Thursday, March 16, 2023

HGB Ep. 478 - Mason House Inn

Moment in Oddity - Fiscal Fishy

So many people around the globe play video games. Recently there was a Japanese gamer with about 100K subscribers on YouTube who had his credit card compromised by his Betta Fish. Without ever giving a thought to the consequences, this fiscally, foolhardy fish used it without his owners permission and created a security breach during a live stream gaming event. This particular gaming community actually use fish as the players. How do you ask? Well, the YouTuber devised a system that allowed their Betta fish to play Pokemon games on a Nintendo Switch. The fish tank actually has sensors that act as buttons on the gaming device. The recordings of the Betta tells the characters which way to move or how to make decisions. Prior gaming attempts were in Pokemon Sapphire where the fish in question, beat the game, garnered 450K views. However, the security breach occurred during a game of Pokemon Violet during a live stream. After 1,000 hours of playtime the game glitched and the Switch changed to its home screen. The Betta just kept swimming obviously, and in doing so, inadvertently opened up the Nintendo eShop where the opulent opponent purchased four dollars worth of points using his owner's credit card. Doing so exposed his owner's account information to the live stream audience. This feisty fishy was not done there... He also proceeded to download an app to play Nintendo 64 games, spent reward currency on a new avatar, asked for a confirmation email from PayPal AND changed the name of his owner's account to ROWAWAWAWA. These days we all need to be cautious to keep our credit cards safe and secure. However, one thing is for certain, a fish stealing financial information, sharing it and then proceeding to go on a shopping spree, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - The Birth of Greenbacks

In the month of March, on the 10th, in 1862, the first issue of U.S. government paper money occurred as $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills began circulation. These were also known as greenbacks, due to the green ink on the backside of the paper money. The government began the issuing of this paper money in the effort to help finance the Union cause in the American Civil War. At the end of the war, fiscal conservatives demanded that the government retire the greenbacks. This was opposed by farmers and others who desired to maintain the current higher prices. The Panic of 1873 and the following depression polarized the nation. At that time, farmers demanded more greenbacks be issued or unlimited silver coins. In 1874, the Greenback-Labor Party was formed and after Congress passed the Resumption Act, the greenbacks were able to be redeemed in gold. The Greenback-Labor Party made the repeal of that act its first goal. Eventually a compromise was made that kept the Resumption Act, the expansion of paper money redeemable in gold, and enacted the Bland-Allison Act. This new act created a limited resumption of the coinage of silver dollars. By 1878, most people supported the expansion of currency and thought that the best chance of success was to move further towards the unlimited coinage of silver.

Mason House Inn

The Mason House Inn is the oldest steamboat hotel on the Des Moines River in Bentonsport, Iowa. It has a history connected to the Mormon Trail, the Civil War and the Underground Railroad. Today, it is run as a bed and breakfast rather than a hotel. There are several reasons for spirits to be hanging out here and the owners embrace the haunting, documenting dozens and dozens of experiences. join us as we share the history and hauntings of the Mason House Inn.

Bentonsport is a small village along the former Iowa Mormon Trail. The village was founded along the Des Moines River and that made it an important port for steamships along the river. Charles Sanford was the first settler in the area and he built a trading post here in 1836 and it was called Ross Settlement. The name was later changed to Benton's Port for Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri who had been known as Old Bullion and was an architect of Manifest Destiny. On June 21, 1837, the board of supervisors of Van Buren County granted licenses to two men named Isaac Reed and Henry Smith. This gave them the right to run ferries across the river between North and South Benton's Port. And they would transport all kinds of things from equipment to humans and every kind of animal and even whole wagons with a team. Bentonsport flooded twice, once in 1851 and another time in 1903. The oldest wagon bridge of its type is located here and was built in 1883. Today, this is mostly a tourist area with several bed & breakfasts and Mason House Inn is one of them.

The Mason House Inn was originally named Ashland House and was opened as a hotel for travelers on the steamships in 1846. At the time, this was located next to the post office, just to the right of the river bridge overlooking the river. The hotel was built by Billie Robinson who was a Latter Day Saint from Nauvoo, Illinois and was designed in the Georgian Federal architectural style and stands two 1/2 stories with twenty-one rooms. The top row of windows on the front entrance feature a large central window that is balanced by two quarter-circle windows, making it unique. A tugboat struck it in 1851, but only caused slight damage, which we believe can still be seen today. By 1857, a couple named Lewis and Nancy Mason owned the inn and they renamed it the Phoenix Hotel, but eventually the place just took on their name and has been the Mason House inn since. During the Civil War, Iowa was Union and a safe haven for runaway slaves. The hotel soon found itself on the Underground Railroad as it was ten miles from the Missouri state line and made a good first stop.The hay loft of a barn on the property was used as a hiding place as was a tunnel in the back that was connected to a wood shed.

Senator William Ernest Mason was the youngest son of Lewis and Nancy and he wrote of this time when he was ten in his autobiography, "If I became interested in 1856 in politics, I was more so in 1860.  (William was 10 years old in 1860.)  I used to listen to my father's talk about politics, and go out to hear him and others speak on that subject.  I cannot remember the year when we used to help the run away slaves.  I remember my first experience.  I was sent out to the barn with a basket of bread and meat and told to take it up to the hay loft.  I did so and as I put the basket on the floor near the stairs, I saw two or more black curly heads stick out from the hay, and you can imagine my fright and that it did not take long to get back to the house.  I was smart enough not to tell anyone, for if I told, the poor fellows would have been sent back to slavery.  I learned afterwards that my father's house and barn was the first station on the Underground Railway, being about ten miles from the Missouri line, and that the negros came in the night, knew where to go, and were fed and slept and directed on to a Quaker settlement at Salem as near as I now remember.  My father was a great lover of law, and yet I wonder when I think of it, he helped escaping slaves, and in that way openly violated the law.  It brought him into some trouble with his church, but he was not expelled from the church nor was he indicted, though both were threatened.  I believe that the time will never come again in this country, when a man will be justified in breaking the laws of his country.  We will never have slaves again and the laws must be written by the conscience of a Christian people, and obeyed until repealed by that same power."

The hotel not only was cover for escaped slaves, but it served as a shot term hospital as wounded soldiers awaited transport to a hospital in Keokuk. Many soldiers didn't last long enough to make the trip and died at the hotel. For a time in the 1940s, the hotel hosted the community library. The Mason family held onto the property for 99 years, passing it through family members, and then sold to the Redhead family who ran the hotel for 33 years. During their tenure, they added the general store that is attached to the main house. In 1989, the McDermets bought the inn and in 2001 Chuck and Joy Hanson bought the place as the fifth owners of the house and the current ones, although the property has been up for sale for some time. There are many stipulations as to who they would be willing to sell to and this includes keeping all the antique furniture with the house and continuing to run this as a bed and breakfast. Many of the antiques are original to the Mason family. The Hansons added the Caboose Cottage in 2006, which features the opportunity to overnight in a real rail car! They had to deal with a flood in 2008. 

They wrote of that experience, "We had sandbags along the sidewalk in front of the Inn and all the way down to in front of the Caboose Cottage.  The water was about 18 inches up on the sandbags for about a week before it receded.  Our neighbor to the east did not sandbag, and we did not realize that our property is lower than his.  When the water went into his yard, it seeped downhill into our yard and flooded the property around the Caboose and in front of Rooms 2 and 3.  Chuck had a large sump pump going day and night for a week to keep the water from reaching the Main house.  The pump took one gallon of gas at a time, and would run for two hours on the tank full.  Chuck and I slept in Room 1 for the week so we could keep an eye on the water height.  We set the alarm clock to ring every two hours so Chuck could get up and put gas in the pump tank.  We called it "feeding the baby".  We had moved all the furniture out of Room 1 (except for bed) and out of the Parlor (except for the piano), since these were the two rooms to flood first if the water would have come into the Main house.  But, thanks to the sandbags and Chuck's diligence with the sump pump, the water never came into the Main house first floor.  The basement did get water into it because the sump pump down there burned out and we got about 8 inches of water in there before we were able to get another one hooked up."

And the great thing about the Hansons is that they are not only very happy to share the history of the hotel and area, but also to share ghost stories about the hotel and their own personal experiences. Nothing here is said to be malevolent and much of the activity is very subtle. And apparently, the spirits have requested that no Ghost Boxes be used during investigations. Which is interesting since we've found it to be the best way for them to communicate. But it is cool that the hotel readily welcomes people to investigate. For $500, your group can have the main house to yourselves. Or you can just book a room and do a little investigating while sharing the place with non-ghost hunters. The hotel even had "The Today Show" name it as one of the most haunted hotels in America.  

There are many possibilities for who could be haunting the inn and the current owners believe that they have had a couple hundred spirits come through. One spirit has been nicknamed "The Ghost Dog." The story here is that a young woman was killed by her estranged husband in 1883 in the hotel's parlor. Her dog went after the husband and mauled him to death on the front steps. The poor dog then mourned himself to death, refusing to eat. The dog's spirit is seen still waiting outside the parlor window for his girl. Lewis and Nancy Mason were the original Mason's to own the hotel and Lewis died in the hotel in 1867 from cholera. People claim that he is here in spirit. The couple's bedroom was what is now Room 5 and their bedroom set is in there. Mary was the couple's second daughter and she and her husband Frank Clark, helped Nancy run the inn. They eventually handed the inn over to Mary's niece Fannie and moved to Washington D.C. After Frank died there, his body was brought back to the hotel to be waked. Mary stayed on to help Fannie until her death at the hotel in 1911 on the third floor. Several people have seen both Mary and Frank. He is usually in a black suit and the couple are sometimes heard arguing in Rooms 5 and 6.   

Fannie died at the hotel on May 24, 1951 and the circumstances are sad. She died sitting in a chair by the fireplace in the dining room and had been dead for two to three days before a fellow business person came to check on her. He saw her through the window and had to break it to get to her. Her apparition is seen wearing a grey skirt and white blouse and is most often in the dining room or parlor. A Confederate soldier named Markie who died at the hospital is here. Another soldier who was 34-years old named Harold died here after being seriously wounded. He is seen in boots and likes to lay on the beds and knock on the walls in Morse Code. It is believed that the hotel may also have become a Tuberculosis sanitarium for a while in the early 1900s and a child spirit from that time is thought to be here. A doctor lived at the hotel in the 1940s and brought some of his patients there for care and some of them may have died in the inn. One of these people was the grandmother of a woman who took a tour at the bed and breakfast. And two girls named Amanda and Anna have told investigators that they died from injuries under the care of the doctor at the inn. An old man named Elmer argued often with the proprietor of the inn, Mrs. B.R., from 1956 to 1989 and he decided to off her one night. He climbed a tree behind the inn, holding a shotgun and a rope. His plan was to shoot the woman, but instead, she came home and found him hanging from the tree by the rope. Police reasoned that he was drunk and accidentally hanged himself, although a note in his pocket claimed that he planned to shoot Mrs. B.R. and then hang himself. The tree creaked in an awful way for quite a while before it was finally cut down.

Chuck and Joy not only embrace the paranormal going on at their B & B, but Joy documents the experiences in journals. We are going to share several of those. She started keeping the journals in 2003. The Hansons had three daughters, Cindi, Kristin, and Jinni, and they all experienced things. They had alarm clocks that would set themselves and go off. When the spirit was told to stop, it did. Beds are found messed up after they have been made. Floors are heard creaking and doors lock on their own. Joy sometimes leaves the front entrance unlocked to make it easier for guests to get in, especially during bad weather, and Joy would have to let the guests in because the door had locked. Apparitions have been seen in the mirrors, some that look like gray fogs.

Joy wrote in June of 2002, "We had a customer who was checking in, and while he was filling out his registration form in the foyer, he looked up the stairs and said, 'Is my room up there or over in the annex building?”  I told him his room was in the annex building, Room 2.  He said,  “Good.  ‘Cause you have a ghost up there and I just can’t deal with that tonight.'  He requested no breakfast and he was gone the next morning when I got up. Another customer, around the same time, was checking in.  And as she was filling out her registration form in the foyer, kept looking up the stairs.  She said, 'Did you know you have a ghost up there?'  I answered that we had been told that, but never saw anything ourselves.  Was it male or female?  She said, 'I don’t get a sense of gender.  Just that it is happy here and does not want to leave.  It likes it here.  It is a friendly spirit, it will not hurt you.  It just likes it here.  It may not have been someone who died here, it could have been someone who liked to come here when it was alive and has come back here.  It does not want to leave.'  That’s about all she could tell us. (We now know that was Curtis.)"

In 2003 Joy wrote, "Several times I have encountered a cold spot in the hallway on the second floor.  I get a momentary feeling of disorientation and then it is gone.  When I go back to the place where the cold spot was, it is gone.  Cindi has had similar experiences in the same place.  It is always in the hallway between Room 6 and the closet door on the second floor. A customer told us this story:  One night when he was staying here, (when the McDermets owned the Inn), there was a knock at his bedroom door late at night.  He answered the door, but there was no one there.  He closed the door and there was a knock again.  Once again he opened the door but there was no one there.  The next morning, at breakfast, the other overnight guests were all talking about how they had all had similar experiences the night before with someone knocking on the door but no one was there. About 1am, I heard the door to our bedroom squeak open.  I heard the floor squeak twice as if someone had entered our bedroom.  (It was dark and I did not have my glasses on to be able to see anything).  There was a pause and the floor squeaked twice going back out the door.  Then the door closed with a loud boomp.  This woke Chuck and he sat straight up in bed.  The next morning he said it felt like a cat was sleeping on the foot of our bed.  He could feel the vibrations, like purring, on his left foot.  But when he looked, there was nothing there and then the phone rang and the vibrations quit."
The Hanson's daughter Kristin had this experience in 2003, "She was climbing the stairs to her room on the third floor and she saw something white out of the corner of her eye standing in the doorway to the front bedroom.  As she got closer to get a better look, it disappeared.  The vision lasted only a moment, but the impression Kristin got was that it was an old woman in a long white dress or nightgown, about the same height as she is (5 ft. 4 in.)." A guest shared in June of 2003, "This morning after breakfast, the guest who had stayed in Room 5 the night before, called me aside and said: “I don’t mean to scare you or anything, but did you know you have a ghost here?”  I answered, “Well, yes we have suspected it.  Did you see something?”  She answered, “Sort of.  Last night I was sitting in the rocking chair in my room, reading a magazine.  My husband was in the shower.  Suddenly the room got really cold and I got goose bumps all over my arms and the hair stood up on my arms and the back of my neck.  Then I saw an area of fog begin to form over by the twin bed.  I just watched as the fog got thicker and I could almost see the head of an old man, but then the fog just vanished.  Then the room warmed up and I thought to myself “that was interesting” and I went back to my magazine.  It was not scary or anything, just interesting.  So I just wondered if you knew you had a ghost here.”

 Joy wrote in August 2003, "Yesterday we had two people here who said they could see and sense several ghosts in the Inn.  (Their names are "Dan" and "Jessica".)  They said there is a little boy, about 10 to 12 years old or so, who sits on the second floor landing and waves at people as they pass by.  (This might be George.)  Then he is sad when they don’t wave back.  They said there is a bloody body on the sidewalk in front of the Inn.  Someone fell down the back staircase and broke her neck.  Someone was killed in the dining room by the bay windows by 4 men at about midnight, and it is reenacted every night.  Something bad happened in Room 7 and there is still a lot of bad energy in there.  The doctor equipment in Room 5 still holds lots of energy from it’s owner. There is a woman in the southern 3rd floor room who likes to look through our stuff in there.  (We use that room as a storage room and Cindi says she hears things moving around in there.)  They said there is a protective spirit in the dining room who likes to take care of the house. (Fannie Mason Kurtz died in the dining room in 1951.)  Dan said he saw a woman brushing her hair while seated at the mirror in Room 5.  She turned to look at him when he entered the room, and then went back to her grooming.  All in all, they said the ghosts know we are here, they are aware of us.  They don’t like it that we are here, but they are used to us and won’t hurt us.  The little boy is mischievous and likes to play pranks."
"We had 2 different guests mention things today.  One was a man who took a tour of the Inn and later commented that something violent happened in Room 7.  He got some very strong feelings when he was in there.  The same day, there was a lady eating lunch in the dining room.  She kept looking over toward the fireplace.  Then she commented to her friend that there was a spirit in the room.  The friend said she should tell the owners.  I happened to be clearing the table nearby and heard all this.  The lady then looked at me and said 'Someone died in here.”  I said she was right.  The lady said “It is a woman.  She died here by the fireplace.  She is still here in the room walking among the guests.  She is happy.'  I told her about Fannie Kurtz.  The lady said 'She is still here.'"

Joy has seen a spirit named Buck several times. She wrote this in 2005, "Tonight I was struggling to get a large piece of wood in the woodstove in the Keeping Room.  It was heavy and a little too big and already burning on the far end.  I was struggling to get it into the stove when I heard the floor squeak behind me.  I turned my head just far enough to see a man wearing a long-sleeved cream-colored shirt standing outside the bedroom door watching me.  Because I was not looking through my glasses lens, the figure was fuzzy except for color. Thinking it was Chuck, (I knew he was wearing his long-john shirt which is cream and he was in the bedroom watching basketball) I went back to my wood thinking he would come and help me push.  When he did not come help me, I looked again and he was gone.  Just then the wood slipped into the stove and I closed the door and went into the bedroom to ask Chuck why he did not help me.  Chuck said he did not go into the Keeping Room, he did not know I needed help, he had been in the bedroom all along.  I think it was Buck again.  He wore a cream colored long-sleeve shirt when I saw him before."
In April of 2005,  "Last night we had a group here from Iowa State University having a staffing retreat.  This morning I was in the kitchen listening to the chatter in the dining room during breakfast.  The people were discussing whether they had slept good or not.  My ears picked up on the lady who had been in Room 7.  She said every time she was about to doze off, she got poked in her arm.  She thought it was a muscle twitch, but it felt like a poking, and it went on all night long.  So she did not get much sleep.  When I went to clean Room 7, it was obvious that the lady had slept on the right side nearest the window.  This is the side that gets messed up.  I wonder if someone was wanting her to move over." 

In May of 2005 Christopher Moon from Denver, Colorado who ran the online magazine Haunted Times Magazine visited. "Late Friday night, the 20th, Christopher and his father, Dennis, arrived just before midnight and they did a preliminary reading with an electrical detecting meter, digital cameras, temperature gauge, and a digital voice recorder.  We did readings in the dining room, Mary’s room, outside, in the parlor, and in Room 7.  We did voice recordings in the dining room, Mary’s room, and Room 7, and got a lot of clicks and pops and beeping noises, mostly.  But we also got a small child’s voice in Room 7.  Chuck asked "Did you arrive by steamboat, train, or stagecoach?”  and a child’s voice answered what sounded like “maybe”.  Christopher thought it sounded like a girl about 3 or 4 years old.  After he went to bed, he said she visited his room (4) as a shadow, but did not say anything.   In Mary’s room, in back of the scratching and popping sounds is the sound of a creaking rocking chair.  We got to bed about 3am.   On Saturday the 21st, our guests arrived around 1:30pm and we started the class around 2pm.  Chris described the various tools and machines he uses in his investigations and some terms.  We broke for dinner and then the fun began.  After Chuck and I gave a short history lesson, the group went up to the Bentonsport Cemetery to look around and see what we could get.  Mostly we got a lot of orbs and we did an EVP reading and got a definite answer to the question “Are there any Masons here?”  Don’t know if it was yes or no, but it was abrupt.  We stopped at the Presbyterian Church building on the way back and Christopher got a shooting orb on a video camera that shot over the top of the building!   When we got back to the Inn, we broke into groups and did pictures and EVP readings in various rooms.  In Room 6, Christopher and another man said they felt their shirt hem being tugged on.  We got a lot of orbs and some interesting voice recordings.  Here are some questions and answers:   “Do you know you are dead?”  ---  “yessss”.  “Are you happy here?”  ---  “happy”.  “Do you have anything to tell the owners?”  ---  “tell them we are happy”,  “not to leave now”.  (A few days earlier, Chuck and I had been talking to Bill and Betty Printy about moving back to Dayton.)   “Did you die here?” ---  “no” “yesss”.  (2 different voices).  We got to bed about 1am.  This morning, the 22nd, "Debbie" reported being touched on her arm during the night in Room 6.  The people staying in Room 8 were gone before breakfast, don’t know why." Joy called those people and said, "Today I called the people from Room 8 who left early.  She said their toilet kept flushing by itself and they heard footsteps walking around upstairs and it was too creepy so they left around 3am.  They live nearby so they just went home to get some sleep. We checked the  toilet and there was nothing wrong with it."

This was from August 2005, "We had a couple in Room 5 last night who were hoping something would happen.  Boy did they get their wish.  They had heard about the rocking chair sounds and were laying in bed listening, but the husband fell asleep without hearing anything.  Soon after that, the wife "Tamara" heard a man or men talking.  It was dim and she could not make out what they were saying.  She thought it was the TV or maybe someone outside.  She got up and looked out the window and did not see anyone.  She went down to the dining room and found it dark and quiet.  She went back upstairs and back to bed.  The talking got louder and louder and then she felt a cold spot forming on her left thigh and her chest.  She looked at her leg and saw goosebumps in that area.  Then she felt a pressure on her thigh and her chest pressing her into the bed.  It pressed her hard and she could not move and found it hard to breathe.  Then the muttering voice got very loud and seemed to come from right above her face.  She said it a man’s voice, low and gravely.  She could not understand what he was saying and she was trying very hard to figure out what he was trying to tell her.  He got loud and insistent.  It lasted for what she called a long minute, and then it was gone.  She felt her chest and it was ice cold.  She woke her husband and asked him if he had heard any of it and he had not.  But he felt her thigh and chest and said they both were ice cold."

This was from November 2005, "This morning at breakfast, the lady who stayed in Room 5 last night, asked if any of the guests had a little girl.  We said there were no children.  She told us that last night, as she was climbing the stairs to go to her room, she saw a little girl about 3 or 4 years old run across the top of the stairway, like from Room 4 area over to Room 6.  She was wearing a long white nightgown, and just ran across and that was all.  But there were no children guests in the Inn that night.  Did she see Robin?"

Now jumping to 2009, "Chuck and Jinni and I have been sleeping up in Room 7 because our room is sooooo cold.  Our room / office is in the old horse stable building, and there is no heat in there.  We have a space heater going, but when it is in the minus-degrees outside, like it has been lately, the space heater just can't keep it warm enough to sleep in there.  Anyway, all the guest rooms have their own heaters and are nice and toasty warm, so we have been sleeping upstairs.  A few little interesting things have happened, night I heard Jinni shifting around in her bed, like she does when she is being annoyed.  Then I heard her say, "Stop it.  That's my blanket."  Then she went back to sleep.  I asked her about it the next morning and she said someone kept pulling off her blanket, she did not know who it was.  One night, Jinni and I had gone to bed, but Chuck had stayed up to watch a football game.  About 11pm, I heard the bedroom door open, close, and footsteps shuffled into the room, but nobody got into the bed.  I looked, expecting Chuck, but no one was there.  Chuck finally came to bed about midnight and I asked him if he had looked in on us earlier and he said he hadn't.  Well, somebody did!  The next morning, there was alot of knocking going on in the room.  There was a knock on our headboard, on the wall across from my side of the bed, and on the wall next to Chuck's head.  It sounded like one, loud rap with knuckles on wood.  Chuck also said he heard some noise on the third floor like something heavy being slid across the floor up there.  Last Saturday, I was talking to Cindi on the phone and she made a comment about poopy baby diapers, and I heard a woman say "There's nothing I can do about that."  It was really clear, but Cindi did not hear it, so it was only on my end.  I don't know if that was paranormal, but it was definitely not-normal.  We have had voices in the phone before, but not that clear."

January 2009, "Last night there was a team of four ladies who are part of a paranormal investigation team from Illinois.  They had some interesting personal experiences.  They heard knocking on the walls and sounds of someone walking around in the hallway, when they were all in Room 6.  They used their pendulum to ask questions and it was reacting well.  They took pictures throughout the night, but the ones they took during and right after the pendulum sessions were full of orbs and they were very impressed by this.  Something that I noticed was that about 8pm the ladies and I were talking in Room 6, along with Doug, another investigator from near Chicago, and we were sitting near the hallway.  At one point I heard the sound of someone coming up the stairs but no body came up.  Another time I heard footsteps in the hallway, down toward Room 7, and I looked and saw nothing, but the sounds were there.  Then, in the area where Doug and I were sitting, the temperature dropped suddenly and Doug broke out in goosebumps on his right arm but not on his left, his right arm being the one near me.  I got so cold I started shivering.  This lasted for about a minute then it warmed up.  I wonder who it was that was standing there listening to us talk. Doug told me a story of something that happened the last time he was here with a friend:  They were staying in Room 5, with Doug in the big bed and his friend in one of the twin beds in the adjoining room.  About 1:15am, the friend started yelling at Doug for shaking his bed, thinking Doug was playing a trick on him.  But Doug answered that he was over in the other room.  When the friend realized that it was not Doug, he jumped out of the twin bed and ran over to the big bed with Doug.  He would not go back to sleep alone.  He said the mattress of the twin bed was actually picked up at the foot and dropped several times.  As long as he thought it was Doug, he was just annoyed.  But when he found out it was not Doug, it really scared him.  He spent the rest of the night on top of the covers of the big bed and would not go back to the twin bed.  I've never heard of anything so violent before, I'm guessing Harold really wanted to get this guy's attention!"

March 2009, "Last Thursday night, there was a husband and wife and two teenaged girls staying in Room 5.  The girls asked to try my pendulum, so I let them borrow it for the evening.  They tried to talk to anybody who wanted to do it and the only one who answered was Mary.  The girls were happy to talk to Mary and they said they had a nice conversation.  During the night, the two girls were in the twin beds and they heard footsteps walking around and around near them.  One girl saw a glowing orb next to her bed, low to the ground.  At first she thought it was her cell phone screen, but then realized that her phone was not there.  About the same time, the lady in the big bed woke up and saw the shadow of a man standing next to the bed.  He was wearing a 'baseball type' hat with a short brim.  It lasted a few seconds and then he faded away.  Then she saw the shadow of a woman, also standing next to the bed.  She could see the shadow was wearing a long dress or skirt.  The shadow turned and walked through the wall.  The lady said she had heard the walking-around sounds coming from the girl's side of the room, but thought it was the girls.  The husband slept through the whole thing, but later admitted that he had smelled a perfume that he had never smelled before.  He chalked it up to something new his wife was wearing, but she said she was not wearing any perfume."

February 2010, "There was a ghost hunting group here last night from Minnesota.  They had some pretty good personal experiences.  Early in the evening, one man saw a moving shadow that could not be accounted for.  The woman heard the scratching / tapping sounds that we have heard in Room 1, except she heard it in the Parlor.  The K2 meter reacted whenever the group talked to Harold.  They heard little running footsteps in the hallway, like those of a child.  The woman had an experience in her room during the night that disturbed her enough to go sleep in another room.  She did not say at the time what it was that disturbed her, and she left early, so the leader is going to talk to her tomorrow to see what happened.  They are going to review their video and audio recordings and let us know if they get anything interesting.  I'll let you know what the woman says as soon as I find out." and "This morning, Jinni and I were in the kitchen.  She was making her own breakfast and I was making breakfast for the guests.  She looked at the wall calendar and noted that tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  So she said "Happy Valentine's Day!", and a man's voice said "Thank you".  She looked at me and I looked at her and I asked her who said that.  She shrugged and answered that it must have been Dad (Chuck).  I went and looked in the dining room and there was no one there.  Chuck, I knew, was in the bathroom shaving, and it was not his voice anyway, it was a deeper tone.  It must have been Curtis again.  I think he likes to hang out in the kitchen."

March 2010, "This past weekend we had a ghost hunting group here from the Des Moines area.  Right away they started having some interesting experiences.  While looking at the doctor's equipment in Room 5, the bathroom door swung closed and latched.  Nobody was near it and there were no windows open, no breeze, no explanation.  Later, the doctor's equipment started swaying and swinging on their hooks.  The group tried to duplicate it with walking around and near it, but could not duplicate it.  During the night, one member saw a girl in a white nightgown standing on the landing and took a picture.  Hopefully they will send it to us to share here in the Journal.  They heard music and people talking, but could not figure out where it was coming from.  The twin bed in Room 5 by the wall was shaken during the night, it really surprised the young lady sleeping in it!  They heard footsteps in the hallway and up and down the staircase.  And they heard footsteps up on the third floor when nobody was up there.  In Room 6, the people saw moving shadows and heard footsteps in the room and hallway.  About 2am, there was a loud bang, but nobody could explain where the sound came from.  They got lots of orbs in the pictures and had wild temperature swings during the EVP sessions.   While sitting in the Parlor, they heard footsteps and a sound of chairs moving in the dining room, but nobody was in there.   All in all it was a very exciting and interesting night for them.  Their web site is"

April 2010, "The three ladies who stayed in Room 7 this past weekend had a busy time.  The two sharing the big bed said that every time they closed their eyes, the bed would shake like somebody was bumping against it.  They were watching a movie on their laptop, and one saw a little girl run across the room behind the computer screen.  The lady in the twin bed said she felt a cat jump onto the bed and curl up.  The other lady took a picture and they got what looks like cat eye shaped orbs.  They went around the Inn taking pictures of the different rooms and got a very bright orb in Room 6 with the face of a bald man in it.  They also got two orbs outside Jinni's door that have the face of a girl and a cat.  They have been here several times and always get some interesting interaction.  I think the spirits like their energy."

June 2010, "We went on a little vacation last week and when we returned we found quite a surprise.  We had cleaned all the rooms before we left, knowing we had guests arriving as soon as we got back.  I had done a check of all the rooms to make sure they were ready before we left.  When we got back, several beds were messed up.  Room 5's twin beds had cat footprints in them and the pillow had a head divot in it.  Room 6's big bed looked like somebody had sat on it (rear-end marks).  And Room 7's twin bed was really messed up.  The quilt was pulled down and the pillow was in the middle of the bed.  Somebody had pulled a "Goldilocks" on us and tried out the beds!  The next morning, my parents, who have been staying in Room 1, said they heard footsteps up in Room 6 all night long.  Somebody was up there walking back and forth and back and forth.  They thought somebody had checked in already, but nobody was up in that room during the night."

August 2010, "There was quite a bit of activity this weekend.  The couple in Room 7 said they felt somebody sit on the foot of the bed during the night.  When they came down for breakfast, they had made the bed and when they went back upstairs after breakfast, the bed looked like somebody had been laying on it.  Curtis is up to his tricks in there.  The ladies in Room 5 used the pendulum to talk to Harold, Curtis, Fannie, Amanda, and Mary.  During an EVP session, they heard two POP! sounds coming from the opposite corner of the room.  The twin bed by the wall was knocked on underneath the mattress.  The chandelier swung for about 20 minutes then stopped.  The ladies could not recreate it and keep it swinging for that long.  They locked their door and in the morning they found it unlocked.  The curtains were swaying in and out and they could not recreate that either.  I think Harold was having a good time with them."

Halloween 2010, "Wow, what a busy night we had last night!  We did one of our Ghost Stories Dinners (the next one is Nov. 6)  and had 21 people attending.  During our program about the things that happen around here, we heard alot of thumping upstairs on the second floor.  It was going on in Rooms 4 and 7 and in the hallway, we all heard it.  We made sure everybody was in the dining room and nobody was upstairs.  Later I asked Curtis about it on my pendulum and he said it was the children playing.  During the night, the people in Room 6 heard a woman singing up on the third floor above their room.  That must have been Mary since her room is up there.  The people in  Rooms 1 and 5 both heard children playing and giggling in the foyer and on the staircase.  The people in Room 8 heard shuffling footsteps outside their door about 2am, and they had a K2 meter and  they asked yes and no questions and found they had Morris and Harold in their room.  The K2 meter detects Electro-Magnetic Fields and will light up when something with electric magnetism gets near it.   She told the spirits to touch the K2 and make the "Christmas Lights" come on if the answer is yes.  She asked several questions to narrow it down to Morris and Harold.  During our evening program, the lady got really cold on one side and her leg felt like someone was sitting on her.  She asked if that was Morris sitting on her lap and the K2 indicated yes.  In a different room, I was talking to Curtis on the pendulum and he also said yes, Morris likes the lady.  

tks617 wrote in 2019, "Usually, I leave reputedly haunted places disappointed without having had an experience. I definitely did not leave the Mason House Inn disappointed on that count. Some very strange things happened--and I felt as if mischievous spirits were at play."

There are literally dozens of experiences here, which makes it hard to not believe that something unexplained is going on here. Just how many spirits are here is a mystery. Is Mason House Inn haunted? That is for you to decide!

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