Thursday, February 23, 2023

HGB Ep. 475 - Haunted Cemeteries 25

Moment in Oddity - Hercules Statue Found in Sewer (Suggested by Jenny Lynn Raines)

Recently, archaeologists in Rome found an ancient statue of a Roman emperor who was dressed to look like the Greco-Roman demi-god, Hercules. It is assumed that the emperor chose this look for his statue to proclaim his personal beliefs during a time when Christianity was spreading throughout the empire. The emperor in question, Emperor Decius, only ruled for two years between 249 and 251 A.D. which is when he was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Abritus. It's said that the statue was found near the Via Appia and had most likely been placed in the trench sewers at some point in the last 100 years. The statue features Decius wearing the skin of a Nemean lion which is an animal that was killed by Hercules as part of the 12 labors that he was to carry out. When the archaeologists examined the statue they determined that the facial features were not that of Hercules, but had the features of Emperor Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, and by cloaking his statue in such a manner, represented his religious beliefs, stressing the importance of Rome's relationship with the traditional worship of the gods. One thing is for sure however, finding a statue of a Roman Emperor from almost 1,775 years ago in a sewer, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Artist Grant Wood Birth and Death

In the month of February, on the 13th, in 1891, American artist Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa. Ironically, Wood passed on February 12th in 1942, just one day shy of his 51st birthday. His most well known piece of art is American Gothic, featuring an aged farmer and his daughter. Grant's dentist, Carl E Smith portrays the father and his sister, Nan Wood Graham stands in as the daughter. The farmhouse in the background was known as the Dibble House at the time. Grant Wood was a trained craftsman, designer and painter. He studied for a year at the Academie Julian in Paris, France and then returned to Iowa. Once back in Iowa, Wood was commissioned to create a stained glass window and with little knowledge of the creation of stained glass, he traveled to Germany for assistance. His artistic works continued to evolve and in 1930 his American Gothic piece cause a sensation when it was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. This was a new direction for American art, featuring an honest, direct and earthy quality of subjects. Grant Wood's musings on the interpretation of the painting have not been straight forward leading to ambiguity of it's meaning. The piece of art has led to tropes and parodies in popular culture including advertisements, television shows and even the political arena.

Haunted Cemeteries 25

The final destination for most on this earthly plane is a graveyard. As a society, we have given this final end in the cemetery a variety of slang terms like "taking a dirt nap," "six feet under," "pushing up daisies," "bought the farm," "permanent address," "deep sixed" and the list goes on. While some of our language may downplay death, cemeteries can be more sobering while putting on display the many traditions connected to burial practices and our efforts to remember and memorialize the dead. So we have fun and we have serious, but we also have spooky connected to some cemeteries. On this haunted cemeteries episode, we will feature cemeteries in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Michigan and Illinois.

Before jumping into these haunted cemeteries, let's talk about some great news out of Ivy Hill Cemetery near Philadelphia. The mystery of the Boy in the Box has been solved after 65 years and the greatest part of this story is that he has now been given a proper headstone with his real name. He had been known as "America's Unknown Child" and was buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in East Mount Airy near Philadelphia under a headstone that held that statement. This story goes back to 1957 when a man who was checking muskrat traps stumbled across a cardboard box that held the body of a naked boy who appeared to be between four and six-years old. He had signs of malnutrition and abuse and his hair was crudely cut close to his scalp. The Philly Police opened an investigation and took the boy's fingerprints. The body was dressed and postmortem pictures were taken and the images were distributed on 400,000 flyers. But the boy was not identified and so he was buried in a potter's field.   

In 1998, he was exhumed and DNA was extracted from a tooth and he was given the headstone that read "America’s Unknown Child" at that time. In March 2016, his DNA was added to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a forensic facial reconstruction was done. More DNA was collected in 2019 during a second exhumation. Finally, on November 30, 2022, the Philadelphia Police Department announced that they had an identity, which was developed via forensic genetic genealogy. The boy was connected to a cousin’s DNA and investigators identified the boy's parents through his birth records. They announced his identity as four-year-old Joseph Augustus Zarelli. Joseph would have been seventy-years-old on January 13, 2023 and on that date he was given the gift of a new headstone with his name and image.

Burial Hill Cemetery

Burial Hill Cemetery is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts and had once had a fort atop it dating back to 1622. The fort doubled as a meeting house and the First Parish Church until 1677. The first mention of this spot as a cemetery was in 1698. This old burying ground is a veritable history of the area with early settlers of Plymouth Colony - including William Bradford and William and Mary Brewster - veterans of the Revolutionary War and sea captains. Pierpont wrote of the cemetery, "The Pilgrim Fathers are at rest: When Summer's throned on high, And the world's warm breast is in verdure dressed, Go, stand on the hill where they lie. The earliest ray of the golden day, On that hallowed spot is cast, And the evening sun, as he leaves the world, Looks kindly on that spot last." The earliest burial that still remains is for Edward Gray in 1681, who was the wealthiest merchant in the colony, but there were more than likely earlier burials. Many early plots would have been marked with wood. Considering the age of this cemetery, it is surprising how many elaborate memorials are here. Remember that ship we talked about that was captained by Brigadier General Arnold and a bunch of the crew froze to death right off of Duxbury? Those crew members are buried here together under an obelisk. The last burial was in 1957. The original Pilgrims are buried in the first cemetery here at Cole Hill, although no headstones mark any of the graves. It's believed many were dug up and put in a sarcophagus and reburied on the hill. Those disquieted spirits had haunted a wax museum that was once on Cole Hill.

Thomas Southward Howland is buried here and according to a legend, he got in a scuffle with a woman thought to be a witch named Mother Crewe. She was squatting on his property without permission and when he kicked her off, she cursed him saying, "Make your peace, because you will not live to see another sunset. They’ll dig your grave on Burial Hill." The next day, he fell from his horse and died. Many of the early settlers buried at Burial Hill are said to haunt the cemetery. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions wearing clothing from the 1700s and 1800s. They have heard disembodied voices, whispers and footsteps and EMF detectors go crazy. Batteries drain quickly and electronic devices turn on and off by themselves. Captain James Magee had been on the ill-fated ship where so many crew froze to death, but he actually survived. He had always requested that when he died, he would be buried with the rest of the crew on Burial Hill. It is thought that that didn't happen and today his apparition roams the cemetery, probably looking for his fellow crew members. The John Carver Inn is just off the cemetery and used to have a house where medical students were staying. It is alleged that they did the occasional grave robbing for bodies to practice on and possibly that's why some spirits are at unrest. And needless to say, the Inn also has some haunts related to this activity. Apparently, watch out for Room 309.

Sagamore Cemetery

Sagamore Cemetery is located at Bourne in Barnstable County in Massachusetts where Sandwich Road and Ben Abbey Road meet. The first burial here took place in 1803 for Tempe Bourne. She was the daughter of Jonathan and Hannah Bourne and was only two-years-old when she passed. The cemetery was officially incorporated in 1889. There are burials for Civil War soldiers and twenty-nine former sea captains, as well as early settlers in the area like the Keith family, Ellis Family and the Bourne family, for whom the town is named. People have claimed for many years that the cemetery is haunted including a former sextant named Donald Ellis. There are several spirits here because in 1909, seventeen bodies were moved here from the Collins Farm Cemetery and 45 bodies from the Ellis Cemetery due to the construction of the Cape Cod Canal. The caskets were all marked with chalk so that the burials could be identified, but a storm came through and washed away the markings. So officials had to guess who was who and we can imagine that many bodies are under the wrong markers. Thus, these spirits are restless until the situation is rectified. 

Sextant Ellis felt that Isaac Keith was the main haunt. Keith founded the Keith Car & Manufacturing Company, which was a former railroad car manufacturing company that operated between 1846 and 1928 and employed up to 1,400 people. Keith died in 1900 and his casket is one of those that was moved. Ellis claims that once when he was working in the cemetery in 1998, he felt something he couldn't see push against his chest. There was then the strong scent of cigar smoke and despite it being a hot July afternoon, Ellis broke out in goosebumps. He ran away to his truck and the eerie feeling he had went away. Apparently Isaac Keith liked a good cigar. Other people have smelled cigar smoke in the cemetery and felt cold spots and psychics claim that Keith claims to represent all the displaced people in the cemetery. There are some who claim the cigar smoke actually comes from the spirit of William Burgess who was a sea captain and a heavy cigar smoker. People have also claimed to see the ghost of an 11-year-old girl hovering over her tombstone. The legend with her is that she was forced into an arranged marriage with a man nine years her senior and that she eventually murdered him and then killed herself sometime in the 1850s.

Rehoboth Village Cemetery

Rehoboth Village Cemetery is located in Rehoboth, Massachusetts on Bay State Road. The cemetery had been the churchyard of the second meeting-house and was established in 1773. The first burial was for the infant son of Samuel and Lydia Carpenter on August 22, 1774. In 1840, the meeting house was moved. This is a well maintained cemetery, but despite its tranquil appearance, it seems to be home to some kind of weird and nasty entity. Charles Turek Robinson writes about this haunting in his 1997 book "True New England Mysteries, Ghosts, Crimes and Oddities." He interviewed several witnesses to this entity and vetted then thoroughly. And we want to point that out because this is weird.

The first witnesses to report this entity were a couple under the pseudonyms Daniel and Barbara. They were visiting a relative's grave in the the center of the cemetery when they noticed a person in the southwest rear of the graveyard. This appeared to be an elderly man who had a prominent hooked nose and there was a sneer on his face. He appeared to be praying and then he would start sobbing and then he would switch to laughing. The man unnerved them and that was bad enough, but then he suddenly disappeared and the couple made their way quickly out of the cemetery. Barbara had nightmares after the incident in 1994 and they have never returned.

Sisters Lisa and Karen Mackey were visiting the cemetery in August of 1995 to lay flowers at their mother's grave. They were there around four in the afternoon and the cemetery was empty. They were the only ones there, at least at first. They paid their respects for twenty minutes and then started heading out of the cemetery when they heard a strange noise that sounded like whistling that was erratic and aggressive. They looked in the direction of the sound and saw an elderly man staring at them. Then he started making inappropriate gestures with his hands. It was then that the ladies noticed that this was no human being. He moved in a strange floating way and his eyes were black and hollow like black empty sockets. The entity was there for about thirty seconds and then disappeared. They also left the cemetery in haste and as of several years later, had been unable to return to the cemetery for fear of seeing the phantom again. 

A woman named Sarah saw this thing in 1996. She was a teacher and visiting the cemetery alone, merely out for a nice walk. She saw an elderly man in the southwestern rear part of the cemetery, kneeling and doing his praying and sobbing thing. She decided to offer the man some comfort and headed in his direction. As she got closer, he quickly sprang to his feet in what she described as a liquid motion. He then burst into strange laughter and then cursed her. Susan quickly turned around and headed for her car as the thing followed her yelling, "Catherine, Catherine, you [bleep]." Sarah then started running and when she got to her car, she turned around to see where the strange man had gone and she saw that he was back at his spot in the rear of the cemetery. She knew there was no way he could have returned to that spot that quickly, especially since she heard him right behind her almost all the way to her car. She looked over again as she pulled away in her car and it appeared to her that there was another ghost with the man and terrifyingly, this was under him as he straddled her and appeared to be beating her. Both vanished right after she saw them.

Robinson told the Taunton Daily Gazette of another set of sisters that experienced this apparition that manifested in front of the grave of William S. Reynolds. He said, "What they saw [was] a man standing right where I am now, before this gravestone. They saw a man praying in front of this grave, alternately sobbing and laughing. That was pretty bizarre, and they couldn’t figure out why this guy was crying, laughing, muttering and, again, he was in the position of prayer.” They then noticed that his clothing was antiquated and Robinson said, "At a certain point, this purported alleged entity perceived their presence. He stood up and looked at them, and he spoke in a voice that sounded unnatural, tinny, like it was coming from some other place. He began cursing them. So they think, ‘OK, this guy is potentially dangerous, we’re going to leave’ — and as they go to leave, he slowly dissipates and vanishes."

Old Biloxi Cemetery

Old Biloxi Cemetery is also known as Biloxi City Cemetery and is located at 1166 Irish Hill Drive with over 12,000 burials. The beach and Gulf of Mexico are right off of the cemetery. The oldest existing tombstone here dates to 1811 and has a French-inscription because the occupant was Frenchman Michel Batet. The headstone is partially embedded in a tree stump. The cemetery wasn't deeded to the city until 1844. This is a glorious southern cemetery dripping with Spanish moss and filled with 19th-century above-ground monuments and barrel-vaulted crypts. This cemetery has been around for over 300 years and holds many interesting characters. One of these people is Juan de Cuevas who was known as the "Hero of Cat Island War of 1812." Juan lived on Cat Island with his family and they defended their home against the British during the War of 1812. He fired shots at the British fleet in the decisive Battle of New Orleans. There are many other veterans here from various other wars including Brigadier General Joseph Robert Davis who was the nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. 

James Parks Caldwell was born in Monroe, Ohio and became a founding member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity at the University of Illinois. He was only fourteen at the time. He went off to Miami University in Ohio and graduated there at sixteen and then pursued a law degree and moved to Mississippi to teach. He joined the Confederacy during the Civil War and ended up a prisoner of war. After the war he was admitted to the bar. He died in 1912 and was buried here. Jean Guilhot was known as the "Hermit of Deer Island" and Jean ended up a hermit on the island after a hurricane destroyed his home in 1947. He was quite the character. The Frenchman was a former barber and oysterman who reputedly had eight wives before becoming a hermit and he liked to row out to passing boats and serenade them with French folk songs. People would throw him money, which he used to buy the occasional groceries. He died at 81 in 1959.

A Brooklyn Daily Eagle article in 1927 was headlined "Women Have Guided Biloxi Light for Over Sixty Years" and reported, "A woman’s hand has guided the Biloxi light to storm-tossed sailors in the Gulf of Mexico for more than 60 years. Among old sailors, there is a superstition of good fortune radiating from Biloxi because the light has never faltered through the fiercest West Indian hurricane." Operations at the lighthouse began in 1848 and the first woman took over in 1854. This was Mary Reynolds and she was followed by Perry Younghans who died a year after starting, so his widow Maria Younghans took over and served for 53 years. Her daughter Miranda had been her assistant and now took over. Maria and Miranda Younghans are both buried here. 

Walter White was a Circuit Court Judge and his wife Cora started the White House Hotel back in the 1890s. She started with boarders in their home and then started buying the houses around them as she expanded. This eventually grew to seven Victorian homes and in 1910, two of the homes were joined to create a lobby, dining room and ballroom. This is still open today as a boutique hotel. Walter and Cora White are buried here. Isle of Caprice opened in 1925 and was known as the "Monte Carlo of the South." This was the place to be in the Roaring Twenties. Walter "Skeet" Hunt was one of three men who built and operated this resort. He also founded the Biloxi Mardi Gras Parade. The resort slipped beneath the waves between Horn and Ship Islands south of Biloxi in 1931. Skeet passed away in 1961. 

George Edgar Ohr was born in Biloxi in 1857 and was an American ceramic artist who never received the recognition he should have for his art. He was a precursor to the American Abstract-Expressionism movement and called himself the "Mad Potter of Biloxi." After his death, most of his work sat in a shed behind his son's gas station. This work is now considered ground-breaking with hard-to-replicate thin walls, unique metallic glazes and twisted shapes. He was an eccentric guy who wore his hair and beard in a way that made him look like he was in a wind storm with the hair blowing to the side. He died in 1918 at the age of sixty. And then there is the man we have to thank for Barq's Root Beer, Edward Barq. Barq was born in 1871 and traveled to France to study soft drink formulation. He built his Biloxi Artesian Bottle Works in 1898. He experimented with various formulas for soft drinks and eventually came up with his namesake root beer. The company remained in the same building until 1937 when it moved to a big building. By 1950, there were over two hundred franchise bottlers of the root beer and eventually in 1995, The Coca-Cola Company acquired Barq's Root Beer. Barq himself died in 1943 and he has a mausoleum in the cemetery.

Bud Steed wrote "Haunted Mississippi Gulf Coast" and in there he shares a story he was told in the 1980s when he was living in Biloxi. A young woman had a brother who was always getting into trouble while hanging with the wrong crowd. One evening, this group of thugs decided that they wanted to assault a young woman. They had noticed while they were hanging out on the beach several nights in a row, that a young woman cut through the graveyard on her way home. They decided she would be the perfect victim. They hid out behind some crypts and waited for the woman who did indeed, make her nightly trek. They grabbed her and pinned her against a crypt while one of them rifled through her purse. Then they threw her to the ground as she screamed and began to hit her and tear at her clothes. Suddenly, one of the thugs screamed. What had happened is that a very large man appeared and he thrust his arm straight through one of the thugs. That guy fainted when he saw the arm through his body. The other two jumped to their feet and pleaded with the man to leave them alone, but he lunged at them. He quickly bounced back and forth between the men, beating them. The large man helped the woman to her feet, whispered in her ear - she kicked one of the thugs in the crotch and hurried away - and then the man hurled French curses at the the three thugs on the ground. He then faded away before their very eyes.  

There are other spirits at the cemetery as well. One has been nicknamed "The Preacher." This apparition is seen wearing a black suit and he carries a Bible. He appears out of nowhere and asks witnesses if they know the Lord. He sometimes breaks into a fire and brimstone sermon and then disappears. This happens only to people who are alone and usually at night. Bud had visited the cemetery with a friend named Dave and they were snapping pictures when Dave heard the sound of metal clinking right next to him and there was nothing metal around. Bud came over and said that he felt as though something were standing there. A little while later, Dave felt burning on his arms and looked down to discover red marks on his forearm. The men also could have sworn that they saw the figure of a man standing beside one of the crypts when some lightning flashed as they drove out of the cemetery.

Crouch Cemetery

It was around midnight of Nov. 22, 1883 when four people were murdered on the Jacob Crouch farm: Jacob, his daughter Eunice (and her unborn child), her husband Henry White and a friend, Moses Polley. Ever since then, Eunice's spirit rises from her grave in St. John's Cemetery every November 22 and meets up with Jacob in the wee dark hours at his gravesite in Reynolds Cemetery, Spring Arbor Township.

To this day, thrill-seekers claim to have seen the spirits of Jacob and Eunice together in the cemetery and the faint sound of crying has been heard. Others say they've seen a ghostly mist float over the gravestones until it reaches the marker of Jacob, where it seems to disappear into the plot.

Read More: HAUNTED MICHIGAN: The Crouch Murders, Jackson |

The Crouch Cemetery is maintained by Spring Arbor Township in Michigan. This is at the corner of Reynolds and Horton Roads and the haunting connected to this cemetery dates back to a gruesome multi-murder. Jacob Crouch was born in New York in 1809 and moved to Michigan in 1830. In 1837, he purchased land and started a farm and married Anna Busch in 1838. They had six children: Susan, Ethel, Bryon, Dayton, Eunice and Judson. By the time Jacob had turned 74-years old, his property was worth a substantial amount of money. He also had several head of cattle and property in Texas. His wife Anna had died in 1859, just days after giving birth to the couple's son Judd. Daughter Susan was older and had married a man named Daniel Holcomb and so she offered to raise Judd.

On the night of November 22, 1883, Jacob Crouch, his daughter Eunice who was eight months pregnant, her husband Henry White and a Pennsylvania cattle buyer names Moses Polley were all murdered in their beds at the Crouch Homestead. All of them had been shot to death. By the time the sheriff arrived, the crime scene had been trampled. Two farm workers, Julia Reese and George Bolles, who lived on the property had not been shot and they were immediately looked at for the murders. Bolles had made the discovery of the murders. He told police he had heard shots and fighting, so he climbed in a trunk and hid. He was only sixteen. Reese had no idea anything had happened and was preparing breakfast when neighbors burst in after Bolles ran and told them what had happened. Bolles and Reese were arrested, but let go due to lack of evidence. Then the police started to look to the family.

Jacob was a gruff and ornery man and quite stingy. It was said that he was planning to write Susan, her husband Daniel and Judd out of his will. And they apparently knew that and took action before that happened. Judd and Daniel were charged with the murders on March 8, 1884, but not Susan because she was already dead. She had killed herself by eating rat poison on Jan, 2, 1884, so she wouldn't have to testify. At the end of Daniel Holcomb's trial, the jury found him not guilty. Judd was never brought to trial and the case remains unsolved to this day.

And perhaps that is why members of the Crouch family are at unrest. Jacob was buried at Crouch Cemetery, but his daughter Eunice was buried at St. John's Cemetery. It is said that she rises from her grave there and travels the few miles to Crouch Cemetery every November 22nd to meet up with Jacob at his grave site. People claim to hear the faint sound of crying and some have seen a ghostly mist float around the tombstones until it stops at Jacob's grave. Then it disappears into the plot. Perhaps Jacob returning from visiting his daughter?

St. Omer Cemetery Witch Grave

And then finally we have this really weird headstone in Illinois. This is located in the town of St. Omer, which is now a ghost town. This headstone is the Barnes Monument and it has a witch legend connected to it. The story goes that Caroline Barnes was a witch and had been hanged for her crimes. This bit of lore probably got started because of Caroline's death date on the monument: February 31, 1882. Now, of course, we know there never has been any such date because at most, February has 29 days. People say that this isn't some kind of error made by the sculptor, but rather on purpose because it was said that a witch could rise again on her death date. If that date doesn't happen, then there isn't an issue. There are other weird things about the monument, which not only marks Caroline's final resting place, but her husband Marcus and his parents Granville and Sarah. The monument is a ball atop a pyre and people claim the ball represents a crystal ball and it glows on moonless nights. The other graves in the cemetery are oriented east to west, but this one faces north and south. People claim that it is hard to take a picture of the monument and that photos don't turn out. And this has become a spot for secret rituals. 

These were some interesting cemeteries with interesting burials and some creepy strange experiences. Are these six cemeteries haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, February 16, 2023

HGB Ep. 474 - Haunted Duxbury, Massachusetts

Moment in Oddity - Pelorus Jack (Suggested by: Chelsea Flowers)

There once was a Risso's dolphin named Pelorus Jack who lived in New Zealand. This was an uncommon species to be found in New Zealand, with only 12 having been previously reported in that area. Interestingly, Risso's look a bit more like a beluga whale, although they do have a curved dorsal fin similar to a bottlenose dolphin, where beluga lacks one. Risso's are similar in size to a bottlenose dolphin as well. Pelorus Jack was a special creature. This beautiful and wise Delphinidin made it his habit for 24 years to guide ships through the dangerous French Pass. The channel was known for shipwrecks due to its dangerous currents and rocks. Oftentimes if a ship did not see Pelorus Jack, they would wait to proceed until he appeared. This special chap received his moniker from a marine navigational instrument called a Pelorus. Although his sex was never known, I supposed Jack just went well with Pelorus and his name stuck. Jack gained fame due to his helpful nature, earning him articles in newspapers and even his own postcards. Shockingly, in 1904, someone aboard the SS Penguin tried to shoot Pelorus Jack. This prompted the creation of a law where he became protected by the Order in Council under the Sea Fisheries Act on the 26th of September, in 1904. Pelorus Jack remained protected by that law until his disappearance in 1912. We know that dolphins are extremely intelligent, but the fact that this dandy, dedicated delphinidae guided many ships safely through such dangerous waters successfully, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - The Birth of Ronald Reagan

In the month of February, on the 6th, in 1911, 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan was born. He entered the world in Tampico, Illinois. The young Ronald's upbringing was greatly influenced by his mother's spirituality and her commitment to the Disciples of Christ and the Social Gospel. When Reagan entered college, he was an indifferent student earning a "C average" grade. He was, however, quite involved in campus politics, sports, drama and was even elected student body president. After graduating from Eureka College with a bachelor of arts degree, he worked as a sports announcer for four football games in the Big Ten Conference. After that he worked for WHO radio as an announcer for the Chicago Cubs. While traveling to California for the teams spring training, Ronald took a screen test which led to a 7 year contract with Warner Bros. studios. His debut film was Love Is on the Air, in 1937. He appeared in many films before serving in the military beginning in April of 1942. WWII interrupted Reagan's movie stardom and Warner Bros. became concerned about the stars ability to generate ticket sales. Likewise, Reagan was dissatisfied with the parts he was being given. After contract renegotiations, he was able to freelance with Paramount and Universal Pictures. In March of 1947, he was elected as president of the Screen Actors Guild, which he remained president of until November of 1952. However, seven years later he was re-elected as president of SAG from November of 1959 to June of 1960. Just as Reagan dabbled in campus politics during college, he also did so during his acting career and by January of 1966, he announced that he was throwing his hat-in-the-ring for the California gubernatorial election. Ultimately, Reagan ended up running against Pat Brown and was portrayed by the press as being "monumentally ignorant of state issues". At the end of the election, Ronald Reagan won by a landslide. However, after serving two terms as Governor of California, he declined a third term and set his sights on the Presidency of the nation. In the general election, Reagan ended up being pitted against Jimmy Carter. During a debate on October 28 in 1980, Reagan asked the audience a question, "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?". The answers that were tagged onto Carter's coattails were a resounding "NO" as his campaign numbers plummeted. On election day, Ronald Reagan won a huge popular vote, electoral victory and was sworn into office on January 20, in 1981 as the 40th president of the United States of America.

Haunted Duxbury, Massachusetts

The historic seaside town of Duxbury, Massachusetts is covered in dune grass with pebbled shores and crisp air touched with salt and the scent of pine and cedar and is home to several haunted locations. The Alden Inn dates back to the first Pilgrims to settle the Plymouth area and is rumored to be haunted by the Aldens who arrived on the Mayflower. The Sun Tavern Inn had been home to the "Last Duxbury Hermit" who still hangs out in the afterlife. And the Gurnet Light gave America their first female lightkeeper who still is taking care of the place after death. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Duxbury, Massachusetts!

The future Duxbury, Massachusetts was first inhabited by indigenous people starting in 12,000 B.C. The Wampanoags were here when the first European settlers came. They had named the area Mattakeesett, which meant "place of many fish" and they not only fished, but hunted for game and grew crops. Pilgrims were the first Europeans to settle. Many had traveled the ten miles north from Plymouth around 1627. The families would work their farms in the summer and then return to Plymouth in the winter. By 1637, Duxbury was officially incorporated and was allowed to build their own church. Many leaders rose up at this time like Captain Myles Standish, Elder William Brewster and John Alden. Many of these early settlers are buried at the Old Burying Ground on Chestnut Street, next to the site of the original Meeting House. Duxbury was a town against loyalists during the Revolutionary War and many of its men served during the seige of Boston in 1776. Many Duxbury fishermen served as privateers. Eventually Duxbury would become a place of shipyards and was the largest producer of sailing vessels on the South Shore. Many federal period houses still exist in the town today.

Alden House

One of these old homes predates the federal period by more than a hundred years. The Mayflower had arrived in Cape Cod in 1620 and two passengers on board the ship were John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. John was aboard the ship serving as a cooper, which was the crewman in charge of the ship's barrels. He was not a Pilgrim, but decided to stay on in Plymouth and signed the Mayflower Compact. He was the youngest man to sign the document and the last survivor. One of the reasons he made that decision was probably because of Priscilla Mullins, who was a Pilgrim traveling with her family on the Mayflower. Priscilla's entire family had died in that first harsh winter in Plymouth. The couple had fallen in love and probably married in 1622 and eventually had ten children. The love of this couple was praised in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish." Most of the poem is considered lore, rather than historical fact, but Longfellow was a descendant of the couple and claimed it was from oral tradition passed down by the family. It features a love triangle between Miles Standish and John and Priscilla. 

The couple were given a parcel of land on a knoll overlooking the Bluefish River in 1627 and they started a homestead. This location is now occupied by Duxbury Junior High School. They wouldn't build Alden House until 1653, which is located at 105 Alden Street. At least that is according to tradition. Archaeological study has the house being built in 1700, after the Aldens were already deceased. Historically, they did live at this location, but probably in a different home. The main point is that these two locations are on property owned by the Aldens and are now National Historical Sites. These properties were always in the ownership of the Alden family until they became historic sites. The Alden House is a two-story timber box frame house that is plank-sheathed with five bays, a central chimney and a gable roof. This represents First Period New England colonial architecture. The house had a parlor and the kitchen was inside on the north side of the first floor. The huge fireplace in here has the original bricks made from clay and there is a beehive oven at the back that connects to the central chimney. The house also has a cellar and an attic.

John Alden served the Plymouth Colony in every way possible, including as acting governor a couple of times. His namesake son was accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts when he was 70 years old in 1692. He thankfully, wasn't killed during the hysteria. The Alden House was purchased by Charles L. Alden in 1883 from John T. Alden's guardian. The Alden family formed the Alden Kindred in the early 1900s and they purchased the Alden House and 2.7 acres in 1907. John W. Alden and his wife Sylvia lived in the house at the time and they continued to stay there until 1920. They were a musical family and conducted jazz sessions often, playing the piano, drums, flute and clarinet. Charles L. Alden continued to be an influence on the house and did a lot of restoration in the 1930s. He gave tours of the house as well. The house later was used as an antique shop by two sisters and then became the museum that it is today. A major restoration was finished in 2008.

An Aunt Polly died in the house in 1882 at the age of 93 and people believe one of the several apparitions here is her. Children spirits have been seen in the house. A crying child has been witnessed coming down the stairs. Another child was seen standing at the window and it asked, "Where are they going?" Charles Alden loved the house enough to stick around and its said he haunts the place. Visitors have also reported the phantom scent of flowers. One of the docents said, "So they seem rather friendly, but who knows what they would have to tell. People enjoy this wonderful story that dates back to that time period, and how a family helped shape New England."

The Sun Tavern (Suggested by: Jen Hendrix)

The Sun Tavern in Duxbury, Massachusetts is a favorite of locals on the South Shore because of its upscale American cuisine and warm hospitality. The building has been around for over 280 years and had once been home to the "Last Duxbury Hermit." There was a man named Lysander Walker who lived in the house at the end of the 19th century. He had lived here with his wife, but after she died, he became a recluse. He had a system with the kids in town that would get him provisions. When he needed something, he would hang an American flag at the corner of his house. On October 3, 1928, an 11-year-old girl named Gladys Belknap was walking by the house and saw that the American flag was at the corner of the house, but on this day, it was hung upside down. For people who don't know, this is a sign of distress. Gladys went into town and got some men to return with her and when they entered the house, they found Lysander sitting on the sofa with a bullet in his head and a revolver tightly gripped in his hand lying beside him on the couch. The young girl never forgot this day and even sent a postcard to the owners of the restaurant confirming the story. 

The next owner of the house was Father Francis Keegan and he used it as a summer residence. There was a young woman who wanted to attend the Salem State Normal School and Father Keegan financed her education. Once she graduated, Father Keegan suggested that his residence would make the perfect spot for a tavern and in the early 1930s, Mary opened up a small restaurant that was very successful. People raved about the meals and the beautiful flowers she decorated the place with. A man named David Wells became the next owner of the house in 1964 and he named his establishment Fiddler's Green Restaurant and it was like an English Pub. Later it became Buck's Tavern and then in 1987 the place became The Sun Tavern and that name has stuck up unto the present. Larry and Carol Friedman took ownership of the tavern in 1996 and they held it until 2001. They sold it, but returned again in 2009 and then sold it in 2017 to Gary and Deborah James. Gary is the Executive Chef at the restaurant and has been since 2013.

Many of the owners of this establishment have had paranormal experiences. The first person to experience a ghost here was David Wells. Many nights, when Wells would be locking up the restaurant, one candle would relight. Sometimes, he would put the candle out again and it would relight before he went out the back door. Talk about a fire hazard. When David would tell people that he had a ghost in the restaurant, he would be met with ridicule. Nobody believed him until one fateful night, the alarm went off and the police responded. They checked the entire building and found nothing. So they left the house, locked the door and started up the walk when they heard the distinct sound of footsteps in the restaurant. They both grabbed their guns and headed back inside the restaurant and again found no one inside. Nobody teased David about his ghost after that.

The Friedmans had many experiences. When they first took ownership in 1996, the basement flooded. Larry put on some waders and started the process of drying out the basement. He used a generator to run a sump pump and temporary lighting. Larry said, "All of a sudden, the light goes off, generator stops, water stops. And I'm yelling up through the window...Not a word. I don't hear a word out of them. Suddenly I feel these arms around me. To this day, I tell this story, it wigs me out.” The lights came on moments later and Larry saw that he was still alone in the basement. He hollered for his brother-in-law who was upstairs. His BIL told him that the generator was still running and had never stopped. One evening, the police called to tell Larry that they had received a 911 call from the restaurant. Larry said the place was empty so it was impossible for the call to have come from the restaurant and the number must have been wrong. But the police said that there was no doubt it came from the pay phone in the restaurant. And, of course, there was no one in the restaurant when it was checked. Lysander is thought to be the ghost here and he seems to really like the phone because his apparition has been seen standing in front of it.

Heavy disembodied footsteps are heard throughout the building. The ladies restroom is haunted. The towel dispenser has dispensed towels on its own. Whatever spirit is here seems to be helpful at times. A man was choking in the restaurant one night. Larry tells the story this way, "One busy Saturday my bartender starts screaming. 'Larry! Larry!'... I run up to the bar and there's a man choking. I was just about to give him the Heimlich Maneuver, when he spit out his food. He turns around to me and says, 'Thank you.' I said, 'I didn't even get to touch you.' He turns to the woman next to him and says, 'Thank you.' And she said, 'No one touched you.' He said, 'Someone hit me on my back.'" During an interview Larry was giving, three loud bangs were heard in the dining room and were caught on the recording of the interview. They also heard a choking sound when Larry was recounting the story about the guest who choked. So perhaps the ghost has a sense of humor too. 

In 2009, Larry decided to allow some paranormal investigators to come into the restaurant. Larry said, "They went down to the basement, and the basement is a trip in itself. It's an old basement, it's an old stone wall. Most of the staff won't go down there. But they did a recording down there, and they heard a very young girl's voice saying, ‘Larry's coming. Larry's coming,’ which is mind-blowing. And then, a man's voice, an older voice saying, ‘Get out.’ I'm guessing that was Lysander." The little girls voice that was caught is thought to be one of two girls who died in the house. They mostly haunt the upstairs, but apparently they chose the basement that time. 

Gary James has had experiences as well. He definitely feels like he had one encounter with Lysander. He said, "I was standing out back behind the restaurant with Larry talking and I see this shadow approaching us and then take off. I thought it was somebody trying to break into cars.” A server told James one night that she thought she saw a man sitting at one of the restaurant’s tables after the restaurant was closed. When she mentioned it to other staff members, they looked at her funny because none of them could see the man.

Gurnet Light

Around ten miles away from the Sun Tavern Inn is the Gurnet Light. This is the oldest freestanding wooden lighthouse in the United States. Samuel de Champlain was a French explorer and cartographer and he mapped out Clarks' Island and The Gurnet in 1638. The Gurnet is a twenty-seven acre peninsula forming the northern boundary of Plymouth Bay and this is where the lighthouse is located. This area was named after a similar area in the English Channel that is home to the gurnet fish. The Massachusetts Legislature voted to erect the first Plymouth Lighthouse, which was completed in 1768. This was actually just a wooden house that was fifteen feet by thirty feet and had lanterns on each end of the roof. The first keeper was a surgeon named John Thomas who actually owned the land that the lighthouse was built upon. He served in this capacity until the Revolutionary War started and he joined the Continental Army. His first duty was to gather a regiment of men from Plymouth to help Boston repel the British during the Siege of Boston. Later, he was given the rank of General and marched his troops into Quebec, where he contracted small pox. The disease took his life on June 2, 1776.

When John left the lighthouse, there was a need for a new keeper. Obviously, all able bodied men were joining the war effort. John's wife Hannah took over the duties and she continued on after his death. She was also raising three children at the time. There were times that the lighthouse beacons were not lit during the war and this was to protect Fort Andrew that was on Gurnet Point from being attacked. Some accounts claim that one of the lighthouse's beacons was destroyed by cannon fire from the British H.M.S. Niger when it exchanged blasts with the fort. In 1778, Plymouth would suffer its worst shipwreck due to a massive winter storm. General Arnold was in charge of a vessel that was headed for Plymouth's inner harbor, but the storm featured blizzard conditions with hurricane force winds, so the General opted to anchor outside of the bay and ride out the storm. The ship ran aground on White Flats and was stranded with no way for the crew to get to safety. The residents of Gurnet decided to build a causeway over the ice, but it took too long and 72 of the 100 men on board froze to death.

After the war, Hannah remained on as keeper, but decided to hire Nathaniel Burgess to take over those duties in 1786. Hannah had been the first female lighthouse keeper. That same year, a sloop got caught on a sandbar near Gurnet during a blizzard. Two of the crew hiked the seven miles to the lighthouse to get help and it is believed that Hannah Thomas' son was the one who went to bring back the rest of the crew. His name was also John and took over as keeper in 1790, making $200 a year. The lighthouse was destroyed in a fire on July 2, 1801 and local merchants helped fund the building of a temporary beacon. The government had always leased the land under the lighthouse, but now they bought it from the Thomas family and built two twenty-two-foot-tall lighthouses, spaced thirty feet apart from each other, in 1803.

On  October 16, 1812, Joseph “Uncle Joe” Burgess became the keeper. He had been the son of former keeper Nathaniel, so they certainly kept this lighthouse thing on the Gurnet in the family. Uncle Joe maintained the lighthouse until 1851 and during that time, tragedy struck. His daughter Eunice was sixteen when she fell in love with a soldier at Fort Andrew. The couple wanted to marry and Uncle Joe refused to allow that to happen. Eunice became depressed and leapt to her death from a rock that has been nicknamed "Lover's Rock." 

Many people complained that the twin towers of the lighthouse were too close together and caused the two lamps to appear as one, but nothing was done to rectify this until the towers became so "decayed a state as to be unworthy of repair." Two new octagonal towers were built in 1842, although the distance between was only increased by a foot. A new spacious keeper's dwelling was also erected at that time. Fourth-order lenses were added in 1879 as the sixth-order lights from 1856 were becoming confused with regular house lights and some sailors even complained that they couldn't see the lights at all. There was a push to space the towers away from each other more, but this meant a new site needed to be found and that proved difficult. In the early 1900s, people were invited to visit the lighthouse. It was decided that the lighthouse needed a fog horn and so a 1,500-pound fog bell that was mounted on a wooden, pyramidal tower and tolled by a striking machine was erected in 1907. This was upgraded to a first-class Daboll trumpet in 1909, which sounded a three-second blast every fifteen seconds. The bell remained as a back-up.

Another shipwreck occurred in 1920 when the minesweeper USS Swan was trying to refloat a wrecked oil barge in Cape Cod Bay and some big waves threw the vessel up on the beach near the lighthouse. The keeper and his assistant, along with the Gurnet Beach Coast Guard, saved all fifty-six sailors aboard. The minesweeper was eventually refloated and made its way to Pearl Harbor, where it would be when that location was attacked during World War II. One of the towers was torn down in 1924 and the other tower received a revolving beacon, which had one flash alternating with a group of two flashes every twenty seconds. The Davis family took over duties in 1925. Frank and Olive Davis had three children and one of them, Frank Arthur, became a licensed lobsterman at the age of nine. He had his own boat and traps and compared himself to Tom Sawyer. The old keeper's house was demolished in 1963 and a new ranch style house was built. Unbelievably, at the time, this was the only place on the peninsula that had electricity 24 hours a day. Residents would stop by for a "visit" so they could watch TV, use the phone or do their laundry. The station was automated in 1986. The lighthouse has been off limits to the public except for the occasional open house to allow the public to visit.

But there is always someone here. Hannah Thomas must have loved the lighthouse because she is reputedly here in the afterlife. People claim to see her apparition. A photographer named Bob Shanklin spent the night at the lighthouse with his wife Sandra as he had been hired to take at-dawn pictures. He awoke in the middle of the night and claimed to have seen the ghost of a woman who only appeared from the waist up, wearing period clothing with long dark hair like Hannah's. Bob said she had the saddest eyes he had ever seen.

Duxbury is a quaint historic seaside town with links back to the original Plymouth colony. Are some of the spirits from that bygone era still hanging around in the afterlife? Are these locations in Duxbury, Massachusetts haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, February 9, 2023

HGB Ep. 473 - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Moment in Oddity - Petrichor (Suggested by: Jared Rang)

In the 1960s there was a fragrance being sold in India known as petrichor, the name is derived from the the Greek word, "Petros" which means 'stone' and "ichor" which is said to be fluid that flows in the veins of gods. This is described to appeal to people on the most primal level. Although it sounds like it's pheromones, it's quite a bit more interesting than that. This scent is labeled as geosmin. Humans are more sensitive to the scent of geosmin than sharks are to the smell of blood. A shark can smell one particle of blood per billion parts of water, whereas humans can smell geosmin at 5 parts per trillion. This distinctive smell is a blend of scents that occur after a time of drought. There is speculation that plants in arid environments produce an oil that inhibit seed germination during times where water is scarce. These airborne oils combine with other compounds to produce the smell. As a pluviophile, or one who loves rain, I was shocked to discover that the 'smell of rain', or the smell of geosmin was more easily detected by the human olfactory sensors vs sharks and their ability to smell blood in water. Regardless of the science behind it, humans being able to detect anything at the ratio of 5 parts per trillion, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Massachusetts Ratifies the New Constitution

In the month of February, on the 6th, in 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the new U.S. Constitution by a vote of 187 to 168. Shortly before this, the Massachusetts convention met in the Old State House to discuss the matter. At this point, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut had already ratified the Constitution. Massachusetts had the largest convention of any of the states and of the 364 delegates, they were nearly evenly divided. Federalists supported the Constitution as written. However the Anti-Federalists believed that a centralized government, as proposed, would give too much power to the elite and end up dissolving the democratic ideals adopted during the Revolution. What ultimately changed during the debate in Boston came when Gov. John Hancock proposed that Massachusetts recommend several amendments to the Constitution, including a Bill of Rights. The proposal appealed to many of the Anti-Federalist, giving them the ability to voice their concerns. After Revolutionary leader Samuel Adams spoke in favor of Hancock's "conciliatory proposition," a sufficient number of delegates changed their positions to approve ratification.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the oldest flying field in the world and is located near Dayton, Ohio and is the site where the Wright Brothers developed the first practical airplane. This still active base has hundreds of buildings on the property and a few of them are reputed to be haunted, particularly the United State Air Force Museum. There are also urban legends about UFO reverse engineering and hidden alien bodies on the base. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base!

The Wright part of the name in Wright Patterson is for the Wright Brothers. The Brothers bought Huffman Prairie Field to use as their official test field. In 1904 and 1905, the Wright Brothers used Huffman Prairie to develop the Flyer II and Flyer III, making this the site of the world's first successful heavier-than-air development field. The Flyer III was considered the first practical airplane. The Wrights went on to establish a flying school at the field that ran from 1910 to 1916 and they graduated some exemplary individuals like 1st Lt. Henry "Hap" Arnold, who became the only Five-Star General in the Air Force and commanded the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. The hap nickname was short for happy. There was also aviation pioneer Calbraith Perry Rodgers, who made the first transcontinental airplane flight of the US and was the first owner of a private airplane (other than the Wrights). He died during an exhibition at the age of thirty-three. The first rated military pilot was 1st Lt. Thomas D. Milling and he was trained at the school. There was also Walter Brookings who was the first exhibition pilot and first pilot to reach a one mile altitude. Phillip Orin Parmalee was the first practical military flier and dropped the first test bomb and became the first commercial pilot by delivering a bolt of silk. He too died during an exhibition at the age of twenty-five.

The Wright Brothers would sell their flying field to the United States government in 1917. This included Huffman Field, Wright Field, and a nearby field called McCook Field. It's not surprising that the government would look to this spot in Ohio because it was the heart of the aviation community with a huge concentration of expertise in flight engineering and experience. In 1918, the US Army Air Service was established by President Woodrow Wilson and this was backed by Congress. The Army was looking to use aircraft strictly for spotting, carrying messages and photo-reconnaissance. There was no plan to use the air for battle. That obviously changed and soon machine guns were mounted on a canvas biplanes. Then bomb drops were incorporated into air-to-ground attacks. Strangely, even though the Wright Brothers got flight really going, America fell way behind their European counterparts. 

After World War I, 347 German planes were brought over to Ohio and some became part of the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which opened in 1923. This museum is celebrating 100 years this year, 2023. It started simply as a small engineering study collection, but would eventually become the world's largest military aviation museum. Visitors are transported to another era when they enter the museum. There is the Early Years Gallery, which covers those first accomplishments by the Wright Brothers and their fellow pioneers and goes through the military planes up to World War II. Many planes from the 20s and 30s are featured. There is the Air Power Gallery with WW2 planes and exhibits featuring the story of the Flying Tigers, the story of the Philippine Death March, life in a POW camp and other artifacts. The Modern Fight Gallery features the Korean War and Vietnam War and The Cold War Gallery covers our most modern advancements in flight, particularly military bombers, fighters, reconnaissance planes and the world’s only permanent public display of a B-2 stealth bomber. Finally there is the Space Gallery with Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft and a Space Shuttle Exhibit.

Now back to the history of the base. The training school the Wrights started was closed and President Calvin Coolidge was presented with the deeds to begin construction on a new aviation engineering center in 1924. The Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot was established at Wright Field, which actually only received that official name in honor of the Wright Brothers in 1927. The depot and field were merged as one at that time. There was a part of Wright Field that was east of Huffman Dam and this was re-designated Patterson Field in honor of Lieutenant Frank Stuart Patterson who was killed during a test flight at the field in 1918. Building kicked into high gear during World War II and the 30 buildings that made up Wright Field, grew to 300 buildings and covered 2,064 acres. These buildings would provide recreation centers, test facilities, aircraft housing, personnel housing and administration buildings. The population at the base would grow to 50,000. A Hilltop area was acquired in 1943 in order to provide troop housing and services.

In 1947, The National Security Act was passed and this created the Department of the Air Force, officially separating the Army and the Air Force from each other. On September 18, 1947, W. Stuart Symington became Secretary of the Air Force, and on September 26, Gen. Carl A. Spaatz became the USAF's first Chief of Staff. This made Wright Air Force Base the heart of development for the United States Air Force and with the Cold War getting started, air defense was even more important. Also at this same time, the base was getting involved in secret operations dealing with extraterrestrial activity. Project Blue Book got its start here. We'll talk more about this in a moment. In 1948, Wright AFB was officially renamed Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Operations continue today at the base and it is the center of Air Force engineering, graduate education, and USAF administration and deployment. 

Ohio is known for its indigenous mounds and the area near Wright-Patterson is no different. The Adena Culture left behind prehistoric Indian mounds here. The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Mound has been designated as 33GR31 and sits right on the base. It is an archaeological site that is eight feet tall and 86 feet in diameter. Pieces of limestone nearby have lead researchers to believe that the Adena culture covered the mound with limestone. The mounds haven't been excavated but it is believed that when they are, they will reveal the death customs of the culture.

To add to the mystical energy of the area, this base is no stranger to UFOs and other strange flying phenomenon. As we mentioned, Project Blue Book was headquartered here. This study into UFO activity began with Project Sign, which became Project Grudge in 1949 and finally Project Blue Book in March 1952. The records from this project have been declassified and are available to see at the National Archives. They describe the collection in this way, "The records include approximately 2 cubic feet of unarranged project or administrative files, 37 cubic feet of case files in which individual sightings are arranged chronologically, and 3 cubic feet of records relating to the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), portions of which are arranged chronologically, by OSI district, and by overseas command. A cubic foot of records comprises about 2,000 pages."

The following is a copy of the US Air Force Fact Sheet distributed by Wright-Patterson AFB in January 1985.

On December 17, 1969, the Secretary of the Air Force announced the termination of Project BLUE BOOK, the Air Force program for the investigation of UFOS. From 1947 to 1969, a total of 12, 618 sightings were reported to Project BLUE BOOK. Of these 701 remain "Unidentified." The project was headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, whose personnel no longer receive, document or investigate UFO reports. The decision to discontinue UFO investigations was based on an evaluation of a report prepared by the University of Colorado entitled, "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects;" a review of the University of Colorado's report by the National Academy of Sciences; past UFO studies and Air Force experience investigating UFO reports during the 40s, '50s, and '60s.

As a result of these investigations and studies and experience gained from investigating UFO reports since 1948, the conclusions of Project BLUE BOOK are:(1) no UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security;(2) there has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge; and(3) there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as "unidentified" are extraterrestrial vehicles. With the termination of Project BLUE BOOK, the Air Force regulations establishing and controlling the program for investigating and analyzing UFOs were rescinded. Documentation regarding the former BLUE BOOK investigation has been permanently transferred to the Military Reference Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408, and is available for public review and analysis.

Since Project BLUE BOOK was closed, nothing has happened to indicate that the Air Force ought to resume investigating UFOS. Because of the considerable cost to the Air Force in the past, and the tight funding of Air Force needs today, there is no likelihood the Air Force will become involved with UFO investigation again. There are a number of universities and professional scientific organizations, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which have considered UFO phenomena during periodic meetings and seminars. In addition, a list of private organizations interested in aerial phenomena my be found in Gayle's Encyclopedia of Associations (edition 8, vol-. 1, pp. 432-433). Such timely review of the situation by private groups ensures that sound evidence will not be overlooked by the scientific community. A person calling the base to report a UFO is advised to contact a private or professional organization (as mentioned above) or to contact a local law enforcement agency if the caller feels his or public safety is endangered.

Periodically, it is erroneously stated that the remains of extraterrestrial visitors are or have been stored at Wright-Patterson AFB. There are not now nor ever have been, any extraterrestrial visitors or equipment on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base." However, a retired Air Force engineer who worked at the base for 39 years named Raymond Szymanksi says aliens from the infamous crash in Roswell were brought to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) in Dayton, Ohio for inspection. He also claimed that a mentor told him about a system of tunnels that house living and deceased extra-terrestrial beings at the base. Rumor claims that Hangar 18 is where all of this material ended up. Another man named Oliver Henderson told his wife that he flew a plane loaded with UFO debris and several small alien bodies, from Roswell to Wright Field. And the children of WWII ace Marion “Black Mac” Magruder, said their father told them stories of seeing a live alien at the base in 1947 and that "it was a shameful thing that the military destroyed this creature by conducting tests on it."

And now that the Pentagon is admitting that UFOs are a real thing, this letter from 1985 and findings from the project just scream cover-up. In a 1988 interview, Senator Barry Goldwater claimed he had asked Gen. Curtis LeMay for access to a secret UFO room at WPAFB and an angry LeMay said, "Not only can't you get into it but don't you ever mention it to me again." So clearly the base has connections to UFOs, but what about other unexplained phenomenon, specifically ghosts? There are apparently several buildings that reputedly have hauntings going on inside them. Disembodied footsteps, weird sounds, flickering lights and apparitions have been reported in many buildings.

Building 70

Building 70 is a large World War II era warehouse that currently houses the Tax Center. There are claims that an old woman haunts the building. And the sounds of crates being dragged is heard. Rachel Castle worked as a public affairs specialist in Building 70 and in 2008, she told Stars & Stripes about a harrowing experience she had. A woman was standing behind her office door on a cold December night. She said of the woman, "She reminded me of the way my grandmother would look when she used to go to work. She wasn't fat, not thin, just average weight. She had on a white shirt with a ruffle or bow hanging down the neck, and a blue polyester vest or dress." Nothing strange about that except that Castle has just locked up for the night and no one else had been in the building. She continued, "She was three-dimensional, but the best way I can describe it, was she looked like a mannequin. Almost waxy. It was just so weird. It scared me. I've never seen anyone like that." Castle was in her car, getting ready to leave when she saw the woman and she stared at her for several minutes before driving off. One woman, whom she called Val, had told her that she heard someone call out her full first name, which no one calls her. There was no one near her and then the printer started and printed out something from a computer in another office that wasn't physically networked into the machine. Then Val walked past a television she had turned off earlier and it suddenly blinked on.

Ghost Hunters was called in to do an investigation in 2008. On the second night of their investigation, the Ghost Hunters investigated Building 70. Jason and Grant started an EVP session and during that Jason saw a black shadow obscuring a light and then Grant saw it from a different angle. They also heard disembodied footsteps and some tapping. Jason asked for two taps if the spirit wanted them to leave and there were two taps, so Jason honors that and he and Grant leave the warehouse.

Building 219

Building 219 is a former World War II era hospital with a basement morgue and a former pediatric clinic that now houses offices and reputedly has a little boy haunting it. People who have seen him claim that he is blonde and around ten years old. This is considered the most active building on the property, but the museum probably gives it a good run for its money. Castle had heard from fourteen other Air Force and civilian workers who had experienced unexplained activity in the building. A member of the base's Judge Advocate Corps told her that during a meeting of five JAG officers in a basement room, the sounds of a loud and disruptive child were heard. There was laughing, running and playing. This official of course thought that there was a real child running around, so he angrily asked one of the JAG officers to go settle the child. The officer looked everywhere for the kid and couldn't find him. He asked a few people if they had seen a child and nobody had. They hadn't even heard a child.

A janitor had a terrifying experience up on the third floor one night. He was going about his cleaning regiment and had opened all the doors to make access easier for himself. He was emptying trash cans when he heard all the doors slam shut at the same time. All the windows were closed, so this wasn't some breeze that had blown through and caused the doors to close. The janitor ran out of the building and they had a hard time finding any cleaning staff that would work in the building at night. This incident could have been cause by other spirits in the building. Some people claim to have seen the shadow figures of older people and sometimes even a mist. One of these spirits has been named Henry, after a doctor who is rumored to have committed suicide in the building.

Arnold House

The Arnold House is the oldest structure on the property and had been a family farm in 1840. This had been owned by Hap Arnold and is today a museum. The faint sound of children laughing is heard here and disembodied footsteps are heard going up and down the stairs. People claim that there are up to five spirits in this house. One of those spirits is thought to be Hap himself. The Ghost Hunters team investigated the Arnold House on the first night of their investigation and they got spikes on the EMF Meters and they heard strange sounds coming from the bathroom. This is actually something that has been reported by several people. Jason asked the spirit to communicate by knocking and he received answers to his questions in this way. It was revealed that there were five ghosts in the house. In another room, Jason did the flashlight experiment and the flashlight did turn on. Kristyn and Kris Williams did an EVP session in the dining room and they caught a little girl's laugh.

United States Air Force Museum

The United States Air Force Museum really seems to be the most haunted building on the property and for good reason because it has so many aircraft and artifacts that saw war and death. One of these was “The Hopalong,” which was a medevac helicopter Sikorsky UH-19B that evacuated troops during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. A pilot was killed at the controls and his blood still stains the seat. Museum staff claim that they see the pilot in the seat, flipping switches and trying to get the helicopter airborne. Another plane here is a B-24 Liberator known as the “Strawberry Bitch,” nicknamed for the girl painted on the side that reputedly didn't have a stitch of clothing on when it served in action. It served with the 512th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force based in Libya and Italy. No one is sure who haunts this plane, it could be several men, and staff have seen apparitions in the plane as though still carrying out their duties. One janitor even claims that a spirit decked him one night. The Belly guns rattle on their own and strange lights are seen moving around the plane.

Parts from another B-24 Liberator are on display here known as “Lady Be Good.” It was stationed at Soluch Airstrip on the coast of Libya. During its first bombing mission in which it was to drop bombs on Naples, Italy, the bomber was forced to turn back due to limited visibility and some sand also got sucked up into the engine. The navigator was fairly new and not well trained and the plane became hopelessly lost and crashed in the Libyan Desert on April 4, 1943. The crew initially survived by parachuting out, but died in the desert. The wreckage wasn't found until 1959 and eight of the nine crew members bodies were recovered. Staff Sergeant V.L. Moore was never found. The parts move around inside their display case on their own. The spirits of the nine crew members are said to wander around the museum at night.

There is a B-29 Bomber known as “Bockscar,” nicknamed for its original pilot named Frederick Bock. This is the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. “Bockscar” became the first and only aircraft to effectively end a world war. The spirit of a Japanese boy is said to haunt this plane. Guards claim to have seen his ghost standing by the bomber. Another haunted helicopter here is the “Black Mariah” which is a Sikorsky CH-3E helicopter transport that was used for classified missions. The helicopter is full of bullet holes and people claim you can hear the moans and voices of the troops it carried.

Wright-Patt, as Air Force members like to call it, has a unique history connected to the origins of not only American aviation, but international aviation. The museum is home to many planes and artifacts that clearly would have emotional energy attached to them. It would seem that the living service members that are on this base, share their space with a few spirits. Is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, February 2, 2023

HGB Ep. 472 - Investigation of the Whaley House

Moment of Oddity  -  Larger than life balloons

Many of us have had the fun experience of a clown twisting and turning balloons into this object or that. However most of us have not had a balloon artist create something taller than us and worthy of an artistic award. Let me introduce you to Mark Verge of Canada. This man creates larger than life sculptures that require thousands of balloons to assemble. This artist began twisting balloons around 30 years ago and is today an eight time world champion of balloon artistry. His company is appropriately named Xtreme Balloons. Some of his pieces of art encompass a life-sized Flintstone car with Fred and Dino in the vehicle. He has also created Bumblebee from the transformers amongst many others. However his most popular pieces of balloon art are various dinosaurs like a T-Rex using 1,400 balloons, a Stegosaurus, Utahraptor, Allosaurus and Spinosaurus. The artist has had commissioned work from the Royal Ontario Museum, Field Station: Dinosaurs, in the U.S. and even a T-Rex balloon costume in Shanghai. According to Mark his favorite creation to date was the Bumblebee Transformer. To be certain, creating balloon creatures larger than the average man, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Birth of Andre Michelin

In January, on the 16th in 1853, Andre Michelin was born in Paris, France. Andre was a French industrialist who, along with his brother, ended up founding the Michelin Tyre Company. Due to a cyclist asking the brothers for assistance with fixing a flat tire, the brothers began exploring methods of creating detachable tires. At the time, cycling was one of the most common modes of transportation for the area. During this timeframe, the common way for mounting tires was for them to be glued directly to the rims of the wheels. Andre's brother, Edouard, developed a patent for a detachable pneumatic bicycle tire. Once this bike tire patent became instantly popular, the brothers set their sights on automotive tires. In 1895, the brothers entered the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris automobile race using their patented tires. Their entry did not win the race, but due to the impressive tires, the race launched the market for the detachable pneumatic tires for cars. After this, the Michelin brothers quickly became the leading Automotive tire supply company to the newly begun car industry and still remains one of the largest suppliers in the world today.

Investigation of the Whaley House

History Goes Bump featured the Whaley House on an episode in 2016 and it has been on our bucket list to investigate for quite a while. We finally had the opportunity to do that in January of 2023 during a quick trip to hang out with family back in California. The Whaley House is the oldest brick structure in southern California and was built by Thomas Whaley, Jr. The home served a variety of purposes and sits on an old hanging ground, so it isn't surprising that people claim that this is one of the most haunted houses in America. Join us as we share our investigation of the Whaley House!

The Whaley House is located in Old Town San Diego that today is a historic district with buildings dating from 1820 to 1870. Adjacent to Old Town is Presidio Park. Originally this area was a military outpost set up by the Spanish and named the San Diego Presidio. For decades it served as the primary settlement because of the military presence. After most of the major threats were dealt with, the settlers moved to the lower part of the bluff that the Presidio sat upon and this newer settlement became the center of the government. By the 1820s, the town of San Diego was flourishing. The Mexican government gave San Diego its city charter in 1834. Mexico referred to cities as pueblos and San Diego only held this status for a few years because the population declined. California became a state in 1850 and San Diego was named the county seat of San Diego County. By the 1860s, people were moving from the area to what is now Downtown San Diego because it made shipping easier and Old Town moved into the background.

The Whaley family were of Scots-Irish origin and they immigrated to America in 1722, laying down roots in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Alexander Whaley was an American patriot and contemporary of General George Washington. He was one of the participants in the Boston Tea Party and he later fought in the Revolutionary War. He was a gunsmith by trade and used his skills to provide flintlock muskets to the soldiers. He also gave them use of his Long Island home. The gunsmith business would continue on in the Whaley family. Alexander's grandson, Thomas Whaley, Sr., served in the New York Militia during the War of 1812.  He married Rachel Pye whose father, William, manufactured locks in Brooklyn. They had ten children together and on October 5, 1823 Thomas Whaley, Jr. was born in New York City, New York. In 1832, Thomas Whaley, Sr. died. In his will, he directed that young Thomas should receive a liberal education at the Washington Institution.

The California Gold Rush called many men and one of those men was Thomas Whaley. He wasn't interested in mining, but he was interested in the businesses that formed around mining operations. On January 1, 1849, Thomas Whaley left New York on a steamer cargo passenger ship called the Sutton, headed for San Francisco, CA, which wouldn't arrive until July 22, 1849. Whaley set up a store with another businessman, named George Wardle, on Montgomery Street. They sold hardware and woodwork from Whaley’s family business, Whaley and Pye, that was located in New York.  They also offered mining equipment and utensils on consignment to the many men coming to California during the gold rush. Whaley was so successful that he was able to establish his own store on Montgomery Street, build a two story house near the bay, and he rented out Wardle’s building.

Tragedy struck in May of 1851 when an arson-set fire destroyed Whaley’s buildings on Montgomery Street. He decided at that time, based on the advice of Lewis Franklin, to relocate to Old Town San Diego.  Lewis Franklin was a merchant who operated stores in San Francisco and Old Town San Diego, so he knew what he was talking about. Once Whaley arrived in San Diego, he set up various businesses with Franklin, Ephraim Morse, Frances Hinton, and even his brother Henry Whaley. With the success of his many businesses, he quickly amassed enough money to return to New York. On May 14, 1853, Whaley married his sweetheart, Anna Eloise Delaunay, the daughter of French-born parents. They set sail for California and arrived on Dec, 7 1853.  Once the couple returned to San Diego, Whaley entered into various business partnerships, most of which lasted less than a year.  On December 28, 1854 Anna gave birth to the couple’s first child, Frances Hinton.  He was named after a business associate of Whaley's and Francis would be key in the Whaley House surviving through the years.

In May of 1855, Henry Whaley, Thomas’ brother, and his wife Annie came west from New York.  After arriving they lived with Thomas and his family.  Thomas and Henry went into business together and opened Whaley and Co., a general store. Starting a business with his brother would prove to be a poor business decision. Henry liked his liquor and was often publically drunk. Thomas and Henry did not get along and quarreling was a normal way of life. Finally, Thomas had enough and in November of 1855, Whaley and Co. was dissolved. He noticed when he studied their records that Henry often over charged customers. Thomas told Henry he was ending the business and Henry reacted bitterly and assaulted Thomas in the store. After he was sent out into the street, he shouted insults and obscenities and challenged Thomas to come out and fight. This ended not only their business partnership but their personal one as well.

In September 1855, Whaley purchased land that contained the public gallows and cemetery and he knew that was the case because he watched one of the executions. This was the hanging of the infamous Yankee Jim Robinson in September of 1852. He had been convicted of attempted grand larceny. Upon Yankee Jim's conviction the Los Angeles Star wrote on August 28, 1852: "At the recent term of the County Court at San Diego, James Robinson, otherwise called 'Yankee Jim,' was tried for burglary, and sentenced to be hung. Two accomplices, Gray and Harris, were each sentenced to be imprisoned one year in the State Prison. The charge upon which they were tried was for stealing a boat, but they are strongly suspected of horse stealing and even murder. Yankee Jim made powerful resistance to the arrest, and was finally captured by the aid of the 'lasso', which in the hands of a person expert in its use is irresistible. His execution is fixed for the 18th of September, and he says that before that time he will make a confession that will tonish the natives." Yankee Jim was a tall man and he had been hanged off the back of a wagon.  It is said that he kept his feet in the wagon until they finally pulled them off.  He then swung like a pendulum until he was strangled to death.  It took nearly an hour for him to die. Thomas Whaley would use the wood from that gallows to build an archway in the parlor, so that the spot of execution would always be marked in the house, probably as an interesting conversation piece.  

In May of 1856, Whaley built a single-story granary for 300,000 to 400,000 pounds of grain with bricks manufactured in his brickyard on Conde Street. On August 18, 1856, Anna gave birth to the couple’s second child, Thomas Whaley, III. Construction began on a two-story house and store addition in September of 1856. The Whaley House was built from brick in the Greek Revival style and cost $10,000 to build. Whaley boasted, “My new house, when completed, will be the handsomest, most comfortable, and convenient place in town or within 150 miles of here.” Construction finished on August 22, 1857 and the family moved into the second floor of the house, which was meant to be their living area. The lower level was the store. Across the 32-foot wide front area, there were five pairs of doors which corresponded to five windows upstairs. The Whaleys' new home was known as the finest in Southern California.  It was furnished with mahogany and rosewood furniture, there was wall-to-wall Brussels carpet and damask drapes hung at the windows. Despite being considered small in our era, at the time, it was a mansion. The store downstairs was a general store and Thomas solicited cash customers only. The store did not do well because the location proved to be too far from the center of the small community. Whaley rented a frame building on the plaza and relocated the store there.

Things were going well, but only a few months after moving into the house, little Thomas contracted Scarlet Fever. He was only 18 months old and the disease proved fatal. He died in the home on January 28, 1858. Anna was pregnant at the time with the couple's third child who was born on June 27, 1858. They named the baby girl Anna Amelia. The joy evaporated when another arson-set fire destroyed Whaley’s business on the plaza two months later.  Despondent from the loss of their son Thomas III and the loss of the business the family decided to move to San Francisco. They rented out their home in Old Town. Mail agent Robert E. Doyle and his wife Sarah Doyle moved into the Whaley House in 1860. The house was large enough for more than just their family and three mail carriers joined them: James E. Mason, Samuel A. Aimes and Gabriel Parades. Unfortunately, the Doyle's did not pay rent and they were quickly evicted and in July of 1860, Augustus S. Ensworth, a lawyer and Justice of the Peace, moved into the Whaley House. Because the home had sat vacant for a while, it was infested with rats. Ensworth managed the Whaley’s business interest during this time. 

In San Francisco, Thomas gained employment as a U.S. Commissary Storekeeper under Capt. M.D.L. Simpson. While living in San Francisco, Anna gave birth to three more children: George Hays Ringgold (named for Major Ringgold) was born on November 11, 1860, Violet Eloise was born on October 14, 1862 and Corrine Lillian was born on September 4, 1864. A major earthquake in San Francisco in 1868 sent the family back to San Diego. Whaley opened the Whaley & Crosthwaite general store out of the house. The family's lack of funds made them decide to rent out the front upstairs bedroom for $20 in gold coins to the Tanner Troupe. This was a theater group ran by T.W. Tanner, who within 17 days of setting up the theater died. They had a small stage and benches that held up to 150 people. One night a member of the theater group was drunk and accused his girlfriend of being unfaithful.  She denied it, but he stabbed her to death at the back door anyway.  In January 1869, the Tanner Troupe moved on.

The San Diego County Courthouse utilized the former granary and rented three upstairs rooms for record storage.  After the establishment of New Town San Diego by Alonzo Horton in 1868, the town focus changed to present day downtown San Diego. During a March 1871 raid, courthouse documents were removed from the Whaley House and taken to Horton’s Hall on 6th and F in San Diego.  After the County’s exit, Whaley connected the former granary and courtroom to the residence, changed windows and doors, and altered the front portico. For some reason, Thomas Whaley returned to New York. He claimed he was settling his father’s estate, but more than likely, he was running away. He left Anna and the kids in San Diego and when he returned in 1879, they were in dire straits living off of Francis Whaley for support.

Violet and Anna Amelia Whaley both married on January 5, 1882 in Old San Diego. Anna married her first cousin, John T. Whaley and Violet wed George T. Bertolacci. That marriage was unhappy and Violet and George divorced in 1884. This caused her tremendous humiliation. Violet suffered from severe depression after that and attempted suicide. She climbed to the roof of the brick two-story home she shared with her family and jumped into a nearby well.  Hearing her screams as she fell, her father ran outside and was able to save her. The family never let her out of their sight as the melancholy deepened. It was almost as though Violet were in a trance. After about three weeks, she seemed to be doing better and her mother Anna let Violet out of her sight. Violet went to her father's desk, took out his gun and went to the outhouse. This was on August 18, 1885 and Violet shot herself in the chest. Thomas ran out to the outhouse when he heard the shot and he carried Violet to the parlor and laid her on a couch there, where she died.  

After the tragic death of Violet, Thomas Whaley built a single-story frame home for his family at 933 State Street in downtown San Diego.  Attempting to capitalize on the boom in that area, he maintained a real estate office at 5th and G in the First National Bank Building, with various partners. Thomas became ill in 1888 and retired from the business. He died at the State Street residence on December 14, 1890. The Whaley House remained vacant and fell into desperate disrepair until late 1899, when Francis Whaley returned to the old home and undertook the restoration of the building.  After restoring the Whaley House, Francis lived in the residence and made it a tourist attraction where he posted signs outside promoting its history and entertained visitors with his guitar. Other members of the family moved in and by 1912 siblings Francis, George and Anna and her daughter Lillian all lived in the old house. Anna died in the house on February 24, 1913 and Francis passed away on November 19, 1914 in the home.  Lillian continued to live in the house until 1953 when she moved out to enter a nursing home. The house had once again fallen into disrepair while Lillian had been living there alone.

Before Lillian’s death the old Whaley House was placed under court order for immediate liquidation to provide physical care for her. A progressive Old Town realtor listed the property for sale recommending that it be used as a motel. Activists rallied to save the Whaley House. On September 14, 1953, Lillian Whaley died and two and a half years later the county of San Diego assumed ownership of the Whaley House.  The house was a dilapidated mess by this time and the county undertook an immediate renovation. From 1956 through 2000, The Historic Shrine Foundation, under the guidance of June and Jim Reading, took charge of the Whaley House as a historic site.  The Whaley house was officially named a Historical Site on May 25, 1960 and has been open to the public as a museum since.

The hauntings here at the Whaley House are numerous. Famous ghost hunter Hans Holzer had said that the Whaley House was "possibly the most haunted house in America." The Whaleys themselves told people about their haunting experiences. Thomas was the first to hear the disembodied footsteps coming from the second floor of the house. It was not long before Anna heard them too and complained about an oppressive feeling that would envelope her. She felt the home was cursed. And based on their experiences, some might agree. The Whaleys' eighteen month old son, Thomas III, had died of Scarlet Fever in 1858 in the house. His disembodied cries are heard throughout the home.

No one knows if the Whaleys heard those cries, but they definitely felt the presence of Yankee Jim. Yankee Jim's heavy booted footfalls have been heard by staff and guests. The Whaleys' youngest daughter Lillian lived in the house until 1953. She was convinced that Yankee Jim haunted the house. A visitor to the house once commented that "the ghost had driven her family from their visit there more than 60 years [earlier], her mother was unnerved by the phantom walking noise and the strange way the windows unlatched and flew up." There is an apparition that seems to be from the time when the home served as a courthouse. It was in October of 1960 that a woman from British Columbia, Canada named Mrs. Kirbey observed the following: "I saw a small figure of a woman who had a swarthy complexion. She was wearing a long full skirt, reaching to the floor. The skirt appeared to be of calico or gingham, small print. She had a kind of cap on her head, dark hair and eyes and she was wearing gold hoops in her pierced ears. She seemed to stay in this room, lives here, I gather, and I got the impression we are sort of invading her privacy." This female specter seems to have been caught in a picture as well appearing as a shadowy female figure.

Mr. and Mrs. Whaley haunt the house as well according to multiple witnesses. Staff members claim that occasionally the doors will all lock simultaneously at the end of a tour day as if the Whaley family is saying that they are done having guests. Their spirits seem to be residual in nature carrying on the same duties in the afterlife as those that they did when they were living. Thomas Whaley has been photographed smoking his cigar.  He has been seen walking throughout the house. Former museum curator June Reading said that a little girl of about 5 or 6 waved to a man she said was standing in the parlor. No one else could see him. He has been seen by adults as well who describe him as wearing a frock coat and pantaloons with his face turned away. He suddenly fades away after being seen.

Anna Whaley has been seen rocking a baby in a chair and tucking a child into bed as well as folding clothes. In 1964, Anna's floating, drifting spirit appeared to television personality Regis Philbin.  “All of a sudden I noticed something on the wall,” Philbin reported. “There was something filmy white, it looked like an apparition of some kind. I got so excited I couldn’t restrain myself! I flipped on the flash light and nothing was there but a portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house.” The reason Philbin was at the house was because he had just finished an interview with Hans Holzer who had told him about the Whaley House. Philbin decided to visit the house with a friend. He detailed the experience over forty years later with psychic Kim Russo on her TV show The Haunting Of in 2013.

The upstairs rooms have cold spots in the heat of summer and even during the winter when the heat is on in the house. Violet, who committed suicide at the house, is seen upstairs sitting or walking and her spirit seems full of sorrow. Animals aren’t left out.  A parapsychologist reported that he saw a spotted dog that looked like a fox terrier run down the hall with his ears flapping and go into the dining room.  The dog was an apparition.  The Whaley’s owned a terrier named Dolly. Every sense is touched by the supernatural here. There are the scents of cigar smoke, perfume and baked goods. There is the sound of children laughing.  There is the feel of an icy touch. And many apparitions are seen.

(Skunk story)

We started our tour in the re-creation of the courthouse. The judge's chair and the witness stand are original to the courthouse. This room has a heavy feeling and it is a favorite haunt of Francis Whaley, who was the first tour guide at the house after he turned it into a museum. Sam told us that many tour guides have felt his presence and also seen him. He likes to sit in the jury box and we later conducted an Estes Spirit Box Session with Diane sitting where Francis usually is seen, always wearing all black. The REM Pod was going off a lot. Sam says that several psychics who have visited the house claim that there is some kind of portal in this part of the house and that is why this seems to be the most active room. What was interesting for us is that Kelly immediately wanted to sit in the jury box when we walked in. The four walls of the courthouse were the first part of the house built in 1856, the rest of the house was built in 1857.

As we toured the house, we were struck by how much of the furnishings are original to the family. And how small the Whaley family was in stature. Doorways and windows have changed and some of the apparitions seen, appear to be going through walls that had once been doors, especially a closet area in the former general store area where Thomas Whaley's desk is located. It was in this room that we heard about the black sheep of the family, George Whaley. He died in the house like most of the family. He too was named for a business partner. We then went on to the Dining Room, which was relatively small. Thomas was 5'3" and Anna was 4'9". The walls are lined with family pictures. Our tour guide Sam seemed surprised to see one of the chairs pulled out awkwardly at the table and he said, "That's not cool," but didn't elaborate as to whether this was something paranormal or something else. We heard about the special relationship between Grandma Anna and her great-grandaughter Marion. Unfortunately, Marion ate ant paste right before her third birthday and passed away. We also were told that Anna was a secret smoker. Corinne Lillian Whaley was the last surviving family member to live in the house and she was there until 1953. She never married or had children and it is believed that her spirit is still in the house. The family had two Chinese servants and a Native American girl named Modesta who worked in the kitchen. Not all at the same time. Modesta was unhappy here and ran away many times, only to be returned by her family. She leaves an angry feeling in the kitchen dining room area. The kitchen had an opening like a window to the dining room.

We went upstairs where there is the recreation of the theater that had been in the house for three months. This has a very small stage and it is tilted up higher in the back than in the front. There are several benches for sitting. The back corner is said to have a dark presence that hangs out there. People fell a heaviness in here and get scratched. Sam told us that on four separate nights, with different groups, it was reported that the first word to come out of the Spirit Box was "Leave." We went to the Master Bedroom and Sam wouldn't join us inside the room because he had a harrowing enough experience that he doesn't want to tempt fate. Our group then went to Violet's room and heard her tragic story. They keep lots of artifacts that they have dug up on the property in 2008 and 2012. The floor boards in this room are original and were the same floors that Violet stood on when she decided to end her life. We next went downstairs to the only bedroom on the first floor, which has many belongings from the family like Thomas Whaley's mustache cup. Next was the parlor and we heard about the gallows wood and the archway. A clock on the mantle sometimes goes off even though it isn't supposed to work anymore. Sam also shared this and then an interesting thing happened with another person on the tour. (Parlor Choking)

We decided to investigate the theater first and Diane turned on the Ghost Tube app on the phone. And interestingly, we got Don't Leave, rather than leave. (Ghost Tube Whaley) Sam came up and talked to Kelly about the corner in the theater. (Sam Theater) Then we started our first Estes Session. (Estes Session 1) Did we catch an EVP at the end there? (EVP Theater) Here is the rest of the Estes Session in the theater. (Estes Session Theater) So I said Yankee there at the end. Could that be Yankee Jim? We then went to the Master Bedroom and put the Spirit Box on. I thought this was interesting because it stretches over 5 seconds and sounds like a similar voice through the whole thing. Can you understand it? (Spirit Box Master) The end sounds like Did Ma and then can't understand the rest. Maybe cry? Did Ma cry? (Did Ma Cry) There was this on Spirit Box (Spirit Box Tom) Kelly felt very uncomfortable in this room, which goes back to Sam not liking the room.

Next we hit the dining room where Marion is said to play and pull on people's clothing. We did manage to get someone to light up one of our cat balls for us and it moved slightly. This is the first quick EVP Session we conducted and it sounded like we may have gotten a couple of answers. We'll play the full audio first without amplification of the answers. (Whaley House EVP Session1) We think after we asked if someone was with us that we got a breathy yes and then when we asked the name, it sounds like a name was given. (Whaley House Yes) Diane thought the name sounded like Curtis? And then there was this (Whaley House Gulp) Was that a gulp? 

Next, we went into the former store area and we stood around Mr. Whaley's desk. (Whaley House Desk EVP) Sounded almost like a kid saying Dad or yeah to me. And we finished the evening in the courtroom. The REM Pod was going off a lot in here. Diane sat in the jury box and did an Estes Session. (Estes Courtroom) Interesting that the EMF went off after I said "Anna." At the end, everybody shared their experiences. (Wrap-up)

The Whaley House makes it hard to be a skeptic with the hundreds of photographs that seem to have captured ghostly mists and figures and the hundreds of eyewitness accounts of interaction with things unseen. And we definitely feel like we interacted with possible spirits. Have most of the members of the Whaley family that once lived here decided to stay here in the afterlife? Are the spirits of the executed still haunting the land and the home built here? Is the Whaley House haunted? That is for you to decide!