Thursday, November 30, 2023

HGB Ep. 514 - White Hart Hotels

Moment in Oddity - Bat Bombs (Suggested by: Jared Rang)

Back in 1942, there was a secret government project taking place in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The United States was preparing for World War II. The government proposed a particularly unusual idea for bomb delivery on Japan. The method considered was bat bombs. No, I didn't say bath bombs, I said bat bombs. The idea was to collect bats, secure bombs to their bodies and release them over Japan. The bats would then roost inside buildings since they prefer dark places and then the bombs would explode. A test of the experiment was conducted in 1943. Army officers collected bats from the Carlsbad Caverns. The animals were cooled to induce sleep and then strapped with the incendiary bombs. They were subsequently flown into the sky over the New Mexico air base and released. The warm sun woke the unfortunate creatures and they then roosted in the air control towers, hangers and other buildings on the base. The 15 minute fuses on the bombs then performed as expected, setting fires to all the structures. Despite the bats near perfect execution of the government's classified plan, the project was cancelled. It was deemed impossible to trust bomb delivery by the cave dwelling residents. There have been many methodologies employed in warfare preparation, but using bomb banded bats to incinerate your enemies certainly is odd.

This Month in History - The Rock and Bullwinkle Show Premiered

In the month of November, on the 19th, in 1959, 'The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends' premiered. Many of us are familiar with the animated series that always had Bullwinkle stating, (("Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat" with Rocky's response being, "Again?")). The American television series ran from 1959 to 1964 and featured Bullwinkle the moose and Rocky the squirrel as its main characters. The cartoon experienced various name changes through the years and was titled 'The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show' once in syndication. Produced by Jay Ward Productions, the cartoon followed the structure of a variety show. The primary antagonists were two Russian spies, Boris and Natasha along with side stories featuring 'Dudley Do-Right', 'Peabody's Improbable History' and 'Fractured Fairy Tales'. Like many cartoons of the time, the show appealed to both children and adults. The episodes were known for their cultural and topical satire as well as puns and droll sense of humor. It was one of the earliest cartoons to outsource its animation leaving the show with a raw, unfinished look in comparison to its competitors. However, 'The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show' has been held in high regard by television viewers as well as critics. Over the years there have been film adaptations of the cartoon and its assorted segments, the latest of which is a reboot that premiered on Amazon Prime in 2018.

White Hart Hotels (Suggested by: Ali Pittaway)

The White Hart Stag was once the personal badge of the king, and businesses and people would display it to show their allegiance. Today, there are still dozens of inns in the United Kingdom that bear the name White Hart. Each of them is unique, but all are very historic having stood for over hundreds of years. Many of them are reputedly haunted. Join us as we venture around the United Kingdom and explore the history and hauntings of the White Hart Hotels.

First, let's talk about the name White Hart. The name White Hart is popular for a reason. Hart is an archaic word for a stag. White Hart was the personal badge of Richard II and this depicts a white stag with a gold crown around its neck. The term is also connected to Herne the Hunter in English folklore. Herne was apparently the ghost of a former Windsor Forest keeper who had horns and liked to haunt a particular oak tree, shake chains and make cattle produce blood rather than milk. An illustration of Herne by George Cruikshank from 1843, depicts the figure on a horse, riding with hounds and an owl at his side. The legend of Herne was made famous by Shakespeare and no stories seem to predate that time period. There are some who believe that Herne was derived from the European folklore about the Wild Huntsman, a Gaulish deity known as Cernunnos. That figure is associated with stags as well, but really strangely, it is also connected to horned serpents and usually carries a bag of grain and wears a metal neck ring called a torc. We lost count of the number of inns with the name White Hart in the United Kingdom because there are so many. The oldest being the one in Witley, Surrey that is Elizabethan in style and stands on the site of an Anglo-Saxon Inn and probably was a royal hunting lodge at one time.

Moreton, Essex

Moreton is a rural parish in Essex in the Epping Forest with its main economy being agriculture. The village has been here for at least 2000 years and The White Hart here dates back to the Medieval times. The oldest parts of the building have been dated to 1460, but no one is sure who built it or owned it early on. The first recorded landlord was named Henry Pinder. He owned the license in 1649. Another license holder was blacksmith William Pain. In 1914, the license holder was Sidney Skepelhorn and his family held it for most of the 20th century. Like most pubs, this one was open for twenty hours out of every day and was quite dark inside because of frosted windows and dark interior wood with a mustard yellow ceiling. Not a very pretty color, but it made sense as smoke from cigarettes, pipes and the fire would have yellowed the ceiling anyway. The pub was split into sections and there was a well furnished parlor, small private rooms and a public bar. The bar itself had privacy doors, and customers would open a slot on the door to make their order.

In 1991 it was reported that a man saw the silhouette of a young woman wearing a long dress was seen through the window of the kitchen door. He thought this was his wife and so he opened the door and the figure disappeared. The man was startled and he ran up to his room where he found his wife sleeping. This wasn't the only time the female apparition was seen and people believe that she was a woman who died in the building from an accident in the 1920s. That is when the ghost first started to be reported.

Exeter, Devon

Exeter is what we would call in America the county seat of Devon. Devon is full of historic pubs and one of these is the White Hart Hotel. This just happens to be the most haunted pub in Devon. Exeter was once a religious center during the Middle Ages. During the 11th century, the Exeter Cathedral was built. But even before that, this was a Roman town. So this city dates back to 55 AD. The White Hart in Exeter is located at 66 South Street and is part of Marston's Inns. This is close to the city center. Today it offers 55 en-suite rooms for rent and an ale house with selections from Marston's five breweries. The White Hart here dates to the 1400s, but its backstory is murky. Some historians believe this was a resting place for monks that eventually became a coaching inn. It was thought to be the home of William Wynard between 1418 to 1442. He built the Wynard's Hospital and Chapel. The home became the Blue Boar Inn and then the White Hart Inn that had a stable where horses and carriages could be kept. In the 1970s, an extended part of the building was added.

The most well known haunting here is a female spirit that wears a long black cape and wanders the courtyard. The face of a small boy has been seen in the bar. The most bizarre legend is about a basilisk or a Cockatrice, which is described as being half rooster and half lizard that lurks in a well. Stories claim that the creature killed two workmen by breathing on them. And another man was almost killed. This took place in 1649 when a man named Roger Creek owned the inn. The well needed repairs and he hired a man named Paul Penrose to climb down to do the work. The minute Penrose hit the bottom of the well, he died. Another workman named William Johnson was sent down next and he too died when he reached the bottom. It was thought that some kind of uncommon stench had overcome them. Another man went down to help his workmates and he was nearly overcome, but pulled back up before that happened. He was the one who reported the strong smell and that it closed up his lungs. It probably was some kind of marsh gas or was it?

Coggeshall, Essex

The White Hart in Coggeshall in Essex is part of Greene King Inns. Coggeshall comes from an early Saxon settlement and is located along the River Blackwater. Coggeshall Abbey was built in 1140 and eventually became home to the Cistercian monks and they raised sheep whose wool was high-quality and made the town prosperous. This eventually gave way to cloth trade with both silk and lace. In the late 1800s, brewing became a big industry in the village as well. The White Hart was built in the 15th century as a coaching inn. Today, there are 20 rooms and a traditional pub. People who have stayed here claim to hear mysterious tapping on the walls in their rooms, rooms go ice cold and the lights flash and guests feel like they are being watched by something unseen. The spirits of monks have been seen dancing in the fields nearby and the blows of a ghostly axe have been heard. This sound is attributed to a 16th century woodcutter named Robin. Two child spirits wander the halls and it is thought that they died in a fire at the inn. 

The landlord Grant Beechey told Mirror Online, "We have a lady who won't stay in room two. She said she felt someone touch her in the night or felt something happen in the night. She won't stay there now. She still stays with us, she stays every week but she won't stay in room two. There have been quite a few incidents told to us by various residents, about two specific rooms; room two and room 19. These guests come back regularly to stay in those rooms. Whatever it is that is there brings them back time and time again. Room 19, which is the one most people come back to, is in the oldest part of the building. We have people who come and stay in room 19 and the story I've heard from people most often is about a poltergeist, a moving scenario where things appear, don't appear, get moved and that type of thing. I had a report from one of our chefs who was here on a short-term basis that he'd felt he wasn't alone in the kitchen when he was certainly alone. He wasn't disturbed by it but he had that feeling he wasn't alone, and there was something going on. He just said he thought there was someone there with him. Certainly some of the corridors in the older part of the hotel have a look and feel about them."


Lincolnshire is located in the East Midlands and was originally inhabited by a Celtic tribe before the Roman occupation. The Romans called this Lindum Colonia and that is how Lincoln was derived. The birthplace and home of Sir Isaac Newton is here. The White Hart Hotel here is in the center of what was medieval Lincoln and sits between a cathedral and castle. An inn has sat on this site since the 15th century. The oldest part of this hotel dates back to 1710. The Prince of Wales had lunch here in 1925. This White Hart has a variety of en-suite rooms and also has the Antlers Restaurant and the Colonnade Cocktail Lounge and was just refurbished, literally just reopening a couple of weeks ago.

Guests have claimed to hear the sound of people running up and down the corridor when there is no one in the hallway. Disembodied voices sometimes accompany the sound of running. One guest in particular went to the front desk and complained about the sound. He returned to his room and just as he climbed back into bed, the sounds started again. He angrily got out of bed and reached for the doorknob when it suddenly twisted on its own and the door began to rattle violently. The guest flung the door open and ran to the receptionist and reported what happened again, adding that now his door had been affected. This is when the receptionist informed that guest that he was actually the only guest at the inn. On top of that and even more chilling is that the doors don't have handles on the outside, only on the inside. If the knob was turning, it was coming from inside the room. 

There are a couple of possibilities for what haunts the inn. A maid was killed many years ago by a regular patron to the bar. He had taken a liking to her, but she rebuffed him, so he ambushed her one day in the middle of the corridor on the first floor and stabbed her several times in the face and she bled to death. People claim to hear the ghost of the maid screaming and sobbing at night and the crime actually plays out in a residual way sometimes with the maid being seen on her knees and throwing her arms up as if shielding herself from something. Another ghost was also a murder victim, a highwayman that was killed in the stables by a coachman. A restaurant is now located where the stables had been and the highwayman's ghost has been seen flitting through the restaurant covering his face with his cloak. And there is the spirit of an elderly woman who wears a period dress and walks down the corridors of the lower floors and she disappears after being seen. Staff also claim to feel as though something is following them that they can't see.

St. Albans

St. Albans is located in Hertfordshire and was named for the first British saint, Alban. A legend claims that he sheltered a Christian priest who was running for his life. Alban was so impressed by the priest that he converted to Christianity. When the pursuers arrived at Alban's home, he took the priest's cloak and pretended to be him. These men took him away and tortured him trying to get him to renounce his faith and he refused. he was eventually executed and his head is said to have rolled down a hill and where it settled, a well sprang up. The town of St. Albans dates back to the Iron Age. The Romans invaded in 43 AD. Battles from the War of the Roses occurred nearby. St. Albans became a site of Christian pilgrimage, a market town and a first coaching stop on the route to London. This made it a good spot for inns and the White Hart here was built in 1470. Most early visitors were coming to the Abbey, but eventually it became a general coaching inn. Oak paneling was added in the 1600s and remains today. 

St. Albans is said to be a pretty haunted town in general with stories of monks haunting the nearby Abbey and child spirits running through the Market Place. One of the ghost stories connected to the inn dates to 1820. Apparently a woman bought the cheap seats on the top of a coach and somehow broke her neck on the entrance gate. People have seen her spirit in period clothing near the entrance. This story actually inspired Charles Dickens to share it in the Pickwick Papers. The bar is haunted by the spirit of a monk from the Abbey who comes in and pours himself a beer. A 12-year-old girl died in a fire at the inn in 1832 and her spirit hangs out near the back stairs. She even appeared in a local shop and asked about her parents John and Margaret and when the local records were checked, it was discovered that the young daughter of the publicans had died in a fire.

West Bromwich

West Bromwich is a market town in the West Midlands. This town became a center for brick making and coal mining. The White Hart here is no longer open, having been one of more than 50 pubs that have closed down in the town. The pub dates to the 1850s when it was under the license of a man named John Charley. From the 1870s to the early 1880s, the White Hart became the changing room for the new West Bromwich Albion football club. The players would leap over the pub wall to access the pitch. It eventually would be renamed Drunken Duck in 2001 and then closed a few years later. The former pub now runs as a daycare center. People in the building claimed to hear disembodied footsteps and this was connected to the removal of a hand of glory that was discovered in the attic. And what is a hand of glory? It is the dried and pickled hand of a hanged man, usually the offending hand. Superstition attributed power to these items, particularly when used in conjunction with a candle made from the fat of the hanged man's corpse. A hand of glory could unlock any door it came across and it could render people near it motionless. 

Walsall, Staffordshire

Walsall means the "Valley of the Welsh." The town saw real growth during the Industrial Revolution. This was originally a home that was built in the 17th century and then it became the pub, but that shut down in the 1990s and the building was converted into eight flats. A hand of glory comes up in this White Hart too. This is the mummified arm of a child and it too was in the attic. The spirit of the child is said to haunt the inn and it usually indicates its presence with hand prints in the dust. There is also the spirit of a woman seen in Victorian clothing who is thought to have been a maid at the inn who took her own life. 

West Mersea, Essex

West Mersea is in Essex and has several remnants from Roman occupation that still exist from Roman buildings to mosaics to a burial mound just north of the town. The town was founded as far back as 1086 when it is first found in recorded history. The White Hart here is located in the heart of the village and offers six rooms and a pub and has that cool half-timbered look on the outside. There are nearby beaches and boardwalks. The pub dates to the 15th century with a short closure from 2013 to 2022 when it fell into a bit of disrepair. Piers Baker bought the property in 2021 and set about refurbishing it and reopened in 2022. Apparently in the 1880s, the main performer at the pub was a coastguard named Billy the Dancer who would tap dance on a board. The haunting here involves a dog ghost that delivery men claim likes to dart under feet. Workmen at the inn have also claimed that an unseen dog has moved against them when they have worked in the cellar. There must have been sightings too because it is said that this is a Labrador Retriever. A legend tells the story of a woman who fell through the ice while crossing the river and she now walks near the White Hart in ghostly form, perhaps seeking her husband.

Sturminster Newton, Dorset

Sturminster Newton is home to the White Hart Alehouse. This was believed to have been built in 1708. This only runs as a pub now with six real ales and ten craft beers and pub food. People claim that a female spirit haunts the bar area. 

Padstow, Cornwall

Padstow is a fishing port in Cornwall. The White Hart building here dates to the 16th century and was once owned by a woman named Mrs. Binick who advertised the main house as a "very good accustomed Inn with a Large Malt House thereunto adjoining." That Malt House was capable of making 1000 bushels Cornish, which is an old measure from Cornwall that equated around 16 gallons. So that was a lot of liquor! By 1871, it was producing 3000 bushels a season. People did die at the inn. One in 1871 that caused the innkeeper at the time to discontinue letting rooms. And then in 1911, a Bessie Jane Reynolds died at the age of 66 at the inn. In 1995, Patricia Rose Jacoby purchased The White Hart. Previously, she had been a London fashionista who dressed Princess Diana. She was having a drink in the pub and mentioned how much she loved the place and the then owner told her it was for sale. She scooped it right up and began extensive renovations. She then started a Bed and Breakfast business and converted the Malt House to The Garden Room and Apartment. Pat passed away in 2019 and her son inherited the business and continues to run it today under the name "The Malt House." A legend claims that a priest named Wilfred died here and now haunts the place with disembodied footsteps that walk up and down the stairs and a loud rasping sound that comes from one of the rooms.

Manningtree, Essex

Manningtree claims to be the smallest town in England and has a name that probably means "many trees." The wool trade was strong here in the 15th century and the shipping trade became more prominent in the 18th century. But probably what this little town is most known for is being the center of the work of the Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. Hopkins claimed that he heard several townswomen talking with each other about meeting the devil. He took his accusations to the authorities in 1644 and those women were executed as witches. That Witchfinder General designation was self-appointed. Parliament never recognized Hopkins as that. Despite not having government backing, Hopkins and his buddy John Stearne sent more people to hang for being witches than any of the other English witch-hunters in the previous 160 years. Somehow this man was described as the "Celebrated Witch-finder" even into the early 1800s. Based on our research, it seems that Hopkins was in this business for the money.

The White Hart Inn in this town has been closed for several years now. The building dates to the 17th century and was a meeting place for Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne and the people from Manningtree who had accusations against their neighbors who they thought were witches. After the accusation was made, it had to be investigated. That's the way it was done from the time that witchcraft was criminalized in England in 1563. Professor of History at the University of Essex, Alison Rowlands, wrote of this, "So what you do, if you want to bring an accusation against somebody, you would go to a Justice of the Peace and bring the charge and they would then start investigating it, and it’s at that point that first of all John Stearne is brought into the procedure, because the local people here, they ask John Stearne, who also lives in Manningtree, to take their complaints to the JPs. And then the JPs ask him to help some of the investigations and then Matthew Hopkins gets involved as well. Now, it’s almost certainly the case that Hopkins and Stearne and the accusers and the JPs met in pubs, because that’s where men of standing got together - in a meeting room in an inn. So I think any kind of local-ish pub that would have been around in the 17th century, you could probably make that case for." This place must have made an impression on Hopkins because people claim that his spirit is here. He can be heard walking and talking in the building and has been seen as well. Hopkins died very young, at the age of 28 in 1647.

Edinburgh, Lothian

The White Hart Inn in Edinburgh is said to be the city's most haunted pub. This one was built in 1740 and has held a continuous license for over 500 years. The cellar dates to 1516. The White Hart was built in the Grassmarket that stands in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. This is where livestock was bought and sold and executions were conducted. People would rent out the top floor for the best view. Some executions included Maggie Dickson or "Half Hangit Maggie" in 1724, over 100 Covenanters between 1661 and 1668 at a time called "The Killing Times," and the last person hanged was James Andrew in 1784. In 1916, the inn was almost destroyed when the Germans dropped 23 bombs on the city with one dropping just outside the inn. Sightings of detached legs and dark ghostly figures have been reported in the cellar area. Barrels down there get moved around. An unseen hand likes to turn off the beer pumps. And a shadowy figure appears by the door behind the bar. People claim that their hair gets pulled too. There are a couple of resident ghosts here. One is named Sally Beggs and she was apparently found dead in the street outside the inn. She haunts the main bar area. The other is thought to be named Jack and appears to be disfigured and wears a cloak over his shoulders. He tends to haunt the Keg Room.

Cross, Somerset

Cross is a small village located in Compton Bishop, England. British comedian Frankie Howerd had lived here in Wavering Down, which is now a museum and tourist attraction. The White Hart in Cross is on Old Coach Road. This inn dates back to the 17th century. Mike and Gina bought the pub in 2019 and refurbished it. They made the Good Beer Guide in 2021 and 2022. Judge George Jeffreys was known as The Hanging Judge and he was severe and biased. During the Bloody Assizes, which were a series of trials that took place after the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685, Judge Jeffreys held some trials at this White Hart and several local men were condemned to hang. The Judge would continue to go onto greater things until he finally was imprisoned at the Tower of London where he died in 1689. Interestingly, Jeffreys was terrified of what the public would do to him so the Tower of London became a sanctuary for him because it was said that the mobs outside intended "to show him that same mercy he had ever shown to others." A plaque outside of the inn claims that it is haunted by one of the judges "victims." People claim to hear disembodied footsteps that are very loud and small items move on their own.  


Bristol was a starting place for many voyages to the New World from Britain because it was a major port. It was founded around 1000 AD. The White Hart outside of Bristol is a beautiful country pub with parts that date back to the 12th century. This had been part of St. James Priory. Two brothers bought the building in the 1600s and converted it into an inn. The brothers eventually fought with each other over land and one killed the other, brutally murdering him and hiding his body in the cellar. The dead brother was thought to be named George and he haunts the place now. Landlords leave a vase of flowers on the bar to appease him. One of the landlords said, "We’ve witnessed quite a few spooky incidents since taking over the pub five years ago and we’ve heard tales from the past involving George too. On several occasions bottles of alcohol that were firmly in place on the shelf behind us have fallen off for no reason whatsoever, which always gives us quite a fright. And an old landlord once came in and told me how a barrel of Fosters kept disconnecting itself in the cellar despite the fact he was making it tighter and tighter each time, and there was nobody down there. I’ve also seen the figure of an old man wearing a tweed suit and red V-neck jumper sitting by the women’s toilets in my peripheral vision, but there was nobody there. And no, I hadn't been drinking." 

Menheniot, Cornwall

Menheniot is a village located in Cornwall and was a former mining area. The White Hart Inn here was a 17th century coaching inn. Today it offers 9 rooms and a full cooked breakfast every morning and there is real ale in the lounge and public bar areas. The inn has traditional slate floors and beamed ceilings. A beer garden is also available. Ali had worked here when she emailed us in 2016 and she shared, "The scent of a woman's perfume has been smelt in various places when there is no one in the hotel (notably in the kitchen & going up the staircase) there are shadows seen going across the bar and restaurant, the bedrooms all have separate bathrooms and bedrooms (like self contained apartments) and every member of staff has had experience of leaving a room/walking into a room and the TV just switches on. I have had a heavy sigh in my ear with no one around me (after closing time no drinkers no guests no other staff) several of us have swapped stories about something that concerns us (its like a dream during the day kind of like a vision of an old lady just screaming in our faces) there are 3 of us that i know have had these and its re occurring. There's a more worrying darker than dark shadow at the top of the stairs when you turn the lights off and do a walk around to lock up there's like a black mist that's darker than the dark because you can see it....even the owners have had experiences but this isn't something we talk about often, its very much a culture of we all see and hear and smell things.....but we don't talk to each other about it, but just know that we aren't the only ones to experience it. The hotel allows dogs but no one with a dog has ever stayed in room 2. The dogs go bezerk i mean full on crazy barking, growling, so the owners take them out the building and they have to go in other rooms."

Clearly, these White Hart Inns are located in some beautiful and interesting towns. Nearly all sound like great places to get a brew and some pub food. And possibly experience some unexplained activity. Are these White Hart Hotels haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

HGB Ep. 513 - Haunted Fort Lauderdale

Moment in Oddity - Stoneman Willie

When someone says, "I love my mummy", many people assume that the person speaking those words are referring to their mother. However in Reading, Pennsylvania, those sentiments could be referring to a mummified corpse. The Auman Funeral Home had been caring for a mummified corpse known as Stoneman Willie since he died in 1895. According to records, the mummy had been on display for 128 years. Those records show that Willie was picked up for drunkenness then released and shortly thereafter he was arrested again for breaking into a boarding house. The prison warden stated that Willie stood at 5 feet 11 inches and possessed sandy brown hair and a mustache. Willie died while in custody after his second arrest. Stoneman Willie was recently interred on October 7th, 2023 in Reading, Pennsylvania at the Forest Hills Memorial Park cemetery. The funeral home's director said that researchers are fairly certain that Stoneman Willie was actually James Murphy of New York who was of Irish decent and was in Reading for a convention. Willie's corpse, or James as it were, had become an icon of the area and attracted tourism to the funeral home. Be that as it may, he is no longer laying in state but is comfortably resting 6 feet under with a granite tombstone bearing both of his names. An informational relief will be added shortly and his whole burial story, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Days of Our Lives Debut

In the month of November, on the 8th in 1965, the soap opera 'Days of Our Lives' premiered. The episode was titled, "Beyond Salem, Days of Our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas". This Daytime Emmy Award winning show has been broadcasted practically every weekday since that debut episode. The original show consisted of seven main characters. Tom and Alice Horton, Mickey Horton, Marie Horton, Julie Olson, Tony Merritt and Craig Merritt. Dr. Tom Horton, played by Macdonald Carey was a cast member from the shows inception until his death in March of 1994. He is still heard voicing the epigraph, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives", as well as the outro to commercial breaks. Frances Reid played Tom's wife Alice, the shows matriarch. She was a cast member for 42 years. Fans of the show are familiar with the fondness of Alice Horton's doughnuts that always worked their way into so many storylines. Over the years many core character actors have remained. Dr. Marlena Evans and John Black played by Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn, Bo and Hope and so many more. With such a long running show and so many actors that have stayed for 10, 20 and even 30+ years one can imagine the set is more like a family than just a job. Here's to many more, "Days of Our Lives".  

Haunted Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale means fun in the sun at a beach for most people. But this oceanside town has another side. There are many haunted locations here and for good reason. The Seminoles fought with settlers, the titans of industry made this their playground and this is the Venice of America with 165 miles of scenic inland waterways. Water is a key conduit for paranormal activity. In October, we met up with our listeners Amanda and Charlotte and had some dinner and then headed off for a ghost tour. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Fort Lauderdale!

Fort Lauderdale was originally known as New River Settlement. Before European settlers moved in, the Tequesta tribe was in South Florida and their dwindling numbers merged with the Seminoles. The Seminoles were a fiercely independent people and when the Spaniards came, they called them "maroons" or "wild, free people" because they couldn't be subjugated. The United States military built a stockade at the fork of the New River in 1838 and named it Fort Lauderdale after Major William Lauderdale. He led a detachment of Tennessee Volunteers during the Second Seminole War. Two other forts were built and named for him, one at Tarpon Bend and another at Bahia Mar. Fort Lauderdale was abandoned in 1842 and there weren't many people who lived here until the 1890s. The city itself wouldn't be incorporated until March 27, 1911. The city grew fast though and is today one of the ten largest cities in Florida.  

We had dinner at Batch New Southern Kitchen & Tap, which features scratch cooked southern culinary food and craft drinks like beer and root beer. The root beer was amazing and the food was great too! Then we walked up to the downtown area to meet our tour group under the Thrive Sculpture, which to us looked pretty creepy. It features the giant upper torso of a woman ripping her chest open. We were told it was installed after Covid. Lina was our guide. Our group walked down towards the Riverwalk and stopped at the 9/11 Memorial that is there, which was made from a piece of debris from one of the twin towers. The walk goes along the New River. A train goes through this area as well and Lina told us that people occasionally claim to see shadow figures along the tracks because people have died on the tracks.

Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale got its start in 1968. The school changed locations a few times and added buildings to campus before closing in 2018. One of the buildings was an apartment complex off Sunrise Boulevard that was used as a dormitory called Sunrise Hall. Before the apartment complex was here, there was a three-story wooden home that probably started as a boarding house and eventually became what residents of the city called a den of filth. During the 1940s it became a flophouse and this lasted through the 1960s with the police making regular stops to deal with drugs, prostitution and murder. The building became a real eyesore and finally burned to the ground in the late 1960s. A small, apartment-style hotel was built on the spot and it was quite popular in the 1970s. There were a few stories of strange happenings, but paranormal stories didn't really start coming out until the school started using the building as a dormitory. Students claimed to hear strange sounds, particularly on the second and third floors. The most regular sound was moaning, which always started around 1 am. After a few minutes, the moaning would trail off, only to start again. There is no cause found for the moaning. The sounds of metal tools being dropped had also been heard. High heeled shoes are heard clicking on the first floor around 3 am. The walking goes towards the door and then goes away. Then shortly there after, the shoes sound as if they are running back in from the door and then stop as quickly as they started. Shadow figures were seen walking the halls at night and some students claimed to see shadow standing outside the windows of their rooms and when they would look outside, they would see no one there. They go back into their room and see that the shadow was still there. The shadow would eventually go away.

Esplanade Park 

Esplanade Park is today a community center for the residents of Fort Lauderdale, but it once was the scene of some bloody attacks. This park is down by the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk and has gardens and a pavilion. A fort had once stood where the park is now and had vast stores of ammunition and gunpowder. The Seminoles had formed a partnership with some mercenaries and this group of ten men broke into the fort and tried to smuggle out some explosives, but were caught. The commander decided to burn down the garrison with the mercenaries inside and they were killed. For years, the Seminoles and settlers fought with each other over land and this came to a head after a group of settlers assassinated the Seminole chief who was named Alabama. They then burned down his hut. The Justice of the Peace was named William Cooley and he arrested those responsible, but had to let them go because there wasn't enough evidence. Both the Seminole and Creek blamed Cooley for no justice and they planned to get revenge. The Second Seminole War broke out and on January 4, 1836, a group of Creek Indians attacked Cooley's homestead when he was away and killed his three children, his wife and the children's tutor, whom they also scalped. They then burned the house. This homestead was just a bit down from Esplanade Park.

Now it is said that the park is haunted because of the attack at Cooley's home and the killing of the mercenaries. The mercenaries appear as grotesque zombies with rotting flesh and open wounds. A man who was walking his dog along the Riverwalk felt a tugging on his shoes. He looked down to see a skeletal hand clutching his ankle from the ground and the man ran and called the police. The police actually found the bones still there when they got to the park and those bones were carbon-dated to the Third Seminole War. There are those who think this might be a mass burial site. Lina told us that a man had been walking through the park and he took a break on the bench. He tied his shoes, sat up and noticed a man was sitting next to him. He looked over and it was someone covered in blood, wearing indigenous clothing looking at him, who then disappeared.

Lucky's Tavern

Lucky's Tavern is the "Home of the 3-Legged Dog" and offers over 100 beers. Fort Lauderdale attracted mobs and gangs and one of these mobsters was standing in the doorway when he was shot and killed. The bar had been a pretty violent place. Staff members claim to feel strange things in the bar. One evening, a bouncer was laying his head down on the bar because he was tired and he felt something nudge him. He looked up and no one was near him so he laid his head back down. Then he felt another little push. He looked up again and still no one. The bouncer laid his head down one more time and was violently pushed off his chair. This time when he looked up, he saw a dark figure and it scared him. The bouncer told his boss and the boss told him that he shouldn't sleep on the job. People claim to feel cold spots and to see shadows in the bathroom. Female bartenders have been touched inappropriately by something they can't see. A woman in a long Victorian dress with her hair pulled back has also been seen here, missing her feet.

Original Fat Cat's Bar

There are really no public records about this location. Today its a dive bar with great food and live music. (43 minutes in is music) This was a residence for a time and a family was living there in the 1960s. The husband was found dead in the house from cardiac arrest, but the really strange thing is that his hair turned white. A few years later another family set up a business in the building. This was now the 1970s and they were selling clothing. Unexplained things started happening like patrons seeing shadows and being scared by something. The family claimed to hear strange chanting. They also saw a group of figures standing in a circle. Rumors circulated that something demonic was connected to the location. A group of paranormal investigators was brought in and they collected some evidence using some old experiments. A journal was discovered beneath the floor boards and as they flipped through it, they realized it had belonged to a warden and that got historians thinking that this had once been a jail. The warden wrote down his beliefs about rehabilitating prisoners and torture was the cure to him. There were forty-two prisoners under him and he would torture them every day with both physical and mental means. Neighbors finally called the police after getting tired of hearing the screams of the men. Before they shut down the jail, the warden poisoned all the inmates and then the guards, his wife, his children and himself. People claim to see shadows looking out of the windows. 

Fire Station 3

Firefighters were at Fire Station 3 for 77 years. They moved onto a new station and this one became a museum. The fire station was designed to look like the houses around it and even the interior was more home-like with a dining room, kitchen, living room and bedrooms that branched off a hallway. The only real difference was the engine bay where the fire trucks were parked. For years, firefighters at the station had weird experiences that convinced them that there was a ghost in their midst. They thought the spirit might date back to the 1940s because a firefighter named Robert Leland Knight died on his second week in the job. He stepped into a pool of water that had been electrified by a downed power line. The activity continued even after the firefighters moved out. Guides have reported seeing lights turn on and off, and locked doors and windows will suddenly swing open. This spirit likes to pull pranks. One day, a man was doing some repair work on a tile wall and he had heard the stories about the ghost. He decided to ask for his opinion so he queried, "Robert, tell me if you like what I’m doing." There was a loud noise in the other room, so he went to investigate and when he came back, almost all the tile work he had done was off the wall and neatly stacked on the floor.

Museum of Science & Discovery

This is a large building that opened in 1992 and is the most visited museum in the state of Florida. There are lots of displays, interactive programs, overnight experiences and an IMAX Theater. There was a sitting area outside the entrance and Lina invited us to sit down while she shares some legend connected to the site. A family had lived here with a three-year-old daughter. The father was an alcoholic and he would get very drunk every night. One night he didn't come home and his wife and child went out to look for him and they found him drowned in the New River. The mother went into a deep depression and she decided to take her life, but she couldn't leave her daughter behind so she threw herself and her daughter into the river and they drowned also. Staff at the museum claim to find puddles throughout the museum where there shouldn't be water and even wet foot prints. The scent of whiskey is also smelled. There are some people who believe that the spirit of the little girl haunts the New River Inn, which is right down the Riverwalk. And that brings us to Fort Lauderdale's historic village.

The New River Inn

The New River Inn was one of the first hotels in the area. Philemon Nathaniel Bryan was one of the founders of Fort Lauderdale. He was born near Jasper in Hamilton County in 1844 where we investigated the Old Hamilton County Jail. Philemon married Lucy Catherine Murray in 1867 and they had seven children. He had a citrus grove that he lost to frost, so he moved the family to Fort Lauderdale to start over.  The railroad would become his focus and was given the job of supervising the laborers laying track for Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway. The Bryans had a house across from the railroad station and they used it as a boarding house. Bryan saw the success a luxury hotel could have if it was built near the railroad station and so he replaced the boarding house with The Bryan Hotel. Contractor Edwin T. King built the hotel from hollow concrete blocks formed from beach sand. No rebar was used in the construction, rather this is considered a “gravity building” with the same kind of structure as the pyramids of Egypt where the weight of the blocks ensures its strength. The New River Inn was unprecedented in its luxury for the community and opened in 1905, featuring twenty-four rooms and two bathrooms. King also built the Bryans a concrete block house in the Colonial Revival style at 227 Southwest 2nd Avenue. That house still stands and is considered the oldest remaining example of residential masonry architecture in Fort Lauderdale. Philemon died in the house in 1925 at the age of eighty-four. Lucy died a year before Philemon after breaking her hip slipping on a pea pod on the front porch of the Bryan's former home when she was seventy-two and people claim that her spirit haunts the home. A Yoga Studio had once used the home and patrons claimed that when they would look in the mirror, they would see the image of an elderly lady with her silver hair in a bun and dressed in a black wool dress. She would give the startled patrons a friendly smile.

If you visit both the hotel and house, you will see they are made from the exact same concrete block. Eventually the name of the hotel was changed to the New River Inn. The hotel ran for 50 years before being closed in 1955. Today, it is a museum that pays homage to Florida’s past and pioneer life and still features the same wood floors and front desk. The museum has a few ghosts hanging out as well. On the tour we were told there were three spirits in the museum, but only one had been identified. They believe that spirit is Bryan himself. And we did find other claims that people see the spirit of an elderly gentleman resembling Bryan in his former hotel. But unfortunately, the story we were told behind his haunting here couldn't be more wrong. We were told that he passed away while trying to save his three children during a hurricane and that the children survived. Well, as you know from what we told you, Bryan died when he was 84. He had been ill for over a year. He more than likely is here, not because of tragedy, but because he loved the hotel. Lina went on to tell us that a tall, dark figure wearing a long coat has been seen and this figure has no face. When confronted, this ghost has thrown its arms up and asked, "What are you looking at?" There are those who think he was a visiting railroad man who died at the hotel. The third spirit seems to be a young girl of five or six. A staff member once saw a little girl kneeling down and they went up to talk to her. This person looked away for a moment and then looked back at the girl and she was gone. The belief is that she might be a girl who drowned in the river, either the daughter of the whiskey drinking man we mentioned earlier or some other child, possibly Lulu Marshall who had been a student of Ivy Stranahan - the Stranahans were a founding family of the city as well. Many died from yellow fever in the city. The girl likes to play with toys and has been seen looking out of the windows.

King-Cromartie House

Another building that is part of the historic village is the King-Cromartie House, which was moved to its location right next to the New River Inn. Legend claims that it was built from the wood of a sunken ship that was found down closer by Miami. This was built by Edwin T. King who was another early settler of Fort Lauderdale. He and his brother built some temporary homes before sending for their families. After Ed's family arrived, he petitioned the city for a school and a woman named Ivy Cromartie came to be the first school teacher. She was joined by her brother Bloxham who would end up marrying Ed's daughter Louise. The King-Cromartie house was built from Dade County pine in the four square Georgian style and completed in 1907 and was originally one-story with a dining room, living room and two bedrooms. A second-story was added later with two bedrooms and a bathroom. Eventually, Louise and Bloxham inherited the house and the couple had two children. The house stayed in the family until 1968. Louise was living in it with her brother Bird King at that time. They sold the house to a man named Stan Smoker and he deeded the house to the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale. In 1994, The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society took over the house and opened it to the public as the King-Cromartie House Museum, which we toured. Daniel Smith was our guide and he was a wealth of information. The house is filled with antiques, only a couple of which were original to the family. Daniel had maps to show us where the house had originally been built and pictures showing how the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale barged the house upriver to this site in 1971 to save it from demolition.

On a side note, we figured out what had gotten mixed up with the history about Philemon Bryan when learning about Ed King. Ed eventually moved from Fort Lauderdale to Lake Okeechobee and he died there during a hurricane in 1928. He dove into the water to save two children and lost his life. He was found after the waters receded, still holding one of the children. The house is said to be haunted by Louise King-Cromartie. Her translucent apparition is often seen looking out of an upstairs window wearing a white dress. She has also been seen walking inside the house and sometimes is in a pink dress with her blonde hair up in a messy bun. Visitors often report hearing children playing and laughing and this may be because there is a schoolhouse that is part of the historic village as well. Disembodied footsteps are heard in the house and the swing on the front porch has been seen rocking back and forth entirely on its own.


Daniel took us over to the schoolhouse, which is behind the King-Cromartie House. This is not an original schoolhouse, but a replica. Many of the artifacts inside though are authentic and people claim that they hear the disembodied sounds of children laughing and playing.

Stranahan House

The Stranahan House we were unable to visit because it was closed while were in Fort Lauderdale and we couldn't even drive past it because of construction. The house is said to be an "excellent example of Florida vernacular architecture." This was built by Frank Stranahan. Stranahan had been born in Ohio in 1864. He worked in a Youngstown, Ohio steel mill and this impaired his lungs, so he moved to Florida in 1890 seeking a better environment. He settled first in Melbourne, until a cousin offered him a job at the New River Camp at Fort Lauderdale and he arrived in 1893. That first job was managing the overland mail route. He also started a ferry service to help people get over the New River. Frank built a house for him to not only live in, but to service his enterprises, so this had a waiting area for the ferry and a post office. Frank also opened the house up as a type of trading post and he not only welcomed the white settlers, but Seminoles as well. He was liked by everybody and is seen as a founding father of the city.

We mentioned Ivy Cromartie earlier as the first school teacher in Fort Lauderdale. She was only eighteen years old when she moved to the town in 1899. Frank fell in love with Ivy, and asked her to marry him, but she said she would only accept under two conditions: he needed to shave his beard and he had to agree to not have children. She clearly liked children since she was a teacher, but it is thought she was traumatized when she helped her mother during a horrendous childbirth that didn't go well. The couple married in 1900 and Frank set about expanding the house into two-and-a-half-stories. The first floor had his office, a parlor, dining room and kitchen, while the second floor had six rooms: a master bedroom, two smaller bedrooms, a sewing room and two guest rooms and there was a bathroom up there as well. The whole house was constructed from Dade County Pine and there were verandas on both floors. The house was ahead of its time with indoor plumbing, running water and electricity. 

Ivy taught the children of Fort Lauderdale for seventeen years and she also taught the Seminole children for fifteen years. She created the "Friends of the Seminoles" Foundation and helped to establish Everglades National Park, while also championing women's suffrage. The Stranahans had a great life...and then the Stock Market crashed. It wiped out most of Frank's assets, save his farming interests. A hurricane that same year wiped out the farming ventures. Then a trip to the doctor revealed that Frank had terminal cancer. He was told he had six months to live and he fell into a deep depression. Frank tried to kill himself during a hospital and he was sent to an asylum. Ivy was desperate to have him brought home so that he could die in peace there. She petitioned the authorities and they let him go home. And then she watched him like a hawk, never leaving him alone because she was afraid he would attempt suicide again. One day, she left him alone outside for just a moment, but it was long enough for Frank to tie himself to a heavy metal object and drown himself in the New River.

Ivy turned her beloved home into a boarding house to make ends meet. Frank's suicide meant she couldn't collect his life insurance money. She eventually leased the first floor to a restaurant. Ivy died in her sleep in 1971 and the restaurant continued to run in the house until 1979. When it closed, the house was given to the 7th Day Adventist Church to which Ivy had been a lifelong member. The church sold the house to the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. The house was restored to its 1915 look on both the interior and exterior and opened as a museum. The Stranahans had it painted white with green trim and that is what it is today. A hurricane-proof roof was put on the structure in 1996. The interior has Victorian era furniture with many original pieces to the Stranahans, including Ivy's china.

The house is said to be haunted. One spirit is believed to belong to Ivy's sister Pink. Pink's husband had gone away on what he called a business trip and Pink was pregnant and didn't want to be alone, so she came to stay at the Stranahan House. She had lost three previous pregnancies. She ended up losing this one as well after she heard news that her husband had left her for his wife, whom Pink had no idea existed. Pink hemorrhaged badly and refused to go to the hospital and she died in the parlor. Paranormal investigator John Marc Carr wrote the book "Haunted Fort Lauderdale" and he wrote in that about an investigation he conducted. EVPs that he collected made him think that Pink had wanted her husband arrested and is still seeking that in the afterlife. Pink asked where Clark was and he was the sheriff of Fort Lauderdale back at her time. Two orbs are seen traveling together at times and it is surmised that this is Pink and her unborn child.

Ivy's brother Albert was a black sheep of the family who enjoyed carousing around, gambling, drinking and sleeping with ladies of the evening. One of the latter gave him TB and he died from it in the Stranahan House six months later. His spirit manifests as a bit playful, but inappropriate at times. Albert has yelled, "Get out!" on EVPs. His spirit isn't the only family member here. Ivy's father, Augustus Cromartie, became ill and she had him move into the house where he died. This is today the gift shop and his presence is felt in there. He doesn't like change and he will throw things like books when displeased. Sometimes he will make the shop ice cold. And then, of course, Frank is here. Both visitors and staff have seen Frank's apparition in the house, but he is also seen jumping in the New River in a residual manner.

Ivy's spirit is still said to be in the house as well. Nobody is sure who the spirit is that helps out on the stairs leading up to the attic. They are narrow and can be dangerous and many times, staff have felt a cold hand on their backs steadying them on the stairs. Occasionally, the scent of a perfume that Ivy worry is in the area, so some people think that she is the helper. If Ivy gets upset with someone, she tends to blow in their ears. Otherwise, she is very pleasant. Ivy had taught Seminole children and a story claims that a young Seminole girl showed up on her doorstep one day and passed away. Her voice has been picked up on EVPs. She not only answers questions, but she likes to sing and chant. The girl has a sweet tooth and likes candy. She will take candy out of a jar that sits on Frank's desk in his office and staff will find it piled up in the attic.

Fort Lauderdale is more than just a fun Spring Break destination. Ghost enthusiasts who love history will have a great time here as well. Are these locations in Fort Lauderdale haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

HGB Ep. 512 - Old Stagecoach Inn

Moment in Oddity - Cannibalistic Funerals

Over the years we have covered different funerary practices, some heartwarming and others that are a bit bizarre. One such practice that falls into the latter category was performed by a group of prehistoric people called the Magdalenians. This ancient society practiced cannibalism as part of their funerary rituals. The Magdalenian remains being studied lived between 11,000 to 17,000 years ago in Northern and Western Europe. There were 25 sites where funerary behaviors were identified, 13 of which had evidence of cannibalism. Researchers say that based on the evidence found, it appears that the behavior was indeed funerary in nature, rather than supplemental to their diet. As could have been the case due to a harsh winter or something similar. The dead were clearly consumed and even the bones of the deceased were fashioned into usable items. Larger bones were found to have been broken open to access the marrow. Although evidence shows that the culture consumed large animals like deer and horses, the remains of the humans show careful preparation and even engraving on some of the bones found. From society to society there can be a wide variety of funeral practices observed, however consuming a deceased family member, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - First Patented Bra

In the month of November, on the 3rd in 1914, the United States issued a patent for the first over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. Our female listeners probably look forward to getting home at the end of a long day and removing this article of clothing. However, during the early 19th century the corset was the usual undergarment women still needed to wear. 19-year-old socialite Mary Phelps Jacob first created a bra to avoid wearing her corset. During the time, corsets were incredibly uncomfortable not only due to the tightness hindering breathing but the garment also limited the wearers freedom of movement. Once the bra was created, most women just wore them around the house after removing their corsets. However, once World War I began the call for metal needed in the war efforts, the metal previously used in the restricting corsets was pulled for the military needs. At that time the bra really took off. Well, we still like to take them off after a long day, but just think about the corset alternative. Mary Jacob, who changed her name to Caresse Crosby, never did gain a large profit from her creation. She sold the patent to The Warner Brothers Corset Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut for the current equivalent of $21,000.

Old Stagecoach Inn

Stagecoach stops have a knack for being haunted. This isn't surprising due to the amount of activity that these locations experienced throughout history. The stagecoach was the best form of transportation across land before the railroad stretched across America. The Old Stagecoach Inn in Vermont served as a stagecoach stop as well as a tavern. Eventually, the building became a private residence and a former owner named Margaret Spencer might still be here in the afterlife. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Old Stagecoach Inn! 

Do you know why a stagecoach had that name? Because they traveled in "stages" of 10 to 15 miles. The Old Stagecoach Inn is located in the center of Waterbury Village in Vermont. In 1763, the land that would become Waterbury was granted by a charter from King George III through Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire. This was the Winsooki River Valley, which had been home to the Mohican and Pennacook people, tribes that were Algonquian-speaking. James Marsh was the first white settler in the area, but he was soon joined by other settlers who named the town after their original hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut. This was a strategic location for travelers going from Montpelier to Burlington or from the Mad River Valley to Stowe. Waterbury would be a perfect place for a stagecoach stop and Waterbury's first lawyer, Dan Carpenter, set out to do just that. Or it could have been a man named Mr. Allen. Or was it Mr. Parmalee? Tracking down who built this location is difficult. 

Whoever the original owner was, it is clear from paperwork that construction was done by Horace and Henry Atkins and it was completed in 1826. This ran as a a tavern and inn that was quite plain and done in the Federal style. The Main Street was turned into a toll road because of all the travel and was named the Winooski Toll Road. There was an Anti-Masonic Movement that started in 1826 and it formed America's first third political party, the Anti-Masonic Party. The catalyst for the movement was the disappearance of William Morgan who had been a bricklayer. Morgan had belonged to the Masons and apparently had written a book revealing many of the organization's secrets. Members were sworn to secrecy so this was big no-no. No trace could be found of Morgan and rumors started circulating that the Masons had murdered him. The Anti-Masonic Party put up their first presidential candidate, William Wirt, in 1831 and he managed to only win the state of Vermont. The party declined after that, but this win is an indication of how unwelcome Masons were in Vermont. So for them to have a meeting, they had to seek out back rooms in place like taverns. So the Old Stagecoach Stop became their meeting location. This was the King David Lodge.

By 1848, stagecoaches were giving way to the railroad, which arrived through central Vermont that year. There were still people taking the stagecoach on north and south routes though. The railroad was a boom for Waterbury, which attracted people who needed a place to stop on their way to new hotels being built in the mountains at Stowe, Vermont. There was a stable barn in back that had been painted lead black for a time, possibly in mourning for President Lincoln. In 1898, the electric trolley came to town and that was the last nail in the coffin for the stagecoach. It was out of business after that. The trolley would run until 1932, when people started using automobiles mostly.

A family named the Carpenters had owned the Old Stagecoach Inn for a time and they sold it to the Henry family who were very prominent in Waterbury and it came to be known as the Henry Farm. By 1890, the inn was mainly known as "Miss Annette Henry’s Home" because she kept the inn as a residence. Annette had been born in Waterbury as Margaret Annette Henry in 1850. Most people called her Nettie. Her family was very wealthy and she was described as high spirited and she was quite the character. She always wore her hair up in a bun, revealing her high cheekbones. She was very different than most women in town. Nettie loved to smoke cigarettes, which at the time was considered a sin in the town. She would often have her chauffeur take her for long rides so she could smoke in private. He claimed that she also seemed to like to chew tobacco and he often would notice tobacco stains at the corners of her mouth. Later in life, she lost her hearing and would carry an ear horn so she could hear people. She also wore a dark celluloid eyeshade in her elder years. So you can imagine she was quite the sight.

In 1903, Nettie married a rubber baron named Albert H. Spencer. The wealthy couple not only had the Waterbury inn, but also a house in Newport, a suite at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and apartments in Paris and London. They decided to refresh the inn and update the look. The narrow profile of the Federal style was kept, but Queen Anne Victorian elements were added like a gable above the roof line, clapboard sheathing and a decorative chimney. The couple also added a third floor for an upper floor apartment, stained glass around the windows, a framed tapestry in the front hall and wood paneling throughout. The couple meant to keep the house as a private residence, but they were rarely there and eventually it reverted back to a hotel. In 1907, Albert Spencer died in London and rumors started swirling about Nettie Spencer's life. People claim that she and Albert had been having an affair before they married and a child was born out of wedlock. When Nettie returned to Waterbury, the local women snubbed her a bit perhaps being jealous over her having become a part of international high society. Some stories claimed she was active in bootlegging when Prohibition started.

One might think that Nettie caused some of her own troubles as well by flaunting her automobiles around town. One was a Lincoln Phaeton, which is an extraordinarily cool looking car. If you aren't familiar, it looks a lot like Cruella Deville's vehicle. And she made sure that it got noticed because she regularly told her driver to "Step on it!" If he responded that it wasn't safe for them to drive so fast, she would retort, "I’m paying you to drive the way I want." And she always made sure that he stopped before they got too close to the railroad overpass when a train was coming through because she didn't want to "get any of that shit on the car" referring to the smoke and cinders. Nettie was domineering and tight with her money - let's just call her thrifty - but she also could be generous as long as people followed her directions to put the money in the bank "immediately." A woman who had been a little girl in the 1930s remembered calling on Mrs. Spencer to see if she would buy bags of candy to fund a club she belonged to and Mrs. Spencer had invited her in to sit in a gold chair. Apparently, Nettie often invited the young girls in town to sit in her gold chair that many were lead to believe was solid gold. They all commented that it was like sitting on a throne. 

In November 1927, the Great Flood of Vermont occurred and hit Waterbury fairly hard. Three days of rain caused the Winooski River to flood and it was so powerful that it carried away barns, bridges, livestock, houses and even railroad tracks. Waterbury had a flood plain which helped, but houses in lower lying areas were carried off and debris piling up on one end of Main Street cause much of the property there to flood. At the Old Stagecoach Inn, waters rose to the second level, but the house survived and was repaired. It took months for the rest of the town to recover and for bridges to be rebuilt.

By the end of World War II, Nettie was approaching 100 years of age and her mind was starting to go. She needed constant supervision. A night nurse who took care of Mrs. Spencer said, "She had two favorite pastimes—singing hymns and smoking. We would share a hymnal, rock and sing with gusto for ten or fifteen minutes. She would then have a cigarette or two, and we would start all over again. She would smoke her cigarette down to the very tip and then flick it as far as she could. It delighted her to see me scamper after it. It was an old house, and I was afraid of fire. I would rush and pick up the butts and place them in a saucer. She, however, thought I was collecting them to take home to my husband and accused me of it nightly." Eventually, the need for constant care lead to Nettie moving to a nursing facility in Massachusetts. She died there in 1947 and was brought back to Waterbury where she was interred in the Spencer Mausoleum at Hope Cemetery.

Nettie's former home and undergone many changes through the years, not only to the architectural styling, but also the grounds. Much of the land that the former farm had sat upon had been sold. C.B. Norton bought the property in 1948 and used it for two businesses. He ran his office for agricultural implements  out of the house and then he and his wife rented out rooms, some of which they had converted into apartments with their own kitchens and bathrooms. Mr. Norton died in 1972 and the place basically became a run-down boarding house with many of the clientele being mentally ill people who were getting out-treatment from the nearby asylum. This was the Vermont State Asylum for the Insane and was also known as the Waterbury Asylum. It was built in 1890 by several architects in three styles: Late Victorian, Colonial Revival and Classical Revival. This facility was built to alleviate overcrowding at the Vermont Asylum for the Insane in Brattleboro, Vermont. Waterbury Asylum was originally intended to house the criminally insane, but through the years started allowing people with addictions and other mental illness to be admitted. One of the longest running superintendents was Dr. Eugene A. Stanley who was a big proponent of eugenics and he supported forced sterilization. The term "Waterbury" was used as a derogatory term for years to indicate that someone was acting insane. The hospital closed in 2011.

Mrs. Norton tried to do her best after her husband passed to keep the boarding house going and she eventually was forced to sell what little land was left on the property. Mrs. Norton passed away in the early 1980s and the once grand home was a wreck leaving the town wondering what to do with the property. They knew they didn't want to demolish it because of its historical value, but finding someone who not only had the money to refurbish, but also wanted to refurbish wasn't easy. That is when Bostonians Kimberlee and James Marcotte found out about the property. Kim had grown up in Waterbury ans was very familiar with the location. They decided to renovate the building into a country inn and take it back to its former glory. Jim was well-suited for the job as he was a contractor that specialized in restoring old houses. Kim was a decorator, which was a plus. The couple partnered with the Historical Society and got a small business loan and set about to restore the place in 1985. They gutted a first floor room and transformed it into a library and bar. The stable barn and back house were transformed into five efficiency suites for long-term stays. A commercial kitchen was added and original handhewn beams were exposed. Period antiques were added along with crafted knicknacks. It took two years to complete and opened for business in 1987.

There was a lot of hope for success here, but the recession in the 80s and a need for the Marcottes to split their time between the inn and their business interests in Boston caused the couple to shutter the business in 1992. The inn stood empty for over a year. Another ray of hope came in the form of a father and son, John Barwick and John Barwick, Jr. They both were businessmen in New York City looking for a more relaxed way of life. When they approached the Small Business Administration to say they wanted to take over the inn, they were met with skepticism. They had no experience as innkeepers. The SBA finally agreed and the sale was closed on September 2, 1993 and the Old Stagecoach Inn opened for business again on September 25, 1993. The father and son had filled the place with antiques they had collected over 50 years and they opened at prime time, foliage season. That first month was a booming success. The inn runs primarily as a bed and breakfast and all the reviews we read rave about the gourmet breakfast, service and the rooms. The Barwicks were able to buy back the original expanse of land in the rear of the property adding to the beauty of the property. This is the perfect place for hosting private luncheons, parties and weddings.

And this is a location that isn't shy about their haunting. They proudly talk about it on their website and they provide journals for guests to write down their experiences. John Barwick wasn't much of a believer when he bought the place, but he is less skeptical now. There are claims that a rocking chair will rock on its own, sometimes in what appears to be an agitated manner. Furniture moves on its own. Housekeepers claim to get help from someone unseen who strips the beds and neatly folds the sheets. Despite the help, some of the cleaning staff is reluctant to work alone upstairs. A paranormal investigator and psychic walked through the inn and said that there seemed to be a strong energy field in the building. Using dowsing rods, he found the the strongest sensations came from Rooms 2 and 8. Interestingly, most of the ghosts stories center on Room 2, which had been Nettie's room.

The Old Stagecoach Inn website shares the following story, "It was a busy summer weekend and all rooms had been booked, although the reservation for room three had been canceled unexpectedly the previous evening. Mr. Barwick had taken the cancellation himself, and he alone knew about it. So here it was, Sunday morning breakfast was being served, and the dining room was still mostly full. Mr. Barwick was helping the waitress by keeping the coffee urn and orange juice pitcher full, and by removing dishes. As he was standing at the dining room entrance, two people came down for breakfast. They were unfamiliar to him. He had registered all the other guests and chatted with many of them, so he had a pretty good idea who was staying there. He thought perhaps this couple had come in off the street looking for breakfast, which occasionally happens. But it was odd that they had come down the stairs instead of through the side door.

To make sure, he asked if they were guests of the inn.
“Yes,” they replied. “We’re all in room three.”
“How many of you are there?” Mr. Barwick asked.
“Three,” they answered.
“Three,” said Mr. Barwick. “That room accommodates only two. Where did you all
“Oh, we managed,” they replied. “We couldn’t find a place to stay. This was the only one.”
Still puzzled, Mr. Barwick asked, “Well, what time did you come in?”
“Oh,” they said, “it was around two-thirty this morning.”
“Well, who let you in?” asked Mr. Barwick. “Why, it was a lady, an older lady. Very nice.”

More puzzled than ever, thinking it might have been one of the other guests who had been unaccountably awake at that hour, he now asked, “What did she look like?”
“Gray hair, kind of in a bun, and wearing a long dress,” they replied.

That didn't match any of the other guests. But even if she had been a registered guest, it would have been highly unusual for someone to have unlocked the door and allowed three people to come in for the night. And how could she have known that the room was available? After the newcomers had been seated and their orders taken, Mr. Barwick queried the other guests as they left the dining room, to see if anyone had any knowledge of the incident. No, no one did. He thought for a long time about this. There was probably a logical explanation, but he couldn't think of it then, and still can’t think of one now."

UM1997 wrote on TripAdvisor, "So we head back to the Inn and get ready for bed. It had been a long day of walking around and sightseeing so we were all beat so everyone fell sound asleep. Around midnight, I woke up because I just had a strange feeling that something was in the room with us. I sat up and looked around the room and didn't see anything, but you know when you just get that creepy feeling and all the hair stands up on the back of your neck? Yeah, that's what I felt. There were also some really old pictures on the bureau that didn't help my feeling of uneasiness. I figured that I just had a bad dream that woke me up and since my parents were still sound asleep, I tried to push it out of my head and go back to sleep. I think I stayed awake for a few hours after that still looking around for something to pop out at me." 

The inn keeps a journal of guests' personal experiences. This picture was snapped at the inn:

We imagine a character like Nettie Henry Spencer would be hard to tamp down even after death. She seems like a prime candidate to be a mischievous ghost. And this inn was a part of her life for many years. One would think she would want to be around now that the place has such new life within it. Is the Old Stagecoach Inn haunted? That is for you to decide!

Thursday, November 2, 2023

HGB Ep. 511 - Haunted Quincy, Illinois

Moment in Oddity - Mount San Nicola Theatre

In the province of Caserta (Cass-EH-rrrr-ta) in the Campania region of Italy, there is a theatre complex long lost and forgotten for centuries. The Theatre of Mount San Nicola (nee-CO-lah, like coke) is situated at the top of Mount Nicola some 450 meters above sea level. The path leading to the complex is a steep journey. The structures show evidence of Roman construction dating to the 1st century BC, however, the Samnites were the people known to occupy the region for hundreds of years. The complex was abandoned in the 2nd century AD and was largely forgotten, probably due in part to its inaccessibility. Over the centuries the Theater Temple Complex was taken back by the mountain's vegetation. It was not rediscovered until 2001. After a brush fire in 2000, Professor Nicolina Lombardi, a Campania historian, was flying over the region when he noticed bits of exposed ruins. Excavations began in 2002 and the theater's design was decided to be of Greco-Roman styling. By 2015 many additional details had emerged. There was an upper and lower cavea (CAH-vea), which are tiered semicircular seating typically found in ancient outdoor theatres. At this location the cavea accommodated approximately 2,000 spectators. An orchestra pit was also revealed as well as vaulted entrances to the theatre. Experiments were conducted to determine the best methods of restoration to preserve the theatre seating. By 2020, 12 of the cavea tiers had been restored. The goal is to reopen to spectators for future productions hosted at the Mount San Nicola Theatre. A 2,000 spectator capacity theatre being lost for centuries only to be rediscovered after a brush fire, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - The Lincolns Get Married

In the month of November, on the 4th in 1842, lawyer Abraham Lincoln married Mary Anne Todd. Mary, or Molly as she was nicknamed, had wealthy and politically connected parents which encouraged her interest in politics. When she met Abraham she was a mere 21 to his 31 years. She fell in love with the kindhearted, lanky man and accepted his proposal of marriage. Despite Lincoln's lack of political prospects and poverty at the time, Molly's parents supported his marriage to their daughter. Unexpectedly, Lincoln broke off their engagement in early 1841, but the romance reconvened in the fall of 1842. It's been said that they actually reconnected much sooner but kept the relationship a secret. It is said that on the date of November 4th, Lincoln went to a minister's home and told him he was going to get married by the end of the day. Mary's family was surprised by the sudden nuptial plans but wanted Mary to be married in her family home. Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln would go on to live in Springfield, Illinois for almost two decades before Abraham was elected President. 

Haunted Quincy, Illinois

Quincy, Illinois became a thriving riverfront featuring steamboats and trade due to its location along the Mississippi River. Many Germans settled in the town and one of those people was a man named George Metz. He built his mansion, Villa Katherine, here and it seems that his beloved dog has stayed on there in the afterlife. That isn't the only haunted location in Quincy. There are many legends connected to this historic city. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Quincy, Illinois!

Quincy, Illinois was known as a "gem of a city" to people who visited and so it took on the nickname Gem City. The French were the first Europeans to arrive in the region and they set up fur trading as the main form of commerce. By 1763, the British had taken over what was called New France, but they lost their claim after losing the Revolutionary War. Illinois was part of the Northwest territory and became a state in 1818. A man named John Wood founded Bluffs, Illinois in 1819, which officially became Quincy in 1825. The town was named after President John Quincy Adams and became very prosperous with steamboats and railroads linking the town to the west. German immigrants flooded into the town from 1829 to 1870 and the city continues to recognize its German heritage to this day.

Villa Katherine

One of the German immigrants to come here was George Metz. He had become a very wealthy man and had traveled extensively. During his travels, he fell in love with Islamic architecture. He sketched many of the buildings he saw and so when it came time to build his own mansion, he wanted something Mediterranean. His main inspiration was the Villa Ben Ahben in Morocco. Metz chose a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River as the site for his home. He hired architect George Behrensmeyer who built the unique home in 1900. The interior featured a courtyard, reflecting pool and harem and the exterior was brick with white plaster veneer. Other Islamic influences are seen in the miniature minaret from the Mosque of Thais in Tunisia. The interior court is surrounded by columns like the Court of Dolls in the Alcazar in Seville and the capitals were inspired by the Alhambra in Granada. The house is often referred to as a Moorish castle. Metz filled the home with the exotic souvenirs and furnishings he had collected.

Not much was known about Metz personally, so people started telling stories about the man. They tried to figure out why he called his home Villa Katherine. Was it named for a woman he had loved? A story started spreading that Metz had met a "fair-haired, blue-eyed" woman in Germany. The two traveled together and George decided he would like to bring her back to Illinois with him. The woman refused to relocate and Metz returned broken-hearted and became mostly a recluse in his newly-built castle, although he occasionally entertained friends and he hosted a wedding in 1904. Metz lived as a bachelor in the villa for twelve years with his dog Bingo. Bingo was a 212 pound Great Dane Metz had gotten in Denmark. A special addition was built for Bingo off the kitchen. Bingo eventually died and was buried on the property and Metz fell into a deep depression. He sold Villa Katherine in 1912. The people who bought the house worked for the Alton-Quincy Interurban Railroad and they planned to tear down the house and build a railyard, which fortunately never happened. The house did fall into ruin and when Metz saw it again in 1932, he told a reporter who accompanied him that he wished he still owned the villa so he could tear it down. He was devastated to see the state of his beloved home. Metz died from pneumonia in 1937.

Villa Kathrine passed through various hands through the years, including musician and nightclub owner Bob Moore and his wife and children and Harold C. McCoy who modernized the house, and was finally saved for good by the Friends of the Castle. They leased the building from the Quincy Park District and began restoring the property. The house was transformed into a tourist and cultural center. Stories of Villa Katherine being haunted have been told for decades. People who had lived there claimed that odd things happened in the house, like lights turning off and on by themselves and doors slamming all on their own. Some people thought that George Metz had returned to his former home. Disembodied footsteps were heard pacing, especially around the reflecting pool. Staff at the center believe that not only is the spirit of Metz here, but also his beloved dog Bingo. The sound of Bingo's toenails clicking on the tile floors of the house is heard often when the house is quiet. River Town Paranormal Society investigated the villa in the spring of 2009. They captured several EVPs. One EVP sounded like a lady yelling in German from the basement area. One investigator asked, “Mr. Metz are you there?” while in his bedroom and they captured a "yes." There were also EVPs that said, "Oh sweet dog," "I’ll watch the door" and "Mary?"

Old Rebel House

There was a house located on the corner of Second and Vermont Streets that was nicknamed the Old Rebel House. This became a hideout for Southern sympathizers and spies during the Civil War. In the 1880s, a woman lived there with her three younger children on the upper floor, while her married daughter lived downstairs. The second floor had a long balcony that stretched from one end of the house to the other and there was no way to reach the balcony other than going through a room and each room upstairs had a door to the balcony. The mother left for work one morning and placed her infant son in the care of her two younger daughters. At some point, the two girls fought over who would get to rock the baby, but they were interrupted when the door to the balcony sprung open and a sinister looking man stepped inside the room. He stumbled across the room and out into the hallway where he fell against some quilts that were hung over the stairway railing. The strange threw the quilts on the floor and then picked them up and rearranged them on the railing. The man then turned and started walking back towards the girls and then he lurched to the side and headed out the door that he had come through originally. The girls claimed that he "looked just like the picture you see of the devil." After the man left, the girls began screaming for their sister. When she got upstairs they told her about the man and pointed to the door. The older sister found it locked. Her sisters had to be lying and for that, she spanked them. When the mother returned home, she heard the story from her older daughter and gave the younger ones another licking. Through the years, other people who lived in the house claimed to have encounters with ghosts, so possibly that is what the girls had seen. The house no longer stands.

Madison Grammar School

The Madison Grammar School was located at 2435 Maine Street. It was closed and sold in 2019 and is being renovated into apartments. A house had stood here before the school and a legend claims that a woman was brutally murdered in the house. The murder was never solved. People who moved into the house later, found that they couldn't get the blood out of the oak floorboards. They would hear the sounds of a body being dragged down the stairs. That is what happened to the woman. She was killed on the second floor, dragged down the stairs and stuffed in a closet. The house was eventually torn down and the school was built in 1890. A mysterious fire that nearly destroyed the school in 1982 was thought to be paranormal in origin.

Quincy Junior High School

Quincy Junior High School is located at 100 S. 14th Street and has been ranked the seventh most haunted school in Illinois. The school opened in 1933 and started as a high school that eventually converted to a junior high school. A major renovation was completed in 2022. There could be a couple of reasons why it is haunted. The first is that a story claims a student hanged himself inside a school bathroom after his girlfriend broke up with him. The other reason is that student drowned in the swimming pool. A student named Nathan Hoebing said, "Former students and teachers tell me that on the anniversary of the students death that they have heard footsteps and mumbling coming from the bathroom of where the student died. In my three years I have never personally heard the voices. Some of my former classmates have claimed to have heard the strange noises but I haven’t."

Harrison Hills

Harrison Hills is a housing community that is also known as Indian Hills because there had been Indian mounds here before. These mounds were thought to be burial in nature, which explains why residents claim to see the apparitions of Native Americans in the wooded areas around the community. Native American chanting is also sometimes heard. 

Burton Cave

Burton Cave is located around ten miles east of Quincy and named for the town of Burton, which was founded in 1825. The cave was said to have been discovered by some locals during a snake hunt and not the good kind. This was to actually get rid of them and it was said that several hundred were killed by settlers in one day. Two men named Tilford Hogan and Perry Klingingsmith discovered the cave, which more than likely formed during an ice age when water made its way through cracks in the bedrock and dissolved limestone. The cave became a popular picnic spot and is today a nature preserve that features cool formations like The Devil's Hitching Post, which is a pillar formed from stalactites and stalagmites that met in the middle. There is also a round column with a depression in the top that catches water that is nicknamed The Spring. There is also a natural bridge. The Herald Whig reported in a June 1947 article, "Burton Cave is interesting. It tends to be cozy but its crooks and changes provide a sense of the mysterious necessary for any cave worthwhile. Its walls, carved from the earth by water long ages ago, are rugged. The ceilings vary, in some places smooth with the appearance of sandstone, in some places hobnailed with tiny stalactites as the water carrying the lime from the rock drips to the floor. In other places the rocks form convolutions overhead." A local farmer named W. H. Tandy owned the cave until the 1960s and then Quincy University leased it to study its biology. Then the Nature Conservancy held it for a time and now the Illinois Department of Natural Resources oversees it. The endangered Indiana Bat lives here and is protected by a barrier that was built about thirty-eight feet inside the entrance. And apparently is currently closed to the public because a fungus was found growing here that causes white nose syndrome.

All caves seem to have legends connected to them and this one is no different. A family decided to have their picnic here one day in the 1880s and they came upon a horrifying scene. There was a woman in a white dress, who appeared to be lifeless, lying on some kind of altar and a tall hooded figure in a black robe was standing over her. The family left quickly and got the sheriff. When they all returned to the area, there was no altar, no dead woman and no hooded figure.

Quincy University

Quincy University is a private Franciscan university that was founded in 1860 by a group of Franciscan friars who left Germany to help serve on the frontier in Illinois. The school was originally called St. Francis Solanus College and Seminary and then it became Quincy College in 1917 and finally Quincy University in 1993. Women weren't welcome at the college until the 1920s. People of all faiths are welcome to study here. One of the most beautiful buildings on the campus is Francis Hall, which has a tower at the front of the building and features a very German influence in the architecture. It was built in 1871 and expanded in 1898. A chapel was built in 1911 and more modern residence halls and classroom buildings were built in the 1950s. A notorious person who graduated from Quincy University is serial killer Michael Swango. He was a doctor who became a very prolific killer as he poisoned countless patients with arsenic or overdoses of prescription drugs. He also, more than likely, killed his wife and other people around him. Swangos crimes stretched into several states and over into Africa, where he ran away to keep from being charged. The FBI estimates that he may have killed at least 60 people. He was only convicted on three counts of first degree murder and is serving three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Several areas on campus are said to be haunted. Francis Hall has the MacHugh Theater inside of it. This had once been a gymnasium and a professor named Hugh "Fitz" Fitzgerald worked hard to get the theater up and running. After he passed away, it seems he returned to the theater. His apparition has been seen in the light booth both during performances and after hours. Students and staff have both claimed to see him. The namesake for the theater was Professor Charles Persico MacHugh who came to Quincy College in 1904 and was the college’s Professor of English. His apparition is also believed to be in the theater. A security guard at the theater named Terry Hagerbaumer told, "You’ll feel someone pull your hair and breathe on your neck." And a cleaning lady at the school for 35 years named Sandy Schutte told the same outlet that she had experienced doors opening and closing on their own many times. A graduate named Kyle Lyon said, "Evan and I were in the front of the MacHugh Theater. There was nobody on campus at that time. We could hear footsteps around us and somebody whispering something into both of our ears. After that, we both ran." And another student reported that many people have seen the ghost of a little girl who smells like smoke.

Solano Hall, which is home to the university's school of music, was named for St. Francis of Solanus because he was a musician. Before the university owned the building, it was St. Aloysius Orphanage, which burned down many years ago. Stories claim that several children were killed in the tragedy. The orphanage was rebuilt and later sold to Quincy College for use as a dormitory for football players. It then became Solano Hall. For years, there have been reports of the spirits of children being seen throughout the building and when not seen, their disembodied running is heard. Disembodied laughter is also heard, along with the occasional scream. MacHugh Theater is near this location and so it is thought that the children could be venturing over there too.  

Washington Theater

The Washington Theater is located at 427 Hampshire Street. This was originally called The Washington Square Theater and was built in 1923 and 1924 by Pete Pinkelman and Albert Cory. The theater was designed by renowned Chicago architect Edward P. Rupert in a Mediterranean Renaissance style with a Byzantine influence. Rupert was known for his theater architecture - he designed ten other theaters - and this was said to be his most elegant. The building was brick with terra cotta tiling of multi-colors on the exterior and terra cotta detailing in the trim, cornices and wall panels of the interior. There was seating for 1,500 people with a stage surrounded by a proscenium arch and a lighted ceiling dome. Music came from a Barton 3 pipe organ. The theater opened on June 19, 1924 with its large marquee announcing some vaudeville acts.

The Washington Theater joined several other theaters that already existed on Hampshire Street, all of which hosted vaudeville acts. The original owners operated the theater for two years and then they sold to Balaban & Katz, Chicago based theater entrepreneurs. They decided to remodel the theater to handle more patrons and they lowered the stage and added a swamp cooling system. New stage lighting was added and the dressing rooms were enlarged. Silent movies were added to the offerings and in 1929, Washington Theater became the first “talking picture house” in Quincy. By the 1940s, the theater was only working as a movie house. It remained that way until 1971.

Kerasotes Showplace Theaters LLC, a Chicago based movie theater chain, bought the Washington Theater and they ran it for the next eleven years, closing the doors in 1982. The theater was then donated to the City of Quincy. In the late 1980s, another group came in and bought the theater and held it until 2000, using it for storage and allowing it to fall into disrepair. The city bought it back and a Redevelopment Commission decided to restore it back to the way it was in 1924 and run it as a multi-purpose entertainment venue.

Chris Koetters and Travis Hoffman conducted an investigation at the theater here in October of 2023. They saw shadow figures, the Ovilus gave them several words and the K2 went off repeatedly. They captured several EVP: a breathy "yes," a child's voice that we couldn't understand, but could've been singing and a distant female child voice that was hard to hear, but seemed to be reacting to a Boo Bear. During a previous investigation Chris asked, "Would you like the theater to be fixed?" and an EVP said, "You bet I would."

There is a Ghost Hollow Road here in Quincy with all the standard legends like hidden cemeteries and disappearing houses, but we didn't find anything substantial in any stories we read or heard. But the name sure is cool! The question is, are these locations in Quincy, Illinois haunted? That is for you to decide!