Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Haunted Ceiling

H. G. Wells
A recent discovery uncovered an intriguing lost story by the 19th century author H. G. Wells. It is a ghost story entitled “The Haunted Ceiling.”

Some of Wells’ most famous stories include: “The War of the Worlds”, “The Invisible Man”, and “The Island of Doctor Moreau”.

Experts of Wells stories feel this newly discovered manuscript written by Wells in the mid 1890s does not reflect his best work but I have read it and found it fun and surprising.


Andrew Gulli the editor of Stand Magazine found the manuscript in a large archive at the University of Illinois that keeps many of Wells papers. Gulli published The Haunted Ceiling in late November of 2016 in issue #50.

The story begins with a male character named Meredith speaking to a friend who is visiting. He looks up at the ceiling and states:

“Don’t you see it?”
“See what?”
“The thing. The women.”
I shook my head and looked at him.
“All right then, don’t see it.”

The story then takes its main character on a macabre journey that involves stranger and stranger activities that occur in the old house he resides in.

Wells often told gothic tales where his characters doubted what they experienced when they encountered a supernatural event.

The Haunted Ceiling is similar to another ghost story Wells published around the same time—“The Red Room”. In this story a skeptic—a scientist-- spends a terrifying night in a castle room trying to debunk claims it is haunted.

The Haunted Ceiling unlike The Red Room has a surprise ending.


The issue of the Strand Magazine that shared this story for the first time can be bought here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Wolf Creek Inn

Wolf Creek Inn
This inn was originally called the “Wolf Creek Tavern” when it opened in the 1880s. It is the oldest continuously operated inn in the Pacific Northwest.

In its heyday, it serviced weary travelers that made the 16-day journey north from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon.

Jack London is said to have finished his story Valley of the Moon while staying at Wolf Creek in the summer of 1911. He is one of the spirits that have been seen and heard in the inn since his death in 1916.



In later years, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks stayed at Wolf Creek. Clark Gable, his wife Carol Lombard and Orson Wells also stayed at the inn. John Wayne rented a room while he filmed Rooster Cogburn

The inn today has a variety of spirits that still make appearances. One favorite ghost story is about a stagecoach driver named, One-Eyed Charlie Parkhurst. During the Gold Rush years Charlie was known to be one of the toughest drivers along the northern route.

Stagecoach Drivers
Quotes about Charlie include: “He drove his team hard, cussed up a storm and spat tobacco juice harder than anyone else.”

Charlie had a reputation for never missing a day’s work—except the day after payday when he was too hung over to drive.

In 1868, Charlie registered to vote, he told friends so he could vote for Ulysses S. Grant.

When Charlie Parkhurst died at the age of 67, the mortician that tended his body was in for a shock. Charlie was actually “Charlotte” an orphan girl who escaped her life by hiding as a man.

When Charlie voted in the 1868 presidential election some believe she was the first woman in the U.S to cast a vote.

For years, people who have visited Wolf Creek claim to have seen the ghost of a rough dressed man on the main floor at the inn. This ghost’s voice has been picked up on EVPs. Many believe this is One-Eyed Charlie.

But the facts point to another conclusion. Charlie died four years before the Wolf Creek Tavern opened. So it is unlikely her ghost is the one seen. But this story was too good to pass up.

This inn is owned by the state of Oregon and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Wedding Tradition Wards off Evil Spirits

Today, when one thinks of weddings they don’t think of evil spirits. Weddings instead are seen as celebrations—happy events.

But one wedding tradition still observed today came about because of an ancient Roman belief. The Romans believed brides had to protect themselves from evil. They thought merriment attracted evil spirits—not to mention rejected grooms.

So a tradition began during this time to assure the bride and groom were protected from demons and angry ex-boyfriends.

All the females in the wedding party dressed the same as the bride. This was to confuse anyone or anything with ill will. It was a trick to keep the wedding couple safe—so they could get through their vows unhindered.

This belief of demonic wedding crashers persisted well into the Victorian era when it finally petered out. At this point brides began to dress more elaborately than the maids in their wedding parties.


What lingers from this protective ritual is the fact bride maids still dress in matching dresses—most of them unflattering.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Johnny Morehouse and His Dog

Many claim that Woodlawn Cemetery * in Dayton, Ohio is haunted. The most popular story is about the ghosts of a five year old boy and his dog.

Woodlawn Cemetery
Like many ghost stories about young children this one is more charming than scary.

In the mid 1800s residents of Dayton used a series of man-made canals to transport goods and people.

Miami and Erie Canal
The Morehouse family lived in the back of their shoe-repair shop in downtown Dayton. Behind this shop ran the Miami and Erie canal. In August of 1860, the Morehouse’s youngest son Johnny was playing near the canal with his dog. The young boy lost his balance and fell into the water.

His dog jumped in after him. He was able to pull his master out of the water but it was too late—Johnny had drowned.

The Morehouse family buried Johnny at Woodlawn Cemetery. Within days of his funeral people began to see an unusual sight. Johnny’s dog was lying on his grave and would not leave.

As the days passed people worried this dog would starve to death so they began to bring him food. Because of this dog’s faithful vigil a new headstone was carved for Johnny’s grave. It has “Johnny Morehouse” inscribed on the front and “Sweet Slumber” inscribed on one side.

It depicts a large dog enfolding Johnny tenderly. Today, this gravesite is the most visited in the cemetery. People leave offerings of coins, stuffed animals, various toys and food—in fond remembrance of this child and his devoted companion.


Offerings in remembrance.


For three months in 2008 a rumor was spread that the gravestone was vandalized. These stories were false. The head on the statue of the dog did disappear –the reason for this was with age it had fallen off. It was repaired and placed back on the statue.

Over the years, witnesses have claimed to see the ghosts of Johnny and his dog throughout the cemetery. They are seen running and playing together.

Many have heard the sounds of Johnny’s laughter as his dog barks.

Most interesting are the reports that people have seen what appears to be the statue of the dog breathing. Some have put their hands directly under the dog’s stone nostrils and felt these breaths.

*  Woodlawn is the 5th oldest garden cemetery in the U.S. Orville and Wilbur Wright are buried here as well as Erma Bombeck.