Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stockholm’s Haunted Palaces

The Royal Palace

This palace located in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden has been used as the royal residence since the 18th century.

It is one of the largest palaces in the world. It has 1430 rooms, 660 of them have windows.

Stockholm's Royal Palace
It is known to be haunted. Its two most famous ghosts are a White Lady known as vita fran and a Grey Man known as gra mannen.

A Harbinger

The White Lady is said to appear just before someone dies in the royal family. She therefore is a classic harbinger.

King Oscar ll
She was first made famous when old King Oscar ll wrote about her in his memoir.

She is seen dressed in a white dress and a long white veil covers her dark hair. She wears dark gloves and carries a chain of keys in her hand.

As she walks through the palace these keys are heard clanking together. Many Swedish royals and staff have seen her through the years.

The Founder of Stockholm

Another ghost seen at the palace is known as the Grey Man. It is said he has appeared before every reigning King at least once during their lifetime.

Birger Jari
He is believed to be the ghost of Birger Jari. Jari was the founder of Stockholm. He built a fortress with a core tower in the 13th century. This site evolved into the royal palace that was completed in the 1830s.

A Haunted Mansion

The Palace of Scheffler is considered to be the most “haunted house” or Spokslottet-- in Stockholm. For this reason people often refer to this palace as simply the Haunted Mansion.

Since the 1920s this palace has been owned by Stockholm University. It is used mostly today just for storage and occasionally for conferences.

A merchant, Hans Petter Scheffler built this mansion in 1690.

Palace of Scheffler
Strange Activity

Ghost stories about this home have circulated since the 18th century. Witnesses have reported strange singing and music coming from this building when it was unoccupied.

Mirrors and windows in the mansion have broken simultaneously without a known cause.

Possible Causes

One story points to a former owner of this palace as the cause for this strange activity. Jacob von Bathazar Knigge was said to be a devil worshipper. He mysteriously disappeared in 1796.

At the time, witnesses stated that he was taken away in a black carriage with a coachman who had horns and a tail.

Another possible cause for this activity involves several deaths connected to the mansion.

Gustaf Sandstrom an opera singer once rented a room in the palace. He committed suicide in his room in 1879.

A young married couple were murdered in the mansion and then bricked-up behind a wall in the basement.

In the mansion’s garden a grave was discovered in 1907. These remains were removed to a cemetery. It is believed more people are buried in this garden.

Swedish National Heritage Board
Mansion in early 1900s.
A Legend

One legend connected to the palace is about a priest who was brought in to rid the home of this unwanted activity.

In one version of the story this priest fled the home in fear before he finished the job.

In another version it is said an angry spirit tossed him out of an upper window. There was no one in the building but him at the time.

Some believe all this unwanted activity is the reason why the university uses this lovely old palace for storage most of the time.

The Stockholm Metro is also said to be haunted. A ghost train known as the Silverplein is seen. I wrote about this haunting here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ghost Hollow’s Curse

Residents that live around the old settlement town of Ripley, Oklahoma on windy nights state they hear some chilling sounds coming from a large old oak tree.

Ripley is near the city of Cushing in Payne County. This county was opened to settlement in the Oklahoma land run in April of 1889.

This oak tree was an ideal place to hang people. The hollow this tree still stands in is considered haunted and cursed. The area was dubbed Ghost Hollow for this reason.

In the late 1800s Payne County was still an untamed lawless land. The only justice was imposed at the end of a rope or from the barrel of a colt pistol or Winchester rifle.

In 1899, three horse thieves were left hanging from the limb of this oak tree in the hollow. This was not the first time this tree had been used for this purpose.

The following tales are often told around a campfire.

An Accidental Death and A Curse

One legend states that a young Indian girl, in spite of her father’s wishes, ran away to marry a white man.

The father found them and shot the young man. But his bullet hit his daughter instead, killing her.

It is said in his grief and despair he placed a curse on Ghost Hollow where he found the two lovers.

His daughter was 17-years old at the time of her death. It is said every 17 years a death occurs in this hollow.

One victim of this curse was a gambler from Ripley. He was hanged from this tree when he was caught cheating at cards.

In the early 1900s a human skeleton was found in the hollow. Yet another body was found in 1922. Then in 1939, there was a fatal car wreck on a nearby road.

Haunting Noises and Eerie Glow

Local witnesses state that on windy nights in Ghost Hollow they have heard terrible moans and groans coming from this old hanging tree. They state this sound raised the hair on their necks and made their hearts beat faster.

One Boy Scout troop passing through the hollow stated all their horses were spooked when they entered Ghost Hollow one windy night.

Yet another legend that surrounds the hollow states an innocent man was hung from this tree in 1887. It is said the next day, all of the bark from this tree mysteriously fell off.

Since, during full moons witnesses state this tree glows brightly.

Of course, wind makes horses spook and moonlight makes things glow but I love these old stories...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ozark Ghost Folklore

The Ozark people who live in Missouri and Arkansas were descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the 19th century.

They mostly came from British stock many of their families had lived in America since colonial days.

They had very little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. At the turn of the century--1900--they still were not influenced by the progress that influenced the rest of the country.

These “hillbillies” as they became known, clung to the outdated customs of their ancestors. Because of this their old songs, sayings and stories are still shared today.

Hand in hand with their traditional beliefs came a firm belief in superstitions and ghosts.

During pioneer times the old-time hillfolk would invite people to their cabins for the express purpose of swapping supernatural tales. In a society where people didn’t hold with “dancing” and “card playing” ghost stories were a cherished form of entertainment.

In my post entitled, Kentucky Ghostlore I share one version of a ghost story entitled Dividing Up the Dead often told in the Ozarks.

Many of the ghost stories told were not only scary but also humorous. Here is a prime example from 1899.

A Lost Relationship

A young man had been visiting his sweetheart. As he rode away from her gate at midnight she called, “I’ll be with you all the way home.”

Soon he noticed something white floating in the air behind him. He kicked his horse into a trot but the white thing stayed close.

Just before he reached home the young man’s hat flew off, but he was too scared to stop and look for it.

Next morning he told his mother that the girl he was courting must be a witch. He announced that he intended to never see her again or have anything to do with her.

His sweetheart had no idea what was wrong. She wrote him several letters but never received a reply. A few months later she married and moved to Oklahoma.

The young man never saw her again. In the fall of the year she left he was walking through the woods where he had lost his hat.

He spotted something sticking up out of the brambles with a roll of cotton attached to it. He spotted a familiar snakeskin hatband. It was his hat.

His sweetheart and her mother on the last night he saw her had been carding cotton.

The long roll of cotton, streaming from his hat, was the “white thing” that had floated behind as he raced home.

Published 1947

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Black Hope Curse and Haunting

The two stories below reflect an ongoing theme I have presented on Seeks Ghosts--which is when graves are disturbed or desecrated bad things can happen.

The Haney’s Story

Black Hope Cemetery
In the early 1980s, Sam and Judith Haney purchased a new home in a Newport subdivision in Houston, Texas.

When Sam decided to put a swimming pool in their backyard an elderly black man, Jasper Norton showed up at his door. Norton told him he was about to disturb two graves. He then showed Sam where these graves were located.

Norton knew about these graves because years before he had dug them. The sub-division where the Heney’s new home was located on was an old 19th century African America slave cemetery called, Black Hope.

According to Norton there were at least 60 pauper graves in the area. The last burial had been in 1939. These graves had just been left and covered up by the developers of the sub-division.

Sam now curious brought in a backhoe and had the area dug up. Right where Norton had showed him he found two old pine boxes. The county coroner officially exhumed the bodies.

Two wedding rings were found and it was determined the two deceased were Betty and Charles Thomas. They were slaves that were freed after the Civil War.

Judith Haney uncomfortable that their graves had been desecrated insisted they rebury the two former slaves in their backyard--she then planted flowers over them.

New Graves
Scary Activity

After the two graves were disturbed strange activity started to happen in the Heney home.

A clock in their bedroom was seen eerily glowing and sparking--it was unplugged. Judith heard the distinct sounds of someone enter their home through their sliding glass doors, she heard a voice she thought was Sam's state, "What you doing?"  Only to find no one was there.

Judith Haney
A pair of her favorite shoes disappeared out of her closet. Later she and Sam found them sitting on top of Betty’s grave. They discovered that it was Betty’s birthday that day and they felt that Charles her husband placed them there.

The activity became so frightening that the Haney’s wanted to move out of their home--but they could not afford to. They sued the developers for not informing them about the cemetery.

They eventually lost this case. They had to declare bankruptcy for they owed $50,000 in court costs.

They moved.

A dozen other neighbors reported lights, televisions and water facets turning on and off. They also heard disembodied voices. Several reported seeing apparitions.

The William’s Story

Ben and Jean Williams reported that near their flowerbeds sinkholes appeared in the shape of coffins. They would fill them only to have them reappear a few days later.

Jean stated that the flowers she planted in this area all died.

The couple saw shadows move along the walls in their home accompanied by whispers and a putrid smell.

Their granddaughter, Carli lived with them. She felt intense cold spots in the home during the hot summer months.

She and her grandmother got the uneasy feeling someone was watching them in the home. The toilets flushed on their own and Carli states as the water would go down she could hear murmuring voices.

Ben late one night after returning from work saw two apparitions appear in the kitchen. He watched as they entered the den and then disappeared in the hall leading to the master bedroom.

The Williams also took legal action. They were informed by the developers without bodies they had no proof.

Frustrated Jean started to dig in the backyard. When she became ill her 29- year old daughter Tina took over. But after a half-hour she became ill.

Tina was rushed to the hospital were she died of a heart attack. Jean believed that her death was a direct result of the paranormal activity they had been experiencing.

The Williams lost their entire life savings when they moved. They have since written a book about their encounters entitled, Grave Secrets.

Nothing unusual has happened in their old neighborhood since--probably because many of the old graves were eventually moved. 

The Haney and William’s stories were shared on Unsolved Mysteries in July of 2002. This episode is below.