Showing posts from March, 2011


Kolmanskop began as Coleman's Hill after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman abandoned his ox wagon on a hill opposite the settlement during a sandstorm. In 1908, black worker Zacharias Lewala found a diamond while working in the area. Then, showed it to his supervisor, German railroad inspector August Stauch. Soon after, German miners began to settle in the area. Within two years, Kolmanskop in Namibia, Africa was born.

The first diamond miners used their enormous wealth to build a village in a German architectural style. It was complete with a ballroom, power station, butchery, theater, casino, ice factory, soda water and lemonade plant, swimming pool, playground, hospital with with the first x-ray station in the southern hemisphere, bowling alley, school, bakery, exclusive residential buildings and the first tram in Africa. 1,000 kg diamonds were being processed in factories. Some 700 families lived in the town, including about 300 German adults, 40 children and 800 Owambo…

GS Question of the Week

Which island do you think is the most haunted in the world?

Woodland Opera House Documentary

Strange Phenomenon: Woodland Opera House from Rob Blake on Vimeo.

I was contacted by Rob Blake who put together the above documentary with friend Ray Tarara about the Woodland Opera House in Woodland, California.

The Opera House was designed in 1885 by Thomas J. Welsh for $28,000. It was the first opera house to serve the Sacramento Valley. Seven years later, a fire destroyed much of what is now the Downtown Woodland Historic District, including the Opera House. A fireman named William Porter died in this fire when a back wall collapsed on him. David N. Hershey purchased the site and the Opera House was rebuilt between 1895 and 1896 using many of the materials from the original building were used including some of the partially standing walls.

Over 300 touring companies had appeared on its stage. However, the growing popularity of motion pictures and a lawsuit filed by an event attendee who mistook a loading door for an exit, falling three feet and broke their arm, forced them to clos…

"Haunted" UK Hospital Set for Demolition

The Borough of Sunderland decided to take advantage of good rail service and the scenic view of the North Sea and build a psychiatric facility in Ryhope in between 1893 and 1895. Sunderland Borough Asylum also known as Sunderland Lunatic Asylum was designed by noted asylum architect G.T. Hine.

There are six wards on either side of a combined chapel and recreation hall along with the usual services. An isolation hospital and infirmary block were added in 1902. In the 1930's an admissions hospital and wartime Emergency Medical Service Huts were constructed nearby. These later became the Ryhope General Hospital, which still operates to this day. The rest of the site became known as Cherry Knowle Hospital when it was acquired by the National Health Service in 1948.

As community care replaced the long term stay facilities, the original asylum eventually closed in 1998. However, other satellite buildings were retained for use by mental health organizations. After being abandoned for …

Isla Coiba

Isla Coiba Island was considered the Panama version of Alcatraz. The island is far from the mainland. The nearest town is hours away by boat. It's ten miles wide and thirty miles long (largest island on the Pacific coast of Central America) but not populated. The waters surrounding it are infamous for aggressive sharks and strong currents. Coiba is mountainous, covered in thick jungle and home to very poisonous snakes. Not a place anyone wants to be sent to.

Established in 1919, Panama’s worse criminals and opponents of the military regimes were sent to the island under the dictatorships of Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. Prisoners were taken to the island twice a month by boat from Puerto Mutis, Veraguas; the trip took six hours. The longest sentence any inmate could receive was 20 years. Panama does not have the death penalty.

Isla Coiba has 30 buildings. At its peak, the prison housed 3000 inmates. Prisoners were kept in a central compound where there was a church and a small…

GS Question of the Week

What are Deer Women?

Three-Legged Lady Road

Upon researching this Columbus, Mississippi road, I found myself believing the stories to be false. Why? Because there are so many of them. Variations in a legend are fairly expected. With the legend of the three-legged lady, I uncovered very few consistencies. However, the unexplained phenomena taking place on this road could have one wondering what is really going on. We must start with the tales about the three-legged lady.

One story begins with a girl living with her mother. One day she was run over by a car, losing a leg and supposedly her mother sewed her daughters leg back on. Now if you knock on the church (that doesn't exist anymore) door 3 times she'll chase you. Don't look backwards until you go around the next curve (where the gate is) or she'll open the gate, you'll drive out into the field and she'll kill you. (The knocking on the church door three times and the lady chasing you seems to be a consistency even though the back story isn't.)


Duckett Grove Castle

The story of a spectacular castellated Gothic castle complete with gardens, towers, thirty rooms and statues expanding over 12,000 acres beings with a man named Thomas Duckett. While not the first Duckett to arrive in Ireland, he purchased a 500 acre small town on the northern edge of the Lake District known as Kneestown from Thomas Crosthwaite of Cockermouth in 1695. Crosthwaite had obtained extensive land property in Ireland under the Acts of Settlement of 1666 to 1684 during the reign of Charles II.

Thomas married Judith de la Poer, heiress to her father’s estates in County Waterford. However, it was his grandson William's marriage that turned things around for the Duckett family. William married Elisabeth Dawson-Coates, co-heiress of wealthy Dublin banker John Dawson-Coate in 1790. The couple had four sons. On November 19, 1895, William remarried at the age of 73 to Maria Georgina Thompson. He died on June 22, 1908 and was the last family member to be buried in the family bur…

GS Question of the Week

Do you think the supermoon on March 19th will bring a series of natural disasters?

17th Century Witch Chronicles

Ever wonder what it would have been like to be accused of witchcraft in the 17th Century? A 350-year-old notebook, documenting the trials of women convicted of witchcraft in England during the 17th Century, is now available online thanks to a team at The University of Manchester's John Rylands Center for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care who spent two weeks photographing it. The author was an English Puritan named Nehemiah Wallington. The manuscript is one of Wallington's seven surviving notebooks. The woodturner wrote 50 journals about religion, the civil war and witchcraft trials during the course of his life.

Within its pages, she recounts the fate of women accused of having relationships with the devil during a time when England was deep in civil war. Specifically, it relays the details of a witchcraft trial held in Chelmsford in July 1645. More than a hundred suspected witches were serving time in Essex and Suffolk at the time of this trial. Of the 30 women on trial in …

Black Diamond Cemetery

Black Diamond Historical Cemetery is located in Black Diamond, Washington. Once known for its coal mining, the cemetery was founded in 1884. It sits on Cemetery Hill Road, hidden by a row of trees. The only indication of its existence is a wooden sign erected by local Scouts.

The earliest gravestone dates back to 1880 and now contains over 1100 graves. the tombstones show cultural diversity and tragedy that existed in town when coal mining was at its peak. At least half a dozen graves mark belong to those of mine workers who died in explosions in 1902, 1910 and 1915. Graves mark residents who came from countries such as Italy, Australia, Russia and Germany. A Civil War veteran was laid to rest in Black Diamond as well as children who died in the early 1900s due to epidemics of small pox and influenza.

Being a cemetery, it's not too unusual the property has a haunted title attached to it. Paranormal reports have been quite consistent even though plausible explanations could be dete…

USS Olympia

USS Olympia saw service in the United States Navy from her commissioning in 1895 until 1922 as a 5,300-ton protected cruiser. She launched on November 5, 1892. Her claim to fame came when she led five warships in to Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War on May 1, 1898. Navy Commodore George Dewey stood on her bridge and utter the famous words: “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” The fleet destroyed ten Spanish cruisers and gunboats without losing a single American life.

The ship was decommissioned after returning to the United States in 1899, but returned to active service in 1902. Her first duty was to serve as the flagship of the Caribbean Division.

She served until World War I as a training ship for naval cadets and as a floating barracks in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1917, she was mobilized again for war service as the flagship of the US Patrol Force, patrolling the American coast and escorting transport ships. She patrolled the eastern seaboard of the United Stat…

Ghostly Thirteen

Ghostly Thirteen was inspired by the Thursday Thirteen meme. You list thirteen paranormal-related things, for example your top 13 posts (if you have a paranormal blog), mythical creatures, gods, haunted houses, etc... All is welcomed to participate. Theme is up to you.
My Theme – 13 Haunted Former Hospitals1. Pennhurst State School and Hospital
2. Norwich State Hospital
3. Manly Quarantine Station
4. Hayswood Hospital
5. Linda Heights Hospital
6. Essex County Mental Hospital
7. Northern State Hospital
8. Rolling Hills
9. Waverly Hills Sanitorium
10. Mount Misery
11. Hot Lake Hotel
12. The Pike House
13. The Lyric Theater (temporary makeshift hospital)

GS Question of the Week

What are you expectations for the very first LIVE show on Destination Truth?

Pennhurst State School and Hospital

In 1903, the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the creation of the Eastern State Institution for the Feeble-minded and Epileptic. A commission was organized to determine how many feeble-minded and epileptic people were in need of specialized institutional care.

Construction began in 1903 on hundreds of acres of Crab Hill in Spring City, Pennsylvania. It officially opened on November 23, 1908. However, additional buildings were added throughout its years of operation. The lower campus buildings include Philadelphia, Quaker, Franklin, Nobel, Devon, Mayflower, Whitman, Wilson I and II. Upper Campus are Pershing, Buchanan, Audubon, Keystone, Capital and Horizon. A tunnel system connects twenty-six of the buildings. The Pennsylvania Railroad created a Pennhurst Station to deliver coal and other supplies. The tracks had since been removed but are currently being recreated.

In 1908, "Patient number 1" was admitted. Four years later, Pennhurst was overcrowded and under pressure t…