Wednesday, September 2, 2015

India’s Ramoji Film City

Ramoji Film City

This city is India’s version of Hollywood. Ramoji is located in Hyderabad. It was first opened in 1996 and covers over 2,000 acres making it the largest film facility in the world.

Many Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali and English television and films are produced out of this studio. It has gained a reputation of being “the land of a million dreams.”

Hyderabad’s picturesque scenery plus several man-made attractions make it an ideal area to film.

Ramoji is like Universal Studios in that it is also has an amusement park, which attracts a large number of tourists.

This film studio and the hotels that support the film and tourist industry are considered to be haunted which attracts even more attention to the area.

Film set.
Many point to the area’s history to explain these hauntings.

The city was built on the war grounds of the Nizam sultans. Thousands of soldiers that died during these battles are buried in the area.

One indication the ghosts that haunt the area are deceased soldiers is the fact that strange marks resembling Udu—the sultans’ language—has been discovered on mirrors.

Ghostly activity often happens during shoots.

One of the most chilling stories involves crewmembers that work with the lights high up. Unseen hands have shoved several of these men—they have fallen and serious injuries have been the result.

These large lights have also crashed down from the ceilings for no apparent reason.

Central Jail set.
Food left out overnight in various rooms have been discovered scattered across the floors in the morning—no one has claimed to see these ghosts but strange sounds heard and images spotted are common occurrences.

Because of this activity there are areas at the studio that are avoided or never used.

Women at the studio are often the victims of this activity. In various changing rooms shadows are seen and many females have reported having their clothes or costumes torn by unseen hands.

Another active spot is the various ladies’ restrooms where doors are knocked on—when they are opened no one is there.

The activity at Film City has become so annoying that efforts have been made to exorcise the ghosts but these attempts have all failed. Officials avoid discussing the hauntings.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Vigilante Hanging

Nevada City
Nevada City and the surrounding area, which included Virginia City, got their start when gold was discovered in Adler Gulch in 1863.

Nevada City was apart of Idaho Territory until 1865 when it became the capital of Montana.

At this time there was no law enforcement in the area—there was only a “miners court.”

Plummer Gang
robbing stagecoach.
So when George Ives a member of the Plummer Gang * murdered a young Dutchman by the name of Nicholas Tibalt in cold blood it was vigilantes that responded.

Tibalt had been given gold by his employers, Burtchy and Clark to buy mules. On his return trip he was murdered and the remaining gold and mules were stolen.

Ten days later, the body of Tibalt was brought back to Nevada City in a wagon. Ives had been seen by witnesses ride in to Virginia City with mules and he had openly bragged, “the Dutchman would never trouble anybody again.”

Hearing about Ives’ boast 25 men rode out to capture him. He was returned to Nevada City and put on trial. This proceeding, held outdoors lasted 3 days as 2,000 area residents watched.

During this trial Ives’ “criminal friends”—including Sheriff Plummer of Virginia City-- tried to help him by planning his escape and by intimidating witnesses—but neither worked.

Henry Plummer
Sheriff Plummer never showed up to lead the gang’s actions for he stayed away hearing vigilantes were looking for them and the escape plan was thwarted because vigilante guards with loaded shotguns guarded Ives.

The miner’s court convicted Ives of the charges and quickly arranged his hanging. A 40-foot pole was run through the window of an unfinished house and a rope was draped over it.

Just 58 minutes after he was found guilty George Ives was hanged. He was buried next to his victim Tibalt—the view at the time was this would let Tibalt know his death had been avenged.

Outdoor museum Nevada City
Shortly after Ives’ hanging—the infamous Montana Vigilantes were formed—within the first month, 24 men found guilty by the vigilantes were hanged. Most of these men were apart of the Plummer Gang.

Just six years later in 1869, the gold boom in Alder Gulch had ended, only 100 people remained. By 1872 Nevada City was a ghost town.

During its heyday the placer mines of Alder Gulch yielded over 35 million dollars in gold.

By the early 1920s many of the buildings in Nevada City had been destroyed.

In the 1950s a couple, Charles and Sue Bovey who already collected Old Montana buildings bought Nevada City and started to place other historic frontier buildings along the back streets of the ghost town.

They were careful to keep the original layout of the city intact.

In 1997, the State of Montana purchased the town. Today the Montana Heritage Commission runs Nevada City as an outdoor museum. The last of the 90 historic buildings was placed on the site in 1978.

One hundred and fifty years after George Ives was hanged three employees of the Montana Heritage Commission, Dan Thyer, Bill Peterson and John Ellingsen were doing a research project at the site.

Historic Marker
Peterson took a photograph of Thyer and Ellingsen standing next to an historic marker that shows the spot where Ives was hanged.

When this photo was uploaded to a computer the two men were not even in the shot, instead there is a mysterious transparent figure of a man who the three did not recognize.

They have concluded this must be the ghost of George Ives.

Mysterious photo taken.
In the following short video Dan Thyer discusses the history of Ives hanging plus there is a clear shot of the mysterious figure that Peterson captured in the photograph.

* The Plummer Gang were Road Agents or highwaymen led by Sheriff Plummer. This was during the Civil War and many wounded soldiers from both the North and South landed in Montana Territory. This made for a contentious atmosphere.

In May of 1864 Montana Territory was created by an Act of Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln. This insured Alder Gulch was under the jurisdiction of the United States—or the North.

The “vigilantes” were former wounded Northern soldiers who were there to insure none of the 30 million dollars in gold mined in the Gulch in just 3 years from 1863 to 1866 reached the South.

So these vigilantes in remote Montana actually played a role in the outcome of the Civil War.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Oath vs. Family Honor

“What is a Scotsman without his word? Aye, but what is a Highlander without his kin and clan to count on?”

                              --Storyteller Duncan Campbell Crary

A choice Major Duncan Campbell made one night in 1747 sealed his fate.

The major was an officer in the Scottish 42nd—Highland—Regiment. This group of soldiers was a fierce fighting force known as the Black Watch.

Original Inverawe.
Duncan Campbell was the Laird of the Scottish house of Inverawe. The legend states one night a desperate man with blood on his hands and kilt came knocking at his door. He begged the laird for sanctuary.

Duncan swore on the ceremonial dirk at his side that he would shelter the man. This oath was not taken lightly for Highland lairds were duty bound by their promises.

Fate took a dark twist when just hours later a group of men showed up at Inverawe to inform Duncan a highwayman had murdered his cousin, Donald Campbell. The men informed the laird they had seen this man head toward Inverawe.

Duncan duty bound by a “sacred oath of protection” had no choice but to protect this man from the gang that stood at his door—so he told them he knew nothing.

Later that night he was awakened from his dreams by an awful moaning. When he opened his eyes he saw the ghost of his cousin Donald, standing at the foot of his bed.

In a deep voice Donald stated, “Inverawe! Inverawe! Blood has been shed. Shield not the murderer!”

Donald’s ghost appeared several more nights pleading with Duncan to hand over the murderer. Duncan conflicted confronted the killer but remembering his promise he had to back down.

The ghost appeared one last time stating, “Farewell, Inverawe! Farewell, till we meet at Triconderoga!”

This name held no meaning for Duncan and as the years passed he forgot these words. That is, until 1788 when the Major’s regiment was sent by the British Crown to help fight the French and Indian War in the Colonies.

The Major and his men marched north from Albany, New York to attack the French controlled Fort Carillon—later named Fort Ticonderoga—on Lake Champlain.

On the eve of this battle that occurred on July 8th Donald Campbell’s ghost once more visited Major Duncan Campbell in his tent. He told Duncan that he soon would pay for his betrayal.

The battle the next morning was the bloodiest of the war. There were more than 3,000 casualties. The Black Watch suffered the most of any unit on either side. Over 200 men of the 1,000 Scots that fought were killed. Over 250 were wounded—including Major Campbell.

Campbell's grave marker.
On it Inverawe is spelled wrong.

He suffered a flesh wound to his arm but this wound festered and turned gangrene. Nine days after the battle Major Duncan Campbell died.

When the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson was fighting Tuberculosis in the late 19th century in the Adirondacks of New York he heard the tale of Major Duncan Campbell.

In December of 1887, he published a poem entitled Ticonderoga, a Legend of the West Highlands in Scribner’s Magazine. His poem quickly became popular around the world.

Here is a link to this poem. In it he misnames Duncan Campbell—Duncan Cameron.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Haunted London App

Now this is my kind of app . . .

Make it Digital Ltd has created a very fun app for those interested in haunted spots in London.

This app can be bought in the iTunes app store for 99 cents.

The first thing that pops up is a “Featured Haunted Location” where the user can read a short overview of one haunted spot in London.

The user then from this window can hit the “map” button and this goes to Google Maps, which pinpoints the exact location of where this haunting occurs--all the haunted locations featured on the app are integrated with Google Maps

This app highlights the ghosts from London’s darker past and provides short descriptions and stories about each haunting.

Its main menu lists various haunted locations, which include: Possessed Pubs, Ghostly Graveyards, Haunted Buildings, Jack The Ripper and Haunted Underground—the Tube.

One of my favorite sections highlights the various sections along the London Underground where ghostly activity has been reported.

Under each description is a “Report a Disturbance” button where the user can report activity on the apps’ Facebook or Twitter accounts.

The app also has an ”Extras” section where users can find spooky sounds with sound effects or suggest a story that should be included on the app.

This is a great way to experience a virtual tour of London’s haunted hot spots.

The developers of this app also have a “Haunted Edinburgh” app that is available for purchase on iTunes. These two apps can be found here.