Thursday, March 23, 2023

HGB Ep. 479 - Prospect Place

Moment in Oddity - Anting (Suggested by: Mike Rogers)

Undoubtedly we have all witnessed an anthill where some unfortunate creature was becoming nourishment for the colony. However, would it surprise you to hear that there is a term called anting, where certain wild birds will actually choose to plop themselves down upon an anthill intentionally? There are a couple of hypotheses as to why over 200 species of birds will use the ants. One thought is that the ants are used to secrete formic acid onto the birds body to act as an insecticide, fungicide or bactericide. Another possible reason for the anting could be that by rubbing the ants encourages the ants to excrete their formic acid, allowing the ants to become more palatable for the bird to then ingest. Two types of anting have been identified as active and passive. Active anting is when a bird picks up an ant in its beak and rubs the insect on its body. Passive anting occurs when a bird appears to be taking a bath in a cluster of ants. Regardless of the actual purpose behind this peculiar, preening practice, birds using insects in such a manner, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - C.H. Gould Patents Stapler in England

In the month of March, on the 5th, in 1868, C.H. Gould patents the stapler in England. What would we do without staplers? It's the easiest way to hold a bunch of pieces of loose paper together. The 1860s was a revolutionary time for paper fastening devices, but the first known stapler dates back to the time of King Louis XV in the 18th century. He used the fastener to hold his decrees together. A man named George McGill got the first patent for a bendable brass paper fastener and he went on to develop a device that could drive the fasteners through paper. Gould developed the direct predecessor of the modern stapler, but this could only drive one staple at a time. Albert Kletzker developed a similar device in America in 1868 as well. By 1898, the Hotchkiss Stapler had been developed and this allowed for a strip of staples held together by wire. This required so much force that sometimes users had to use a hammer or mallet on the plunger to get the staple to go through the paper. The turn-of-the-century brought a clipless machine so staples were no longer wired together and 1923 introduced the first desk stapler. Swingline made many of the modern day staplers until they closed their US production facilities in 1999 and one of their most interesting models used a coil of 10,000 staples. That was back in 1974.

Prospect Place (Suggested by: Donny Lawrence Norris)

Prospect Place in Trinway, Ohio was built by an abolitionist and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. This was a house that not only had to be built twice due to a fire, but it was ahead of its time in regards to amenities. A legend connected to this property claims that a bounty hunter came calling looking for runaway slaves and rather than finding slaves, he found a noose as workers on the farm hanged him.  There are stories of spirits on the property. Join us as we explore the history and haunting of Prospect Place!

George Willison Adams, or G.W. as everyone called him, was born in Virginia in 1799 to a plantation owner. His father always had reservations about owning a plantation run by enslaved people and when George was still a boy, his father gave up the plantation, freed the slaves and moved the family to Madison Township in Ohio in 1808. G.W. was raised to be an abolitionist. In 1828, he and his brother Edward built a flour mill. When that proved successful, they built another larger mill in Dresden, Ohio. The brothers went on to own a boat yard and many warehouses in Dresden. G.W. used his wealth to build up the town of Dresden, becoming the largest employer in the town and he helped build bridges and a canal that connected Dresden with the Ohio-Erie Canal. One of the bridges was a suspension bridge that he tried to get members of a stock company he set up to finance. They thought the plan wasn't feasible, so G.W. paid for the construction himself and hired his nephew to  build it. The bridge was run as a toll bridge until G.W. sold it to the county commissioners for a third of what it cost him to build it originally. G.W. and Edward also used their enterprises to set up an Underground Railroad. They would take flour down to Louisiana and come back with enslaved refugees. Their mills were used as safe houses.

It comes as no surprise then that G.W. was very active during the Civil War, to help support the Union in any way he could. He contributed money and goods for the military. When the war was over, G.W. focused on the railroad. He allowed many miles of right of way on his land to both the Panhandle and the Cincinnati & Muskingum Valley railroad companies. Eventually he became director of both companies. G.W. also got involved in politics and served as a member of the General Assembly in Ohio. ​G.W. married Clarissa Hopkins Schaff in 1845, but she passed away in 1853. The couple had four children, but two of the them wouldn't survive into adulthood, ironically the two named for himself and his brother: George and Edward. G.W. then married Mary Jane Robinson in 1855 and they had five children. 

In 1856, G.W. decided to build his brick mansion. This was done in the Greek Revival architectural style with ornate gingerbread porticoes and rose three-stories, covering 9,500 square feet with 29 rooms. There was a wing added to the house that was only two stories and this was used as servant quarters. The roof was covered with copper panels. A cupola crowned the house and this would be used to house a signal light for runaway slaves. If the cupola was dark, it meant bounty hunters were in the area. If the cupola was lit, runaway slaves hiding in the fields would know it was safe to come up to the house. This place was ahead of its time with hot and cold running water from a copper tank cistern on the second floor that pressurized water throughout the house and two coal stoves that had copper tanks that heated the water. There was an early form of air conditioning that was created by bringing the cool air from down in the basement up through ducts inside the walls to the main living quarters. The home also had a unique refrigeration system. This was a gorgeous place and the family was just about to move in when the home was leveled by an arson fire. George Blackburn had been a bricklayer on the house who figured if he burned the house down, he would have more work to do building the new house. G.W. found out and a legend claims he had him arrested and that Blackburn managed to escape from jail, but was later killed when he tried to rob a house and met the sharp end of an axe. The truth is Blackburn never was arrested for the arson, but he did eventually go to jail for other crimes because he was a career criminal and he died at the Ohio State Penitentiary of heart disease.

The wreckage was cleared away and a barn was built on the remains of that first mansion that could serve as living quarters for ranch hands and also housed the carriages and horses. A new mansion was built that matched the previous one in every way except this one included modern fire stopping measures with interior walls being made from brick and a two-inch layer of mortar was placed between the first and second floors of the house to help block fire. G.W. named his home Prospect Place because it offered the prospect of a better future. And for runaway slaves, it offered the prospect of freedom. Abolitionist meetings were more then likely held in the Gentlemen's Parlor and one guest at the house was probably Mr. Nelson T. Gant who was a former Virginia slave from Loudon County that received his freedom when his owner died. He moved to Zanesville, Ohio and started an orchard and coal mining operation from which he became a millionaire. Gant was also an important conductor on the “Underground Railroad.” The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 made it legal for bounty hunters to capture runaway slaves in free states and take them back to the South for reward money. A legend claims that a bounty hunter came to the door demanding that runaway slaves be handed over. George had answered the door with a gun and there was a bit of a standoff until some of the farm workers came over and the bounty hunter left. There are claims that those workers chased down the bounty hunter, brought him back to the barn and hanged him from a rafter.

G.W. died at the age of 79 on August 31, 1879. Mary then moved to Zanesville to live with her sister and the eldest daughter Anna lived on the homestead with her husband William Cox and their children. There is a weird mystery here with William though. He put a lot of money into Prospect Place and he and Anna were happy here for many years. But at the turn of the century, something changed and William Cox just disappeared. A friend of the family claimed to spot him in San Francisco, but when she called out to him, he brushed her off and hurried away. Some believe that he really did go to the city, but died in the 1906 earthquake. The house would continue to stay in the Cox family until the 1960s. The family had squandered their money and left the house abandoned.  In 1969, Prospect Place was sold to a distant relative of George Cox named Eugene Cox who owned a gravel mining company, the Cox Gravel Company. Eugene decided to mine on the property. However, the house was left to ruin and vandals broke in and nearly gutted the place. By 1988, the once grand mansion was slated for demolition.

A local businessman named Dave Longaberger, of Longaberger Basket Company, couldn't stand the thought of the historic home being torn down, so he bought it with plans to renovate. Dave started with installing a new roof and putting a security system in to protect the house. Then he redid the floors and started tackling other projects, but then he was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer eventually killed him, but the Longaberger Company continued to maintain security on the property until 2001. The great-great-grandson of G.W. Adams, George J. Adams, purchased the home with the goal of finishing the restoration. He created a non-profit, the G.W. Adams Education Center, Inc., which has owned the building since 2005. In 2017, George retired as chairman of the board due to health reasons, but a new board of trustees and the educational center have continued the restoration. They host tours, school programs and ghost hunts, both public and private! Private hunts are just $70 per person on Wednesdays and Thursdays and $80 on Fridays. Saturday nights you can rent the place for $640.00

The property is said to harbor the spirits of the Adams family. The spirit of the bounty hunter is thought to still be hanging out in the barn. His angry spirit is said to lash out at visitors and a dark clad form is seen in the barn. Other possible spirits might belong to fugitive slaves. Some who arrived at the house had been beaten or shot and they didn't survive their injuries. There is a legend about a young girl who had been in the house, delirious with fever. She had gotten up and walked out onto a balcony that was over a side portico and slipped on some ice that sent her over the railing and to her death. Her body was kept in the basement until the spring thaw. She is seen walking around the house in a white dress, especially in the ballroom. Anne Adams-Cox is said to have died in the house after an accident, broken-hearted from the disappearance of her husband. Her apparition has been seen wandering the halls. A psychic once claimed that a former servant at the house likes to hang out on the stairwell landing between the second floor and the ballroom.

Adelaide Haunted Horizons made the trip from Australia to investigate here and wrote, "This was the second visit for me to Prospect Place.  Unfortunately, on the first one, I managed to lock my keys in the boot of the car, so I missed most of the investigation.  Now, I had a second chance to return to finally look for the Prospect Place ghosts myself.  This time I was joined not only by Kag but also by Beth Darlington from Access Paranormal. We started in the front room, and it wasn’t long before the Mel-meter (EMF Meter) triggered, but at the same time, a RemPod (proximity device) triggered upstairs.  Kag remained in the hallway down below while Beth and I went for a walk to the barn and stables. Despite us not being in the house with Kag, there were still thumps from upstairs and what sounded like somebody moving around, and the Ovilus (turns EMF fields into words) spat out the word ‘Blaze’.  Not only that, but upon doing an E.V.P. (Voices on recordings you don’t hear at the time) burst, she apparently captured two.  What are they saying?  We aren’t sure. Meanwhile, in the barn/stables, Beth and I were having experiences of our own.  I was looking towards the barn door towards the house, when I saw a small bright light which moved across in front of the house.  I saw it a second time in the doorway of the barn about 4ft off the ground.  It came in very bright white, undulated, turned and then vanished.  I will add that this was seen with my eyes, not on the camera, and it wasn’t peripheral vision but full-on.  A couple of seconds after this, the RemPod triggered.  Without telling Beth, she also saw a white light moving around. 

We swapped around, and Beth remained in the house on her own while Kag and I went to the barn to do a live stream.  We were getting some interesting results on the equipment, but suddenly we heard what sounded like Beth shouting.  We quickly turned off, thinking that Beth was in trouble and headed back to the house only to find that she was fine and hadn’t shouted out at all.  As we were discussing this, a fire alarm went off, deafening us as we tried to find it.  We called Jeff, our host, who was sleeping in a house close by, as we couldn’t fathom where it was coming from.  As he walked through the door, although it had been screaming for over 10 mins, it suddenly stopped and did not trigger all night again.  Jeff scratched his head as it was not that the batteries were going flat and there had been no source of the smoke.  The only thing he could think of was that whoever was there was trying to drive us out of the house, especially as the noise was so unbearable. Beth and I went down into the cellar, leaving Kag elsewhere, and it wasn’t long before we had equipment trigger, and at the same time, we had footsteps crossing above us.  We took note of the time to cross-reference with Kag, but she was nowhere near the area. It certainly was an interesting night, and we would love to go back sometime to explore further and try and communicate with the Prospect Place ghosts."

Mark Clair in 2014 on TripAdvisor, "I made sure I reiterated "haunted" in the title. It was. Active, alive, absorbing our energy, responding with incredible results. My team and I investigated this place. We had seen it on Ghost Adventures. Approaching the mansion is a walk back into history, rich with conflict, pain, sorrow, courage and death. During our investigation, I offered whatever energy I had to the residual residents so they could provide some sign that they were present and attentive. My team offered theirs as well. We continued on through the house and shortly after, we were collectively drained of our energy. We had never felt or experienced this kind of drain before and we've investigated many locations for many hours. It made us become almost comatose with exhaustion. We decided to venture into the basement and were amazed at the shadow activity. In dim light, after taking 15-20 minutes to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness, our entire team witness shadow figures like nothing we've ever encountered. The shadows moving across and up and down the hallway were highly visible as they blotted out the only source of light at the end of the corridor. Many were at the end of the hallway, while others almost seemed to pass directly in front of us. It was at this time when a female team member was touched and her shirt pulled from behind. The activity continued for almost an hour. When it began to subside, we continued our investigation. All in all, we feel that Prospect Place is well worth returning to for another investigation. It's truly an amazing place."

Tom S in 2019 on TripAdvisor, "Five of us returned to Prospect Place for the third time in several years. The restoration of the mansion is continuing and what a worthy cause this is. We visited 6/23/19 and was met by Carrie and her Son. We were given a warm welcome and Carrie's Son shared some of his experiences with us. He is a budding ghost hunter and we enjoyed his stories. As on our previous trips we had activity in the cellar and on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The pigeons are gone and the 3rd floor battened down so it was much quieter and easier to investigate. We got quite a few good EVP's and were told there were 8 Adams there, Sophie Adams and several who were servants are still there. We got some interesting photos and videos. The house was very active the night we were there. If you are interested in the Ghost hunts, we highly recommend it and if you are just into history it is still highly worth the visit. Stop in and see for yourself."

Ghost Adventures investigated Prospect Place during their third season in 2010. The guys heard disembodied laughter and hissing and a young girl's voice. They caught EVPs saying, "come here," "some more" and "get out." They also heard disembodied footsteps, had an object thrown at them and heard a loud bang. The guys also claimed that a cross on the wall was getting very cold and they believed this was an...uh...portal opening up. There were the usual balls of light that Ghost Adventures captures that we don't put much stock in.

In 2016, Ghost Brothers went out to investigate Prospect Place. They were greeted by the owner, George Adams who was the great-great grandson. A woman named Kim Salzwedel told the Ghost Brothers that she had been in the barn when she was touched by a spirit. She said she felt a burning on the upper part of her back and her daughter looked at her back and there was a large red handprint with scratches under it. She and her daughter also captured an EVP saying, "I will cut you." Kim agreed to meet the guys out at the property and she told them that legends claim that the bounty hunter that was hanged in the barn could have been buried there as well. The Ghost Brothers brought out a cadaver dog and it did indicate that there were human remains in a part of the barn. The dog's signal was to bark, but he did even more than that. He started growling and ran away from the area that he marked. 

Dalen is sensitive to energy and in one of the upstairs bedroom, he got so nauseous he had to leave and he did end up throwing up into a trash can. The Ghost Brothers started their investigation in the barn and they set up a REM Pod. When they asked if there was someone in there that they couldn't see, the REM Pod lit up. Later they asked why the spirit only messes with women, is it afraid of men and the REM Pod lit up again. Dalen felt like he was pushed in the barn. They went looking for a red-eyed entity that hides down in the basement and Dalen did seem to capture two red dots on the thermal camera. They tried debunking it thinking it was lights on the camera causing it, but then the dots weren't there anymore. Something started scratching near a fireplace on the third floor when Marcus asked if there was anyone else in the room with them.

Prospect Place is a large and distinct house with an equally distinct and historic brick barn. The place once saved slaves and now it seems that some of those spirits might be saving this place as people come from all around to seek their presence. Is Prospect Place haunted? That is for you to decide!

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