"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Mr. Apple's Cemetery

Teenagers worldwide experiment with the tale of "Bloody Mary". However, Ardmore, Oklahoma has Mr. Apple. According to legend, go to the cemetery and find the headstone marked Mr. Apple. If you walk around it 3 times saying "Mr. Apple are you home" or "Mr. Apple, can your daughter come out to play?", a bright light will start chasing you and your neck will start to hurt. As soon as you get to somewhere safe and you look at your neck it looks like some one has scratched you so deep that it will leave scars.

There are several things inaccurate with this legend. First of all, it's often relayed for someone to go to Mr. Apple's cemetery. Well, there is no Mr. Apple's Cemetery in Ardmore. The deceased in question is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery also known as St. Mary's Cemetery which leads to the next issue. It tells you to find his headstone. Technically, he doesn't have a headstone. He was privileged enough to be buried in a mausoleum. Thus, making his final resting place just that much easier to find by those looking to put the legend to the test.

As for Mr. Apple making himself known, visitors have reported several types of activity. There may or may not be some truth to the scratches. Several people have claimed to walk away from the mausoleum with scratch marks, some on the neck and arms. Although not to the point of scarring. Others have reported hearing footsteps, seeing orbs and lights within the mausoleum as well as apparitions, one believed to be Mr. Apple.

If you're thinking about paying Mr. Apple a visit, you may want to reconsider. You'll probably meet a member of the local police department before any ghost.

GS Question of the Week

With Cyberdyne planning to show off versions of its Hybrid Assistive Limb exoskeleton, better known as HAL, at the Consumer Electronics Show next month, could this be a prelude to the invention of our very own terminator?

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays Comments Christmas

I hope everyone had a good and safe Christmas and Santa brought you everything you asked for. Regular posts will return tomorrow. If you haven't entered The Walking Dead Giveaway, you still have a few days left to get yours in. Drawing will be on January 2nd!

GS Question of the Week

Why did Europeans hang their Fir trees upside down in the middle ages?

Haunted Theatres in London

The below article comes to you from Ben Piper Web Editor UK Tickets:

London’s theatres are steeped in history, so it’s not surprising that tales of ghostly goings on are rife in their buildings. Many actors and staff have had haunting experiences - from furtive figures, to possessed props and suspicious smells. Here is a rundown of some of the more famous:

Adelphi Theatre

In 1897 the Stage Door of the Adelphi Theatre was the scene of a grisly murder when stage star William Terriss was stabbed to death by unemployed actor Richard Arthur Prince. Described as a tall man dressed in a turn of the century suit, Terriss is said to wander the fine old building, with sightings also reported at nearby Covent Garden Underground Station.

Aldwych Theatre

The popular venue, just off The Strand, has tales of an unusual haunting that produces fragrances of different flowers, perfumes and even cigar smoke in different parts of the building, with no apparent source for the various strong scents.

Duke of York’s Theatre

The most bizarre incident at the Duke of York’s Theatre involved a curious item from the wardrobe department. During the 1920s ladies who wore a certain jacket suffered feelings of constriction and suffocation as the coat grew progressively tighter. The ‘strangler jacket’ was later sold to an American collector whose wife and daughter also experienced the same eerie feeling when wearing the garment.

Fortune Theatre

The Woman in Black is a popular thriller which has been playing for years at the Fortune Theatre. Unfortunately, since the show began its run, another woman in black has started to haunt the venue. The dark shrouded figure is often seen in the hospitality bar and in one of the boxes during performances.

Her Majesty's Theatre

The home to Phantom of the Opera is also rumoured to house a few spirits of its own. The theatre’s first manager, Herbert Beerbohm-Tree, has made several ghostly appearances, including on stage and from a box in the auditorium. Fez-wearing comedian Tommy Cooper is also said to wander the venue, hoping to complete his act after his infamous death on stage midway through a televised performance in 1984.

Lyceum Theatre

A spooky incident took place in the late 1880s when a couple sitting in their box looked down at the stalls and saw a woman sitting calmly with a man’s head in her lap. When the performance began she hid the shape with a shawl, and after the show became lost in the crowd before anybody had a chance to confront her.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Believed to be the most haunted theatre in London, the old venue is home to the famous ‘man in grey’, thought to be the spirit of a gentleman killed in an 18th century stage fight. The renowned clown Grimaldi is also regularly seen, and said to guide nervous actors to good positions on stage. Music hall entertainer Dan Leno is also thought to haunt the building. The sound of his clog-dancing has been heard in empty dressing rooms and the distinctive smell of his lavender scent can sometimes be caught on a mysterious backstage breeze.

Victoria Palace Theatre

More wardrobe problems have been reported at the Victoria Palace with a wig cupboard door that opens and closes all by itself. Once open, the wigs have been seen flying through the air in a ‘hair-raising’ display of poltergeist activity.

The Art of Maschalismos

You find yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse along with a group of survivors. Your running towards a reinforced safe house while being chased by a swarm of your undead enemy. Just as the relief is in reach, a member of your group is being attacked. As the rest run in to the house, a few stay behind in an effort to rescue their survival brethren. A few head shots puts the zombie down, but oh no. The person has been bitten and would soon go from friend to foe. A decision needs to be made. They are drug inside for a chance to live out their remaining minutes before you put a bullet in their head to keep them from turning.

This is a common scenario among monster movies, TV and books. This instinctual move decreases their numbers which in turn increases your chances of survival. However, with the lack of actual evidence of zombies, and vampires, is there a need for such a practice in real life? There are some cultures who believe in its power.

Maschalismos is the practice of physically rendering the dead incapable of rising or haunting the living in undead form. Such ritual mutilations of the dead were not limited to folkloric physical risings but to also escape the ill will of those wrongfully slain by a murderer after death.

A common method was the cutting off the feet, hands, ears, nose, etc, and tying them under the armpits of the corpse all strung together. In the Moluccas, they believe that the dead fly like birds and the presence of eggs will bring out maternal instincts. A woman who has died in childbirth is buried with pins stuck through the joints, and an egg under the chin and or armpits. In doing so, the ghost won't leave the eggs thus staying with its former body.

In Europe, those who committed suicide were sometimes buried with a stake driven through the heart, the body buried upside down, or the head cut off and placed between the legs. In many parts of Britain, the feet or large toes of the dead are tied together.

A tribe of American Indians known as The Omaha, slit the soles of the feet of those killed by lightning. The Basuto and Bechuana cut the sinews and spinal cord of their dead. The Herbert River aborigines of Australia beat the body to the point of breaking its bones. Then, filled the incisions made in the body with stones.

What are your thoughts on the practice of Maschalismos?

Win an Exclusive Ghost Hunters Vacation

This week in conjunction with the new episode of Hollywood Treasure, Syfy invites fans to a chance to win a Ghost Hunters vacation at Jason and Grant’s bed and breakfast, a limited edition signed Ghost Hunters night lite, and a ghost hunting kit with their weekly auction on Net proceeds go to national non-profit KaBOOM! to provide innovative play equipment to kids in need.

Spend a weekend at Jason and Grant's very own Spalding Inn! You and a guest will fly to New Hampshire and spend 3 days/2 nights exploring the haunted residence. Perhaps you'll run into the original owners, Anna and Randall Spalding, who opened the inn in 1927 and are suspected to still look after it from beyond the grave.

The current bid is at $1075. The auction ends on Wednesday December 22nd at 8/9c. Hurry over to for your chance at a once in a lifetime stay in the Ghost Hunters’ own bed and breakfast!

GS Question of the Week

Do you think Santa Claus actually exists?


Remember the days of Scariest Places on Earth where supposedly average families were taken to alleged haunted locations and had the s*** scared out of them? Many ghost hunting shows today are saturated in science and have left behind the scary aspect of the paranormal. One new and upcoming production company is attempting to change that.

Blood and Guts Productions has a new TV series in the works called "One". The premise of this show is to feature real people in supposedly haunted locations. Armed with only a video camera, they hope the ghosts will help to stir up some good entertainment.

One location used for the series is the South Lyon Hotel in South Lyon, Michigan. It was built in 1867 on what use to be a cemetery. The original name of the Hotel was the Commercial House owned by Baker & Hopkins. It contained four large fireplaces and gas lights. Electricity didn't make it to South Lyon until 1923. It went through several name changes as well as being gutted by a fire in 1977. It wasn't renovated in to the hotel/restaurant seen today until the 1980s. It is also believed to be haunted.

It is believed South Lyon Hotel has something in common with the likes of Cheeseman Park. When the land was being cleared to make way for construction, there was a fee of $2.50 per body removal. The mid-1800s being what they were, some people have linked the alleged haunting to the possibility that some bodies were left behind and are still buried on the property. I have yet to find anything to confirm this. However, witnesses have reported activity such as doors slamming, scratching sounds, and a television turning on by itself.

The completed show will begin broadcasting next year on Comcast cable channel Fear net.

The Walking Dead Giveaway

In November, I promised a giveaway and I don't like to disappoint. This contest will run the duration of the month to give everyone a chance to enter. On to the details.

The Walking Dead wrapped up its first season last week. Better yet, it lived up to the hype that surrounded it. For those die hard fans, I have a copy of The Walking Dead Vol 1: Days Gone Bye to give away. This book is a compilation of the first six issues of the comic book. Go crazy on the compare and contrast.

The second prize up for grabs is a new twist on an old story. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies By: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith takes the classic novel beloved by many and tosses plot and characters right in the middle of the land of zombies. This book received some major buzz, resulting in a possible movie (starring Natalie Portman), comic book series and it's own video game. But it all started with the book and here's your chance to own a copy.

How to Enter:

Winners will be randomly drawn using First person chosen will get first pick of the prizes. This contest is for US Residents only. Deadline is December 31st. There are several ways to enter, each point equals an entry:

1+ - New Follower
2+ - Old Follower
3+ - Tweet about the contest. (Include @sthrnwriter in your tweet)
5+ - List the contest on your sidebar (Include link to your blog)
8+ - Blog about contest (Include link to your post)
10+ - Tell me who your favorite Walking Dead or Pride and Prejudice and Zombie character is and why.

Leave a comment (1 per person), itemizing your points with any mandatory links. Also include your name and email address for notification purposes. Good Luck!!!

White Lady Road

The White Lady legend has stories sprinkled in various countries. They supposedly died or suffered trauma in life and are associated with losing or being betrayed by a husband or fiancé. They have white cloudy eyes with short white hair and milky white skin, each of her physical features are very distinguished. She often appears not to be fearful in nature, more like sad. One such variation of this legend is located on a road in Leroy, North Dakota.

Legend states on a stretch of road, now known as White Lady Road, a traveling salesman became attracted to a farmer's daughter. He took her for a walk on this remote road for a more intimate encounter. When they came to a bridge over a swampy area, he made his move. Her response to his gesture was anything but what he desired. Instead of walking away, he flew in to a rage and killed her.

Today, when people travel on White Lady Road, it is sometimes met with a surprise. During no specific time at night, witnesses have been known to come across a woman dressed in white standing in the road. Before they can react, she suddenly appears on their vehicle looking inside with red glowing eyes. The purpose of her actions has been tied to her searching for her murderer. Those who have encountered her drove at high speeds to rid themselves of her presence, but she is one of determination. This particular white lady will not leave you be until she is satisfied the man she is looking for is not in your car.

GS Question of the Week

What is Krampus?

The Sea of Trees

At the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan sits a dense forest. To those who are unfamiliar with it's reputation, Aokigahara would appear like a run-of-the-mill forest. However, venturing inside would reveal the weight it bares. Any unexpected hiker will likely find more than trees, caverns and wild animals in this forest. Personal items, such as credit cards, wallets and rail passes are often found as well as a decomposing body hanging from a tree limb. Aokigahara is the second most popular suicide location, ranking under the Golden Gate Bridge. There are an average of 50 to 100 suicides each year and the numbers continue to increase as time passes despite posted signs telling them to seek professional help. Why would so many choose this forest as a place to take their own lives?

There area a couple of possible reasons. Seichō Matsumoto wrote a book in 1960 called Kuroi Jukai which describes the suicide of two lovers in Aokigahara, leading to romanticizing the act. Although, suicide is believed to have been associated with the forest long before the book was published. It is believed the 19th Century practice of Ubasute where an infirm or elderly female relative is carried to a mountain or desolate location and left to die by dehydration or starvation had more than once taken place there. Wataru Tsurumui’s controversial 1993 bestseller, The Complete Suicide Manual, describes various methods of suicide and even lists the forest as "the perfect place to die". Some who have committed suicide in the forest had been found with the book in their possession. However, there are those who think Japan's expectations of excellence may have something to do with it. Citizens who find themselves unable to succeed buckle under the pressure.

Then again, some remains found may not be from those who took their lives willingly. Supposedly, underground iron deposits cause compasses to go haywire and interfere with GPS devices, making it quite easy to get lost. Not only that, but the forest also contains cenotes, collapsed lava tubes, and hidden caves. Each can play their part in taking a life.

Either way, Aokigahara is not only associated with suicides but myth and ghosts as well. When Forestry workers come upon a body in the forest they carry it back to their station where a special room is designated for such occasions. In Japanese mythology, a corpse can not rest alone. If it is left alone, the lonely, unsettled soul or Yurei will scream the whole night, and the body will move itself into the regular sleeping quarters.

Aokigahara is considered the most haunted location in Japan. Dubbed the "Purgatory of Yurei". Hikers have often seen apparitions as well as heard the howl of Yurei on the wind. Some have reported objects moving and seeing shadows amongst the trees. Spiritualists say that the trees themselves are filled with a malevolent energy, accumulated from centuries of suicides. They try to prevent you from getting back out. They say if you look hard at the trees, you can see the faces of the dead in the bark.

Today, the forest is littered with colored tape used by walkers to find their way as well as discarded items and nooses, used to facilitate the suicide of its recent victims. Bouquets of flowers left by grieving friends and family members can also be found.

The Castle on Peachtree Street

An announcement of an upcoming giveaway will be made within a few days...

Amos Giles Rhodes was born in Kentucky in 1850s. Twenty-six years later, he married Amanda Wilmot Dougherty in Atlanta, Georgia and began his furniture business that extended to 35 locations throughout the Southeast. His grand home that is still til this day admired by visitors from all over began a trip to Europe. He found himself marveled by the Rhineland Castles during his trip in 1890s. He was so much inspired that upon returning home he began making plans to build his family home in a similar style.

Back in the 1900s, Peachtree Street was considered a fashionable residential area, lined with large residences. Between 1901 and 1906, Rhodes assembled an estate of 114 acres, stretching across Tanyard Creek and including most of the present-day Brookwood Interchange at I-75/85. He hired architect Willis F. Denny II to bring his vision to life. Rhodes Memorial Hall was built in Romanesque Revival and infused with Victorian elements. Construction began in 1902.

Locally quarried Stone Mountain granite was acquired for the towers, turrets, and battlements of Rhodes' castle home. It also contains ornate woodwork, murals, intricate parquet floors, colorful mosaics, a carved mahogany staircase and exquisite stained glass windows. The house was wired for electricity to power the 300 light bulbs, call buttons (in most rooms) and a security system. The castle was completed in 1904, costing nearly $50,000.

The Rhodes family lived in the home until Mrs. Rhodes death in 1927 and Mr. Rhodes death about a year later. Their two children J. D. Rhodes and Mrs. L. O. Bricker deeded the house and just under an acre of the original estate to the State of Georgia with one restriction. The property could only be used for "historic purposes." In 1930, the building opened as the home of the State Archives until 1965 when a more modern building was constructed on Capital Avenue. However, Rhodes Hall continued to serve as the Peachtree Branch of the Archives. In 1983, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation signed a lease with the State of Georgia and made Rhodes Hall their headquarters for The Georgia Trust. The property went through restorations of the mechanical and electrical systems and the re-installation of original staircase and windows that had been removed to the State Archives facility.

From 1984 to 1992, the house was used as a haunted house attraction every year for Halloween, but is it really haunted? Employees and visitors to the Castle on Peachtree Street have witnessed a variety of activity. Some have seen a little girl on the 1st Floor Foyer and 2nd Floor Landing. No confirmation if it is the same girl. There are also reports of a tall man believed to be that of Amos Rhodes and that of an older woman in a white dress. The door in the attic has been known to open and close and sometimes lock from the inside on its own. Other reports include voices, being touched, and sudden decrease in temperature.

GS Question of the Week

Do you believe a zombie apocalypse could actually happen? If so, do you think the world's population is ready for it?

Happy Thanksgiving

Baby Girl Graphics Babies Pictures

I want to wish all my American brethren a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

All-New Fact or Faked

The laws of physics are defied in this all-new sneak peek clip of the next episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. The team is trying to replicate a video from the ’71 mission of Apollo 15 where a hammer and feather are dropped on the moon at the same rate. Clearly this is impossible on Earth, so you’ll have to watch the clip and tune in on Thursday the 2nd at 10/9c on Syfy to find out if they’re able to pull of replicating the original historic mission.

In related news, Syfy has ordered new seasons of Ghost Hunters International and Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files as well as an additional 12 new episodes for the current season of Hollywood Treasure. The second season of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files will begin production in early 2011. Ghost Hunters International will return to conclude its second season with seven all new episodes and team reshuffle with new team member Kris Williams beginning Wednesday January 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM ET/PT. Investigations will include visits to Hamlet's Castle in Denmark, the Castle of Nuremberg, the Huissen House of Horror in the Netherlands and the Petrovaradin Fortress in Serbia. Production on the third season will begin in early 2011.

GS Question of the Week

What are USOs?

Paranormal Community Leadership Award

In the six years I've been maintaining Ghost Stories, I've come across a lot of good people in the paranormal community. Unfortunately, most have since closed up shop. This leads to the recent award that has been passed on to me.

Dinell Holmes from Weekly Spectre created the Paranormal Community Leadership Award to recognize those who genuinely try to benefit this field. No fakes. No frauds or anyone trying to gain some fame and fortune. Just those who are a positive part of the paranormal community. Unfortunately, due to family and time constraints, she's having to say goodbye to Weekly Spectre, but you can still catch her at her other blog Mommy D's Kitchen (highly recommended).

As for this award, I have Courtney from Haunt Jaunts and Jessica from Ghost Stories and Haunted Places to thank. Both deserve this award ten fold. There's not any rules on how many people to pass this along to. Normally, I don't like passing awards along. Not because I don't want to take the time to single out certain people. It's quite opposite. I'm always afraid of leaving someone out and having to go back and add them. In this particular case, most of the ones I know of have already been pointed out by others who have received this award. Below are a few that I don't think have been given this award but should have:

Encounters with the Unexplained
Ghost Hunting Theories
The Debris Field
Phantoms and Monsters
Unexplained Mysteries

Thank you again, Courtney and Jessica! I feel honored in receiving this award.

Flinderation Tunnel

In Salem, West Virginia, sits an old railroad tunnel called Flinderation Tunnel. It's location is not far from the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. The structure itself is about 1,000 ft in length and was built in the 1860s. There are many alleged reasons for its weight in paranormal activity.

One tragedy began with three men working on the tracks inside the tunnel in the 1800s or early 1900s. A train approached them at high speeds and very little warning. One man escaped to a cubbyhole unscathed. Another was supposedly cut in half by the train. And a third was dragged about 75 feet trapped under the train, causing it to derail. He didn't survive.

Another story associated with Flinderation, deals with the infamous KKK. Supposedly, in the mid 1900s, they brought many of their victims to the tunnel. It became a regular lynching spot for them. It was officially "shut down" and the tracks were torn up in the 1990s. Today, it's a part of the North Bend rail trail.

One last story involves the cemetery located on top of the tunnel. On Travel Channel's Ghost Stories, a claim was made that some of the coffins fell through the roof of the tunnel, causing it to be patched on more than one occasion. There were some insinuations that a body may have become caught between the repaired tunnel roof and the cemetery after their coffin fell through. Can't say for sure if there is any truth to it.

The reason for shutting down the tunnel involve people hearing phantom train whistles and seeing the ghost train that continues to "travel" through it. Other reports include unknown lights, phantom mists or fog, footsteps, orbs, growling, screeching,sobbing, sound of metal scraping against metal, voices and various apparitions including that of a little boy and girl who are also often heard talking and giggling.

Happy 6th Blogiversary

Six years ago today, I set up my first blog on AOL Journals. I became motivated to start one after watching numerous specials about ghosts and the paranormal during Halloween. My interests were peeked and I started doing research. I noticed there wasn't a lot of websites that contained straight complete information about certain locations at the time. I had to go to several different sites just to get the overall feel for why the place may be haunted. This led to me setting up a blog on AOL Journals and commenced in writing my first post.

Traditionally, this would be consider a very celebratory event with balloons, cake and maybe a giveaway or two. Unfortunately, I'm knee deep in National Novel Writing Month and catching up on reviews at the moment. Haven't had the time to put on together. So, the celebrations will be put off and converted in to an end of the year kind of thing. More details coming soon. In the meantime...


GS Question of the Week

Do you think possessions are on the rise?

Purgatory Museum

To understand the purpose of a purgatory museum is to understand the concept of purgatory. Purgatory is a halfway point between Heaven and Hell. It's a place for the souls of people who lived good enough lives to avoid eternal damnation, but not good enough to join the angels in Heaven. Prayers by the living can reduce a soul's time in Purgatory.

Relatives offer up prayers or pay for entire masses to be said for the departed. A tormented soul sometimes returns to Earth to ask for help. These visitations were rather common during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The spirit would appear to a relative or friend. Then, reveal it was in torment, and ask for prayers to shorten its time in Purgatory. As proof of its presence, it would touch its burning hand to a nearby object or clothing.

In Rome, a museum has collected these objects for visitors to view. The Piccolo Museo del Purgatorio or the Little Museum of Purgatory is housed in the church of Santo Cuore del Suffragio and dedicated to relieving the souls tortured in Purgatory. The structure is a ten minute walk from the Vatican. Most of the fiery signals date back to the 19th century or earlier. The museum doesn't receive any new objects, not that they need them to believe. One long case against the wall contains objects such as articles of clothing, bibles, prayer books, tabletops, and pillowcases with burn marks that look like they've been made by fiery fingers.

One such object is a slab of wood with an imprint of hand and a cross burned on it. Supposedly, the hand and cross was left on a table by Fr. Panzini, former Abbot Olivetano of Mantua. On November 1, 1731 (All Saints Day), he appeared to Venerable Mother Isabella Fornari, abbess of the Poor Clares of the Monastery of St. Francis in Todi and told her he was suffering in Purgatory. To prove his claim, he touched his flaming hand to her table and etched a burning cross in it too. He also touched her sleeve and left scorches and bloodstains.

The century old museum was the brain child of Victor Jouet, a French priest who traveled to Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, scooping up relics to display in this gothic church on the banks of the Tiber. He was supposedly inspired to build the museum after a fire destroyed a portion of the original Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, leaving behind the scorched image of a face that he believed to be a trapped soul. Jouet died in the museum's only room in 1912, but the museum lives on despite talks of closing it in the 1990s.

All-New Ghost Hunters

In this all new sneak peek clip of the next episode of Ghost Hunters Jason and Grant are at it once again, and the paranormal might be playing games with them. Grant thinks Jason pushes him in the shoulder and Jason is responding to questions Grant isn’t asking. Who or what is pulling these pranks? Is the paranormal trying to communicate? Don’t miss this episode as legendary rocker Meat Loaf rejoins the team for an unforgettable hunt in Alabama at Sloss Furnace. Watch the clip and tune in Wednesday, the 17th at 9/8c only on Syfy.

All-New Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files

In an all-new sneak peek clip of the next episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, the team tries to walk through a video with the man who filmed the unexplained. A scene set among evergreens in the forest causes the man to feel immediate sickness and pressure when coming in contact with an unknown creature. Everything that happens leaves the man lost for logic. Be sure to watch the clip and tune in on Thursday, November 11th at 10/9c on Syfy to see if the team can help make sense of the encounter.

GS Question of the Week

What are flying humanoids?

Murder in the Thumb

From Richard Carson's website:

Murder is an infrequent visitor in the Village of Caro, a community of 4,000 in Michigan's Thumb area.

When Robin Adams disappeared on a steamy August night in 1976 leaving a two-year-old boy
for whom she was babysitting unattended, her friends and family feared the worst.

Her former boyfriend, Melvin Garza, a fiery 19-year-old Mexican-American, had angrily opposed Robin's attempts to break up with him.

Lost amid concern for the missing 17-year-old, who would never have left the little boy alone, was the strange prophesy of a Ouija board. A year or so earlier, the board "said" Robin would die before her 17th birthday.

This was but the beginning of a litany of bizarre of events, some tragic, most lacking logical explanation. Rumors of black magic practiced against a key witness, the extraordinarily accurate predictions of two psychics whom police consulted
combine to create a story with a surprise around every corner.

Add to that, the rarity of a Roman Catholic priest representing an accused killer, the role the little-used one-man grand jury played in the case and the strange behavior of the prime suspect who continued to taunt police as months turned into years with little or no progress in the investigation.

Even after the murder trial that took place nearly eight years after Robin's disappearance, tragedy continued to haunt key figures in the story. Was some form of retribution being sought through practice of the dark arts? Was Melvin Garza plotting revenge from behind prison walls?

Veteran journalist Richard W.Carson, who undertook the book project when no one else would, said he began to feel like a character in a Stephen King novel as his research took one strange turn after another.

Murder in the Thumb, a true-crime book from Marquette Books, provides readers with a riveting account of a small town homicide case in which the predictions of two psychics proved remarkably accurate. Beginning with a Ouija board’s startling prophesy of untimely death followed by evidence of Satanism and black magic, the story suggests dark forces were at work as tragedies, one after another, struck people with ties to the case. See the author’s website at and be sure to click on the video.


In pop culture, we see vampires in various ways. There's the brooding, cursed kind who has a tendency to be a bit obsessive at times. The monsters with pointy ears and long claws who live in castles and steal guy's wives. As of now, they are seen as fast, romanticized and glittery or sleep in coffins and sips synthetic blood from bottles. However in parts of South America, another type of vampire tale is told. People talk of the fearsome Pishtacos, shadowy pale-skinned figures who stalk peasants along dark roads, kill them and drain them of their fat. These stories date back about 400 years. The first mentioning of this creature was by the priest Cristóbal de Molina, a scholar of native languages and Incan culture in 1571. He described natives living around Cuzco wouldn't deliver firewood to a Spanish home for fear of being killed and having their fat used as a remedy for some foreign disease.

The tale of the pishtaco seems to change with each generation. His wardrobe is rather diverse—a belted tunic, a leather jacket, a Franciscan robe, a khaki shirt and matching pants. He supposedly has white skin, although sometimes it's black, and every once in a while he's a mestizo or a full-blooded Indian. For the most part, the pishtaco works at night, stalking his victims on mountain paths, dazzling them with magic powder, and plundering their bodies for tallow and grease. His more classical form has him wearing high boots and a felt hat, with a curved knife and a lasso made of human skin. He's handsome, with green eyes, long hair, and an unkempt beard. The vampire is believed to also present his victims with the back of his hand. His fingers then fall off, one by one, and wriggle like worms in the dirt—a sight so disturbing to mortal men that they become immobilized. Then they're dismembered.

About a year ago, police arrested three suspects operating deep within the jungle highlands of Peru. While searching the area, they made some gruesome discoveries: a pile of human ribs and thighbones, a decomposing human head (the victim's identity was determined), and yes, two plastic Coke bottles filled with what appeared to be human fat. It was believed the gang would confront people along the quiet back roads, lure them to their laboratory with a promise of employment, bludgeon them to death, and dismember them. Then, using candles, render the fat out of the body, capturing it in a basin below. While three were in custody, six more were still at large. Sounds like a story confirming one of South American's worse fears. But if they weren't Pishtacos, why bottle human fat?

The first assumption the police claimed was they were selling the fat to cosmetic companies to be used in anti-aging creams. According to the BBC, the liquid fat went for $15,000 per liter from a pair of Italian Mafiosi serving as intermediaries to the European cosmetics industry. It was to be used for a line of skin softeners. The criminals themselves claimed they were selling it to local shamans to be used in satanic rituals. Inconsistencies in the investigation lead to hints of a cover-up. Could it all have been a hoax?

People were having problems believing in selling human fat on the black market due to its availability leaving no real need for it. The police stated the gang was responsible for the murders of at least 60 people despite only having evidence of one. Three days before the pishtaco arrests were announced, investigative journalist Ricardo Uceda published a startling exposé about a government-sponsored death squad in the northern city of Trujillo. Officers there had engaged in the systematic execution of 46 suspected criminals, he wrote, dating back to 2007. Peru's interior minister, Octavio Salazar use to be in charge of the police unit in Trujillo. The whole story of the alleged Pishtacos had unraveled in a matter of days. In a radio interview, the governor of Huánuco called it "una falsedad más grande que el universo entero" or "The Biggest lie in the Universe."

Is the legend of the Pishtacos true or just stories passed down from one generation to the next? We may never know.

All-new Fact or Faked Sneak Peek

In this all-new episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files the team attempts to replicate a flying object across Skull Canyon. It sounds inviting right? They’re having a tough time making it look like the original where it appears as though someone is in the fetal position, or simply just a dark blob, is just floating through the air. They’ll have to put their heads together to make it truly look authentic to the original. Tune in on Thursday, November 4th at 10/9c only on Syfy to see if they can make it seamless.

GS Question of the Week

Vampires have often been known to drink blood and even energy. But do you think a vampire could sustain his/her life by snacking on human fat?

Reader Submission - In Memory Of....

The following story comes to you from Angie:

My freedom-loving friend Rob invited me to visit his hide away out in the country. A one room building out in the country just on the fringe of the woods and growing fields to take pictures for my websites.

On this cool evening we arrived at our destination around 5:30pm. After leaving the building we entered outside to a meeting circle which lies behind the dwelling. Rob raked the dried colorful leaves into the fire pit, lit the fire, and collected some wood to keep it burning.

Before darkness set in he decided to take down the erected tent close by. As he preformed the task he told me of his friend Dave. He died this past July.

The two good friends spent the weekends in the Spring, Summer, Fall for two years clearing a bit of land while building Rob's hide away. They installed stairs leading to a front porch and two large storm windows. Inside the wood floor, a small kitchen, sitting area with a workable wood stove and a handcrafted cedar ladder that leads to a loft for sleeping.

The existing timber frame custom built home on the small acreage offers peace, quite and comfortable living conditions.

Building his hide away gave him one of his most rewarding experiences. Rob's friend Dave had worked closely with him to make the construction process go smoothly. He said he's never been happier then when he had his friend spent time working and laughing together side-by-side.

At the end of the story as I helped him fold the tent he told me he plans to pitch the tent in the coming years in the early spring in his friends memory. I agreed his friend would appreciate the gesture.

Time came to take the pictures we came for. Rob grabbed the camera. I sat by the crackling fire. I asked out loud if it is Dave's will to appear on film please do. A few seconds later Rob snapped a picture. He brought the camera for me to see what appeared in the frame.

In the photo a luminous entity made itself visible floating beside me.

We are pleased and excited to think his friend appeared. We like to believe Dave returned to a place he loved during his life.

Angie has been a student of the magical arts since 1996. Her interests include tarot, and other forms of divination, astrology, spell-casting, healing and spirituality, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. She is the author of On the Edge, and coming soon No Reins. Available at Her websites,,

Free Pizza Delivered to Cemeteries, UK’s leading takeaway delivery marketplace, has launched a new scheme which will see pizzas and curries being delivered to spooky burial grounds around the UK between the hours of 6pm and midnight on Halloween for free. The promotion was developed after learning through a survey the number of odd locations food is delivered to including The Ritz hotel in London, a slimming organization in Nottingham and a graveyard in north London.

Graeme Horne, marketing manager for, said: "For every order we get that includes the word 'graveyard' in the order comments box delivered to graveyards or cemeteries across the UK, we will reimburse the cost of the takeaway to ensure that hungry fright seekers are at least well fed!"

Those in the UK looking to take advantage of this offer need to make sure that they check the restaurants (2500 to choose from) which are part of the marketplace. Users need to know the postcode of the graveyard so that the correct information can be used when ordering the takeaway. Choose the meal they want. The word "graveyard" needs to be included in the online comment box. Payment will be refunded upon delivery.

Ghost Hunters Halloween Live

The Buffalo Central Terminal opened to the public on June 22, 1929 and closed in 1979. Built by the New York Central Railroad and designed by architects Alfred T. Fellheimer & Steward Wagner, the art deco style station was built to accommodate up to 3200 passengers per hour, or 200 trains per day. The complex consists of the main concourse, a 17 story office tower, a four story baggage building and two story mail building along Curtiss Street, and the now detached train concourse. The complex sits on a 17 acre site 2.5 miles east of downtown Buffalo.

WWII German POWs did maintenance work on the site. After closing to passenger traffic in 1979, the building was purchased by Anthony Fedele & Galesi Realty for $75,000. Fedele used the building for a variety of purposes, including gala events, markets, floor hockey games, and more. Fedele enjoyed the building so much, that he built himself an apartment to live in within the Terminal. Scott Field of the Preservation Coalition of Erie County bought the building in August 1997 for the purchase price of $1 and $70,000 in back taxes. Shortly afterward, the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation (CTRC), was formed and currently owns the Concourse, Tower and Baggage Building. The building is an ongoing restoration project.

This Halloween TAPS returns to Buffalo Central Terminal for the third or fourth time to conduct their 6 hr LIVE special. Members from each of the Ghost Hunters franchise will be participating along with special guests including Ben Hansen from Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files.

I don't believe the location has experienced a lot of deaths but during WWII, a lot of soldiers who left from this place never returned home. Some believe that may be the cause of its haunted status. Paranormal reports include footsteps, voices, full body apparitions, sliding noises, and sound of people drinking at a water fountain that no longer exists. Past visits have resulted in various type of evidence and personal experiences. Will their LIVE investigation provide similar results?

GS Question of the Week

What are your Halloween plans for Sunday?

Britt Griffith Fired from GHI

WARNING: some explicit language

It has come to my attention the Syfy show Ghost Hunters is facing yet another dose of controversy. Britt Griffith recently did an interview with Rain City Paranormal on Wednesday September 29, 2010 via Blog Talk Radio that has reportedly resulted in him being fired from Ghost Hunters International. The reason for his termination stems from his use of inappropriate language. During the interview, he referred to those against guns as “pussy faggots.” He later rants during the interview that he is unapologetic and if he’s too hardcore for people, they should just change the channel, etc..etc..

This has since opened up a rather large debate as to whether or not it is okay to use f***** and whether or not there was an overreaction to his conduct by firing him. Gays use it as a term of endearment. So, why can’t straight people use it too? It’s the kind of thing expected from Blog Talk Radio. He shouldn’t have been fired for it. The word was taken out of context. Even Ryan Buell has been brought in to some arguments concerning the situation. If Ryan used that word in an interview, it wouldn’t have been perceived as big of a deal. Perhaps so, especially since confessing to being a bisexual. Ryan went as far as to post his own response to this controversy. You can read his comments here.

Personally, I think f***** and n***** fall in the same category. Just because some gays and black people use them as terms of endearment doesn’t mean the entire world is open to use those words whenever they want. If Michael Richards and Isaiah Washington prove anything, it is being straight, a public figure and the use of one or both of those words will equal nothing good in the public eye. The damage has been done whether it be an honest mistake or not. It’s up to Britt as to how he chooses to handle the backlash (I do believe he has expressed his regret over saying the word several occasions so far) and the rest of the population as to whether he deserves a second chance.

**UPDATE** In case you were wondering why Britt is back on Ghost Hunters, he was rehired.

Destination Truth/Ghost Hunters Sneak Peeks

Destination Truth - "Haunted Island Ruins"

Above is a sneak peek clip of the next all-new episode of Destination Truth. As the team scuffles through the desert they come across footprints as a full moon sets in. They enter a cave to try and cure their curious appetite but may get more than they bargained for in the end. Tune in on Thursday at 9/8c on Syfy to find out what happens.

Ghost Hunters - "The Chopping Block"

Above is a sneak peek clip of the next all-new episode of Ghost Hunters. The team is at it again and this episode will keep you on your toes. A figure is seen in the distance as the team tries to get the paranormal to interact with them through a sign. They prompt the hunted with a voice recorder and asking it to tap on something, but get a different encounter that may not put them at ease. Tune in on Wednesday, October 20th at 9/8c on Syfy.

GS Question of the Week

Do you think an UFO can make an entire village disappear in one night?


Amazon Digital Services, October 19, 2010 (Launch Date)
Kindle Edition, 171 Pages (859KB)
Ordering Information:

Amazon's Description:


Mortimer Moorecook, retired Wall Street raider, avid collector, is losing his fight against cancer. With weeks to live, a package arrives at the door of his hillside mansion—an artifact he paid millions for…a hominoid skull with elongated teeth, discovered in a farmer’s field in the Romanian countryside. With Shanna, his beautiful research assistant looking on, he sinks the skull’s razor sharp fangs into his neck, and immediately goes into convulsions.


A rural hospital. A slow night in the ER. Until Moorecook arrives strapped to a gurney, where he promptly codes and dies.


Four well-known horror authors pool their penchants for scares and thrills, and tackle one of the greatest of all legends, with each writer creating a unique character and following them through a vampire outbreak in a secluded hospital.

The goal was simple: write the most intense novel they possibly could.

Which they did.

A Word of Warning:

Within these pages, you will find no black capes, no satin-lined coffins, no brooding heartthrobs who want to talk about your feelings. Forget sunlight and stakes. Throw out your garlic and your crosses. This is the Anti-TWILIGHT.

I'm well aware of each of these four authors, Jeff Strand, Blake Crouch, F. Paul Wilson and J. A. Konrath under the pen name of Jack Kilborn, but haven't had the privilege of exploring each of their individual works which is why I consider this a real treat. I want to first point out this is not the combination of several tales in one book. DRACULAS is the combination of four authors talents in to one story. The debut collaboration from four of the genres finest authors. Their take on the vampire myth (hence the title). No lovey-dovey Twilight twerps. These are vampires at their most primal. Get in their crosshairs and consider yourself dead.

This is quite refreshing after all the romanticism vampires have become thanks to Twilight, Vampire Diaries and even True Blood. In DRACULAS, they're viewed as the monster they really are. Multiple POVs should really be left to the experts. This book is an example as to why. The story contains POV shifts between over ten different characters. Each is very crisp. All details between each character lines up with the others. Didn't see any major problems with this. The pacing is fast and steady. Characters are engaging and yes, they had to throw in a vampire clown. The story wouldn't be complete without one. And there is plenty of bonus material for readers and writers alike to drool over. However, I do have a couple of drawbacks.

There were a couple of misspellings (since been corrected, I have been assured). I can overlook a couple but not thirty. I didn't understand why after turning in to the Dracula creature why none of them beelined for the blood bank. They retained some rational thought while craving blood. That would be the first place I'd look for a good meal. Yet, I don't recall any of the DRACULAS creatures actually doing it. I wasn't totally sold on the ending. You have patient zero, Mortimer Moorecook, emerging literary as a new man under the guise of Dr. Cook after the infection is "contained". I felt like some of the scenes toward the ending could have been drawn out a little more. I think they shouldn't have cut so much out.

Overall, DRACULAS is a great read for anyone who loves a gore-fest and is tired of the pretty boy vampires.

Catman's Grave

Situated at the end of a dirt road outside of Frankford, Delaware, a graveyard sprinkled with large trees is guarded by an entity called the Catman. His true identity, if he existed at all, is unknown. However, legend states he was a man with cat like features. He used to be a caretaker for this particular graveyard.

He would scare off teenagers who chose to party at the cemetery he took care of. When the Catman passed away, he was placed in an above ground tomb in the middle of the graveyard. Many have driven out to this location claiming to have found not only the grave but scratches on the walls of the tomb. Then there are those who have yet to find it. Many of the gravestones date back to the 1800s. Quite a few were buried in early 1918. And for some reason, there are two stones that face the woods at the back of the location. Not sure why.

The legend doesn't stop here. Many believe the Catman still keeps an eye on the graveyard.
They say if you drive out to the cemetery, go to a brick wall located behind it, and knock three times the Catman will appear and mess with your car. Prevents the engine from turning over. He'll even wander the graveyard in search of you.

Paranormal State Giveaway

The new season of Paranormal State kicks off with two episodes on October 17th. First is "The Death Room" – where PRS arrives in Ryan's hometown to help the new owner of an old southern plantation unearth its dark history. A painful family secret reveals a tale of greed and neglect, and the team must help free its unwilling victim from her spiritual prison.

Next up is “They Only Come Out At Night”– Once night falls in a quaint New England Town, a police officer's family is terrorized by demons. PRS arrives just in time with the family ready to vacate their family home, rather than suffer the advances of these spirit creatures. They have been scratched, pulled, pinched and pushed to the brink. Through investigation and research PRS must come up with a solution to this family's plight and try to save their lovely home.

To highlight their fifth season, fans of Paranormal State can sign up to win an autographed copy of Ryan Buell's book Paranormal State: My Journey Into the Unknown, where he reveals new facts and discusses never-before-seen cases as well as struggles with faith (their own struggles as well as those they are helping). All you have to do is go to the official Paranormal State Facebook page, watch a clip from the show and answer one question correctly. Then, you're entered to be one of the lucky 25 fans to win the book. Winners will be chosen at random

Paranormal State returns on October 17th at 9/8 PM Central followed by the season premiere of Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal at 10/9 PM Central.

GS Question of the Week

Do you think aliens will ever without a shred of doubt make contact with us? If so, do you think it will be of a friendly variety?

Imprint Review

Vanguard Press, May 27, 2008
Paperback, 74 pages
ISBN: 978-1843864189
Ordering Information:

Imprint delves in to the world of reincarnation. The narrator, Hercular Rose, enters in to the Library of Souls and takes a trip six former lives. She gains a piece of enlightenment with every page she turns in her soul journal. Will she gain the knowledge to make her whole and move on?

The first time I read a fiction book by a writer that is spiritual I wasn't impressed. I won't be saying the same for this one. Annie Frame is a clairvoyant medium, Amara Reiki master and holds teaching and psychology qualifications. Imprint doesn't overly preach at you. As a reader, you become enthralled with the character reliving her past lives.

However, there were a few drawbacks for me. The descriptions are a bit touch and go. In some areas, they're rather strong and others, the same word is repeated so much it becomes a turn off. There's a couple of hiccups in consistency character name wise. The main issue is with the length of the book. I don't recall often wanting a book to be longer than it was. Imprint is a rather quick read being under 100 pages, but I feel the book would have been just that much better if it was longer. The main character's experience reliving each drawn out more. As is, each chapter is more like a snapshot.

This isn't to say the book loses massive points in readability. Furthest from the truth. I put it down wanting more without a huge sense of disappointment, a good trait to possess for a debut novel. I find myself quite looking forward to reading and reviewing Frame's second novel, The Quiet Road.

Mount Misery

Mount Misery is a vast 854 acre wooded area in Huntington, New York. It's name doesn't derive from the many legends attached to the property. In 1653, local Indians sold the land to the settlers. The Indians sold them what they believed to be cursed land. They claimed evil spirits roamed the land. There were rumors of strange lights and sightings of a "man beast" or hell hound like creature with glowing red eyes. The settlers soon realized the land was no good for growing crops. It was used mainly as a trade route. The rough terrain and steep hill made it difficult for wagons to pass. Thus, it became known as Mount Misery.

In 1840, a hospital was built for the insane. Not long after the hospital was built, there was a fire and it burned down to the foundation, killing many of the patients. About 15 years later the hospital was rebuilt. Some reported the smell of a burning building and the screams of the victims were heard during the night. The new hospital burned down only 5 months after being built.

Mount Misery is believed to be rather paranormal active. There have been sightings of a lady in white. No one knows for sure who this spirit may be but there's speculation she might have been a patient in the mental hospital. Actually, some believe she caused one of the fires and was among the patients who died in the fire. She is seen walking alongside of the road and even likes jumping in front of cars. There also tales of an elderly male spirit who carries around a wicker basket full of decapitated heads. Some witnesses traveling down Sweet Hollow Road have encountered the spirit of a fallen police officer. He was shot in the head and killed during a routine traffic stop. Even after death, he still pulls cars over. You don't notice anything wrong until you get a peek at what is missing, the back of his head.

There are stories of a girl who was hit and killed by a passing car while trying to fix a flat in the 1970s. This supposedly took place directly under the Northern State overpass. They say if you park your car there at night, shut off the lights, and put it in neutral, she'll push your car until you clear the overpass. Witnesses have reported seeing children hanging from the Northern State Overpass on occasion. Children believed to have committed suicide there and may not have been the only one. There is a story of a young girl who was supposedly attending a nearby horse riding camp. She was allegedly molested by the counselors. When she told her father, he didn't believe her. In a rage, she killed them all and then hung herself from the bridge.

Spirits are not the only things wandering the mount. There have also been sightings of UFOs in the area and strange visits from men in black to the locals after each sighting.

Milton School

The Milton School was built in 1904 as a four room schoolhouse, teaching kindergarten through eighth grades. One of it's well known students was Robert Waldow (The Alton Giant). In 1925, six classrooms and a cafeteria were added, twelve more classrooms were added in 1935, and finally, in 1937, the gym was completed.

It's doors remained open for 80 years until closing in 1984. The school remained vacant until Gary Levi purchased it for his company Intaglio Design, a company that manufactured items of decorative glass, seven years later. A warehouse was added in 1993, covering the old courtyard and playground. When Intaglio shut down, the school again sat vacant, and deteriorated. Portions of the school was rented out to various people including Piano World and a martial arts academy. It even hosted a "haunted house". Fake blood on walls, wax, and black light paint is all that remains now.

Milton School is believed to be rather haunted. However, there's not much documentation to validate many of the stories attached to the property which include the rape/murder of a young girl named Mary and the alleged suicide of a former janitor (and possibly Mary's murderer).

Supposedly, everyone had left for the day except for one young girl (who would later be named Mary). The girl stayed behind to finish a seasonal bulletin board for her classroom. As it began to get dark, she gathered her things and headed for the gymnasium. All was well until she heard a suspicious noise. The next day, Mary's body was found in girls' shower room bloody and battered, her clothing torn and scattered about and brutally raped. No killer was ever convicted but there was a suspect.

Allegedly, police believed a janitor at the school raped and murdered her. Mary had managed to scratched her assailant. Everyone was on the lookout for someone with fresh new scratches. Several days later, some noticed a janitor hadn't been to work. Cops went to his home to ask him a few question. That's when they noticed scratch marks on both of his hands. His excuse? The cat did it. His elderly mother claimed he was at home with the flu on the day of the murder, but the police weren't buying it. He shot up to the top of the suspect list. However, there wasn't enough evidence to arrest him. The cops kept him under constant surveillance until one day he was found in the boiler room of the school hanging from a rope around an exposed beam. He confessed to his crime in his suicide note.....that is if he actually committed suicide. Some believe his death was staged. However, there's no newspaper articles or any other documentation to prove either person died in the school. The earliest records date back to 1940. We may never know if there is any truth to the death of "Mary" and her alleged janitor murderer.

During the years when the school was still open, many students relayed strange encounters in the building, including unexplained sounds, strange shadows and encounters with "Mary". Employees of Intaglio Design heard footsteps in the dark hallways at night when no one else was there, items began to appear and disappear around the offices and one of the staff members spotted the apparition of a small girl. This spirit is believed to be rather friendly to visitors. Some have had experiences of an unseen child holding their hand.

Visitors and former staff believe she may not be alone. Could the ghost of the janitor also be haunting the school? While "Mary" may be sweet as sugar, the janitor is anything but. There are reports of an unsettling presence that could cause people to become short of breath and feel a panicked sensation. On many occasions, glass items that were left near the shower stall where Mary's body was allegedly discovered were reportedly found to be shattered into pieces. Other reports include cigar smoke and bubblegum smells, shadows (adult and children size), hair being pulled, touching, footsteps and doors opening and closing on their own.

GS Question of the Week

How do you think an underwater paranormal investigation should be conducted?

Reader Submission - A Family's Variety of Experiences

The following story was sent in by Sarah:

This is a ghost story about my cousin's house years ago when she was about 6 (she's now almost 14 and I'm 16). My Aunt Bernadette, uncle, and cousins Jessie (9), Austin (3) and Emily (6). Well anyways, she one day when I was spending the night with her (my family was always there or I spent the night there a lot) in her house was telling me that there were ghost in her home. I didn't believe her and told her she was lying. Not sure how long after that she told me about her ghosts I was at her house sometime near Halloween time and my uncle had a grim reaper that scared me on the door leading down to the basement. So I walked fast downstairs and halfway down there I heard the adults playing with the pool table. I heard the pool balls hitting together and laughing. Well as I got to the bottom and turn around to see where the table was, no one at all was down there! I was so scared I ran upstairs and saw that every one was outside or in the family room upstairs.

This was before the pool table thing. My Aunt Megan was 15-16 at the time and was living with my Aunt Bernadette, uncle, and 3 cousins. My older cousin who was the same age as me and my aunt had their rooms in the basement. My older cousin has a room and beside his was my aunts. But at the time there was only sheets surrounding her "room" (they were going to build a wall around it). My aunt Megan, Emily and I was in her room and it was very dark in it and we were all alone down there. She was telling me about the ghost in the house. I said there's no such thing and she told us that there was a hand that would imprint on the sheets going all around her "room" which scared the crap out of me.

The next one was the MOST terrifying to me. I was spending the night with Emily and we were laying down on the bottom bunk bed and the lights were off and she told me that she would sometimes see a black body bag behind her door (her door was open) and I was kinda scared to be there in her house because of the 2 encounters, but anyway I was trying to sleep while Emily was already fast asleep, then all of a sudden I saw a black figure slowly appear behind her a shadow laying down. I just watch it for 7 mins and then I saw it move and look more man shaped. I was dead scared so I shook Emily to awake her and told her that there's a body behind her door,but she just yelled at me and said just don't worry about it because it goes away after a while.

So 3 mins more later I stare at it and realize I have to pee really bad, but I was terrified to get up. So I ran out the door without looking behind the door and use the bathroom. When I'm done I was scared to go back in to my cousins room, so I just stood there. Then I got brave and ran into her bed getting myself under the covers and looking back behind the door saw nothing but the floor. It was gone so I slowly drift into sleep.

Other little things happen like radios turned on/off by themselves and things missing or moved. I remember one time in Emily's room we were playing barbies and she had porcelain dolls on the shelf. They would move their heads when you looked away, but for some reason never scared me. Emily and Jessie would see in the basement a black and white colored guy in a old prison uniform from long ago and he wore a heavy ball with a chain attached at his foot. They said he would just look at them and smile.

The next thing happen to my uncle who did not believe in ghost until something happen to him. He was in Emily's room cleaning up her toys or something and looked in to her closet were her toy box was. Not sure exactly what he saw but there was something in her toys moving and he said it was a demon looking thing. My whole family are Christians and all these experiences scared everyone. My great Uncle Eddie was an exorcist and blessed the house when my Aunt Bernadette was there. They (Eddie and aunt) walked around their house saying prayers and stuff from the bible and they heard loud yelling from the basement. It was the ghost yelling in pain from the bible verses. I'm not sure if God is real but this experience makes me wonder.

Ghost have been in my family ever since my mom and aunt were kids, but I'll write about that some other time. =]

Truk Lagoon

Josh claimed his underwater investigation of the Truk Lagoon in Micronesia was the first of its kind. However, it was not. The crew of the short lived A&E series Extreme Paranormal did an underwater investigation of Bonito, New Mexico. Perhaps it was the first investigation of Truk but not the first of its kind.

Truk Lagoon is a body of water in the central Pacific. Its first colonial experience was as part of the Spanish Empire. It fell in to Japanese possession under a mandate from the League of Nations following Germany's defeat in World War I. During World War II, Truk Lagoon served as the forward anchorage for the Japanese Imperial Fleet. The place was considered the most formidable of all Japanese strongholds in the Pacific. At anchor in the lagoon were the Imperial Japanese Navy’s giant battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, tankers, cargo ships, tugboats, gunboats, minesweepers, landing craft, and submarines.

Once the American forces captured the Marshall Islands, they used it as a base from which to launch an early morning attack on February 17, 1944 against Truk Lagoon. Operation Hailstone lasted for three days, with an American bombardment of the Japanese wiping out almost anything of value - 60 ships and 275 airplanes were sent to the bottom of the lagoon. Three of these ships were Shinkoku Maru, Hoki Maru, and Fujikawa Maru.

The second largest wreck in Truk Lagoon is the 10,020 ton oil tanker Shinkoku Maru. It was completed on December 13, 1939 by Kawashi Jyuko Co. of Kobe for Kobe Sanbashi K.K. It was 492.12 feet long and 65.6 feet wide and was requisitioned by the Japanese Navy in 1941, four weeks before Pearl Harbor. The Shinkoku Maru was one of eight oil tankers that refueled the Japanese fleet prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was at night of the second day when the tanker was hit during Operation Hailstone. The Avengers of the USS Enterprise dropped a close miss on the starboard side near the engine room and opened the hull, sinking it. The ships masts originally stuck up out of the water but they were blown off at some time. The ship was "discovered" by divers in December 1971. The Shinkoku Maru is still leaking oil 70 years after it sank. Luckily, the oil is very light and evaporates within minutes of hitting the surface of the water.

Originally built as the MV Hauraki, the ship was constructed by William Denny & Brothers at Dumbarton in Scotland. She was launched on November 28, 1921 and displaced 7,113 tons gross and was 450.3 feet long and just under 58.2 feet wide. The new ship was powered by two eight cylinder North British Diesel Engine Works diesel engines, first of its kind. She entered service on May 13, 1922. She was primarily a cargo vessel but had accommodation for 12 passengers.

In 1940, the Hauraki was requisitioned by the British Ministry of War Transport for "special services". On July 12, 1942, the MV Hauraki was ambushed by the armed merchant cruisers Hokoku Maru and Aikoku Maru and captured and taken to Singapore. On December 31, 1942 the MV Hauraki was renamed Hoki Maru and designated as a special transport. On the morning of February 17, 1944 the Hoki Maru was anchored to the east of Etan Island in Truk Lagoon. She was attacked several times before being torpedoed by an Avenger from USS Bunker Hill. The torpedo hit the port side and the fuel oil, petrol and diesel she was carrying in drums ignited and set the front of the vessel alight. The ship was discovered and then lost before being rediscovered in 1980. The Hoki Maru is believed to be the most haunted shipwreck.

The Fujikawa Maru was built as a passenger-cargo ship by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry at Nagasaki. Construction began on October 20, 1937 and launched on April 15, 1938 for Toyo Kaiun KK. The new vessel displaced 6,938 tons and it was 435 feet long and 58.4 feet wide. She had a single diesel engine of 840 nhp driving a single propeller. On July 1, 1938, the Fujikawa Maru was completed and placed in service with Toyo Kaiun on the Japan/North American run. She carried passengers and cargoes of raw silk, cotton, jute and flax. On December 9, 1940, it was taken over by the Imperial Japanese Navy and converted to an armed auxilary aircraft transport on December 18, 1940. On 17 February 1944, planes from USS Bunker Hill and Monterrey attacked the Fujikawa Maru and in strike 3E-1 two torpedoes were dropped. One hit just rear of the funnel on the starboard side. The ship did not sink immediately. It didn't sink until the next morning. The most paranormal reports come from the Fujikawa Maru including the sounds of engines starting.

GS Question of the Week

Why do you think dolls are common haunted objects?

The Ghost Detective Review

Stay Thirsty Media, Inc, June 11, 2010
Kindle, approximately 340 pages
Ordering Information:

In the closing months of the 20th century, James McParland arrives in Boston to seek redemption. One hundred years earlier, he had joined The Pinkerton Agency and had quickly become its top detective—a man so feared by his opponents that they often committed suicide rather than fall into his hands.

Although dead for more than eighty years, McParland’s reputation as “The Great Detective” preceded him as he reappears determined to earn eternal peace by helping the souls of those he tormented in life whose ghosts still walk among the living.

Thomas Lowenstein took his passion for turning a wrong in to a right and translated it into his debut novel, The Ghost Detective. I see a lot of promise in this writer. The novel skips around between POVs and time periods, but not so much the reader gets confused or lost. The characters were drawn out. The premise is rather interesting. A long dead detective uses his investigative skills to help lost souls finish their unfinished business so they can move on from purgatory. The novel itself is rather well written.

However, the descriptions tended to drown the story in certain places. On occasion, the dialogue was a bit stiff. Tags were used when not needed. No breaks to indicate POV shifts in mid-chapter. Character's thoughts don't stand out among other sentences. I think each has a way of taking away from the story, but I believe this author has a good career ahead of him.

I would recommend this book, even more so since 50 cents from the sale of every digital copy of The Ghost Detective, payable by the author and the publisher, goes to the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the release of those wrongly imprisoned for a crime they did not commit.

The Victoria Hotel

In 1887, John Mckleroy was a partner in the Anniston Land Company, Confederate Veteran, State School Superintendent and a candidate for governor twice. He chose the highest hill on Quintard Avenue to build his home. The Victoria was built in 1888. Mckleroy died in 1894 and his widow continued to occupy the home. That is until William, her son and mayor of Anniston, moved her out while she was on vacation in Florida. He died six months later. The McKleroy family occupied the home for 25 years.

In 1920, William McKleroy’s widow sold the house at public auction to William Coleman Wilson. Wilson was president of the Emory Foundry Company. The business produced Anniston's most prominent product, cast-iron pipe. The Wilsons occupied the residence until 1949. Frank and Robbie Kirby became the third owners and last full-time residents. Mr. Kirby was the founder and president of Anniston Electric Company. Mrs. Kirby was a leading musician in the community and entertained guests in what is now know as the Victoria Lounge. After their deaths, the Kirby estate went into a trust for their sisters, the Methodist Church and the Children’s Methodist Home. A realtor contacted them with a creative idea, turning the mansion into a country inn. They loved the idea and sold the estate to a South Carolina developer in 1984. Anniston architect Julian Jenkins and contractor Earlon McWhorter designed and restored this Southern home.

The McKleroy Guestroom is the most Victorian of the main house’s bedrooms. It features antiques from the 1890’s when Anniston was a boom town, an iron mantle made in one of Anniston’s foundries,and a jetted claw-foot tub. The Wilson Suite is the largest of the bedrooms within the main house. It features the middle portion of the three-story turret and a half-canopied bed as well as an iron mantle painted to look like marble. The Kirby Suite displays the chintz and colors popular again today and includes a “modernized” bath and a closet once used as a dollhouse for visiting nieces. The restoration for Alabama’s first Country Inn took approximately two years. Because Anniston needed hotel rooms, the annex additions to the main house were creating twenty-six rooms in 1986 and eighteen in 1988. In 1996 McWhorter completed the final phase of The Victoria with an addition of twelve guest rooms. The Victoria has sixty rooms and a fine-dining restaurant, which can seat up to one hundred people.

In January 2009, McWhorter donated The Victoria to Jacksonville Stated University Foundation. The Foundation has contracted with Jackson Hospitality Services to manage the hotel. Future plans include using the hotel and restaurant as a teaching facility for JSU students going into the hospitality field.

The restaurant and hotel is believed to be haunted by at least one active spirit. Footsteps are heard coming from spots in the house where no one is found. Music emanates from the piano lounge when no one is in the room. The piano has even been seen playing on its own. Witnesses have reported seeing a female apparition on the upstairs landing. The sound of glasses clinking together has been heard behind the bar by staff and a few guest.

No one knows for certain who the spirit or spirits are haunting the property. However, The Victoria is good for a little fine dining, good entertainment, and maybe a ghost or two.

Rose Island

An 18.5-acre island in Narragansett Bay off Newport, Rhode Island, Rose Island allegedly received its name due to appearing like the shape of a rose at low tide. Fortifications were constructed during the American Revolution on island due to its strategic location at the entrance to Newport Harbor. British and colonial soldiers alike used the island to defend Newport. From 1798 to 1800, the U.S. government began constructing Fort Hamilton but never finished it.

The U.S. Navy stored explosives during World Wars I and II as part of the Navy Torpedo Station on Rose Island. The government stopped using the land after World War II (except for the lighthouse) and declared it government surplus. Today, the only inhabitants of the Torpedo Station are three species of snakes, plus thousands of nesting birds that are protected by the State. The stone barracks from the fort still remain. Many of these buildings are in danger of collapsing and is considered unsafe for visitors to explore in or around them.

Designed and built in 1879 by Vermont architect, the Rose Island Lighthouse served as an aid to navigation for a century. It stands atop Fort Hamilton’s former South Battery on the southwestern point of the island, replacing a private light maintained by the Bristol Steam Boat Company. A brick oil house was added to the station in 1912 along with a brick fog signal building that was placed on a rock just west of and below the lighthouse. Lighthouse keepers were not paid well. They sometimes had to develop creative ways to feed their families, growing crops and caring for farm animals who sometimes wandered from the lighthouse grounds into the military compound, much to the officers’ annoyance. Keepers also battled rough weather conditions.

The Rose Island Lighthouse narrowly avoided destruction on August 7, 1958 when two tankers collided in heavy fog near Fort Adams and burst into flames. The Graham floated dangerously close the lighthouse, forcing the keepers to flee from the intense heat. However, the tide and wind turned and took the ship away from the lighthouse. Eighteen men from the two ships were killed in the incident.

It was abandoned as a functioning lighthouse in 1970 and vandalized after the Newport Bridge was built nearby. In 1984, the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation was founded to restore the dilapidated light on behalf of the City of Newport who received it for free from the United States government. Today, visitors can spend a night as a guest or a week as the "lighthouse keeper," completing many of the chores required to keep the lighthouse in good condition for a fee.

It is believed the island does not only hold the ruins of its military influence. Newport was known for its epidemics of diseases such as influenza, smallpox, and cholera. The Fort Hamilton barracks were used as a quarantine station during a 1823 outbreak of cholera. Victims of these epidemics along with military men who died in Newport are believed to inhabit a number of unmarked mass graves. In the late 1800s, witnesses reported "ghouls" stealing bodies from the island in the name of medical research. However, today, no one knows where these bodies are located. But one old military cemetery was uncovered in 1938 during construction of a water tower. Several human skeletons were found wearing Civil War-era clothing along with various artifacts. The remains and artifacts were placed in a large metal box and reburied in an unknown location on the island. Could such stories aid to Rose Island's haunted status?

Guests have reported hearing disembodied voices, witnessing doors slam before their eyes, and having unexplainable feelings of depression. One ghost rumored to dwell in the lighthouse is Keeper Charles S. Curtis who served thirty-one years (1887 - 1918) at Rose Island. Overnight guests claim to have heard him walk down the stairs at midnight, as was his custom in life, and make a thorough inspection of the facility. He often makes a brief stop in the kitchen before returning upstairs. Curtis' grandson, Wanton Chase, was sent to live with his grandparents on the island in hopes the salty air would improve his health. Years later, Chase was instrumental in restoring the lighthouse to its former 1912 self. This included assembling an antique kitchen wood stove from memory. Unfortunately, the keeper at the time managed to put the stove together before his arrival. When Chase stood before the stove, he saw something he wasn't expecting, the ghostly image of his dead grandmother Christina Curtis. This was followed by the smell of sugar cookies.

GS Question of the Week

Why do you think gargoyles and grotesques are placed on Gothic cathedrals and buildings?

Angkor Wat Temple

From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia were built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, and represents one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. More than 100 stone temples still stands today, and are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis.

Angkor Wat was built by Suryavaram II, and honors the Hindu god Vishnu. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology. The temple is situated within a moat and an outer wall. 2.2 miles long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx (geometric pattern consisting of five coplanar points) of towers. The stones, as smooth as polished marble, were laid without mortar with very tight joints which were sometimes hard to find. The blocks were held together by mortise and tenon joints in some cases, while in others they used dovetails and gravity. The blocks were presumably put in place by a combination of elephants, coir ropes, pulleys and bamboo scaffolding.

At the temple of Phnom Bakheng there are 108 surrounding towers. The number 108 is considered sacred in both Hindu and Buddhist cosmologies as it is the sum of 72 plus 36 (36 being ½ of 72). Another mysterious fact about the Angkor complex is its location 72 degrees of longitude east of the Pyramids of Giza. The temples of Bakong, Prah Ko and Prei Monli at Roluos, south of the main Angkor complex, are situated in relation to each other in such a way that they mirror the three stars in the Corona Borealis as they appeared at dawn on the spring equinox in 10,500 BC. It is interesting to note that the Corona Borealis would not have been visible from these temples during the time period in which they were constructed.

Unlike other temples at Angkor, Ta Prohm has been left as it was found. Ta Prohm's walls, roofs, chambers and courtyards have been sufficiently repaired to stop further deterioration, and the inner sanctuary has been cleared of bushes and thick undergrowth. Built in the later part of the 12th century by Jayavarman VII, Ta Prohm is the terrestrial counterpart of the star Eta Draconis the Draco constellation.
In 1177, approximately 27 years after the death of Suryavarman II, Angkor was sacked by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer. In the late 13th century, King Jayavarman VIII, who was Hindu, was deposed by his son in law, Srindravarman who spent the previous 10 years in Sri Lanka becoming ordained as a Buddhist monk. Hence, the new King decided to convert the official religion of the empire from Hindu to Buddhist. Since Buddha was Hindu from birth to death and divisions between both the faiths appeared seamless, citizens were quick to follow a faith founded on tranquility without a need for material gain and power.
During half-millennia of Khmer occupation, the city of Angkor became a pilgrimage destination of importance throughout Southeastern Asia. Sacked by the Thais in 1431 and abandoned in 1432, Angkor was forgotten for a few centuries. Wandering Buddhist monks, passing through the dense jungles, occasionally came upon the awesome ruins. Recognizing the sacred nature of the temples but ignorant of their origins, they invented fables about the mysterious sanctuaries, saying they had been built by the gods in a far ancient time. Centuries passed, these fables became legends, and pilgrims from the distant reaches of Asia sought out the mystic city of the gods. One of the first Western visitors to the temple was Antonio da Magdalena, a Portuguese monk who visited in 1586 and said that it "is of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decorations and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of".
However, most people continued to believe the stories to be nothing more than legend. That is until the French explorer Henri Mouhot brought Angkor to the world's attention in 1860. The French people were enchanted with the ancient city and beginning in 1908 funded and superbly managed an extensive restoration project. Work was interrupted by the civil war and Khmer Rouge control of the country during the 1970s and 1980s, but relatively little damage was done during this period other than the theft and destruction of mostly post-Angkorian statues. Restoration efforts still continue to this day.
Angkor Wat Temple has its place among pop culture as well. During the midst of the Vietnam War, Chief of State Norodom Sihanouk hosted Jacqueline Kennedy in Cambodia to fulfill her "lifelong dream of seeing Angkor Wat". In January 2003 riots erupted in Phnom Penh when a false rumor circulated that a Thai soap opera actress had claimed that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand. Scenes from the Tomb Raider series were also filmed there. Recently, Josh Gates and the Destination Truth crew performed the first paranormal investigation of Angkor Wat.
This beautiful, ornate temple is a place that has long been associated with spirits. It was believed to be a funerary temple. Locals don't enter into it at night very often. Therefore, it’s never been filmed at night before, providing an excellent location for Josh and his crew. People say they see strange lights, hear strange noises, and have encounters with violent apparitions.
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