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

Oliver Springs Mystery

Over 70 years ago, Oliver Springs, TN was faced with the murder of two sisters and their 16 year old errand boy. Margaret Richards was a secretary for the Oliver Springs Brick Yard. Her sister Ann was a bank teller at Oliver Springs Bank. The two lived with their other sister Mary.

On February 5, 1940, Mary, teacher and librarian at Oliver Springs High School, wrote a note to her sisters. She sent a couple of students to deliver the note, but they returned saying no one answered the door. After a second failed attempt to deliver the note and learning her sisters didn't show up to a scheduled meeting, Mary went to the house. Upon arrival, she witnessed a brutal scene.

She found her sister Margaret,46, dead on the stairwell. She had been shot twice, once in the head and once in the throat. Her sister Ann, 48, was dead on the kitchen floor from being shot in the head. Their errand boy Leonard "Powder" Brown was discovered near the second floor banister with a .38 pistol in his hand. It was believed he killed Margaret and Ann and then committed suicide. Only problem is there were no fingerprints on the gun. He was also described as being timid, afraid of death and guns. The person who killed the victims possessed an ability to fire accurately. However, there was persistent theories of his guilt.

One stated he became jealous when the sisters gave him and another person a suit of clothing and the other person's suit was better than his. Another rumor had people believing Brown idolized ex-cons. There were two seen around the town, waiting to board trains to Chattanooga and Jefferson City. Another theory told of Brown's parents going insane before they died and his father supposedly killed someone. He was orphan raised by his Aunt and Uncle. The Richards sisters allegedly told Brown he wasn't doing his job properly and he may go back to an orphanage. The town was divided among those who believed Brown murdered the sisters and those who thought there was a fourth person involved.

On February 13, 1940, there was a five-hour long investigation with an Anderson County Coroner's jury and Mary and the sisters only brother, Joe, in attendance along with 25 witnesses who testified. It was determined that all three were killed by persons unknown despite the sheriff's persistence it was Brown. However, it wouldn't be until 2001 that Brown became officially cleared of all allegations. A witness finally came forward with information about two men seen spying on the house the day before the murders. There had also been witnesses on the day of the murder who claimed to have heard two men talking inside the house.The case remains open.

The mansion the Richards sisters lived in was destroyed by a fire. Harvey's Furniture was built in its place. Employees and customers have witnessed a female apparition wearing a 40s style dress and have often heard voices from unknown origins throughout the building.

Sources:

Oliver Springs Historical Society

Hauntingsguide.com

Mark Twain House and Museum



The Ghost Hunters crew are returning to the Mark Twain House and Museum for tonight's episode. A couple of years after marrying Olivia Langdon in 1870, Samuel Langhorne Clemens a.k.a Mark Twain decided to move to Hartford, Connecticut. He had visited years prior to meet with his publisher Elisha Bliss Jr from American Publishing Company. During this visit, he became attracted to the town and wanted to be closer to his publishers. The Clemens Family rented a house in the Nook Farm neighborhood in 1871. Then, bought land and began construction on a new home.

Designed by a New York City architect named Edward Tuckman Potter, the 19-room Victorian Gothic structure contained bay windows, fireplaces from India, hand-stenciled paneling and an enormous hand-carved mantel purchased in Scotland. The top floor was the billiards room and study where Twain wrote some of his notable works including The Gilded Age, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and The Prince and the Pauper late at night. His children had their own nursery and playroom/classroom. They moved in after it was completed in 1874 and lived there with his wife and  children. The couple had three daughters named Olivia Susan (Susy), Clara Langdon and Jane Lampton (Jean). They also had a son but he died 19 months after he was born from diphtheria in 1872. Seven years after the house was completed, an additional strip of land was purchased leading to the kitchen and front hall being enlarged, the driveway redrawn and the installation of new plumbing, heating and a burglar alarm. Unfortunately, the lavish lifestyle in Connecticut would soon come to an end.


Mark Twain had formed the company Charles L. Webster & Company which published his writings along with Ulysses S. Grant's memoir. After about ten years of business, his company went bankrupt in 1894. He succumbed to several other investment losses and bank panics. Thus, forcing him to move his family to Europe in 1891. He began lecturing to pay off his debts. During one of his European lectures, his oldest daughter Susy died from spinal meningitis in 1896 at their home in Hartford. She was 24 years old. The Clemens wouldn't return to Connecticut until 1901 where he had another house built named Stormfield in Redding. Jean moved in with her father and worked as his personal secretary until she died on Christmas Eve in 1909 from a heart attack as a result of a seizure (she was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 15) at the age of 29. Clemens himself lived in Stormfield until he died on April 21, 1910. Clara would be the only Clemens child to out live their father.

The Clemens Family sold the house in 1903. After Susy's death, they never could return to the home they treasured so much. Over the years, the house was turned in to a school, apartment building and library. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and underwent a multi-million dollar renovation/expansion in 1974. Today, the house functions as a museum dedicated to Mark Twain's life and work.

While a visit to Mark Twain's House and Museum will invite you in to the world of a great American writer, you may encounter a ghost as well. Staff and visitors have experienced a wide range of paranormal activity including seeing shadows, hearing voices and footsteps, and having their clothes tugged on. Others have smelled cigar smoke (especially in the Billiards room), seeing orbs, hearing children's laughter. There have been sightings of a woman in translucent period clothing (possibly the spirit of Susy) on the 1st/2nd floors and an African American male (possibly the ghost of the Clemens' worker and freed slave George Griffin) seen on the 3rd floor. Of course everything in the Twain House may not be sweet and nice. There are reports of growling and things being thrown at people in the Basement.

Sources:

Mark Twain House & Museum

Wikipedia

lovetoknow Paranormal - Haunted Mark Twain House Museum

Reader Submission: I Spent 38 Days in a Haunted House

The following story was submitted by Julie:

I spent 38 days in pure mental hell in a haunted house!

When I was twenty one years old, my new husband's family offered to sell us a house that had been in his family for generations at an incredibly cheap price. They had a difficult time keeping it rented and did not want to hassle with it anymore. We jumped at the opportunity and moved in almost immediately. It was only a matter of hours before strange things began to happen. It did not take me long to decide there was something or someone else other than us in that house.

Almost every night we would hear something coming up the staircase. The steps were old so you could hear every creak. Nick, my husband would jump up out of bed whenever he heard it to go make sure that someone hadn't broken in. It would always end the same, no one was there. The ghost appeared to get braver as time went on. We could hear the steps eventually come down the hall; they were getting a little closer to our bedroom door with each visit. Finally, the night came that we had both been dreading. Nick was sound asleep, exhausted from working hours of overtime. I heard the steps dare to pass the doorway of our bedroom and enter our room.

I felt slightly aware of something or someone approach the side of the bed I had my back turned to, but I was afraid to look. I just kept my face in Nick's chest and closed my eyes tightly. I felt as though there was someone right behind me, right behind my head just staring at me. I knew one thing for sure; I was not going to turn around to check. I just wanted to fall back to sleep as soon as possible. My hand searched under the covers for Nick's hand. I very softly and quietly moved my hand beneath his big palm. I did not want to disturb him; I just knew it would make me feel better if his hand was lying on top of mine.

My back felt ice cold; I tried to bring the covers up tighter around my neck and back. That's when I felt it. Something moved briefly on the bed behind me. I did not acknowledge it. I forced myself to stay still as if I were still asleep. I felt that if I suddenly reacted, I would see something horrible, so I did not turn around, I did not move.

That seemed to upset whatever was behind me. I felt the bed move again, but just ever so slightly. I felt that whatever was behind me was so close to me it was almost touching my hair. I had the feeling on my scalp similar to when you have static electricity in your hair. I was sure it must almost be standing on end. I rubbed Nick's palm with the back of my hand. I think I was actually trying to wake him, but trying to do it quietly, so whatever was behind me would not notice. It didn’t work. Nick just grunted a moment and then took another deep breath, he was still sound asleep.

I felt another movement on the bed directly behind me again. I actually could feel the blanket I had wrapped so tightly around me tug on me a bit as if someone had laid some weight on it behind me, I was sure that something was trying to get even closer to me. Suddenly I felt air blow on my cheek. It was just the same as if someone had breathed on me, except it was a lot colder, ice cold.

I tried rubbing Nick's hand again only I did it more aggressively this time. He moaned a little and turned to face me laying his arm across my side. That made me feel a little better, if there was someone or something directly behind me he would have struck them with his hand when he put his arm around me. I no sooner had the thought when Nick's arm went flying off of me and back towards him. It was as if someone had picked up his arm and flung it off of me. At that same exact moment, I felt a very strong tug on my hair, and heard a whisper in my ear.

"Get out of my room," the words struck me like a knife in my stomach.

It was a very raspy mean voice. I woke Nick instantly, but once again there was no one there. Many things happened in that house. We only lived there for thirty six days, thirty six days of pure mental hell.

That was when I started to believe in ghosts and spirit hauntings. It forever changed how I view things. I wrote a book about the whole experience, The Lennox Haunting... It is on Amazon, It is a true story!

Reader Submission - A Visit From Mom Pt. 3

There he was, still sitting on the floor with his back towards me. It was very dark in the room but he had a small pocket flashlight which he had switched on and had laid on the floor between his legs. It formed a small circle of light around him. I could tell he was not aware of my presence; he was too lost in what he was doing.

Plunk. Plunk. I could see his shoulders moving as though he were tapping on something. It took a bit of focusing, but eventually I could make out the object from the dim light cast by the tiny flashlight, exactly what it was he had in his hand.

He was holding his hunting knife. It had an eight inch blade with a very heavy brass handle. He was grasping it by the tip of the blade with his fingertips and was tapping with the handle on something on the floor in front of him. I slowly raised myself up from my crouching position just far enough so I could see what it was that had him so involved. I clamped my hand over my mouth as I watched so my gasps could not be heard. I could not believe what I was witnessing.

Tap, tap, tap; again and again, as the handle of the hunting knife lightly struck the wooden floor.

He had obviously retrieved one of the mouse traps from the garage where we kept them set and ready. We had randomly placed them about in an effort to control the mice; they would often try to come in as the weather turned cold. The trap was not empty. It contained a rather large mouse that was pinned under the wire latch of the trap by its tail and one of its back legs. It was quite alive. The mouse was frantically trying to escape despite the trap attached to him. The poor thing was flailing about, its’ struggle with the trap was causing the rattling sound I had heard. Every time the mouse would try to flee by dragging the trap with his three good legs, he would tap lightly on its head with the butt of the handle of his knife.

I am quite an animal lover and even though mice are not at the top of my list, I was quite shocked at his behavior; it was as though he were disciplining the poor creature for trying to escape. When the mouse would become so frightened it would no longer attempt to move, he would start tapping on the floor directly beside it again just long enough to scare the little creature into daring to make yet one more hopeless attempt to escape. Suddenly, he dropped his knife raised his fist high into the air and lunged it down hard on top of the poor mouse.

I dropped back down to a squatting position once again so I would be out of my husband’s sight. I began shuffling backwards towards the hallway as quickly as I could. I lost my balance and landed on my bottom but I never paused for even a moment. I just kept moving, doing what I can now only describe as a backwards butt walk. I watched the end of the hall. I knew if I saw his shadow appear, I would pay dearly.

I made it safely back into my bed and pulled the comforter tightly around me. Tears burned in my eyes as I faced what was happening to my life. I even tried to wish back my mom standing at the end of my bed again. It didn’t work. I finally gratefully fell back to sleep.

I had an incredible dream.

I found myself standing alone on a long narrow gravel road. It was very dark. There was a damp gray mist rolling along the ditches, almost appearing as though it were a gray ghost lurking against the total blackness that had enveloped me. I could see, despite the darkness, that tremendous trees lined both sides of the road beside me. They had no leaves; their branches were very long and black, blacker than the darkness itself was. They stretched out over the road from both sides, as though they were trying to touch each other above me, but then had somehow become snarled and twisted at their spiny tips; and now were interlocked and tangled, they formed a tunnel effect above me and around me.

Despite the heavy mist and the darkness, I could still see clearly down the road before me and far off into the distance. There, in a pinpoint of light, I observed a shadow-like figure that appeared to be moving towards me. Even though I was deep in sleep, I could actually smell the dampness of the air and the aroma of the wet rotting bark of the huge black trees. I felt fear beginning to flow through me, clenching my body, paralyzing my legs and feet, and causing me to be unable to move them. I felt as though I was standing in hardened cement.

The figure continued to move slowly and deliberately towards me, making short jerky movements with every step it took. It seemed to take endless hours for it to reach me. I watched as it moved closer and closer. With no way for me to flee, I could only observe and wait.

Now, finally, but a few yards from me, the figure abruptly stopped and stood completely motionless directly in front of me. The fog was now so dense I felt as though I were looking through very thick dirty glass that distorted the face and made it near impossible for me to make out any distinct features. I could feel the cold heavy air weighing on my skin. I glanced down to my forearm and observed that the dampness of the mist had formed a few tiny little beads of liquid on it. I watched as they suddenly gathered together to form one big water droplet that tickled me as it trickled off of my skin and toppled to the ground in slow motion. I had a sudden flashback of memory before my eyes. I saw my tears landing on top of the grease in my bowl of soup the night I learned of my mother’s impending death. I lifted my eyes back up to the figure, startled that it was now but a few inches from me. The mist had thinned enough to clearly see the features of the face.

I found myself looking into my mother’s eyes. Her face was very close to mine. I felt it strange that I felt no breath from her lips or warmth from her body. She had no color, no motion to her. It was as if I was looking at a transparent black and white photograph. Her face was so peaceful and her eyes felt as though they were looking right through me. We stood in silence for some time, face to face, just looking at each other, but not touching. I started to feel warm and at peace as some of the fear began to drain away. She began to speak to me, but strangely, her mouth was not moving. I realized I was hearing her in my mind. Her voice came as a whisper inside of my head. It was gentle and mesmerizing; I can only compare it to the sound of a soft breeze blowing though the leaves of a tree.

She told me it was time for me to close this chapter of my life. She explained that the beginning of my thirtieth year had been a milestone in my fate, and that it was time for happiness to fill my life. I smiled at my mom as her thoughts flowed through my mind. I could smell the oatmeal cookies she used to bring to our rooms late at night. She told me to prepare myself for the change that was about to take place in my life. She left me with one warning, to be careful, that my husband was going to try to kill me. That is when I woke suddenly; I was covered with cold sweat. I was afraid, afraid of what would come to be.

This truly happened to me. I was in a horrible place in my life and I believe my mother decided to intervene. She changed my whole life, it affected me so much that I was driven to write a book about it; Intertwined, Based on a True Story, if you are interested in reading a couple chapters you can find it at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. Our loved ones never truly leave our side.

Reader Submission - A Visit From Mom Pt. 2

My eyes consumed only empty darkness. I exhaled a long deep sigh of relief; he was not in the room with me. I was alone, at least for the moment. I turned and dangled my feet over the edge of my bed while drawing in long deep breaths and making a weak attempt to get a grasp on myself and calm my heart back down to a somewhat normal pace. I was not absolutely convinced as of yet whether or not I had just seen a ghost. I was still quite shaken, but shit, even if it was my mother, it was still a ghost.

My mind was trying to make some sense of the ordeal. Logic took over consoling me that perhaps I had simply been dreaming. It was quite possible that in those first waking moments when your brain is not quite yet functioning to its full capacity, I had simply imagined the whole episode.

I was suddenly pulled back to reality as I heard something from somewhere in the house. There was a strange tapping sound. It would tap continuously, and then suddenly stop again. I waited a few moments and it started again. I knew, despite my better judgment, I had better go check.

He could be doing something disturbing or horrible. I quietly crossed the room and ran square into the bedroom door. He had obviously shut it when he had left the room. He knew I hated it when he closed the door on me. I turned the knob slowly until I heard the latch click and then carefully pulled it open. I was trying to be very cautious not to make any sound at all. I knew that getting down the hallway without being heard would be the real challenge. The floor in the hall consisted of long wooden planks that had warped from wear and caused them to loosen at their edges just enough so when you stepped on the surface of them in specific spots they would creak loudly.

I kept my body tight against the wall doing my best to avoid them and moved smoothly and silently as possible down the hall. I finally reached the end of it and stood motionless holding my breath so I could hear everything around me.

I heard a sort of rustling sound that appeared to be coming from the dining area that was located just beyond the kitchen. I very slowly and cautiously moved my face past the corner of the hall just enough so I could peek past its edge and was able to peer into the big open room.

I could not locate him anywhere around the area where I had heard the sounds coming from. I crouched down very low to the floor, and using my hands and feet, I shuffled towards the breakfast bar that ran between the kitchen and the dining area. I was feeling just a little impressed with myself; being a normally slightly clumsy person, I had remained in perfect stealth mode. I felt like a panther in the night, at least for the moment anyway. I stalked closer, attempting to be absolutely silent so he would not be aware of my presence.

Now, on the opposite side of the bar that he was on, I slowly put my head just far enough past the corner so I could peek to the other side. I realized then why I was not able to see him from the opening of the hallway. He was sitting on the floor hidden from my view by the bar itself. I jerked my head quickly back out of sight and sat with my back pushed tightly against my side of the bar. I remained motionless for the moment, trying to breathe as quietly as possible. Even though I was a little excited over my professionalism, I still felt a bit sneaky and a little weird over my own behavior as I crouched there in the dark spying on my husband.

It hadn’t always been this way. He may have been a little strange at times in the past, he had always had little bouts of dark moods, but then his demeanor would always change quickly, and he would appear to be quite normal again. However, in the past month or so, this had been changing immensely.

For some inexplicable reason, lately he could turn ice cold mean in the drop of a hat. Suddenly, at that precise moment, his eyes would appear to turn from their normal shade of brown to coal black, as though a terrible storm had just rolled into his head and exploded. I had chosen to ignore the behavior at first, but his creepiness had become so intense it could no longer be denied. Something was going wrong in him. He was no longer the man I once knew.

Now as a result, I have learned to watch his eyes closely when he speaks to me and be constantly watchful for the darkness to flood into them. I was beginning to wonder if Satan may have fathered a son that he had adopted out.

Suddenly, I heard the clicking and rattling again now followed by a tap, tap every few seconds or so; I cautiously crept a little closer. I was trembling just a bit from either the night chill or nervousness, but I just had to know what he was doing. I felt that since he appeared not to be so well anymore, I had a responsibility to watch him closely, or perhaps it was more than that. I no longer trusted what he might do. I had to know just how far he had slipped. I slowly poked my head around the corner of the bar once again.

To be continued...

Reader Submission - A Visit From Mom Pt. 1

The following story is from Julie:

I was living with a man that was suddenly acting strangely, just barely hanging on to the edge of sanity. It was to the point I could no longer trust him…I was not sure what he may do next. I was desperate for answers, afraid, and alone. Then something strange happened, so strange that even now I cannot even believe it myself, but it was real. I have an extreme need to share this incredible story to all of you out there that feels no hope, miracles happen trust me! So many people do not understand how you can find yourself in a position where you know there is no escape. Unless people have experienced it, they will never understand. So many of us that have been through such suppression know the real truth on how it happens. If you stay you could die, if you go you know in your heart you WILL die. My heart goes out to you all, my dear sisters and brothers; know that I have a hug for each of you, because I truly know where you’re at!

I woke with such a start that my body had automatically bolted itself into an upright position. For some reason, unknown to me, I had an overwhelming feeling that I was being observed. Even though my eyes were still blurry from sleep and not quite cooperating, I frantically searched the immediate area surrounding my bed. I felt a sudden stab in my gut as I realized someone truly was there, standing at the very foot of my bed. I flung my hand out sideways in the darkness towards my bedside table. I was desperately searching for my eyeglasses that I had left lying there just a few hours earlier. Without them or my contact lenses, what I thought I was visualizing as a person could easily have been my bathrobe dangling innocently from the six foot tall post at the end of my bed.

As I searched blindly in the dark, I felt them for just an instant, barely brushing them with my fingertips. The force was just enough to send them whirling off of the night stand and spinning across the wooden floor. So much for that, my only choice now was to squint like a mole and try to make out whom, if anyone was truly there.

Concentrating to focus, I was able to make out the figure; it appeared to be a woman. She was wearing a brightly flowered dress with a brown tattered work coat over it. It reminded me of the ones we used to wear on our family farm during my childhood years. The woman was staring at me in an odd sort of a way. Her head was slightly quirked to one side. My heart was pounding so hard in my chest that I could hear the echo of each beat inside of my head. But then, even in my half blind state, I began to notice the warm soft smile on the woman’s face. I squinted a little harder. She seemed vaguely familiar to me. My brain shifted into overdrive racing through all my past and present trying to sort out a name that I could place with this face. Suddenly, I realized who was standing there! Oh my God, it was my mother!

I had not recognized her in those first waking moments, only because she no longer looked pale and ravished as she had the last time I saw her. She appeared quite youthful, vibrant and full of love; exactly as she had been before the cancer had attacked her young body at twenty eight years of age. Mom died twenty two years ago slowly and painfully, one pound at a time. She was thirty years young, the exact age that I am now.

I very quietly lowered my weight onto my feet. I squatted down and once again and ran my hands across the surface of the floor trying to locate what was left of my eyeglasses.

Even with this sudden revelation, panic still swept through me. This could only mean one thing, and I wasn’t very keen on what that was. With adrenaline racing through my veins, I leaned over towards the floor, frantically running my hands adjacent to the edge of my bed as I desperately tried to locate my eyeglasses one more time. I really needed them right now, what I perceived I was seeing was not at all acceptable to me.

Stretching just a bit too far, I managed to roll off the edge of my bed and hit the floor with a loud thud. My butt landed square on my glasses. I hastily jerked them out from beneath my bottom expecting the worse. Without taking the time to check their present condition I quickly threw them onto my face, realizing as I did that they were now bent and distorted and had but one remaining lens. Closing my eye on the side of the missing lens, I found that I could actually see through the one that was still intact. I slowly raised my head up past the edge of my bed until I could just barely see over the top of the crumpled comforter. I moved my head upward slowly until I was able to view the foot of my bed once again.

I carefully focused with my one eye to the exact spot where I thought she had stood but a few moments ago, only to find that there was now no one there. In one clumsy motion I stood up and leapt back onto my bed, the sudden movement caused my now useless eyeglasses to once again tumble off of my face and fall somewhere out of sight. I heard a small click, click sound as they landed on the wooden floor and once again slid out of my reach.

I threw my left arm outward this time, towards his side of the bed to check for his presence, but felt only the coolness of the sheet. Thankfully, he was not there, and obviously had not been for some time. Once again I jerked my body upright; my eyes darting around the darkened room. I carefully searched every corner, every shadow for his outline, fearing that he may be lurking somewhere in the dark, hiding as some predator animal might, just waiting patiently for the moment he could pounce on me and do something loveless or unreasonable.

To be continued...

Hammond Castle



Guest Hunter Josh Gates joins the TAPS team as they investigate an Hammond Castle in Gloucester, Massachusetts, minutes away from Josh's childhood home.

Hammondcastle.org
The castle was constructed between 1926 and 1929 for inventor John Hays Hammond Jr as a wedding present for his new bride Irene. The two secretly married in 1926. Hammond is known as the "Father of Remote Control". He held over 400 patents, more than anyone other than Thomas Edison. His home and laboratory contains his 15th, 16th and 18th Century collection of Roman, Medieval and Renaissance artifacts including the skull of one of Christopher Columbus' crewman, an eighty-five foot tall pipe organ, and the tomb of a child from Ancient Rome. Irene died in 1959 and Hammond's death came years later in 1965. Irene was buried in her family's plot in the Gloucester's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Hammond was buried in the sepulcher until his body was moved in to the bronze vault inside the Cat Garden a few years ago.

Today, the building operates as the Hammond Castle Museum and is transformed in to a haunted attraction known as Castle of the Damned in October. Hammond and his wife were known Spiritualists and performed many seances with psychics. During their experiments, did they invite spirits in their home who have never left? Hammond collected many historical artifacts. Were spirits attached to them? Either way, the castle is host to numerous paranormal reports. 

It is believed Hammond and his wife haunt the building. Their spirits have often been seen throughout Hammond Castle. Items disappear, reappear and move on their own. Voices are heard in the circular library as well as other rooms. A ghostly red-haired woman and other spirits appears among guests during weddings and disappears whenever anyone gets too close to them. A shadow figure is seen on the balcony above the organ.

Sources:



James McCabe Theater

Photo by: Kevin Brady
Built in 1915, The James McCabe Theater is located in the booming town of Valrico, Florida. The Valrico Improvement Association raised $3,500 to build a structure for the group and as a focal point for the community and named it the Valrico Civic Center. By like the 1950s, it was home to a Woman's Club and in the late 1970s, Hillsborough County repossessed the building.

The Village Players obtained permission to use the structure for theatrical productions until 1994 when the property was deeded to them. It achieved historical landmark status and received a name change. James McCabe was one of The Village Players founds as well as their former president. After he suddenly passed away, the building became known as The James McCabe Theater. For the past few years, the theater has been experiencing continuous renovations. They rely on donations from generous people to keep this project going.

This theater may be the only commercial property from Valrico's golden days but it's also believed to be haunted. Witnesses have heard the sound of keys or coins jingling, having their named called by an unknown source, a little girl singing, footsteps, humming and laughter. There are reports of a male entity roaming the building but also evidence of residual activity.

Sources:

James McCabe Theater website

Brandon Patch - 'Ghosts' at James McCabe a Test for Paranormal Enthusiasts

The Lyric Theatre

Lyric Theatre (Tupelo, Ms.)
Photo By: Lamar Jones
Prior to the American Civil War, Tupelo, Mississippi was known as Gum Pond due to the numerous black gum trees in the area. It was later renamed in honor of the Battle of Tupelo. You may recognize the name thanks to a little singer named Elvis Presley who was born in East Tupelo in 1935. While several notable names can be linked to the city, there are just as many legends. Paranormal investigators believe much of the city is haunted. One particular location may have a 1930s tornado to thank for their alleged haunted status.

Mr. R. F. Goodlett secured enough funds and The Comos was built in 1912. The Comos, as the Lyric Theatre was originally named, was designed as a vaudeville theater and included space for several commercial offices. The Lyric remained a home for live productions until the 1930's, when it became a part of the M.A. Lightman Company (Malco) chain of movie houses, acquiring its now-familiar marquee and Art Deco appearance. A persistent rumor dictates Elvis’ first kiss was stolen in the balcony of the Lyric. However, the theater's sturdy brick walls were truly tested on April 5, 1936. A massive tornado swept through, leveling much of the city.

Being one of two buildings to survive this meteorological event, the Lyric was turned in to a makeshift hospital and mortuary. The dead and the dying were moved in to the building. Surgeries were performed, using the popcorn poppers to sterilize medical instruments and crawl spaces temporarily stored the dead. An estimated 216 people were killed and another 700 injured. The official numbers may have been higher due to racial discrimination involving newspapers. It's believed one of those victims may have stuck around. Theater staff named their ghost "Antoine" and accuse him of such minor offenses as stealing keys and humming to himself. He clomps around the theater in the wee hours, moving things around.

By 1984, the Lyric had outlived its usefulness as a movie theater and was facing likely abandonment and demolition. The Tupelo Community Theatre snatched the Lyric away from the wrecker’s ball in the fall of 1984, and began work on renovations. With gifts and pledges that eventually totaled over $230,000, the Theatre’s friends rebuilt the stage, installed new theatrical lighting and sound systems, totally rewired the building, installed a new heating and air conditioning system, and, most visibly, spectacularly restored the lobby. The Lyric Theatre is still in use to this day.

Source:

Tupelo Community Theatre

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Governor's Mansion



The team travels to Hampton Falls, New Hampshire to investigate the Governor's Mansion where a young boy once lived and died in the late 1800s. Tune in Wednesday at 9/8c to see what they find.

Happy Halloween

Be Safe and Have Fun!!

Reader Submission - "The Anguished Man"

This story was submitted by Sean Robinson:



Over twenty five years ago a friend of my Grandmother gave her an old oil painting called "The Anguished Man". She told my Grandmother that the artist used his own blood mixed in with the oils and committed suicide shortly after finishing the painting. I have no way of confirming if this story is true or not but my Grandmother passed the story down to me when she gave me the painting. I really liked the painting but because my wife didn’t like it, I kept it in the cellar.

After our cellar was flooded during a prolonged period of heavy rain I moved the contents of the cellar to my parent’s garage while the cellar dried out. When I got the painting back, I decided to keep it in our spare bedroom on the third floor of our house. Shortly after getting the painting back, we started to hear strange noises, loud unexplainable bangs and an odd scraping noise like someone scratching their nails on fabric. When the painting was in the cellar, our dog would not go in the cellar, she would just stand outside growling; now when it was upstairs she refused to go to the top floor despite the fact that she usually used to follow me everywhere.

At night we would often hear crying and sobbing noises. I suppose these noises could have come from outside the noise and it was suggested the crying could have been a cat outside but they sounded like they came from within the house. I wasn’t duly alarmed at this point and put everything down to natural phenomenon. However, I started to see the shadowy figure of a man in the house. It was always just in the corner of the eye or brief fleeting glimpses of a dark shape. Soon the rest of my family were seeing things too. It has been suggested that because we all knew the history of the painting that we were all imagining these things and I suppose that is a possibility but at the time it felt very real.

As the weeks went by, the noises got progressively worse. I even heard crying that seemed to be coming from inside our own bedroom. Again, it has been suggested that this could have been from a cat outside the window but I’ve heard the noises cats make and this sounded distinctively human. A few nights I woke up suddenly and saw the dark figure of a man standing at the foot of the bed. Could I have been dreaming? Again this is a possibility but at the time it felt very real. The figure had the appearance of a tall middle aged man but his features were unclear. I never actually felt afraid at this point just extremely curious. I wanted to find out what was happening. Was it just my imagination or was there something paranormal happening?

We started to notice numerous cold spots around the house and we often had a strange feeling of being watched. I often felt like someone was standing directly behind me and heard whispers that seemed to be extremely close by. One evening my wife had gone to bed early, she thought it was me getting into bed beside her but when she turned around she found herself staring into a strangers eyes. I heard her scream from downstairs and ran upstairs to find her extremely shaken up by the experience. She has since told me she may have had a very lucid dream but at the time she was convinced it had actually happened. After this experience, my wife persuaded me to put the painting back in the cellar. Things settled down almost immediately but once again my dog refused to go anywhere near the cellar. When the painting was upstairs, the dog would quite happily follow me into the cellar.

After posting the videos on YouTube I attracted a lot of interest worldwide and several people asked me if I would consider setting a video camera up in an attempt to record some of the activity. I moved the painting back into the top bedroom and set up the video camera. I recorded for approx eight hours over three consecutive nights. After the first night I was convinced I had left the bedroom door open but in the morning it was closed so I changed the camera angle in order to record more of the bedroom because at first it had been focused solely on the painting. After spending several hours looking through all the footage I found I had recorded quite a lot of noises, most of them sounded like they came from outside the house and were easily explainable but a few were different. They sounded like they came from inside the bedroom. There was a strange scraping sound similar to the noises we had previously been hearing and the sound of a loud bang, like something falling but in the morning nothing was disturbed. When I checked the footage from the second night I found I had recorded the bedroom door suddenly swinging shut despite there being no drafts in the room. The third night I closed the door before recording in the hope it might swing open through the night but on this occasion it remained closed.

I decided to leave the painting in the top bedroom for the time being and over the next few weeks my wife felt someone stroke her hair when she was in the bathroom and one night when I was going to bed I saw a strange fog like mist at the top of the stairs. I walked into the middle of it and it was extremely cold. It felt like I was standing in the middle of some dry ice. My vision was blurred and I became very light headed. Then suddenly it vanished as quickly as it came. Now while some of the incidents could be explained by saying I was dreaming or it was a result of my over active imagination. This strange mist was real. It was something I could see and feel and something for which I can find no explanation. While the painting remained upstairs the whole family experienced feelings of being watched. We also started to hear the noises at night again. Somehow the whole house felt different when the painting was upstairs. I also began to experience intense feelings of anxiety and dread and suffered from terrible nightmares.

At one point it felt like I was being repeatedly and violently lifted up out of bed and slammed back down. I also started dreaming about the painting and kept dreaming about the same man, a tall middle aged man but I could never quite make out his face. After a few weeks I decided to set up the video camera again in the spare bedroom to try and catch some more of the activity on tape. This time I recorded over four consecutive nights for about seven hours each night. I spent hours looking through the footage again and I found I had recorded several strange light anomalies. At the time these were recorded everyone in the house was sleeping, there are thick curtains up in the bedroom so it can't be light from outside. There was one small lamp on in the bedroom at all times. They were not like the usual ‘orbs’ you see on some videos and photographs, they seemed to be moving around and over the painting. I also recorded many noises, such as bangs and scraping sounds that were similar to the sounds in my previous video.

A few days after this was recorded I heard my sons footsteps coming down the stairs then suddenly I heard him stumble and fall down the last four or five steps. I jumped up and rushed to help him, to my relief he was unhurt, just a little shaken up. Later on in the day I could tell that something was bothering him so I asked him what was wrong. He was a little reluctant to tell me at first for fear of sounding stupid but after some persuasion he told me that it felt like something had pushed him downstairs. He said that he was just walking down the stairs when he felt a pressure on his back that pushed him forward. He tried to stop falling but he said the force behind him was too strong. Well this really concerned me. Was I putting my family at risk by keeping the painting in the house? I decided to put the painting away again in the cellar and once again the activity seemed to stop. I have tried to research the paintings background and have posted the story all over the internet in the vague hope that someone will recognize the artist but so far I have had no luck. I have had many offers from people wanting to buy the painting but I really have no desire to sell it.

At first I thought the painting was very unsettling but I put down all the activity to the fact I had been told of its background and perhaps I was imagining things, but the longer I had the painting the more convinced I became that there is something paranormal about it. It has been suggested that because he used his own blood in the oils it could be the restless spirit of the artist but a few people have told me that it may be much more sinister than that. They told me that it could be some sort of demon. At first I was a little disturbed by the activity but I always felt there was nothing malicious or evil about it but since my son’s ‘fall’ down the stairs I’m not too sure. If the painting is indeed ‘haunted’ then is the ‘spirit’ trying to communicate with us, trying to tell us something? I have been advised at various times to burn the painting or even bury it, then I have been told not to burn it because if I burn it and it is some sort of gateway then I would be just sealing whatever has come through into our reality and that could make matters much worse. I have also been told to have it blessed or even exorcised.

I do know now, however, that I don’t want to destroy it. I have asked my family if they know anything about the painting but nobody knows anything about it. All I have to go on is what was passed on to my Grandmother and in turn was passed on to me. Hopefully I will eventually find out the artist’s name and then I will be able to research the validity of its back story. I have tried to remain objective and look at the events rationally but I have no explanation for some of the things I have experienced.

Aokigahara Suicide Forest

Aokigahara Forest
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 the lack of 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 is an average of 50 to 100 suicides bodies found each year. Signs posted throughout the forest telling people to seek professional has saved a few lives but still lack the power to deter all suicides. Why would so many choose this forest as a place to take their own lives?

There area a couple of possible reasons for the high number of suicides. Seichō Matsumoto wrote a book in 1960 called Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees) 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, 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 decades 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 among the trees as well as discarded items and nooses, used to facilitate the suicide of its recent victims and bouquets of flowers left by grieving friends and family members.

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Ghost Hunters/Paranormal Witness



TAPS investigates a local factory turned bar in Claremont, New Hampshire that serves patrons from the other side. Ghost Hunters Wednesday at 9/8c.



The season finale of Paranormal Witness reexamines the story of Chicagoans Ed and Marsha Becker whose haunted Northwest Side home led to the first nationally televised exorcism in the US broadcasted by NBC in April 1971. The exorcism was conducted by nationally known psychic Joseph DeLouise and Rev. William Derl-Davis.Watch Wednesday at 10/9c to see what happened.

Rialto Square Theatre

Ghost Hunters next stop is the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois. After two years, it opened on May 24, 1926 as a vaudeville movie palace costing nearly $2 million to build. The first talking picture show premiered on October 9, 1928. Despite being one of the finest theaters in the United States, time and the weather took a toll on the building and in the 1970s, it came close to be demolished. After the Rialto Square Arts Association launched a campaign to save it, the theatre went through extensive restoration in the 1980s. It has seen it's share of notable performers over the years including B. B. King, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, The Three Stooges, and Taylor Swift. It is believed a few former visitors may have never left.

There are many stories about a couple of ghosts often seen in the theatre. One talks of a little boy named "Colin". He is known to be a bit of a prankster. Another common ghost is a young woman in her 20s seen dressed in white. Her true identity is unknown but some believe she was an actress who previously performed at the Rialto and I guess loved it so much she decided to never leave.

The balcony hosts a spectral couple. Many witnesses have seen a man and woman haunting the very place where they may have died. The couple has been associated with a tragic death of falling from the high seating area. Now, they continue to pop in for a show or two.

Other experiences include lights turning on by themselves, seats flipping in a down position on their own, doors open and close, being touched, and clothes tugged on. The Rialto has currently started paranormal tours.

Gardette-LaPrete House

In the French Quarter, you'll find a four story Greek Revival house unlike any other. It's not the architecture or wrought-iron laced balcony that sets it apart from the rest. Gruesome murders turned a wealthy vacation home in to legend.

Gardette-LePrete House in 1937
The house was built in 1836 for a dentist from Philadelphia named Joseph Coulton Gardette who later sold it to Jean Baptiste LaPrete, a Creole and wealthy plantation owner, who bought the pink house as a vacation home. LaPrete invested a lot of time and money, transforming the residence in to a suitable place for his family. LaPrete decided to rent it for extra money when he began to fall on hard times after the Civil War. LaPrete would later lose the house to the bank.

A mysterious young man allegedly from Turkey approached LaPrete inquiring about renting his residence. An agreement was made and the man moved in with his treasure, harem of women and eunuchs. No one knows for sure who the man was, but he came to be known as "The Sultan". There are theories this man wasn't a sultan but actually, a brother of The Sultan.

Adjustments were made to the house upon his arrival. Doors and windows were covered and blocked. The balconies were closed off. The iron gates were chained and locked. Guards with curved daggers patrolled outside the house regularly. Soon, the air was filled with smell of incense, music and laughter, trickling from the house every night. It is said "The Sultan's" harem was complete with women of all ages and sizes and men as well as young boys. Some say he went as far as to kidnap women and tortured them until they gave in to his pleasures.

One night, the usual rowdy sounds turned to screams. Many people in the neighborhood were conditioned to "The Sultan's" parties and didn't give it a second thought. It took neighbors walking by the following morning to notice something was wrong. The gate was unlocked as it never was. Upon closer inspection, they noticed blood trickles of blood oozing from under the front door. It sent them running to notify the police. Knocks went unanswered, green-lighting their forced entry in to the house. Their eyes fell on one of the most gruesome sights ever. Blood coated the floors and walls. Body parts of "The Sultan's" harem and guards were strewn about and was later determined they were all raped prior to dismemberment. "The Sultan", however, was not among them. Police wandered out in to the garden to find a hand sticking out of the soil. "The Sultan" had been buried alive. Their killers were never determined.

Who could commit such a crime? There have been two persistent theories. The first puts the blame on pirates. Some claimed to have seen a pirate ship docked briefly in New Orleans at the time of the murders. Pirates were a part of Louisiana culture and the treasure "The Sultan" kept within his home had been taken, making it a possible theory.

The second turns the murders in to a personal nature. It is believed "The Sultan's" brother sent men to murder him.The reason? To possibly eliminate any competition for their inheritance or the throne from the brother. Another possible reason was to avenge their family for stealing the family fortune.

No matter who it was the house was left to its ghostly happenings. It changed hands several times over the years. In the '40s, it was converted in to the New Orleans Academy of Art but was forced to close after so many students left for the armed forces. It then became a boarding house and later a hiding place for vagrants. And eventually, around the 1960s, it was rescued and turned in to luxury apartments. Today, it is a private residence (Please respect their privacy).

Over the years, people have reported hearing Oriental music emanating from the house as well as the smell of incense. Others have heard screams and footsteps and seen people wearing Oriental clothing. "The Sultan" himself has made an appearance on occasion

Sources:

The Witching Hour

Haunted New Orleans Tours

Dread Central

Mount Misery

Mount Misery is a vast 854 acre wooded area in Huntington, NY. 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, but not long after, a fire burned it down to the foundation, killing many of the patients. The hospital was rebuilt about 15 years later. New patients and staff began reporting the smell of something burning and unexplained screams heard during the night. The new hospital burned down 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.

Reader Submission - Photo of a Banshee

The following photo was sent in by Elizabeth. Do you think it's a Banshee?


This is a photo snapped of what I believe to be a Banshee? It was taken, via cell-phone camera approximately 1 week before my step-father’s cousin died. His mother was on her way up to his room to check on him, as she turned the corner, only to see this! Having her cell-phone in hand she quickly snapped the shot, interestingly enough the cell-phone would no longer work after taken the photo, she could not shut it off or move the pic in any way? I recently decided to do some research on the subject and came upon your web-site, any feedback you can provide would be interesting to our family.

The White Eagle Cafe & Saloon

The White Eagle Saloon was considered the place to be for men from all over the world who worked on the docks. It wasn't just the thirst of alcohol that kept them coming back. The White Eagle Saloon depicted much of the seedier side of frontier life in the 1900s.

Two Polish immigrants, Barney Soboleski and William Hryszko, opened the White Eagle in 1905 to offer other Polish immigrants a place of after-work recreation: pool, cigars, poker, liquor, beer and for the right price patrons could indulge in a brothel upstairs or an opium den downstairs. It earned the nickname "Bucket of Blood" from frequent brawls that erupted in and around the saloon. However, it didn't stop the trolley from dumping men at its doorstep until 1916 when Prohibition put a stop to legal drinking. Then, The White Eagle became the "it" place to get ice cream cones and those wanting a good stiff pop could still get the goods down in the basement, below the "soda shop."

Once Prohibition was lifted, The Eagle served hard-working, blue-collar clientele for over 35 years until the 70s and 80s when bands such as Pete Karnes Blooz Band, Driving Sideways, Paul DeLay, Terry Robb, Steve Bradley, Robert Cray and the Razorbacks began playing there. It achieved legendary status in Portland much like CBGBs once was (and always will be).

Now, The Eagle attracts more than just music lovers or potential hotel guests. Many who once worked there have never left. A "working girl" named Rose still wanders the upstairs rooms where the "white" brothel once was, weeping. She was the personal property of the saloon manager until one paying customer fell in love with her and wanted to take her away from her dangerous life. Rose wanted to go but was fearful of the saloon manager's reaction. So, she refused. Instead, her young lover confronted him and was nearly beaten to death. He again pleaded with Rose to run away with him, but she refused. In a fit of rage, he stabbed his beloved to death in one of the upstairs bedrooms. However, she didn't let death stop her. Many have reported being propositioned by a woman who could only be the ghost of the dead prostitute. Rose is not the only ghost still seen at The Eagle.

Spirits of black and Chinese women who disposed of their babies in the basement are said to clog the atmosphere. Men who were shanghaied in the underground tunnels still hang around after being dead for so long. The image of a man named Sam who worked at the saloon the length of his life has been seen, gazing from the second floor window. Perhaps he's watching over the establishment.


Sources: McMenamins and Ether Scribe's Famous Hauntings

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Ghost Hunters/Paranormal Witness



Watch a sneak peek of the next all-new episode of Ghost Hunters, Wednesday at 9/8c.



Watch a sneak peek of the next all-new episode of Paranormal Witness, Wednesday at 10/9c.

Old Charleston Jail

Tonight is the premiere of Ghost Hunters 2nd half of Season 8. Their first investigation without co-founder Grant Wilson will take place in the Old Charleston Jail located in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1680, the city of Charleston set aside four square acres of land for public use. Over the years it was a hospital, poor house, and workhouse for runaway slaves before being turned in to a jail in 1802. The original building consisted of four stories with a two-story octagonal tower. Robert Mills, America's first native-born architect, designed a fireproof wing with individual cells in 1822 which was replaced in 1855 by a rear octagonal wing by Charleston architects Barbot & Seyle. The 1886 earthquake damaged the tower and top story of the main building so severely they had to be removed. The gallows remained in the courtyard until being destroyed by Hurricane Hugo. The jail never received indoor plumbing, electricity, running water, or glass in the windows (the guards quarters being the only exception).

The jail remained operational until 1939. During these 137 years, it house Confederate and Federal prisoners of war including the 54th Massachusetts Regime (known as the first black unit to fight in the Civil War) upon their capture and Charleston's most infamous criminals such as John and Lavinia Fisher (also known as America's first female serial killer) were convicted and executed for robbery and murder 30 or 300 people (reports vary). They were imprisoned in the jail from 1819 to 1820, maintaining their innocence until the day they were publicly hanged.

While they awaited hanging, the last of the 19th-century high-sea pirates were jailed there in 1822. Denmark Vesey plotted a slave revolt in 1822 to take over Charleston. Before the plan could be carried out he was imprisoned and later hanged in the Old Charleston Jail along with over 170 free blacks and slaves and four white men for their involvement and support. Because of the Vesey plot, increased restrictions were placed on slaves and free blacks including a law requiring all black seaman to be kept at the jail while they were in port. The jail also saw bootleggers, gangsters and debtors.

The jail remained vacant for 61 years after it closed. The American College of the Building Arts acquired it in 2000 and began the preservation efforts. Today, the Old City Jail is an official "Save America's Treasures" project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Millennium Council. It also hosts the Bulldog Tours' Haunted Jail Tour.

The jail is reportedly haunted by the spirits of deceased prisoners that died in the jail. One of the spirits is believed to be Lavinia Fisher who is often seen in the white wedding dress she wore to court. Cell doors move on their own. Doors slam shut. Shadow people are often seen. Many visitors have been touched, grabbed and scratched.

Sources:

National Park Service

Haunted Hamilton
(an extended history of the Old City Jail and the story of Lavinia and John Fisher's story)

Reader Submission: The Arctic Ghost from the West

The following story was sent in by Jennifer Estes:

I work on what’s called The North Slope, an arctic oilfield at the very Northern tip of Alaska. There are a couple thousand workers here, all from different major oil companies and we all work remotely, and rotationally- meaning we usually are here 3 weeks or so, and then fly to our homes throughout the U.S. for a break, or RnR.

While we are here working, we live in "camps". Basically like modular homes on stilts that can be moved. Each room is tiny, with only a single bed and a closet and a small window. Think of a mini Motel 6 without all of the amenities.

Last winter, when temperatures had reached around 65 below zero I started doing some research on a project. I have always been a fan of the "Wild West", and in particular Wyatt Earp. I decided in my down time to pick something out that jumped out at me about that era, and write a story about it. While doing my research, I happened upon information about Mattie Blaylock, otherwise known as Celia Ann Blaylock, Wyatt Earp’s former prostitute and eventual common law wife who died of a drug overdose after she and Wyatt went their separate ways.

Her story fascinated me, and in the 24 hour frigid darkness, I began to search the internet to find as many clues as I could to her life.

A week or so after my search began, one night after toiling over the internet I laid down on my bed to finally get some sleep. I turned off the light and closed my eyes. As I was drifting off, thinking about Mattie, another thought occurred to me. "I have such a hard time finishing projects, I don’t know if this story will ever come to actual fruition. Maybe I should just let it go."

Suddenly, my room light flipped on. Simultaneously, both my window curtain (yes it was closed- it was at least 60 below zero outside) and the curtain near my closet blew up like a huge gust of wind had passed through. I sat up in bed, staring at the curtains and then at the light switch. It was flipped up. I had just turned it off moments before. My heart was racing and the room was filled with electricity that was almost tangible.

I was alone in my room and unsure of what to do. The wind died down but the electricity hadn’t. The air was charged. I whispered "Mattie- is that you?"

There was no response. But I started to feel hot, like my skin was on fire. I decided to leave my room and go out to the common area and gather my thoughts. I called my husband in Washington and told him what had happened.

He simply said "She wants her story told. You clearly thought about quitting. I don’t think she liked it."

After an hour or so I went back to my room. I sat down on my bed and said out loud "Mattie- I won’t quit. I will finish. I promise."

And she never came back.

Reader Submission - Get Out of My Room

The following story was sent in by Jules V Ness:

When I was twenty one years old, my new husband's family offered to sell us a house that had been in his family for generations at an incredibly cheap price. They had a difficult time keeping it rented and did not want to hassle with it anymore. We jumped at the opportunity and moved in almost immediately. It was only a matter of hours before strange things began to happen. It did not take me long to decide there was something or someone else other than us in that house.

Almost every night we would hear something coming up the staircase. The steps were old so you could hear every creak. Nick, my husband would jump up out of bed whenever he heard it to go make sure that someone hadn't broken in. It would always end the same, no one was there. The ghost appeared to get braver as time went on. We could hear the steps eventually come down the hall; they were getting a little closer to our bedroom door with each visit. Finally, the night came that we had both been dreading. Nick was sound asleep, exhausted from working hours of overtime. I heard the steps dare to pass the doorway of our bedroom and enter our room.

I felt slightly aware of something or someone approach the side of the bed I had my back turned to, but I was afraid to look. I just kept my face in Nick's chest and closed my eyes tightly. I felt as though there was someone right behind me, right behind my head just staring at me. I knew one thing for sure; I was not going to turn around to check. I just wanted to fall back to sleep as soon as possible.

My hand searched under the covers for Nick's hand. I very softly and quietly moved my hand beneath his big palm. I did not want to disturb him; I just knew it would make me feel better if his hand was lying on top of mine.

My back felt ice cold; I tried to bring the covers up tighter around my neck and back. That\'s when I felt it. Something moved briefly on the bed behind me. I did not acknowledge it. I forced myself to stay still as if I were still asleep. I felt that if I suddenly reacted, I would see something horrible, so I did not turn around, I did not move.

That seemed to upset whatever was behind me. I felt the bed move again, but just ever so slightly. I felt that whatever was behind me was so close to me it was almost touching my hair. I had the feeling on my scalp similar to when you have static electricity in your hair. I was sure it must almost be standing on end.

I rubbed Nick's palm with the back of my hand. I think I was actually trying to wake him, but trying to do it quietly, so whatever was behind me would not notice. It didn’t work. Nick just grunted a moment and then took another deep breath, he was still sound asleep.

I felt another movement on the bed directly behind me again. I actually could feel the blanket I had wrapped so tightly around me tug on me a bit as if someone had laid some weight on it behind me, I was sure that something was trying to get even closer to me. Suddenly I felt air blow on my cheek. It was just the same as if someone had breathed on me, except it was a lot colder, ice cold.

I tried rubbing Nick's hand again only I did it more aggressively this time. He moaned a little and turned to face me laying his arm across my side. That made me feel a little better, if there was someone or something directly behind me he would have struck them with his hand when he put his arm around me. I no sooner had the thought when Nick's arm went flying off of me and back towards him. It was as if someone had picked up his arm and flung it off of me. At that same exact moment, I felt a very strong tug on my hair, and heard a whisper in my ear.

"Get out of my room," the words struck me like a knife in my stomach.

It was a very raspy mean voice. I woke Nick instantly, but once again there was no one there. Many things happened in that house. We only lived there for thirty six days, thirty six days of pure mental hell.

That was when I started to believe in ghosts and spirit hauntings. It forever changed how I view things. I wrote a book about the whole experience, The Lennox Haunting. It is on Amazon. It has the Look Inside, if you are interested in reading the first three chapters. It is also on the Nook at Barnes and Noble…Jules

St. Augustine Lighthouse

Below is information on the history of the lighthouse. It was provided by Kathleen who may or may not still work in the lighthouse's archives (It's been about four years since I received her email). This is part of a post I published here in 2008. I'm reposting it in honor of National Lighthouse Day. Enjoy!

A Tour of the Lighthouse



Before the lighthouse we have now there was another one just to the east. We're not sure when it was built (this was a Spanish colony then (1600s). When the British took over in 1763 they made improvements and when St. Augustine became a US territory and later, a state, the US government made more improvements. Eventually the beach eroded so much that it was necessary to built a new tower 1/4 mile inland. The land was bought from locals who owned it .

Ballard never owned the lighthouse. It was built by the U Lighthouse Service, which was later absorbed into the US Coast Guard. He was one of the people who owned the land (2 separate parcels) on which it's built. There was some delay in the government's acquisition of the land because of a dispute between Ballard and the owners of the other property over boundaries, etc. Ballard ended up losing money on the deal. The present lighthouse was completed in 1874 and the old light fell into the ocean in 1880.

Hezekiah Pittee was an engineer who was in charge of the construction. Two of his daughters drowned when a hand car or trolley used to bring construction material from the pier to the site went off the end of the pier while 5 children were playing in it. We have absolutely no way of knowing what conversations took place between Hezekiah and his family. Two Pittee girls and an African-American girl who is described in the news reports as a household servant (no name given) were killed and a Pittee son was rescued. Even the descendants have no personal information and they have letters, etc. from the surviving Pittee children. Any stories about the Pittee family other than the news article regarding the accident are fabricated. We have many reports dating back many years of a girl haunting the keepers' house but there is no way to connect that girl to the Pittee girls and the house was not built until long after they had died (They're buried in Maine or Massachusetts).

Keeper Swain used to say that he could hear footsteps following him and he could smell cigar smoke and he thought it was the ghost of Keeper Rasmussen (or Rasmusson). Many people have reported smelling smoke. Most describe it as cigar smoke but to me and others it's more like sweet pipe smoke. We also have many reports of footsteps on the grounds and in the tower, as well as voices. We have many stories from visitors and staff about a figure seen in the basement. Since he appears to be dressed in dark blue clothing we refer to him as "the Man in Blue", not original but non-commitally descriptive.

For more information please visit their website at www.staugustinelighthouse.com.

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.

Of course, there are variations of this legend. Another version has the woman being forced in to a marriage with a man she doesn't love all because she became pregnant by him. When she returned home from the wedding to find her infant dead and faced with a lifetime married to someone she hated, the woman went to a nearby bridge and hung herself. Visitors have seen her hanging from that bridge still wearing the white dress she was married in.

Sources:

Haunted USA

Shadowlands

Strange USA

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Haunted Collector/School Spirits



John and the team investigate an 8-sided plantation/Civil War hospital-turned-museum in Kentucky. Watch this all new episode on Wednesday 9/8c.



It's the season finale already. Did you like the new series? Think it'll be picked up for a second season? On Wednesday, fraternity brothers at Slippery Rock University share their house with the unsettling spirit of a local Native American. School Spirits Season Finale at 10/9c.

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Destination Truth/Haunted Highway



The team comes face to face with ghosts in one of the world’s most spectacular ruins. Watch an all new episode tonight at 9/8c.



Hit the road with Jael, Devin, Jack and Dana as they investigate a Louisiana swamp legend and more. Will they find the Swamp Woman? Check out an all new episode tonight at 10/9c.

Reader Submission - Cleaning A Haunted House Pt. 3

The following is the third and final installment of this story from Lori Zaremba:

Cleaning A Haunted House... Wayne's Turn Part 3

This story is for all the gentle people who are more attuned to the spirit world, who have seen, felt and reveled in the knowledge that there is life after death and we are privileged to have had these wonderful if not sometime frightening experiences. This story is for the same people who live among mortals who just don't get us at all.

I am married to Wayne, a wonderful man who at times has looked at me as if I had taken a liking to drinking out of strange toilets. I would tell him about my experiences at the haunted house and he would laugh and say "that's nice dear" like I was telling him about what's for dinner. I would always say to him "next time I am taking you with me" and he would say "never!" Well as fate would have it "never" came about a month later with a big change in our financial situation.

My hubby lost his job, so with a quick decision to not upset our finances, I went back to a career, and Wayne took over a portion of the house cleaning while he looked for another job. That meant yes, he would have to clean the Haunted House. He started cleaning the house several weeks ago. The first couple times there was nothing, not a peep. I think my little buddy was afraid of my husband, all cranky six foot four of him. That would scare any little kid. I would ask Wayne "did you see or hear anything" He would say "no". Then one day the little fella decided to come out and play.

Wayne was in the master bathroom (typical hot spot). He said while he was cleaning the shower he heard a little voice say "Hi" Wayne thinking that the family came home stepped out of the bathroom to see who was there. He called out and no one answered. He quickly finished up and gathered all his supplies and headed out to the hallway. On the landing before the steps was a ball a stuffed animal and a doll, all lined up. Wayne knew they were not there when he came up the steps, in fact he had seen the doll in the corner of the bedroom earlier. He was in disbelief! Of course someone surely must be playing tricks on him. He told me he searched the house but there was not a soul there, he also said when he was downstairs ready to leave, he heard the sound of children running in the hall upstairs. Hmmmmm... I am trying to keep a straight face and not be my usual sarcastic self. But I can't help myself... I say "that's nice dear" The next visit brought even more fun and games and had my husband re-thinking this whole ghost thing.

Wayne went to the haunted house last Friday. He said he went into the house and everything seemed pretty normal. He said he was mopping the kitchen floor and he started hearing sounds as if someone was banging on the floor above him. He would stop working and the banging would stop, soon as he would start mopping the banging would start again. He finally decided to go check it out. He went upstairs and couldn't find anything that would make that bang. He went back down the steps and as he got to the bottom something bounced past him "what?" it's a little rubber ball... Wayne was now remembering all my stories that include the rubber ball and started to get a little unnerved. He explained to me that the next 2 hours were spent dodging flying dolls, balls, picking up toys that appeared from nowhere and thinking "Keep going, get done and get the hell out of here" Finally he finished up, he was barely in the car and dialing on his cell phone, Who? Yes me, the crazy wife who see's ghosties...

I guess I am not so crazy.

I think Wayne has a new appreciation for the brave woman he is married to, who week after week returned to the haunted house alone. I have a new appreciation for Wayne and the pleasure in knowing that I am now married to a believer...

The End

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Haunted Collector/School Spirits



Watch a sneak peek of the next all-new episode of Haunted Collector, Wednesday at 9/8c.



A ghostly visitor sends an urgent warning to a pair of best friends at Eastern Kentucky University.

Sneak Peek Tuesday - Destination Truth/Haunted Highway



The team traverses across Kazakhstan to investigate sightings of a crashed alien spacecraft, tonight at 9/8c.



Hellish hounds and a southern skin stealer are in the teams sights. Watch a sneak peek of the next all-new episode of Haunted Highway, airing tonight at 10/9c.

Reader Submission - Effect of Out of Body Experience in Ones Life

The following article was submitted by Amy:

What is an out of body experience is the one question that has most drastically changed my life! Let me start by saying that I am not that person that goes out and must ride every new roller coaster or takes backpacking trips across contents or engages in any type of sport with the word ‘extreme’ in it. So when a friend told be about her out of body experience it really did not sound like anything I would ever want to do. In fact I secretly thought she was crazy, especially when she told me she was going to actually try, give concerted time and effort to the act of creating that experience again.

It is not that I am a control freak, but the thought of my spirit leaving my body basically terrified me. Why would I want to go floating around in the ether when I have a perfectly safe, comfy, warm bed right here at home!? Also, I had no interest in coming back to my body after a nice little spiritual journey, only to find that some other spirit made my body their new home! My friend assured me that this was impossible because we are always connected to our bodies and nothing else can enter and list of ten other reasons to assuage my fears. So out of pure curiosity I decided to attend an Out of Body Seminar - about exactly that, how to willfully create your own out of body experience any time you want.

Of course I thought it was bogus, but I agreed to go anyway and forked over my money to sit in a room full of people that looked perfectly normal, but somehow wanted more than anything to learn how to leave their bodies at will. Well, to make a long story short, I was hooked by the second day. I listened to story after story of people that created their own out of body experiences and described all the places they traveled and deceased relatives they met and I started to want to cultivate this ability in myself. The benefits were staring to outweigh the risks so I began to study everything I could get my hands on about this subject. It took me two months of concentrated effort before I was actually able to leave my body for the first time.

I didn’t go very far, basically I left my body lying in my bed, floated into my living room, realized what was happening and before I knew it I went rushing straight back into my body! I laugh about it now, but that is actually quite common for many people on their first and second experiences. Eventually though you are expecting it to happen so the shock won’t compel you to do a nosedive back into the familiarity of your body, like anything you build yourself up and be able to explore out further and further each time you try. Now it is over a year later and I can leave my body at will on most nights and it is so amazing that often think back and remember that it all started with a simple question to my best friend - “So what is an out of body experience anyway?”

If you want to learn more about out of body experience or how to experience one yourself, then click here.

Reader Submission - Cleaning A Haunted House Pt. 2

The following is part two in a three part series from Lori Zaremba:

Cleaning A Haunted House.. What I Do For Money Part 2

Where do ghost go? Do they take naps, walks, vacations? That's what I was asking myself when I would go to the haunted house week after week, month after month without a visit from my friend. Every once in a while I would hear the occasional door slam somewhere off in the distance or I would pick up that rubber ball that would find its way to a new location in the house. I could tell immediately when I would arrive at the house each week that my buddy was not in residence. I even started asking my sister C.J who helps me at the house every other week if she had noticed anything. No, nothing. That had been her answer through the whole thing, when I was seeing full body apparitions and being locked out of the house as well as hearing voices, she noticed nothing. Well, something got her attention.

It was pouring the day we went to clean the house. Lightning flashed, thunder boomed and as I pulled into the driveway I saw the blinds move in one of the upstairs bedrooms.

Looks like its going to be an eventful day. We dashed in with all our supplies and I immediately felt the difference in the house and knew my friend was back.

C.J cleans the upstairs and I clean the main floor when we go together. We share the basement. I know what you are thinking. Send your poor sister upstairs to be scared. The real reason is because she doesn't do a very good job on the hard wood floors downstairs. Besides she says there's nothing spooky going on anyway, so...

I started in the kitchen and I could hear C.J grumbling about something as she came back down the steps. "What's wrong?" I asked. She proceeded to tell me that the upstairs master looked like a camp ground; there were tents and sleeping bags laid out all over the room. "Really?" I say to ghostie, "Are you scaring the children again?" C.J. Looked at me and says "you are goofy." and she went back upstairs. I continued with my routine. I finished the kitchen and started in the powder room. I heard a rustling in my cleaning bag behind me. I turned to look and I saw my roll of paper towels unraveling across the kitchen floor. I stepped closer to get a better look and I heard a scream coming from upstairs. I rushed to the steps and took them 2 at a time and yelled "what's wrong?"

I got to the top and C.J. Was standing there as white as a sheet and says "Something wacked me on the head!" I looked at her with disbelief, she told me she was in the bathroom and she was talking to herself, saying "what a mess these kids made of the sink." She went to pick up something off the floor and as she straightened up, something wacked her on the head. She said it felt like a baseball. Hmm... Now I was confused. While someone was rolling my paper towels across the floor downstairs, someone else was whacking my sister on the head with a baseball? I looked down and there was a stuffed animal toy laying on the floor, a duck. I asked "Is this what hit you?" She said "Where the hell did that come from?" then she said "Maybe?" I said "That's a far cry from a baseball!" She was quite agitated, I can't help it, and I started laughing, laughing until I cried. Finally, I pulled myself up off of the floor, got as composed as I could and said "Welcome to my world" She, as any loving sister would do, whips me the bird.

My sister is as tough as nails. She is a third degree black belt in Tao Kwon-Doe. She would rip me to shreds as she would lay down her life to protect me. That day I saw her as a little girl, frightened by the boogeyman. She would no longer go upstairs in the house by herself.

Wherever my ghost had been hiding all those months, he must not have liked it very much because he was at the house almost every week after that day; at least I thought he was.

It was my day to clean alone. I arrived at the house and once again my key would not unlock the door. I heard a child's giggle from inside, oh; I guess the kids are home today. I turned the knob on the door and it opened. I call out "Hello" as I did the alarm started beeping. I hurried and put my code in before it went off. I guess the kids were not home, weird. As I walked in the kitchen and I heard a ball bouncing in the foyer. I walked down to investigate and I saw that rubber ball roll into the piano room. I walked over and once again felt the freezing air. "WHEW..." I could see my breath. I looked around with the rubber ball in my hand and say "What's up with this rubber ball?" "Do you like it because it has a picture of a puppy in it? Did you have a puppy like this?" Nothing, no answer. I got to work.

I got into the powder room to use it and I shut the door. I immediately heard a conversation going on. It sounded like a man and a woman and it was continuous, although I couldn't make out what they were saying. I opened the door, it stopped, closed the door it started again. I listened closely the voices were coming from the sink drain, hmm... The basement? I dashed to the basement door and got halfway down the steps, I couldn't hear anything. Then I thought of every horror movie that I have ever seen when the dumb blonde decides to go down into the dark basement to meet her demise, no way, not this blonde, see ya! I dashed up the steps back to the powder room and shut the door; I could no longer hear the conversation. I did notice that my roll of paper towels was in the toilet, "Awe give me a break, yuck!" Did you know that a roll of Bounty paper towels can absorb about 15 pounds of water? It's true.

The following week my sister and I went to the house, my sister was wearing two gaudy chains with crosses around her neck she found at an estate sale. She walked into the house and announced to anyone listening. "We are here to clean this house, you are not allowed to harass or hurt us, no touching!"

We cleaned the house together since she would not go off on her own. It takes us twice as long. We are packing up all of our stuff, I was loading the car which was parked 2 feet from the door we enter and exit from. C.J. Was in the kitchen about 10 feet from the door. I heard a voice and as I say "What?" I turned and see a boy about 6 or 7 years old run into the doorway to the laundry room which is between where my sister was standing and where I was. I gasped and looked at her, by the look of astonishment on her face, she saw him to. We both ran to the laundry room door, he was gone but the clothes on the line were still swinging from him brushing them on his way by. We stood there in complete silence; my sister broke the silence by saying "Wow."

The drive home was silent.

C.J. Called me that night and we discussed what happened, she is very sad because it is a little boy and she wants to know why is he here? Where are his parents? How could they leave him behind? Is the man I saw his father?

Many people ask me if I have talked to the owners about this, I have dropped a few suggestions of some weird things happening but I do not want to scare them. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I am sure the kids have noticed things but then again they may just blame each other. I have gone there when the girls are home and they seem great. They are very outgoing, friendly and smart. These ghost are not harmful and do seem to like this home. My feelings are that they like the family, maybe that is what they lost and just want to be part of again.

When we go there now, there is no fear. I dance and sing while I am cleaning because I know the little one is entertained by it, I can hear him giggle once in a while. He follows me here and there and sometimes he will pull on my shirt hem to get my attention. The ball still bounces around the house as well as some of the other toys he seems fascinated by. The best thing is the day I had to use the toilet and I told him he wasn't allowed to come in. I shut the door and he gently knocked on the door the whole time I was in there.

Ghost are just people who have past away. Some simply want to be acknowledged.

The story does continue.....
 
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