army on February 23rd. The Alamo had a small garrison of men, four women, a baby and five children. The Mexicans raised a blood-red flag signifying no quarter and Travis ordered a cannon to be fired in response. Bowie wasn't happy with this and ordered chief engineer Green B. Jameson to meet with Santa Anna. Santa Anna informed Jameson that there would be no honorable surrender and that they must surrender unconditionally. Travis and Bowie decided to fire the cannon again and the siege of the Alamo began. 

The Mexicans set up batteries that they inched closer and closer to the Alamo. In the first week of the siege, nobody died, but the Mexicans fired more than 200 cannonballs into the Alamo plaza. The Texians fired as many, reusing many of the Mexican cannonballs. The Texians started to lose steam as they had to conserve fire power and Bowie fell ill. Two Mexicans were the first to die. Then six more were killed and four others were wounded, while no Texians died. Unfortunately, that would not remain the case. One of the greatest works ever penned about American patriotism would be written by Colonel Travis on February 24th. This was the man who had unsheathed his sword and drawn a line on the ground before his battle-weary men and declared, "Those prepared to give their lives in Freedom's cause, come over to me!"

The letter reads, "To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World: Fellow citizens & compatriots—I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna—I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken—I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch—The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country—Victory or Death.

Lt. Col. William Barret Travis

P.S. The Lord is on our side—When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn—We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves."

Reinforcements were sent, but they only went a mile before turning around. The Alamo was on its own. The Mexicans had received reinforcements, by March 3rd there were 3100 Mexicans outside of the Alamo. On the evening of March 4th, Bowie's cousin-in-law Juana Navarro Alsbury went to Santa Anna to negotiate a surrender, but this was denied as Santa Anna saw no glory in a bloodless victory. On the evening of March 5th, Santa Anna stopped the bombardment of the Alamo to lull the Texians into a sense of peace. At 5:30am on March 6th, the Mexicans attacked, killing three Texian sentinels outside the walls. The buglers started playing and the soldiers started cheering, "Viva Santa Anna!" The Texians awoke sending the civilians to the chapel for protection. The Texians were out of canister shot, so they stuffed the cannons with chopped up horseshoes, door hinges, nails and other pieces of metal. This was very effective and some of the new Mexican recruits killed their fellows with friendly fire.

Travis was one of the first Texians to die. His men kept the Mexicans from climbing the walls and they withdrew and prepared for a second attack, which was also repulsed. A third attack wasn't going well either and Santa Anna had to send in his reinforcements. At this point, the Mexicans realized that they could scale the north wall. The Mexican army swarmed up the walls, killed the gunners on the south end and took control of the 18-pounder cannon. The east wall had also been penetrated. The Texians fell back to the barracks and the chapel. Some of the Texians headed out for the prairie, but were killed. Crockett and his men were attempting to hold the low wall in front of the chapel and had to use their guns as clubs because they had no time to reload. Crockett would die there. All the Texians were forced back to the chapel as the Alamo fell under the control of the Mexican army. They raised their flag above the complex. The cannons were turned on the Texians and doors were blown open and the Mexicans rushed in to do hand-to-hand combat.

James Bowie died in his sick bed either fighting off the Mexicans or committing suicide. There is no accurate account, but we'd like to believe he was brandishing his famous knife and went down with a bit of a fight. Whatever fight a sick man could give. The only people left alive at this point were in the chapel, 11 men and the women and children. The Mexicans blasted open the door and bayoneted all the men. One of the men made a valiant effort to try to torch the gunpowder, but he fell dead before he could. The blast would have killed the women and children, so that was a good thing. One of the male children was killed when he was mistaken as an adult. Twenty women and children survived, as did Travis' enslaved man named Joe. The Battle of the Alamo was over.

But the Mexican soldiers kept firing into the dead bodies. Casualties are hard to pin down. The Mexicans lost more men by far. Estimates range from 400 to 1,600 of the Mexicans died and around 250 Texians died. The Mexicans stacked and burned the dead Texians, except for Gregorio Esparza, whose brother was in Santa Anna's army and he requested to give his brother a Christian burial. The ashes of the Texians were later collected and put in a joint coffin and buried in an unknown location near the Alamo. General Santa Anna wanted to burn more than just the bodies. He wanted to burn down the complex. This wasn't going to become a martyr shrine under his watch. He tasked General Andrade with the mission. Andrade gathered a group of his men and sent them off, but they returned shortly thereafter, white-as-ghosts and shaken. They told their General that they didn't burn down the Alamo because when they arrived, they found six diablos with flaming swords blocking the entrance. The men ran in fear. Some of the men told Andrade that they thought the entities were spirits of Franciscan monks. Others claimed they were the ghosts of the defenders of the Alamo. 

Andrade scoffed at such nonsense. Not only did he not believe the story, but he was under pressure from Santa Anna to burn the place. So he gathered a few men who had not gone before and he led them to the Alamo to get the job done himself. As Andrade expected, there were no spirits blocking the entrance when they arrived. He decided that they would burn the Long House Barracks first. Andrade directed his men to start stacking wood and other flammable material. The activity was brought to a halt when a spirit appeared on top of the barracks with balls of fire in his hands. The light from the fire was blinding and the spirit held its hands out. The men fell to their knees and covered their eyes. Andrade was no longer scoffing as he too, fell to the ground. He ordered his men to retreat and they rode out of San Antonio. He never returned and neither did Santa Anna, so the Alamo sat abandoned.

Texas was annexed into the United States and the Army decided to turn the Alamo into a barracks in 1846. In 1871, it was decided to demolish parts of the Alamo, including the church. This demolition didn't take place because the citizens wanted to keep the complex and because of all the stories of apparitions around the Alamo. Superstition made people think that if they destroyed the complex, they would bring bad luck. So the complex was turned into a police headquarters and jail. A wholesale grocery store used the complex for awhile. In 1891, The Daughters of the Republic of Texas decided that they would preserve the Alamo. Two members, Adina Emilia De Zavala and Clara Driscoll petitioned the state legislature in 1905 to purchase the Alamo and give the DRT conservatorship. The women stopped working together after that because they had different visions. De Zavala wanted this to go back to the mission look while Driscoll wanted to make the complex look much as it does today. The women formed different factions and fought over control with Driscoll obviously winning, but not before De Zavala barricaded herself in the church for three days. And the DRT would hold onto that control until 2015 when Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush officially moved control of the Alamo to the Texas General Land Office. The Alamo was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 5, 2015. Today, the Alamo is one of the most popular historic sites in the country with over four million visitors a year.

And through all those years, ghost sightings continued. The San Antonio Express published a series of stories in the 1890s detailing some of these stories. Police reported that there were ghosts that marched along the roof of the police station and prisoners complained of ghostly moaning coming from the corridors of their cells. Shadow figures were often seen in the buildings. Many of the stories came from guests staying at the Menger Hotel, which is right next to the Alamo. They swore that they saw the spirits of an army marching back and forth in front of the Alamo and that spirit guards stood watch at night. Some spirits would look alive until they walked through the walls of the Alamo. The activity got to be too much for the police and they moved the jail because no one wanted to work certain shifts.

There are more than just the spirits of the Alamo defenders seen here though. The mission was originally built over what had once been the cemetery for San Antonio. Nearly a thousand people had been buried on this land and to this day, skulls and bones are sometimes dug up when construction work is being done. It is believed that the ghost of a little blonde-haired boy that is seen here, probably is from a boy buried in the cemetery. But others wonder if perhaps he was evacuated during the siege and his spirit returns here because one or both of his parents didn't survive. He is often seen in an upstairs window of the gift shop and the weird thing is that there is no way to climb up to the window and there is no ledge to stand on, so that he could look out the window.  February is his favorite month to make appearances.

Park Rangers have claimed to see the spirit of Davy Crockett holding a flintlock rifle and wearing buckskin clothing and a coonskin cap. He's not the only famous ghost here. Strangely, the spirit of John Wayne started making appearances after his death in 1979. The reason may be because he directed and produced the 1960 film "The Alamo." It was a very personal project for him and he visited the Alamo for research and a three-quarter-scale replica of the Alamo was built over a two year period. The spirit of a Mexican soldier is also reputedly at the Alamo. He is seen walking along the outer walls with his chin tilted down, his hands clasped behind his back and shaking his head, looking sad. The ghost is believed to belong to Santa Anna's commander, General Manuel Fernandez de Castrillon. Castrillon also refused to execute six Texians brought to him after the firefight. This enraged Santa Anna who killed the Texians himself and almost killed Castrillon. He was killed later at the Battle of San Jacinto. 

A residual paranormal phenomenon features a father and son duo. They are sited standing on a rooftop just after sunrise and the man wraps his arms around the child and then leaps from the parapet to the ground below and disappears. It is believed that General Andrade witnessed the actual event as he wrote that he and some other Mexican soldiers were horrified to see "a tall, thin man with a small child in his arms, leap to the ground from the parapet at the rear of the Alamo Church." A cowboy dressed in a black duster and cowboy hat and dripping wet, is seen in the garden and people believe this could be one of 22 dispatch riders that William Travis sent out to get reinforcements. Another apparition is seen sticking his head and shoulders out of the large rectangular window over the double doors at the front of the church. He looks around and then disappears. Visitors and employees have claimed to hear phantom footsteps, disembodied whispers and voices and to feel very melancholy, especially in the chapel.

Visiting the Alamo is very moving. There is a heavy spiritual energy here that reflects the deadly siege that took place. This is also a shrine to heroes. Is the Alamo haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

HGB Ep. 460 - Tulloch Castle and Fay's House

Moment in Oddity - Breaded Han Solo

Who doesn't love a nice warm slice of freshly baked bread, smothered with a tab of butter? And most of our listeners are familiar with a certain galactic Star Wars movie smuggler by the name of Han Solo. Well, what about combining a love of bread with that oh-so-famous movie character. That is exactly what a San Francisco bakery did. One House Bakery, located in Benicia, California, created a life sized replica of Solo, during his 'carbonite-freeze' which he was encased in by Darth Vader. The mother/daughter bakery duo, lovingly dubbed their creation, 'Pan (or pawn) Solo'. Their creation consists of two types of breads. One which is a yeast-less dough, which holds it's shape without rising and the second which uses extra sugar to aid in the bread statue's longevity during the fall season. The ladies worked tirelessly at night after their bakery's closing every day. Their family is deeply inspired by their love of baking and the Sci-Fi universe, as they have previously displayed with a baking creation featuring the Mandalorian and The Child. One thing however is for certain, no matter how delicious freshly baked bread is, creating statues out of it, certainly is odd. 

This Month in History - First Sailing Around the Cape of Good Hope

In the month of November, on the 22nd, in 1947, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama became the first to sail around the Cape of Good Hope. The explorations' purpose was to attempt to send a fleet to India to open the sea route to Asia for future trading. At the time that the expedition was assigned to da Gama, he had very little relative experience. The fleet consisted of four vessels and on board were three interpreters, two who spoke Arabic and one who spoke several Bantu dialects. Portions of his route included the Canary Islands and Santiago, located in the Cape Verde Islands. On November 7th, the fleet arrived at Santa Helena Bay in South Africa. However the actual navigation of the Cape of Good Hope, was postponed due to winds and opposing currents which delayed their rounding until November 22nd. Once arriving in Mossel Bay (maa-suhl Bay) three days later, da Gama erected a stone pillar known as a padrao (paw-dro. roll r) to mark the country's discovery, although the location was not technically discovered by da Gama. For some societies Vasco da Gama is considered a hero for opening up the trade route. Others however, see him as a tyrant due to the fighting that occurred in Africa during his expedition, and India's receiving of trinkets in exchange for their highly valued spices.

Tulloch Castle (Suggested by: Floyd Dierker) 

Built over 850 years ago, Tulloch Castle boasts a long history. This was a home of barons for centuries and eventually served as a hospital during World War II, a hostel and dormitory and finally as a hotel where you can stay today. There have been scandals and deaths and now The Green Lady has made this her domain. And there may be a few other spirits haunting the halls. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Tulloch Castle!

Scotland was an area ruled by clans. This is a fascinating part of Scotland's heritage. There are 500 clans that today, have spread all across the world. Many members of a clan were born into that clan and were direct descendants from a chieftain. But there were several who were invited to be a part of a clan. The names of clans today are anglicised forms from many languages including, Norman, french and Gaelic. The MacPhersons, for example, translates to "Son of the Parson," which in Gaelic is Mac a'Phearsain. Listeners are probably familiar with clans having their own mix of colored tartan from which they make kilts to identify members. The Dingwalls of Kildun were vassals of the Earl of Ross and also septs of the Clan Munro, which was a Scottish clan of the Scottish Highlands. A sept is a large and powerful family within a clan. While Dingwall is a Scottish surname, it is of Viking origin. Tulloch Castle is in Dingwall and this area was originally settled by Viking invaders. Dingwall is derived from the Scandinavian Þingvöllr, meaning field of council or court of justice or place of the local assembly, and eventually became Thingvollr, which became Tingwall and then Dingwall. Dingwall was an important place in the Highlands' history and leadership.

Dingwall was founded as a Royal Burgh in 1226 under a charter granted by King Alexander II. Alexander was knighted at the age of 13 and became King of Scotland when he was just sixteen years old. Even before a town was founded here, Tulloch Castle was erected. Most historians believe that parts of it date to 1166. These original parts are the south-west corner and tower. The castle would not take on the name "Tulloch" until 1507. The name is derived from the Gaelic word for hillock, Tuich. The Castle is considered the birthplace of Clan Davidson, but the Bayne family had ownership first. Duncan Bayne was granted a charter of lands around the castle in 1542 and the castle passed down through the family until the 8th Laird and 5th Baron of Tulloch, Kenneth Bayne, sold the estate to his cousin Henry Davidson in 1762. This started 155 years of Davidson ownership. Henry's brother Duncan Davidson inherited the castle when Henry died in 1781. It passed on to another Henry, then another Duncan and another Duncan and then the final Davidson owner, yes...Duncan again. They seemed to like that name. This final Duncan was the 11th baron of Tulloch and when he died in 1917, his daughter and her son Colonel Angus Vickers took over the barony and castle ownership. 

During all of these years, the castle was added to, but there was never a real effort to restore the castle and by 1917, it was in a state of disrepair, which the Vickers would rectify. A fire in 1845 had damaged the castle. Architect Sir Robert Lorimer designed alterations to be made while restoring the castle in the early 1920s. During World War II, casualties from Dunkirk were brought to ther castle, which had been transformed into a hospital. The local education authority bought the castle in 1957 and used it as a dormitory for students of the Dingwall Academy until 1976. The castle once again fell into disrepair and was renovated by the MacAulay family in 1996 and opened as a hotel, which is what it remains today. There are 22 rooms for rent and it is pet-friendly. Rooms feature some period pieces and as the website states, "All of the rooms have their own unique character and personality, with sumptuous fabrics, soft furnishings and stunning paintings and mirrors." People rave about their haggis and black pudding.

*Rabbit Hole: Now when they use the word pudding here, it isn't that creamy dessert stuff that we all think of, but rather, this is sausage. The word comes from the French boudin, which is latin botellus, meaning "small sausage." And this isn't any sausage, it is blood sausage. Generally made from pork or beef blood, with pork fat or beef suet, and a cereal, usually oatmeal, oat groats, or barley groats. What makes this black pudding is the high proportion of cereal and the herb pennyroyal. Most people probably have heard of haggis. This is a very Scottish thing. Haggis is also a pudding and its savory. This contains sheep's pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the animal's stomach or some other kind of casing.*

Tulloch Castle has all the fun features we love about castles. There is an altered tower of three storys that dates to the early 16th century and the parapet and corbelling of the tower are more recent additions, as is the caphouse. The windows have been enlarged overtime, except for the gunloops. In the 17th century a large gabled extension was added that had two-stories and an attic with carved dormer pediments. There is also a 250-year-old paneled Great Hall with paintings of former owners, a dungeon and a secret tunnel from the basement that leads to the other castle in town, Dingwall Castle. The tunnel has partially collapsed and can't be used anymore, but visitors can look down through an air vent in the middle of the front lawn and see part of the tunnel. The castle has a restaurant called Turrets and serves up local Highlands produce and seven different types of marmalade and jam for breakfast. The ceilings are original and there are plenty of stone fireplaces and antique furnishings. there is even a cemetery here. Many of the Davidson family have been buried here. The cemetery is surrounded by a large metal fence and many of the headstones are crumbling and overgrown, but it would be cool to see.

So one of the Duncans became the MP for Cromartyshire in Parliament starting in 1826 and served for two sessions until 1830. He loved to dress in full Highland attire and everyone called him "The Stag." The nickname is quite fitting considering he married five times and had eighteen children through those marriages and then possibly an additional thirty illegitimate children. There is a story about the Brahan Seer who was known as Dark Kenneth. He lived during the 17th century and had second sight. Some historians claim he was just a creation of a folklorist and he certainly was celebrated in Gaelic oral tradition. He got his nickname because he was connected to Brahan Castle near Dingwall. He would use an Adder stone, this is a stone with a hole in the middle of it, to gaze into the future and make predictions. One of his prophesies claimed that a king would reign over Britain but would not be crowned. This seems to have been fulfilled by Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936, so he did 'reign over Britain, but would not be crowned.' Another prediction dealt with The Stag. The Brahan Seer wrote, "The day will come when there will be a Laird of Tulloch who will kill five wives in succession, but the fifth will kill him." Four of Duncans wives died, but his fifth outlasted him when he died of pneumonia in Edinburgh in 1881.

The most infamous ghost at Tulloch Castle is connected to The Stag. This is The Green Lady of Tulloch Castle. The hotel's Green Lady Bar is named for her and she appears in a portrait that hangs in the Great Hall. She is pictured with her mother and two brothers and there is a distinct area that is blackened because, as the story goes, her mother was sick of her husband's indiscretions and had him blacked out. The Green Lady's name was Elizabeth Davidson and she was one of Duncan's daughters. The story goes that Elizabeth walked in on her father having sex with a servant girl. She was rightfully upset and tore off down a hallway towards the stone stairs. She fell down the stairs, breaking most of her bones and snapping her neck. And now, The Green Lady has been haunting the castle in many ways. Her eyes in the portrait are said to follow people around the Great Hall. Elizabeth does have a haunting look in the picture for sure. Her full-bodied apparition has appeared to guests on many occasions. In 2012, a teenage boy captured on camera what he believes is the ghost of the Green Lady descending the staircase.


There are other spirits here as well. Guests and staff claim to see orbs of light, feel cold spots in random places and hear odd noises like bangs and thuds. The former dungeon is now a private dining room, but there was once a 30 ft. pit under where the table now sits that once held prisoners. It is believed that a man and a boy were incarcerated in the pit and left to die. And the former jail had only a four foot high ceiling and up to 100 prisoners were packed into the cramped space. There seems to be residual energy in these areas. The spirit of a maid or servant girl has been seen frantically pacing in the Great Hall and the Pink Room. Could this be the woman who had been with Elizabeth's father?

Room 15 is said to be haunted. This room stands alone at the top of the staircase where Elizabeth fell to her death. People staying in here have reported doors slamming, knocks, thuds, disembodied footsteps and whispering. Tracey visited in June of 2021 and she wrote, "I had heard the castle was haunted and had purposely booked room 15 and friends booked room 8. I was not to be disappointed, we heard footsteps, loud knocks on doors, whispering, shuffling. I had equipment activated and an audio recording of a child screaming!"

The most haunted location in the castle is said to be Room 8. Anne MacDonald was a manager at Tulloch Castle Hotel in February of 2008 and she said, "I'm not a coward and I don't scare easily but I wouldn't sleep in room 8 for love nor money. The room has quite a reputation and we have people coming from all over to stay in it. It doesn't matter how much heating you have on, but when you go along that corridor there is always a chill, summer or winter. People frequently say that someone had been knocking at their door but when they looked there was nobody there. And we don't tell guests about Room 8 until they leave because we don't want to make them anxious."

Paul Anderson from Kent wrote on TripAdvisor, "As part of a 'Dads 'n' Lads motorcycle tour of the Scottish Highlands we decided to stay at Tulloch Castle. A real castle for our 2 lads to experience. It is an amazing place and if you want the traditional Scottish experience, this is it. Staff, food accommodation are all excellent. If you like spooks and ghosts this is also the place. My cousin who was sharing the twin room with me felt as if someone was pressing on his chest. I was woken by him ranting in a deep voice (not his). After getting back to sleep we were awoken again by tapping at the window. We were 3 floors up? There is something fishy about the place but we were staying in room 8 which is notorious for such things? Apparently a previous guest had had the same experience as my cousin?? In any event, great castle, great food, great staff if not a little on spooky side. Our pictures seem to have the odd shape and figure in them? How would you know? Well worth the experience though and we would highly recommend the place."

And Floyd shared his experience at the castle, "Now for my experience at Tulloch castle. 4 years ago I decided to take a trip to Northern Ireland and Scotland to see where my family was from. For about two weeks I drove up one coast of Scotland and down the other. I was traveling from the weekend after Christmas through the first week of the new year. If you are not aware, this time period, I am told, is one of the quietest times in Scotland as after Hogmany (New Years) families are still getting together and many shops and attractions take a break. I say this to point out that, apart from the hotels in Glasgow and Edinburgh, everything was empty and I was often the only guest. About a week into my trip I found myself staying in the town of Dingwall which is located about 14 miles northwest of Inverness. I had chosen this location due to it's proximity to Loch Ness and the site of Culloden (the final battle in the Jacobite Revolution). In Dingwall there is a castle turned hotel called Tulloch castle. A castle has stood on that site since the 12th century; however, the current castle dates back to the mid 16th century. I need to take a minute to mention that this hotel is a fantastic place to stay. The staff was helpful and friendly, the restaurant and bar were fantastic( The bar is actually named for one of their resident ghosts, the Green Lady), and the amenities were spectacular for the price. Now back to the main event. After checking in and getting my room key I proceeded up the stairs to my room, room 9. Upon getting settled I sat down on the bed and started my normal hotel ritual of turning on the tv and reading the hotel directory thing. Like most it was written in alphabetical order, A-Automobile Rental Agency, B-Banquet Services, C-Check-Out, etc... Each with a title and a description until I get to G-Ghost. I had to re-read it a few times to get the whole thing. It read something like this "Tulloch Castle has a number of resident spirits who have been known to make their presence known to staff and guests alike. If you would like to attend a ghost tour please call the front desk and they will arrange it for you." I immediately got on my computer to start looking up the ghost stories and kept seeing something of the following: A guest from Edinburgh was visiting on business. After having dinner and a single drink at the hotel (mentioned to prove they had record that he wasn't intoxicated) he went to bed.He kept having a dream about these two young girls knocking on his door, asking to see his dog. He tried to tell them that his dog was dead. The man then woke up to his room being freezing cold, so cold he could see his own breath. He managed to fall asleep again, but kept having the same dream. Eventually he woke up and noticed the two girls in the room with him. He felt like he couldn’t move and the girls were suffocating him. He managed to reach the phone to phone the receptionist who came to help him, gave him a drink, and walked him down to reception area. The man explained the girls in such detail that the receptionist went white. She grabbed the man's hand and led him to the Oak Room (a banquet hall on the second floor adorned in oak paneling). There, he was met by a painting of the Davidson family and staring back at him were the two girls. The man had been staying in Room 8.... Next door to mine!!! A little rattled I called the front desk to schedule a tour and was told I would have to wait for the other receptionist who would be there the next day. The next evening I had my tour by the other receptionist (we will call him Alan). Alan explained that he was a skeptic and really didn't believe in the paranormal, God, or an afterlife. He told us stories of dungeons, torture, and disembodied sounds,but it wasn't until we made our way into the oak room that things started to get strange. He told us the story of the one little girl in the painting and how, after finding her father sleeping with one of his mistresses, she ran down the hall and fell, or was pushed, to her death. Alan paused and said "I have seen stuff here that I can't explain. As a skeptic I cant say what I think I saw, because I just can't believe it. I see something nearly everyday I work that really makes me question my beliefs." As he said this I notice an uneasy look on his face and realize that his concentration wasn't on me or the other guest on the tour. He ended the tour by saying, "When you are staying here just keep your eyes open, because you never know what you will see." I approached him after the tour and I asked him if he saw anything tonight? He looked uncomfortable and said "maybe" with a shake in his voice. I asked if it was a little girl in a green dress with dark hair who was peeking around the corner during his talk. He went white and responded "so you saw her too?" I just nodded my head and went back to my room. I know she followed me because I saw her peeking around the wall three other times on my way to the room. I didn't sleep that night."

Many people have had experiences when staying at the hotel. With hundreds of years of history, it's not surprising that there might be spirits bumping around in the night. Is Tulloch Castle haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

HGB Ep. 459 - Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary

Moment in Oddity - New Orleans Bull Run

Most of us are familiar with the 'Running of the Bulls' or 'Encierro de Pamplona', a tradition in Spain that originated when bulls were brought from the fields where they were bred into the bullring, located in the city. During the run, youths would jump into the bulls path and attempt to outrun the creatures as a display of bravado. Well, a favorite city of many, decided to take a twist on this tradition. Every July, New Orleanians congregate in the traditional colors of Spain to host their own version of a bull run. During this event, the New Orleans Roller Derby Girls chase runners on their roller blades armed with plastic bats. Runners line up dressed in white with a bit of red included in their attire. The NOLA tradition began in 2007 with just 200 runners and 14 derby girls. Today, nearly 14,000 runners and the Big Easy Rollergirls and guest bulls numbering around 400, participate every July. The bulls attack runners with foam filled plastic bat horns attached to their helmets. From the sounds of it, the festivities are just as much fun for the spectators as the participants. But one thing is for sure, a running of the bulls with people posing as the bulls and getting to whack the runners with plastic bats, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - The First Transcontinental Flight

In the month of November, on the 5th, in 1911, aviator Calbraith Perry Rodgers completed the first transcontinental flight across America. On September 17th, Rodgers took off from Sheepshead Bay, New York to begin the 3,417 mile journey. Just the prior spring, he had become interested in aviation after visiting his cousin John. The cousin was studying at the Wright Company factory and attending flight school in Dayton, Ohio. Rodgers took 90 minutes of flying lessons from Orville Wright and later, along with his cousin, purchased a Wright Flyer airplane. When Rodgers took his official flight examination he became the 49th aviator licensed to fly by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. In October of 1910, William Randolph Hearst had offered a prize of $50,000 to the first person to fly coast to coast in less than 30 days. Rodger's plan was to fly above railroad tracks to navigate his journey from New York to California. There was a train of three cars to join him on his journey consisting of a sleeper car, dining car and a car of spare airplane parts for any repairs needed along the way. Calbraith hired the Wright brothers' technician, Charlie Taylor, to ride on the train so he could assist with the plane's maintenance and repairs when needed. During the trip there was often significant damage to the aircraft due to more than 15 crashes that occurred. Although he missed the prize money award by arriving 19 days after his 30 day cutoff, Rodgers successfully landed at Tournament Park in Pasadena, California, to a crowd of 20,000 excited spectators. 

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (Suggested by: Tammie Burroughs and Kelsey Meyer)

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is located in Petros, Tennessee. This was an old coal mining town that only boasts a population of 600 people. The jail is basically its claim to fame and this location is quite famous for being haunted. There were thousands of deaths here and something dark seems to be on the property. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. 

Did you know there was such a thing as leasing convicts? After the Civil War, southern states were broke, of course. They came up with a means to make the government money, while saving money. They rented out their convicts and Tennessee was one of the states to do that. Companies would pay the state for the convict labor and the state didn't need to bother to build prisons or maintain them. Coal companies made use of this practice and they built their own stockades near the mines. The coal mining industry was expanding quickly in Tennessee. Petros was one of the towns near a coal vein and a coal mining comapny set up operations here, along with a company town. Like many companies, this one took advantage of the coal miners by charging inflated prices for rent, clothing and food. By the end of a month, coal miners had little to show for their work. So they joined together and planned strikes and they made sure to plan them during the Winter when coal demand was really high. The mine workers demanded to be paid in cash, rather than scrip and to be able to choose their own checkweighmen, so they wouldn't get cheated. The companies embraced the convict lease program because they would now have a compliant workforce.

The Tennessee Coal Mining Company in Anderson County started leasing prisoners in 1891. Obviously, the coal miners weren't keen on having criminals take their jobs. They started numerous campaigns to disrupt mining operations, but the mining companies didn't budge because they were getting a steady stream of labor as more and more young men, particularly black men, were arrested for petty crimes and given long prison terms. This was a cash cow for the state. The state may have rethought this practice if it had known it would lead to one of the most significant events in labor history, the Coal Creek War.

This conflict took place on the eastern fringe of the Cumberland Mountains in the towns of Briceville and Coal Creek. The Briceville mine had been shutdown after miners wouldn't sign a contract and was reopened on July 5, 1891 with the goal of using convict labor. The miners' homes were torn down and a stockade erected. On July 14th, 300 armed miners surrounded the Briceville stockade and disarmed the guards without much effort. They then marched the convicts to Coal Creek, loaded them onto a train and sent them to Knoxville. They contacted the labor-friendly Governor John P. Buchanan and told him what they had done and why and asked for his intervention believing he would support them. Two days later, the Governor responded with three Tennessee state militia companies. In their company, they had all the convicts that had been sent to Knoxville. The miners were enraged. The Governor was confronted and he explained that he had a duty to uphold the law. The miners scoffed because he hadn't upheld any laws to protect them and that night, shots were fired at the stockade. The Governor was nearby and he hightailed it out of there leaving 107 militiamen to deal with the miners.

The miners faced off against the militia with 2000 men and the Colonel leading the militia quickly conceded. Months of negotiations and court cases followed with a final case going to the state's Supreme Court and the miners lost. There was a call to arms and on October 31, 1891, a group of miners burned the stockade at Briceville and seized the Coal Creek stockade. They burned company buildings and looted. The 300 convicts at the stockades were given food and freed. A couple days later, another stockade was burned. General J. Keller Anderson was sent with a militia and they built Fort Anderson at the top of Militia Hill that overlooked Coal Creek. Newspapers at the time chose sides with some calling the miners "thieves and outlaws" while other papers called the government "inhuman." Fort Anderson came under attack and Governor Buchanan sent 583 militiamen to restore order. Hundreds of miners were arrested. The uprising had been put down and many things changed. Governor Buchanan didn't receive his party's nomination to run again, so he switched to third party and lost. His political career was over. The amount of money used to keep up the militia far outweighed the leasing of convict labor, so the practice was done away with. Three hundred miners were indicted, but no one got serious jail time. And the state legislature laid aside money for the building of Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Morgan County where convicts would mine coal for the state rather than be leased to companies. And there was one ghost story that came from the melee.

Miner Richard Drummond was hanged in 1893 from what is today called Drummond's Trestle, a bridge that is located near the junction of Highway 116 and Lower Briceville Highway. This was eventually tried as a murder as a militiaman took it upon himself to sentence Drummond to hanging after he had killed a soldier. People who visit the bridge claim to hear disembodied gasping of breath. No cattle will graze near the bridge and dogs won't cross the bridge. An apparition is sometimes seen hanging from the bridge. And a ghost is sometimes seen pacing on the bridge. Amber wrote of her experience visiting the bridge on the Gatlinburg Haunts website, "Before we even saw it, we felt a strange sensation as we drove into the area. The air almost seemed electrified, the trees looked dead, and there was absolutely no movement of the leaves. For it being the middle of autumn, it was strange that no leaves were falling. We left our car and walked towards the river, knowing that the bridge would appear eventually. I began to feel nauseous...Kristin said that she was feeling strange too, that the woods were making her dizzy. As we walked, we were wondering where in the world this haunted bridge was. Just as we questioned it, we finally came upon the Drummond Bridge, and both stopped in our tracks. It stood ominously, towering over the river, a testament to the history of the area. It was stained, rusted, and overgrown. We decided to avoid walking on the bridge, as it no longer seemed sturdy. We sat down on some stumps and just listened for a moment, but all we heard was nothing. Not even birds were singing in the area. After a while, we decided to go back to the car and head out to Sevierville, where our lodging was. As we left, I could have sworn I heard a faint ‘wait!’ as we walked away from the area. When I looked back, I saw a golden orb shoot behind a tree but decided to avoid telling Kristin as she scares pretty easily. Did the spirit of Richard Drummond show himself to me that day? It’s hard to say for sure, but the bridge itself and the area surrounding it do have unexplained energy, one of sadness and life lost too young."

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary wasn’t just built to be a jail since the main purpose was to have convicts work as coal miners. The original structure was made from wood in 1896. Overcrowding was a persistent problem. In 1931, there were 976 men in the prison, which was 300 over capacity. A new structure was necessary and the wooden structure was replaced with a four-story castle-like stone building made from stone quarried by the convicts. The design of the building was either a cross or upside-down cross based on how you were looking at it, but since the front of the jail makes up the arms, it really does seem to be upside down. And perhaps that is why it feels as though evil is here. Death was just a part of being at Brushy Mountain. There was violence and murder within the walls. Chronic illness was rampant with epidemics of typhoid fever and tuberculosis sweeping through and many convicts were struck with pneumonia and syphilis. Three fourths of the black prisoners had syphilis. These were also convicts, not miners. They weren't trained for this work and the prison wasn't real strict on keeping things safe, so mining accidents were common. By the time the prison shut down in 2009, ten thousand men had died here.

Unruly prisoners were thrown into The Hole to get straightened out. The Hole stopped being used in 1957 when the D-block was built for the really bad dudes. Something that is troubling about the D-block is that it was built where the prison used to have a death house. This was a storage room for keeping the bodies of the dead until families came to retrieve their family member or until the body was buried in the on site pauper cemetery. The mining operations at the mine continued until 1969 when Bushy Mountain was reclassified as primarily maximum-security. Prisoners who only needed minimum-security where moved to a structure that was "outside the walls" and they held jobs in the community. The maximum-security prison remained a place where the worst of the worst were housed. This was the last stop for many inmates who had become too much to handle for other institutions. Others were men who had committed unspeakable crimes. 

Conditions weren't just bad for the prisoners, the guards felt unsafe. In 1972, they went on strike and the prison had to closed. It stayed closed until 1976 when security improvements were made. Mining operations stopped at the prison too. Racism was rampant in the prison at this time. White inmates and black inmates fought against each other often. This came to a head in 1982. Seven white inmates managed to capture several guards at knifepoint and then were able to commandeer their guns. They went to find their black rivals and opened fire on them in their cells, killing two of them. The other two survived because they hid in the corner behind their mattresses.

One of the most infamous people to be held at the prison was James Earl Ray. Ray was born in March of 1928 in Alton, Illinois. He struggled in life, finally ending up in the Army at the end of World War II. He served in Germany, but was eventually discharged for ineptitude. And then his life of crime began. These crimes included armed robbery and mail fraud and he ended up in Leavenworth for four years in the 1950s. After getting out, he went back to his life of crime and was sentenced to twenty years in prison, which he started serving at the Missouri State Penitentiary. He escaped from there in 1967. Ray made his way to Mexico and settled in Puerto Vallarta in October of 1967. There he pretended to be a pornopgraphic director and got sex workers to work for him. After no success, Ray went to California and had rhinoplasty to change his appearance. George Wallace was running for president at the time and Ray was drawn to his segregationist views because Ray was a rampant racist.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was making his way around the country at this same time, spreading his message of peace and equality. Ray hated King and he put the man in his crosshairs. He traveled to Atlanta in March of 1968 and found the house where King lived and the church where King preached. On March 30, 1968, Ray bought a Remington Model 760 Gamemaster .30-06-caliber rifle and a box of 20 cartridges from the Aeromarine Supply Company under the name Harvey Lowmeyer. He had found out that King was going to be in Memphis, Tennessee in early April 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. was standing on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 when a single shot from Ray's Remington rifle hit him in the lower right side of his face. King was pronounced dead an hour later at the hospital. The hotel remains as it was the day King died. Sheets still rumpled and cigarettes still in the ashtray and King's car still in parking lot. Many people claim to feel uncomfortable at the motel and they believe that King's spirit is still here. 

Ray went on the run, heading to Atlanta and then he made his way to Canada. Then he was off to England and Portugal and then back to London. When he attempted to go to Brussels, He was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport. He was extradited to Tennessee. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 99 years and he ended up at Brushy Mountain in March of 1970. Ray set his sights on escaping immediately and he made several attempts, finally succeeding in 1977. Ray and six other inmates climbed over the wall using a 16-foot ladder made of salvaged pipe. Ray only made it a few miles from the prison walls when he was captured two days later. Ray was later stabbed 22 times by three other inmates in 1981. He left Brushy in 1992 and died at the state facility in Nashville six years later.

Another inmate here was politician Byron (Low Tax) Looper. And yes, he changed his middle name to Low Tax. He campaigned on exposing corruption and eventually got into office where he proceeded to hold a press conference and announce that he’d discovered $100 million worth of property taxes that hadn’t been paid. This was apparently a “normal backlog” for property taxes at that time of year. Looper became a corrupt politician himself and in 1998, shot his opponent in the head. He was arrested, convicted, and served his time at Brushy until it closed. 

One of the worst criminals to serve time here was Paul Dennis Reid. He was first convicted and served time when he was only 20 years old. This was for armed robbery and he got 20 years. When he got out, he went on a killing spree. In February of 1997, Reid would become the Fast Food Killer. His first target was a Captain D’s where he forced a 16-year old employee and her 25-year old manager into the cooler and shot them to death. He then emptied the register. In March, he hit a McDonald’s three miles from the Captain D’s and killed three people. The next month, he killed two at a Baskin-Robbins. Reid was finally caught, convicted and given seven death sentences. He served at Brushy until it closed and died at another prison from pneumonia in 2013. 

There was a deer that did time at Brushy too. This was a young deer that fell off a cliff and into the Brushy yard in the 1970s. The inmates cared for him and named him Geronimo. He liked to chew on unlit cigarettes. When Brushy closed for that brief time in the 1970s, Geronimo was moved with the inmates, but he got unruly, not liking the new location. He eventually broke his leg and it needed to be amputated. No one knows what eventually happened to the deer.

The jail closed to inmates on June 11, 2009. Jail functions were transferred to the Morgan County Correctional Complex. In 2013, the Brushy Mountain Group formed to save the jail and they worked with Morgan County to reopen the jail to the public. Today, the location is open for historic tours and paranormal tours. The Warden’s Table is a restaurant here and offers a variety of southern food. And there is also the Brushy Mountain Distillery, which features Frozen Head Vodka, Double Barrel Whiskey, Brimstone, Copperhead, and End of the Line Moonshine and Struggle Bus Bloody Mary Mix. "End of the Line Moonshine is available in 9 flavors. From farm to still, we use water from the mountains’ natural springs to make this one-of-a-kind moonshine and vodka." And then there's those pesky ghosts.

There were Native Americans on the land before the prison was built and some believe there is residual energy connected to them here. And then, of course, this was the end of the line for thousands of men who died here. Activity started while the prisoners were still housed at the jail. Visitors to the jail get scratched and sometimes feel nauseous in the building. There are several areas that visitors get to explore when investigating including A Block, B Block, D Block, the Chapel, the Auditorium/Hospital, the Gymnasium, Laundry, Cafeteria, Courtyard, The Hole, and The Yard. The cafeteria is said to have many spirits, one who has identified himself as "Waterhead." This was an inmate killed with a meat clever in the cafeteria. The courtyard is home to a female apparition that is named Bonnie. No one knows why she is here since no women served time here. The third floor auditorium has a dark entity that has physically attacked people. Paranormal investigators once played the "I Have a Dream" speech outside the cell that once housed James Earl Ray and they captured a voice saying, "Hush."

The Tennessee Wraith Chasers visited during Season 4 on their show Ghost Asylum. A former inmate told the team that the Chapel was one of the most dangerous places on site. Right as Doogie walked into the Chapel, the Ovilus said "Beast." Later "Hell" came over it. The inmate also told them about Jack Jett, an inmate who was a little person that was stabbed in the neck and then 18 more times at the prison. Later, a couple team members seem to catch some K-2 energy at a lower level and they wondered if they had a kid there. If everything is honest, they didn't know about Jett. Could this have been him? Doogie went down to solitary and banged on a cell door and asked if anyone was still there. He got "Jack" and "me." They heard an audible growl in the cell blocks. Porter was in Maximum Security, the temperature went from extremes of 72 to 100 degrees. The K-2 Meter got several hits and the Periscope, which is a type of K-2 Meter that has vertical rods that light from red to green, also got hits and went from red to green when asked. The group built a Wraith Fog Trap and hoped to get an apparition to materialize with it. This entailed lasers, batteries, a dehumidifier, voltmeter, a fog machine and something called a Jacob's Ladder. This was suppose to give energy to the spirit and the fog was to help see it. When they reviewed the video later, there is no doubt that they caught something walking through the fog. You could mostly only see the legs. It could've been a little person. 

Other hauntings connected to Jett include an area where there were phones. Jett was on the phone when he was attacked. The phone here has been seen levitating off the hook and then being returned to it. There are cold spots felt here and a feeling of dread. Objects in the chapel have been seen floating across the room. Floating orbs have been seen in The Hole in harsh colors like purple and red. Disembodied footsteps and whispers are heard.

Discovery+'s Conjuring Keisha visited the prison in the summer of 2022. Comedian and Actress Whitney Cummings joined Singer Keisha for an investigation at the prison and it didn't disappoint. Whitney had her wrist squeezed really hard before the women even entered the jail and it was enough that she felt like she wanted to leave, but then she was interested to see if it would happen again. They talked to a former correctional officer from the jail named Debbie Williams. She worked at the prison from 1980 to 2009. Williams said that there was violence in the prison daily. Her experiences included being told audibly to "get out" by something she couldn't see. She told Keisha and Whitney that they believe there are two demons in the prison. This was backed up by the owners of the prison, Jaime Brock and her sister Courtney. The property has been in their family since the 1890s. Jaime said that in Cell Block D they have seen apparitions, been touched, things get slammed and they've heard growls and disembodied voices. A woman once recited the Lord's Prayer and the woman said her back was burning and there were three red claw marks down her back.

The sister then mentioned their weird entity here that is nicknamed The Creeper. They call it that because they were using an SLS camera and captured the entity crawling along the floor and then up the wall. On Day 2, Whitney and Keisha brought a Demonologist in with them. A REM Pod in the hospital went off for a sustained period of time and Whitney went to hang out in the area by herself. Shortly after getting in the room, she heard something outside of it. Whitney asked the spirit about gender and the REM Pod went off when she asked if it was a woman. Later, it indicated that it was transgender and had wanted to appear as a woman. Later, the two women used the SLS Camera in here and caught a figure hanging out just behind Whitney on the stairs and then it seemed to climb up the wall and they were pretty sure this was The Creeper. The show ended with Keisha fleeing Cell Block D because they thought they were interacting with a demon. Which we didn't understand because they had a demonologist there and isn't this what they were looking for? 

The Creeper isn't the only weird entity here. There are some who have claimed to see a cloven-hoofed figure. The description matches that of The Goatman.

Kelsey visited this location and had a couple of experiences, "I actually visited there a few years ago and I was at the whipping post there and my mom made a sarcastic comment saying I’d be there all the time and I came home to whip marks on my back. I didn’t feel any pain at all, which was weird and they lasted for a few days. I went into the hole and I sat there for a few minutes while my mom was in another cell and it was just me and her in there no other visitors that day and all of a sudden I hear a noise on the wall in my cell and I ask if anyone is there and all of a sudden I feel a tap on my shoulder. So I ask 'did you just touch me' then immediately after I hear a mans voice say 'yes.'" Many people claim to hear the cries of those who were brutally beaten, sometimes to death at the Whipping Post? 

There seems to be a lot of activity at the prison, which is pretty typical of these tough prisons. This one has one of the highest death counts of any prison. Is Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary haunted? That is for you to decide!