Monday, January 4, 2021

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Brush with Death

Dale Earnhardt Jr. followed in his father's Dale Earnhardt Sr. footsteps to become a professional race car driver. Inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Earnhardt Jr.won two Daytona 500s and holds 26 NASCAR series wins.

Earnhardt Jr. semi-retired from racing in 2016. During his career he experienced several scary incidents, but it is one fiery crash that he still wonders about till this day.

During a 60-Minutes interview he recounted how this incident has made him a believer in the paranormal.

In 2004, early in his career Earnhardt crashed his corvette during a practice run at the Sonoma Raceway, while preparing for a La Mans Series race. He miscalculated a turn and clipped a nearby wall. Earnhardt Jr.'s car then spun out of control.

On impact, the car's fuel line ruptured and spewed gasoline everywhere, catching fire. Earnhardt dazed managed to unbuckle his seatbelt.

As he lay on a stretcher on the field, he grabbed the collar of a PR rep and screamed at him "to find the man who pulled me from the car." This man confused told him, "Nobody helped you get out."

Earnhardt was then airlifted to California-Davis Memorial Medical Center, where he received treatment for second-degree burns.

Earnhardt still firmly feels someone helped him escape his burning corvette. He distinctly remembers someone grabbing him under his arms, and then pulling him out of the car.

Despite not seeing the man who helped him, he believes it was his father's ghost who assisted him that fateful morning.

Monday, August 17, 2020

A Helpful Spirit Child

This is a recent local story from Las Cruces, NM.

The mother of a toddler who died two years ago claims her daughter was caught on camera near where she is buried.

Faviola Rodriguez was only two years old when she died in September of 2018.

Ever since, her mother, Saundra Gonzales, has discovered Faviola’s toys and other personal items, that she has placed at her gravesite, missing.

Could it be her deceased daughter taking them?

Saundra, who at first thought they were stolen, now has cause to wonder.

Recently, another family visiting the Masonic Cemetery in Las Cruces captured some intriguing images on video.

Ms. Gonzalez is firmly convinced that this video shows an image of her daughter.

Many have described it as “beautiful”—for it shows a little girl escorting another family’s brother, who died recently.

Saundra believes it is her daughter’s image escorting this man up to heaven.

Here is a video that one local TV News station shared about what this video captured.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Menacing Presence at Bonito Lake

Bonito Lake (Reservoir)
“It was a robbery that went sour . . .”

Bonito Lake is located at 7300 feet in Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. Beautiful scenery surrounds this man-made reservoir, near Ruidoso.

The ghost story connected to this lake has its roots in 1855.

Most people today do not realize that the remains of a ghost town lie at the bottom of Bonito Lake.

Bonito City sprang up as a mining camp during the Gold Rush. In 1882, this city was just a cluster of tents, it residents a group of starry-eyed miners from states as far away as Virginia.

At its peak, in the mid-1800s, Bonito City had a schoolhouse, three general stores, a saloon, a post office, a boarding house, one blacksmith, and one lawyer.

For a brief period, Lincoln County was able to boast that it was the most populated area in New Mexico.

Bonito City Post Office
But Bonito City was about to become the site of a gruesome mass-murder.

Martin Nelson, aged 24, with dreams of becoming rich overnight, arrived in Bonito City, claiming to be a miner. But locals noted this particular young man never seemed to do any work.

A newspaper clipping
about Murders.
Nelson boarded with a local family for several weeks and then moved to the bustling Mayberry Family boarding house that was the town’s official hotel.

There had been a string of recent robberies in town, but no one had a clue as to who was doing them.

At 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, May 5, 1885, Martin Nelson’s luck was about to run out. He entered the room of Dr. R. E. Flynn at the Mayberry. The doctor had recently arrived from Boston.

Nelson’s intent was to steal this man’s watch. But Dr. Flynn woke up and struggled with the thief. Nelson shot and killed him.

Hearing the commotion, the Mayberrys descended upon the room. Nelson, now panicked, began shooting at the Maybury family members.

John Mayberry Sr. and his two sons, John Jr., and Eddie (Robert) died instantly. Mrs. Mayberry wounded, ran down the stairs, attempting to escape, with her 14-year-old daughter, Nellie.

Nellie Mayberry after
murders was sent back
east to live with relatives.
Nelson shot Mrs. Mayberry a second time, killing her. This bullet also struck Nellie.

Nellie then pleaded for her life, and Nelson agreed not to kill her on the condition that she promised to attend his hanging. She did, and he spared her life.

Meanwhile, Pete Nelson, a neighbor (no relation to Martin), hearing the shots as he closed his saloon for the night, entered the Maybury house. Martin Nelson also shot and killed him.

By this time, a large number of people had gathered outside the boarding house. Nelson trapped, stayed hidden until 7 a.m. He then tried to escape out the back door.

The town grocer, Herman Beck, was waiting for him. Beck was killed by a single shot from Nelson’s rifle.

Nelson managed to leave town, and then a posse chased and caught up to him in Littleton Canyon and killed him.

Nelson’s victims were then buried in the town cemetery on a hilltop overlooking Bonito City. His body was placed near, but not in this cemetery.

The gold boom played out within a few short years, and eventually, Bonito City became a ghost town. The post office closed in 1911, and by 1920 all that remained was a store and eight houses.

In the late 1920s, the Southern Pacific Railroad gained permission to dam the Bonito Creek to create a reservoir that would fuel its steam engines. Workers removed what was left of the town.

By 1933 the lake was so high the water level was approaching the graves of Nelson and his victims.

Angus City Cemetery
The remains of the Mayberry family were relocated to a common grave in the Angus Cemetery—not far from the lake. Nelson’s body was reburied east of this cemetery. Today Nelson's plot is overgrown, but a gravestone still stands as a marker.

Mass grave marker for the victims.

When Nelson’s body was exhumed, it was noted he was thrown face down in a rough pine box. His green felt hat was intact, and several bullet holes were found in it.

He was buried with his body pointing west. Some feel this is why he does not rest in peace. The belief of that era was to place the dead facing up and pointing to the east. This assured the deceased could rise up to meet Christ.

People point to this fact as the reason Martin Nelson’s menacing ghost still wanders the area where he lived and died. And then there is the fact his body was disturbed.

When the Southern Pacific stopped using steam trains, they no longer needed the reservoir. Today Bonito Lake is the main water supply for several surrounding communities, including Ruidoso, New Mexico.

This is the reason swimming, wading, and boats are not allowed on the lake. The area is open for fishing but only from the shoreline.

Bonito Reservoir with the dam to the right.
Campers, mountain bikers, and rock hounds also frequent the area. Others still pan for gold along the Rio Bonito.

But some of these visitors have become so frightened they have left never to return.

It appears Nelson’s ghost has frightened many a tourist and some locals. His scary presence is felt along the shoreline. Some even say he appears to be at the bottom of the lake.

A strange circle of lights has been seen floating on the surface of the water. Eerie sounds are heard including gunshots.

Others have picked up some intriguing EVP’s at Nelson's gravesite.

Local residents warn paranormal enthusiasts that it is not a good idea to awaken this murderer, especially since his presence is felt in such a remote area.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Haunted Hotel Monte Vista

There are many rumors about this old hotel located in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona. The Monte Vista has more than one ghost.

I heard many stories about this hotel during my four-year undergraduate work at NAU in the mid-1970s.

The Monte Vista became well known for its paranormal activity, especially after it was highlighted on one episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

This show talked about the hotel’s most haunted room--#305.

Rocking chair in Room 305.
There are numerous witness accounts of seeing a woman sitting in a rocking chair near the window. Many others have seen this chair rocking all by itself.

Some witnesses have reported hearing unexplained knocking sounds inside this room’s closet.

It is known that an elderly lady was once a long-term renter—who would sit by the window for hours in this room. But why she did this is lost to history.

Another active haunting is connected to the hotel’s cocktail lounge. In the 1970s, three men robbed a nearby bank. A bank guard shot one of the three during the robbery.

After their escape, making a bad choice, the three men decided to stop in the Monte Vista lounge for a cold one. The wounded robber bled to death in this bar.

The activity in this room began after this. Patrons and employees are often greeted by an enthusiastic, “Good Morning.” Also, barstools and filled glasses are seen moving about without assistance.

In this same lounge, a couple dressed in formal attire is seen dancing, laughing, and smiling. They never seem to stop. There is another unusual item about them—they are transparent.

Years ago, Flagstaff’s red light district was located a couple of blocks from the Monte Vista. Two prostitutes entered the hotel in the early 1940s with their Johns.

Soon after, they were killed, and their bodies were thrown out of Room 306s 3rd-floor window.

Guests that stay in this room report they were woken up in the middle of the night abruptly. They all state they felt an eerie feeling--as if they were being watched.

The men that stay in this room report feeling hands being placed over their mouths or throats. All state this restricted their ability to breathe.

John Wayne, while staying at the Monte Vista, in Room 210, saw one of the hotels more active ghosts. He encountered this entity more than once. 

The spirit he saw is known as the “Phantom Bellboy.”

This bellboy knocks on the door and softly announces, “room service.” Wayne and other guests that have seen this young man describe him as wearing an old-fashioned red jacket with brass buttons.

Wayne returned later to stay in this same room. He told the staff this ghost appeared to be friendly, and he did not feel threatened.

More creepy ghosts are connected to the hotel’s basement.

Laundry and maintenance workers report a baby crying in distress, endlessly. This sound is so disturbing they often leave the basement, stating they couldn’t take it anymore.

An even more frightening presence in this basement is a six-foot dark shadow figure that has scared staff and deliverymen. He is seen lurking behind people.

These witnesses often leave the basement immediately, stating that this figure exudes a strong sense of menace.

A young ghost—a boy, is seen in the hallways. He appears to be looking up and talking to someone much taller than him. Some speculate this must be his mother—although she is never seen.

Guests have reported this boy touched their hand. Children tend to see this ghost more often.

Monte Vista’s old elevator is self-serve, but more than one guest has reported being greeted as they entered this elevator. A polite attendant asked them, “Which floor?”

Guests also report seeing a phantom hand close the elevator gate.

In Room 220, there is a ghost dubbed the “meat man.” This ghost is believed to be another former long-term resident at the hotel. He had an odd habit of hanging raw meat from the room’s chandelier.

In the 1980s, this man was found, three days after his death, in this room.

Shortly afterward, a maintenance man doing repairs in the room turned off the lights and locked up. He returned to the room shortly afterward to look for something he lost.

To his amazement, the lights were on, and the television audio was on full blast. The linens on the bed had been ripped and scattered across the floor.

Since this initial incident, many guests that have stayed in this room report the television seems to have a mind of its own, and more alarming, large, cold hands touched them as they slept.

I write about a haunting and my personal encounter in one of NAU’s dorms in another post here.