Friday, November 28, 2014

One Last Call

A paranormal phenomenon that is more common than many realize is phone calls from the dead.

In another post entitled, Phone Calls From Beyond I share a story about a man who after being killed in a California commuter train accident then made phone calls to his fiancé and several relatives.

There are many stories where people describe they talked to a deceased relative or loved one on the phone. These often occur within a short time span from when the person died or on days that have specific significance like birthdays, holidays or anniversaries.

These calls are always from someone who was very close to the recipient. The purpose for them varies but most often they are to say a final farewell or to lend comfort to those left behind.

In other instances they are used to send a specific message or to warn the living of impeding danger.

One famous actress, Ida Lupino from the 1930s and 40s who later became one of Hollywood’s first female directors told this story.

Ida Lupino
Actress, screenwriter, producer
and director.
Six months after my father died I received a phone call from him. He told me where I could find some important papers that I needed in order to sale his house. Sure enough I found them exactly where he said they’d be.

Some of these phone calls take on a twist or added dimension. The following story fits in this category.

This caller does not know the person on the other end has already died.

A Christmas Conversation

It was to be the first time Ginny would not be home for Christmas. Her father lived in her home state of Maine and she now lived in California.

She had arranged to call her Dad on Christmas but a feeling that something was wrong overwhelmed her.

She picked up her phone and called him. Before he was able to speak she asked, “Dad, are you okay?”

“Sure, honey,” he replied. “How come you are calling now? Christmas is just two days away.”

Ginny explained that she had been afraid something had happened to him. He reassured her, “I have never felt better in my life. “

The two then had a nice long conversation and Ginny hung up feeling relieved.

That afternoon a Maine state policeman called her.

“I am sorry to give you this news, ma’am.” The officer apologized. “There was a bad ice storm last night and your father slipped and fell and hit his head. He died immediately. A neighbor didn’t discover his body until this morning.”

Ginny exploded, “That’s impossible. I just talked to my Dad a few hours ago and he was fine!”

It slowly dawned on her that he was telling the truth. Her father had passed away. When he had told her “I have never felt better.” It was because he was no longer bound by the many ailments that had plagued him in life.

Her Dad had somehow managed to have one last conversation with her.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Holiday Mystery

This is a 1st person account of a disturbing encounter with a ghost who tries to harm a group of college students enjoying the holidays.

My friends and I decided to spend our school break in Scotland. On a budget we decided to camp. Since it was too cold to use out tents we rented a caravan.

On our second night at our campsite we decided to hike over to a nearby village pub. One friend, Sam was feeling under the weather so he decided to stay behind to rest.

As we entered the pub we realized that we did not have enough money so I volunteered to return to our camp.

As I entered the caravan to retrieve my wallet strong gas fumes overwhelmed me. I was surprised to find the stove was on. I turned it off.

I found Sam asleep in the back. He was oblivious to what was going on. I helped him exit the vehicle.

Later that evening as the group discussed what I had discovered we became alarmed. It dawned on us that the gas being turned on could have been fatal for Sam.

None of us were cooks and we would not have turned the stove on. Nervous now, we  wondered who did turn it on. 

Sam chimed in that the night before he awoke to see a figure shutting the caravan ceiling’s pop up window. He did not mention it before because thinking it was just one of us he went back to sleep.

But now as he thought about it this figure was standing on a stool so it could reach the window. All of us were tall enough to reach this window without the aid of a stool.

We concluded that this mysterious man must have been responsible for the gas being turned on as well.

The next morning still unnerved we decided to move on. As we drove down the country road that led to the pub we stopped. We told the landlord our strange story.

He was not surprised. He told us the locals considered the area around our campsite to be haunted.

He told us a group of college students similar to our group had stopped at that campsite just the year before.

As they walked down the country road to his establishment they had encountered a young man. They spoke to him but as they neared the pub this stranger had just disappeared.

They looked around but there was no trace of him.

We asked him if this previous group had described this man. He rubbed his whiskers and replied, “The only thing they mentioned was he was short.”

Monday, November 24, 2014

Haunted Object: Mandy the Doll

This 114-year old doll named Mandy is considered to be “Canada’s most evil antique.”

In 1991 Mandy was donated to the Quesnel & District Museum located in British Columbia. Today she is the main attraction at this museum.

Former Owner

The owner that donated Mandy to the museum felt uncomfortable owning this doll. She kept Mandy in her basement with a variety of other antiques.

She started to hear strange sounds coming from her basement but when she would go down to investigate nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

She became scared when she started to hear what she described as “a baby crying” coming from her basement. Although she investigated this sound on many occasions she never discovered the reason for these sounds.

As this noise became more pronounced and louder she became convinced this doll was haunted. She decided not to keep it. Not wanting to throw this antique out she donated it to the museum.

After the doll had been removed all the strange sounds stopped.

Unusual Activity

Once Mandy was displayed in the museum strange things started to happen.

Staff lunches began to disappear out of the refrigerator only to be found later stuffed into various drawers around the building.

Employees’ personal items, such as photos, pens and books would disappear without a trace.

At first, the museum displayed Mandy in a case near the entranceway but several guests complained that they got a strange vibe from this doll so Mandy was moved. 

This doll's cracked and broken face added to these negative feelings. Visitors often stated that she "has a sinister smile."

One legend states she then was placed in a case that contained other dolls. But when staff started to find these other dolls damaged rumors spread it was Mandy. It seems she was jealous.

Mandy eventually was put in a corner in her own case.

Becoming Infamous

This strange doll was featured in a book entitled Supernatural Stories Around British Columbia. After this more people started to visit the museum just to see Mandy.

Other odd activity began to be reported. Visitors stated that their camera and phone batteries would drain while they stood near Mandy’s glass case.

Photos taken of Mandy sometimes would turn out but in others the photos were blurred. It appears Mandy is picky about who can take her picture.

One female patron stated her camera’s light flickered constantly until she left the room that contains the doll.

Other creepier reports include people noting this doll’s eyes followed them as they moved around the room and that just as they looked away from her case they saw Mandy’s eyes blink.

Employees' state Mandy--regardless of the case she is placed in-- has mysteriously moved positions.

All these reports have guaranteed this doll has a sinister reputation.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Ghosts of Fells Point

Baltimore's Fells Point
Sitting on a picturesque peninsula in Chesapeake Bay is a small community called Fells Point that still embraces its roots.

Fells Point today is lined with quaint 18th and 19th century homes and storefronts. This area today hosts several trendy bars and restaurants.

An Englishman, William Fell who originally owned this land, founded a ship building business in 1726. His ships became the famous “Baltimore Schooners.”

Fells Point made a good port because its deep waters almost reach the shoreline. It was Baltimore’s main port for over 100 years.

It original residents were the rowdy seamen that visited this port along with the working class citizens of Baltimore. They frequented the pubs and brothels that were located near this port.

This rich history is why many believe this area is haunted today. Most of this ghostly activity occurs in the pubs and along the streets in this small port community.

 Red Light District

The Cats Eye Pub was also a brothel in the early days. It used a “red light switching system” that was common in establishments that provided its customers with prostitutes.

This system was a board with several red light bulbs. When a Lady of the Evening would flip her switch off it signaled she was not available. When she was ready for her next client she would flip her red light bulb on.

This switching system is where the term Red Light District comes from.

Today the renovated Cats Eye Pub is still used as a bar. A recent employee, Paige McClain states this old switching system was covered up by dry wall when the building was renovated.

She and several other employees believe the spirits of these prostitutes haunt this pub.

The old switching system is located just below the ceiling near the front of the bar. Both employees and patrons have heard these switches engaging and disengaging in this area.

The Whistling Oyster

This pub is located in a building that once was a row house. At one time it had a second floor.

In the early days once it was converted the owner decided he had no use for the second floor so he had the staircase removed.

Today, patrons at the Whistling Oyster report seeing an apparition ascending this staircase, which no longer exists.

William Fell’s Ghost

The original owner of Fell’s Point is also said to haunt this peninsula. A man dressed in 18th century clothing has been seen by several recent residents.

Coby Kay Callahan and her boyfriend Christopher Carter were heading home at 2:30 a.m. when they spotted a strangely dressed man walking into an alley up ahead.

When they reached the entrance to this alley no one was in it. Their sighting is not unusual. Several other witnessed have reported seeing this ghost.

He is seen late at night--normally after the bars have closed--walking along various streets in Fell’s Point.

It is said that this was probably his habit while alive.

Edgar Allan Poe

Another haunted pub located at Fells Point is The Horse You Come In On.

This pub is located on the last street before you reach the dock. It is believed this was one of Poe’s favorite places to drink.

I talk about this pub and several other places Poe’s ghost is said to haunt here.

Employees of this pub blame Poe’s ghost for several strange occurrences that happen in this bar.

One female bartender while preparing to open for business states that when she walked up to the cash register it opened on its own. She closed the drawer and went about her business.

When she returned to the area she was surprised to see the drawer open once more. She again closed it. After this it opened several more times.

At the end of her shift when the next bartender arrived she told him what had happened. He was not surprised. He informed her that it was just Edgar, their ghost. He told her the cash register drawer opening on its own was a common occurrence.

This female bartender found out quickly that if she talked to Poe and acknowledged his presence the activity slowed down for a while.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tell Us a Story, Grandpa

Our grandfather was a war veteran. He fought for the North during the War Between the States. My twin sister and I had since the age of 5 spent All Hollow’s Eve at his home. All 14 of his grandchildren would attend these parties.

We would play games, eat sweets and have the best time of our lives. These evening were made extra special for we were allowed to stay up way passed our bedtimes.

Tired from all the excitement at the end of the evening we would gather around Grandpa as he sat rocking and smoked his favorite pipe. A hush would fall over the room as we waited in anticipation. He knew what was expected but he always acted like he didn’t have a clue.

Soon voices would ring out urging, “Tell us a ghost story Grandpa. Tell us an exciting one!”

Grandpa would raise his eyebrows and tilt his head. “Well you all know I don’t believe in ghosts but when I was your age my parents did tell me some pretty scary stories.”

“Then tell us one--pleasssse.”

“I’m not sure your folks would appreciate me scaring you all.”

This banter would continue for awhile, us begging and Grandpa making excuses but we all knew that he would relent eventually for every Hallowe’en he told us a ghost story.

After we had all settled down and were sitting still, Grandpa started to talk in a quiet tone. We leaned forward so we would not miss a word.

“I guess since you are all older now it is about time I told you a true ghost story.” We nodded solemnly in unison agreeing that we were certainly old enough.

The firelight in the room shined almost as brightly as Grandpa’s eyes. Before he said another word my cousin Billy--always the doubter--stated, “What makes this story true, Grandpa?”

Grandpa put his large hand on Billy’s head gently and smiled, “Because I really saw this ghost.”

Several of us gasped for Grandpa had never said before he had actually seen a ghost.

The White Ghost

It was one night while I was on picket duty. I was out in the open but there was a thicket of trees near where I stood.

It was dark and in the middle of the night when I first saw the ghost, glowing white standing at the edge of the woods.

I didn’t think anything of it at first--you tend to see strange things in the army. Seeing a little thing like a ghost didn’t bother me.

After awhile the ghost just disappeared. This did make me pause since it had vanished right before my eyes.

A brief span of time passed then it appeared again--but this time it was closer.

Several of my cousins shrieked. Grandpa nodded, “I must admit this frightened me too.”

The ghost just vanished once more. It then proceeded to appear and disappear several more times--each time it came closer to where I stood. I was now more nervous.

Hearing this, I felt shivers run up and down my back.

Grandpa continued. I wanted to run but I was on duty and couldn’t leave my post. I had to stand there and watch this ghost come closer and closer each time it appeared.

I started to imagine all kinds of terrible things...

I calmed down by convincing myself that it must be a rebel soldier in disguise. After all, the enemy--Johnny Reb-- was always trying to trick us.

I now became afraid that if this imaginary soldier came close enough to me that he would run me right through with his bayonet.

We all jumped as Grandpa acted this action out.

He then said, “I could feel the sharpness of this point and the pain that would ensue.”

The next time it appeared this white apparition was now just a few feet in front of me. “I raised my gun and fired not caring if the noise roused the entire camp.”

Within moments an officer was standing before me demanding to know what had happened. How could I tell him that I had shot a ghost? He wouldn’t believe me.

Billy shook his head no. “I wouldn’t have.”

Well he didn’t believe me, he ordered another soldier to stand with me at the post until morning.

As dawn broke I spotted a large white form. I went over to inspect it and discovered I had shot a fat cow. It was white on one side and dark red on the other.

In the dark when she turned her red side to me I couldn’t see her but when she turned her white side to me--well she didn’t look like a cow.

I guess she was just wandering the wood eating the grass. But she sure did scare me. 

Billy always practical asked, “What did you do with her? Did you have to pay for her?”

“Nope, the army was grateful for the meat. I can tell you eating that good beefsteak I was downright happy that I saw that ghost.”